Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gladiators We Are Not

In this country it is common for sports fans to project how they would react given a certain set of circumstances. Sports fans are quick to point out what they would do if they were the athlete without realizing they are not the ones with the super human powers. Sports fans don't throw 97 MPH fastballs, bench press 400 pounds, jump 40 inches off the ground, or throw footballs 70 yards. Athletes are not regular people and their mindset is not the same. To hold them to the same set of standards as the rest of society is ridiculous. More often than not they will disappoint you because a fan's level of expectation is unrealistic. By their very nature athletes are tightly wound and understand that their worth is singularly tied to their performance. They realize fans don't love them for them, but rather their physical skill. It should not be surprising when the results are less than anticipated. Sports fans rarely look at the athletes for who they are. Some of them are lazy, some of them are mean, some of them are egomaniacs, and most of them aren't choir boys. Consider yourself fortunate if you end up with Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, or Derek Jeter. In the end sports fans idolize the modern day gladiator and that is where it should end. We get into trouble when we compare ourselves to them. Sport fans are not athletes. Stay in your lane.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cleavie The Greek

In addition to my infinite knowledge about everything sports and hip-hop related I was once a world class sportsbook bettor. Pro football was my game of choice although I dabbled into the college game when I saw a spread I couldn't resist. Basketball was secondary unless the madness of March was involved, otherwise a casual wager on the pros here and there during my adventures in Vegas. I was known as Cleavie The Greek, A.K.A. Young Sam Rothstein, A.K.A. The Oracle. It took many years to earn these nicknames and I'm flattered the betting community holds me in such high regard. For my fans, friends, and followers I am going to resurrect a part of my former self. Every Friday I will select a mix of 8 to 10 college and pro football games and give you my predictions. I will keep track of my wins and losses throughout the year and compare them against the best at years end. Please feel free to let me know if there is a specific game or outcome you would like me to weigh in on. Here's a little preseason teaser to get the ball rolling:

Power Conference winners in College Football

Pac 10 - Oregon
Big 10 - Ohio St.
Big 12 - Texas
SEC - Alabama
ACC - Miami
Big East - Pittsburgh

Like my man Van Wilder says, "Write That Down!"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

T.O And Ocho Cinco Won't Work

Ever been at a party where 2 class clowns were trying to out do each other? Ever seen 2 pretty boys fight over the same girl? Ever seen 2 hot chick get ready in front of the same mirror? That's what it will be like in Cincinnati when T.O. joins forces with Chad Ocho Cinco. The actions of the duo will completely overshadow the other players and the accomplishments of the team. It will basically turn the Bengals season into a reality show. On paper it sounds great, 2 all pro receivers for Carson Palmer to throw to and stretch the defense allowing Chad to see more single coverage. In reality there's only one football and eventually T.O. will demand it causing friction amongst his teammates. T.O. is a cancer that has ruined every locker room he's ever been a part of. He even went so far as to accuse one of his quarterbacks of making up secret plays with the tight end and conspiring against him. T.O. was a great talent and he's still a good one, that's why the Bengals are willing to take a gamble. Unfortunately his talent isn't worth the headache. It will be must see TV though. Stay tuned for the fallout.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hip-Hip Game Changer: Funkmaster Flex

In the beginning of hip-hop the DJ was always part of the background and rarely mentioned. Over the years such groups as Whodini, Run DMC, and A Tribe Called Quest gave their DJ's more focus and attention, but still nothing close to a headliner. As rap evolved DJ's became more prevalent and displayed their skills on mixtapes. Funkmaster Flex brought the underground mixtape phenomenon to the mainstream. He was one of the first DJ's to showcase his talents without being part of a hip-hop group. This independence allowed him to work with various artists and use beats in a more creative fashion. Funkmaster Flex established the theory that a good DJ can take someone's original work and enhance it by blending different vocals and changing the tempo. Funk Flex was one of the first DJ's to be a marquee name and the predecessor to such DJ's as DJ Clue, Tony Touch, and DJ Khaled. The mixtape concept still lives on, but like most other things hip-hop related it is no longer underground. Funkmaster Flex is a big reason why.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

5 Reasons USC Football Is Dead For The Next Decade

The reign of Pete Carroll and the USC football team from 2000 to 2009 was an illustrious one. The NFL is flooded with talent the program produced including 3 starting quarterbacks and a defensive player of the year. Although the program is still loaded with blue chip players there is too much turmoil surrounding USC for them to contend for a BCS title. Here are the 5 reasons USC will not win a national championship for at least a decade:

1. Rick Neuheisel. Anyone familiar with the practices of Slick Rick knows the NCAA sanctions and loss of scholarships imposed on The USC program is just the tool he needs to lure away top recruits. Factor in the bitterness of Norm Chow (he got passed over for the USC head coaching job) and UCLA is in a prime position to shift the balance of power in LA.

2. Pat Haden. Pat Haden is too squeaky clean to be an Athletic Director of a major college football program. The game is too dirty for him and he will always prefer substance and character over talent. That is a recipe for disaster.

3. Lane Kiffin. Lane Kiffin burns too many bridges and rubs people the wrong way. His last encounter with USC alum Jeff Fisher ended rather ugly. Once he loses the support of the boosters and other alumni members it's all over.

4. College kids are impatient. With the loss of 30 scholarships and a 2 year bowl ban top flight players will elect to take their talents elsewhere. They won't feel the need to be punished for the actions of Reggie Bush.

5. The NCAA is watching. It's hard enough to run a successful big time college program without the NCAA watching our every move, but it's impossible once you have their undivided attention. The NCAA rulebook is as thick as a New York phone directory and the powers that be are going to make sure USC football follows it to the letter, comma, and syllable of its rules and regulations.

Monday, July 26, 2010

HTB Statements

It's time for another installment of HTB statements. For those of you not familiar with what HTB means HTB refers to statements that are hard to believe. Here's a few for your reading pleasure.

1. Manny Pacquiao is not fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. on November 13th.

2. 4 time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon has yet to win a race this year.

3. Ichiro is the only Seattle Mariner hitting over .300.

4. It gets more painful everyday to watch Kevin Durant play basketball.

5. The commish in my fantasy football league stopped hating and re-instated me after a 2 year ban.

6. Kobe Bryant is so talented that 2 of his arch nemesis agreed to play with him anyways.

7. Chris Johnson will be on time to training camp.

8. Brett Favre has started 285 consecutive games at quarterback (18 straight seasons).

9. A hockey player signed a contract worth over $100,000,000.

10. We've probably seen the last of Shaq as a basketball player.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pros Vs. Joes

I witnessed and incredible display of athletic ability a few days ago watching Pros Vs. Joes. Hakeem Olajuwon, Rick Fox, and Kenny Smith took on Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, and Antonio Gates in a 3 on 3 challenge. To my surprise the former NBA players didn't win. I realize Nabb and Antonio Gates played college basketball but I didn't expect them to beat NBA champions. Usually football plates are somewhat one dimensional and gravitate towards the pigskin because they have no other choice. It is clear that any one of the "Joes" could have played in the NBA. They would have suffered less wear and tear on their bodies and probably would have had a longer career. The irony of it all is that Terell Owens, Donovan McNabb, and Antonio Gates are all potential hall of fame football players. Had they taken the easy way out the trio would never have achieved greatness. They could've been "good" basketball players (Charlie Ward) but not "great". We sometimes forget how gifted professional athletes are. Pros Vs. Joes put it all in perspective.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sam Bradford's Not All That

Once again the signing of first round draft picks is being held up by the contract demands of an unproven quarterback. Sam Bradford (coming off of shoulder surgery mind you) has been slated as the savior of a woeful St. Louis Rams franchise and is looking to become the richest man in the NFL. The numbers being bantered around resemble a billboard for powerball or mega millions. The proposed contract would guarantee Bradford between $40,000,000 and $50,000,000 and with incentives could reach $100,000,000. This is not Peyton Manning or even Eli Manning for that matter. This is not Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, or Ben Roethlisberger. Sam Bradford has not won a single game at the professional level and there are still questions as to whether his 50 touchdown season 2 years ago was reality or an apparition. We all know St. Louis has too many needs for Bradford to turn them around anytime soon. Even if he can throw a nice ball he doesn't run, block, or tackle. It may take years before we get an accurate evaluation on his skills. The problem is no one will sign their top pick until they find out what Bradford's getting and once they do teams will balk at giving their first round pick such an outrageous amount of money. Consequently those picks will hold out, come into training camp late, and fall months behind on their learning curve. This contract impacts the entire league, not just the Rams. Way to go St. Louis! You've managed to drag the entire league down to your level.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A-Rods *600 Home Runs

Has there ever been a superstar as disliked as Alex Rodriguez? Most sports figures invoke some passion whether it's love or hate yet the Rodriguez persona is met with total indifference. His disingenuous disposition is a turn off for most fans. Even in New York where he helped deliver the Yankees a World Series title he's simply gone from hated to unhated. He is not beloved or embraced like Jeter, Rivera, and Posada. There is no denying Alex Rodriguez is one of the 10 greatest players in Baseball history. He will hit 600, then 700, then 800 home runs before it's all said and done but no one will care. His accomplishments on the field will not outweigh his scandal off the field. Fans still need someone to blame for the steroids era and Alex is the #1 candidate. He is a constant reminder of an era when the game was tarnished and the performances enhanced. The truth of the matter is Alex Rodruguez was a baseball god before the drugs and creams, clears, and powders are not magic elixirs. They don't allow you to hit 600 home runs by themselves, it still takes god given talent and a work ethic out of this world. A-Rod's 600th home run will come and go without a lot of fanfare and acknowledgement the accomplishment deserves and there will be no one to blame but Alex. If only he were a likable guy.

Hip-Hop Game Changer: Cash Money Millionaires

Juvenile, Manny Fresh, Birdman, Lil Wayne, and the Hot Boys picked up New Orleans rap where Master P left off. Juvenile's single "Ha" hit the charts and the New Orleans state of mind was center stage. His success was later followed up by Lil Wayne and the bling bling era was in full effect. Although the group had some setbacks and adversity they remained resilient and re-invented themselves. Once Wayne took over the reins as the superstar and focal point Cash Money began to rebuild the empire. With the success of the Carter Cd's Wayne's influence on hip-hop was undeniable. Now with the addition of Drake and Nicki Minaj the foundation appears to be solid for years to come. With the exception of Jay-Z and Eminem it could be argued that Lil Wayne and Drake are the biggest names in hip-hop right now. Very rarely does one label carry that distinction. As an added bonus here is my list of the top 5 Southern hip-hop cities:

1. Atlanta
2. New Orleans
3. Miami
4. Houston
5. Virginia Beach

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You Don't Have To Be The Star

Statistically student athletes are more likely to become a brain surgeon than a professional in their respected sport. Only a select few are talented and fortunate enough to play at the next level. For this reason it's important for student athletes to understand there are other ways to leverage their experience and contacts. If you are playing sports at a major university chances are you'll have an opportunity to socialize with future millionaires. Take the back up point guard at Kentucky for example. As much as I hate Kentucky right now they will probably turn out 12 to 15 pro players in the next 4 years. If you're the back up point guard during those years you can develop a close relationship with those players. After your college days are over you can become an agent, or a broker, or a car salesman and start out with high end clients with influence and expendable income. Even though the back up point guard didn't make the pros he can solicit his services and talents among pro players. No one should give up on their dreams, but it's helpful to have an insurance policy if things don't go the way they were anticipated. Student athletes should use all the angles to ensure their success in life after sports. Think about that.

PS. A special congrats to Rich Cho, the new GM of the Portland Trailblazers and the first Asian American executive in the NBA We're all real proud of you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Floyd The Faker

I haven't completely turned my back on Floyd Mayweather Jr, but I'm damn close. He better have a real good explanation for not signing the deal to fight Manny Pacquiao on November 13th. After all the controversy about blood testing two weeks before the fight has been resolved what's the problem? I don't believe in ducking top flight opponents and furthermore I can't imagine a man whose nickname is "Money" turning down $40,000,000. I've been hearing the rumors that Floyd is scared. If this is true he is a huge disappointment that has let down his legion of fans. Floyd's legacy is forever tarnished if he doesn't make this fight happen. He will not go down as the greatest boxer in history and everyone will question his heart and courage. It's rare to see an athlete with such superior skills walk away in the prime of their career. Personally I feel cheated. After defending Floyd from criticism and challenging Manny Pacquiao to get in the ring and fight like a man it's Floyd that's left me hanging. Did Chili get in his head? Is he worried about his Uncle Rog going to prison and not being there to train him? Whatever the reason he better say something quickly. His legion of fans deserve more and he will lose them if he's not careful. Floyd you're on the clock!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What's Wrong With Baseball?

The 2010 Midsummer Nights Classic was dismal and boring. It's indicative of the state of baseball today. The declining ratings and popularity of America's past time is alarming. There are 3 distinct reasons for the fall off:

1. Superstar turnover. The best players aren't household names yet. The all star game was filled with players making their first or 2nd appearance. It will take some time for the public to open up and embrace these guys.

2. Dominant pitching. Baseball has had a ton of perfect games, no hitters, and shutouts this season. Chicks dig the long ball however and strikeouts and pop flys are boring for the casual fan. Baseball needs big time hitters to make the game more interesting.

3. Baseball is drug free. The fans got spoiled in the late 90's with historic performances that led to historic attendance. McGwire, Bonds, and Sosa captivated our attention and won over our hearts. Without the drugs players end up with very average numbers. The fans would rather see the video game type numbers.

There is no quick fix to this problem, but fortunately the Yankees will win the World Series this year which keeps things interesting for at least one more season. Without them major league baseball has no stability.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Not So Fast Lance

7 time Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong is currently in 32nd place 17 minutes behind the leader. in his final tour Lance got off to a shaky start and had a disastrous stage a few days ago where he was involved in 3 crashes. That disastrous stage basically ended any hope of him riding off into the sunset with an unprecedented 8th tour championship. Perhaps his time away from cycling is finally catching up with him. There are younger cyclist more dedicated to the sport taking advantage of their opportunity. Perhaps it's just father time catching up with Lance. You can't be great forever and eventually your body will betray you. It won't do what your mind tells it. Both of those are plausible explanations for Lance's poor performance this year but I think we all know the truth. Lance off the drugs just isn't that fast. If you'll recall my blog from May 22nd (all cycling and track guys use dope) this all makes sense. Once the world and the media started hearing whispers about Lance Armstrong's alleged drug use he's had to clean up his act. Without the extra boost. his performance has suffered. In a sport where winning and losing is determined by .01 of a second losing that "edge" is critical. We'll never know for sure whether Lance used PED's or not, but I think his 2010 Tour De France results tells us all we need to know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lebrontegate Goes Public

Lebron James going to Miami is the story that keeps on giving. We've already seen the Cavaliers owner respond to Lebron's decision like a jilted lover and we've watched millions of fans from Cleveland to New York profess their eternal hatred for the chosen one. Now it appears the bitter emotions knows no bounds. There are merchandisers in Cleveland printing up shirts that say "Lebron is headed South but his mom is riding West." It's despicable to think someone would capitalize on a situation so personal and painful. Ironically the same people that are profiting from these shirts are probably the same people that printed up "Lebron please stay in Cleveland" shirts before his decision. Ethics in this society have gone completely out the window. It's never ok to talk about somebody's mama (and certainly not for financial gain) yet the reality is the subject makes money and will continue to be exploited. Never mind the fact that a 25 year old has been embarrassed and betrayed by his teammate and friend (and will probably need counseling down the road) people will still walk down the streets of Cleveland wearing these shirts in protest. I hate to think what the fans would do if Lebron actually won a championship in Miami. My guess is they would torch his house, blame him for Cleveland's poor economy, and hold his kids for ransom to make up the difference. Cleveland has cast itself in a very unflattering light. How long will Lebron continue to take these sucker punches lying down? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: The Movie Soundtrack

Soundtracks provide a background for movies that enhance the storyline. The music compliments the characters and sets the tone for certain scenes. Hip-hop became prominent in this process in the early 90's with such movies as New Jack City, Boyz In The Hood, Menace II Society, Poetic Justice, Above The Rim, Sunset Park, and Who's The Man. Those films captured the essence of urban life and being a part of motion pictures gave rap music much greater exposure than before. No longer was hip-hop confined to music videos, CD's, and concert performances. The soundtrack allowed the industry to grow and reach new markets and demographics. The soundtrack also helped a lot of rappers make the transition from music to acting. Ice T, Icecube, and Tupac all had songs on a soundtrack that represented the character they portrayed. These trailblazers have been followed up by Eminem, TI, and 50 Cent. The movie soundtrack is not as popular as it once was but the influence lives on. We will continue to see the collaboration between music and hip-hop forever.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Farewell To "The Boss"

Love him or hate him George Steinbrenner was the most influential owner of the 20th century. He took his philosophy to heights never seen before. The philosophy was simple, in the era of free agency the one who wins is the one with the most resources. If you can buy what you want why would you ever play fair? George Steinbrenner shared New York's passion for winning and made it his personal responsibility to put the best team on the field money can buy. Who else would pay more for the left side of an infield than other teams entire payroll? Win at all costs was the name of his game and he delivered more times than not. Under Steinbrenner's watch the Yankees went to the World Series 10 times and won 7. Say what you want about Steinbrenner's impatient, abrasive attitude, but it got results. There's nothing like winning in the Big Apple, just ask Reggie Jackson, Roger Clemens, and Derek Jeter. George Steinbrenner demanded it and his star players fell right in line. Every city with a penny pinching owner wishes their team could spend like George Money Bags. If only those owners shared his passion and commitment. Rest in peace George.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lebron's An A-Rod

Lebron James showed the world last Thursday that it takes more than athletic ability to carry a franchise. It takes a certain mindset not everyone possesses. Instead of remaining with the Ceveland Cavaliers, a franchise he resurrected from the dead and held in the palm of his hands he chose to take his talents down the road to South Beach and play with Chris Bosh and D Wade next season. Would Jordan have done that? Would Bird have done that? Would Kove have done that? Of course not but these are different times. Give Lebron credit for having the guts to admit to himself that he doesn't want the responsibility of delivering a championship to rest solely on his shoulders. He'd rather be "a" piece of the puzzle that helps his team get to a title, not "the" piece that helps his team get to a title. Lebron can be a 2nd option, the aforementioned hall of famers couldn't (Shaq divorce?) In the end Lebron will win multiple championships and always be a part of D Wades dynasty. Sound familiar? A few years back Alex Rodriguez was the reigning AL MVP and considered by most to be the best player in baseball. He put up video game like numbers but could never deliver a World Series. Instead of going it alone and hoping his team would put key players around him he chose to swallow his ego and play alongside his good friend Derek Jeter in New York. Alex will win multiple championships and always be a part of the Jeter dynasty. The moral of this story? Just because you're the best doesn't mean you don't need help. Giving up the franchise player tag is a small price to pay for multiple chips. Remember that.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Free Agency Thoughts part II: The New York Knicks

Isaiah Thomas is my guy, but he should be in jail right now for murdering the New York Knicks the way he did. It speaks volumes when the promises of fortune and fame and an opportunity to be the savior of Gotham isn't enough to lure top tier free agents. The Knicks stripped their team down to the bone for the last 2 years in hopes of adding King James and D Wade. No King James, no D Wade, and not even a Chris Bosh. In the end they settled for Amare Stoudemire. Not much of a consolation prize when you consider Amare can't really shoot, can't really dribble, doesn't rebound or block shots, and will cost the Knicks $100,000,000 over the next 5 years. He is merely a by product of Steve Nash's ability to run the pick and roll. Amare will be lost without Steve and the Knicks fans will turn on him mid season. The Knicks do have a plan B however. Word on the street is that Carmelo Anthony and Tony Parker may join Amare in New York after next season. If that happens the Heat won't look so unbeatable. Carmelo's a good fit there. The city will embrace him and dare I say it he will deliver them a championship. Of course if plan B doesn't come to fruition the Knicks are right back where they started, miserable and searching for answers. Lets hope Amare can weather the storm for a season until help can arrive then we'll get to see the Knicks/Heat rivalry renewed. No mopping the floor with Jeff Van Gundy this time though.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Free Agency Thoughts Part I: Miami Heat

Before I get to the Miami Heat lets talk about Lebron James for a moment. In a sport that is defined by its franchise players Lebron has made a decision to relinquish that position. At the ripe old age of 25 Lebron will be part of a supporting cast and not the marquee guy. It almost seems like he's more comfortable in that role rather than having the weight of the world on his shoulders. Was it too heavy? Perhaps we'll never know but I will give you my opinion next week. Lets get back to free agency talk.

Miami Heat. Miami pulled off the impossible by assembling a core group of young talented players unlike the league has ever seen. isn't this a younger, more athletic version of the Celtics Pierce, Allen, and Garnett? On paper the Miami Heat are the team to beat for years to come. In reality they still have alot of work to do. The 3 superstars (Bosh isn't really a superstar but I'll throw him in there anyway) will have to learn how to defer to one another and complement each others game. This will not be easy to do and I don't know if their coach is up to the task of managing such large egos. There is only one basketball after all and all of them demand it. Don't be surprised to see Pat Riley step back into the fold like he did in 2006. On the flip side D Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh all draw double teams. This will give their teammates looks at the basket that are WIDE open. If the role players play their role this team is scary. It's D Wade's team and he just picked up some platinum pieces. Is it a championship year for the Heat? Not yet, but they get to the finals against the Lakers and lose 4-2. Not a bad start for the new up and coming dynasty. Tomorrows topic is the New York Knicks.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Free Agency Circus Sucks

When the whole concept of the 2010 free agency class first came about I was excited. The re-alignment of superstars and the shift of power in the NBA intrigued me. Now I'm just disgusted and irritated. The whole process has turned into a 3 ring circus. You have so called experts giving opinions on things they know absolutely nothing about. I've watched countless hours of Lebron highlights and speculation only to have this thing drawn out beyond belief. We now have to wait for an ESPN press conference tonight to find out where Lebron James will end up. This leads me to the conclusion that he's already made a decision, but wants the announcement to be as dramatic as possible. How corny. Have you ever heard of a player making free agency completely about themselves before? The team of me has gotten a little carried away with his self absorption. The other free agents weren't much better. D Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, and Amare Stoudemire all played with peoples emotions and held NBA franchises hostage while everyone kissed their asses and told them how good they were. The spectacle went from the sublime to the ridiculous. At least we'll have closure after this evening. I'll break down the winners and losers of free agency tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hip-Hop Game Changer: The 2 Live Crew

Before there was Outkast, The Geto Boys, or Ludacris The 2 Live Crew put the South on the map. There would be no DJ Khaled, Pitbull, or Rick Ross without Luther Campbell. The 2 Live Crew spit their vulgar lyrics and traditional Miami base sound with no regard for the repercussions or ramifications of their actions. They went platinum on their own terms. Their career defining moment was when they took a scene from Full Metal Jacket and turned it into a national phenomenon. Me So Horny epitomizes what The 2 Live Crew is all about. Look no further than this group for evidence that sex sells. If you notice videos have become more risque since The 2 Live Crew has been on the scene. I'll admit I've been to a Luke Skywalker show and let me tell you it's pretty graphic. I can't tell you exactly what I saw there, but lets just say there was alot of audience participation. The images are burned into my memory. They will never get the credit they deserve for resurrecting the South but The 2 Live Crew are pioneers in the rap game. Whenever you hear that tick tick followed by that bump think of Luke and the crew. Move Somethin!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Got Kobayashi's Back

Hot dog eating took it to the next level over the weekend. Who would've thought you would need to get the police involved at one of these events? I'll admit over the years I've watched the display of gluttony with idle curiosity wondering what the whole point was. Who's idea was it anyway to eat 60 hot dogs? Do you know how sick that is? Is hot dog eating even a sport? After this weekend hot dog eating crossed over from contest to sport for me. It has all the elements. You have the old school champ in Kobayashi, a man who established his name and his fame in this dirty game. He paved the way for future champs to get exposure and riches. Then you have the new king, Joey Chesnut. He's not as well known as Kobayashi but he has beaten him head up the last two Nathan Championships. Plus you have contract disputes. Kobayashi wasn't paid the proper appearance fee and was shut out of the competition this year. Of course you've got to have some bad blood. Joey and Kobayashi genuinely dislike one another. Each person thinks they are Mr. Hot Dog and controls the sport. The fight for power and supremacy wages on. Lastly you have the raw emotion and the heat of battle getting the best of someone. Kobayashi actually WENT TO JAIL over his competitive spirit. After jumping up on the platform Kobayashi was brought up on charges ranging from assault to trespassing. If that's not a sport I don't know what is! Will training camp start soon please. The offseason is killing me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

England Watered Down

I watched over the weekend as Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams cruised to the Wimbledon Championships. The both of them made it look incredibly easy. I couldn't help but feel cheated they both got to the finals without having to play their arch nemesis, their most worthy adversary, and their #1 rival. In the case of Serena it was the absence of Venus. No one else pushes Serena the way Venus does. Let us not forget Venus is the older sister and doesn't put up with Serena's sh*t. The psychological and emotional warfare makes for exciting TV. You wonder how many more grand slam titles the Williams sisters would have if they didn't have to play each other. In the case of Nadal it was the absence of Roger Federer. Some people consider Roger the greatest of all time yet Nadal has had his number recently. He's won two consecutive grand slams (on clay and grass) and has fared well in their head to head match ups. It's a rivalry that's starting to resemble Agassi/Sampras from a few years back. Tennis more so than other sports needs compelling rivalries. It needs two champions facing each other that bring out the best in their opponent. Without the epic rivalry the ending is often anti climatic. Nadal needs Roger. Serena needs Venus. Their battles are career defining and validate greatness. Roger and Venus need to get it together, the US Open is around the corner.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cliff Lee Is A "G"

Cliff Lee is the consummate professional. Most athletes couldn't handle being traded from a World Series team to a last place cellar dweller. As a former Cy Young winner you know he had to feel insulted that the Philadelphia Phillies didn't consider him an important part of their winning equation. Instead of sulking and pointing fingers Cliff Lee has gone out on the mound and displayed his dominance. Complete games, shutouts, you name it Cliff Lee has done it. He's shown the rest of the league that he's a valuable piece in the baseball puzzle. The Seattle Mariners took a gamble on Cliff and lost. Their bats never warmed up and their bullpen stinks. They've fallen into a hole they can't get out of and this season is a wash. It's time for the Mariners to cut their losses and see what they can get for him on the open market. The Mariners can take solace in the fact that Cliff Lee has performed well enough to get several top prospects back in return. The future looks bright. Seattle fans appreciate that Cliff Lee went out there every start and gave it 100%. It's unfortunate they will have to see him go in a few weeks. The league has taken notice of Cliff Lee's talents and don't be surprised if he's pitching in the World Series again this year. Atlanta?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Elin Woods Is Not Worthy

Let me refresh your memory on the sequence of events. Elin Nordegren was a nanny for PGA golfer Jesper Paernevik. Tiger Woods, the face of golf and the athlete of the decade noticed her from afar at a golf tournament. He thought she was cute so he took her out on a date. The date went well, they started going out, and then they got married. During that marriage the two of them had two kids, Tiger Woods was unfaithful, everybody found out, and Elin filed for divorce. Now for the crazy part. Elin Woods is due 9 figures in the divorce settlement. 9 figures! She never picked up a club, never endorsed a product, and never carried a professional sport on her back. In addition to Tiger Woods losing a huge chunk of his wealth Elin will retain full custody of their children. Tiger Woods will have to ask permission to see his kids and invite them to the Masters. They may even be raised in Elin's home country of Sweden. Something is terribly wrong with this picture. What kind of country do we live in where a glorified babysitter can have sole control over the heirs of a future billionaire and pocket a couple hundred million to boot? This is the come up of the millennium. I'm not condoning Tiger Woods behavior, but the punishment far exceeds the crime. Tiger Woods was wrong for his infidelity, but INFIDELITY IS NOT A CRIME! INFIDELITY IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR LOSING YOUR PARENTAL RIGHTS! INFIDELITY SHOULDN'T BE PUNISHABLE WITH A $200,000,000 FINE! Elin Woods feels a sense of entitlement because she was cheated on, but that doesn't give her the right to take a man's children and fortune. Her accomplishments and contributions in life don't warrant that kind of pay out. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! Tiger has found out in a painful way.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Bust And The Brat: It's All About Attitude II

If you saw Terrell Owens on the street you would think he was a Greek god chiseled out of stone capable of amazing athletic feats. If you saw him streaking down the sideline with no name on the back of his Jersey you might think he was the best player on the field. So why is Terrell unemployed? Attitude. Terrell Owens is from a small town in Alabama and never got the recognition he felt he deserved in high school or college. When he got to the pros he started out as a Jerry Rice understudy. Years later he took the top receiver role and has never been quite the same. Mr. Exposure craves the spotlight and always wants to be the center of attention. It's not enough for him to be in a winning environment, he also needs to get the credit for the teams success and none of the blame for its failures. It goes back to his upbringing. The insecurities have never gone away. Consequently he's become a cancer that eats away at franchises from the inside out. He's thrown every single one of his quarterbacks under the bus and has left every team he's played for on bad terms. The money and the fame have not been enough to change his attitude. He will unceremoniously ride off into the sunset and into the hall of fame. He will be remembered as a tremendous talent that was emotionally unstable. A disappointing legacy, but one of his own creation. If only he felt loved and appreciated. What could have been.