Results filed under: “sports”

@ October 26, 2009

I'm going to give an early "watch" recommendation to ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary series. Consisting of 30 hourlong docs, each directed by a different filmmaker, the series is produced by resident ESPN loudmouth Boston sports fan, Bill Simmons.

So far three episodes have aired: Peter Berg's take on the Wayne Gretzky trade, Barry Levinson's film on the Baltimore Colts marching band, and Mike Tollin's autopsy of the United States Football League.

I'll be honest, Berg's film, Kings Ransom, really didn't grab me. It was good and everything, but I know so little about hockey, that I wasn't aware that Wayne Gretzky had played for a team other than the LA Kings. As a documentary, it wasn't the best film either -- it doesn't do a good job of transcending the story... or really framing the story for those of us who don't follow hockey or remember the trade.

The strength of the next two installments more than makes up from the weakness of the Berg piece. Barry Levinson's The Band That Wouldn't Die swooped in to show the true potential of the series. In 1984 the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis -- quite famously, actually, without warning, in the middle of the night. Levinson turns his camera to the team's marching band, who kept performing in hopes of convincing the NFL to award a new team to Charm City. Of course, any fan of the Cleveland Browns -- or the New York Giants for that matter -- can tell you that they did. The story of the Colts' move and the band are even more interesting that the memory of the Ravens trouncing the Giants in the Super Bowl.

The third film in the series, Mike Tollin's Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?, cleared the bar set by Levinson's film. Tollin, who actually worked as a TV producer for the short-lived sprint football league, gave us a documentary that featured The Donald as a villain and The Bandit as a hero. Alright, Burt's not in it that much, but when he is, he shares the screen with a giant stuffed bear. I'd be remiss in not recommending any series that gives us even a frame of Burt and his stuffed bear. Anyhoo, the USFL documentary was fantastic -- great vintage footage of the league, a compelling narrative, a bad guy, cancer, Burt, it has it all.

And coming up in the future? The next installment is directed by none other than Albert Maysles, one of the most respected documentary filmmakers ever. His resume already includes Salesman, Grey Gardens, and Gimme Shelter. Tomorrow he adds Muhammad and Larry, following an aged Muhammad Ali as he gets prepared for a 1980 title bout against Larry Holmes.

There are also films by Steve James (who gave us Hoop Dreams -- he's doing a documentary on Allen Iverson), Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA) is tackling George Steinbrenner, Ice Cube (NWA) is going to take a look at Al Davis moving the Raiders out of LA, John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood) is going to take a close look at Marion Jones. They're even going to let Steve Nash direct a film -- I expect it to score a lot of points and lose in the playoffs.

Give "30 for 30" a chance. It airs at 8pm on Tuesday nights on ESPN, and I'm sure that the other ESPN channels rerun it incessantly. Because that's what ESPN does.

@ August 25, 2009

Remember Tim Donaghy, the cousin of NBC executive Bill Donaghy, who looks a lot like Lloyd Braun from Seinfeld, the NBA ref who fixed a bunch of games and then got caught?

Well, according to the AP, he just got violated. For missing work.

Apparently, he's been working in sales at ShotPak. His office phone and e-mail are even on the web site.

I can't describe how awesome it is that this company is hiring ex-cons.

@ February 13, 2009

You know what really grinds my gears?  The next 30 days.  And not just these specific next 30 days, but these thirty days every year.  Personally these days cause me to be a slave to Rose.  As the people whose Facebook relationship status reads either "In A Relationship", "Married", or "It's Complicated" (especially those retards) know tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day.  Ah Valentine's Day, a day created by the law firm of Hallmark, Zales, & Whitman celebrating love -- well if one defines love as a man trying to appease his significant other but always falling short in the end.  No man enjoys Valentine's Day.  Some men may enjoy Valentine's Night, but the odds of not fucking up once the entire day and thus nullifying sexy playtime are slim to none.  I'm sure rest of you just wind up in the bathroom at 1 AM rubbing one out to your 2009 Golden Girls wall calender like me.  (I perfer the month of September because that's when Grandparents' Day is.  What about you?)

But Valentine's Day is only the start for me.  A few weeks later is Rose's and my anniversary, March 4th (right?).  That's another day for "the both of us".  More flowers, more cards...all things that you throw out in less than a week a cost a fortune.  And you can forget all about sexy playtime then.  I mean who hasn't gotten into a fight on your anniversary?  But the "fun" doesn't stop there.  Only 9 days later and it's Rose's birthday.  At least this is one doesn't pretend to be for the both of us.  It's her day and I accept that, so I'll do the dishes, take out the garbage, vacuum the apartment, get my own beer, chew my own know, everything that she would normally do for me.  It's just a lot to have to deal with next 30 days.

But you know next 30 days, there is something else that you do that I can't stand.  Could you have a worse selection of sports?  I mean seriously.  You know it's bad when on a Sunday afternoon ESPN is showing bowling and women's college basketball.  Have you seen SportsCenter recently?  For the past week the lead stories have been A-Rod, Michael Phelps, and Brett Farve.  None of these sports are even in season right now!  They don't even show any highlights until halfway through the show, and it's not like I'm dying to see all of the top plays from the Okalhoma City Thunder vs. the Charlotte Bobcats.  How am I supposed to unwind?  Oh I know, let's hear about A-Rod for the 10 millionth time.  This is all the coverage that they need to do:

"Do you think that this will affect how people view Alex Rodriguiez now Mr. Mackey?"
"Well, uh, see, drugs are bad, m'kay.  You shouldn't take drugs."
"And what do you say about Michael Phelps and the picture of him allegedly smoking marijuana from a water pipe?"
"Well, again, drugs are bad, m'kay.  You shouldn't take drugs."
"And finally, do you think that Brett Farve will stay retired this time or do you see him trying to come back with another team?  Your thoughts."
"Well, see, Brett Farve is old, m'kay.  You shouldn't play football when you're old."

Period.  End of story.  That's all the coverage necessary.  These wouldn't even be stories during football season.  Michael Phelps could have done lines of cocaine off Caylee Anthony's rotting corpse and people would have just said, "Fuck that, tell me how many fantasy points Larry Fitzgerald got me on Sunday."  Oh, I just get so angry at sports this time of year!

So the next 30 days, you here and all I can do is bitch and moan on my friend's blog.  I hope you're happy.  You fucking always fucking win!

@ February 6, 2009


For much the same reason Plaxico Burress should face charges, Michael Phelps should be given the maximum sentence possible.  Maybe that would show middle america just how ridiculous those sentencing laws are.  Of course it's more likely he'll get the rich and white treatment, and the same people who get up in arms whenever a minority athlete gets caught doing anything will be the first to defend him.

For more information, including case studies, examples, and statistics see this fabulous post from Sports On My Mind  In fact this post was going to be a lot longer but he says everything I would except far more eloquently and with better citations.



@ October 27, 2008

With Game 5 of the World Series mere hours away, I have good news for Jim, our resident Philadelphia sports fan: I'm rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays.  The reason for this good news is a story Jim knows only too well: in the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, my hubris invoked the wrath of the sports gods.  The teams that I root for have been paying the price ever since. 

Everyone knows that gambling makes sports more exciting. While a true fan can always appreciate the skill of the athletes involved, adding a few dollars to the mix can add a degree of personal investment that otherwise only comes with years of devoted following.  But where a wager can make the most boring athletic matchup exciting, experienced gamblers also know the opposite is true: when your team is involved, you are already emotionally invested.  Don't add gambling to the mix.  Never, ever gamble when your team is involved.


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