Archive for the ‘Bigger Than Sports’ Category

FWP: The enormously long trumpet thing edition

April 3, 2009

Fearless Weekend Predictions is a weekly column running on Friday afternoons where our resident soothsayer (or whoever we can get) locks down what will transpire in the coming 72 hours. It’s better to get these out before the 7-year is open.  The crystal ball gets cloudy.

That special time of the year is finally upon us.  It is opening day at Keeneland.  A week ago I promised you an in-depth preview from resident horse racing/tailgating guru Smoothron.  Of course, he’s already at the track this morning, and when I followed up via text message I received this in return: “It got deleted somehow.  I don’t have the heart/sobriety to start over.”

It was 10:32am.

Last call for bets!

Last call for bets!

For the rest of us trapped in offices and cubes today, we’ll be venturing out tomorrow, dressed to the nines, to experience the short dresses, magnificent beasts, overpriced Bud Light, warm cups of Burgoo, betting lines with TSH and Santa, and “Meet Me At The Clock.”

By the way, what is that really long trumpet thingy called anyway?

On to the predictions!

Keeneland will see its first TGC-Break-Even day since 2006.  For those of you unfamiliar, that means winning enough on the ponies to cover beer, burgoo, and lost wager costs.  It is a seldom accomplished feat, but not unprecedented.  I’m feeling good about it this year!

John Calipari will referee an intrasquad game. As many of you know, Kentucky hired Coach Cal away from Memphis this week, and as his first order of post-double-press conference action, he–of course–held practice.  According to sources inside my local thirst quenching establishment, he’s committed to having spots for any senior that wishes to return.  No, that does not include you Josh Harrellson.

Sorry Eday, Kotsay (s wife) is in Boston.

Sorry Eday, Kotsay ('s wife) is in Boston.

The Tigers, Mets, A’s, Cubs, and Reds will all win their Opening Day games.  Yes! You are God Damn Right.  Baseball season is here!  We made it!  The long boring month of February between Football and Baseball is over.  March Madness is wrapping up.  Clear out a spot for me on the patio!  It’s baseball time! 

Smooth will ask me if I put up a picture of a hot chick.  Yes.

Nate Robertson will run out of tissues.  The same Nate Robertson who tallied a 6.35 ERA (highest in the bigs for starters pitching over 162 innings) last year.  The same who gave up 5 runs in 3 innings last week.  The same who is making a guaranteed $17 million.  The same who lost his job as a starter (finally!) and is now crying that he needs to go somewhere else to be appreciated (I’m thinking Toledo).  Grow a sack Nate.  Or learn how to pitch.  Either way, STFU.

Well, it’s almost noon here on the East Coast.  The sun is starting to peek through the clouds.  The first post call (with the trumpet thing) is due in about an hour.  And I’m sure somewhere Smoothron is shuffling little squares of white paper in between brews and hourly shots of moonshine.

I’ll see you there tomorrow morning at 9am.

I can’t wait.

Think about it… it makes sense

April 2, 2009
Get used to this--and the gutter--vol fans

Get used to this--and the gutter--vol fans

Take a big step with me here.  Let’s make plenty of assumptions.  Let’s assume Bruce Pearl isn’t as loyal as he’d want the Big Orange to think and just evaluate the purported offer on the table.  Let’s assume he got his audience with Memphis higher-ups and the FedEx CEO.  Let’s assume somewhere in East Memphis is a nice country club.  You still with me?

WMC in Memphis is reporting U-Mem has offered BP a $21 Million dollar, 7-year deal. 

How could he not take it?

You get to take a step down in competition.  The SEC East sure as hell didn’t get any easier with the 2 highest-paid coaches in the game currently planning for the ’09-’10 tourney. 

Memphis just won about 145 straight conference games, en route to consecutive top 2 seeds (read, a much easier path to a Final Four).  And as my bud Smooth points out, Memphis is a basketball school.  While UT is toiling in the land of never-been-past-the-sweet-16, Memphis just played for a National Championship 2 seasons ago.

And that was far from their first taste of success.  The Tigers have banners for 3 Final Four appearances and 2 National Runners-up.

Hell, if not for having to live in or around Memphis, even I’d take that job, and I hate Tiger Blue.

So it’s settled then.  Pearl to Memphis.

Now who’s his replacement on Rocky Top?  Usually, I’d let 2SL take this one, but it’s my alma mater, and I want to take a first guess.  Follow me to freedom.

(more…)

FWP: What My Cousin’s Friend’s Brother’s Nephew Heard Edition

March 27, 2009

Fearless Weekend Predictions is a weekly column running on Friday afternoons where our resident soothsayer (or whoever we can get) locks down what will transpire in the coming 72 hours. It’s better to get these out before the 7-year is open.  The crystal ball gets cloudy.

Sorry about last week.  I’m sure you didn’t miss me.  You were probably at your favorite sports bar just like I was all Friday long.  I would loved to have pulled the laptop (labtop) out at BW’s and write this, but our waitress was smoking hot and I felt I would have ruined my chance if I’d done that (I didn’t get her number).  Anyway, we’re knee deep in the NCAA Tournament and if you live in Central KY, you couldn’t care less about the games.  There is a soap opera going on with your favorite basketball team and you need to know what’s going on.  Thankfully, this may all be coming to an end.  I doubt this will stretch out too much longer.  I would say Billy G will be gone by the end of today (Friday).  While we’re here, let me weigh in on this mess real quick.  First off, Gillispie deserves another year at least.  The product on the court hasn’t been good enough and he’s made an ass out of himself and the program, but people are given second, third and fourth chances all the time.  But, I am also glad that my favorite team doesn’t stand for mediocrity.  A first-round exit from the NCAA Tournament and an NIT bid are not good enough for UK Basketball.  0-2 against Louisville isn’t good enough.  2-2 against Florida isn’t good enough.  2-2 against Vanderbilt isn’t good enough.  3-1 against Tennessee isn’t good enough… okay, maybe that is, but I had to get the shot in.  The bottom line is, UK has tradition and the administration wants things to be better.  You can lose, but if you are a great guy you might keep your job.  You can win and be an asshole and possibly keep your job.  You cannot lose and be a social enigma.

Mercifully, the good Lord has provided us with sports to take our minds off of this disaster.  Twelve NCAA teams will become four, Tiger is playing good golf right before the Masters, baseball spring training hits the home stretch and NASCAR is at Martinsville.  I’m at work, pretending to work… let’s see how long this can be.

  • You will develop a Pavlovian response to the sound of your phone vibrating on your desk.  Okay, maybe that one is just me.  Seriously, today is one of those days where you can never get too many, “You heard anything yet?” texts.  I am more the fan of the fake text.  If you send something like, “BREAKING NEWS: Gillispie out!  Adolph Rupp to coach next season,” you can usually get a rile out of people.  Plus, the Baron appreciates your thoughts on a day like this.
  • louisville-girlLouisville will walk to the Final Four.  How can they be stopped?  T-Will, Edgar (and the guy who paints his hair on everyday), Samardo and Earl see a title in their future.  Ricky Pitino is the best coach in the country and will out-wit both Russ Pennell and Bill Self.  It’s time to start thinking about a party on 4th Street.  Oh, sorry, there’s always a party on 4th Street.
  • New York Mets fans will hate the World Baseball Classic.  Seriously, Oliver Perez?  Get better.  You got way too much money this offseason to start pussing out now.
  • Missouri will press UCONN into a loss and admitting recruiting violations.  No coach in the country can make himself more money next year than Mike Anderson of Mizzou.  Premier jobs are open and the further he goes, the more cheddar he can rake in.  Georgia?  He doesn’t need your Georgia job.  He can start thinking about Arizona with a win in Phoenix over the Huskies.  UConn is finally distracted by the recruiting violation allegations and Hasheem Thabeet looks too slow in the 40 minutes of Hell.
  • whitneyportDenny Hamlin will win the NASCAR race.  He’s won at Martinsville a lot in the past (at least that’s what NASCAR.com told me).  Normally, I would pick a driver who has some hot girl associated with them.  A quick Google search didn’t lend that to me with Hamlin.  In that case, I’ll put up a picture of a smoking hot celebrity I’ve been thinking about lately.  Hmm… how about you, Whitney Port?  Sure, your reality show made me want to take a baseball bat to my nuts, but you are still smoking hot.  Denny Hamlin, do better with the ladies.
  • Villanova will beat Pittsburgh for the second time this year.  Levance Fields isn’t healthy enough to stay with ‘Nova’s guards.  DeJuan Blair looks like he’s just getting tired and Sam Young isn’t elevating like he once did.  Jay Wright’s team is playing really well as of late.  They absolutely locked Duke up last night and looked very efficient on offense.  Villanova marches on.
  • TIGER! TIGER! TIGER!!!   I would not want to be  a professional golfer right now.  The best golfer in the world has been back for a month or so and is just getting really good.  Hmm… that’s odd, the first major of the year is a couple weeks away.  Tiger has always known he would be getting very good around this point.  There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he can win the Masters in two weeks.  You heard it here first… or some other time after first.
  • Gonzaga will get to their first Final Four.  It’s time for the Zags.  The build up has happened for too long.  Ten years ago, they were on the cusp of the Final Four, and this is the year they get there.  Mark Few is poised to upset UNC again and will sneak past Syracuse in the Elite Eight.  Congrats to Spokane, WA; success couldn’t happen to a more irrelevant place.
  • kygirlsBilly Gillispie will get fired, then sleep with your girlfriend one last time.  Honestly, I’m feeling a tinge of sadness.   A little over a year ago, FWP started with a recurring joke about BCG railing your girlfriend.  Somehow, it stuck the whole time.  I really hope Gillispie nothing but the best.  He’s a hell of a basketball coach and was put in a very tough situation.  I think if either UK or Gillispie had known what they were getting into, they would have politely declined.  But, sometimes you have to be a man and take what’s handed to you.  Gillispie will find work soon, and probably very good and wealthy work.  Godspeed, Coach… but, on your way out of town, leave some blonde girls for us.

Yeah, weekend!  Be safe, watch sports and get ready for that extra $13 a week Obama is giving you!

UPDATE!  This was found on WKYT.com briefly.  It it now no longer there.  Take it for what you will.

coach-cal

APIAS Road Trips – Summer 2009, part I

March 25, 2009

The air is warming up, the fairways are turning green, the snow is gone (finally), and baseball is around the corner. All of this can mean only one thing. Pounding the pavement.

I want to take a minute to outline the (ever-changing) APIAS Summer Road Tour 2009 schedule.  You’ll remember past tours to Detriot (again), Bristol, and of course Keeneland.  This year’s tour will include venues old and new.

And down the stairs he falls!

And down the stairs he falls!

Not to take away from the preview Smoothron will no doubt write next week, but the first order of business once you switch your thermostat from heat to A/C is, of course, Keeneland in Lexington, KY.  The final few stages of Kentucky Derby prep racing take place April 3-24.  The majors of this meet are the $750K Blue Grass Stakes on April 11, and the $350K Lexington Stakes on April 18.  Burgoo, spirits, short dresses, big hats, bo… sorry, Smooth will get you the preview at a later date.

Gotta love the 2 block walk to the stadium.

Gotta love the 2 block walk to the stadium.

The next order of business will be back to the land of Leyland.  Fuzzybuzz and myself will be jetsetting (read: Dodge Durang0) to Michigan for the Yankees-Tigers series April 27-30.  I don’t care if the Greektown Casino did file bankruptcy, they should better mark their Roulette tables.

I know theres a Jimmy Johns around here somewhere...

I know there's a Jimmy John's around here somewhere...

Soon after that, on May 2, the whole crew can be found on 4th street in Louisville under the Twin Spires.  It’ll be this cowboy’s first time to the Derby, but not the first beer on 4th Street.  Hell, I might even catch a concert or two.  Maybe a nice balcony bike ride.  No promises or apologies either day.  (Race you to York?)

See you there.

Other potential stops include Richmond, VA, Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, San Diego, CA, Omaha, NE, Cincinnati, OH and Knoxville, TN.  Feel free to weigh in.

It’s all becoming clearer

March 19, 2009

I knew something wasn’t right here.  Think back… Have you ever seen Retired Nolan Ryan and Phil Fulmer in the same place at the same time?

I think not.

FWP: Never to be Seen in Tampa Again Edition

March 13, 2009

Fearless Weekend Predictions is a weekly column running on Friday afternoons where our resident soothsayer (or whoever we can get) locks down what will transpire in the coming 72 hours. It’s better to get these out before the 7-year is open.  The crystal ball gets cloudy.

Hooray!  It’s Conference Tournament Championship weekend!  The Big Six Conferences will all crown their champions by 6PM on Sunday and then Seth Davis will be able to rip apart every team in the NCAA Tournament except for Duke (he’s sure they’re going to make a big run this year).  I like to look at this weekend as just a warmup for next.  Hell, I worked yesterday and am writing this from work right now.  If you think I’m going to work next Thursday or Friday, you must be as drunk as I’m going to be in about six hours.  Thank Mitch for the interweb, though, as I was able to listen to the Cats take down the Rebels yesterday.  Hopefully, I’ll be out of this place soon enough and can stop getting paid to blog (unintentionally).  This is a great weekend for all those who like to talk shit about things that don’t really matter.  Sure, Kansas, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Pittsburgh all got knocked out of their conference tournaments before ever winning a game.  Does that hold any weight at all?  Aren’t all of those teams still going to the Dance?  Even with those losses, it wouldn’t be a shock to see any of them in the Final Four.  Conference tournaments for BCS schools are all about money and are superfluous at best.  Is it fun to watch some good games?  Sure!  Can you tell me who won the 2006 Big XII Tourney (without checking out Wiki)?  I didn’t think so.  Watch the games, but don’t get your hopes up or down because of how well your team plays.

While this may be a basketball-heavy weekend, Round 2 of the WBC gets going, Tiger is golfing again and we all gear up for the only day of the year where drinking green beer would be encouraged.  Yep…

  • osugirls1Oklahoma State will win the Big XII Tournament; Lexington, KY will explode.  It’s no secret that UK fans are less than pleased with Coach Billy Gillispie right now.  The crazed fanbase is ready to hire anyone with UK ties (Pat Riley’s name has been mentioned which is just inane).  What do you know?  Travis Ford coaches the Oklahoma State Cowboys who just beat a top 10 team!  If you don’t think coaching for a job in Lexington is motivating enough for Ford, you were never at Redmon’s on Thursday nights when Ford coached at Eastern Kentucky.
  • Wake Forest will win the ACC Tournament.  They are definitely the most athletic team in the conference with Ty Lawson out for UNC.  Duke is obviously a bunch of whiny bitches who don’t have the cajones to play well three days in a row.  Lawson’s injury will be too much for UNC to overcome (have you seen Larry Drew II play PG for them…yikes!) and Roy-Boy will not want to get anyone hurt already knowing he has a #1 seed locked up.
  • The Netherlands will fall back to reality when it comes to baseball.  Look, it was a hell of a run.  No one not named Fjord thought they could beat the Domincans (twice!) to make it from Pool D to Pool 2 (See what they did there?  Lettered Pools to Numbered Pools.  Nice.), but the run ends at Pool 2.  The USA and Venezuela emerge from the almighty Pool 2 to take on Japan and Korea in Pool Triangle… or something like that.
  • asugirlsNo one will know the Pac-10 Tournament is actually going on, but Arizona State will win anyway.  How bad is basketball out West this year?  The Pac-10 has two teams in the top 15 and they both suck.  They just happened to have beaten all the really bad teams out West to move up the rankings.  Ugh, moving on.
  • Few will be awake to see Wisconsin win the Big 10 Tournament.  Oh, sorry, I just woke back up.  I accidentally turned on the Michigan St./Minnesota game.  The game clock read 3:35 left to play and the score was 27-26, so I guess it was the 2nd half.  Bo Ryan is the best coach in the conference and will find a way to get his team into the Dance.  Raise your hand if you like defense!  Actually, put both hands up, it’s better for your defensive stance.
  • Tiger Woods!!! Wooooo!!!!  The sound of schoolgirls yelping was actually that of golf executives when they heard El Tigre would be playing this weekend.  Sadly, he’s tied for 40th right now and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t put him in the final pairing on Sunday.  Bru still owes me his car.
  • Villanova will beat West Virginia in the Big East Championship game.  Louisville is over-hyped and Syracuse will be dead tonight so both will lose.  Jay Wright is a hell of a coach, Bob Huggins is a hell of a drinker; Wright wins on Saturday night because Huggins will be thirsty.  Real quick tangent, just because a basketball game is long does not mean it is great.  If a baseball game goes 20 innings, do people call it the greatest game ever?  No, because you usually see pitchers that are terrible and would never play in any other circumstance.  Thus, in a basketball game, you see players making plays they would never make because they are exhausted and have no energy.  They are not playing at a high level and the quality of the game goes down.  UK/Duke is still the greatest game ever played and Syracuse/UConn might crack the top 15.  Tangent… out!
  • lsugirlLSU will win the SEC Tournament and then Billy Gillispie will sleep with your girlfriend.  Look, everyone knows every team in the SEC has flaws.  Kentucky is inconsistent.  Florida doesn’t have consistent inside play.  Tennessee’s guards couldn’t guard me.  LSU lost twice last week.  South Carolina has Devan Downey and… I can’t think of anyone else on their team.  Mississippi State is coached by Rick Stansbury.  Auburn is coached by Jeff Lebo.  Alabama’s coach is afraid to yell at the refs because his mommy might get mad.  LSU won more games all year, so hell, I’ll take them to win it.  Also, ladies, watch out, this could be BCG’s last SEC Tourney.  He’ll be looking to go out with a bang!  Get it, “bang?”

Okay, I’m at work at UK/LSU is about to start.  I better start getting sick in a hurry so I can get the hell out of here.  Have a fabulous weekend you beautiful bastards.

UT Hoops: They’re serious this time

March 12, 2009

wayne_chism_ernie1

Just as I was starting to wonder what the premier men’s basketball team in my home state was up to the night before their ’09 SEC Tourney debut, the all-knowing folks at Raycom Sports showed me.

The team is, as they should be, scouting the ‘Bama-Vandy game.

But are they representing my beloved alma mater with class and respect?  Of course.

Only Wayne Chism would know where to buy a Sesame Street “Ernie” hat.   Though, I’m still not sure if that’s better or worse than the yarmulke headband.

Oh dear.  Glad to see they’re taking it seriously this year.

Feel free to open up your weekend schedules, Vol fans.

Again.

Not pictured, Josh Tabb with 2 cell phones hanging from his left wrist and Bobby Maze in 4 gold chains and a do-rag. I’m serious.

Monday Poll; stick’n’ball… worldwide

March 2, 2009
“]Will dropping South get them over the hump?

The "South" is inferred. (photo credit: WBC)

Is this a cleansing?

February 26, 2009

missing_barnstar

No one can find Burnsy.  Abby disappeared last fall.  Deadspin has taken a (cough) interesting turn since Will left (I’m looking at you Sussman).

Last month S2N packed up and set sail from Blogfrica to the shiny glowing shores of real journalism.

And now it’s happened to Run Up The Score! too?  What the hell?!?

If you guys are starting a new super-secret something somewhere and didn’t invite me, I’m going to be pissed.

Or maybe our blogroll is a dormant carrier for the AIDS?

I miss the Extrapolater.

Tiger Pitchers and Catchers Report Today!

February 14, 2009
michpics)

Hank Greenberg (left) in Spring Training 1936, Lakeland. (photo: michpics)

For lo’ the winter is gone!

Here’s a pretty thorough look at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, home of Detroit’s spring training for the last 75 years.

Baseball Prospectus has the Tigs finishing 3rd at 78-84.   I think 84 wins gets the division.  That’s a pretty slim margin and not starting the season 0-7 again could help the cause.

We can prognositcate later.  The 2009 Tigers are reporting today!