2008
03.19

As ours is a time of passionate speeches and heartfelt declarations, I would like to take a moment to announce the outright banning of Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks from this site. This banishment will exist until such time as Mr. Cuban re-instates the press credentials of bloggers and allows them access into the Dallas Mavericks locker room.

We cannot hide from the fact that bloggers and the mainstream media are different. We come from different backgrounds and our challenge to be heard has taken much different routes. Bloggers did not come from journalism schools across the nation, although some do share that experience. We come from your neighborhoods, your sports bars, your stadiums, your colleges, and your little league fields. We are your friends, your co-workers, and your family members. We are your global community, yearning to be heard.

I have seen places where bloggers are prosecuted. I have read their struggles against oppression. In countries all over the world, the innocent who clamor only for a voice are arrested and jailed, many without representation. All for the ability and desire to express their thoughts. The power of unrestricted voice is frightening to the establishment, and too often that establishment has gone beyond the limits of comprehension to stifle the speech of the common blogger.

Here in America we are not jailed on account of our words. We are not prosecuted because of our announcements or analyses. We in the sports blogosphere are however, told how we can blog, where we can blog, and how often we can blog. Our undying desire to broadcast our opinions is being preempted by the heads of the very sports we love. We are being forced to choose between our hobby, or in few cases livelihood, or the leagues and organizations that we have followed, many since birth.

I know there is a place for all those who want to write about sports. A place where bloggers, the mainstream media, and sports organizations can co-exist peacefully and without hostility towards one another. A place where the mainstream media will not sit idly by while the voice of a blogger is stifled. A place where bloggers act as a respected part of the fourth estate, not only as a check and balance against those whose purpose is checking and balancing. A place where the current cacophony of voices merges into a harmonious symphony, where each part, although pleasant on its own merit, complements the greater whole.

This paradise is not far away. I believe it is in our grasp. However, for it be a reality, we must all want it. We must all believe in the goodness and sweet sound of cooperation.

For opposition to this dream, and actions negating the advancement of bloggers worldwide, Mark Cuban and his Dallas Mavericks organization will no longer be mentioned on this site. As long Mark Cuban decides to shut us out, we will reciprocate his actions and delete him from our current conversation.

I invite other bloggers, especially those who share the passion of sport, to make a similar stand. Stand in unison and join The Serious Tip in a “Cuban Boycott”. Only together can we make a difference.

It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?
- Rage Against The Machine

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2008
03.17

Opening day is a mere nine days away. 9 days. That’s 216 hours. A bunch of minutes, and thousands of seconds. I’m excited; one might even say I am geeked. Oh yes. Geeked. I already have my tickets. A 20-game package at beautiful Tropicana Field. Add in a free ticket I won last season and I’m going to be seeing a lot of baseball this year. And there is nothing wrong with that.

That said, there are a few things I am going to be watching for this season. Through blogs and sites like Baseball Prospectus, I feel I’ve enhanced my powers of baseball observation; and it’s time to put my newfound analytical abilities to the test.

So, instead of the usual run-of-the-mill predictions (which I am not good at, as I proved last year), I’m giving you the trends and key points I’m keeping an eye out for. I might just even write on these points when all is said and done at the end of the season. If you are lucky.

Things I’ll be watching this season (in no particular order):

- The end of Shea and Yankee Stadium. Hopefully, I’ll be going to Shea at some point this summer for the last time. My first game there was 23 years ago – Back to School Day, 1985. I still have the old giveaway binder to prove it.

- The end of the Dodgers in Vero Beach. The Dodgers are ending an era by moving out to Arizona. It makes economic sense and probably should have been done years ago, but it hurts my traditional-minded baseball heart to see them go. There’s talk that the Orioles might replace them. But will Koufax Street, et al become Jim Palmer Lane?

- More on stadia: the development and drama behind the Rays’ and Marlins’ new parks. Although I am not sold on the sail idea, and have kinda grown to like the Trop, I can’t wait to see both teams in new homes.

- Speaking of the Rays: they are getting an unprecedented amount of hype this offseason. Will the hype equal increased attendance? I’ll be there. Rumor has it only a small minority of Tampa area bloggers actually live in the Tampa area. Oh well, there’s always hanging out with Dickie V.

- May 16, 17, 18: Red Sox versus Brewers. There is a chance the two most famous alumni from my high school, Tim Wakefield and Prince Fielder, could face each other for the first time. A truly historic day.

- Years ago, pitchers used to pitch 300 innings and win 30 games. Those days are long gone. As we move to a more coddling time of pitchcounts and relief specialists, have we seen the end of the 20-game winner? What about the 300-strikeout season? If a guy only pitches 240 innings, he would have to average 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings to get 300 Ks. I don’t see that happening again for a while.

- The inconsistencies of bullpens. No facet of professional sports is more unpredictable than major league relief pitching. A shutdown bullpen one year could be complete garbage the next. Imagine if other situational aspects like fieldgoal kicking or goaltending or freethrow shooting were as unpredictable.

- Talent versus signability in the June draft. The Rays again have the first pick and I don’t think money will be too big of an issue for them. But for the Pirates, Royals, Twins, and several other teams, signing bonuses and rookie contracts continue to destroy the true purpose of the amateur draft.

- The growing influence of “new” stats in baseball discussion. Most serious fans know the meaning of OPS, VoRP, and other SABRmetics. How soon until these terms are incorporated in the layman’s baseball vernacular? Would it be too much trouble to get one of the guys from Baseball Prospectus, etc to work at ESPN, preferably on an announce team. Why not make one broadcast a week a more in-depth announcing experience, with color commentators who won’t spout cliches, but will instead tell me a pitcher’s groundball-to-flyball ratio and why that is important in a certain situation?

- Finally, will this be the season more teams look to the stolen base? With the age of steroids slowing drifting away like Dobie Gray, will we see a return of “manufactured” runs? More stealing, bunting, and situational hitting? Or have walks, on-base percentage, and station-to-station offense completely replaced the stolen base as an alternative to hitting the ball out of the park?

There you have it. The 10 things I’ll be watching. Feel free to discuss in the comments. Only 9 days away. I can’t wait.

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2008
03.16

This post originally appeared on Yaysports!.

(Jordi slipping in the back door for a weekend post. Wait, that didn’t sound good.)

Today is a glorious day. The sun is shining. The birds are singing – like they do everyday – turn, turn, turn. However, instead of wallowing in the Florida sunshine, I am here ruling my roost and imparting wisdom to the fine denizens of the YaySports community.

As you can tell by my witty and insightful headline – which I just wrote down and mailed to myself to ensure poor man’s copyright – I watched the Rockets-Lakers game.

In summary:
Rafer Alston had a big game. He scored a bunch of points. He used to play ball in New York City. He can dribble better than I can. The Rockets played good defense on Jellybean Jr. Jeff Van Gundy is bitter and should not be announcing Rocket games. Shane Battier’s peachfuzz doesn’t stop me from saying his melon looks kinda like Abdullah the Butcher.

In other news, there is a gnat buzzing around my computer screen right now. I don’t know where he came from or whether he has children or not, but I have sworn him to be my mortal enemy.

He will die.

And because I can’t go one post without mentioning my undying love for the Knicks: here is what Charlie Ward has been up to lately. That’s sorta related. He played for the Rockets, too.

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2008
03.16

Spreading some knowledge out of Florida State

Being of supreme academic standing, there are times when I like to peruse the writings of fellow learned individuals. Many of these voices are young writers starting on their own path of greatness. Here are a few interesting links from my beloved alma mater. Check these authors out before they hit the big time.

Fantasy Fans?: Comparing Team Indentification Among Fantasy Football Players and Non-Fantasy Players. Corrigan, Thomas Fitzpatrick. 2007.(60 pages)

Playing Along With the Game: Examining the Impact that Enhanced Television Services Have on the Enjoyment of Televised Sports. Carlton, Kristin Ann. 2006. (85 pages)

Gender Representations in BET’s “106 & Park” and “Sucker Free on MTV”: A Content Analysis. LaTouche, Kiva. 2007. (52 pages).

A Baseline Examination of Political Bloggers: Who They Are, Their Views on the Blogosphere and Their Influence In Agenda-Setting via the Two-Step Flow Hypothesis. Tomaszeski, Michael Steven. 2006. (81 pages)

Time Estimation Among Basketball Players. Gould, Julia Anne. 2005. (65 pages)

Incidence of Sport Injury in Female Collegiate Athletes across the Four Phases of the Menstrual Cycle. Petscher, Yaacov M. 2004. (51 pages)

African American News Websites: Publishers’ Views, Perspectives and Experiences in Relation to the Social Construction of News, Online News and the Black Press. Akil II, Bakari Rashidi. 2007. (210 pages)

A little something for everyone. Enjoy. There will be a quiz on Friday.

P.S. To fellow bloggers: if your alma mater or favorite college has online research papers, spread the love and let us know what they are writing about.

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2008
03.15

This post originally appeared on YaySports!.

(Your listening to Jordi’s Quiet Storm. After much anger, I’ve calmed down.)

When I was little, my father was famous. He was the greatest philosophizer in the Empire. He taught me many great and interesting things. He taught me to never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Wiser words were never spoken.

As I got older however, I was also imparted with the wisdom of one of Rock City’s Finest. This wisened philosoph instructed me to think, show her respect, and to never, ever blaspheme.

I used to think Jack Cobra and I were the Castor and Pollux of this site. Despite other celestial bodies that occasionally grace us with their presence (looking at you, AZ Frat Brigade!), we had become the twins of the YaySports sky. Unfortunately, due to Cobra’s recent analysis belittling my favorite player of all-time, I feel a kinship with Abel and all others who have been stabbed by those with whom they shared a bond.

In my view of the basketball universe, John Starks is a demi-god. A classic over-achiever who lifted the Knicks to the greatest of heights, defended his ground, and attacked where necessary. Unlike the immortals, Starks was human, showcasing his most glaring disappointments at the most tragic of times. But it was these times that elevated him in the eyes of Knicks fans. He was not a cover boy for perfection, and neither were we. It is easy to root for the accomplished; much more fun, in my opinion, to root for the struggler.

So to Jack Cobra and other fans of his ilk, you can keep your jerseys of Motorboat Jones and Johnny Kilroy, I’ll wear my Starks New York Knicks #3 jersey with pride.

That is why Jack Cobra is a blasphemer.

In other news, the Rockets won. Again. I think they should let another team win for once.

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2008
03.14

This post originally appeared on YaySports!.

(Jordi wrapping up a meager night of action, suspense, and TNT drama.)

I’ll admit because I play softball until late every Thursday night I usually totally forget about the TNT Thursday night basketball extravaganzas. But last night was different. This Thursday featured everyone’s favorite disinterested Vogue coverboy versus the Wizards of Washington. It was not to be missed. I even had notice on good authority the former blogmaster of this site was supposedly watching.

Alas, however, my game went late. As I finally pulled into my apartment complex I had to pause, for I felt a great disturbance, as if millions of voices were screaming out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I felt something terrible had happened.

After I walked into my apartment, I turned on the television to my TNT station, yet there was no Cavalier victory. I triple-checked the station, but the Cavs were gone, defeated by the Wizards.

How? I thought. The entire NBA couldn’t stop LeBron James. It would take a thousand players with more stopping power than has ever existed. Then a familiar voice. Maybe they knew what happened. But Ernie, Charles, and Kenny whizzed by me discussing who-knows-what. Oddly however, their show was too short to be on by itself. They had to be part of a program or something.

Suddenly, I was drawn to the large object far away on my screen. As it came closer it dawned on me, that’s not a moon, it’s Shaquille O’Neal. I had a very bad feeling about that.

So I turned off my television, wrote this, and went to bed.

The End.

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2008
03.13

This post originally appeared on YaySports!.

(Jordi back again on the ones and twos.)

I pity you, poor readers.

With MCBias running his own investigation, and Jack Cobra mindlessly rambling about Andrew Bynum’s sweaty adventures on a treadmill, you are like lost sheep, eagerly awaiting some semblence of leadership. And for those who think the World Famous Mr. The Caviar is coming back, I laugh in your general direction.

Let me remind you that I once took a leadership course. I have also read the Art of War. I know what you want. Curious as to whether the Rockets won their 20th game in a row?

They did.

See?

Say you are a Piston fan masquerading on this site, and you like to talk trash. You probably want to know how your team did. Here, here is a tissue to wipe away your tears.

Say you are a visitor with the same moniker of a famous French point guard. Parlez vous, francais, mi amor, merci, oui oui, bon bons, and all that good stuff. You might be interested in knowing your team scored a whopping 8 fourth quarter points in a loss to New Orleans. I once scored 8 points in a quarter in a rec league game, and I suffer from chronic basketball ineptitude.

And finally, for those of you still holding on to hope that the Knickerbockers may once again return to relevance, feel free to use their victory over the Heat as the foundation of your belief.

Once again, I have proven my ability.

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2008
03.12

This post originally appeared on YaySports!.

(Jordi back again.)

Citizens of the Sports Blogosphere, who loves you?

Me.

When the power went out on YaySports!NBA, who turned the lights back on?

Me.

I am now the real power behind YaySports!NBA. Well, me, Cobra, and he of the margaritas and senoritas.

And where, oh where is the Cav? Could he be at home washing his tights? Or is he sipping a mango-guava-broccolli smoothie, watching re-runs of Frazier, and hanging out with a white girl?

To show you that I love ya best, here are a dozen links for your NBA perusing pleasure.

1) Bill Simmons looks at the biggest NBA “What If’s” of this decade. For you Cavs fans out there, it begins with a possible dynasty and ends with your worst nightmare. Personally, I am still stuck on “what if PJ Brown didn’t flip Charlie Ward back in the day?”.

2) If you have $8,500 dollars, and I am sure you do, you can be the proud owner of a team in the Global Basketball Alliance.

3) Speaking of the GBA, the Bronx Breakouts are holding a tryout on March 16th. For those of you in the NYC area (SML!), click the “tryout info” on the GBA page, and go tryout. The worst thing that can happen is you get a good story out of it.

4) Hardwood Paroxysm declared Tuesday “Kobe Bryant Appreciation Day”. Thousands, if not dozens, of bloggers across the world penned sonnets to the Junior Jellybean.

5) If you read other blogs besides this one, I am sure you have heard the news: Mark Cuban has banned bloggers from the Mavericks’ locker room. But what if the Mavs signed Rod Benson to a 10-day contract? Would he have to get dressed somewhere else?

6) Gilbert Arenas – who can never play for the Mavericks either – has posted again on NBA.com. The vociferious Gilbert talks injuries, afros, enforcers, point guards, comparisons, Mitch Richmond, and even drops a Harold Miner mention.

7) Like my cohort Jack Cobra did yesterday, the grandmasters at Free Darko are contemplating the Rockets remarkable 19-game winning streak. Keep this in mind for a moment, one more win and the Rockets will have gone undefeated for 1/4 of their season. For a baseball team to do that, they would have to go 40 and 0.

8) Speaking of baseball: who would you rather have in a baseball-basketball grudge match to the death: Danny Ainge, who played 2nd base for the Toronto Blue Jays, or current Florida Marlin and former 76er, Net, and Cav Mark Hendrickson?

9) A bunch of people from Ohio who watch Cleveland sports got together to blog. This is their story.

10) The thought/comment bubble: overused to the point of being unoriginal.

11) Happy Birthday to Robert Murdock (the man behind the Fox Empire), Cesar Geronimo (former Cincinnati Red), Jerry Zucker (the man behind Airplane!), Joey Buttafucco, Vinnie Paul (from Pantera), Lisa Loeb (Stay.), Johnny Knoxville, Fred Jones (Knicks), Elton Brand (Clippers), and Paul Wall.

12) And finally, the 2008 NBA Dance Team Bracket is out. Go vote for your favorite ladies.
One more time: Who loves you?

Me.

(Photo info: NEW YORK CITY BLACKOUT, 1965 Photo (c) Bob Gomel for Life, republished in 2001 in Fortune’s 9/11 Issue)

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2008
03.10

A bunch of small semi-related items I want to talk about:

Global Voices Online recently received news from several Bothan spies that the city of Baku, Azerbaijan is planning to build the first hotel modeled after the Death Star. According to 100% Injury Rate, the hotel is part of Baku’s nefarious plot to win the battle for hosting the 2016 Olympic Games. Perhaps the Death Star Hotel is supposed to make people forget Forbes.com rated Baku the Dirtiest City in the World.


On a somewhat, barely, hardly, stretch-of-the-imagination-related note, Pink Tentacle.com recently posted an old Japanese video of a peaceful cartoon isle invaded by the wicked ways of a militaristic Mickey Mouse. Could this be the future of Blogfrica?

Lastly, I’ve admitted before that I own a microscopic amount of Disney stock. This year I earned a dividend of about 30 bucks – or enough to pay me back for my purchase of Will Leitch’s book and a cup of coffee. Nothing says irony like funding the revolution with funds from the Empire.

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2008
03.09

(Note: This is late. I apologize. I was having connection problems Saturday night and was out of town most of Sunday. But you don’t read blogs on the weekends anyway, right?)

My latest journey on my illustrious tour of the Grapefruit League took me to McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida, spring home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Some notes about the trip: once again I arrived late, I got lost in a neighboring town on an identical address to the ballpark (I got off the highway an exit early), and I saw no signs in Bradenton pointing travellers to McKechnie Field. This last point I found very odd. It was almost as if they didn’t want people to go see the Pirates.

About the park: McKechnie Field is one of the oldest parks in Florida. Built in 1923, it first hosted the Cardinals in the 1920s and 30s, and has since been home to the Phillies, Red Sox, Boston Bees (Braves), Boston/Milwaukee Braves, the Kansas City/Oakland A’s, and since 1968, the Pirates. According to the Pirates’ Spring Training Program, the team and McKechnie Field put 18 million dollars in the Bradenton economy. I find this funny since it is just a hair under half of the Pirates entire 2007 payroll of 38 million.

Anyway, for all its historical nuance, getting into McKechnie Field is a pain in the dupa. Since it was built in the dawn of the automobile industry, there was probably little need back in the day for the park to accomodate a mass influx of cars. This tradition has been sadly continued. There is minimal parking at the park, although the fine surrounding businesses will gladly let you park on their premise, for a fee, of course. Again, it is almost like the city don’t want guests to see the Pirates.

On to the game: because I wandering the countryside prior to finally finding the ballpark, when I finally arrived the game was in the top of the 3rd. The only event of note I missed was Twins starter Scott Baker’s two innings of work. But I did show up in time for the offense. Right as I sat down, the Twins’ Michael Cuddyer doubled off Pirates “ace” Matt Morris scoring Joe Mauer. Then Morris threw a wild pitch advancing Mauer. After Justin Morneau hit a sac fly, the next two Twins, Craig Monroe and Jason Kubel hit back-to-back home runs. 4-0 Twins. Wasn’t Morris good a long time ago?

In the top of the next inning, having missed the first few Pirates hitters, the first Buc I saw at bat was Nyjer Morgan, most famous for being the namesake of the sports blog Nyjer Please. Nyjer isn’t very good, and neither are the Pirates. The highlight of their day offensively was back-to-back home runs by Adam LaRoche and Ryan Doumit in the bottom of the 4th, making it only 6-3 Twins.

Among the other interesting sightings during the game were pitcher Jaret Wright and first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, both Pirates non-roster invitees who took the field in the bottom of the 7th. Wasn’t Wright also good at some point in his career? The first pitch he threw was blasted over the right-center fence by the Twins’ Jon Knott.

An inning later, Twins prospect Deolis Guerra took the mound. As one of the many arms the Mets gave up for Johan Santana, I wanted to see what Guerra was all about. I was impressed. Although it was against players who will be bagging groceries in a week, Guerra set the Pirates down in order in the 8th.

Not too much of note happened after that. Similar to the Blue Jays-Reds contest of last week, this game also resulted in an 8-4 victory for the team hailing from the American League.

Next week: Tigers at Rays in beautiful St. Petersburg. Adios.

(Photo from Brian Merzbach’s Ballpark Reviews. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died after one pic. It would be nice if ballparks sold batteries, but that’s a rant for another day.)

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