Thursday, January 30, 2014

This Just In: Dave "El Presidente" Portnoy is Still an Asshole

Behold, the common asshole in his natural environment.
Dave "El Presidente" Portnoy, owner and founder of the inexplicably popular cesspool (I mean website) that is Barstool Sports, has once again felt the need to reinforce his status as a 40-year-old man who thinks he is a 19 year old bro. (In case you were wondering, no, not the entertaining Barney Stinson bro, but the obnoxious bro who wore three polos at once, chugged a liter of SoCo and threw up on your couch while making his fifth attempt to try to pick up a girl... unsuccessfully)

Like in martial arts, a bro's status is marked by the colors of their polo's
This time Portnoy decided to indulge his infatuation with objectifying and belittling people by attacking Salisbury resident Sean Mitchell who was simply watching the Bruins throttle the Florida Panthers 6-2 on Tuesday night. Mitchell, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsey at birth, was sitting with his father behind the B's bench.

Mitchell, was seen eating a hot dog without a bun when one of NESN's cameras took a shot of the B's bench. Being the bigoted, homophobic piece of work that he is, Portnoy wrote an article calling Mitchell "a savage," a comment conveying obvious sexual innuendos.

Sue Mitchell, Sean's mother, saw the article and, understandably, felt the need to call Portnoy out for his comments. 

“Sean has problems with muscular control," she said. "He loves to eat hot dogs and have refreshments. He can’t eat a hot dog in a bun. It’s easier for him to take a hot dog out and eat it that way.”

Portnoy removed the article and issued the following response, "Obviously I'm not in the business of making fun of people with disabilities. He looked like a normal person. Once I found out, I took it down. Most people who read us kind of get that stuff like this can happen. The intent wasn't to make fun of him. I just thought it was a funny to eat a hotdog without a bun."

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Portnoy, this is all for you.

Firstly, you think, "he looked like a normal person" Oh... MAYBE THAT'S BECAUSE HE IS NORMAL. Mitchell graduated from Triton High School in 2012 after running four years of cross country and indoor and outdoor track. The kid was a three sport athlete and he loves the Bruins and Pats. What's not "normal" about that?

Mitchell competed in a total of 12 athletic seasons during is time at Triton
My mom, who is the strongest woman I've ever known, has spent the last 5 years coping with disabilities. Does that make her abnormal? Does that make her different? People are not defined by disabilities. Confronting hardship head on does not make you "abnormal". Overcoming adversity makes you strong, it makes you brave. I admire my mother more than I can express, just like I admire Sean Mitchell. When I look at you El Pres, all I feel is general disgust.

Secondly, good job - a penis joke. Did you think of that all by yourself?  It's funny because hot dogs are penis shaped, right? I'm sure you're the first one to ever make that joke. That's quality journalism right there.

Even if you didn't realize that Mitchell was, how did you so eloquently put it, "normal?" YOU WERE STILL RIDICULING THE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY, YOU DUMBASS.

You aren't "in the business of making fun of people with disabilities" but it's perfectly acceptable to make negative innuendos to a male giving a blow job and make fun of sexual orientations. So do you describe all gay men as "savages" or was that a one time thing? Maybe you were too busy objectifying women to notice, but seventeen states have now legalized same-sex marriage. I'm sorry if in your moronic mind you haven't come to terms with this but it's not funny, man. The only one laughing right now is you, and frankly it's kind of sad.

Finally, am I the only one whose shocked that its taken this long for people to realize what a cretin you are?

For running a site-titled Barstool SPORTS, you know less than zero percent about sports. My sister has told me on multiple occasions that she isn't into sports and doesn't really get them, but I'm fairly confident if the two of you were to talk sports she would rip you apart like a Velociraptor.

She'll cut you here...
It's gotten to the point where you've stopped talking about sports to avoid showing how little you actually know. I just scrolled through five or six pages of articles and found nothing that remotely seeks to talk, analyze or even comment on sports (although there were plenty of "guess that ass"es). In case you weren't aware, there's this thing called the Super Bowl this weekend, some people may be slightly curious about that. You don't run a sports website, you run a softcore porn site where you post pictures of half naked 21-year-old college girls because you know that 18-year-old guys (and creepy 40-year-olds like yourself) will check it out. Which brings me to my next point...

You're blatantly misogynistic. Half of the posts that you write are titled one of the following, "Guess That Ass", "Wake Up With..." or "Smokeshow of the Day." Look man, you like girls, we get it. Guess what, I do too, as do a lot of other guys. But I also realize that she's more than a pair of boobs and an ass. If you honestly view women the way you write about them I pity you and doubt your capacity to establish anything remotely resembling a healthy relationship. This may be why...

You're incredibly judgmental and of others. I don't know what personal issues you're trying to cope with that cause you to solely look to pick out the flaws in others, but you're indulging in some serious compensation for something. You take pleasure from critiquing women for not being attractive enough or being somehow flawed. You mock people for being overweight or unattractive. You ridicule anyone who leads a lifestyle you aren't familiar with or don't understand.

When talking about Mitchell you claimed, "The intent wasn't to make fun of him." Uh... yes, yes it was because THAT'S WHAT YOUR ENTIRE MEANINGLESS CAREER HAS BEEN BASED OFF OF. All you do is sit on your high horse pointing out flaws or mistakes in others while garnering laughs from people as meaningless as yourself. You need someone new to make fun of? Here's one for you, he's a forty year old man who acts like a high school sophomore making fun of the kid with glasses. Next time you try to judge or critique someone why don't you take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.

I pity you. You work your ass off trying to make this media empire you've built up stand, but what do you get out of it? What have you created of substance? You post pictures of smut that could get a hit no matter where they were posted. You focus specifically on topics that don't require you to write well, do any research or think about problems comprehensively. Your character, articles and website are trivial and insignificant. You generate laughs from immature simple-minded cretins like yourself who are so self-obsessed and narcissistic that they fail to comprehend their own ignorance.

 In a lot of ways your website, your life's accomplishments are representative of what's wrong with society. Your simplicity, while it may grant you short term success, conveys nothing of value. You will never teach, you will never create, you will never build, you will never change things for the better. All you do is deconstruct, destroy, and break down. You take the easy way out.

I hope you prove me wrong. I hope you try to figure things out because I'm sorry, but the writing is on the wall. The people reading your articles have gone from agreeing with you to criticizing you. They don't see you as something legitimate, but as a mildly entertaining sideshow that they'll soon lose interest in.

Notice that I just wrote an entire article on you and I didn't use vulgar language. Notice that not once did I stoop to your level. Look, you're smart, I'll be the first to admit that. You know your audience and you give them a product. The only thing I'm calling into question are your choices and the character they create. It is kind of easy though. It's easy because you have made a choice to be an asshole.

Bruins-Canadiens Rivalry Renewed Tonight

At this point, this video has probably appeared on Three if by Strike nearly 10 times, but I'm still not tired of it.

The Bruins are set to do battle with the Montreal Canadiens tonight at the TD Garden, the first of two meetings these two rivals will hold in Boston this season. Last time they met in Montreal, the Bruins drew the short straw and lost 2-1.

Boston has scored six goals in each of their last three games.  The Patrice Bergeron line with Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith has combined for an astounding 30 points over the last seven games. Since the new year, the Bruins are 8-3-1. Red hot.

Sit back, enjoy the video and watch the Bruins renew the rivalry tonight against the Habs at 7.

January 30th is a Crazy Day in History

Every now and again I check around the Internet to do some "this date in history" research.  Today, January 30th, was a pretty fascinating day throughout the years.  Let's start with some of the events.

In 1661, Oliver Cromwell, an English political leader, was dug up two years after his death, only to be hung in chains and beheaded.  In 1703, the Forty-seven Ronin avenged their master's death (pretty crazy story).  In 1847, Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Diego. Carole King released "Tapestry" in 1971, an album that went on to be the longest charting album by a female solo artist, selling 24 million copies.

January 30th, 1994 was a great day in history - Peter Leko became the youngest chess grandmaster.

January 30th is also a day of infamy. Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi is released from jail in 1908 after serving two months. Forty years later, on the very day, he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. In 1933, Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. In Vietnam, the Tet Offensive was launched in 1968. January 30th fell on a Sunday in 1972, the day 14 unarmed activists were killed in Northern Ireland, marking the event known as Bloody Sunday.

The Beatles held their last public performance, which would be broken up by the police, in front of Apple Records in London in 1969.

The 30th day of the year has also seen its fair share of births. Speed round, go.

1615 - Thomas Rolfe, son of Pocahontas
1882 - Franklin D. Roosevelt (hence my use of "infamy" earlier, see what I did there?)
1923 - Walt Dropo, former Red Sox great
1925 - Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the computer mouse
1930 - Gene Hackman, of "Welcome to Mooseport" fame
1941 - Dick Cheney, once shot a man on a quail hunt
1943 - Davey Johnson, former manager of the Washington Harpers...I mean Nationals
1951 - Phil Collins, the man
1955 - Tom Izzo, see above
1957 - Payne Stewart, golfing legend (died in 1999)
1974 - Christian Bale, the real Batman
1976 - Andy Milonakis
1981 - Peter Crouch, the best footballer to ever live
1984 - Kid Cudi, guy with weird name, not reall sure what he is famous for
1984 - Jeremy Hermida, former Red Sox great

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chipper Jones Rescued Freddie Freeman on an ATV

Basically take the plot of AMC's "The Walking Dead," and replace the zombies with snow, and you have what is currently going on in Atlanta right now.

This is the opening sentence of an article posted on "Thousands of students across the metro Atlanta area never left school Tuesday after Winter Storm Leon dumped more than two inches of snow that paralyzed the city."

I can't picture a worse kind of hell than two inches of snow...

As this snowstorm left Atlanta in a post-apocalyptic state, many children and adults alike suffered the hardships that came along with an unexpected weather event. Cars were abandoned on the highway after sitting in traffic for hours on end and running out of gas. Over 800 accidents were reported on the roads due to conditions. All jokes aside, it was a scary scene in Atlanta.

But there was one driver who made it out alive from a seemingly endless traffic jam. After sitting for nearly six hours, stranded motorist, and Atlanta Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman had had enough.  He pulled off the highway and called in a specialist to extract him out of danger. That specialist?

None other than Chipper Jones.

Jones came in on a four-wheeler and swooped up Freeman, donning all camouflage clothing on his camo ride. The rescue operation was just another stage of Freeman's 11-hour journey home on a Tuesday.

Will MLB's New Padded Caps Play a Role in 2014?

Major League Baseball has approved the use of padded caps for the upcoming 2014 campaign. The protective headgear will be fair game for pitchers who choose to use the newest safety feature in an attempt to decrease the severity of an injury should they be in the sports' scariest situation - a comeback line drive.

In September of 2012, then-Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck by a ball off the bat of Los Angeles Angels infielder Erick Aybar. The impact triggered internal bleeding and forced McCarthy into emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain. McCarthy has since returned to the mound for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but even after learning about the allowable padding for pitchers, he has stated that he will not be using it.

"Nobody wants this to work more than me," he said. "But we tried to take this as far as we could and see if its something that could work, but it just wasn't there."

McCarthy has several issues with the cap, the most glaring of which was it's failure of the eye test.

"It's just too big," he said. The cap is a half-inch thicker in the front, and an inch thicker on both sides above the ears. With the added protection, the hat will cause problems on a hot day and it will not fit how a normal cap would.

These may not seem like particularly egregious issues, but to a baseball player, trust me, this could wind up having a much more adverse effect on a pitcher. Baseball players are some of the most superstitious beings on the planet. Left-handed pitchers in particular rank just a few percentage points of strangeness behind Russian hockey goalies.

"You can't pitch a day game in St. Louis wearing it, or a day game in Baltimore. I've thrown in it in optimal conditions, inside where it's cool, and your head gets itchy. If your head moves a tick, you feel it. You notice it."

Nationals pitcher Chris Young has also shared in the horrifying experience of a head-high comebacker (good but scary link to some of the worst incidents since 2008). "Look, if there's something out there that meets the safety standards and is not going to hinder performance, guys will wear it," he told ESPN's Jayson Stark. "Guys do care about safety now. Everyone is starting to understand the importance of brain injuries and head injuries, and nobody is more at risk than pitchers.

"But, I'm not overly optimistic."

Luckily, these sorts of occurrences are still a rarity in the sport. Young is spot-on in saying that no player is more at risk than a pitcher. If a batter draws the short straw and takes an errant fastball to the head, at least he has a helmet on. Pitchers have what, one-sixteenth of an inch of material, plus maybe some lettuce to protect themselves? Every pitcher wishes that there was some way to know he could be safer on the mound, but the fact still remains that if this is something that is going to hinder performance, pitchers will simply be unwilling to don the new lids.

The MLB may be at an impasse, because looking at the options, there are not many paths to travel down when looking for a hat/helmet hybrid that wouldn't be visually gaudy. But for now, at least they have taken the initiative.

There are players who would wear it.  I just went to Google search Matt Clement.  I typed in 'Matt Cl-,' and auto-filled after his completed name was "hit in head." There are pitchers who's hearts are still in the game, but all it took was that one unlucky line drive to take their heads out of it.

As of now, I see this new safety feature having a far greater impact on past incidents than it will have in preventing future ones.  Maybe players will experiment with the caps in Spring Training, but only time will tell if these protective hats are to have a role in Major League Baseball.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Warren Sapp Says Michael Strahan Should Not be in Hall of Fame, Strahan Calls Sapp Fat

Warren Sapp doesn't think Michael Strahan should be in the Hall of Fame.

Sapp, in his freshman year of Hall status, took up his anti-Strahan stance at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday.  Why it came up, no one is sure, but Sapp had some strong feelings towards the issue.

"I don't think his resume stacks up.  He only has four straight Pro Bowls and a mythical sack record. When you really measure him up, he comes up short."

The "mythical sack record" refers to Strahan getting to 22.5, a new single-season record, when Brett Favre walked right into Strahan not putting up much of a fight.  Sapp said that there should be an asterisk next to Strahan's record.

Strahan responded by saying there should be a McDonald's next to Sapp's house.

"Because he's fat."

Got 'em...

As we are a blog for the people, we know people love controversy.  At the blog, we feel it's important to take sides in this issue.  And given the evidence, we choose Sapp.

Sure, Strahan's a good dude and does his show with Kelly Ripa and all that, but he played for the Giants, supports Subway and his comeback to Sapp was a fat joke.

Sapp's trying to eat healthy, leave him alone.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Jack Edwards is Wearing On Me

I hate to say it, but Jack Edwards is kind of annoying this season.  In this past, I was always one to talk about how much I enjoyed his call of Bruins games.  Now, I'm getting a little sick of him.

One of the major reasons why I find Jack really annoying this year is his undying love for everything Ryan Spooner.  Whether its his speed or his “10 and 2 move,” there’s no doubt Spooner, in less than half a season, has Jack Edwards swooning.

It’s kind of sickening to watch Spooner take three strides through the neutral zone and chip the puck in, only to hear Edwards describe the play as “Spooner using his explosive speed to make things happen through the neutral zone.”  As unfair as it may be, comments such as these have started to turn me against Spooner a bit.

There’s no doubt the kid has speed and the offensive instincts to make things happen, but he’s still young.  It takes time to learn the game and to learn how to be consistently successful in the NHL.  It’s unfair to hype the kid up so much and cause fans to expect more than what’s reasonable from the rookie.

Jack’s love for Ryan Spooner is surpassed only by his love for Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Penguins team/organization.  There’s no denying Crosby’s talent, but I don’t want to hear how great he is every time he touches the puck.  I hear it enough from Pierre McGuire when the Penguin’s play on NBC Sports Network.

Another big reason is the fact that he’s starting to run out of material.  “Martha, the barn is on fire!” got a good laugh the first time, probably even the second, but after that it gets old.  I’ve heard Lucic referred to as “train number 17” too many times and I’m sick of hearing about a certain player having "a bee under his bonnet.”

Don’t get me wrong; I still like Jack Edwards.  I actually do enjoy some of his cornier lines and I can definitely appreciate the passion and enthusiasm he calls each Bruins game with.  I just feel like lately he’s needed to tone it down a little.

I do want to end this post on more of a positive and supportive note, so take a listen to a couple of my favorite Jack Edwards calls of all time.  Both the Nathan Horton series clinching overtime goal against the Canadiens in 2011, and the Patrice Bergeron OT goal to eliminate the Maple Leafs in last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs are truly some of his best.

Overall, he's a pretty likable weirdo.

Video Tributes Welcome Pierce and KG Home

Anything I had to say about Pierce and Garnett I said in this article, so I won't clog this post up with words.

Pregame Intros

Garnett's In-game Video Tribute

Pierce's In-game Video Tribute

There are more great videos on

The Hot 100: Billboard's 100th Best Song of the Week

I have slacked a bit on bringing you the 100th best songs of the week, but it figures that when I try to get back on the horse, who else but Justin Bieber has the coveted 100th spot.

How fitting...

The last Bieber song I listened to was "Boyfriend," and after that, I've just tried to steer clear.  The Biebs has been in the news recently following his DUI and drag racing arrest, which proves he's totally like, the coolest dude alive, right?  He's 5'7", Canadian, and a wiener.  He sucks.

I haven't listened to the song, but I watched about 25 random seconds of the video and have had enough.  Sorry to ruin your Monday with this.  I don't make the news, I just write about it.

January Week 4:
Artist: Justin Bieber
Song: All That Matters
Peak: 24

My Rating: I won't give the song a rating, so instead I will rate where his life is currently at.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Free Lunch Hierarchy

Everyone loves free lunch during the work week, right?  But does everyone love all types of free lunches equally?  You may think you do, but let's take a look at the Top 5 Free Lunches.

5) Break Room Free Lunch - This is not much of a lunch at all.  This is what happens when you either forget the lunch you usually bring, are too lazy to leave the office or just don't have the money to go out and buy something. You end up rummaging around the break room and the fridge, digging up a can of soda and a stale bagel. You might even find yourself uttering the phrase, "what am I doing with my life?" This my friends, is indeed a free lunch, but very obviously the worst kind of free lunch.

4) Free Lunch Ordered to the Office - Now, I know what you're thinking: "how could this possibly be a bad thing?" Well, boys and girls, while this free lunch seems great, it comes with a lot of questions. What's the policy on seconds? Who do I have to thank? When do I have to thank them? Because I don't want to get beat to the punch, then I'll look like I'm just saying thank you because that guy did it....

And it doesn't end there. You don't want to be the guy who holds up the line or takes too much of one thing, so while you rush through the spread, you completely forget probably the most important part: "Where am I going to sit?" At my desk? Try to find a small pocket of people and awkwardly slide into their conversation? While vastly better than number five, there is too much going on for this lunch to move past number four.

3) Free Lunch with a Client - This lunch covers basically any time you are out to eat with someone you work with, but outside of your office. You might know them, you might not, but either way, lunch has to come second in this scenario. Not a great impression of you or your company if you're stuffing your face with fries and downing Cokes while the guy tries to talk business. On the flip side, its a good time to try to work in some non-work conversation and maybe mix a beer or two in. Because it can go either way, this lunch stays locked at number three.

2) Free Lunch with your Boss - This lunch is easily the most subjective of the bunch.  You could love your boss, or you could always keep a sandwich in your top drawer just in case they walks by around noon.  But lunch with your boss generally means you've made least for that particular day.  Some lunches will be better than others, but if you ask me (which you pretty much are by reading this far), this has to be the second-to-one lunch out there.  The guy who pays you with money is now paying you extra...with food. No brainer.

1) Lunch with a Friend...And They're Paying - Its no surprise that the number one free lunch has nothing at all to do with work, with a very minimal chance of work even being brought up other than to complain about it. Lunch with a friend is a great way to unwind for an hour and almost definitely throw back a couple beers (as opposed to the uncertainty of Free Lunch #3).  The biggest and really only problem with this lunch?  You're paying the next time.

Why Is Everyone Mad That Lolo Jones Made the U.S. Olympic Bobsled team?

As Team USA gets set for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, sizing their ugly sweaters and finalizing their rosters, one sport has already seen its fair share of controversy.

With the Opening Ceremonies scheduled for Feb. 7, Team USA has been hard at work to put together a collection of world-class athletes to represent the red, white and blue in Russia.  USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation CEO Darrin Steele has probably worked the hardest.

Steele completed a four-woman bobsled team to head to Sochi, placing USA Track and Field star Lolo Jones in the third and last available push athlete spot on Sunday. In doing so, he kicked up quite a media storm.

Critics, athletes and fans alike took to their preferred method of slander, blasting the team's decision on Jones, calling it a publicity stunt and insinuating that the team was playing favorites.  Jones is no stranger to the spotlight. She's been featured in ESPN's The Body Issue magazine, is sponsored most prominently by McDonald's and ASICS, and oh yeah, has competed in the Summer Olympic Games twice.  Which is a good jumping off point for critics.

Jones, heavily favored in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, finished seventh after hitting the next-to-last hurdle in the 100m hurdle final.  In the 2012 London Olympic Games, she finished fourth in the event.  She has never won an Olympic medal.

However, she has won three World Championship gold medals. Her latest? In 2013, she competed at the FIBT World Championships in the mixed team bobsled, and secured gold for the U.S.

"I haven't heard anyone making the argument about Lolo not being a better athlete right now, a better brakeman for the team," Steele told The Associated Press. "I don't think I've come across that one time.  I've heard a lot about history and all that's nice. But who's going to provide the best results for the U.S. team in Sochi? That's the bottom line. And I'll have that debate with anyone who wants to have it."

Tough to argue that.  But that won't stop people from trying, especially the athletes in competition with Jones.

"I should have been working harder on gaining Twitter followers than gaining muscle mas," said Emily Azevedo.  Her and teammate Katie Eberling were "snubbed" from Team USA.

At first, it was thought Jones was attempted bobsled as a publicity stunt of her own.  She made the roster in 2012, and has put in the work to be where she is at today.  Jones is marketable, and Jones is proven.  She has made Team USA, and should be more determined than ever to bring home the gold.  So what's the issue here?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is the Extra Point On It's Way Out?

While it has been overshadowed by the Richard Sherman incident, Commissioner Roger Goodell’s push to eliminate the extra point attempt is picking up steam.

The idea of eliminating the PAT is not exactly a new proposition.  It’s been reported that Goodell has expressed his desire to forgo the extra point at owner’s meetings in years passed.  It is unclear how much support he has among owners at this time.

If you look at the PAT from a pure numbers standpoint, its tough to argue against the fact that kicking an extra point has become nothing short of a formality.  Out of the 1,267 extra points attempted in 2013 regular season, four were blocked and only one was missed.  This puts the extra point success rate for this past season at 99.6%. That’s about as automatic as it gets.

If you look at it that way, would getting rid of the extra point all together really matter?  Would it even have an effect on the game?

The most likely outcome of a PAT-less NFL would see seven point touchdowns with the option to attempt the two-point conversion, which would either add or subtract a point from the seven, depending on the outcome.  That still doesn’t seem like a very big deal.  Another option would be to move the extra point back, making it a little more difficult than the 19 yard field goal it is currently.

In my opinion, the biggest issue with eliminating the extra point is what that opens the door to in the future.  My worry is that after completely removing a part of the game such as a PAT, the idea of getting rid of the other aspects, such as the kickoff, would seem much more plausible.

The kickoff has already been targeted by the rules committee, which resulted in it being moved up 10 yards. The closer kickoff caused a stir when it was first adopted, but those complaints have largely faded away.  Removing the kickoff would not only eliminate the potential for a game-changing kickoff return but would also directly affect the future of countless players in the league. There are guys like Matthew Slater of the Patriots, who, if not for the kickoff, would go from being a Pro-Bowler to being out of a job.

Although I’m somewhat indifferent to the idea of the extra point being eliminated in itself, I’m against it because I know it will undoubtedly open the door to more drastic changes; changes that will have much more substantial effects on the game as a whole.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yankees Land Tanaka... and Find Themselves in More Trouble Than Ever.

Earlier today the New York Yankees made some waves by signing Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka to a seven year $155 million dollar deal. The 25 year-old right hander is coming off a season in which went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Japanese Series title winning Rakuten Golden Eagles.

The Yankees hope that Tanaka can sure up a starting rotation that is projected to feature CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova. The Yankees missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2008 largely because of a lack of depth in their starting rotation. Yankees starters boasted only a 55-62 record and landed in the bottom half of the AL in most statistical categories.

Tanaka figures to go a long way in alleviating the Yankees starting pitching woes. While he is unproven, Japanese pitchers have experienced success in the majors during the past couple seasons. Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the league. His 29-18 record over the past two years is impressive and his 277 strikeouts this past season were tops in the league.

Hisashi Iwakuma's continued emergence this year helped to Seattle Mariners establish themselves as a potential threat in the AL West. Iwakuma's 14-6 record showed continued improvement from his 9-5 mark in 2012 and his 2.66 ERA was good for third in the AL.

Darvish and Iwakuma have emerged as two of the best pitchers in the AL.
Even ex-Red Sox great Daisuke Matsuzaka found relative success over a somewhat tenuous stay in Boston. While most fans remember the anxiety and frustration that came along with Dice-K they tend to forget his 18-3 record in 2008.

The questions that must be asked then is will the addition of Tanaka be enough to get the Yankees back into the playoffs? Taken out of context the Yankees off-season looks to be one of the best in recent years. In addition to Tanaka the Yankees also signed catcher Brian McCann and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Any time your team is able to add four perennial all-stars it generally bodes well for your post-season prospects. This could not be any LESS true for the New York Yankees.

Am I the only one who thinks that GM Brian Cashman has forgotten how the game of baseball works? Brian you can only have three outfielders playing at once. Yeah, Beltran and Ellsbury are good additions, but what about Ichiro Suzuki? What about Alfonso Soriano? What about Brett Gardner? Yes, you have a DH position to fill, but McCann, shortstop Derek "yeah Jeets" Jeter and first basemen Mark Teixeira are all coming back from injury plagued seasons and will likely be inserted into that spot to prevent overuse and further injury. On a team where every projected starter is over the age of 30 the DH position will be more of a revolving door than an established position.

The excess of outfielders is not necessarily a bad thing in of itself, but when coupled with a complete lack of anything resembling a major league infield it becomes a real problem. This is no slight to Jeter or Teixeira, who have proven that they were elite players, but both have significant health issues, Jeter in particular, and have seen substantial drops in production over the past several seasons. Taken in conjunction with the suspension of third baseman Alex Rodriguez and the loss of second baseman Robinson Cano (who led the team in EVERY MAJOR OFFENSIVE CATEGORY) and the Yankees infield is more exposed than a thermal exhaust port on the original Death Star.

Many Bothans died bringing Cashman this information.
What's more troubling is that Cashman has done NOTHING to rectify the Yankees infield problems. (Yes I would love to insert the Mugatu clip right here, I won't, but you get the idea.) Cashman's strategy as a GM has been throw money at big name guys and hope that the Yankees problems go away. To a certain extent it has worked, the Yankees playoff record is impressive, however lackadaisically throwing cash around will eventually come back to bite you when your team has no depth to speak of and the free-agent market doesn't offer what you need.

While they may be one of the largest markets in the league the Yankees need to embrace a rebuilding strategy if they want to meet with long term success. Think about the great Yankee teams of the late 90s and early 00s. These were teams founded on home grown talent. Jeter, Soriano and Cano all came up with the Yankees during this period. Additionally the Yankees' farm system gave rise of guys like Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada just to name a few. Over the past several seasons the biggest player to come out of the Yankees farm system has been Nova, who looks to be an above average major league pitcher at best.

We're watching a dying giant. A glutinous fiend that has fueled itself on unsustainable investment and constant growth while simultaneously neglecting to establish a strong foundation upon which to build. It's not too late, Cashman can change his tactics, accept that his team needs a season or two to rebuild and begin to invest in player development and young talent, or he can continue to irresponsibly spend money on the biggest available free-agent on the market regardless of how this individual fits into the Yankees' system.

The Yankees franchise is going in one of two directions, the signing of Tanaka may help delay the inevitable, but at some point Cashman and the Yankees have a decision to make. Will they continue to blindly through money at their problems and ultimately deny themselves long term success, or are they willing to bite the bullet, accept that the dynasty is at an end and rebuild for another dynasty five years hence? Only time will tell, but unfortunately for Yankees fans it's not looking good.

(Feel free to read this as an allegory for America's dependence on fossil fuels and lack of investment in clean renewable energy.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Five Reasons Why I Have a Problem With Richard Sherman's Comments

After reading Eddie's fantastic article on Richard Sherman's interview with Erin Andrews this morning (if you haven't already read it, check it out, it's really good.) I thought it would be fun to provide a counterpoint to his argument. Here's the interview on the off chance that you still need to see it.

Now I completely agree with Eddie, calling Richard Sherman a "thug" is foolish and only serves to highlight the bigotry that's become acceptable amongst fans of professional sports. That said, I think Sherman's comments were out of line and unnecessary. Here are five reasons why I have a problem with Sherman's comments. I felt compelled to use videos to prove my point.

Reason 1: You haven't done anything yet.

In no way am I suggesting that winning the NFC Championship against the 49ers isn't a big deal... Oh wait, that's exactly what I'm saying. The fact of the matter is that winning an NFC or AFC championship doesn't matter. You don't play the game to win a Conference Championship, just ask the 2007, or 2011 New England Patriots. The Conference Championship is only important for being a step on the way to the Superbowl. Sherman made a huge play true, but no one will remember that play if he and the Seahawks can't beat Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in a couple weeks, which brings me to my second point.

Reason 2- Michael Crabtree is no Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas...

Or four if you're playing the Denver Broncos. It's no secret that the Broncos own the leagues highest scoring offense, anchored by Peyton Manning and featuring one of the best receiving corps in recent memory. In this case Richard Sherman was right, Crabtree is a "mediocre receiver" compared to the likes of the Demaryius and Julius Thomas, Decker and Welker. The 49ers passing game was 30th in the league this year compared to a Denver team that ranks first in yards per game. Yes, Crabtree was injured for all but 5 games this season, but in those games he did play he averaged under 4 receptions a game. Both Thomases, Decker and Welker all averaged well over 4 a game. If you want to look at receptions during Crabtree's last full season in 2012 he pulled in an impressive 85 passes. Unfortunately for Sherman, Demaryius Thomas, Welker and Decker all hauled in at least 85 passes last year and Julius Thomas wasn't playing yet. If you are one of the best cornerbacks in the league, as Sherman undoubtedly is, you don't get that fired up for containing a good wide receiver, you get fired up when you shut down one of the best guys in the league. If Sherman can keep the Broncos receiving corp in check he can say whatever he wants in the post game interview.

Reason 3- You're part of a team, act like it.

Oh Wow Sherman, I didn't realize that you covering Crabtree for the majority of the game was the sole component in your team winning the game. Frank Gore must not have touched the ball at all... Oh wait he did but didn't rush for more than 20 yards? This is my second biggest problem with Sherman's interview, it's a selfish move in one of the most team oriented sports there is. Football is one of the only sports where you're accountable for only half of the outcome. Take the 49ers for example. Their defense played a fantastic game, giving their offense countless opportunities to score, but the offense, led by Colin Kaepernick, couldn't do anything. 

Sherman made a great play, there's no denying that, but what about Jermaine Kearse grabbing Russell Wilson's 35 yard touchdown pass in traffic on a 4th and 7? What about safety Kam Chancellor's overlooked 11 tackles and interception on the defensive side of the ball? What about Marshawn Lynch going beast mode with over 100 yards on the ground? Point is if any of these things hadn't happened the game could and probably would have had a very different outcome. I think the biggest testament to this fact is that Sherman himself has come out and apologized for his rant which he said resulted in, "taking the attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates." You can read more on Sherman's comments here.

Reason 4. It makes Sherman SEEM ignorant.

Yes those defending Sherman's intelligence based on his education and background are right. Sherman went to Stanford and worked incredibly hard while there, obtaining a degree in Communications and beginning work on a Masters. This is very impressive and could (keyword being could) make Sherman a tremendous role model for young athletes. However, with a background in Communications, Sherman of all people should know that how you represent yourself in public is incredibly important in dictating your public image as a whole. People are not going to do their research and to find out about Sherman's educational background. Instead they are going to make bigoted assumptions and come to conclusions such as this one.

Yes that's harsh, perhaps overly so, but as a professional athlete you need to know you're under a microscope and that your comments are going to garner a response. I know Richard Sherman is an intelligent human being, I know he is not a thug, I know he does fantastic charity work, but people who were watching the Seahawks for the first time all year on Sunday do not. Sadly, the reality is that we live in a society where people draw conclusions based on minimal amounts of information. As a result of this people who know nothing of Richard Sherman are making assumptions about him and his character based solely on that one interview. And, the fact of the matter is, that Sherman does not come across as intelligent, well spoken or mature in his brief exchange with Andrews. If you are a public figure you need to understand that your comments are going to come under more scrutiny than the average individual's. Consequently, you need to be more guarded, more responsible and more well spoken than the average person because America loves gossip, controversy and drama, and Richard Sherman just gave us all three.

Reason 5. You're a Role Model

This is my biggest problem with Sherman's comments. It's a shame that there are hundreds of thousands of adults who are now making ignorant, biased assumptions about Sherman's character because of his comments. What's more unfortunate is that there are now hundreds of thousands of kids who think that Sherman's conduct was an acceptable way to represent yourself. Like it or not professional athletes are role models. Growing up you want to be the athletes you see taking the field every game. When I played baseball in my backyard, I was Ken Griffey Jr. I'd turn my hat backwards, stand really tall, keep my hands low and start rocking back and forth before trying to mimic that beautiful swing. When we played pick up football I was Keyshawn Johnson, which was incredibly painful for a family that loved the Patriots. When we played basketball I was Michael Jordan because heck we shared the same name. 

There are kids out there now who are playing football and pretending to be Richard Sherman. What do those kids now think? That its okay to go off half cocked and bark about a big play that you made? And if that is okay what does that mean about sports? Yes, professional sports are competitive and you play to win, but what about peewee football? What about little league? Those kids aren't playing to make it to the majors, they're playing to have fun, they're playing to learn about competition and teamwork. They're playing because its something that allows them to spend time with their mom and dad. They're playing because they learn to be humble and gracious in defeat. They're playing because they learn to push themselves and maximize their potential. 

Sports are about more than just wins and losses and when we make it okay for Richard Sherman and others to represent themselves poorly on the field we indirectly make it acceptable for young athletes to represent themselves poorly on the field. We indirectly make it acceptable to forget about being a good teammate. We indirectly make it acceptable to forget about sportsmanship. We indirectly make it acceptable to forget about why kids fighting for their lives, like Sam Berns was, love the game. We indirectly make it acceptable to forget about how the Red Sox, and Bruins helped Boston heal in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon. We indirectly make sports a trivial pissing contest to put it bluntly.

No, Richard Sherman isn't a "thug", but he was given the opportunity to be so much more than that, and in that regard he failed totally and completely. Sherman was put in a position to be a role model, to show kids who won't make it to the NFL that it's okay because playing sports is also about the lessons you learn along the way rather than the outcome. Instead he showed kids that sports are about selfishness, ego and narcissism and for that i can't forgive him. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Supporter Contribution - Anyone Calling Richard Sherman A Thug Should Just Stop

For those of you who need a recap, the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night in the NFC Championship game. It came down to the final possession, which was probably what most people expected. The 49ers trailed 17-23 with under a minute to play and were driving down the field with ease. They were in Seahawk territory and certainly looked poised to score a go-ahead touchdown that would have most likely won them the game. Then, Richard Sherman happened.

Everyone knows Richard Sherman by now. He’s the loud-mouthed cornerback who once told Skip Bayless that he was "better than him at life.” He’s also the cornerback who happened to make the biggest play of the game, arguably the biggest play of year. He deflected a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone, which was then intercepted by Seahawk teammate Malcolm Smith. The 49ers only had two timeouts left so it sealed the game for Seattle, sending them to the Super Bowl to face the Denver Broncos. The aftermath of the game is when things got interesting.

Immediately after the game, Fox’s Erin Andrews caught up with Richard Sherman in what was personally one of my favorite post-game interviews of all time. These interviews are typically boring where the player thanks God and his teammates and talks about how blessed he is and how it was a total team effort; but not this time.

Like I said, Richard Sherman is a loud mouth, we all know that.  That’s probably an understatement. I liked this interview because it was pure, raw emotion. I get it, he didn’t answer the question and came off as loud and belligerent. In his defense (no pun intended), he had just made the play of the game and really, the play of the year. It was the difference between the Seahawks going home or going to the Super Bowl. The latter happened because of Richard Sherman. Excuse him for being excited and expressing how he felt. Clearly, Michael Crabtree had said something either before the game or after the game that ticked him off and he just wanted to make it known.

Sure, Richard Sherman is not the classiest or the most humble athlete in the world, but the guy can flat out play football. There’s no denying his talent. I don’t know if he’s the best cornerback in the league, but based solely on his stats the past two years, it’d be hard to argue against his claim. I’d say it’s between him, Patrick Peterson, Joe Haden, and a healthy Darrelle Revis, but that’s an argument for another day. Hate Sherman all you want, but he talks the talk and walks the walk. DO NOT, however, even think for a second about calling him a thug.

I’ve seen countless posts on Twitter and other forms of social media where people are calling Richard Sherman a thug. People are saying they hate the Seahawks because of him and that he represents all the “thug Seahawks;” that he embodies everything that is wrong with the NFL. Seriously? A guy who graduated second in his class in high school and also graduated with a degree in Communications from STANFORD UNIVERSITY is a thug?  Maybe you’ve heard of Stanford? It’s a little learning institution in the Bay Area. Sure, he got there on a football scholarship but he still graduated. I believe he even enrolled after he was drafted by the Seahawks to get his Masters, so people need to stop labeling him a thug. You have to be pretty smart to graduate from Stanford.

Is Richard Sherman out in the streets dealing drugs? No, last time I checked he was playing football for the best secondary in the league. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Seahawks fan but I respect what they do on the field. A thug deals drugs and engages in other illegal, “thug-related” activities. Richard Sherman is locking down opposing receivers on the gridiron every Sunday. He’s a punk for sure but I respect his game. I don’t know if people were referring to the interview after the game or him as a person in their accusations of him being a thug, but neither hold true.

Sure, he trash talks all day, every day, but that’s who he is. It helps his game. He needs it to fuel himself and without it, he doesn’t play well. I’m serious. I read that in high school, he trash talked so much that his coach made him stop for a game and the first half of that game was by far the worst he’s ever played. At halftime, his coach decided that was stupid and just let him get back to being himself. Pete Carroll probably feels the same way.

Have you ever played in a pick-up basketball game where someone on the opposing team is running their mouth the entire game? I’m sure you have because we all have. It pisses you the off. It pisses me off even more so when that person is playing well or just better than me as a basketball player. It’s a mental thing and it can really get to your head. It messes with my game sometimes and I honestly don’t play as well. Well that person is Richard Sherman. He’s extremely talented and lets opposing teams know it. The guy knows what he’s doing. He’s been doing it his whole life. He’s way smarter than people realize, yet because you see glimpses of him being a cocky asshole (which is actually all the time), people assume he’s a thug. It’s just not true.

Call me crazy, but I really think it has to do with a small bit of racism. Because he’s cocky and black, he automatically gets labeled a thug for acting out. People never call white players thugs. Tom Brady would never get labeled a thug but I see him out there talking shit all the time and he looks pretty cocky doing it. He’s always fired up and although he’s not labeling himself the best in postgame interviews, he’s probably thinking it. The comparison is not as far-fetched as you might think.

Anyway, my point is, people need to stop labeling Richard Sherman a thug. He’s far from that. He’s smarter than we know and his cockiness is what helps him be so great. His Twitter profile says something about “earning the respect you’re given.” He’s earned my respect and other people should respect him too. Plus, he’s about to be a Super Bowl champion so he has the right to say whatever the hell he wants.

--Eddie Thy

The Price is Right is No Place to Make Friends

In my stretches of unemployment, there was one thing I made sure I did every weekday, and no, it wasn’t apply for jobs.  I made sure at 11:00 am, I was sitting in front of the TV for the day’s episode of the best show ever made, The Price is Right.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned watching The Price is Right religiously, it’s that you can’t be nice.  When you get called to that podium to make the bid that could get you on stage, you can’t worry about any one else.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched someone make an ill-advised bid based solely on the fact that they were afraid to screw over the person next to them.  I don’t care who it is standing next to me, if they stand between me and Plinco, a car or a large sum of money, I’m doing what I have to do to get on stage.

Sorry old lady that bid $750 right before me, I’m going with $751 because I’m more focused on winning a prize than being nice to someone I’m never going to see again.

If you think this sounds harsh or mean-spirited, then you obviously don’t have what it takes to succeed on the Price is Right.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Form Tackle: A Dying Breed in the NFL

It’s rare these days to see an NFL defender wrap up a ball carrier around the waist and bring him down.  Defenders these days are all about doling out the biggest hits possible.

There’s no doubt that a huge hit is much more likely to jarr the ball loose than a form tackle, but there is a time and a place for both.  A defender laying a bone-crushing hit on a receiver or ball carrier can have a huge effect on the game.  Beyond causing a fumble or incompletion, it can energize not only the defensive unit, but the entire team.

The problem is that defenders are so focused on trying to get on Sportscenter with these huge hits, that sometimes they end up neglecting their primary responsibility of making the tackle.

It’s so frustrating to see a defender tuck his arms in and lead with a shoulder, only to allow the ball carrier to bounce off and continue running.  What’s even more frustrating however, is when extra yardage is surrendered as a defender decides to forgo tackling all together in unsuccessful attempts to strip the ball.

There are times when the situation calls for a nice form tackle; times when throwing a shoulder at the guy just won’t do the job.  So maybe you won’t lay the guy out or cause the fumble, but at least you ensure the play ends there and not 10 yards down the field or in the end zone.

Tackling is evolving from bear-hugging a guy and bringing him to the ground, to throwing your body at him and hoping he falls down.

If defensive players are so afraid of getting fined after a hit to the head of a receiver, maybe launching themselves at his knees isn’t the only other option.

Wrap ‘em up!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

This Duracell Commercial Will Give You Chills

This is Derrick Coleman, a rookie fullback for the Seattle Seahawks. This Sunday, Coleman will take the field as the Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers in hopes of making their way to their second Super Bowl in team history.

The Seahawks superstars will be out in full force Sunday and, thanks to some savvy ticket sales, household names such as quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch, and cornerback Richard Sherman should be hearing their names cascading along the stands of Century Link Field.

None of these players, however, deserve to hear their names chanted as loudly as Coleman. After an impressive senior year at UCLA in which he rushed for nearly 800 yards and 11 TD's Coleman's name wasn't called on draft day 2012. Never one to give up Coleman worked hard in the off season and was picked up by Seattle as an undrafted free agent at the beginning of this season 

An amazing story in of itself Coleman's road to the National Football League is even more impressive because of the fact that he is the league's first legally deaf player to step on the field. Coleman has battled hearing loss since the age of three and thanks to hearing aides and an ability to read lips has succeeded against incredible odds.

Coleman has become an inspiration to thousands of fans in Seattle and beyond and now has become the subject of a Duracell commercial that briefly chronicles the hardships he has overcome. The commercial is fantastic, uplifting, will give you chills, but most of all it will show you just how remarkable a man Coleman is.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Children's Wish Foundation Kid Throws Steve Ott Out of Ceremonial Puck Drop

Here's your feel good story of the week. Yesterday, eight year-old Braden Neinaber who suffers from Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a disease which causes the body to produce to many which blood cells, spent the day with his favorite team the Washington Capitals thanks to the awesome people at the Children's Wish Foundation.

Neinaber's day included a number of great moments including getting a locker next to his favorite player, Braden Holtby, skating around with the team during the morning skate and even dropping the gloves to go toe to toe with Cap's enforcer Tom Wilson. (Check out the video below to see more of Neinaber's day.)

While all of that is absolutely awesome Neinaber's dropping of the ceremonial first puck definitely took the cake as the highlight of the day.

As Capital's captain Alexander Ovechkin prepared to take the face off against Sabres' captain Steve Ott Neinaber surprised everyone and got a huge ovation out of the hometown crowd by tossing Ott from the faceoff circle.

Gotta give credit to Ott here for being a good sport. I have a sneaking suspicion, judging from his reaction, that he may have been in on the joke. Shows a lot of class on his behalf and even though the Sabres may be sitting in last in the NHL Ott is still a talented player and apparently even a better guy.

When it comes down to it moments like this are what sports are all about. You play to win, and even though the Caps may have lost the game to the Sabres, sometimes winning is just as much about what happens off the ice. Neinaber is going to carry this day with him for the rest of his life and I'm pretty sure a fair number of Capitals fans will too.