Saturday, July 31, 2010

1 Strike

One of the quirks I like about baseball is how you can be one pitch away from ending an inning or a game but missing that pitch can mean starting all over with a new batter or extra innings. It's kind of like getting to a match-point in tennis. You're right there but if you don't get it you could have a lot more work to do.

Anyway, there were two examples of that tonight. The first was the Cubs, who were trailing the Rockies 5-2 in the 8th inning with 2 outs and 2 strikes. One good pitch and they have one inning to pick up those three runs. Unfortunately, they missed that pitch which led to the Rockies ripping off a stunning 11 straight hits and a 12 run inning. Whoops.

Then there was the much-maligned Royal, Alex Gordon. Alex was billed as "The Next George Brett" from the moment he was drafted and has always struggled to live up to those crushing expectations. He's just back from his latest stint in AAA so he could learn to play in the outfield instead of 3rd. Why does that make any sense at all? You tell me. There was a vintage "Royals Moment" the other day when their outfield consisted of a former 3rd baseman (Gordon), a former pitcher (Ankiel), and a fairly useless utility player (Bloomquist). Royals Fever...Catch It!

So, Gordon is up at the plate, bottom of the 9th, 2 men on, down by 1, 2 strikes, 2 out and he jacks a walk-off homer. One nice moment in what has probably been a pretty crappy season. It was the type of moment people like to dream will reinvigorate his career but, well, it's the Royals so let's just enjoy it for what it is.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Small town scandal!

Had to pass along this amusing scandal from Tonganoxie, KS, just down the road from Lawrence. It involves a mayor, pornographic emails, sibling conspiracies, Bingo halls, a touch of racism, and a last-minute conversion to Christianity. I'd also recommend watching the video for the first scene of the mayor inside of City Hall to give you an idea of the class of this whole operation. In my personal opinion if you're going to hire Larry Flynt to be your mayor you should learn to expect the occasional smut. Am I wrong?

Sadly, the mayor resigned today.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We can't stop here. This is Bat Country

Well, it's primary election season in Kansas which is always an entertaining moment to take a peak into the batshit craziness of the Republican Party...if you dare. Sadly, many of the important races are still decided in the Republican primary but it's tough to know who to root for. Usually the race is between two archetypal candidates. The first is "The Moderate", who still retains some of the "common sense midwestern values" (or whatever vague generality they use in their commercials). This candidate will almost always cruise to victory in the general election. The second candidate is "The Uber-Conservative." You'll find them at the Tea Party rallies ranting about how The Moderate wants to let illegal immigrants abort your baby then tax all of your money away to fund ACORN's secret plot to install Kenyan presidents along with simultaneously placing the country under sharia law and embracing "San Francisco values." The Moderate responds by claiming they've always loved the Tea Party and they really do dislike brown people more than the other guy and he's running a negative, disrespectful campaign. You think I'm exaggerating but you haven't seen Jerry Moran vs. Todd Tiahrt for Senate. The fact that one of these ass clowns will replace Sam Brownback who will slide into the Governor's Mansion makes my skin crawl. Come home, Kathleen Sebelius!

At first glance you'd think I'd rather have the Moderate win but, despite their reputation, this candidate is usually only slightly less crazy than the Uber-Conservative and will cruise to victory. The Uber-conservative can be counted on to say something horrifying enough that the middle-of-the-road voters recoil in disgust and vote for a moderate Democrat. I'm not sure I see a strong enough candidate to knock off either one of them so...go Moran, I guess?

The congressional race to replace Moran and Secretary of State race have taken things to a new level of craziness as we debate the issues that really matter to Kansans. How to fund education? Investing in coal versus wind power? Hell no! We wanna know if Obama is a damn Kenyan!

First up is the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 1st, Tracey Mann. He had garnered the endorsement of the two largest newspapers in the district and was surging in the polls before he went on the radio and said "I think the president of the United States needs to come forth with his papers and show everyone that he's an American citizen and put this issue to bed once and for all." This led to both newspapers retracting their endorsements which "mystified" the campaign who claimed it was all a big misunderstanding!

"Tracey has seen sufficient evidence to prove Obama is a citizen," DeVantier said, explaining that Mann had seen that evidence some time ago, and not in the past few days. "He believed Obama was a citizen when he said that on the air."
Clearly! How could anyone get the idea that he might have any question about Obama's citizenship? It's not like he has a pattern of making statements like this. Oh...wait.
KSAL's Bryan Jennings, who asked the question, said he brought up the issue because Mann had questioned the president's citizenship at a June 21 candidate forum in Elkhart.

The Salina Journal obtained a copy of video from that forum, which shows Democratic candidate Alan Jilka answering first, saying he didn't think the question of Obama's citizenship merited the time it would take to respond.

Mann was next up, saying he disagreed with Jilka, and that "I would say that he should show his birth certificate to really resolve this thing one way or another."
The newspapers seemed to be caught off-guard by this whole thing:
Editor and publisher Tom Bell, who wrote the Journal's endorsement, said he, too, plans to withdraw his endorsement.

"I am pulling my endorsement and will have another editorial early next week," Bell said Thursday.

He said he will take another look at the five remaining Republican contenders.

If this is an important enough issue to merit that response, why didn't Bell ask Mann his opinion of Obama's citizenship status before making the endorsement?

"I never dreamed it was necessary to ask this of any of the candidates," Bell said. "I thought it was so far out of the mainstream."
Ha! I'm curious how long Bell has been in this state. Has he been paying attention?

Surely not to people like Kris Kobach, running for secretary of state, who has chosen to base his entire campaign on the complete non-issue of "voter fraud." He's a law professor and a big wheel in the anti-immigration crowd to the point that he was one of the main authors of the infamous Arizona law. He even brought in that asshole sadist sheriff from Arizona, who's always on Fox News, to campaign for him. Anyway, he also decided to jump into the birther "controversy" with both feet.

Sigh. Like I always say, it's all fun and games until the assholes are elected.

UPDATE: At least we aren't "debating" freaking secession yet like they are in Tennessee. Yikes. What has happened to us?
"I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government," he told the Hotline.
Who the hell do they think voted for Obama? Maybe that's where Kobach gets his hard-on for voter fraud. Newsflash, dipshit: the people voting for Democrats are "American people" just like the ones voting for Republicans. Seriously, you don't actually have a God-given right to control the country.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The "King" Decrees

Well, two-time MVP, zero-time champion LeBron James announced his decision to head to Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat. I kind of watched the special but it was muted for almost all of it. I did see the absolutely ludicrous "DecisionWater" ad and the even more ludicrous scene of announcing the decision in front of the Greenwich, Connecticut Boys and Girls Club. Possibly the richest and whitest in the country? They did manage to stock the cooler full of LeBron James' endorsed VitaminWater which was nice. Hopefully the kids got to drink some before it was loaded back into the props truck. The ESPN media seemed pretty disinterested in actually asking any follow-up questions when LeBron would say something about how much it hurt to leave Cleveland. Umm, so why did you leave? And why did you do it in an hour-long TV special? Nah, that's against the bottom line. We're still a legitimate journalistic enterprise that happens to have huge financial interests in creating storylines and broadcasting the games and athletes we cover. Don't screw that up by pissing off the bread winners.

The only benefit, in my eyes, is that the egotism and greed on display was so brazen that people had to pay attention. Will Leitch sums up the disgusted feelings something like this can evoke much, much more eloquently than I could have. We may scoff at a self-proclaimed "King" with no titles who deems it necessary to bring the spotlight to him without a second thought to how that might look to or affect the fans in his home state who have cheered and defended him for years but it's a product of a culture that has coddled and deified him for years. Cover of Sports Illustrated as a high schooler? He has more in common with a child star like Lindsey Lohan than some of the great athletes he's been compared to.

Oh well, here's to finding a new villain in the Big Three and the rest of the scrubs left to fill out the roster. Honestly, as a basketball move going to Chicago might have made more sense. That's a young team with some room to make a few more moves. Miami is so handicapped by three huge contracts that they're already shipping out Michael Beasley. (Yeah, T-Wolves! Kind of a no-risk move for them other than continuing to stack up players at the same position.) Miami looks good on paper but D Wade isn't going to give up control of the team easily and maybe LeBron is cool with that (which would be weird but maybe he's just not built to be The Man). No matter how you slice it Miami is just the boring, totally lame choice. There's no storyline other than following Wade and Bosh. Not exactly the stuff of legend.

Finally, how about Cleveland's owner unleashing this bomb? The complete child-like outrage is hilarious enough but the fact that he chose to go with Comic Sans font takes it up a notch. For a font that's been used inappropriately possibly more than any other this might be one of the all-time worst. Come on, how can I take you seriously when you're font is just so damn playful and obnoxious?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

This is embarrassing

LeBron Watch 2010! Or the only thing that could make me nostalgic for Favre Watches 2008 and 2009.
Apparently this has gotten so big that ESPN.com is citing an ESPN the Magazine report quoting anonymous sources saying that ESPN (the channel) is hosting a one-hour special so LeBron can announce what team he will sign with. ESPN is breaking news about it's own programming from anonymous sources! Yes, seriously.
LeBron James is planning to announce the team with which he will sign during a one-hour special on ESPN Thursday night, ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard has learned through independent sources.

ESPN would only confirm that active discussions for the special are ongoing. But sources tell Broussard that representatives for James contacted the network, proposing that James makes his announcement during a 9 p.m. ET special.
Based on the stuff I've seen real journalists do when it comes to the really important things like war and politics none of this surprises or really even bothers me at all other than to just roll my eyes. ESPN likes to try to maintain some sort of journalistic integrity but they're still relying on these athletes and broadcasting deals to bring in viewers. They benefit just as much as LeBron does by hyping this up into the big story of the summer. No doubt LeBron is a great talent but wasn't everybody just killing the guy for disappearing in a key playoff game? Has he won anything yet? Does he think he's really done anything to deserve a full hour of ego stroking before he announces what team will have the privilege of playing him tens of millions a year to play basketball?
Those sources said that James' representatives requested they be allowed to sell sponsorship for the one-hour special, with the proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and that ESPN agreed to the proposal but had not been told what James has decided.
Proceeds will also go to Nike, Vitamin Water, McDonald's, LeBron's ego, the Walt Disney Corporation, LeBron's entourage, LeBron's entourage's entourage, and Stephen A. Smith.

The article continues by talking about Chris Bosh and LeBron:
The Cavaliers are hopeful that will change, because in Cleveland, Bosh can meet two of his top priorities: playing with James, and getting a six-year, $125 million contract.

If Bosh joins a team without doing a sign-and-trade, he will be able to sign only a five-year deal worth $96 million. He is determined not to leave that $29 million on the table, sources told Broussard.
Atta boy, Chris. Not that I blame him at all (I mean, when billionaire owners are crying poverty in order to get more tax breaks there are certainly worse scumbags out there) but it all seems more than a little absurd. Although perhaps not nearly as absurd as the Timberwolves signing freaking Darko Milicic to a $20 million deal! Yeesh, that's a post for another time.