After waiter inexplicably asks: Gonzalez, why don’t you fucking revive someone out there?
Although Nadal’s victory made the headline more prophetic than I once believed, the quickness with which they discredited the greatest player in the Tennis game is bizarre. During the first rain delay of today’s Mens Final, when Nadal was 1 Game away from winning the Championship in 3 sets, the brain-trust at the WWL felt it wise to hitch their buggy to Nadal’s horse. They chose to predict that the rain delay was only “delaying the inevitable”. Since when has victory over Federer been inevitable? Sure he was down 5-4 in the possible deciding set, but hasn’t the man won the last 5 Wimbledon Championships? Doesn’t he deserve the benefit of the doubt? And when did headline writers start offering opinions? Pretty fucked.
Even fuckeder, was the WWL’s follow-up headline, describing the possibility of a Federer victory as a “dream”. So Federer defeat, inevitable. Federer victory, a dream. Either some copy editor was jonesing for the capri-beater combo of Spain’s favorite son or ESPN was attempting to dissuade the public from tuning in to NBC’s coverage. Either way, the WWL should stick to pseudo-clever puns instead of alienation when it comes to the Main Page.
Last nite, as I was awaiting the results of the Rampage-Forrest Light Heavyweight Championship bout, I realized I had no horse in the race. Both fighters are charismatic, likable, and respectful to the point that I would’ve enjoyed seeing either one of them taking home the belt. If I had access to PPV (fucking ancient residence), I would’ve sat back with a few beers and enjoyed two decent guys attempt to reach the pinnacle of their profession. But after the controversial decision in favor of Forrest, my opinion and I suspect those of many others, has been altered concerning my lack of allegiances, Dana White, and the whole UFC. My prefight complacency has been replaced by unfortunate cynicism.
Though I would have loved to see Griffin earn himself the Light Heavyweight belt that he was been working for since he and Bonnar put the UFC on the map, the way in which he was crowned is brutal and embarrassing. To have such an important fight, maybe even the most prestigious UFC matchup of 2008, decided unfavorably just puts another cloud over the UFC and Dana White.
This move, and by move I mean Dana White greasing the wheels of a Griffin-decision, combines the manipulative arrogance of David Stern and the idiotic pettiness of JP Riccardi. Seriously, a Griffin victory is clearly in the best interest of White. Having an Ultimate Fighter alum finally receive a UFC belt would legitimize the whole process*, and create opposition to the belief that it’s just a personality pageant. And removing Rampage’s title would give credence to the superiority of UFC nurtured fighters**. White has got to address these concerns.
If I was running the UFC, I would schedule a rematch immediately. It would be unfair to both Rampage and Griffin for them not to resolve this controversy as soon as possible. Plus, a rematch is much more appealing than the alternatives, which would see Rampage facing off against Pride rivals and Griffin mauling the corpse of Chuck Lidell. While it’s clear White is gunning for another July 4th showdown, which has grown to be the premier date on the UFC calendar, this has to be resolved this year. Griffin has worked too hard to have his reputation tarnished by a questionable decision and Rampage deserves another shot, whether it be because he got fucking fleeced last nite or the fact that he is still the most appealing challenger. If not for the principle, do it for the cash.
Give em the rematch, Griffin wins, it’s done, Rampage wins, July 4th next year. Make it happen, Dana.
*Matt Serra doesn’t count
**What went down with the whole Pride championship last nite? Was Rampage carrying two belts to the ring or just one?
After witnessing the blogosphere crucify Joe Buck for his lack of interest in watching baseball, I have to wonder why Colin Cowherd isn’t receiving the same treatment. Buck is paid to describe events. He’s not paid to offer analysis or insight. Call the game. That’s his job. If a prominent color man said the same things, I could understand the reaction, but a play-by-play guy? Who gives a shit. Plus, a lack of research would even alleviate the biggest criticism surrounding his announcing, which involves not allowing the game to breath?, or something to that effect. If the guy doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about, the guy won’t speak. Seems win-win for everyone.
My issue is with Cowherd, who admitted the same sins as Buck, but with a heightened exhaustion for professional sports. Cowherd is paid to offer interesting insight on the world of sports. The entertainment of his show is based on his level of research and understanding. How the hell is he going to do this without watching games, and furthermore, how can any one tune into his show after he revealed he doesn’t have time to watch sports*?
*This could be the reason for the blogosphere’s disregard for his revelation. No one listens anyways.
Aside: I know Cowherd isn’t the voice of America’s pastime, and his audience isn’t nearly the size of Buck’s, but his livelihood as a successful radio host is based upon intelligent opinions (which most will probably say he completely lacks, but whatever) derived from experiencing sporting events. Buck basically plays I-Spy with Tim McCarver**.
**He always wins.
In honor of America’s birthday, I give you the chin of Rolston.
Now that the majority of the fireworks have gone off, the big names have changed teams, and the TSN crew has left us in peace, it’s time to predict what Free Agent will deliver the Stanley. While the signings of Wade Redden, Brian Campbell, and Marian Hossa certainly grabbed the most headlines, I feel their additions do not have the potential to enhance their new clubs enough to improve on last season’s result*. While the Blackhawks future looks sweet, they won’t be making any noise this year, at least not Bobby Hull noise**. The Rangers can’t win it all without a charismatic, transcendent leader, so the Redden signing is a mute point and the Red Wings can’t improve on last season’s result. Ahhhh, yessss. Claiming Hossa’s deal to be the most conducive Free Agent signing is just lazy. And boring.
To be the most conducive (to victory if you haven’t figured it out yet) Free Agent signing of 08, you must have signed with a playoff team, be decent at your craft, and most importantly, be loaded with intangibles***. The man that fits the bill best…Brian Rolston, the man of the 4 year-20 mill deal with the New Jersey Devils.
B-Roles will add even more defence to the Devils’ front line, provide reliable special teams, and bring one of the bangingest slap shots in the history of man to the Swamp. Plus, aside from his professional gifts, Roles is loaded with intangibles, the most valuable being his phenomenal facial hair. Seriously, the man’s chin beard alone warrants an MLB roster spot and his stuble makes Rick Nash’s groupies question their lives. Just outstanding growth.
Although giving a 4 year deal to a 35 year old dude is somewhat questionable, this fabricated award isn’t about the future. It’s about the here and now, and I’m predicting a John Elway like end to Martin Brodeur’s career in 2009, allowing Marty to ride into the sunset with as many sister-in-laws as he likes. And he’ll probably enjoy a celebratory sixer with Brian Rolston****.
*THIS YEAR. To the point of the Cup.
**I, like you, have no idea what that means. But I hear dudes with traitorous sons are in constant agony. Fuck you Brett.
***Which again allows me to provide bullshit justification.
****Most likely beer but possibly Sister-in-Laws. Never gets old, Marty.
Steve Lyons was just on the Score’s Drive This and he may’ve stepped in another pile of shit. While discussing the social habits of his former teammate Ozzie Guillen, Lyons began telling a story about how he and Guillen fleeced a couple of Texans when they were teammates in Chicago. After seeing some big Texans tossing past a bar’s Speed Gun, Lyons approached them and claimed to be able to find a patron who could top their speed. He chose Ozzie Guillen. Being that, this is not a word-for-word transcript of Lyon’s tale, “He looked like he should be in the back washing dishes”, the Texans happily agreed. Ozzie threw 10 Miles faster and Lyons collected $100.
Considering Lyons’ past, today’s storytelling could cause a shitstorm without context. While delivering the dishwashing line, it was clear Lyons was not referring to Guillen’s nationality but his physical stature, being that the Ozzie of old’s stature screamed dishwasher, not professional ballplayer. I didn’t even notice the potential insensitivity of the line until it was pointed out by my buddy. Who knows.
UPDATE: Transcript from the Score Website
Richard Garner: A character for sure…
Steve Lyons: The craziest thing that we ever did was we were in a bar in Texas one time and there were these big cowboys that came in with their little girlfriends and they had one of those speed pitch machines in this bar, ya know, throw it as hard as you can. And I meandered over there while the big guys were throwing the ball and I said, you know what, I bet I could pick out any kid in this bar and they could throw the ball harder than any of you guys are. They said, “Ya, go ahead”. I said, I’ll take that little scrawny kid over there that looks like he should be washing dishes in the back…and it was Ozzie. And he came over and flipped the ball like he was turning a double play and he threw it 10 miles faster than any of those guys could. And I bet them a hundred bucks and walked away with their money.
The big winners of 07’s Free Agency. So excited they actually began to look alike. To a horrifying degree.
Being that the NHL’s Free Agent Signing Period begins in three days (On Canada Day!!! How demeaning!!), I figured I’d use my limited knowledge to analyze the NHL’s Northeast Divisions’ cap situation*. It’ll be similar to a TSN special, but with a heightened self-awareness of inferiority.
Current Number of Dudes Under Contract for the 08-09 Season: 19
Current Cap Number: $46 Million
Most Expensive Dudes: Zdeno Chara @ 7.5 million, Mark Savard @ 5 million, Patrice Bergeron @ 4.75 million, Manny Fernandez @ 4.33 million, Glen Murray @ 4.15 million
Dudes’ Take of Current Cap Figure: 55.9%
Will Savard and Hossa be recreating the magic of 05 in Boston? It’s almost certainly possible.
Wild speculation has the Bruins buying out Murray and signing Marian Hossa, a move that would reunite the old Atlanta teammates (Marc Savard had a career year in 05-06) in a more conducive environment. If Hossa could help Savard get 97 points in Atlanta, I’d say 150 isn’t out of the question in Boston. Also, when the hell did this Manny Fernandez signing occur? Don’t they have like 4 competent goaltenders within the Boston organization (Toikkenen, Auld, Thomas, Rask)? Fuck buying Murray out, get rid of that Fernandez clown and promote Tuuka Rask. Leafs’ fans haven’t suffered enough.
Current number of Dudes under contract for the 08-09 season: 16
Current Cap Number: 39 million
Most expensive dudes: Thomas Vanek (wow Kevin Lowe’s wheelings and dealings are simultaneously alienating fans in two cities) @ 7.14 million (for the next 5 years too. Wow), Derek Roy @ 4 million, Jochan Hecht @ 3.525 million, Jaroslav Spacek @ 3.33 million, Maxim Afinogenev @ 3.33 million
Dudes’ Take: 54.7%
Who is this wonderfully coiffed young man? While it’s Thomas “7.14 million” Vanek, or the Christopher Columbus of Restricted Free Agency. Enjoy the next five years, Sabres’ fans!!
That Vanek deal is looking awful. He’s one of the Top 10 highest paid in the Eastern Conference and he racked up 64 points last year. In a full 82 game season. Plus he has a child out of wedlock!!! All this money has and gone to his head!!! Take him Edmonton!!! But seriously, was keeping him the right move? Too early to tell, but in Buffalo, Kevin Lowe voodoo dolls must be at a premium. Also, will Campbell return to Buffalo? They got some room to make something happen, but it may come down to him or Maxim, whose contract ends after this season. Personally, I’d go with BC. Highly compensated Europeans haven’t worked out too well in Buffalo (I’m using Vanek as precedent. It’s not too early too tell. He’s a colossal bust)
Current number of Dudes under contract for the 08-09 season: 17
Current Cap Number: 41 million
Most expensive dudes: Andrei Markov @ 5.75 million, Roman Hamrlik @ 5.5 million?, Alex Tanguay @ 5.25 million, Saku Koivu @ 4.75 million, Alexei Kovalev @ 4.5 million
Dudes’ Take: 62.8%
Will Scandinavia follow their victory of 08 with a similar result in 09? Haps’ fans keep your fingers crossed, since it may be the last chance for Scandinavian success in Montreal.
It’s got to be pretty sweet to have your highest paid players either be mediocre or above the age of 33. Nice long-term strategy, Mr. Gainey cuz your fucked after this year. The Canadiens only have 5 players signed beyond this season and they will have to deal with the Free Agenting of Higgins, Komisarek, Kovalev, Tanguay, Koivu, and Ryder after this season. Whose without a chair? Could Canadian teams’ supposed purging of their European captains spread to Quebec? Will Kovalev make the decision easier and retire to a life of exorbitant luxury in the Russian Superleague? Will there be any dough left for Price in the summer of 10? They better make things happen this year because the future of their team in its current form is non-existent.
Current number of dudes under contract for the 08-09 season: 14
Current Cap Number: 40 million
Most Expensive Dudes: Dany Heatley @ 7.5 million, Jason Spezza @ 7 million, Daniel Alfredsson @ 4.4 million, Mike Fisher @ 4.2 million, Martin Gerber @ 3.7 million
Dudes’ Take: 67%
Would Alfy be willing to accept fewer dollars to stay with his boys?
I really love the long term deals of Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. They will look better the more time passes too. That being said, they have a number of questions confronthing them both this summer and next. Concerning this season, what defenceman will they choose to retain: Mezjaros or Redden? For next summer, they must decide whether or not Gerber is the goalie of the future or look elsewhere for help. And more importantly, they will have to decide whether or not to resign Alfredsson. His current contract is a fucking steal but I doubt he’d be willing to resign for anything less than 6 million/year, which is completely fair considering his career production. This is potentially crazy shit; all 4 of the European Captains within Canada could be on the way out in the next two years. Sundin and Naslund could both be gone this summer and Alfy and Koivu are Free Agents next summer for teams that are either financially committed to younger talent (Ottawa) or more likely to resign younger talent (Montreal with Higgins, Ryder, and Komisarek). This is all very ironic considering European leadership has peaked within the NHL with Nicklas Lidstrom’s captaining of the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings. Though predicting the success of one team based upon the nationality of another’s captain is questionable, Detroit’s victory would allow teams to squash any uncertainties surrounding their captain’s ability to lead by pointing to the success of Lidstrom. Considering this new get out of jail free card with the increasingly xenophobic Canadian media, the timing of these player’s potential exits is very odd. Or it could be a coincidence. We’ll have to wait and see. Anyways, it’ll be interesting to see where these great players end up in the next couple years.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Current number of dudes under contract for the 08-09 season: 18
Current Cap Number: 40 million
Most Expensive Dudes: Bryan McCabe @ 5.75 million, Pavel Kubina @ 5 million, Tomas Kaberle @ 4.25 million, Jason Blake @ 4 million, Vesa Toskala @ 4 million
Dudes’ Take: 57.5%
Jason Blake: Not the worst contract on the Leafs, but certainly in the Top 3. The Leafs take pride in that skill, dominating the Northeast leaderboard with 3 of the worst 4 contracts in the division. It’s difficult to place, however, considering the parallel shittiness of McCabe and Vanek.
And finally onto the team most likely to be analyzed, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Their most highly compensated players are pretty comical considering that 4 of the top 5 payed are defensive players. Funny. Besides that, puzzling is the only way I can describe the contract of Jason Blake, or the the man most likely to be around in 2011-2012 (based solely on his contract. Only guy signed that long) Tucker is living the high life right now; guy could be living pretty doing shit for five years on the 1 mill/year the Leafs are paying him. Is the 2nd worst buyout in the Eastern Conference, behind the enviable situation of Mr. Alexei Yashin. Anyways, the big question revolves around Sundin’s future in Toronto. Is he coming back or not? I think he should go. Coming back would diminish his legacy. Leaving now would sollidify his position as a victim of the incompetency of JFJ and the rest of the idiotic Leafs’ management. Go to a contender, win a cup, and be celebrated like Kevin Garnett.