Thursday, September 20, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Leave Belichick alone!

The other night I watched that "Leave Britney Alone!" video making the rounds on the internet and I laughed so hard that I instantly declared it the funniest thing I had seen since I don't remember when.

Then I saw something even funnier. You have to see the "Leave Britney Alone" video first (just Google it if you haven't) and you have to have followed the whole Patriots "Videogate" affair to really get the humor.

But anyway, here's the link:

Leave Belichick Alone!


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Admit it Gino...

The Red Sox blow a five run lead in 8th inning to the Yankees and lose by a run.

When will you admit that there is something supernatural at work between these two teams and that NO Red Sox lead over the Yankees is ever safe? Four and a half games with two weeks left in the season? I'm afraid. I'm very afraid.

You suck.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Word About "Videogate"...

Let me say this up front: what the Patriots did was wrong. That is not in dispute here. Stealing other teams' defensive signals is definitely not something that professional sports teams should be trying to do, no matter what sport. This post is not meant to try and defend what they did.

But let's have a little perspective here please.

The outcry against the Patriots by everyone from NFL analysts to opposing coaches and players to the average football fan is, in a word, ludicrous. And in some cases, the height of hypocrisy. As usual, we can thank those hype-happy pricks at ESPN who have seemingly changed their format from all-sports to all-videogate.

Let's start with LaDanian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers. He has ripped the Patriots, calling them all cheaters and such. In his press conference this week, he went so far as to assert that the Patriots live by the motto "If you're not cheating, you're not trying". Hmm, it's funny that I don't remember LdT having a single negative thing to say last year when Shawne Merriman was suspended for steroid use. In fact, he defended him. I don't remember him saying anything negative about another teammate - Luis Castillo - who also tested positive for steroid use. Perhaps the Chargers live by the motto "If you're not doing 'roids, you're not trying"? Until you clean up your own house, do us a favor and shut the hell up LdT.

Let's talk about Terrell Davis, the former Denver Bronco who is now an NFL analyst. Terrell apparently feels that the NFL should ban the Patriots from the playoffs for two years. My what a short memory you have Terrell. When Mr. Davis played for the Broncos, they were known as the dirtiest team in the NFL. They routinely used a play known as a "chop block" which is one of the dirtiest things in pro sports. Player's careers have been ended by the Broncos' chop blocks but who cares, as long as Terrell was getting his yards, right? And did we mention that the Broncos were fined and had a third round draft pick taken away for violating the NFL salary cap rules and if I'm not mistaken, part of the reason was because they were illegally deferring payments to...Terrell Davis! I don't remember Terrell criticising his own team when they got caught cheating. So you can STFU too please Terrell, k thnx.

A common practice in the NFL is to bring in a player after he has been cut by an opposing then cutting him a few days later. They do this for one reason: to learn the signals and plays of the team he was just cut from. Once they have this knowledge, the player is let go. Is this any better than what the Patriots did?

So everybody is crucifying the Patriots now. Last year the Pats were involved in a similar incident in Green Bay which has been documented. In that incident, the same Patriot coach was asked to leave the sideline when the Packers suspected he was videotaping their defensive coaches for the purpose of stealing their signals. One may wonder why nothing was done at the time? Wonder no more - one Packer official admitted at the time that part of the reason they didn't make an issue of it was because "everyone does it". So why is it such a big issue now? I'll tell you why - because Eric Mangini is a sore loser with a big ego. Mangini used to be the Patriots defensive coordinator before leaving to take the Jets head coaching job so he knew all about how the Patriots operated because he used to be involved. After being spanked in back to back games by the Patriots, Mangini figured the only way to beat the Pats is to embarrass them. Well, you succeeded Eric. But I'm wondering why you didn't have a problem with the video taping when you were the Patriots defensive coordinator? Could it be because that's how you acquired YOUR reputation as a defensive guru which led to the Jets head coaching job? You're not innocent in all of this either. And what's more, you're probably the biggest hypocrite of all.

To all you Patriots haters and self righteous drama queens, I say this: the Patriots were wrong and should be punished but please stop all the wailing and gnashing of teeth and trying to claim that all of the Patriots' victories are tainted. This kind of thing is commonplace in the NFL and has been for years, in every era. The Patriots themselves were victims of it last year. After a game against the Miami Dolphins which they got spanked 21-0, several Dolphins defensive players openly bragged that they had stolen the Patriots offensive signals and play calls. It was a minor story for about two days then you never heard about it again. There was nobody accusing the Dolphins of being a bunch of cheaters, there was nobody calling for them to forfeit the game or be barred from the playoffs, there was no punishment or fines levied against them. So spare us the demagoguery and self righteous indignation. Give the Patriots a fine, take away a draft pick, whatever, but please...GET OVER IT.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gino's First Post is a good one...


I do not know that much about Kevin Everett or Judy Thibodeau.

I know that Judy was a single mom relaying on prayer to get her through tough emotional and economic times and her diligence paid off as evident by the success of her children.

I know from Kevin Everett’s biography that he is a young man that will not quit. Raised in Texas by a single mother, he played football and apparently didn’t have the size, skill, or smarts to get that big Division I scholarship. Did he quit and become like you and I trading two-a-days for an 8 hour day? Nope, he enrolled in junior college only to become the second highest rated JUCO recruit in his class and got that scholarship to The University of Miami.

While at The U, he becomes the starting TE and works hard enough to get drafted in the 3rd round by the Buffalo Bills. Once again Kevin is dealt a blow that would end most careers with a knee injury in his first season. Does he quit? Nope, he works hard, comes back and becomes a critical part of the Bills’ Special Teams.

Today, Kevin Everett at 25 years of age lies in a Buffalo Medical Center with the possibility of being paralyzed for life following a “catastrophic neck injury” in last Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. As sad as it appears, his past performances show that he will never quit fighting. He’ll do his part, and we should do ours….so say a prayer for Kevin tonight, I’m sure Judy already has.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Introducing the new "Red Sox Panic Level"

As we enter the last few weeks of the regular season with the Red Sox clinging to a five and a half game lead and the hated Yankees breathing down our necks, I've decided to follow the Homeland Security's lead and institute something akin to the terror threat level so members of Red Sox Nation know how worried we should be about the Evil Empire's chances of sticking it to us again. The "Red Sox Panic Level" will be displayed on the left and will be updated as appropriate. Here's a color guide:

All is well in the Nation = All is well in the Nation.
I have a bad feeling about this... = Is it getting hot in here?
There is a great disturbance in the Force = Here we go again...
It's a trap! = Be very afraid.
Luke...I AM YOUR FATHER! = Full fledged panic mode.

Now let's hope the Panic level never reaches the red...

Friday, September 07, 2007

I HATE fantasy sports.

I've had it. It's gone too far. They're out of control. What started out as an innocent little parlor game played by a few people is fast becoming the bane of professional sports.

I have nothing against people who play fantasy sports per se, annoying though they often can be. My rage and disgust is aimed firstly at the sports media for legitimizing "fantasy" as a veritable professional sport in itself. You can't escape it now. I certainly don't care if people want to get together and play fantasy football for example...but when I'm watching the NFL preview show on Sunday, I DAMN SURE DO NOT NEED TERRY FREAKING BRADSHAW OR CHRIS COLLINSWORTH TELLING ME WHO I SHOULD BE STARTING AS MY THIRD RUNNING BACK THAT WEEK. It used to be that you watched these shows to see analysis on which team would win the game but lately it's becoming more of a "who will have more fantasy points this week" freak show. I can't watch Baseball Tonight without having to sit through some idiotic "Fantasy Impact" crap. I can't read an issue of the Sporting News without having to skim over a half dozen pages of fantasy reports. Even our local newspaper here, the Stars and Stripes, is not immune. Going into the Major League Baseball season they neglected to run their usual baseball preview in their sports section. Instead they ran a FIVE page fantasy preview.

What really kills me are these fantasy "experts" that they have on these programs. A fantasy "expert"?! You know what a fantasy expert is? I'll tell you what it is - it's some sports wannabe (or, in most cases, never was) who probably won his fantasy baseball league 3 years in a row and then one day ESPN decided that reporting on fantasy baseball as if it were a real sport was a great way to increase viewership and revenue so they cleaned him up, threw him on the air and gave him the moniker of "fantasy expert". Now he makes a living by interrupting my Pirates-Cubs highlights to tell me such useful information as "Yadier Molina only hit 2 home runs last month so you might not want to start him on your fantasy team this week". Wow, thanks! Now I can finally sleep at night! Jerk.

Here's another thing I hate about fantasy sports; they go against everything that being a fan stands for. If you have played fantasy sports, admit it - you have cheered for someone on your fantasy team when they played your favorite sports team in real life. This is just unfathomable to me. How could I be a Red Sox fan and draft someone from the Yankees for my fantasy baseball team for example? I have a friend in the US who used to be a fantasy fanatic. He used to do this constantly. We would be watching the Patriots game and he would be cheering for some running back on the other team to score a touchdown because he had him on his fantasy team. When I told him how disgusting that was he offered the typical lame fantasy player excuse - he's cheering for the Patriots to win the game but for his player to get him some points. What kind of fan is that?! I was visiting home for the first time in about 4 years and we made plans to get together at his place to watch the Patriots game, just like old times. Except it wasn't like old times. You know why? Because he kept jumping up every 5 minutes and running upstairs to check his players' stats online. So much for sitting around and watching the game with the guys, drinking beer and high-fiving each other after every big play. I mean, if you're a Red Sox fan and you have A-Rod on your fantasy do you live with yourself?

If anyone in the sports media reads this, I implore you; PLEASE remove fantasy sports from your mainstream programming. If you must, create a separate fantasy sports network where you can debate whether Gil Meche's WHIP is low enough to warrant drafting him as a third starter in your fantasy league alllllllll day long. Publish all the fantasy sports magazines and newspapers you want. Just keep it out of the magazines and newspapers that cover REAL sports so the REAL fans don't have to be bothered with such nonsense. Hell, just look at the name - "fantasy" sports. Fantasy. Not real. Fantasy.

In fact, I've decided to coin a new phrase for anyone who plays fantasy sports. Henceforth, they will be referred to as..."Sports Trekkies". I wonder if I can copyright that...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year...sort of.

It is officially September which means we are entering my favorite time of the year. Forget Christmas, for me it's September-October. I love these two months. The weather is starting to get cool but you can still go out in t-shirts, sweatshirts and later on a sweater. Back home in New England the leaves are starting to turn, creating a canvas that no human artist could ever create:

Where I went to College

Here in Germany, September and October is fest season. Oktoberfest is the most famous but every little town has their own little beer or wine fest and they are one of the highlights of Europe. Fest season also means that Steve Lester will be visiting. I love fest season.


But forget all that. The real reason why I love September and October is because it is a virtual cornucopia of sports. The beginning of September brings with it the start of the college football season as well as the National...Football League. It also means that the "real" football (read: soccer) seasons are underway in just about every country in the world (except in the US which, for some inexplicable reason, starts its season in April). On any given weekend I can go to the pub to watch some European soccer or, if AFN is showing them, watch Notre Dame or the Patriots. The weekends are filled with previews and highlights of college and pro football. In baseball, September means pennant races and October means the World Series. October also brings the beginnings of the NBA and the NHL.

Unfortunately there are dark clouds hanging over this September 1. For one thing the Red Sox are collapsing. Less than a week ago they were up 8 games on the hated Yankees as they began a three game series. One win out of three would have given them a 7 game lead with a month to go in the season and some much needed breathing room. They were coming off a 4 game sweep of the Chicago White Sox in which they outscored the Chisox by an unheard of 46-7 and they had their top 3 pitchers lined up against the Yankees. Life was good. They were about to drive the nail in the Yankees coffin. Instead - and in typical Red Sox fashion - they get swept by the Yankees which not only cuts their lead down to 5 games but puts the Yank-me's in first place for the Wild Card. If that wasn't bad enough, they lose the first game to the Baltimore Orioles last night and have now lost 4 in a row. It's so hard to be a Red Sox fan - being a Sox fan means that even when the team is in first place you're never happy. We truly are a miserable bunch.
They make it so hard.

As painful as it is to watch the Sox get raped by the Yankees again, I woke up this morning to some news that is equally troubling to me, albeit for different reasons. One of my favorite players on the Patriots, Rodney Harrison has admitted to using human growth hormone and has been suspended 4 games by the NFL. I've always loved watching him and was ecstatic when the Pats picked him up a few years ago. I was disgusted last year when Shawn Merriman tested positive for steroids. But now it's one of our own. Harrison has been a leader on field and off, being involved in several charities and such so it's a shame that this will be a black mark on his Hall of Fame career. It also means that a Patriots season in which most experts are picking them to win it all is beginning with a huge dark cloud over it.

Severe Disappointment.

Oh well. This is the beauty of September and October - anything can happen. By the end of October, I will either be miserable because the Yankees overtook the Sox, the Pats are in last place in the division and Notre Dame are winless...or elated because the Sox are once again World Series champs, the Pats are undefeated and Notre Dame upset both Michigan and Penn St.

I love this time of year.