2007
10.23

As the Red Sox and Rockies prepare to determine the 2007 champion of baseball, much of the mainstream baseball coverage remains transfixed on the New York Yankees. Whether the subject is Joe Torre, Alex Rodriguez, or any other member of the team, it seems the Yankees never fail to overshadow the rest of baseball. With all this never-ending coverage and organizational drama, it’s difficult to imagine a time when the franchise was not relevant. Even in the dark ages of Yankee lore, the late 1980s and early 1990s, the days of Rick Rhoden, Mel Hall, and Andy Hawkins, the team still made headlines due to its bombastic ownership.

There was a time many generations ago, however, when this was not the case. Way back in the early 20th century, before George Steinbrenner, before television, before World War II, and before George Ruth revolutionized the game, there was the sadly mediocre New York Yankees. From 1903 to 1918, as the cross-town New York Giants dominated the world of baseball, the upstart New York Yankees floundered in mediocrity. In this 16-year era, the beginning of the American League New York ballclub, the Yankees/ New York Highlanders were a collective 41 games over .500, winning 1141 and losing 1100. Comparatively, the Giants were nearly 500 wins over .500 at 1465 and 938.

Even in attendance the Yankees tread the middle road. From 1903 to 1918, they averaged 4th in the 8 team league in attendance. The Giants, on the other hand, led the National League in attendance in 12 of the 16 years. This disparity is even more striking when the Yankees moved into the Giants’ home park of the Polo Grounds in 1913. Of course, in the following years, the Yankees would eventually surpass the Giants in attendance thanks to the prolific home run hitting ability of Babe Ruth.

With the arrival of the Babe in 1920, the Yankees turned the page and quickly transformed into the kings of New York and the talk of sports world. The Babe catapulted to mythical stature and on his huge shoulders sat the Yankees franchise. From 1920 to 1964, the Yankees would only finish under .500 one time. As the torch passed from Ruth to Gehrig to DiMaggio to Mantle to Reggie to Mattingly to Jeter, the Yankees became ingrained in American culture. They became possibly the most transcending entity in all of sports. Yet, nearly 100 years ago, as difficult as it is to imagine, the Yankees were about as dominate in the landscape of the early American League as the Toronto Blue Jays are today.

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2007
10.19

pic1Perhaps you remember the fall of 2003. After yet another stunning defeat in the playoffs, the Boston Red Sox, looking to finally reach the pinnacle of baseball’s summit, acquired all-star pitcher Curt Schilling. With Schilling, the Red Sox made a statement that 2004 was the year and nothing less than a championship was acceptable. Schilling was to be the final piece, the cog that would drive the team to glory.

Last week I received an e-mail from the founder of Epic Carnival asking if I wanted to join this epic stable of writers. Like Theo Epstein in November 2003, the powers that be of Epic Carnival laid out the goals of the site and told me more or less that I would make a great addition. As you can see, like Schilling, I agreed.

This is hardly a new role for me. In 2002, I wrote for the Florida State University newspaper, winning Writer of the Year in the same year my editor won Editor of the Year and the publication won its own prestigious national award. Following my stint at the FSView, I did a some solo work, including writing a highly regarded 90-page piece on an international subject. Then, in March 2007, after only five months of blogging, the Cavalier of YaySports! selected myself and three other writers, including fellow Epic Carnival contributor Jack Cobra, to represent YaySports! in the Cavalier’s Hollywood-bound absence.

When I am not busy filling the role of Chosen One, I write on my own sports/humor/music site The Serious Tip. You might have swung by and read my interviews with pornstars and Playboy models, my analysis on trades and draft picks, or my visits to arenas and stadiums throughout the state of Florida. If you are familiar, I’d like to say thanks for reading.

Here at Epic Carnival, my main mission is talking NBA. Of course, to be honest, I don’t come without my own biases. I’m a Knicks fan and have been since I was a wee lad. However, I am not in any way, shape, or form a fan of Isiah Thomas. As a matter of fact, I haven’t watched a Knicks’ game in over 900 days and I won’t watch until the mighty Zeke has fallen. I call it my personal boycott.

Fortunately, on any given night, there are 28 other teams and at least 336 other players to watch, admire, and discuss. So even though I’ve never been the best baller or shot-caller and I have a better chance translating Sanskrit in a dirty mirror than understanding John Hollinger, I invite you to check me out.

Oh, and about the “Chosen One” stuff, don’t get the wrong idea. As no one individual freak dominated the old “ten-in-ones”, I’m not here to be the sole superstar. However, like P.T. Barnum’s world famous Egress, there is always one headliner that puts the show over the top. The Curt Schilling of the Carnival – Jordi Scrubbings.

(Oh yeah, picture acquired from Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter.)

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2007
10.18

Back in the old Negro Leagues, teams used to “borrow” stars such as Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson to boost the gate and draw more fans to the venues. Sixty years later, and not to compare myself to Paige and Gibson, I have been asked to add greatness and a touch of prestige to a fellow blog. The webmasters over at Epic Carnival have asked me to opine on things basketball during this year’s upcoming NBA season and after much negotiation and deliberation, I have agreed.

Epic Carnival, for those who might not know, is an amalagmation of various sports-writing bloggers coming together to promote each other and share their writing abilities in a vast expansive forum. The goal is to cover anything and everything that happens in the world of sports through various styles and methods. And now they have added me, the 45th Chamber.

Therefore, this year expect very few NBA posts this season at The Serious Tip. All my complaining about the Knicks and other observations on various NBA subjects will be done at Epic Carnival. Don’t worry, however, I will be alerting readers to each and every post I do on Epic Carnival. In the words of the immortal Bartels and James, “Thank you for your support“.

As an added bonus, and because I feel like filling up space, here is a killer kung-fu clip from Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (better known as the opening video to Craig Kilborn’s Five Questions).

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2007
10.18

Recent supplement raids across the U.S. have intercepted numerous cases of erectile dysfunction drugs addressed to pornography stars and caused uproar throughout the adult film industry.

FBI sources have told The Serious Tip shipment lists on over 69,000 cases of ED drugs seized since February 2007 contained the names of numerous high-profile male adult performers. The most recent of these raids netted approximately 2,500 cases in Brooklyn, NY. Other raids have seized drugs in Miami, Fla., San Francisco, Ca., and Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of these raids, such as the recent NY seizure, made headlines due to their seizure of huge amounts of human growth hormone and other sports-related drugs.

“Although sports supplements such as HGH have gotten much of the publicity, we have seen a huge jump in the amount of illegal ED drugs headed towards the porn industry,” said an anonymous FBI officer who has worked on the case since late 2006. “We are working hand-in-hand with our other agencies to stop this epidemic.”

According to FBI sources, the drugs are generic versions of name-brand ED drugs such as Viagra and Cialis. Many are manufactured in poor third-world countries by children with no shoes and women who haven’t showered recently.

“I mean, I don’t want to take away these peoples’ only source of income,” said a second FBI agent new to the agency, “But we don’t need drugs like that in our porn. Those beautiful, blond, big-breasted, lovely, attractive, kind, sweet, young women need guys like us to protect them from the evils of drugs. Especially the girls in the cheerleading outfits. They look so innocent, yet sexy. Not that I watch porn or anything.”

Results of the raids have also caused controversy throughout the porn industry. Among those concerned is Jon Longfellow, a recently retired male performer and holder of several porn records, to include longest performance without ejaculation.

“I was clean my whole career,” said Longfellow. “Now I have to question these new guys. I mean, as some of them get closer and closer to the all-time records, how do we know if they were natural?”

Although the FBI has only recently disclosed the names on the shipment lists to top porn officials and not made any of their findings public, many female performers already have their suspicions.

“I knew something was wrong when one of the guys in my gangbang scene last week lasted way longer than any of the others,” said Britney Bazoombas, a three year veteran of the industry. “I was kneeling there, waiting for the moneyshot, thinking ‘wow, this guy has to be on something to last this long’. Now I know.”

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2007
10.16

I am a pitiful prognosticator, a sad soothseer, a fallible fortune teller, and an atrocious analyst. I can’t hold a stick to Miss Cleo and I am not worthy of carrying the sack of Madam Ruby’s crystal ball. I stand before you today to sadly admit the sheer atrocity that was my 2007 baseball predictions.

Going into the season I had high hopes. It was the first time I attempted a league-wide estimate. I knew my baseball. How could I go wrong? Let me count the ways:

First, the American League:

Here are my original picks. As you can see, the only teams I got right were the Indians, Royals, Tigers, and Angels. Not one team from the AL East. Yes, I even got the Devil Rays wrong. Seems I was a little too supportive of the local team and picked them to finish above Baltimore. Not smart.

On to the Senior Circuit:

In the National League I did even worse, no thanks to my penchant for picking the New York Mets as favorites. Here are my original NL picks. If it wasn’t for the averageness of the Braves and Cardinals and ineptitude of the Giants and Pirates, I would have blown the whole league. Speaking of the Giants, I will take one bit of credit in this regard – in my January Haiku prediction special, I predicted Barry Zito would finish around .500. He finished with 11 wins and 13 losses.

And what of the World Series-bound Colorado Rockies? Would it surprise you if I said I initially forgot about them? After posting my predictions one evening, I went to bed, woke up the next morning, and realized both the Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds were missing. Yes, I forgot the eventual National League Champions and the oldest team in professional baseball. Of course, after thinking about it, I put the Rockies in 4th, barely above the last-place Giants. Hey, no one ever mistook me for Will Carroll or Jason Stark.

Overall, I correctly scored a mind-boggling 8 of 30, or 26.6%. After this year’s debacle, I am not sure I will even attempt predicting the 2008 season. Maybe I’ll keep it simple and alphabetize the teams in their respective divisions and say those are my predictions. Or maybe I’ll just pick the Pirates and Royals to play next October. You heard it here first.

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2007
10.15

Blog Action Day

I know I am late but October 15 is/was Blog Action Day. What is Blog Action Day? It is/was a day, nominated by the people that run Blog Action Day, when bloggers across the Internet hold hands, walk across America, pick up trash, and alert their readers that they should be nicer to Mother Earth, Gaia, or whatever you call the big ball of dirt we live on.

I believe in bettering the environment. It’s a good idea. Unfortunately, I drive a big pick-up truck, use beaucoup electricity to power my computer so I can blog, keep my air conditioning on well into late October, and throw bottles in my kitchen garbage pail. So don’t be like me.

To be honest, I’m trying to do better, really. The other day I took a commuter bus to work and I put an empty can of soda in a recycle bin crusher-thing. Baby steps.

Anyway, the moral of the story is be nice to the environment and it will be nice to you. Unless of course, you yell in the mountains and cause an avalanche and 18 feet of snow buries you alive. Don’t do that.

On a positive note, here are some great tips from scalp’em.com on how you can make your next tailgating session more environmentally friendly.

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2007
10.14

The best October event you’ve never heard of

With all due respect to the chaotic college football scene, the NFL, and the Major League Baseball playoffs, the most exciting event of October occured last week and sadly received little to no media attention. On Saturday, October 6th, the city of Chonburi, Thailand held their latest annual Water Buffalo Race.

For those not in the know (and I kinda include myself here, as I only recently found out about the event), water buffalo racing has been held in Chonburi for over 100 years. According to a Thailand travel e-zine the race had humble beginnings, but attracted royal attention in 1912 and afterwards amassed national popularity.

Held outside Chonburi’s City Hall, the event also doubles as a swapmeet for buffalo farmers, breeders, etc. But the main event has remained the races, which are usually divided into four weight classes: smallest, small, medium, and heavy. Tomvater.com describes the event:

“These days it’s a grand small town affair. A procession of buffaloes, some wooden, some real, accompanied by assorted beauty queens move through town and onto the race grounds in the morning. Thousands of people make sure a raucous carnival atmosphere prevails. There are tug-of–war and pole climbing competitions, a big stage from which local dignitaries present the farm beauty queen contest and a posse of scantily clad dancers.”

Here is a video of one of the processions before the race.

After they line up and race begins, the water buffalo are goaded by their riders towards the finish line. Imagine an event similar to the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain although with riders attempting to control the beasts. (Click here for a good video of the event.) Of course, as with Pamplona, sometimes disaster strikes and a bystander or two gets gored.

Unfortunately, besides announcements of the event, I couldn’t find any results for the 2007 Chonburi Water Buffalo Races. I guess this means I’ll have to visit Thailand next year to post the winners. Maybe I’ll even live blog the event. Then again, maybe I’ll be really lucky and conduct an interview with water buffalo racing’s equivalent to Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, or Tony Stewart. I wonder which racer Budweiser sponsors?

Note: although most web sites list the event for October 6th, the official Thailand tourism site has it scheduled for October 24th. Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t find any results. Not sure which site is correct but if the event does occur on the 24th, just re-read this in two weeks.

(Image found at http://thai-travel-info.blogspot.com.)

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2007
10.11

Monday, Monday, Monday … October 15th … Live in a bowling alley in Tampa, Florida, it’s 2004 Playmate of the Year Carmella Decesare! Come bowl with Carmella and see if you can amaze her with your ball-rolling ability. See if your athletic prowess in knocking down wooden pins at the end of a long, hard, slicked lane impresses one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the pages of Playboy. And it’s for charity, which means it’s for a good cause, or something, I think.

Who wouldn’t want to hang out with this woman while wearing really dopey looking shoes?

(Not pictured: Carmella’s husband and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer quarterback Jeff Garcia.)

Garcia Pass It On Foundation Upcoming Events

More Carmella pics (NSFW)

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2007
10.11

I wanted to post this over the weekend, but my previously mentioned ISP problems made doing so impossible. Anyway, last Saturday I got to check off a major goal in my concert going career. I saw Alice in Chains open for Velvet Revolver at the Ford Amphitheater in Tampa. Granted, Velvet Revolver was the headliner and they put on an absolutely great show, but I have wanted to see Alice in Chains in concert since I became a fan in the mid-1990s.

A few notes:

- When I bought the ticket, the guy at the ticket place told me new lead singer William Duvall sang just like late frontman Layne Staley. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical, but Duvall nailed it. Very impressive.

- The set list was nothing new, which also kinda surprised me. I thought perhaps they would slide a new tune in or perhaps a song from one of guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s albums. Instead I got a heaping helping of classic Alice in Chains. And there is nothing wrong with that.

- Most of the songs came off of Dirt and the self-titled album, except “No Excuses” from the Jar of Flies album and “We Die Young” and “Man in the Box” from their first album, Facelift.

- As I watched the show, I started thinking, what is Alice in Chains’ most famous song? “Would?” was probably their first major hit, and “Rooster” is definitely up there, but I would almost have to go with “Man in the Box”. It gets plenty of radio play still, and has been used in a bunch of movies and at sporting events. Opinions welcome in the comments, of course.

- Speaking of “Rooster”, the band closed by playing the song while showing an awesome montage of war footage that spliced scenes of troops in Vietnam with scenes from the current conflict in Iraq. Flashing throughout the footage were pictures of Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and President Bush. While definitely not at the level of a U2 Bono statement, AIC’s video did a good job of putting geopolitics aside and showing the traumas, stresses, and similarities of two wars generations apart.

A few notes about Velvet Revolver:

- I’ve never seen Slash perform live before and I was blown away. His guitar playing skills were better than I thought.

- Unlike Alice in Chains, Velvet Revolver mixed some other material into their set, playing songs from their members’ former bands, Stone Temple Pilots and Guns’N'Roses. Of course, these songs drove everyone in the crowd wild.

- I was really surprised they played the Guns’N'Roses tune “Mr. Brownstone”, however. If memory serves me correct, the Virginia Tech killer wrote an essay with the same name and quoted the song quite extensively. Here it is. I thought maybe the band would have retired the song in tribute to the victims.

Overall, I would give this show a solid “A”. The 60 dollar ticket and the fact that the ushers did not let people take pictures (supposedly at the artists’ request) was the only reason it doesn’t get an “A+”. Highly recommended.

(Picture acquired from the Velvet Revolver web site.)

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2007
10.10

Oh, I’m still alive

My most humble apologies, dear fans of The Serious Tip. Due to technical difficulties, I was temporarily unable to access blogger.com or any other Internet site from my apartment, or as I like to call it, de laboratory de Jordi. I won’t name names, but let’s just say my ISP hasn’t made my house all that bright lately.

Despite my lack of Intertube access, I have still been writing, albeit mostly in MSWord. So as soon as I can cut and paste everything into the bowels of The Serious Tip expect a bevy, a plethora, even perhaps a cornucopia of insight.

Again, my apologies.

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