Student Athletes of the World Unite

Written by :
Published on : September 6, 2016

 

 

Should student athletes be allowed to unionize? That’s a complicated question that has yet to be definitively answered. This is a battle that is far from over. So I’m here to give you my thoughts on the issue.

 

I’ve alway had a firm belief that if there is a group of people profiting off of the labor and dedication of others, then the people doing the work have a right to band together in order to present a united front to management. For the workers, it’s really the only chance they have to be on a level playing field with the people profiting off of their endeavors. The owners of capital hold all of the cards in this game and as an individual, the laborer, has little chance of being able to stand up to the bosses.

 

northwestern-football-strike-picket-signs-union

 

So the real question regarding this whole situation is: are student athletes in fact employees? When the football players at Northwestern University attempted to unionize last year, the National Labor Relations Board declined to rule on the question of employment. Instead, they refused to extend their jurisdiction to college athletics altogether, stating “potential negative consequences” that could be associated with such a move. They didn’t necessarily overturn the lower regional ruling that the revenue-generating student athletes at Northwestern were, in fact, employees of the university, but they refused to even hear the question.

 

That just doesn’t make sense. The college sports industry is valued at something like $11 billion, yet the student athletes that help make all of that possible get none of the profits, have little recourse for airing grievances, and are denied certain rights that are available to other students. That’s a travesty, especially when you consider that the lack of profit sharing leaves an estimated 85% of student athletes below the poverty line. Sure, they receive room and board, in addition to tuition, but almost all agree that it isn’t enough to live on. They sacrifice their education in the name of sports. Athletes routinely miss classes in order to fulfill their commitments to the team.

 

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                                                                      How is this ok? (SOURCE: NYT)

 

All of that is secondary to what I consider the most important reason that student athletes should be able to unionize, and that’s long term health benefits. This probably applies more to football than to basketball. I don’t want to trivialize the physical sacrifices that college basketball players make, but the high impact nature of college football means that there are long-term, internal effects of that game that aren’t as obvious as the joint and bone injuries common in hoops. With everything that we now know about repeated concussions sustained in football, I believe that there should be some responsibility by the universities that are making millions off of these kids. There could be mental effects that these athletes won’t feel for years to come, and if they aren’t lucky enough to make it to the NFL, then they may be left to deal with them on their own. That’s just not fair.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I was raised in a UAW family and have always been a strong believer in the benefits of unions in general. I recognize that the power they hold has been abused at times, but you can certainly say the same thing for management in almost every industry. These kids are making huge sacrifices in the name of their schools. I understand that making unionization possible for big money sports like football and basketball could put smaller, less profitable college sports in jeopardy, but I also think there is a way to work around that. There is no shortage of money in college athletics. Now the only problem is getting those that hold that money to share a little bit of it with the people who generate it. That’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s not impossible either. First, we need the student athletes of the world to unite and demand their rights as employees of their respective universities.

 

 


Happy Birthday SBS! It’s our 1 year Anniversary

Written by :
Published on : July 18, 2016

 

As of today, SBS is one years old. We have posted an article everyday for a full 365. Including holidays. A deeper look into the data shows there are over 400 pieces from 26 different authors. Not bad for a baby. I was only crawling and pooping at one. So before anything else, let’s have a round of applause for the writers. Now, jump into the time machine was we warp back to see how the website all came together.

 

ScoreBoredSports is the story of two jerks and a dream. A dream that started out simply to see the Detroit Lions covered fairly, not just mentioned for a second or skipped over completely. Our original thought for the site was the “Detroit Conspiracy,” how the refs, broadcasters, and world all work together to keep the Lions down (this is a true phenomenon).

 

One night, after a few margaritas at our favorite LA spot, El Compadre, Alex Jag and I really unpacked the idea. We had so much to say and so much energy. We knew we couldn’t be the only people that felt that way, not just about Detroit, but about their teams. We decided to broaden the concept to cover all sports. Which was the right call. Make it a place for everyone. Democractic-like.

 

So much of the sports news world is cold stats and the same handful of stories regurgitated from the major outlets. ScoreBoredSports looks to provide interesting, well-crafted sports content from a range of voices on all topics. We are not sports writers. We are writers who love sports. We welcome new contributors from all walks of life and our message boards are open to the public. Sorry, no robots allowed.

 

SBS TWIT BUTTON v01

 

Things really took off when we met our third partner, Dennis Henning. Alex and I got to know Dennis while working our day jobs at the restaurant. Dennis would come in and sit at the counter and we would talk sports. Alex pitched him our idea and Dennis helped us build our site and get the operation off the drawing board and into the real world. He was the perfect partner because he matched our passion for the game and brought serious business expertise to the table. There is no site without him.

 

Our vision for SBS has always been to entertain, educate, and provide a platform for discussion. We want to be a haven for super fans and novices alike. Sports is a big world and we need help covering it. Tell us your stories, write us something, help us help the little guy. The underdog. Everyone’s favorite character. Is there something we should be covering? Let us know.

 

Here’s to another year. Now pass the cake.

 

 

ScoreBoredSports – Bored with the status quo

 


Angelino in the Outfield (Episode XI)

Written by :
Published on : May 13, 2016

 

Heard anything about the Nationals lately? Good Christ. It seems like every game they played this week had some sort of national news attached to it. First, they got swept by the Cubs in four games at Wrigley, in a series between the two teams with the best records in baseball. That left the 24-6 Cubs with the best 30-game start to a season since the ’84 Tigers (26-4), as well as the best first-30-game run differential (+102) in the history of baseball. In the final game of the series on Sunday, the Cubs walked Bryce Harper six times, tying a Major League record set by Jeff Bagwell in 1999. And since he also got hit by a pitch in the game, that meant Harper reached base seven times in the game without a single official at-bat. That’s also never been done before, no big deal.

 

All that led to the first time (and there will be many more) that fans started to question Dusty Baker and his decision to bat Ryan Zimmerman behind Harper instead of Daniel Murphy, since Zimmerman went 2-for-19 in the series and left 14 runners on base, while Murphy has basically been Ted Williams unfrozen from carbonite. If any manager should know how to combat a player getting the ‘Barry Bonds Treatment’, you would think it would be the guy who also happened to manage Barry Bonds while he was getting said treatment.

 

 Stasburg

 

Anyway, the very next day, all of this would be put on the back burner for two major reasons. One, Stephen Strasburg signed a seven-year $175 million contract to stay with the team. And Two, Harper got ejected from the game in the 9th inning against the Tigers for screaming about balls and strikes from the dugout. And then Clint Robinson (who actually thought it was the 8th inning), immediately hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run, sending Harper back onto the field to scream, “fuck you” at umpire, Brian Knight, in plain view of TV cameras, while also kind of celebrating the win with the very confused Robinson. Make Baseball Fun Again, Bryce!

 

Then finally, on Wednesday (the same day we learned Harper would be getting a one-game suspension for his F bomb), Max Scherzer goes out against his former team and strikes out 20 batters. ESPN said it looked like the scoreboard operator fell asleep on the K key. More amazingly, Scherzer did that throwing 80% strikes. So not only did he have 20 K’s, he also only threw 23 balls the whole game. Sexy is right, Max! This was coming off a start against the Cubs where Scherzer was terrible. Apparently, when this guy has his best stuff, nobody is better. You know, other than the two home runs he gave up.

 

What’s even more fun is that a 20-strikeout game has only happened four other times (I’m not counting Tom Cheney’s 21 K’s in 16 innings), and Tigers’ manager, Brad Ausmus, has been there, on the losing end, for THREE of them. He was on the Astros when Kerry Wood struck out 20 in 1998. And he was on the Tigers when Clemens did it a second time in 1996. Dude is like Robert Todd Lincoln at presidential assassinations. And this has been a horrible week for his ballclub.

 

Speaking of managers, the 20-strikeout game is something that a lot of people didn’t think would ever happen again. Sure, strikeouts are up. But also pitch counts are way down. Clemens threw 151 pitches in that ’96 game. Nobody would allow that now. Then again, this is Dusty Baker we’re talking about.

 

 

So, as you can see, the Nationals dominated the baseball world this week – a week when Papi got ejected against the Yankees, J.T. Realmuto got called out after hitting a home run, Aroldis Chapman and his first-pitch 100 mph fastball returned from suspension, the Zika virus cancelled games in Puerto Rico, Bartolo Colon hit a fat person home run and Thor actually managed to hit two of them in L.A. But, somehow, all the news kept coming back to the Nationals. I mean, I’ve heard of politicians in D.C. manipulating the 24-hour news cycle, but this was ridiculous.

 

Oh, there’s one more thing about the Nationals…

 

NL MVP: Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

 

Murphy is hitting .409, you guys. He’s a career .290 hitter. He’s projected at .302 – .312. So either he’s figured something out, or this isn’t going to last much longer. Either way, I’ll say it again, Daniel Murphy is currently hitting .409, you guys.

 

Moving on…

 

As I said earlier, Bartolo Colon hit a home run this week. And with the Mets scoring all of their runs on long balls anyway, it’s almost fitting. As a Mets hater, I begrudgingly admit that it was a pretty great moment. He’s the oldest player in baseball history to hit his first career home run. He’s also a big fatso, so it was hilarious. And the Mets’ dugout reaction was equally great and hilarious. As was the radio call by Gary Cohen echoing Vin Scully’s “the impossible has happened” call of Kirk Gibson’s Game 1 walk-off in the 1988 World Series. If he hit two home runs in a game like Noah Syndergaard did on Wednesday, I’d probably assume the world was about to end. And that would be a shame because I never got to see the Cubs win it all.

 

NL Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

 

We still know absolutely nothing about the NL West, where every team has major problems and we’ve been in a big rotating jumble of mediocre teams thus far. The Dodgers and the Giants (even year!) are still favored. Yasiel Puig’s highlight reel in right keeps growing. But the Dodgers have injuries and the Giants have major problems with Matt Cain and Jake Peavy in the 4 and 5 slots in their rotation. Cain is actually winless in his last 14 starts going back to last year. Meanwhile, the DBacks have only flirted with the idea of getting better. And although Nolan Arenado has established himself as an elite player in Colorado, nobody is buying the Rockies or the Padres. If this is how it stays, I might actually start feeling bad for the Phillies, Marlins, Pirates and Cardinals, who all seem like they could win this shitty division.

 

NL Rookie of the Year: Aledmys Diaz, St. Louis Cardinals

 

Yes, the Cardinals and Pirates are heating back up, but NL Central is still all Cubs all the time. I already mentioned all their first-30-game records. But the Cubs have been so dominant thus far, that when they lost back-to-back games in a doubleheader against the Padres, it felt like the sky was falling. There’s really no shame in getting shut down by Drew Pomeranz, but it still felt really weird. It was the lowly Padres. And all my Cubs’ fan friends were calling for Jorge Soler to be traded or sent down to Des Moines.

 

Still, it took 33 games for the Cubs to lose back-to-back, which is the deepest in to a season any team had gone without doing that since the 1929 Philadelphia A’s. Odd how all these teams that keep popping up in 2016 Cub comparisons won the World Series. Odd indeed. Although I highly doubt that Connie Mack had a mariachi band in the clubhouse on Cinco de Mayo for Mickey Cochrane, Eddie Collins, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove and Al Simmons. So advantage Joe Maddon there.

 

This week, Sports Illustrated called Wrigley Field the happiest place on earth. And they also called the Cubs the ‘Last Great American Sports Story’. I’ve listened to people discuss the 116-win record. I’ve listened to Tim Kurkjian argue with Karl Ravech on Baseball Tonight about whether the Cubs will break the ’39 Yankees run differential record of +411. They’re currently on pace for +486. And it was well over +500. I’m also listening to myself argue about whether these Cubs would kill that ’39 Yankees staff, because they didn’t have any actual athletes.

 

 

Sure, I’d say to myself when nobody was looking, the rarely-used Oral Hildebrand was a basketball star and a national champion at Butler. But Red Ruffing, their Hall of Fame ace, lost four toes in a coal mining accident when he was 15 and had to learn how to pitch because he could no longer run. And Lefty Gomez, their Hall of Fame #2 pitcher who said he’d throw at his own mother, was 6’2″, 155 pounds. They eventually had to pull all of his teeth to get him to eat.

 

Plus, pitcher Wes Ferrell would refuse to be pulled from games, punch himself in the face and slam his head into walls until he was restrained by teammates. And I’d regret not telling you that Bump Hadley, their 3 starter, ended the aforementioned Mickey Chocrane’s Hall of Fame career (and actually almost killed him) with an intentional beanball in 1937. I’d doubly regret not telling you that Monte Pearson, their 5 starter, who threw the first no-hitter at Yankee Stadium in 1938, was arrested in 1962 for accepting bribes for approving shoddy septic tanks.

 

These are the conversations people are having surrounding the Cubs. Well, maybe not the last one. But Javier Baez hit that 13th inning walk-off on Mother’s Day against the Nationals. Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Jon Lester are 1st, 3rd and 4th in the league in ERA. Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist are legitimate MVP candidates. And I haven’t been to Wrigley Field this year (although I’m told it’s insane), and I know this could all go away with a key injury or a bad postseason series against the Mets or the Nationals, but this is the Last Great American Sports Story. And I hope the happy ending comes sooner than later.

 

AL MVP: Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles

 

Yes, Machado is bonkers. And yes, people are actually starting to notice. And yes, the Orioles are still hanging around. But this week, the Red Sox are actually worth talking about. You know, besides the Big Papi and John Farrell ejections that had people around baseball calling for robot umpires (it was a strike, guys. McCann just got crossed up). Anyway, after the Red Sox outscored the A’s 40-15 in three games, they were tied with the Cubs for the most runs scored in the Majors (with one more game played).

 

If Thursday is any indication, David Price isn’t going to have a 6.00 ERA for much longer (Dustin Pedroia found something wrong with his delivery!). But the fact that he was 4-1 before all that means that it might not even matter. Jackie Bradley Jr. is their 9 hitter. He’s got an 18-game hitting streak going. David Ortiz is retiring. He probably shouldn’t be. I’m almost ready to concede that he’s the 3rd best hitter in their franchise history after Williams and Yaz. The Red Sox are not only relevant for the first time in three years, they’ve actually convinced me that they’re the favorites in the American League for a reason. You know, other than the fact that the entire league isn’t all that good.

 

AL Cy Young: Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox

 

The White Sox still have the best record in the American League. The Royals are still below .500. And nobody can wrap their head around it. Not even White Sox fans I’m friends with are fully embracing the mid-May standings. But hey, this week ESPN’s Cy Young Predictor has Quintana at #2 behind Chris Sale. And he leads the league in ERA with Sale at #4. I’m still waiting for that Indians surge everyone is predicting, but right now I’m still saying the White Sox are legit. And you can put it on the booooo… I won’t do it.

 

AL Rookie of the Year: Nomar Mazara, Texas Rangers

 

The big story in the AL West this week has not been Robinson Cano and the first place Mariners. Nor has it been the never-say-die Rangers. It’s actually been whether or not the Angels should trade Mike Trout. Their ace, Garrett Richards, needs Tommy John surgery. Andrelton Simmons is going to miss two months due to torn thumb ligaments. There’s also CJ Wilson, Andrew Heaney, Huston Street and Craig Gentry on the DL. They’re just taking too much damage. So the question remains whether to try to remake their farm system with the monster return they would undoubtedly get for Trout or learn the lessons the Milwaukee Bucks learned after trading Kareem Abdul Jabbar to the Lakers in 1975. Either way, the Angels are screwed and the Astros are probably going to be out of last place real soon.

 

 

Alright. That does it for this week’s Angelino in the Outfield. If you need more you can always listen to me on the baseball recap shows on Comedians Talking Sports, available for free on iTunes.

 

 

 


The NFL’s fight against Tom Brady continues

Written by :
Published on : April 26, 2016

 

I really thought that I would never have to talk about ‘Deflategate’ again, but the NFL just won’t let that happen. The league’s relentless quest to vilify America’s sweetheart, Tom Brady, got a big boost yesterday when U.S. appeals court ruled in favor of the NFL and reinstated a four-game suspension for the Patriots’ QB. The NFL has not yet stated if it plans to carry out the suspension but you have to think that they will. Why go through all the legal trouble if you were going to let it slide.

 

So the NFL finally gets its way and Roger Goodell gets to continue being the judge, jury and executioner when it comes to player discipline. Great. As if he didn’t already act like a dictator. I’m sure now that his position of power has been affirmed in a court of law, that he will act more reasonably with it. It still seems crazy how bad the Patriots are getting screwed over some under-inflated footballs.

 

 Tom is about to go full terminator on the NFL.

 

Not only will the team be without its Super Bowl winning signal caller, but the league also took away their first-round draft pick this year. A first round draft pick seems pretty drastic, even if the Patriots are the evil empire and deserve to go down in flames. That might just be my general hatred for the franchise boiling over. Even though I can’t stand them and I’m truly tired of seeing them win every single year, this punishment is far too harsh.

 

But what can the team or Tom Brady do? I highly doubt they will consider taking the case to the Supreme Court, and I doubt even more that the court would ever decide to hear the case. So it seems as though both the team and the quarterback are going to be forced to bend over and take it. Roger Goodell has won, plain and simple, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

 

 Look at that smug bastard.

 

Luckily for the Patriots, only one of the first four games for which Brady will be suspended is on the road, against the Cardinals. The other three games are at home against the Dolphins, Texans and Bills. None of those games are going to be particularly easy but I can see the team coming out with a 2-2 record under backup Jimmy Garoppolo. And after that, you just know Brady will come back with a thirst for blood and burning desire to stick it to the league in the only way he knows how. Winning football games.

 

Goodell may have won the battle but I can totally see Tom Brady getting the last laugh when he sets the league on fire upon his return. Let me just say that I don’t really want this too happen but it totally seems like something Tom and his team would do. And if that makes Roger Goodell even a little bit angry that’s enough reason for me to get behind it. I hate the Patriots but I’m pretty sure that I hate the commissioner of the league even more. Maybe for no bigger reason than that he just gave Tom Brady a big fat chip on his shoulder. A chip that he will use to make the damned Patriots once again an awesome football team.

 

 


It’s Time for the NFL to Change its Stance on Weed

Written by :
Published on : April 19, 2016

 

We hear about it all the time. Another NFL player suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. More often than not, it’s because the player tested positive for marijuana. Most people will argue that those players are pretty stupid to risk all of that money just to smoke some weed. And I tend to agree. I’ve dabbled in the wacky tobaccy but you better believe if I was risking that much money, I would be putting my bong away until my playing days were over. But just because I would adhere to the rules, does that necessarily make the rules right? I think it’s high time that the NFL joined the 21st century when it comes to its stance on marijuana and here’s why.

 

The tide is turning

The days of Reefer Madness are over. No longer is the ‘devil weed’ something that turns our sons and daughters into murderers and sex-crazed lunatics. Luckily, the early 20th century propaganda has been dispelled and disproven. Society has come to realize that marijuana isn’t as harmful as the powers that be have led us to believe. Since 1996, proposition 215 has given doctors in California the right to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. Since then weed has hit the mainstream and society at large has adopted a more common sense attitude towards it.

 

 

There are now 23 states around the country that have legalized medical marijuana, and 3 states that have gone fully legal for recreational use. The country has begun to realize that the War on Drugs is a resounding failure and a drain on society. People have starting questioning why something that seems relatively harmless to the individual is being demonized by the government. When you look at the wide variety of legal harmful substances that people are allowed to consume, it just doesn’t make sense. It’s time for the NFL to get on the same page as the rest of the country and stop penalizing players for something that everyone is doing.

 

Not a PED

Maybe if weed had the potential to enhance performance, like say amphetamines, then I could understand the banning of it for players. But you won’t find anyone out there who thinks that ingesting weed makes you more athletic or provides any type of competitive advantage. I’m not saying that it is necessarily a disadvantage either, but there’s no performance based reason that players should not be able to enjoy marijuana like other responsible adults.

 

Better than booze

Cheech and Chong
We DO NOT condone driving under the influence of any substance, but if you do, this is about as bad as it gets.

 

Let’s face it. Weed is pretty safe. You never hear about someone getting all hopped up on grass and getting into some bar fight. You don’t hear about people who smoked weed crashing their car into a building or causing some horrific multi-car accident. It’s much, much safer than alcohol. And the league has no problem with its players or patrons consuming alcohol. It just doesn’t make sense that the NFL should have such an anti-weed position, even if the team owners are a bunch of old lame people.

 

Miracle medicine

This is perhaps the strongest argument for why the NFL should change the way it looks at the herb. Playing football is very hard on your body and mind. The aches and pains associated with playing the game for a prolonged period of time are well known. Plus, we are finally getting a clearer picture of what the affects of repeated head trauma really are. The NFL’s answer to these kind of things has always been prescription medication, usually in the form of opioid-based pain killers. The problem is that not only are they very hard on the body, but they are highly addictive. Nobody wants to have to pop a handful of pills every morning with their cheerios if it can be avoided.

 

That’s where the weed comes in. Many retired players have admitted to using weed for medicinal purposes during their playing careers. Whether after games to recover from soreness and bruises or to help deal with the pain of concussions. The fact is that it makes them feel better and helps them avoid the negative effects of pain killers. It’s very well documented that marijuana can be used for a variety of medical purposes and that’s why we see a wave of states passing medical marijuana laws. It’s only a matter of time before the federal government changes their position, so why shouldn’t the NFL be ahead of the curve? Weed is an all natural medicine that eases the pain of players, so let them smoke a jazz cigarette every once in a while if it makes them feel better.

 

 It’s less harmful than opioids and can help players recover from the rigors of the game. What is the hold up?

 

So come on NFL, get with the times. Let your players use marijuana, whether for medical or purely recreational purposes. The whole world is changing their views on weed as we begin to put the drug war behind us and exercise sensible drug policy that doesn’t criminalize something that’s less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Your players deserve access to something that can ease their pain and maybe even keep them out of trouble.

 

 

 


The integrity of Pro Basketball is worth about $100 Million a year

Written by :
Published on : April 16, 2016

 

 

Here in the United States, our team sports are pretty badass. The uniforms are, for the most part, well designed and sleek. Kids look up to our modern day gladiators and dream of donning the jersey of their favorite team in front of thousands of adoring fans. The clean style of our pro sports apparel is part of the allure. Sure, there’s the occasional Jaguars or old-time Astros uniforms, but they are the exceptions to the rule.

 

But the supremacy of American pro sports fashion on the world stage may now be in jeopardy. After threatening fans with the prospect for the past few years, the NBA owners have agreed to a deal to become the first of the four major U.S. sports to allow advertisements on jerseys. The “NASCAR-ificiation” of pro basketball begins with the 2017-2018 season, and will be the first of a three year pilot program. Teams around the NBA will be allowed to sell a single 2.5-inch-by-2.5-inch patch to companies, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that the program should generate an extra $100 million for the league.

 

 The guilty party.

 

Is that all the aesthetic integrity of the NBA, and really American pro sports as a whole, is worth? And are we really to believe that it’s going to stop here? I think not. Once the league gets a taste of the cash that can be generated by a single small patch, what’s to stop them from turning our source of pride in our respective cities into something resembling soccer jerseys in Europe, or heaven forbid, the jumpsuits and cars that characterize NASCAR?

 

Perhaps I don’t represent the vast majority of NBA fans, or sports fans in general, but I have the sneaking suspicion that I do. Most people I’ve spoken with HATE the idea of seeing our sports heroes covered in the trademarked logos of our corporate overlords. I remember the first time I saw a European soccer jersey and thought that “Fly Emirates” was an actual team name. When I finally found out that it was just a sponsor I was dumbfounded as to why on earth the corporate funding would take precedence over the club itself. Who wants to be a fan of the McDonald’s Knicks or the Whole Foods Lakers or the GM Pistons. Sure as hell, not me.

 

 “Hey, what’s the name of that really talented pretty boy who plays for Fly Emirates?”

 

The whole prospect seems totally bush league if you ask me, and I hope that it’s not here to stay, but I’m a realist before anything, and we should probably get used to the idea. In a league where revenues are estimated to be $7 billion during the 2017-2018, it’s nice to know that they are willing to whore out their teams and go against the wishes of fans and pundits for a few extra dollars.

 

I just hope that this trend doesn’t spread to other sports, because it has a chance to disenfranchise not only the fans, but the players too. How long is the players union going to allow the teams to make money off the advertisements that the players themselves have to wear, without rightly wanting a piece for the players. And as we already know, ownership isn’t eager to give more money to the players who make the sport possible. Sounds like perfect fodder for a new players strike.

 

Let’s all just hope it doesn’t actually come to that. Instead, let’s do a rain dance or get a voodoo doll of Adam Silver or sacrifice a lamb, and pray to the gods that our pro team jerseys don’t end up looking like this.

 

 Gross

 

 

 

 

 


SBS Remembers: Malice at the Palace

Written by :
Published on : April 15, 2016

 

I still remember exactly where I was when it all went down. It was freshmen year and I was in my dorm room at Central Michigan University. Underage drinking was probably involved. Then the phone rings. I can’t recall who exactly was on the other end, but they told me I needed to go to the TV immediately and turn on the Pistons game.

 

When we found the appropriate channel, it was clear that there was something big going down. Players were in the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills fighting fans. Fans were on the court getting annihilated by players. By the time we were tuned in, all hell had broken loose. It later became known as “Malice at the Palace” and it was NBA pandemonium unlike anything the world had never witnessed. Let’s take a minute to remember an event that the league would rather forget.

 

The Kindling

 

The Malice at the Palace featured a Detroit Pistons team that was in the midst of a pretty heated rivalry with the Indiana Pacers. The date was November 19, 2004 and it was the first time that the two teams had met since the Eastern Conference Finals the previous season, when the Pistons defeated the Pacers in six games en route to their first NBA Championship since the ‘Bad Boys’ were a thing. These teams were familiar with each other and there wasn’t a lot of love lost there. Both played the game hard and psychical, and in a manner that lent itself to frustrating the opposition. The Pistons were down big in the game and it was all but over. Yet for some reason, the starters were still on the court, even within the last minute. That would prove to be a very bad idea.

 

The Spark

 

The Pacers were up 97-82 with 45.9 seconds left in the game. Ben Wallace was fouled hard from behind by Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace), who slapped Wallace across the back of the head on his way to the basket. There’s no reason that the faces of each franchise should be on the court still in a game that is so far out of hand, but they were. Big Ben, in all his glory, retaliated by shoving Artest in the face with both hands.

 

MaliceAtThePalace

 

The result was a bit of fray in the middle of the court as the two players got in each other’s faces and the rest of the players tried to separate them. No big deal right? This kind of thing happens all the time in sports and it’s usually over as soon as it begins. But this time Artest went over to the scorer’s table, laid down and put on a headset in order to talk to some radio folks. Those same radio folks later said that the headset wasn’t live because they knew Artest and that would be crazy to let him on the airwaves when he was all wound up like that.

 

Anyways, all of this went on for a few minutes and the refs were getting ready to eject players who wouldn’t calm down. Wallace threw a towel at Artest, causing him to stand up briefly before returning to his more relaxed position on the scorer’s table. Then it happened. Some moron named John Green threw a Diet Coke at Ron Artest, hitting in him the chest. Instead of calling on the security to escort the man out like an adult and professional, this maniac ran into the stands and set off perhaps the greatest (or worst, depending how you look at it) brawl in sports’ history.

 

The Fire

 

As Artest ran into the stands and attempted to seek out the fan who had thrown the offending sugary soft drink, he grabbed the person he believed to be responsible. Of course, it turned out to be the wrong person but that didn’t really matter at that point because all hell had broken loose. Artest didn’t actually throw a punch at this point but was grappling with the same person as another fan threw another drink in his face. That’s when Stephen Jackson, who had unwisely followed Artest in the stands, laid that fan out and then shit really got out of hand.

 

Players and fans were trying to hold Pacers players back as other, less intelligent fans were punching Pacers players. A couple of morons actually went down onto the court where they were swiftly dispatched by members of the Pacers. Like these two idiots seen below who decided it was a good day to get thier faces re-arranged by multiple NBA players.

 

 

It was utter chaos as security, team officials and broadcast professionals all tried to break the brawl up. There was no precedent for anything like this ever happening in pro sports and people were lost as they tried to defuse the situation. Eventually the Pacers were escorted from the court as drinks and debris rained down on them from the fired up fans.

 

 

Once in the locker room, police tried to enter in order to arrest Artest but the other Pacers players got him onto the team bus and refused to let the police enter. The police decided to safely see the Pacers out of the building and review the game film before bringing up any criminal charges.

 

In the end, multiple fans were charged with crimes in addition to five members of the Pacers. Ten players were suspended for varying amounts of time, including the rest of the young season for Ron Artest, totaling loss of salary in excess of $11 million. The incident led to a reexamination of the close to the action nature of NBA games. Players around the league expressed concerns for their safety should anything similar ever happen again and the league instituted restrictions on the amount of alcohol that could be sold at games. People who were present describe the moment as terrifying and nothing on that level has been seen since. I would never want something like this to happen again and I don’t condone violence, but you have to admit it’s some must-see TV. Watch the full brawl below and judge for yourself.

 

 

 


DeAndre Levy: Future President of the NFLPA

Written by :
Published on : April 1, 2016

 

Fear the Beard….

 

Some people may associate that slogan with the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, but for us Detroit Lions’ fans that term brings to mind our stud-linebacker DeAndre Levy. His play is characterized by his sharp football instincts and stunning athleticism. He missed almost all of last season with a hip injury, and it was obvious that the defense missed his contributions out there. He played in every single game the previous two seasons and tied the lead for interceptions in 2013 with six picks. With the departure of Ndamukong Suh last offseason, he is now the face of the defense and a force to be reckoned with.

 

But he is so much more than just some meathead linebacker. He is a complicated and mysterious individual who has a zest for life off the field, that makes both his coaches and fans nervous with some of his offseason exploits. His Instagram account details the life of an explorer, adventurer and adrenaline junky who routinely does outrageous things like camping in the Amazon, sledding down active volcanos and walking on the wings of planes in mid air. He’s like if Bodie from ‘Point Break’ was a millionaire football player and stand up guy.

 

levy plane

 

I don’t know him personally but I also get the feeling that he is highly intelligent. With all the recent revelations surrounding the lasting effects of concussions associated with playing football, it was only a matter of time before he let the world know his thoughts on the whole thing. In the last few weeks he has done just that, taking to his Instagram to comment on all the latest revelations on CTE and boneheaded comments from team owners, before finally emailing Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Birkett with some more in-depth thoughts on the matter.

 

First he took to Instagram to roast Colts owner, Jim Irsay over his ludicrous comments on CTE:

 

Frequent trips to the pharmacy makes you a medical expert on CTE?

A photo posted by DeAndre Levy (@dre_levy) on

 

Sure, poking fun at Mr Irsay’s prescription drug abuse problem is probably a little below the belt. But you know what? A person who has gotten rich on the backs and battered brains of football players, trying to downplay the risks of the sport is pretty shitty too. Jim Irsay had the balls to say that the risks of playing football could be comparable to how some people might have a negative reaction to taking aspirin. That is not only ridiculous, but it’s dangerous. Look, I love football, but the people who put their health at risk to play the game deserve to know the risks and deserve to have ownership and management take those risks seriously. So maybe he went about it the wrong way in calling out Irsay, but the fact that he is willing to stand up to the league on this matter means that he might have a future as the president of the NFLPA, the union for the league’s players. In his letter to Dave Birtkett he said “It’s unacceptable to prioritize marketability and profitability of football over the real health risks associated with it.” If that doesn’t sound like someone who should be leading the charge on player safety then I don’t know what does.  

 

 

By being outspoken on the issue when most of his peers would rather not rock the boat, DeAndre Levy has proven that he isn’t scared to step into the spotlight take the issue head on. He said that he still loves football and will keep playing, but that doesn’t mean he is naive about the risks involved. His justification for continuing to play is that he is already so deep in the game that whatever potential damage he may cause has already been done, so he may as well secure is family’s future by playing out his contract. I respect that, and I respect the fact that he wants to make sure future players know the risks before they put on the pads and crash full speed into another fully grown man.

 

This is just the type of leader that the players’ union needs. Once he is done with football, I hope DeAndre Levy seriously thinks about becoming the next president of the NFLPA. He is eloquent, knowledgable and right when it comes to this issue. Football is a beautiful game, but it doesn’t come without risks, and if the league and the owners continue to try and cover up those risks then there needs to be someone to call them out on it. And I think the bearded linebacker of the Detroit Lions is just the man for the job. Maybe it’s time for the NFL as a whole to Fear the Beard.

 

 


April Without the Red Wings

Written by :
Published on : March 18, 2016

 

An April without the Detroit Red Wings. That’s something that’s pretty hard for me to comprehend. The last time that happened was 1990 and I was four years old. For almost my entire life, the Red Wings have had a presence in the postseason of the NHL. 24 years in a row they have had a shot to win the Stanley Cup. Whether as President’s Cup winning favorites or the last team in, they’ve always been in the conversation come April.

 

The Wings currently sit one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wildcard spot. When the two teams met last Tuesday, the Red Wings defense got off to an abysmal start where they allowed 23 shots against their 3 in the opening period. The team wound up losing the game 4-3 because they were never able to recover from that first period and get a much needed win. The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the league and briefly overtook the Wings for that 2nd wild spot before that win against the Blue Jackets yesterday. The Wings are going to need some very strong performances to close out the season if they hope to make the playoffs from the 25th straight year, and keep the longest current postseason streak in all of sports alive.

 

Now all of that is in jeopardy and I’m not sure what to do. So let’s explore why the Wings are in the predicament they’re in.

 

Defense and Goaltending

 

When you allow as many shots as the Red Wings did in the first period of that Flyers game, it becomes obvious that the defense is a big problem area for the team. It’s been that way for a while now. Actually, it’s been a problem ever since Nicklas Lidstrom left back in 2012. The team hasn’t had a stud defender since and the good players that they do have haven’t been able to get the job done. With the team’s most experienced defensemen, Niklas Kronwall, sidelined for 1-3 weeks with a knee sprain, they really need the other guys to step their game up or there is a very big chance that they will not be in the playoffs.

 

 Mrazek can’t continue to let himself be caught out of position.

 

The defense also isn’t being propped up by the goaltending like it was in earlier parts of the season. There are times when the goaltending looks down right amazing, especially when you consider how many shots are getting thrown at the net. But Petr Mrazek has been looking pretty shaky as of late and Jimmy Howard, who the team is paying $5.3 million for each of the next three seasons, looks like a shadow of what he once was. From what I have seen this season, Jimmy Howard has no business being in the net and should only be looked at to give Mrazek rest. So that means Mrazek had better find some of that early season magic that he displayed if the Red Wings have any hope maintaining their shaky hold on a playoff spot.

 

 

Put the puck in the net

 

The defense shouldn’t get all of the blame for the state of the team because the offense has been anything but prolific. Despite having a stable of young stars and some aged but crafty veterans, they have not been able to get the puck in the net nearly as often as necessary to stay competitive. The Wings are 24th in the league in goals per game, with 2.5. That is not good enough. They need Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to turn it up a notch and help the young guys out. But more than anything, they need to score some goals. Some way. Any way.

 

 The Red Wings are going to need more than just Larkin to make it to the playoffs.

 

I’m not going to lie, from what I’ve seen recently, the Detroit Red Wings will not be making the playoffs. They just look too flat all around, despite the dazzling play of Dylan Larkin and other youngsters like Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist. The future is bright and I’m really hoping that they can hold it together long enough to make it 25 straight playoff appearances. Then who knows what’s possible. Anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but first they’ve got to make it to the dance. And I’m not as sure about that happening as I was a month ago.

 

 


ESPN Airs “Fantastic Lies” Documenting The Duke Lacrosse Case

Written by :
Published on : March 17, 2016

 

Sunday night, ESPN aired “Fantastic Lies” which documented the infamous Duke Lacrosse rape case and the controversy surrounding it. First, let me say that it was that it was probably the best ESPN 30 for 30 I’ve ever watched. Given its sensitive subject matter, I’m surprised that ESPN even decided to produce it but I’m so glad that they did.

 

Growing up playing lacrosse and being a (former) DII lacrosse player, this a story I’m very familiar with. Ten years ago, when this story broke, lacrosse was even more of a niche sport than it is now. When people thought of lacrosse, they thought of an affluent, preppy white kid from New England who went to boarding school.

 

Here’s some reference:

 

 

And that was very much the case back then. So college lacrosse players, who most of the general public viewed as spoiled white kids from rich areas, didn’t have the best rep going into the scandal. Obviously, when the media got wind of this, everyone lost their minds. In the eyes of the public (and professors at Duke) the whole team was guilty.

 

Given today’s society, this would’ve been 10x worse if it had happened now. The scary thing is most people don’t even know what happened. I guarantee if you asked 10 people if they knew about this case all 10 would say yes. If you asked those same 10 people if they were proven innocent or guilty, I bet the majority would say guilty. That’s the sad part. People were so quick to condemn these kids because of who they were and where they came from. The accusations stuck in our minds, not the facts.

 

I don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty of the case, I’ll leave that job to ESPN because they do an excellent job of telling it.

 

For anyone who is familiar with this case or not, this is a real must-watch. I’m sure ESPN will air it again sometime this week, so be sure to watch.

 

Duke lacrosse has done a good job of putting this whole situation behind them and moving on to big things like this:

 

DukeLacrosse1

 

And like this:

 

DukeLacrosse2

 

 

 


Pro Football’s Changing of the Guard

Written by :
Published on : March 12, 2016

 

The NFL lost some of it’s all time greats this offseason. A handful of Pro Football’s best players at their respective positions decided to walk away from the game. Some before their time, and some who had long and fruitful careers before deciding to hang up the cleats. Whether too soon or at the right time, the game of football, the NFL and the sports world in general will miss them.

 

Luckily for all of us, the game is in good hands. Those who decided to walk away this offseason will be passing the torch to the new generation of superstars, who will make sure that our Sunday afternoons are still full of joy and wonder. Let’s take a minute to reflect on the great players we are losing and see which players will help us forget about them.

 

intothesunset

 

 

Megatron shutting down

 

This is especially hard for me to process. Calvin Johnson is a future hall of famer, despite what some people might say. He played for nine seasons and for more than half of that period he was the undisputed best wide receiver in football. He consistently faced double and triple coverage and still caught almost everything thrown in his direction. I’ve never seen someone of his size have that kind of speed, agility and body control. You don’t earn the nickname Megatron for nothing and while I’m sad to see him go, the next big star wide receiver is nothing to sneeze at either.

 

I really think Antonio Brown is going to be the one to carry Calvin’s torch for years come. I’ve already thought that he is the best wideout in the league for a year or two now. He has a knack for making eye popping plays just like Megatron, and with LeVeon Bell’s rash of recent injuries, I see him as the most important part of that Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. He’s lucky to have had the same quarterback for his entire career and their chemistry is something to behold. If I were a Steelers fan it might even be enough to feel better about Calvin Johnson’s early retirement, but at least I’ll still get to see someone making unbelievable catches every week.

 

 

The Sheriff has turned in his badge

 

I think we all knew that Peyton Manning was going to retire after he and his Broncos won Super Bowl 50. It shouldn’t be surprising, especially when you consider that he wasn’t exactly propelling his team to victory in that game, or the playoffs for that matter. It was the Broncos’ defense that was the driving force behind that championship run and anyone with cursory knowledge of the game could tell that Manning was struggling out there. Like Megatron, injuries had begun to wear away his ability to stay on the field for a full season, but unlike Megatron, those injuries had also begun to take a huge toll on his ability to make plays. For most of the last two decades he was the best QB in the league but it is now evident that his arm can’t keep up with his beautiful football mind. There’s not a more perfect time to walk away and that’s exactly what he did, but don’t fret, the game is in good hands.

 

It’s kind of fitting that Peyton would be handing the torch off to Cam Newton, the losing QB of Super Bowl 50. Cam gets a lot of criticism from people because of his attitude or the way he carried himself after losing the big game, but you can’t deny this kid’s talent. It took me a little while to come around, but now that he has fully developed his pocket passing, it’s clear that he isn’t going anywhere and we should expect him to be one of the best quarterbacks in football for years to come. Last year he had 35 passing touchdowns to go along with 10 on the ground, and only had 10 interceptions. Expect to see him in a few more Super Bowls because he is finally putting it all together and that should be scary for defenses around the league.

 

 

Charles Woodson’s next phase

 

Man, what a career this dude has had. He was the first and only defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy and won a National Championship with the Michigan Wolverines that same year in college (1997). In the NFL, he won AP Defensive Rookie of the year (1998), Defensive Player of the Year (2009), was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times, and won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers. He literally has nothing left to accomplish, as a player at least… I think the next phase of this amazing player’s life should be a foray into coaching. With few years as an assistant he can eventually ascend the ranks and become a head coach. First in college, where he obviously wins the College Football Playoff, then into the NFL where he wins a Super Bowl. After that he will transcend his earthly vessel and rise to the heavens as the greatest soul ever to participate in the sport of football, on any level. They’ll probably rename the Lombardi trophy after him. But until then, let’s see who will be filling the void that Chuck is leaving.

 

There were quite a few different players that I had to choose from here but I decided that Chuck Woodson would be handing his torch off to Arizona Cardinals defensive back, Tyrann Mathieu. I put him at the top of the defensive back totem poll because of his knack for making big plays and his ability to play all over the field. In the Cardinals aggressive, hybrid style defense, he is asked to play both cornerback and safety and he excels no matter where he’s at. He can play the run, he can rush the passer, he can play man, he can play zone. There’s really nothing that he can’t do in that defense, or any defense for that matter. There might be some defensive backs who are slightly better in coverage but there’s none that can to the variety of things that he can. It’s a shame that he tore his ACL in week 15 last year and missed the Cardinals’ playoff run because he could have been a difference maker. But he’s only 23 years old and will be making a difference for many years to come.

 

 

So long, Beast Mode

 

Oh Beast Mode, the NFL is really going to miss you, but not as much as I will. Marshawn Lynch was always a unique personality but just as unique was the talent he displayed out there on the football field. Fellow SBS sage, Roger Pretzel, talks a little more about his demeanor here, but I’m here to reminisce about his ability to run through an entire defense and leave them in his dust. I’ve never seen someone get swallowed up by tacklers only to come out on the other end of the pile and keep running the way that he did. He won’t go down as the best running back ever, but if you ask me, he’s the best tackle breaker ever to carry the rock. Fans in Seattle will be left wanting more from their now departed running back but at least NFL fans as a whole will have a new back to look forward to.

 

When the Rams, who at that point were still in St Louis, drafted Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft, I was both surprised and relieved. Surprised because he was still coming off of an ACL tear that was going to make him miss at least some of his rookie season, and relieved that he didn’t fall to the Lions. I was scared that they would jump on the chance to draft him because of his high level of potential despite recovering from such a serious injury. I was an idiot because I now realize that my team, and every other team in the league, would be very lucky to have this guy. He won the offensive rookie of the year award and was selected to the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Rams. It’s obvious that this kid is going places. I can easily see him being the best running back in football next year and beyond.

 

newdawn

 

As the sun sets on one group of legends, the dawn of a new age of NFL superstars is upon us. While there’s nothing wrong with remembering all of the good times that these now-retired legends brought us, we shouldn’t be sad. Life goes on, and with the talent that these young badasses have, it won’t be long before we are forget all about those old fogies. So pour out a little liquor for guys like Megatron and Beast Mode and get over it, because next season will be here soon and then it’ll be time to move on and enjoy some highlights from the new kids on the block.

 

 


Angelino in the Outfield (Episode II)

Written by :
Published on : March 8, 2016

 

 

Yoenis Cespedes is almost single-handedly making me want to root for the Washington Nationals in the NL East this year. After the Mets gave Cespedes a $27.5 million salary ($22.5 million more than the hated-but-much-better Bryce Harper makes in Washington), he’s turned their Spring Training camp into a a daily episode of MTV Cribs, with multiple custom cars, two tricked-out Polaris Slingshots and a fire-breathing Lamborghini Aventador. All custom-designed by some guy in Miami who is probably not a total douchebag of the worst kind or anything. Now Cespedes is buying $7,000 grand champion hogs at county fairs, slaughtering them and riding horses to work. We get it, you’re MC Hammer.

 

The thing is, for all the love that Cespedes, the Mets and their pitching staff is getting right now, it was the Nationals who were in their same position this time last season. Now the Nats have Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman back for full seasons. And while Max Scherzer and a healthy Stephen Strasburg may not be deGrom-Harvey-Syndergaard, they’re still pretty fucking formidable. Especially since Scherzer is the best pitcher in the National League not named Clayton Kershaw. And despite all the fanfare, Steven Matz’ projections are pretty pedestrian, Bartolo Colon will be 43-years-old in May and Zack Wheeler’s stats don’t really inspire awe right now either.

 

Hate you.

 

There’s a bit of a drop-off in the rotation after the Mets’ Big Three. So I could see an argument why Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark and Joe Ross actually round out a better overall rotation than the pitching Murderer’s Row/Greatest Staff Ever in Queens. And I haven’t even talked about Lucas Giolito yet. Call me crazy, but with identical Vegas odds (89.5 wins) and my growing hatred of the 22nd-best hitter in baseball (Cespedes), I am thinking the Nats’ luck can’t be nearly as bad as it was last year. Now somebody just needs to call Dusty Baker and remind not to do to Strasburg what he did to Mark Prior back in Chicago.

 

Around the League

Last week, I named Carlos Correa as my pick for AL MVP. This week, I’ve also made up my mind on my AL Cy Young choice and it’s Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox. If you ask me, he should have won the award last year since he had the best FIP and second-highest WAR in the league. But as of now, he’s the best pitcher of the past 2-3 years who still hasn’t brought home the hardware. I think he’s due. And it’d be nice if his teammates scored some runs for him to help in his cause. I’m sure Sox teammate Jose Quintana feels the same way since it’s probably not fun for someone with a 3.18 FIP to go 9-10 on the year. That’s approaching 2015 Corey Kluber-level ridiculousness.

 

In the National Leauge, the Cy Young is always Clayton Kershaw’s to lose. I know that. You know that. Everybody knows that. But what do you want me to do – actually pick Clayton Kershaw? That’s no fun. That’s like picking Mike Trout to win AL MVP. It’s actually probably even easier than that. You gotta go bolder sometimes. And so I’m going to chose somebody else who’s never won it, and that’s Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants. His projections are among the league leaders (with Kershaw, Scherzer, Jake Arrieta, Strasburg and Jose Fernandez), but MadBum is also looking at a league-topping 17-18 wins for the Giants. And that’s how Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel put the award away last year. I’d love to think another very-good-but-never-won-it player, Jon Lester of the Cubs, could have been my choice. But I already got my miracle pitching season out of Arrieta last year, so I can’t be too greedy. Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija may be bust risks in San Fran this year, but Bumgarner never is.

 

Death, taxes and MadBum.

 

Also, since the Red Sox-loving media has spent about as much time as it could the past two weeks gushing over David Price and Craig Kimbrel and then crying about Pablo Sandoval’s tummy, this week they seem to have moved on to gushing over Mookie Betts. Next week I assume they’ll move on to Xander Bogaerts. But for now, did you know that Mookie Betts is also the greatest bowler of all time? You didn’t? Well he is. I don’t know how that will help the Red Sox to not finish in last place for the third straight year, but anyway, Mookie Betts, Mookie Betts, Mookie Betts. If you’re a Yankees fun, your current Mookie Betts is Andrew Miller. He’s the reason you can rest assured that the same Aroldis Chapman you were super excited to have signed in the offseason is also the guy you can now be like, “30 game suspension? Pffffff. We have Andrew Miller!” My own personal Mookie Betts this week is Addison Russell of the Cubs. I love my Barry Larkin Starter Kit. And did you see the monster bomb he hit in Arizona in the second game? It went so far that it totally didn’t make me give a shit if he could bowl at all.

 

Alright. We’ve got four weeks to go before the season starts. And I need all of this to distract me from whatever insane shit happened in the 2016 Presidential race this week. I might even suggest Yoenis Cespedes as a third party write-in candidate. A Cuban-born New York billionaire who loves publicity? He’s like all the GOP candidates wrapped into one. Which gives John Kasich another reason to drop out since he doesn’t fit into this equation either. I’d actually be hard-pressed to think of many things inside the Yoenis Cespedes/John Kasich venn diagram. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try. Four more weeks of Spring Training, baby! And I’ll be heading to Arizona to see the Cubs in three. If you see a Polaris Slingshot in the parking lot, it’s totally mine.

 

 

Angelino in the Outfield (Episode 1)

 

 


2016 NHL Trade Deadline Rundown

Written by :
Published on : March 2, 2016

 

 

The NHL Trade deadline has come and gone with one of the most dismal deadline days in recent memory.

 

 

 

Many people saw this coming, with only 14 trades, most of which you could consider “minor”, made over the weekend leading up Monday’s 3pm deadline. There were a few big time moves though, three of which involved captains. Dion Phaneuf, captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, was traded to the Senators in a monster trade earlier in the month. Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd returned to Chicago in a trade made Friday night leading up to the deadline and longtime ‘Canes captain Eric Staal joined his brother, Marc Staal, when he became a New York Ranger on Sunday afternoon.

 

Here is the rundown for all the trades made up until the deadline:

 

February 29

 Lee Stempniak is now with the Bruins

 

Flames get some goaltending help from the Wild
  • FLAMES GET: G Nicklas Backstrom
  • WILD GET: F David Jones
Blackhawks and Ducks swap depth players
  • BLACKHAWKS GET: F Tim Jackman, 2017 7th round pick
  • DUCKS GET: F Corey Tropp
Marooned in Edmonton
  • OILERS GET: F Patrick Maroon
  • DUCKS GET: D Martin Gernat, 2016 4th round pick
Predators add a minor leaguer
  • PREDATORS GET: D Corey Potter
  • COYOTES GET: future considerations
Darryl Sutter’s Kings add the coach’s kid
  • KINGS GET: F Brett Sutter
  • WILD GET: F Scott Sabourin
Jamie McGinn moved to the Ducks
  • DUCKS GET: F Jamie McGinn
  • SABRES GET: 2016 conditional 2nd or 3rd round pick
Dustin Jeffrey back to Pens, likely AHL-bound
  • PENGUINS GET: F Dustin Jeffrey
  • COYOTES GET: F Matia Marcantuoni, Dan O’Donaghue
Matteau! Matteau! Devils send Stefan to Montreal
  • CANADIENS GET: F Stefan Matteau
  • DEVILS GET: F Devante Smith-Pelly
Avs, Isles make tiny swap
  • ISLANDERS GET: F Marc-Andre Cliche
  • AVALANCHE GET: F Taylor Beck
Bruins add Lee Stempniak at the final minute
  • BRUINS GET: F Lee Stempniak
  • DEVILS GET: 2017 2nd round pick, 2016 4th round pick
Islanders pick up winger Shane Prince
  • ISLANDERS GET: F Shane Prince, 2016 7th round pick
  • SENATORS GET: 2016 3rd round pick
AHL deal between Ottawa, Minnesota
  • SENATORS GET: F Michael Keranen
  • WILD GET: D Conor Allen
After missing out on Russell + Hamhuis, Bruins add Liles
  • HURRICANES GET: LW Anthony Camara, 3rd round pick, 5th round pick
  • BRUINS GET: D John-Michael Liles
Brandon Pirri goes to Ducks for cheap
  • PANTHERS GET: 2016 6th round pick
  • DUCKS GET: F Brandon Pirri
Eric Gelinas gets fresh start in Colorado
  • AVALANCHE GET: D Eric Gelinas
  • DEVILS GET: 2017 3rd round pick
Kris Russell is now a Dallas Star
  • STARS GET: D Kris Russell
  • FLAMES GET: D Jyrki Jokipakka, F Brett Pollock, conditional 1st or 2nd round pick
Avalanche add Mikkel Boedker from Arizona
  • AVALANCHE GET: F Mikkel Boedker
  • COYOTES GET: F Alex Tanguay, C Conner Bleackley, D Kyle Wood
Chicago, Carolina swap AHLers
  • HURRICANES GET: D Dennis Robertson
  • BLACKHAWKS GET: G Drew MacIntyre
Plotnikov goes west
  • PENGUINS GET: F Matthias Plachta, 2017 7th round pick
  • COYOTES GET: F Sergei Plotnikov

 

February 28

 The Rangers got Eric Staal

 

Capitals send Laich, Carrick to Leafs for Winnik
  • CAPITALS GET: F Daniel Winnik, 2016 5th round pick
  • MAPLE LEAFS GET: F Brooks Laich, D Connor Carrick, 2016 2nd round pick
Rangers, Capitals swap minor leaguers
  • RANGERS GET: F Chris Brown
  • CAPITALS GET: F Ryan Bourque
Hurricanes dish Versteeg to L.A.
  • KINGS GET: F Kris Versteeg
  • HURRICANES GET: F Valentin Zykov, conditional 5th round pick
Eric Staal joins his (other) brother in New York
  • HURRICANES GET: F Aleksi Saarela, 2016 2nd round pick, 2017 2nd round pick
  • RANGERS GET: C Eric Staal

 

February 27

 Reimer is now a Shark

 

Oilers, Sabres get you excited with a Big AHL Trade
  • SENATORS GET: F Jason Akeson, F Phil Varone, D Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, conditional pick
  • SABRES GET: D Michael Sdao, F Alex Guptill, F Cole Schneider, F Eric O’Dell
Penguins add defensive help with Schultz
  • PENGUINS GET: D Justin Schutlz
  • OILERS GET: 2016 3rd round pick
Panthers beef up with Jiri Hudler
  • PANTHERS GET: F Jiri Hudler
  • FLAMES GET: 2016 2nd round pick, 2018 4th round pick
More depth in Florida: Cats add Purcell
  • PANTHERS GET: F Teddy Purcell
  • OILERS GET: 2016 3rd round pick
And even more depth: Panthers also add Kindl from Wings
  • PANTHERS GET: D Jakub Kindl
  • RED WINGS GET: 2017 6th round pick
Sharks add James Reimer from Toronto
  • SHARKS GET: G James Reimer, F Jeremy Morin
  • MAPLE LEAFS GET: G Alex Stalock, F Ben Smith, 2018 conditional 4th round pick
Blues, Oilers trade goaltenders
  • BLUES GET: G Anders Nilsson
  • OILERS GET: G Niklas Lundstrom, 2016 5th round pick

 

February 26

 Ehrhoff is no longer in Socal

 

Chicago adds Fleischmann, Weise
  • BLACKHAWKS GET: F Dale Weise, F Tomas Fleischmann
  • CANADIENS GET: F Phillip Danault, 2018 2nd round pick
Kings, Blackhawks swap underwhelming veteran defensemen
  • KINGS GET: D Rob Scuderi
  • BLACKHAWKS GET: D Christian Ehrhoff

 

February 25

Ladd heads back to Chicago for another Cup run
  • BLACKHAWKS GET: F Andrew Ladd, D Jay Harrison, F Matt Fraser
  • JETS GET: F Marko Dano, 2016 1st round pick, 2018 conditional 3rd round pick

 

February 24

Canucks add Larsen from Edmonton
  • OILERS GET: 2017 5th round pick
  • CANUCKS GET: D Philip Larsen

 

February 23

 Weber is now in Washington

 

Caps add depth with Weber from Buffalo
  • CAPITALS GET: F Mike Weber
  • SABRES GET: 2017 3rd round pick

 

February 22

Flames, Canucks swap prospects
  • FLAMES GET: F Hunter Shinkaruk
  • CANUCKS GET: F Markus Granlund
Polak, Spaling to Sharks for Torres and picks
  • MAPLE LEAFS GET: F Raffi Torres, 2017 2nd round pick, 2018 2nd round pick,
  • SHARKS GET: D Roman Polak, F Nick Spaling

 

February 21

Leafs deal Matthias to Avs
  • MAPLE LEAFS GET: F Colin Smith, 2016 4th round pick
  • AVALANCHE GET: F Shawn Matthias

 

February 9

 Phaneuf finally got shipped out of Toronto

 

Maple Leafs trade their captain to the rival Senators
  • SENATORS GET: D Dion Phaneuf, F Matt Frattin, F Casey Bailey, F Ryan Rupert, D Cody Donaghey
  • MAPLE LEAFS GET: D Jared Cowen, F Milan Michalek, F Colin Greening, F Tobias Lindberg, 2017 2nd round pick

 

 

There you have it. All of the trades made leading up to the deadline. How did your team do?

 

 


Angelino in the Outfield (Episode I)

Written by :
Published on : February 27, 2016

 

 

Last week on Monday Night Raw, Shane McMahon made a shocking return to the WWE after a six year absence. And it was soon announced that he’d be facing the Undertaker inside ‘Hell in a Cell’ at WrestleMania 32. I wonder if maybe, just maybe, Theo Epstein happened to be watching. Because just three days later, Dexter Fowler’s surprise return to the Cubs was as close to a WWE-style swerve as an actual non-scripted sport can get. The only thing it was missing was cued-up entrance music (“My Way” by Fetty Wap, would have been perf) and his Cubs teammates chanting ‘holy shit’ and ‘this is awesome’ (clap clap clap clap clap) after the big reveal.

 

Until that very moment, the consensus foregone conclusion was that Fowler had signed with the Baltimore Orioles. It was speculated and anticipated for weeks by baseball’s talking head community until it evolved into a full-blown fact. Right up until the moment it wasn’t. And after receiving a text that just said “Fowler!” from my ‘Go Cubs’ iPhone message group, I was so confused and skeptical that I didn’t believe the news until I actually saw the video of a 6’5″ dude in street clothes who looked a lot like Dexter Fowler walking onto the field with a guy who looked a lot like Theo Epstein and being greeted by a group of guys in Cubs uniforms who looked exactly like the rest of the Chicago Cubs. It wouldn’t take long for a meme to go out on social media with Steve Harvey holding the Miss Universe card and saying, “DEXTER FOWLER HAS SIGNED WITH THE ORIOLES.”

 

 Fowler will be back with the Cubs.

 

And while I could talk about what the Fowler signing means for the 2016 Cubs (the best team in baseball on paper just got better, Jason Heyward can now move back to right field where he’s won three Gold Gloves and it creates an insanely flexible lineup depth with Fowler, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber in the other outfield slots, etc.), it’s probably best to use this as further proof that conventional wisdom at the start of Spring Training doesn’t necessarily equate to actual regular season results. And everything we think we know about the 2016 season before it starts is probably just as true as the fact that Dexter Fowler is the new leadoff hitter for the Baltimore Orioles.

 

All that being said, I still can’t think of a reason why it won’t be the Cubs’ year in 2016. Yes, I’m still worried about the Cardinals. And I still think the Pirates are probably vastly underrated. And I know that saying, “Anything less than the World Series would be a huge disappointment” is a statement that is probably held equally true for the Mets and the Dodgers. And I know that the Nationals were the team that looked like the hands-down best-on-paper team last year. That is, of course, until they weren’t. But it’s still February as I type this. And hope still springs eternal. So as of right now, I’m a believer.

 

Around the League

 

The more I think about the 2016 Boston Red Sox and their high win projections, the more I have a problem with them. Pablo Sandoval showed up to Fort Myers looking like me after a cake bender. And if you combine that with Hanley Ramirez at first base, I don’t see why every team they face wouldn’t just put on a dead-ball-era bunt clinic until the Red Sox can figure their own shit out? But the good news for the Red Sox is that every team in their division has a really good reason why they won’t win either. The best one is that 5’8″ Marcus Stroman is going to become the the ace of the Blue Jays like he’s pitching’s Jose Altuve. And Jose Bautista’s contract looks like it’s already a distraction. As are the whispers that Troy Tulowitzki can’t hit outside of the thin air of Coors Field. And those two teams are the favorites in the division. If you add to that, the uncertainty of the rotation and age of the position players in New York, a possible 30-40 game suspension of Aroldis Chapman, a Tampa Bay Rays team that doesn’t score runs and an Orioles team that doesn’t prevent runs, it leaves me throwing up my hands and saying, “Let them eat cake.”

 

I’m increasingly curious to see Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios in Minnesota. Not to mention Miguel Sano and Byung-ho Park. That’s too much young talent to not pan out in a division where I’m totally ready to see something new and exciting happen. That could also occur if the White Sox can score runs and if the Indians can play defense. I just don’t want to see a scenario where these Kansas City Royals, who have the 13th-highest payroll in baseball and who will not be sneaking up on anyone this time around, can become the 1998-2001 Yankees or the 1988-1990 Bash Brother A’s. I can only take so many cuts to Happy George Brett in the owner’s box before I get sick of this double-tapered shit.

 

 Can the Royals really do it again?

 

My way-too-early AL MVP pick is going to be Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros. Especially now that they created the Chase Utley Slide Rule to protect him. Mike Trout is still probably going to be the best player in the league. But he’s going to get ‘LeBron Ruled’ out of the award until the Angels can put a decent lineup around him. The same probably goes for Josh Donaldson and even a returning Miguel Cabrera because nobody likes repeats. So that probably leaves us with Manny Machado, who probably won’t be in playoff contention and Correa who probably will. And my backup choice is obviously Dexter Fowler, the definite new right fielder for the Baltimore Orioles.

 

And while I haven’t decided on my pre-season NL MVP pick quite yet, I will say that if the Diamondbacks are really going to be in contention, then there’s no reason it won’t be Paul Goldschmidt. But you can’t rule out never-been-picked guys like Giancarlo Stanton (with his zero facial hair and his Barry Bonds) or whichever Cubs player hogs up the most attention in their historic season. Or it could even be whoever this Royce Harper guy is Dusty Baker keeps talking about. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

 

Well, we have actual Spring Training games next week. We’ll get to see Lucas Giolito and Julio Urias and Corey Seager and Byron Buxton and Joey Gallo and start forming actual thoughts about these teams as they move towards the regular season. I’ve given you my picks for World Series champion and AL MVP. And with just a little bit more information, I can form enough of an opinion to the wrong about the rest. Stay tuned.

 

 


SBS Film Vault: Gleaming the Cube

Written by :
Published on : January 26, 2016

 

 

“It’s that place you skate when you let go.”

 

 

That is how our protagonist’s good friend, Yabbo (Max Perlich), describes something he calls ‘the Cube.’ To put it a different way, it’s when you push your skating to the limit. Totally Rad!

 

This movie is so beautifully 80’s and it really brings me back to my childhood. It has all the necessary elements of a movie made in that time period; rebellious Orange County youth whose parents just don’t get it, communism, the threat of nuclear war, the LA Rams (this is just recently relevant again), a dangling crucifix earring, and mad Pizza Hut product placement!

 

                                                   Look at that earring!

 

We follow Brian Kelly (Christian Slater) on a journey to find the murderers of his overachieving adopted brother. It looks like a suicide but Brian isn’t buying that shit and sets off to discover what really happened. Along the way, he becomes romantically involved with his dead brother’s girlfriend, whose father Brian suspects of being involved in the murder. The idea of someone trying to make time with their recently deceased brother’s girlfriend, even if it is to try and get to the bottom of a crime, makes me a little uneasy but whatever, I guess you need to have some romance in any movie.

 

Brian dives into the dark underbelly of the Orange County Vietnamese exile community as he unravels the mystery surrounding his brothers ‘suicide’ and finds that his bro had uncovered an illegal arms shipment going to anti-communist fighters in Vietnam.

 

In order to catch the bad guys, our hero uses some sick skating moves, his crew of homies (one of which is a very young Tony Hawk) and the help of a tough, young LAPD detective named Al Lucero. This is another great little bit of 80’s gold, Lucero is played by Steven Bauer, who you might remember as Manny in Scarface. I love that guy! Still breaks my heart to think of how Tony wastes him at the end of that movie….. but back to Gleaming the Cube.

 

 

Tell me that trailer doesn’t get you pumped! This movie is awesome, especially if you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s. It harkens back to a time when things were simpler and Christian Slater’s career was on the upswing. Skateboarding was still just about the most anti-establishment thing you could do as a teenager and our stupid parents would never get it. They always wanted us to be doctors or lawyers, and we just wanted to rock! So do yourself a favor, watch this movie, you can find it for free on Youtube. You’ll thank me later.

 

Skate or Die.

 

 


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