" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

She's Yours, Mine And Ours


Quick Programming Note: Jessica Wakeman is back over at the SNC.

Monday, September 28, 2009

College Football Observations


I actually got to watch alot of college football Saturday for the first time this year. So, here are a few thoughts from what I've seen.

1. Florida is beatable and not the greatest team to ever lace up shoes despite everything ESPN and CBS says. Tennessee (who is bad) hung tough at Florida and getting excited about pounding Kentucky is a bit like getting pumped about beating me in Scrabble.

2. Illinois is just awful. Two weeks to prepare for OSU (an incredibly meh OSU team at that) and you get spanked 30-0 in a game that wasn't even that close. And Iowa doesn't get to play them this year. Natch.

3. Michigan is overrated. Indiana should've won that game and they are sooo average. Play a road game, assholes and get back to me. I see them losing their next 2. And Tate Forcier can lick me. Just because his name is Tate and he plays for Michigan. A combo like that gives ESPN a collective hard on. Pam Ward especially.

4. The ACC is the boringest conference in sports. My God. I watched ten seconds of Va Tech and Miami and had to take a shot of Red Bull to stay awake. And they were both RANKED!

5. If Brett Musburger called Brandon Wegher "the youngster" one more time I was gonna throw a shoe at the tv. And that was in the middle of football bliss.

6. Purdue is going to write a thesis on creative ways to piss away football games. And Jimmy Claussen can go fuck himself.

7. College Gameday has jumped the shark.

8. It's still 10 times better than NFL PreGame ShoutFests on Fox and ESPN

9. Herky the Hawk is still the ugliest mascot in the NCAA.

10. How much you wanna bet Michigan State will have all their shit together when the Hawks come to town?

I Haven't Watched It Yet. Did They Win?


I went to work Saturday night with the intention of telling everyone at work to not tell me anything about the game.

I parked the car and took the key out of the ignition. As soon I took the key out, I realized that 670 was still on and it would pop on again (can't turn the volume down with the car off) when I started the car after my shift. There was a miniscule chance I'll hear something in the second and a half it takes to turn it down after the car is started. Nah. That's not gonna happen. I'll just go to work.

It happened. Thanks, Paruch. "And Iowa upsets Penn State, 21-10..."

And just like last year, I let a scream reminiscent of a 12 year-old girl. Two years in a row now. I regress to a prepubescent anytime the Hawks beat Penn State.

Watching that game was pure bliss. Zen-like. By the fourth quarter, I had a little alcohol in mine, just had some great food. By golly, that was fun.

The telling moment for the Hawks that told me something bigger than the final score, though, was late in the fourth when Robinson swept left for an 8 yard gain, turning toward the field at the last second to keep the clock moving. It looked effortless and instinctive. THAT is NOT something previous Hawk teams would have done. There just weren't many boneheaded Hawkeye-like mistakes. Even Lowe's hit out of bounds looked different. Diaco would have kept driving like the sideline didn't exist.

In short, Ferentz has the team he's been trying to build all along. They're athletic, big, smart and...(GASP!)...fast!!

And pretty young.

Now, it should be noted that Penn State lost all of the receiving corps from last year along with three offensive linemen, their entire secondary, both defensive ends and Sean Lee didn't play.

But after the 79- yard TD to start the game which, as Mate said, should have an obvious sign Iowa was going to win, Penn State scored three points and had 230 yards total offense.

It was a beatdown. In Happy Valley (I hate that name), at night (relevant to the Hawks), white-out (that crap has officially jumped the shark (hate that as well)) and an "important revenge game for Penn State" (that sentence to the letter was probably mentioned 12,894 times in the broadcast).

And, um, Reiff is a freshman. Binns is a sophomore. The entire defensive line and secondary is back next year. With his infection keeping him out another game, there's a good chance Bulaga is back. They lose nothing any of the skill positions and for a work in progress, the offensive line have a lot of interchangeable bodies getting a ton of experience. If Stanzi learns to consistently hit his receivers in stride and they actually catch it, this team is freaking-freak-freak good.

It's just so odd to see a Ferentz team playing pretty great football so early in the season.

But some of the press might have to cool the jets a bit. ESPN has an "Iowa's path to the Rose Bowl" article up. This makes Christo nervous. Lil twitchy. The schedule is brutal. And the #5 ranking for Penn State was a wee bit high in my book.

Mostly, I think it's important to mitigate some of this exaltation because I'm a bit of a superstitious MFer.

In the end, that was fun. Pure bliss. And it actually looks like this is going to be fun for some time.

Now, if only Football Moses didn't get absolutely destroyed during the game to poop in my soup.


...Nah. Nothing took away from the best sports experience in my world since...well...last year's Penn State game. Who'd a thunk that could have been topped so quickly.

OK, Well..This Season Just Got Really Interesting...

OMG! OMG!OMG!

Wait a minute, the outcome of the game isn't related to the color of the fans shirts? Has the world gone topsy turvy?

Let's get one thing clear (I'm looking at you WWL) Iowa WON this game. Those "mistakes" that Penn State made time and time again, you see, those are "caused" by the "opponent". The same "opponent" that has won 7 of the last 8 against the Nittany Lions. That's not a "trend", it's called "beating them".
I am not one of these fans that thinks the national media conspires against my team but can we give Iowa a little credit for dominating 3 of 4 quarters? Jesus.
And this game proves my point of the big play to start the game. Avoid it. It almost always leads to death.
Oh, BTW, Penn State fans, you have officially ruined "Seven Nation Army". Thanks, douches.
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Week two of Unemployment Adventure begins today. On the docket: vacuuming, dusting and eating.
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The Lincoln Squirrel has been assassinated!

Tim Tebow went down with a concussion on a fantastic hit. He vomited into a bag. Big deal. I did that on a regular basis, sometimes blindly. Anyway, ESPN will stay up all night if they have to!
Hey, Urban, this is what you get when you have your QB in up 31-7 late in the 3rd. Asshat.
Also, the story he told about Tebow saying "It's great to be a Gator" gives me diabetes. Can we just have these assbags break their jaws or something?
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And Christo and Mate's two NFL teams are in the running for the worst team in the league. Wow. The Chiefs are just...wow...
The good news? They play each other in November. Good seats available.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fatuousness


Got a gap here. I'm currently in between coats, painting the doors in the apartment, so, since the Sox were officially eliminated last night, let's look at why.

Should The White Sox EVER Have Been Expected To be Good This Year?

Here's the Opening Day roster:

Pitchers:

Buehrle Floyd Danks Contreras Colon Richard Carrasco MacDougal Thornton Dotel Linebrink Jenks

Hitters:

Pierzynski Miller Konerko Getz. Ramirez Fields Thome Lillibridge Betemit Dye Anderson Wise Quentin

This is complete hindsight, of course. We here at the BRE said .500, 8 games over with everything going right. I think Mate said 87 wins, I said 84 in a best-case scenario. Mate, feel free to rebuff that if that's wrong.

That basic 10 game difference comes from eight misplaced assumptions:

1. Fielding was going to be bad but we didn't expect this bad. -3.8 team UZR/150, good for 23rd in baseball. BUT! The Yankees and Twins, two teams with a worse UZR/150, are proving you can win with shit-ass fielding. Fielding has been the cause célèbre when talking about what why the Sox blew this year and it's important to note, for sure. But a league-average offense and a lockdown bullpen would have mitigated much of the fielding damage, especially in the tallest midget division that is the AL Central. The Sox had neither.

2. According to Cooper, Jenks's velocity drop is a calculated move to become a better pitcher. That never came to fruition. He saw no drop in velocity in any of his pitches. He simply couldn't locate, a bit of an obvious sign that his days as a top 10 closer are over. Welcome to the Matt Capps mediocre closer blob, Bobby.

3. Linebrink and Dotel probably have one more year of "good enough" stuff to make for a solid bullpen. The Sox have a bit of a reputation for trying to squeeze one more year out of guys that are showing clear signs of age-related regression. There's more leeway to play with that philosophy at the back end of a rotation, not with the top two spots in your non-closer bullpen.

4. The middle of the order is still strong enough. Having your 3-4-5 all well into their 30s asks for disaster, mainly because keeping all of them in the lineup on a regular basis becomes a chore. And older hitters are much more prone to prolonged slumps than younger hitters, as Thome, Dye and Konerko to an extent proved.

5. Pierzynski's stolen bases allowed aren't that big a deal. If Jason Varitek weren't so brutally awful, A.J. would have led the league in such matters. He's allowed 99 stolen bases this year with at least five games off the top of my head where that incompetence really mattered.

6. Carlos Quentin couldn't have mattered that much last year. He did. This year proves that he was the AL MVP last year. No player on the Sox mattered more w/r/t Win Values. And has the biggest discrepancy between years. In 2008, he was a 4.5 win player for a $20.1 million value. This year, he's cost the team one win and $4.6 million. That's a 5.5 win swing. It's mostly due to his fielding as well. His -22 UZR/150 in left would be the worst by far at that position relative to the league, worse than Dye (-15.5) in right.

7. Kenny's Opening Day roster was a reflection of the economy at the time. Maybe. But a $25 million drop and plugging Contreras and Colon/Richard into the 4-5 spots in the rotation begged for exactly what happened this year. He went cheap and cheap gets you these results. All the chatter about 2010 sponsorship deals was probably bunk, especially since he was almost immediately fine with trying to add $60 million of Peavy in May and it's hard to believe, with the Rios addition, that the financial picture changed that much. Maybe it did but I'm dubious. He tried to go young and more athletic while still pushing the line that the Sox are going to compete. It was a ruse. Kenny kinda spent some of his 2005 capital this year pushing that crap on the fanbase.

8. But payroll and payroll flexibility going forward is sorted out. A bit. But only kinda. Rios and Peavy add $25 million to the already $45.75 million committed next year excluding Dye's option. That's around $70 million committed for 2010. Not a bad total given every position has a player accounted for along with the top four in the rotation. It leaves a good chunk of money to retool the bullpen. But that might be the problem for 2010. This is your team next year. The one you see now, especially offensively, is your team next year. Figgins is an option but the Sox have a ton of competition on the front, competition with a lot more money to play with. Put all your cards in on Figgins and that takes money away from the pen. In short, it's a tighter game plan now with everything having to fall into place for it to work and be able to compete next year. Rios and Quentin should rebound and the addition of a healthy Peavy is huge. But that's still banking on "rebounds" and "healthy"s.


Again, ALL hindsight. Slamming a massive retooling together with a "we're competitive" mantra into one season is rebuilding on the fly. Kenny tried to have it both ways and that leaves a huge margin for error. All the signs were there for a team to hover around .500 all season instead of being a legitimately good baseball team.

The Sox, as they sit right now, could easily be this year's Tigers in 2010, a team that has the rotation and just enough offense to win an average division.

But again, things are going to have to fall right with a few pleasant surprises. And again, it will all be relevant to the rest of the division. When is the last time a team won the Central by 10 games? More than any other division in baseball, the Central seems to have teams that rise and fall directly in relation to each other instead of the rest of the league, leaving for races that seem to always come down to the wire.

In other words, a typical White Sox season.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same!"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Unemployed


"I'm just gonna sit in my disgusting apartment, eating Chinese takeout and watching basketball games in my underwear because I'm too lazy to do laundry."

Well, I was laid off Tuesday. Not really a big shocker, the company is running on fumes. But it does cause a bit of "what the fuck?". Nice economy.

But here are some things I hope to accomplish with my new found time off:

1. Get reacquainted with an old friend: TV. Or Unemployment Theater as I call it. I actually forgot Drew Carrey now hosts the Price Is Right. And I see daytime TV is still 'Judge-centric". Thank God for ESPN's afternoon round up of crap. "College Football Live" might as well be called "What's going on with USC and Florida!"

2. Observe my dog. You never really get a good idea of how entertainingly moronic your dog is until you spend afternoon after afternoon with them. My personal favorite is the 2:45 whine and cry that comes after approximately 6 hours of napping.

3. Keep an eye out on the hillbilly neighbor. He's actually the inspiration for T of A Finalist Shirtless Men. Picture an emaciated version of Skeletor in jean shorts. He's utterly fascinating yet you want to kick him in the nuts.

4. Write the great American novel: it's about a theme park where dinosaurs come to life. I'll call it "Billy and the Cloneasauras".....(Simpsons reference)

5. Try to keep breathing.
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I wanted to post on this before I went on vacation but didn't. But i heard Dan McNeil going off on how "once football season starts I lose interest in baseball.." or something to that effect. He's not the only one. I hear this often. Um...why? Why invest in something for months and then once the other thing comes along you don't follow it anymore? It's pointless. I have more respect for the "baseball is boring" crowd. Who I respect about as much as a rock.
It all gets to that "football is manly" bullshit. And for me, September and October are best because you can, y'know, follow BOTH. But then again I have brain capacity to do both.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Open Letter To The Sabermetric Baseball World


You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray.

Over the last thirty years, slowly but surely, you've radically changed baseball. And I love you for that. No longer can idiots spew out random stupidity in order to protect their own legacy or cover up their own deficiencies. You're there to tell them otherwise. We know concrete baseball facts because of you.

We know batting average is bad indicator of baseball goodness. Now, we can look at BABIP to see if it's been luck-based. We can look at GB%, FB% and LD% to see if there's any change. We have better indicators than even OBP now with EqA and wOBA. We now know that home runs, while important, don't make the man. ISO explains so much more.

We now know that ERA and wins are dumb ways to measure a pitcher. Today, we have FIP and pitch f/x to measure velocity gain/loss and pitch break.

We have UZR/150 to measure fielding instead of the incredibly stupid fielding percentage.

And we have comprehensive metrics to measure the overall man, like VORP (no fielding), WARP3 and the wonderful Win Values.

All these have built an infinitely better beast. And it will only get better with the camera systems now installed in every stadium.

Everyone now knows that vague themes like gutsy, grindy, David Ecksteiny, leadershipy falsehoods perpetuated in the booths and newspaper columns all over this great land of ours are really just code for lazy people doing a lazy job quite lazily. We can now glow when Dusty Baker calls OBP machines "base cloggers" and gets a thorough beatdown. We can now beam when yet another front office hires a sabermetric guy to run things. We can now wipe a tear from our eye when Jim Leyland says that preventing runs is just as important as producing them.

Sabermetric people can be rest assured that the war is won and these little skirmishes that pop up now and then merely represent a dying segment of the populace that haven't heard their side lost.

But...

Like any war won, the ugliness of the fallout almost rivals the war itself.

The smugness has got to stop.

I'm merely a troller in the sabermetric baseball board world, a place where arguments and the excruciating minutiae is hashed out. I don't participate. I'm a subscriber to Baseball Prospectus and a daily visitor to Fangraphs. And I learned something new everyday. These are smart people, people much smarter than I, doing smart baseball things.

But right at the time when the fruits of your labor are so ripe to be picked, many in the world have chosen to be the Glenn Beck of the baseball planet and spew arrogant, self-important hubris usually reserved for the Mariottis of the world.

Maybe it's the lack of a truly worthy adversary, something like the neo-cons creating an enemy when one no longer exists. Maybe it's something like the aforementioned fallout where a power play is occurring as everyone scrambles to horde as much of the the war booty as they can. Maybe some believe that the smuggest of them all might ascend to that ultimately-coveted assistant GM position, eventually rising to the likes of Theo.

Whatever it is, for the past ten years or so, while I don't come close to understanding the depths and bowels of all the metrics out there, sabermetrics, in the end, made my baseball world more fun.

Over the last year or so, the smugness and posturing has made my baseball world less fun.

And that makes Christo sad.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dear Chicago,

(fancy Italian Restaurant. Two lonely people sit at a table in the corner. Candles flicker. In the background the dishes rattle in a busy kitchen)

God, This is so hard to say but I just can’t do this anymore. This relationship was great for a long time and I can’t think of a better way to spend 8 years of my life than with a great city like you. But I’ve been feeling this way for awhile and it’s unfair to you and me to pretend I don’t. I’m just …I hope this doesn’t sound cruel but, over you. It’s too much with the drama and the cost and the never ending bullshit. A slow death by a thousand cuts. It’d be one thing if you had something going for you but you really don’t anymore. At least not for someone like me who is looking for something bigger and fresher than Chinese food at 2 in the morning or great bars. I’m tired of the cold nights and the traffic and the corruption. Hey, we had a great run but I have to move on. I’ve fallen out of love with you, Chicago. I need to find someone else to spend my life with. It may take some time for me to find that place but it's out there.

I met my wife here. I had a play or two put up here. I met alot of great people. I’ll never stop having a place in my heart for you but I’m done.
And we’ll always have 2005.

I'm Back And Don't Want To Be


I know a lot of people like to dog southern California (and for good reason in a lot of cases) but goddamn it, I like it. Now, the Hollywood/Valley area is a bit icky but what I like about it is that at any given time you are a short ride to somewhere nice. Really nice. Is it full of hipster douchebags? Sure. Is there a permeating phoniness? Yep. Does it get 4 below zero in January? No. Would I not feel the need to hibernate from November to April if I lived there and therefore actually be happier? Um, let me think..fuck..yes.
As far as northern California (SF area at least) I can only say that I am in love. SF itself is nice to visit but what I really love is the Monterrey/Carmel/Pacific Grove area. Just wonderful. In every way. Now, I don’t give two shits about golf but even that stuff made me want to move there. And yes, i get that I was on vacation and am seeing through those glasses...So save it. Chicago is over for me and has been for awhile (more on that later).
Instead of a “What I Did On My Vacation” paper I’m going to go over where we went with a short, pithy synopsis:

Santa Monica- I love Santa Monica as I previously stated. The 3rd Street Promenade is a bunch of chain stores but it’s a half mile from the beach. It also has a place called Barnie’s Beanery which is a Hawkeye bar. I was expecting 20-30 Hawk fans to show up. More like 100 to 150. Points to Santa Monica.
Malibu- The wedding was here. Lots of money. And now I see why show biz types live here. Beautiful. I would be a bit apprehensive myself as I hate winding roads and there were approximately 5 times I thought our shuttle bus was going to tip into an abyss. I was also 5 minutes from where they shot M*A*S*H. I had an overwhelming sense to sing "Suicide Is Painless" and throw out one liners.
Pacific Coast Highway- I hate this word but it’s apt here: Breathtaking. Good god. Windy and a bit scary when the sun is shining right in your eyes but…just…wow. It delays your trip by about 4 hours but everyone on the planet needs to take this road at least once. Big Sur is amazing as well.
Carmel/Monterrey/Pacific Grove- What can I say? I always ask myself when I visit somewhere, “Could I live here?” and this place is yes, yes a thousand times YES. It’s expensive (as if Chicago isn’t) and Cannery Row is a bit touristy but the place just is my speed. Fantastic aquarium too. Plus I had breakfast next to Bruce Campbell. 17 Mile Road is about 5 miles too long and golfy but wonderful as well. Didn’t get a chance to see more as we were only there for a day. Kinda speaks volumes of what I thought of it as I was looking at real estate there after basically one night.
San Francisco- We did the tourist shit here. I love SF but it’s a bit manic for me. Chinatown was cool to see as was the Pier, AT&T Park, Lombard Street, Haight and Ashbury (essentially Wicker Park—meh) and all the other stuff. Didn’t go to Alcatraz but saw it. I’ve never walked more places in my life and saw a lot of a great city.
Napa Valley- I am by no means a wine aficionado and I’m only beginning to understand the stuff. So, I know Napa is a bit touristy on the wine side but you can’t deny there are some great wineries here. We really just sort of winged it and stopped randomly. Some were ok but others were great. It was hot but I really enjoyed it and if you would’ve told me 5 years ago I would have a great time touring wineries I would’ve laughed in your face. Try to go more on Silverado Trail than Highway 29. Better. And I'm hearing the wineries east of there are better and less exspensive so I'm dying to get there. But I have 200 dollars worth of wine coming at the end of this week so Christo better get his ass down to Shitville.

More later but there’s your quick recap.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hello!


Yes.

We here at the BRE are still alive. Reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.

While Mate frolics in La-La Land and juants up the coast, PCL-style, through grape country, we have taken a much deserved respite from our spitting vitriol and raging against the dying of the light.

And what a week to do such things. It's best, after the Bears/Cutler crapping of the pants on Sunday and the subsequent Chicago media fall-out, that we take a break. Our server in Budapest would have crashed, blackening out that beautiful city and enraging Budapest-ians (?) once again. We're still getting angry, incoherent emails from the Cutler acquisition reverberations back in February. Those Hungarians can be downright mean.

But I write to inform you that the Fire Joe Morgan team has reunited for one day to guest-edit Deadspin.

And that the reflection on the death of Larry Gelbart was, in fact, our 1,000th post. Who'd da thunk these two young whippersnappers would have lasted so long in the cut-throat world of internet blogging?

Take some time, everyone, to look back, reflect and peruse the first month of our existence.

We'll be up and running at full speed on Monday.

See you then.

Friday, September 11, 2009

RIP: Larry Gelbart




Thanks, Mr. Gelbart.

For the full 3 1/2 hour interview, go here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Explaining The Public Option In 159 Seconds




Oh, My God! We're All Going To Die!!!

So Long, Suckers..........

I will make some feeble attempts to post whilst in California (especially after the almost certain defeat in Ames this Saturday) but for the most part I leave the blog to Christo for the next 10 days. He's assured me he won't do porn reviews.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Commence Shit Storm


I better do this today as I’m going to be away from the BRE Headquarters for 10 days starting Thursday. I, as always, leave the blog in the capable hands of Christo. He promised me to leave at least a bit of the Jim Beam in the cabinet upon my return. He also promised to feed the parrot.

Anyway, Saturday is the annual Clusterfuck and this year I will be watching it in Santa Monica, California at the Los Angeles Area Iowa Club. It will be interesting to say the least. Watching football at 9 in the morning is just odd. But, thank God, it is on at that time as the wedding would’ve cut into it otherwise.
But I’m really tempted to not even watch it. I hate this game. And the way Iowa played Saturday gives me no hope that they will squash the Cyclones like the little dog turds they are. No, Iowa will struggle, as usual.. Sigh.
If this gives you any clue as to how fucked up this “Rivalry” is, here’s a stat: Iowa State has not scored a touchdown since the 2nd quarter of the 2006 game. Yep. That’s two and a half whole games without a trip to the endzone. "Why, Iowa must’ve wiped the floor with these jokers.", you think to yourself... Wrong!! 27-17, 13-15 (in a complete shit stain of a game) and last year’s Crap-a-looza 17-5. Yep. Despite no touchdowns in 10 quarters the Hawkeyes have an average margin of victory of 6.7 points and is 2-1. That’s really all you need to know about this game.

So, here are my predictions for the first 4 plays. (This will be a running gag here on the BRE. We decided after our 3 hour laugh jag at the White Iowa Linebacker Speed montage Saturday night)

1st down:Adam Robinson 3 yard gain despite a gigantic hole to his immediate right that would’ve been a sure first down.
2nd down: Stanzi goes back to pass and throws an incomplete pass into triple coverage. Therefore meeting half his quota for the game. Gets it away early.
3rd down: Marvin McNutt drops a sure 20 yard gain and then some as he is hit by the Pillsbury Dough Boy who plays safety for ISU.
4th down: As Iowa's main offensive weapon (good sign) Ryan Donohue punts a 96 yard punt into the stands and takes out an elderly Cyclone fan named Joyce.

Over/under:

10: Times an Iowa player slips
5: Greenwood 3rd and long fuck ups..(Receiver 5 yards past marker. Greeney five yards behind him)
7: White Iowa linebackers guard a fast wide receiver. (see pic)
7: Times I call Christo to complain
4: Holding calls on Iowa O-line

2: Times I get confused watching game b/c ISU's uniforms look IDENTICAL to USC


Yet, Iowa somehow wins 23-20.

Some Reflections On A Game Past


It's been exactly three days now since the season nearly...you know...threw up on the sofa two minutes after getting to the party.

Observations:

1. Paki O'Meara is NOT a starter for a D-I football program, not even Temple. That's a given. We can all agree on that. Apparently he's a good story - I don't know why but apparently he is. It's Iowa and that's what Iowa does. We like good stories even if we don't know what that story is. So. O'Meara was getting a start no matter what. Now he's got it. Now go away. Sam Brownlee hit the hole with more authority than O'Meara did Saturday.

But. Adam Robinson IS a starter for a D-I football program, but mostly a program like Temple. A nominal definition of 'burst' was there, but only something that barely satisfied the definition. He didn't fall down at the mere possibility of contact like O'Meara but he certainly fell down a lot. And his yards came with huge holes. Any running back worth a starting role would have gotten 63 yards on 15 carries in that game. Robinson is nondescript running back #5. Nothing more, really. He's merely a change-of-pace back right now.

I think we're in a position where it's Jeff Brinson or bust. Slowed in camp but an injury, by all accounts, he should see some time this week (he and Wegher played on special teams). I have no idea how good Brinson is, but the success of Iowa's running game, with no superior talent showing through right now, rests on getting yards from five different guys with five different styles until a combination that works is found. It's probably means Brinson-Robinson-Wegher, something that harkens back to the Bell-Stewart structure. I don't expect that type of production but in that format, Iowa could skate by on the sheer glut of different looks until something is figured out and the line is healthy and/or back for drink-drink-vroom-vroom violations.

2. On that line. Not good. But!

Calloway and Vandervelde were out. And that screwed everything up. It bumped Richardson out to tackle, something his knees can't handle anymore and gave WAY too much playing time to Doering and Gettis. The domino effect left three guys either playing out of position or seeing too much time on the field. Calloway is back at tackle this week with Richardson, Doering and Gettis splitting time at both guard positions. Let's hope it's more Gettis and less Doering. Even though Gettis's hold was a big one (and it was a hold), Doering looked overmatched out there. Vandervelde's due back at guard next week, and thank all that is holy for that. Getting Vandervelde and Richardson to guard and Calloway and Bulaga to tackles, all healthy is the most optimum set-up. The problem is that it may take a couple more weeks to get to that scenario.

3. With all the attention laid on cornerback play last week, one thing persists with the Iowa defense.

The linebackers can't cover a tight end with even a modicum of speed. STILL!!!!

And here comes Iowa State with visions of linebacker-on-tight-end crime still fresh in our heads.

Castillo and Lowe seemed fine to me, especially in the second half with the two coverage sacks Iowa got. But Greenwood was pretty much non-existent in the UNI game and Sash is fast getting a reputation as a feast-or-famine type player.

Upfront, pressure was limited but saw some progression as the game went on. Like the O-line, this might be yet another Iowa season where it might take until the second half of the season before everything gels. In other words, keep the Pepto close and the vomit bag closer.

4. As has become the mantra in the aftermath of the game among many, UNI is not a bad football team. Yes, yes. I know. It's still UNI and if Iowa thinks they're a real...blah, blah, blah.

But consider this. First game of the year, no running back, two starting linemen out, no left corner with experience, D-line in flux, oodles of question marks, good UNI QB, really good UNI defense with experience and a UNI team that's probably been gearing up for this game for 11 months.

Expectations tend to build upon themselves even as nothing good of note is added. What was so stark about the UNI game was how obvious the unreal building of expectations occurred with this team since the South Carolina game, at least in my mind. The UNI game, in a sense, made me see the error of my ways.

With this team, there's a huge spectrum for success and failure. To succeed, the sheer large number of moving parts will have to be well-oiled. In other words, a breakdown in one area might have a dramatic effect on the progress and success of a number of other areas, maybe more than any other Ferentz-coached year. Sure, they have experience at key positions. But they have just as much inexperience at other key positions.

To wit: What was your reaction when Spievey went down with a reported ankle injury? Mine was absolute panic. A good football team doesn't induce such panic when a guy like Spievey goes down.

5. Various Inter-Alia

- Did Chaney grow three inches? He looks much taller than last year and might be the only deep threat this team has because...

- McNutt has good hands and will be valuable this year, but he's a possession receiver in my mind until proven otherwise. This week will prove how much DJK matters in Iowa's future plans. If he's still in the doghouse and barely plays, I see a transfer in his future.

- Donahue has five punts, four inside the 20. He's good at kicking footballs.

- Sure didn't hear Edds's name much Saturday.

- Reiff looks like a Big Ten tackle right now. He needs to see more time somehow as he only gets better with game action.

- Get Spievey off the return teams! You don't put a guy so critical to your defense back there.

- Morehouse's live blog is the best thing goin' during the game.


Stupidest....Rule...Ever

Well, gee, that was fun.

I can’t really top BGHP’s beautifully sarcastic take on the game so I’ll just link it here.

That said, the whole “the ball didn’t go beyond the line of scrimmage” rule is ,without question, the dumbest fucking rule in football. I’ve seen it play out before in the NFL (and, naturally, it was the Browns who were the victims) about 5 years ago and remember thinking “What’s the logic here?”.
They say it is considered the same as a batted down pass. Well, a batted down pass can’t be recovered by ANYBODY but a kick can. Strike one. A batted down pass can go past the line of scrimmage and still be considered a dead ball. Strike two. And you are, essentially, punishing a team for blocking a kick. Strike three. You’re making a special teams player have to determine whether or not the ball passed the LOS after his team blocks it. Not to mention he has to then decipher whether or not it was 4th down or not. The list is endless.
And, if that first field goal block took 6 seconds my name is Henry Kissinger.

So, here’s the simple solution: Once the kicker has kicked the ball the possession is over. Blocked, made or missed. Done. Once you have decided to kick a field goal, lined up in the formation and the ball is snapped then kicked you have forfeited possession. Done. Same with a punt except the only team I've ever seen punt on 3rd down is Hayden era Hawk teams so the point is moot.

Stupid ass rule. And I would say the same thing if Iowa would’ve been the team getting the second kick.

That said, nice game, Hawks. Jeesch. And Paki O'Meara? Starting running back? Really?**

**Robinson starts this week. It's good to see Kirk can see what every damn idiot in the stands can see.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Your BRETOA4 Video Retrospective




I'm already gearing up for the next one!

BRETOA5, coming in March 2010, if not sooner.

Friday Isn't For Thinking

What a tournament!!! The boys at BRE are going to enjoy this long weekend after a grueling week. I guess in hindsight Health Care Reform Protesters were too tough to beat as their cousin, the rise of populism, almost won in March. Not even the strength of Shirtless Men could undo them. Truly a worthy champion and deserving of their photo in the shrine next to White Castle, Overly Competitive Softball Guy and Text Messaging.
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I'm going to the Hawkeye game tomorrow. Getting up at 4 and driving the 3 and a half hours from Romeoville. Know what? Cant' wait. As much as I don't want to admit it, I still get jazzed up for Hawkeye football. Yes, the losses don't destroy my week the way they did when I was younger (I have grown up some) but I really enjoy the atmosphere and the game. I just do. I hate some of the frat boy mentality that goes on there sometimes and the drunkenness gets silly (it always has) but goddamn the memories come flooding back whenever I go back. If you look closely you can see the ghost of Christo and Mate in the Ground Round parking lot.
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I'm with Christo. Why is Figgins coming to the Sox a foregone conclusion?
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If they do get Figgins then this is the 2010 Sox lineup:

1. Figgins LF
2. Beckham 3B
3. Quentin RF
4. Konerko 1B
5. Dye DH
6. Pierzynski C
7. Rios CF
8. Getz 2B
9. Ramirez SS

And a rotation of Peavey, Danks, Floyd and Buehrle with Freddy Garcia or Carlos Torres as your fifth starter.

Um, yeah, I'll take that.
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I hate to pat the BRE on the back but were we right about the Cubs are were we right about the Cubs. Man. It's hard to be so right.
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The Edge needs to lose the skull cap. Just join the Bald Club. We don't bite. Christo brings his famous brownies to all the meetings.
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And I guess this asshole douchebag from Boise State won't be spouting off again anytime soon.







Now, I don't know what was said during the game so maybe the Oregon guy deserved some talk but goddamn that was a takedown. Well done.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The BRETOA4 Winner



Mate and Christo grew up in a great small town. But like everywhere else, there were bad apples that were a bit racist, a bit batshit religious, a bit facist in their thinking. And after experiencing a slew of small towns trying to sell video rentals for the That's Rentertainment world about 15 (!) years ago, our town did a little better job of keeping the idiot element in check.

But even in those towns, when it reared it's head in the grocery store/gas station/town griddle that was inevitably the only place where my business could be done, there was a level of guilt involved, permeating the air when something stupid came from some impossibly old asshat as he nursed his coffee and biscuits and gravy and tried to get a laugh from his fellow countermates.

The laugh rarely came and the owner even apologized to me having to hear it at times. All the owner had to do was apologize loud enough for enough people to hear and for enough people to not laugh to create an atmosphere that said, IN THE VERY LEAST, keep that shit behind closed doors and in familiar company.

That's not excusing anything, of course, but at least there was order. If there was going to be a stupid element in their small little society, that stupid element was going to be kept in a box and not allowed to represent them to outsiders. In short, there was an effort.

With Health Care Reform Protesters, all the gloves are off and everything's allowed. There's no social order. It's rudderless, leaderless and tells much about what collective desperation will find acceptable. I didn't know in what form the resistance to Obama would take during his administration. I knew it would be something stupid. I didn't know it would be this ugly.

I really thought the Republican Party would make an effort to keep it...not ugly.

Even an effort would have helped.

I had a feeling when the committee seeded Health Care Reform Protesters that it was a juggernaut.

It's right and proper.

Winner: Health Care Reform Protesters with a 25-1 run to start the game and they never looked back, winning 98-66.

"They'll certainly be some cardoors slamming in the street of Kensington tonight!!!"

Christo will have the video retrospective up by the weekend.

Great tournament! Just a rip-roarin' good time!

Mate's Winner


This one is gonna be quick because, once again, I was assaulted by one of the participants last night.
A shirtless neighbor with a bleeding nipple came over and asked me something about the mail. Yep. Bleeding.
This is no contest. Laurence has assaulted my ears with drivel but ultimately, like Zaidman, is harmless. He's awful no doubt and I pound my fist on the desk in anger at what is essentially a college radio show on the biggest market in the Midwest.
He makes me yearn for the days of Thom Cornelis' horrible call in show in the Quad Cities in the late 90s. Now THAT'S horrible radio.
But shirtless men are just so goddamn awful that it's hard to even put them in some sort of box. It's all over and if you have the detached brain of the average person, you may not even notice it. But if you have any shred of human decency you should be appalled at the amount of men walking around without a fucking shirt. And mating.

Shirtless men have a Villanova like magic run and cap it off with a 76-73 win. Riots in Bolingbrook and New Lenox ensue!!

Per tradition I leave it to Christo to pick a winner....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Christo's Winner


The Final matchup brought to you by Whole Foods Stadium.

Remember (in Vin Scully voice) "Eagle Stadium!"

Well, we have a new one that completely blows it out of the water, even trumping Ikea Stadium in Schaumburg.

Whole Foods just south of North Avenue has to be seen to be believed. Entering from Sheridan, it envelopes every bit of your line of sight.

Security guards directing traffic, 5,000 employees, tri-level escalators, three wine bars with TVs, 12,000 checkout lanes, 80 (not far off) little niche restaurants with faux names like Wicker Park Subs, outdoor riverside seating and so on.

It's truly a Whole Foods monument to Whole Foods. Weird thing is that there's not really any more actual groceries than a standard Whole Foods.

I'm not a Whole Foods hater. In fact, I've come to like it. And this location doesn't necessarily go too far. I'm just saying it should be seen. It's benignly ridiculous but ridiculous nonetheless.

It's quite a shopping "experience." It's so big that Mrs. Ney and I made sure we stayed within a few feet of each other lest we get lost and sucked into the Whole Foods black hole.

Now to the final.

2) Health Care Reform Protesters vs. 4) Texting Drivers


Nothing good can be said about a Texting Driver. Nothing.

But last tournament, The Rise Of Populism In America had all the guns to destroy the field. It didn't. There was a perception at the time that such silliness would wane and wane rather quickly. It didn't.

It simply morphed into new, more silly creatures with Tea Baggers, Birthers and now this. And it became more dangerous as it became more rudderless and more leaderless. Who's at the wheel with this bunch? And maybe that's the plan. Tough to attack a faceless mob. With the explosion of aggregated blogs like HuffPost and the Daily Beast and the cable news networks trying to extend the ratings boom from the election with coverage of things like town hallmeetings and protesters, this crap is in our face 24/7.

We get to see the ugliness and irrational stupidity of humanity more than we ever would want. Blame the media. No. Not really. This is a big issue and has been for three decades now. It would be worthless to try to get into the details of why health care reform is so needed, mainly because that's been pushed to the fringe and we all know the arguments.

Watching and reading about Health Care Reform Protesters only brings disheartenment. You know real discussion doesn't matter to them. And it's dangerous in the sense that, as a group, they show no willingness to police their own. I know there's rational people on the other side of the debate with real concerns about government control. None of those concerns enter the debate. I'd listen but I'm not getting within 100 miles of those whack jobs.

It's just an angry, hate-filled mob more than willing to debase the very idea of rational public discourse.

Winner: Health Care Reform Protesters as they cruise rather easily, 95-78.

Christo's Final Two


I had a soft spot in my heart for House Hunters/International Participants and it's sad to see them go. Being that I also heard last night's comic book/fantasy football show masquerading as sports radio, I understand how it happened.

But we at the Ney household love to hate House Hunters so much, we've saved our favorite episodes on the DVR. All of you must see the environmental guy buying a house in North Carolina. It's shoe-throwing-at-the-TV fantastic.

Now, the first four plays on the UNI-Iowa game. Two days and 21 hours away according to the Rivals ticker.

1st down - Failed play-action to Moeaki overthrown by Stanzi, Moeaki breaks his leg stretching for it. Ferentz thinks he'll mix it up early, throws his gum and that leads to the inevitable "24 Dive"-ish play.

2nd down - Paki off right tackle, stopped for a two-yard loss by a 4'8" safety with a name like McDermott that was blitzing. The UNI sideline goes ballistic like it's a bowl game with a minute left.

3rd down - DJK brought in on 3rd down for his experience, split out right. He runs a quick post, just enough for the first down, Stanzi hits him right in the hands, he bobbles it and knocks it right into the hands of "like" McDermott who returns it to the Iowa 15.

UNI 1st down - The entire Panther team looks like a gaggle of 8 year-olds with pads too big for their bodies hopped up on Ritalin, jumping around furiously excited. They think they're going to strike and strike early to make a statement. Play-action roll-out they rolls out waaayy too far into the backfield, Spievey reads it and drops him for a 15-yard loss. The rest of the series stalls as well, a 45 yard field goal is attempted and missed.

Iowa wins 45-17.

Let's get to the action.

Hank Blalock Region

2) Zach Zaidman vs. 4) Texting Drivers

Nitty-gritty time. I really want the Zaidman-Holmes match-up but alas, he can't beat Texting Drivers. It wouldn't be right. Texting while driving is like trying to juggle 40 knives when, you know, you're not a knife juggler. I've seen some dippy things people do when they drive but texting's the worst. It makes people who talk on their cellphones while driving look positively responsible. At least they're not texting.

I must admit. I tried texting while driving once. It was an airport pick-up thing. No excuse, I know. Let me tell you. I felt what it was like to wander into the realm of terrible driving. It was three quick texts, mostly at stop lights and I hated myself afterward. I'm a pretty agile guy and I was a hazard to the road.

Zaidman's awfulness will amp up when Bears All-Access (does a sports radio show deserve italics?) gets their regular slot back. But when he does his updates and reports, he only gives news. Sure, his baseball idiocy is legendary, his play-by-play for the DePaul games is hilarious and his affectations are voluminous. But he's harmless for the most part because he's in such a small box.

Winner: Texting Drivers as all five starters are in double-digits, 92-70.


Carlos Gomez Region

1) People Who Talk About Their iPhone vs. 2) Health Care Reform Protesters

People Who Talk About Their iPhone have a complex. It's the "I'm not very interesting but I own an inaminate object that is inexplicably considered the essence of coolness so that makes me more interesting" complex.

But their lack of personality and social ineptitude can't beat this:



It's not even close.

Winner: Health Care Reform Protesters as the grayshirts were in by the start of the second half, 128-62.

Laurence Is On Fire!!!

Before we begin I'd like to take a shot at a prediction for the first 3 plays from scrimmage for the Hawks Saturday. I will be in attendance for this so I will get a first hand look at just how slow Paki O'Meara is.

1st down-- Paki O'Meara over left tackle for a yard (UNI fans shout in unison "We can hang!")


2nd down-- Paki sees a gigantic hole but slips for a loss of 2 yards and adds to the Sports Record Book for Iowa being the team with the most slips by a running back in college football history.

3rd down-- Rick Stanzi throws a 7 yard even though they need 10 sideline pattern to Tony Moeaki, who because he's strung together with duct tape and graham cracker breaks his leg.

(UNI fans and players scream in unison "We can DEFINITELY hang!")

4th down-- Ryan Donohue shanks what will be the first of his 34 shanks of the season as it flails comically for 13 yards.
(UNI fans and players scream in unison "We can win!"...and Iowa wins 44-12.)

Christo, your turn..

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OK, onto the Elite 8:
Laurence Holmes vs. House Hunters/International Participants: HHI was going to walk away with this one I have to admit. And then something happened. I listened to Laurence on the way home last night. And he was just..cosmically awful. Added to his shit repertoire last night was a discussion of 2 things that I find about as interesting as toe jam: Comic books and fantasy football!
He wasted 15 minutes on who or what he should draft and how Marvel apparently has been bought by Disney. Have they? Since I'm not 12 why should I care?

HHI is really bad. But it's so bad that it's almost in a perverse way entertaining. It's kind of can't miss tv in the Famber household and apparently the Ney as well. Why? We like to be outraged at buffoons. So, I guess I'm going to have to go with Laurence solely based on his abomination of a radio show last night. It put him over the top like a last week indictment of your campaign advisor.
Laurence Holmes wins with a furious comeback from down 12 with 4 minutes to play, 65-64.


Lottery Ticket Purchasers vs. Shirtless Men: We have an all out White Trash showdown here. Which is more awful? Well I guess when they're this close you have to go with which one effects you the most on the most consistent basis. And I am a frequent purchaser of gas and therefore the lottery ticket purchasers are always in my line of sight. But, sometimes they get their own separate line, which takes them out of your life. Which is nice.
Shirtless men are really only annoying in the Summer, although my neighbor seems to think it's perfectly appropriate to go shirtless in February. It's more about what running around sans shirt says about you. You are one of those "I don't give a fuck" people and yet trying so hard that you do , indeed, "Give a fuck". So, fuck you and put on a goddamn shirt.

Shirtless men pull away in the last 5 minutes and hold on for a 78-71 win.

There you go. Is Laurence the man to beat? Keep it up with the comic book and fantasy football and he will be!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quick Shot


Would Joe Cowley and The Score stop talking about Figgins going to the Sox as if it's a fait accompli!!!

The Angels have a 15 day exclusive window after the season to deal with Figgins. He's not moving off third base. Figgins has become one of the top five defensive third basemen in the league with a 13.8 UZR/150 last year and a 13.0 this year. That's Longoria good.

He's constantly said that he wants to stay at third. Beckham is currently at third for the Sox.

And Figgins has become a face of the Angels. Only if the Sox want to dramatically overpay for Figgins and move Beckham to short/second will they have a chance to get him.

Rant Done.

We Have The Icky Eight!


Hampton's officially out for the year. Get to know Adam Robinson, folks.

This update sponsored by Brett Favre cheap shots:



Here are the match-ups for our last four games!

Nice hodgepodge we have in my opinion, something that lends itself well to a specific hatred during a specific time. In this case, our participants in the regional finals this year fully represent a particular awfulness since our last BRETOA along with some timeless gems.

Here's the new bracket:


And here are the match-ups:

Tea Baggers Region

3) Lottery Ticket Purchasers vs. 8) Shirtless Men

Hawkeye Basketball Region

2) Laurence Holmes vs. 5) House Hunters/International Participants

Hank Blalock Region

2) Zach Zaidman vs. 4) Texting Drivers

Carlos Gomez Region

1) People Who Talk About Their iPhone vs. 2) Health Care Reform Protesters


Should have a winner by Friday, my friends!

What excitement!

Shitty 16 Match-ups In Christo's Bracket


My God, I'm sick.

I always held as a point of pride that I didn't get sick often, but this one's a doozy. So I'll attempt to plow through my match-ups with an exhaustion not seen since Christian Bale in The Machinist. Maybe it will distract me from staring at the ceiling with my mouth open.

Today's games brought to you by Stuff Hipsters Hate. Go waste some time on that. Totally worth it. I believe it's an offshoot of Look At This Fucking Hipster, another veritable treasure trove of annoyance.

Let's get started.


Hank Blalock Region

1) People Who LOVE Cannolis vs. 4) Texting Drivers

We here at the Ney household really like food and wine. Both of us work with food and wine so it's a bit of a natural fit. We're not foodies (shut up, A. We're not. BTW, your team sucks. Face!). We just like food and wine and sometimes like talking about it, being very careful not to come off as asshat foodies. Our only agenda, if there is one, is to direct people to the good stuff we enjoyed and think they would as well.

I say this because People Who LOVE Cannolis (and Lobster/Truffles) aren't foodies, either. They're people who don't know anything about food but desperately want to make up for their lack of knowledge by being all loud and shit about what they do know. They seem to think that the world is judging them, must play to their inferiority complex about food and overecompensate. It's transparent and a bit icky to watch. But it's a natural human impulse that the rest of the world has to deal with everyday in various other forms.

As previously stated, Texting Drivers are dangerous. Your life isn't so busy that you can't wait to answer that text. Sorry. It's not. You're doing something that takes two hands...while doing something that takes two separate hands. Smart move, d-bag.

It's not really close. An inferiority complex can't beat an inattentive wheel.

Winner: Texting Drivers as they block 28 shots and have 43 steals, 101-79.


2) Zach Zaidman vs. 3) People (Just...People)

I hate this match-up. People (Just...People) is way too vague. Their entry into the tournament came from a particular night waiting tables where no one table stood out in their awfulness. It was the whole bunch. I don't want them to be too vague because I think their inherent nature says so much. It's just...People.

But, in a way, Zach Zaidman represents some aspects of People (Just...People) quite nicely. If the Holmes/Zaidman match-up happens like their legions of fans hope, I gotta give it to Holmes, I think. We'll see. Zaidman, in all his shittiness, does his Bear reports like a reporter should. Tons of information that doesn't constantly inject himself into the picture. Holmes can't say that. When he does reporter-type stuff, it's ALL about him. "I was talking to Thomas Harris today, and we've become good friends over the years..." Shut up.

But...Zaidman and Marc Silverman are long-lost brothers. I hate Silverman with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns. Every word out of both of their mouths exhibit the processes they used to come to that particular voice inflection, like you can hear every minute of the hours they practiced in front of the mirror the night before.

Update: Holmes's Podsednik argument going on right now might be the stupidest thing I ever heard in the last month on The Score. He's a force in this tournament.

Winner: Zach Zaidman as they slice and dice People's bland, 80s-style defense, 88-66.


Carlos Gomez Region

1) People Who Talk About Their iPhone vs. 12) What The NFL Has Become

Okay. I didn't get an iPhone a few days ago. I got an iPod Touch. It doesn't make my life better, but I'll say that it's kinda neat-o. It's just so pretty! But it doesn't do anything necessary to making my life better. It's a toy. Nothing more. Something to fuck around with when bored. And getting sports scores on the run.

A new breed has emerged recently. People Who Talk About Their iPhone invariably do so in the context of it's cultural zeitgeistiness and their inclusion in it. But as with every perceived cultural meme, along come the haters as well that couch it in terms of "look how lacking your cultural savior actually is! The emperor has no clothes!" It's infuriating in the sense that the journalist writing the crap is working from the assumption that the iPhone was actually supposed to make their lives better. In other words, it starts from the baseline that completely buys into marketing crap.

To wit: Go here and here, two articles just from the last week or so. Both are maddening. Just read the opening salvo in the Salon piece. "Revolutionize our lives"? Both articles are prefaced with just how stupid the journalist was in not being appropriately careful or appropriately diligent in reading all the fine print. So People Who Talk About Their iPhone has a brand-new facet to their team. They just acquired a deep threat from the 4 position right in the middle of the tournament.

What The NFL Has Become can't overcome that. See the Cutler return to Denver when trying to know why the NFL sucks now. It's A PRESEASON GAME and it carried with it the atmosphere of a gladiator fight with Nero in the stands. Meatballs are running the zoo.

But no matter how much I hate what it's become, I'll still keep an eye on it, at least until the Browns start 0-6 and most certainly on mute.

Winner: People Who Talk About Their iPhone with a multi-pronged attack, 85-75.


2) Health Care Reform Protesters vs. 14) Hawk's Growing Weirdness

This will be a short one.

I don't know if I'm all in with the public option. That's a lot to hand over. But given the current state of health care in this country, it certainly should be on the table and vigorously discussed.

But we don't have discussions in this country. We have a teenage girl fight. Name-calling and hair-pulling are the only tactics permitted to be used.

Throw it on the pile. Just another reason for people to hate the political process when only terdballs control the mic. Health Care Reform Protesters found a way to make participatory democracy even uglier.

Hawk's Growing Weirdness is over for the year and shouldn't kick back up until mid-May of 2010. In fact, Hawk can be mildly fun to listen to when to the Sox are done. His tangents are funny when nothing on the field matters.

Winner: Health Care Reform Protesters in a offensive explosion, 110-80.


Elite 8 For Mate (Best One Yet)

Jim Thome escapes the Titanic!

Anyway, my Elite 8 is now established. Patiently awaiting Christo's.

1) Jay Cutler Chicago Fan Butt Love vs. 5) House Hunters/International Participants: This is a matchup that should’ve been in the final. No doubt. Analysts are saying that this is the “true” T of A (at least Mate’s bracket) championship and it’s hard to argue.
House Hunters is bad enough but the abortion that is House Hunters International makes it pale in comparison. These are folks with gigantic piles of money who are buying second or third homes in places like Aruba or Portugal. Usually the houses run anywhere from 500K or so to over a million dollars. So, they’re spending oodles of cash and plunking down a lot for this house. I get that. They want it to be perfect. But the kicker for me was the other night when some run of the mill pepper haired middle aged White guy from Boston and his incredibly annoying Vietnamese wife (her voice was a mix of Yoko Ono and a wood chipper) found a home on a golf course with a perfect view of the ocean. 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and just an absolutely lovely house. Fuck I wanted it and I hate the Caribbean. But they decided to balk because..wait for it…NO BATHTUBS! The kids take baths not showers. Yep. First of all, you’re dropping a million clams, you can’t fork over a bit more to put a fucking bathtub in?! And, guess what, Dakota and Madison can learn to take a fucking shower. Jesus. I’m in a lather typing this. I often get more upset at this show than I do Scott Linebrink, and that is saying something.
JCCFBL is excruciating and in another matchup probably would’ve breezed but I guess you can forgive Bears fans a little because they haven’t had a good quarterback since the first FDR administration. Still awful. Still annoying as hell but ultimately fell into a combine known as House Hunters.

HHIP in the upset of the tourney, winning 81-77.

2) Laurence Holmes vs. 3) The Last, Weird Season of Roseanne: Laurence is responsible (partly) for the JCCFBL but hes certainly not the only one. Laurence also has a bit of Nathan Thurm in him. When a caller will, quite rightly, call him out on his constant contradictions and flat out dumb ass level of baseball knowledge, he will use circular logic that would make Bill Clinton jealous. “ I didn’t say Jake Peavey was a bad deal for the Sox!”…Yes you did Laurence. Many times. He suffers from Marriotti Complex. Big time. And he’s terrible and has no charisma or talent. Otherwise, he’s great.
The last season of “Roseanne” didn’t have a chance. It had a nice little run but much like Loyola Marymount got there on guts. Pure, awful, weird guts. Which coincidentally, was a plot point in about 5 episodes that season. But they are avoidable and have been relegated to late night TV Land where they ignore this season like the crazy batshit Uncle we don’t talk about and wait for his death.
Laurence wins in a walk, 101-82.