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Archive for July, 2012

Spoiler Alert

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As I wrote a few days ago, I love the Olympics.  I spent this past weekend watching every event I could get my eyes on.  Whether it was Fencing, Water Polo or Ping Pong, I was there rooting hard for America.  Shit, me and the guys got together Saturday night and took in a solid hour of Women’s Weight Lifting, cheering on some of the most beastly women imaginable as they were cleaning and jerking!  It has been a fantastic few days, with one very large exception.  I have literally had to alter my lifestyle in order to fully enjoy the games!

 

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Let me explain.  The Olympics are taking place in London, England, which is 5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time.  As a result, NBC is forced to show a majority of the Olympic games on tape delay.  Now you can see some of the competitions live, like cycling, shooting and a few of the team games, but NBC wants viewers to watch in the prime-time spot of 8 p.m.  Therefore they are not showing events like swimming, gymnastics, diving and track and field until several hours after the events have aired.  It makes sense from NBC’s standpoint to show the highest rated sports during the hours that people can sit down and watch them, but it is setting people like myself up for an entire new set of issues

 

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Saturday was the first day of real Olympic competition and I was extremely pumped for the Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps showdown at the 400m Individual Medley.  I looked up the coverage times and NBC said the race was at 7:30 in London, so I did  the math and tuned into NBC at 2:30 p.m.  There was women’s volleyball on instead.  Then Bob Costas came on and explained that the race would be shown on NBC at 8 p.m.  I was disappointed but decided to set my DVR to record the race and enjoyed the volleyball.  An hour later I picked up my laptop and logged on to ESPN.com, without really thinking much about it.  The first thing that popped up was a picture of Ryan Lochte holding a gold medal and a very disappointed Michael Phelps.  Instantly, I knew the result of the race I was looking forward to seeing live.

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As a result of this initial disappointment, I have been forced to live my life in a very unfamiliar way.  For the next two weeks, I can not surf the internet on my usual sites because I know that there will be spoilers everywhere.  I have stayed off all forms of social media, assuming people will be posting about results of events I haven’t had the opportunity to see yet.  I will not be watching ESPN, for shows like PTI and Around The Horn are delivering results well before NBC’s “prime-time spot.”  I usually listen to sports talk radio around the clock, and I have stopped doing that as well because I am being force fed updates also.  For an avid sports fan like myself, to lose all of these outlets at one time is not easy at all, especially since it makes it more difficult to follow all other happenings in the sports world such as the baseball trade deadline.  

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I am not sure what the solution is to this dilemma.  NBC could show the events live and then repeat them at 8 p.m., but they are probably nervous about hurting their nightly ratings.  I guess other networks like ESPN, FOX, CBS and the other news providers could not report the results, but those opposing companies probably have no problem spoiling the results because it will lead to more viewers to their “prime-time” programs that are against the Olympics.  The radio and websites want to report the scores and action in as timely a manner as possible, so there is no chance they would wait for the events to air on TV.  This issue has definitely affected my ability to enjoy and take in the games for the suspense they usually offer.  I will attempt to stay clear of all sports coverage every day until I can watch the events at night, but I’m not sure how successful I can be in doing so.  I just hope the heads at the Olympic Committee and NBC understand how big of a sacrifice I am making in the name of the 2012 London Olympics.

 

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The University of Florida Should Be a Sovereign Nation

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Hey – the Chinese haven’t even got a knockoff of this yet!

Unless you live in a cave, you know that the Olympics are going on.  This year’s London Olympics offers 302 events, over 10,500 athletes, and 204 different Nations (technically they are called the NOC, National Olympic Committees) .  There is one group of athletes, though, that has won so many medals already that they could call themselves the 205th nation.

 

 

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Golden bagel with Lochtes

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Got stock in UF? If not, BUY, don’t SELL. Like Elizabeth here.

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Float like a butterfly. Or swim like one!

The University of Florida has 40 different athletes representing their SEC powerhouse.  Just a couple of days into the Olympics, they are already proving why they have the best athletic program in the world.  As if Tebowmania wasn’t enough to keep UF on the map, their Olympians have come out of the gates on fire. The famous “Gator Chomp” has been prevalent throughout the trials all the way to London and those who proudly sport Orange and Blue have not been disappointed yet.

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How big is Florida’s effect on US medals? This big!

Ryan Lochte smoking Michael Phelps in the 400-meter medley to notch the first of the Gator medals, made UF’s success rate look promising from the start.  Dana Vollmer followed Lochte’s impressive victory with swimming gold of her own in the women’s 100m butterfly.  Elizabeth Beisel won the silver medal in the women’s 400m IM and Lochte picked up his second medal in the men’s 400m Free Relay where he and his teammates finished with the silver.  That makes four medals for UF athletes and counting.  Sure, when you hear four medals you don’t think that it is anything too special, but that’s more than Australia, Canada, and even the home town team, Great Britain.  Right now the Sovereign Nation of the University of Florida, otherwise known as the Gator Nation, is one of the best ranked nations in this competition.

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Not soccer moms yet, but soooo soccer.

With Abby Wambach and Heather Mitts at the forefront of the favored women’s US Soccer team you can expect more Gator’s to being wearing some heavy hardware throughout the Olympics.  Let’s just hope orange, blue, and gold don’t clash.


U.S. Pool Party in London

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Coverage of all events on every channel. Wow – I never knew that’s what they meant by the English Channel!

I love the Olympics.  Maybe it’s the fact that they only come around once every four years, maybe it’s that I just love sports in general and I get to watch so many different ones in a span of two weeks, or maybe its the fact that I believe when athletes compete for their country, it brings on a whole new level of meaning.  After watching the spectacular events from last night’s Opening Ceremony, I woke up today incredibly pumped for the day ahead of Olympic competition.  The amazing part of the Olympics is that I can literally flip through the different channels at all times of day and catch such uniquely different competitions taking place at the same time.  After watching the brilliance of tennis star Roger Federer on CNBC, I flipped up to MSNBC and watched an Irish boxer kick the shit out of a Nigerian.  It was the perfect balance of Federer’s brilliance and Irish ass kicking to start my Saturday off right.  However, it is really just a teaser for the sport I am most looking forward to later on.

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Pooling resources

Swimming was always something I enjoy doing as a child, though I was never really that good at it.  Hence, I had to pull out of a triathlon a couple of years ago due to my fear that I would drown during the race.  Still, I love watching Olympic swimmers in action, as they have to be some of the best athletes in the world.    Today, the pools of London will be closely watched as the Olympic schedule features two of the most intriguing story lines of the U.S. vantage point.  17 year-old Missy Franklin will swim her first Olympic race during the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay final, and we will have our first match-up of the legendary Michael Phelps and up and coming Ryan Lochte during the men’s 400-meter individual medley final.

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No, that’s NOT Amelia Earhart

Missy Franklin is one of the athletes that is expected to breakout during the 2012 Summer Olympics.  The 17-year-old has come onto the scene in the past couple years, earning the 2011 Fina Swimmer of the Year award (I hear that’s pretty, pretty good).  In her early career, she has collected seven medals in major international competition, including three gold, three silver, and one bronze in World Championship races.  During 2012 Olympic qualifiers, Franklin impressed the swimming world by qualifying to swim in four events during the London games.  She won the 100-meter backstroke, setting a new American record by finishing in 58.94. The 100-meter backstroke event will clearly be her best shot for gold, but Franklin has an excellent chance of earning a few medals during these games.  I believe the relay team tonight will place and make the podium, starting of Franklin’s Olympics in grand fashion.

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Bling master Phelps

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Michael may be in the pool, but Ryan’s got it Lochte’d

The best individual rivalry heading into the Olympics has to be between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, and we will have Round 1 of this matchup later today.  The two men will swim the same race twice during the Olympics, the first being tonight when they face off during the 400-meter individual medley final, which will be shown at 2 p.m. on the East Coast.  The U.S. public remembers Phelps making history as he broke the all-time record for most Gold medals in a single Olympics by winning 8 in Beijing.  Phelps needs just three medals of any color to break the record for most all-time in any Olympic sport, which I guarantee he will manage during the London games. However,  even though Phelps is easily the most recognizable Olympic swimmer and athlete the U.S. has to offer, he hasn’t been the best swimmer over the past four years.  Ryan Lochte has come onto the swimming scene hard, and in the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, Lochte went 2-0 against Phelps in their head to head matchups.  Lochte also won the 400-meter IM, the race the two men will compete in tonight.  Phelps is the all time record holder in the race, but due to Lochte’s emergence, he is not favored to win the race.  During Olympic qualifiers,  Lochte defeated Phelps by .83 seconds and has a chance to rewrite the history books Phelps set back in 2008.  I believe Phelps will get one of the three medals he needs to set the all-time record, but it won’t be the color he really desires, as Ryan Lochte appears to be ready to take the throne from the legendary Michael Phelps, and will capture Gold tonight.

However it turns out, it will be an awesome day in London and I can’t wait to see how the swimming and all the other competitions play out!


Matt Harvey More Than Impresses

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“Ya Believe Ya Gotta Believe”

The Mets epic 2nd half struggles can only be described one way and that’s by quoting the famous Dennis Green tirade, “They are who we thought they were.”  After a ridiculously surprising 46-40 record entering the All-Star break, the Mets surpassed everyone’s expectations.  With their 1-11 record since the break entering last night’s contest in Arizona, including being swept by division rivals Atlanta and Washington, the Mets have proven all the critics correct…their first half was clearly a fluke.

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They are who we thought they were, and we thought they were shit.

With decades of continuous failures and disappointments, Mets fans have learned to hold onto hope with our strong and encouraging motto, “Ya Gotta Believe!”  So season after season us Mets fans keep faith and look for miracles to save us from our routine collapsing and utter embarrassment.  With the recent season ending injury to Dillon Gee and the newly DL ridden Johan Santana, the Mets needed to find said miracle before all of their first half successes went for naught as they slowly dropped out of the playoff race.  For months, fans have been pleading for the organization to bring up either one of the young stud minor league sensations, Matt Harvey or Zach Wheeler.

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Harvey Wheeler – sounds like the newest Hotwheels toy or one hell of a bar drink.

Ask and you shall receive.  With the demotion of failed veteran, Miguel Batista, the Amazin’s had a starting slot open in their rotation.  Enter Harvey!  Every Mets fan in the world has pretty much written the current season off with how bad they have looked recently.  The little bit of hope that any fan might of still have was all placed on the shoulders of the 23-year-old rookie making his major league debut last night in Arizona.  Well Mets fans, I know it’s been a grueling couple of weeks since the all-star game but I think it’s time to turn those frowns upside down…for the time being.

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Matt like Matt. Matt does good. Matt like Matt more. Matt’s motions make Matt’s Mets make more ‘Mazing?

Matt Harvey came out and preformed better than any rookie making their Major League debut in Mets history.  The #7 overall pick of the 2010 draft showed exactly why he is considered one of the best prospects in the nation.  Not only was it a historic start for the Mets history books, but Harvey also made his mark in baseball’s record books by becoming the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out 10 or more batters while also getting at least 2 hits of their own in their debut.  Matt Harvey, whose first name is amazing by the way, looked as if he had been pitching in the majors for years.  His complete stat line was 5.1 innings with 11 K’s, 3 BB and 3 hits while allowing 0 runs.  With 4 different pitches working perfectly all game, including a consistent 97-98 MPH fastball that he so smoothly painted on the corner’s of home plate, Harvey lead the Mets to a 3-1 victory over Arizona.

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Can we call him The Jeweler? You know, because he cut all those Diamonds back?

After Harvey started the game out by fanning the D-Backs lead off hitter Gerardo Parra, you could just tell that Harvey was where he belonged. It didn’t take Harvey that long to realize it though, he knew it from the warm ups. “When I was warming up I looked around and kind of took everything in,” Harvey said. “At that moment I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined. I just wanted to do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance.”

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Extra! Extra!
Met’s pitcher does what Met’s pitcher is supposed to do. Crowd does not know what to make of it!
Extra!

Only one Diamondback player was able to reach third base while Harvey manned the mound and that was only because of a wild pitch, which I thought could have gone as passed ball.  Harvey not only impressed the fans and his teammates but he really made an impression on their manager.

“He lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about him,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable yet pitch as effectively as he did today. He is a different cat.”

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You may not think so, but Terry thinks it really does Matt-er

You know what Terry, I want the same thing.  I know it’s only one win, but maybe this could be the start of something special.  Who knows, maybe when Wheeler is called up he can outperform Harvey and the Mets can have that formidable 1-2 punch that they started the season with before Santana got hurt and Dickey came back to reality.  Regardless of how this season turns out, it’s nice to have a smile on my face while talking about the Mets again.  LET’S GO METS!!!


Carolina Dreams

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Where there’s a Kalil, there’s a Kaway.

I’ve got horrible news football fans.  Even though the NFL season is still over a month away, as most training camps are just now kicking off, the season is over!  Yeah, the games will still be played and a Champion needs to be crowned next February in about half a year from now, but unfortunately we just discovered that everything that will take place during the season has already been determined by a higher power.  Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers has removed all suspense from a sport that always provides its fans with high quantities, as he has let all of us know that his team will win the Super Bowl XLVII “because we have to.” Kalil is positive about this outcome, and let the world know about his visions because as he stated, they will win it all “because I’ve seen it.”  Fuck Tim Tebow, the real footballing prophet has been revealed to us all.

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Hey! You left number XI – Panthers in 2013. You expect me to bring this back incomplete?

Kalil announced his grand statement by taking out a one page advertisement out in the Charlotte Observer.  All of his beliefs (and truths) were presented in a fascinating essay entitled “Why The Caroline Panthers will win Super Bowl XLVII”.  Wow, talk about creativity!!  Message to Ryan Kalil… please come write for Sports Debaters…You are obviously blessed with an incredible ability to articulate and express you ideas in a provoking manner.  As soon as your playing days are over, we have a spot waiting for you buddy.  Also, we can definitely use a lot of help picking games.

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Despite the “unpaved path” – in Florida they call them sinkholes, beacuse a*$holes tend to sink in them.

In his essay, Kalil asked the Carolina Panthers fans to view the Panthers season as “the daunting, unpaved path ahead, lined with detours, naysayers, and walls which seem insurmountable.”  He then built the Carolina fan’s spirits up by letting them know these challenges are “not for you. You’ll ignore what you hear and break through ANYTHING that stands in your way. Because you see what’s at the end of this… Victory.”  As Jet fans, even when our team has a chance to make noise, we just assume that some insurmountable wall will eventually come collapsing down onto our team.  We not only have no chance of ignoring the naysayers and breaking through anything that comes the Jet’s way, but we are one of the major obstacles that hinder the team.  I am left to think that Ryan Kalil and the Carolina Panther fans have a lot to teach us Gang Green fans in terms of belief. 

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Hey, if he’s right the NFL can save a lot on preordered Superbowl merchandise!

Ryan Kalil could care less that his team was 6-10 last year.  It doesn’t matter that the NFC is stacked with QB talent like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Mike Vick, Matt Ryan and Tony Romo, or that the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger are all lurking in the AFC.  Kalil see the truth and is guaranteeing a Carolina Panther victory despite all those QB’s feeble attempts.  Kalil stated that “it was one of those things, I was literally up all night and I was thinking about it, and just went to my computer and started writing.”  Well, I for one am grateful for Kalil for sharing his truth with us because I may have wasted a lot of Sundays watching games when the season is actually a foregone conclusion.

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My money’s on Carolina. At least what’s left from my investments in real estate in 2008 and my shares in Lehman Brothers.

Just so all our readers know, you could get 40-1 odds on the Carolina Panthers winning the Super Bowl before the season starts, so get your bets in.  A $500 bet will land you $20,000…so my advice to everyone is to bet, bet, bet!  How often does an NFL player steer us wrong after discovering information from a higher power?  Also, Ryan Kalil, if you are not doing anything on August 28th, I could really use some fantasy advice for this upcoming season.  Let me know your availability.  I know you have a season to prepare for but I’m assuming that you guys could take it a little easier this year, since you already know the end result.  Thanks dude, I’ll cut you a percent of the winnings!


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Grunwald

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Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the Glen…

When you become a face of a New York Sports team, there is a lot of pressure that comes with the territory.  When you become part of the upper management of a New York Sports team, there is never enough time to prove your dedication and capabilities to fix whatever you were brought in for.  Over the past year, no one in New York sports has worked harder and faster than the GM of the New York Knicks, Glen Grunwald.  Between having to fix the most fucked up salary cap ridden team in the NBA to turning the World’s Most Famous Arena back into an admirable place to play, Grunwald has brought the Knicks back to relevancy and more.

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He was hiding Lin plain sight to avoid acceptLin the trade documents.

Sure, the acquisition’s of Kidd, Felton, Camby, Thomas and most recently Brewer, were good offseason pickups, but the most attention Grunwald and the Knicks received recently has to be the Jeremy Lin drama.  We all know at this point that Lin is no longer a Knick and that he will be rocking the Crimson for the Rockets for the next three season’s at least.  What a lot of people don’t know is how the process of Lin signing with Houston actually went down.  After recent reports surfaced, it seems as if once Lin signed the offer sheet from Houston that there was some complications in getting that document to the Knicks front office.

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On behalf of the Academy, I’d like to accept Glen’s award for best avoider in a major team role.

Just so everyone understands, Jeremy Lin was a restricted free agent and any offer that another team presented him the Knicks were allowed to match within 3 days of Lin signing.  Over the past few weeks, NBA executives and young hopefuls were in Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League.  The Rockets tried multiple times to contact the Knicks organization with Lin’s offer sheet, but what Grunwald realized was that as long as the signed sheet wasn’t in his hands the clock on the Knicks 3 days wouldn’t start…BRILLIANT!

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See Grunwald? He’s right there, under the LINen!

The Houston Chronicle made immediate reports:  “Glen Grunwald refused to answer the door to his room at the Mandarin Oriental or come to the front desk to accept the offer sheet,” the Chronicle reported.  “We asked the league for help,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told the Chronicle. “They gave us advice. We did what they suggested. They say they consider it a team-to-team issue.”

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There, there Glen. Don’t cry. We can always burn the place down.

I can just picture it now, the Rockets knocking on Grunwald’s hotel room door as Glen was crouched in the corner of his room with his hands over his ears as if he was Leonardo DiCaprio being forced to shower in the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.  I haven’t heard of New York management dedication like this since Bobby Valentine went incognito back in the late 90’s just to watch a game he was previously ejected from.  Grunwald proved that Lin was too important to just answer the door and look at the offer sheet that he already knew the Knicks owner, Darth Dolan, wouldn’t let him match.  What was the man to do?

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Just like the famous St. Valentine’s Day Mask-iker.

I completely understand where Grunwald was coming from.  I still remember when my mother would come home from work on the first Tuesday of the month and she would ask me to clean my room before the cleaning lady came over, (which I always thought was bullshit by the way…sorry mom), but to avoid her orders I always found a good hiding spot in the house and I would sit there in the fetal position just to avoid what I already knew was inevitable.  There are some things we can’t change in this world and Glen Grunwald seemed to know that with this Lin offer sheet.  Eventually the Knicks received the offer and it wasn’t matched.

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Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Jeremy.
Jeremy who?
See – they forget so quickly anyway!

All in all, the moral of this story is that even though the Knicks, including Grunwald, let the Lin goldmine walk out the door, there is no discrediting the dedication and love Grunwald has for his team.


Let’s Make a Deal

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What’s behind curtain number 3?

After quite the bender this weekend, I got home from work today and closed my eyes for a little nap.  I woke up a few hours later to a number of missed calls, messages and ESPN alerts.  I’m not sure what I dreamt about in my deep sleep, but no matter what it was, it couldn’t have possibly been as sweet as the news I received when I regained consciousness.  As I’ve stated before, the three teams I am most passionate about in no particular order are the New York Rangers, the New York Yankees and the New York Jets.  Today, as I was peacefully sleeping, each team made a deal to bolster their respective rosters.  It was by far the best nap I’ve ever taken.

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Ranger Rick will stop the teeth Nashing about goal-scoring for NY fans

The first news flash I saw on my phone was that the Rangers completed a trade for the highly touted Rick Nash.  Nash was the hottest player on the trade market and he greatly improves the Rangers in an area that they sorely needed help last year…goal scoring.  Nash scored 30 goals and had 29 assists for the last place Columbus Blue Jackets, but he was on a team with very little support around him.  He will have the opportunity to play with players like Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards next year, and I expect his production to increase.  Look for Nash to light up the net next season and I think this trade has to make the Rangers an early Stanley Cup favorite.  They were a first place team this year, made it all the way to the Conference Finals and improved on their one area of weakness.  The Rangers gave up a decent package in Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixson and a first round pick, but Nash will be well worth it.  He is a difference maker for a team that is on the verge of greatness.

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Yankees will ride their new Suzuki.

After talking to a few fellow Ranger fans about our new acquisition,  I caught another headline that the Yankees traded for Ichiro Suzuki for basically a bag of balls and a few bats (Thank you Ed B!).  Now, we all know that Ichiro’s production has gone down over the past few years, but he’s also been on awful teams.  I believe that both Ichiro and the Yankees will provide a spark for another, as there really is no downside to this trade.  Ichiro will provide the Yankees with solid defense, great speed and the ability to work his way on base and steal a few bags.  He is an absolute upgrade over the Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones platoon, which has performed really well.  Ichiro is batting .261 this year, but I believe that a change of scenery will help Ichiro perform closer to his .322 career average.  Ichiro has done everything imaginable that a player can possibly accomplish except play in the World Series.  When you place him on a team like the Yankees, who are in first place in the bigs even after being swept in four straight one run games by Oakland, the possibilities are endless.  I predicted the Yankees to win the Series this year prior to this deal and this transaction only fosters my belief that we will have a special fall in the Bronx.

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Otah humanity! Maybe now we can see what happens with Sanchez 10 seconds after the hike while he’s still on his feet.

How could a day that lands Rick Nash and Ichiro Suzuki get any better?  How about finding out that the New York Jets upgraded their single biggest weakness, trading for Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Jeff Otah.  Otah has battled injuries throughout his career, including playing in only 4 games last year, but the Jets seem confident that he will be available to start this year over the atrocious Wayne Hunter.  The Jets had one of the best offensive lines a few years ago and as soon as they inserted Hunter into the right tackle spot, it crippled the team.  Sanchez was on his ass all season long, the running game struggled and Hunter was often spotlighted by TV analysts as possibly the worst starting Tackle in football.  If Otah is able to stay healthy, he has the ability to make the Jets offensive line one of the best in football again, which can possibly lead to a reemergence of the team as a whole.  If he gets injured again, well then the team is in the same position as they were in yesterday regardless.  In an offseason in which Mike Tannenbaum has received a lot of criticism (Tim Tebow), this is possibly the move that will save the Jets from another embarrassing season.

Overall, I am one very pleased sports fan.  Hoping tomorrow I wake up and find out Dwight Howard is somehow a Brooklyn Net!  Either way, can’t wait to see what my next nap brings me…


Penn-alties

Being a “legacy” does not mean being a saint

The NCAA acted this morning upon the pedophile scandal that has rocked Penn State, doing what it can to send a clear message to that school and all others. The message is simple: the walls that surround a sports stadium do not protect it from outside scrutiny. Good for Mark Emmert for taking these steps and for leaving open the door for further sanctions if warranted.

No statues needed except for the victims

A $60 million fine and a four-year ban on college bowl games sets the new low marker for penalties imposed upon schools that turn a blind eye towards sexual abuse. That is what Joe Paterno and the football program at Penn State did.It’s time to wipe away the veil of sanctimonious praise for sports programs and athletes that too often helps us all “forgive some of their troublesome indiscretions and bad decisions”.

Let us all be clear about this: shooting your mouth off at a news conference is an indiscretion; hell, shooting your own leg is an indiscretion. Child sex abuse is not an indiscretion, and if you think it is then pony up and send your kids to the nearest rape program with a smile on your face.

Good on you NCAA, and about time to see some teeth in your bite.