Tag Archives: sports

Baseball is Boring

19 Sep

baseball is boringThis summer Ryan Braun was suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED). The 2012 National League MVP is just another in a long line of ball players accused of trying to do the impossible, make the game of baseball exciting.

But players who use steroids are cheaters! They undermine and corrupt the sanctity of American’s purest pastime. This kind of behavior is inexcusable and unbecoming of a professional athlete. It also happens to be the only reason I don’t click over to “Bar Rescue” during Sportscenter’s Top 10. It’s time to re-evaluate America’s beloved sport and the way it’s played. These players should not be punished; they should be applauded and revered for trying to make baseball watchable.

old baseballThe sport may have been moderately entertaining in the 1800’s when it competed against other American past times like; tilling the fields, dying young, and hating the Irish, but now we have actual sports where athletes are required to be in motion and you know, generally do cool, athletic looking things. Surely we can’t still be watching questionably out of shape men swing a stick once every couple minutes. But we do. We still love it. Baseball is that friend who you don’t really like, but he’s been around forever, and his parents know your parents and they run into each other occasionally at the farmers market and trade stories about you both and so without ever really trying to keep in contact, you know every fucking detail about this kid’s life. This is baseball. Too engrained in our personal histories to be told its boring and stupid. Too proud of its lore and statistics to let anyone tell it they don’t care. Most likely your grandpa, dad or uncle dragged you to a game when you were little, put a hat on you, made you eat shitty ice cream with a wooden stick and that was it, you were never allowed to speak ill of it again.

rookieIn the summer of 1994 I played my first and last season of baseball. Angels in the Outfield and Rookie of the Year had come out recently so naturally I had to find out if I had a missile for an arm. That season I was hit by no less than 14 pitches got severe sunburns in centerfield waiting for fly balls that never came, and ultimately went 0-11 with the Berkeley Frank Lee Jewelers (great jeweler). So yes, I am biased, but I also love sports. I love to play and watch them. I want to love baseball like I love the others, but I can’t. The games are long and often uneventful, seasons are like most SNL sketches with promising premises that linger and grow stale and ultimately become unwatchable, players hold our eyes hostage as they chew tobacco, scratch their crotches and rearrange various elbow and shin pads as if what they do is dangerous. Don’t even remind me of how the old managers put on saggy uniforms and try to convey secret messages to their team by throwing up gang signs. But only so many people can hit a curveball! Well, there are only so many people who can solve a rubix cube, but you don’t see that shit televised 6 months out of the year.

arnoldThere is a simple solution to all this madness. Rather than getting all fussy every few months when another high profile player is caught using substances, lets give all the players drugs. I’m not talking about little league deer antler spray either, I want super strains of whatever Arnold was on during the ’74 Mr. Universe competition. I want a mutant league of baseball where players check into spring training camp with a head diameter of no less than golden era Barry Bonds. I want home runs hit every other at bat to roust me from my slumber and wipe the drool and flaming hot cheetos from my mouth. We want super fast outfielders that back flip to catch fly balls at the warning track, and hock loogies up to the second deck. We need pitchers who can throw 200 mph fastballs and not get Tommy John surgery, and hitters who look like “The Rock” from Fast 6. America needs managers to take PED’s so when they insist on wearing their droopy uniforms only some people laugh. America needs baseball to grow up and get with the times. Students take aderol to study harder and get better grades, adults drink coffee to stay awake and make money, rappers pop molly and sweat to sell more records. Lets face it; drugs are just as engrained in American culture as baseball is. If ballplayers are cool with small balls, then they should be able to play in the bigs however they want.

Proud to Be an American?

6 Aug


Every four years I am jolted from my patriotic slumber and force myself to scream at small women who have dedicated their lives to shooting an air pistol 10 meters. Aside from ridiculous events, the Summer Olympics always serve as a reminder that I have an American identity and that I actually might even be proud to be American.

I attended a very liberal university during a period of history where the U.S. was making some questionable decisions. We were like a drunk frat bro who got sucker punched at a kegger, then got up all wobbly and took a swing at the Asian kid in the corner who had nothing to do with it. Then we were like, “Fuck this, I’m going to find that dude,” and we got in our dad’s Mercedes, but crashed immediately into a stop sign and threw up on our cargo shorts. Then the cops came, but lucky for us the chief of police was our uncle so we got to sleep it off instead of spending the night in jail, and everyone at the kegger was left saying, “Wow, fuck that dude.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is you wouldn’t have found any Bruce Springsteen on my IPod in the mid aughts. (Except “Dancing in the Dark.” That song is just awesome.) I was anti-Bush, anti-conservative, anti-shwag weed, and anti- American. During my junior year abroad I was hesitant to tell people I was American, opting for Californian in hopes that they liked O.C., Terminator or Red Hot Chili Peppers. I remember a group of American tourists who had sewn the Canadian flag on their travel packs to try and avoid uncomfortable situations. I held the belief that I was the awesome exception to a cruel norm, which I shared nothing in common with. Americans are racist and I am tolerant. Americans are stupid, and I am smart and witty. Americans are fat and loud; I am lean and partially reserved. Clearly I must be non-American, or some kind of genetically mutated American, impervious to stereotype and generalization.

I considered myself strictly a citizen of the world until one cold night in Buenos Aires changed my perspective. I moved to BA after college to “teach English.” I was looking for adventure and an escape from the unbelievably boring States. Some locals invited me to smoke and drink fernet in a plaza in San Telmo. (Ooh, how cultural) I was introduced as Andres from America. This of course sparked South Americans favorite debate, which is that we are all Americans so I should say I am from the States. After bumbling my way thru my drunken Spanish opinion on that matter, a rat-tailed Argentino stopped playing Bob Marley long enough to try and rip me a new culito.

Stoops guy, sweet tail.

“Why do you like Bush?”
“I don’t.”
“Why did you vote for him?”
“I didn’t. Other people did. Bush doesn’t represent everyone in America…err sorry, the states.
“Why did you vote for him twice?”
“Umm. That is difficult to explain in any language, but you must understand that the U.S. is huge! It cannot be defined only by its government or one person’s actions…”

This went on for almost an hour. I grew frustrated, but also more passionate as the hippy refused to stop prodding the issue. I had never defended my homeland so vehemently in my life and I was finding that I was eager and even happy to do so. Maybe it was the brown shwag and rich man’s Jaeger talking, but it was the first time I can ever remember taking pride in being American.


Watching these 2012 Olympics I try to tell myself that the only reason I tune in is because I am a fan of sports and competition, and if a fellow countrymen were to win that competition, all the better right? This just isn’t true, and I can’t hide anymore from the brutal reality. I would never watch a gymnastics routine any other time in my life. If I turned on ESPN in September and there was some ripped midget straddling a pommel horse, I would throw my Budweiser at the screen and write a strongly worded letter to Bristol.

I not only want Americans to win, but I want the other countries to be humiliated. I want to see Poland’s canoe hit a rock and careen off a dangerous waterfall. I want to see Australia’s bicyclists ride too close together, rub wheels, and crash against the wall while the Americans leisurely pedal their way to gold. I want a Russian to snap his leg during the 10,000m. I love the San Francisco 49’ers, but I didn’t shed a single tear when they lost in overtime to the NY Giants last season, but you give me five American gymnasts with some compelling back stories, an American flag and an electric vault routine and I’m balling like a teenage girl who just found out K Stew cheated on the lanky white.

When the Olympics finish, I will stop wishing terrible things on the rest of the world. I will return to forgetting that I live in America and will reassume my identity of laid back cool guy from the west coast who doesn’t get riled too easy. It’s nice to know, however, that for a couple weeks every four years I feel a connection to everyone else in this huge country, and that we can bond over a universal truth. We’re Number 1. We’re Number 1. U-S-A!

Hell yea brother.

My Vegas Predictions

26 Apr

This weekend I will head to Las Vegas carrying a 1-2 record against the city. My losses are mostly due to sunburns, lost money and an underwhelming buffet. My one win was hard fought and revolved around investing in stronger SPF and not playing roulette. Despite movies like the Hangover and highly embellished stories from your raver friends, Vegas isn’t all that wild and unpredictable. In fact, if I could bet on what would happen during my fourth encounter in Vegas, I would be a rich man. The following are my predictions for this weekend. On Monday I will post the actual results of the unhealthy adventure and we will all see how smart and conceited I am.

8:37 PM Friday: Arrive at Treasure Island slightly buzzed with pit stains developing.

8:59 PM Friday: Change into my sexy shirt, head down to Casino and immediately lose $75 @ Craps table.

10:45 PM Friday: Guy in Affliction T-Shirt asks me “What the fuck I’m staring at!”

12:25 AM Saturday: Make out with questionable looking drunk girl.

1:40 AM Saturday: Next “Too Close” is on. Dance in a weird circle with my friends, pit stains appear on my sexy shirt.

3:17 AM Saturday: Make a terrible order @ Denny’s

4:10 AM Saturday: Win $15 dollars in Craps; think I know how to win at Craps.

4:25 AM Saturday: Lose $110 at Craps. Definitely don’t know how to win at Craps.

5:45 AM Saturday: Painful rest.

9:45 AM Saturday: Awoken by friends who convince me to bet actual money on a three team parlay involving the Blue Jays, Coyotes and Royals.

10:30 AM Saturday: Watch first two innings of a Royals game, want to cry and throw up, can’t decide which yet.

11:18 AM Saturday: Go to pool, apply sunscreen, look like a geisha girl, listen to LMFAO.

11:45 AM Saturday: LMFAO is still on, how is this possible?

1:54 PM Saturday: Put $10 on black in Roulette, win. Feel like a fucking king. Buy Pastrami sandwich with my earnings.

4:27 PM Saturday: Buy expensive Aloe Vera, receive word the Blue Jays have lost and drive home sun burnt.

2012 WNBA Draft Recap!

18 Apr

Welcome to your life of obscurity!

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time when I break out a sixer of Sutter Home, spark that new Hawaiian Winds candle I bought from the farmer’s market and turn on ESPN2 for one of my favorite events of the year. Sure, my friends give me a hard time and call me hurtful things like “WNBA fan” and “Unemployed,” but they don’t see the beauty in the women’s game like I do.(admittedly it can be hard to see the beauty sometimes with players like this) I will take nuanced subtlety over ornate extravagance any day. A thunderous jam from Lebron excites me, but a crisp pass from Sue Bird takes me out, asks me how my day was and then offers to split the bill, and in the end isn’t that more fulfilling? So I figured the best way to show my love for the game would be to share my thoughts in the form of live updates during the draft. Hopefully by the end you have a new found appreciation for this lovely forgotten game.

9:33 PM Mon: Sutter Home must have added more alcohol because I slept thru the first 9 picks.

9:45 PM Mon: My roommate burns something cooking, smoke alarm goes off and we are forced outside for 10 minutes.

9:57 PM Mon: Sutter Home has made me hungry, I regretfully eat burnt roommate food.

10:04 PM Mon: Log onto Reddit and look at funny cat memes.

10:44 PM Mon: Good lord, I did that for longer than I intended. Yup, the draft is still on. Let’s check in.

10:52 PM Mon: Minnesota takes Jackie Gemelos in the 3rd round. Strong pick I think. Also, fun fact: Gemelos means twins in Spanish.

10:57 PM Mon: Questionable burnt Gyoza has made its way through my defenses and it’s danger time.

11:22 PM Mon: Man this is a long draft, I didn’t know this many girls knew how to play basketball.

11:31 PM Mon: With the last pick in the draft, New York takes Katelan Redmon. Sure that sounds alright. She looks athletic enough but I still think I could beat her one on one.

11:45 PM Mon: Get the idea to fake my way into the WNBA to make money. Watch Juwanna Mann for inspiration.

Well that about wraps up this edition of the WNBA draft. I saw two picks and I’m really, pretty confident they will do kinda alright and enjoy their life of knee injuries and obscurity. I promise to be back next year with more complete coverage, it’s just hard sometimes you know?

9 Players You See on Pick-Up Basketball Courts

2 Apr

So old and strong

Old Man– He is quite the spectacle to behold. From his bony knees and elbows to his fantastically gross hook shots from long range that always seem to go in, he keeps you honest and makes you really glad you aren’t that old yet. When he isn’t making incomprehensible old man exhaustion noises, he is quick to remind you how to play defense and what basketball was like with no three point line.

Chances of Winning: Crap Shoot. For all his apparent weaknesses, let’s not discount old man strength. It is very real and science has yet to prove why.

Sweat Machine– Pray to God you don’t guard this dude. His shirt is soaked through by the time the ball is checked. By game two it looks like he has a season pass to raging waters and forgot his towel.

Chances of Winning: High. If Sweat Machine is on your team you are golden. No one wants to guard some guy who looks like he just got slimed on a Nickelodeon game show.

Lorax– Drunken bums add a certain excitement to the game. They smell, they curse and employ interesting defensive tactics like dropping trout mid play. There is no way to avoid the Lorax because often times he makes his home in the park you play at.

Chances of Winning: Pack it in. If you start to smell Gilby’s vodka, the Lorax is near. Miss your free throw shot and sit this one out or go home. He is going to be the coach, point guard, commentator and crazy person all in one. You won’t touch the ball and you might even have your 5th metatarsal broken as he slams into you screaming about bagels.

High Guy– It’s difficult to tell what the High Guy is actually on, but his eyes are glossy and he generally responds with only head nods. His movements are erratic and he has a hard time catching passes.

Chances of Winning: Slim. Although he is sometimes capable of incredible feats of inexplicable basketball beauty, High Guy generally misses very badly and lacks the stamina to get back on D.

High Schooler in Vans– This kid is usually on his High School Varsity team and mocks everyone on the court older than 18 by wearing flimsy skateboard shoes. While most guys’ ankles are one unimpressive lateral cut away from reconstructive surgery, this joker scampers around the court like he’s never heard of arch support.

Chances of Winning: Medium. While usually one of the most athletic players on the court, the high schooler in vans can sometimes be too cool for school as evidenced by him wearing FUCKING VANS TO PLAY BASKETBALL!

The Accessorizer– He’s got a sleeve, headband, authentic jersey, mouth guard and neck tattoo, and he works at P.F. Changs. Wait, so you aren’t in the NBA and you wear all that shit seriously?

Chances of Winning: Stay away from this dude. He will take countless “NBA range” 3’s throughout the game, try behind the back passes that either hit your shoes or face and then gets mad at you for missing a reasonable 10 foot jumper.

Little Dude– Get this kid off the court. Where are the parents? Unless I’m getting paid the going baby sitter rate, I’m not trying to play with anyone under 12.

Jeremy Lin Inspired Asians– Up until 4 months ago this would have just been titled, “Asians.” I have played with plenty of talented Asians, but after Linsanity blew up, their swag is through the roof. Half court shots, 360 degree dunk attempts, and timeouts are all possibilities nowadays.

Chances of Winning: I love Linsanity, but cool the jets boys. I understand the excitement. I have been waiting for the great white hope ever since I saw the Coaches’ son hit the game winning shot for Valparaiso in 1998. All we’ve gotten since is Greg Ostertag and I’m not happy about it.

Ref Player– No one cares if you googled ‘NBA rulebook.’ No one cares if you went to Todd Bozeman and Ben Braun basketball camp and have NBA season ticket because you are a “student of the game.” WE ARENT IN THE NBA!! We are at a Middle School in Burbank with an ice cream truck that won’t shut up. Stop calling traveling, fouls, and 1’s, carries, jump balls and goaltending. Just stop.

Chances of Winning: Real good. The Ref player will argue and whine his way into more possessions and probably the W, if someone doesn’t knock him out first.

Thrown Milk

29 Mar

I feel this dude

Ivan is a die-hard Los Angeles Dodgers fan. He loves baseball more than anything in the world. He makes me play catch with him most days after school and I can’t tell you how many bases loaded grand slams he has hit off me in imaginary ninth innings. He also loves being a brat to his younger brother James. He really finds a nice balance between physical and verbal abuse. Today he chooses to draw from his venomous 8-year-old wit, accusing James of “eating yogurt like a little girl,” and generally just being a fart face. This drives James bonkers. This is about the time I stop making myself a sandwich and intervene. To be clear, I am not putting a stop to this because I find Ivan’s behavior out of line, bur rather I am upset with the poor quality of insults being slung and even more frustrated that it bothers James so much.
“Come on big guy. You are a boy. Clearly you don’t eat yogurt like a girl. Why is this making you mad!” I say. After I calm myself down, I remember the movie ‘Sandlot’ and the infamous line the fat, freckled kid delivers to the rival baseball team.
“You play ball like a girl!”
Yogurt eating and baseball aren’t the same, but there is precedence to James’ anger. I decide instead of scolding Ivan for being mean, I will help James exact his revenge. I think quickly on my feet, take one look at Ivan’s bright blue Dodgers cap and whisper the dagger into James’ ear that will crumple his older brother. Whenever you ask a five year old to repeat something you’ve said, especially to comedic affect, there is always “HBP” (High Botch Potential), but James nails it.
“Hey…hey guess what?”
“What?” Ivan replies.
“The Dodgers suck and the Giants are making the playoffs.” A great silence falls over the kitchen. I expect mild annoyance at best, but apparently mentioning this storied baseball rivalry brings about monstrous emotions in some eight year olds.
“What did you say?” Ivan stammers. Sensing things are getting strange; I step in front of James and repeat the line but with less gusto.
“That’s right. The Giants just made the playoffs today. It’s a fact.”
Ivan’s eyes grow big and his nostrils flare. “Shut up! No they didn’t! That isn’t true, take it back!” His voice is trembling. At this point I am both shocked and amused that this is getting so serious. I try one last time to convince him that this is actually true, it is sports fact and I relay the message to him as if I am reading the ticker.
Ivan lets out a scream like Colossus from X-men, picks up a full plastic cup of milk I just poured for him and throws his best little league fastball into my chest. It’s a direct hit to the solar plexus. I have never seen milk spray in so many directions. It’s on my chest, jeans, shoes, face, hair and all over the ground. I don’t know how long we all held our ‘some shit just went down’ faces, but it feels like a long time. They say don’t cry over spilled milk, so I don’t, but there is no idiom that accurately encapsulates the epic rage I feel over thrown milk. My full supply of blood and adrenaline rush thru my veins. Part of me almost expects adamantium to burst thru my knuckles. I almost can’t believe I’m this pissed off. If a grown man threw milk at me, I’m not sure if I would laugh or administer a swift roundhouse to his temple. This is a small child though, and right now he is staring at me with the most fear I have seen in a creatures eyes in some time. I take a deep breath and let some logic seep back into my system. Both children are waiting for my next move, which puts me in an odd position because it’s hard to severely discipline kids that aren’t yours. I choose a good ole-fashioned scream off. I drop f-bombs and s-bombs and even a few q-bombs. That’s right, quagmires. Ivan begins crying as I launch into my awkward adult tirade.
“You just can’t go through life throwing milk at people!” This is a situation I find myself in frequently when working with kids. Screaming absurd things that seemingly have little meaning. When you really prod the issue, why can’t you throw milk at someone? The only way I could think of explaining it is that you will probably get your ass kicked and it’s just a dick move. Finding a sophisticated way to explain what a dick move is to an eight year old is difficult.
I continue yelling about milk and attitude adjustments for a couple minutes. Ivan is very apologetic. He starts cleaning up the floor and offers to wash my clothes. I give him the silent treatment and wash them myself. I remove my t-shirt and throw it in the wash. James approaches me cautiously and requests my help with the alphabet. As I sit down bare chested, jeans smelling like 2% and writing lower case ‘a’s’, I realize how hard it is to be a good parent. I’m glad I get to clock out at the end of the day.