Posted on: April 11, 2008 3:35 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2008 12:08 am

What's wrong with this picture?

According to a friend who has known me for 20 years (more, if you count my sister dating his brother when we were kids), I'm overweight, I need a haircut, and above all, the mustache has to go. Of course, that's me on the left.

This is what happens when you make a bet based on the NCAA tournament, then make picks that include Southern Cal and UConn reaching the Final Four. Then it comes down to North Carolina-Kansas, and the Tar Heels crapped the bed on me. Think I wasn't frustrated to then see Roy Williams wearing Jayhawks gear two nights later?

Now, with the permission of Master Facial Hair Grower Eric Kay, the 'stache will be history within minutes of my leaving work today. So we need this photo for posterity. This one, too. While my wispy growth just can't stand up against Kay's manly display, I think he was bathing his face in Rogaine. Or Procede, endorsed by none other than Charlie McCarthy (not the dummy). There is just no way he grew that without some kind of performance enhancement.

But enough griping. This is the end of the great Mustache Experiment. And I certainly will not be upset to see those last few whiskers go down the drain.


Category: General
Posted on: April 8, 2008 5:40 pm

Another anti-Vitale screed

I made my thoughts clear yesterday on Dick Vitale and the Hall of Fame -- it's an abomination.

Something I forgot -- but which had me equally outraged -- was how I heard about the news. From Vitale himself. On ESPN. Before the official announcement was made. It reminded me of NBA award announcements, how the winner is 'leaked' a few days beforehand, then the actual deal is anticlimactic.

Then I started thinking of the guys and gal who were elected alongside (argghhh!) Vitale. Those with more serious Hall of Fame credentials. And how they didn't have their own network to publicize the news and steal the thunder away from their fellow electees. Vitale exposed himself as an egomaniac, eager to go on the air and cry, and blubber, and make sure everybody knew he was in the Hall of Fame.

Did Pat Riley -- five NBA championships as a head coach, one as a player, a very accomplished in both -- do this? How about Hakeem Olajuwon -- two NBA titles as a player, consecutive appearances in the NCAA title game, one of the greatest big men ever in the game? Patrick Ewing, Olajuwon's peer? Or any of the other people elected Monday? No, just Vitale, bawling his eyes out, showing everybody his true colors.

Give me Gus Johnson any day.

Posted on: April 7, 2008 8:22 pm

Why don't we just put Stephen A. Smith in there?

Who would you rather listen to while watching a college basketball game -- Dick Vitale or Gus Johnson?

The Loudmouth has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. I assume because of his "contributions" to the game. Which I assume to include yelling, planting his lips on Coach K's but (when they are't securely on Bob Knight's gluteus maximus), and yelling some more.

Like many ESPN "personalities," his schtick has gotten tired. He has become a cariciture of himself. When he starts screaming "PTPer, baaaaaaabyyyyyyy," I have too cringe. Maybe it was something special when he was yelling such things about Derrick Coleman. Or Glen Rice. Or Danny Ferry. I don't think I am alone in this, but my ears start to bleed when I hear his voice.

Not many announcers are in the Hall of Fame. Chick Hearn is inducted. Johnny Most was given the Curt Gowdy Award, but he isn't enshrined. Dick Vitale alongside Hearn, above Most? Not a chance.

The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best. Legends. Or people who contributed so much to the game, it wouldn't be the same without their presence. Can you say any of those things about Vitale? No. You might say he helped make college basketball as popular as it is today. Wrong -- it was the players. It's always about the players. People don't tune in to listen to Vitale, the tune in to  see Ewing vs. Olajuwon, Webber and the Fab Five against Duke, and tonight, Derrick Rose against Kansas.

College basketball exploded because Vitale's network began television games nearly every night of the week. It exploded because superstar players, and to a certain extent, superstar coaches, made it an even worth watching. It exploded because Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (before the saved the NBA) gave birth to the modern era of college basketball.

Dick Vitale had nothing to do with any of that, except maybe ESPN putting more games on the tube to give its bald-headed freak more exposure.

If all it takes to be recognized as a Hall of Famer is the ability to scream, there is a long list of people that belong there. And they would probably be about as successful as Vitale at coaching. And as easy to listen to as an announcer.

By the way, before the announcement of Vitale's election Monday, if you put "Dick Vitale Hall of Fame" into Google, the first link to come up was a year-old column by Gregg Doyel about such a prospect. He was rightly horrified. Now that this dark day has come to pass, I almost can't admit that the Hall of Fame is located in my home state.

With Springfield in Western Massachusetts, maybe the Commonwealth should just give it to New York. I hear loudmouths are pretty popular there.

Posted on: March 24, 2008 4:30 pm

Whatever happens, I hope I don't have to fight 24

Apparently, if 23 five-year-olds come after me, I'm all set. At least according to this site. Any more than that, and I am in trouble.

If I fudge a few facts -- like saying I'm tall with plenty of martial-arts experience -- the formula allows that I can take as many as 39 at once.

My associate Eric Kay took the same test, and he can only take 21. HA! Not only am I going to kick his arse in the company bracket contest (Georgetown?!? Who thought Georgetown would win the national title?), but I can take more 5-year-olds than he can.



Category: General
Posted on: March 17, 2008 4:08 pm

Where are the Huskies?

Connecticut's are in the NCAA tournament. Washington's are in this new College Basketball Invitational. Northern Illinois' ... well, you go 6-22, lose in the first round of the MAC tournament, you have earned a vacation.

But what about Northeastern? Sure, they finished under .500 (14-17). And lost in the second round of the CAA tournament. But that was to George Mason! They were a Final Four team two years ago! Cut NU some slack.

I can't take it anymore. My Huskies haven't been to the NCAA tournament (1991) since before I started school there 16 years ago. Long gone are the days of Reggie Lewis, who led Northeastern to the NCAAs four straight years (coached for three of them by Jim Calhoun).

There has to be a place for teams like Northeastern. They can't win the CAA, so the NCAAs are out. They don't have enough of a reputation to consistently make the NIT. And apparently, 13-18 Cincinnati is good enough for the CBI, but not 14-17 Northeastern, a team that lost to ACC teams Maryland and Boston College by two points each and split with George Mason in the regular season.

My solution -- let's start a new tournament. Bigger than the NIT. Better than the CBI. More exciting than the NCAAs. Philadelphia has the Big Five. Let's do something with all the mediocre-crappy New England teams that can't get into a real postseason tournament. First round -- Northeastern-Holy Cross, Matthews Arena. And the winner of the whole enchilada can lay claim to being the best second-rate team in New England.

Or, forget it. The Red Sox are losing to the Yankees, and the way Bartolo Colon pitched, get ready for a 95-loss season and challenging the Orioles for last place in the AL East. But how 'bout those Celtics?!?!?

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 2, 2008 1:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2008 1:39 pm

It's prediction time

So yesterday video coordinator/jack of all trades/generally good guy Eric Kay asked me and desk neighbor Sid Saraf to come up with some Super Bowl predictions for something called the 'mobile site' (I think he made that up to make it look like he does more work).

Since this 'mobile site' doesn't really exist and nobody will ever get to see this, here are my predictions for Super Bowl XLII:

  • Coin toss: Patriots win coin toss, defer and kick off … leading to ….
  • First to score: Domenick Hixon, opening kickoff for TD.
  • MVP: Laurence Maroney – 18 carries, 138 yards, two touchdowns in second half as Patriots kill the clock.
  • Final score: Patriots 35, Giants 13 (14-13 at halftime, Patriots pull away in third quarter).
  • Total interceptions thrown: Four – three by Eli, one by Brady.
  • Touchdowns by people named Moss: Two, both by Randy. Pats midget CBs wish Sinorice would play more, since he’s the only guy they can look down on.
  • Number of field goals: Two, both by Lawrence Tynes.
  • Best commercial: (best commercial means closest to nudity, right?)
  • Chicken wings or pizza: Wings and pizza, but if I have to choose, make it 30 of Bru’s Room’s finest. Hot, with the bleu cheese, celery and carrot fixins.
But seriously ... actually, those are my predictions and I will stick with them.
Posted on: January 29, 2008 6:01 pm

Media Day therapy

After a day of watching inane interviews during Super Bowl Media Day, I need to get a few things off my chest.

Whoever think's Chris Berman's schtick isn't tired, raise your hand.

Is this guy serious? Calling Chris Berman a legend? Maybe in the world of ESPN, where if they didn't think of it, it didn't happen (like Peter Gammons today 'breaking' the news that Johan Santana got traded to the Mets, 10 minutes after I read it on the USA Today website. And that was five minutes after somebody told me about the story).

I think it is telling that every reply in this thread defends Gregg Doyel, and to get the users to defend Doyel is a pretty neat trick. When I was 10 years old, and ESPN was still new, and Berman still had hair, I enjoyed his routine. Now he is a caricature of himself, a complete buffoon. Though he did give us 'You're with me, leather.'

Now, read Gregg Doyel's blog.

The usual attention-seeking loonies were out in full force:

  • Somebody trying to get Pats special teamer/wide receiver Kelley Washington to try on red high heels.
  • A pre-adolescent kid doing interviews for that four-letter network.
  • Some American Idol flunky doing interviews for Jay Leno.
  • The wonderful ladies of TV Azteca.
  • And my favorite part -- players who don't have their own podiums because hardly anybody wants their quotes grabbing a camera or microphone, walking around and asking their own questions. It's Media Day, have some fun.
  • Annoying: The NFL Network guys getting to ask the first questions because they run the show. Then Rich Eisen asking Tedy Bruschi 'What is your favorite source for NFL news' and basically forcing Bruschi to say NFL Network or Roger Goodell will suspend you.
  • I get sick of the clowns at media day, but it's also fun to see and hear the reactions from 'legitimate' members of the press, who are just out there looking for easy quotes before they hit the free buffet.

One thing is for certain -- it is nice to see the Patriots back in the Super Bowl after the NFL inexplicably allowed its showcase event to go this long without its showcase franchise.

Can they play the game tomorrow?


Category: NFL
Posted on: January 27, 2008 7:54 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2008 7:55 pm

The new math: 13-6 is better than 18-0

This was bound to happen, with the Patriots overwhelming favorites to win Super Bowl XLII.

Pundits, experts, insipid TV 'talent' -- they all start talking themselves into crazy things like the Giants winning the Super Bowl. They cite New York's 10 straight road victories, an NFL record only because the Patriots (ahem, 8-0 on the road this season) were too good to have to play away from Foxborough in the playoffs.

Then it's on to momentum, like an 18-game winning streak doesn't build a little momentum. And claiming that because the Giants 'stayed close' and 'hung with' the Patriots in Week 17, that gives New York some kind of inside track to defeating New England. I doubt Tom Coughlin was telling his players that after the game, and he probably isn't saying that this week. He knows a loss is a loss, and that the Patriots learned just as much as the Giants did in that game, making it a non-issue.

Another popular talking point this weekend is that the Patriots have forgotten what it's like to lose. That couldn't be further from the truth. It is precisely because of last year's loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship Game that the Pats are putting together a historic season. Much like the '72 Dolphins used their defeat in the previous year's Super Bowl to the Cowboys as motivation for their perfect season, the Pats do not want to walk off the field as the defeated team this year. That, and the game highlighted weakness that the Patriots fixed in the offseason with the additions of Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte' Stallworth and Adalius Thomas, not to mention having Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau healthy for the entire season.

Do not let the talk fool you. The Patriots are the first NFL team to reach 18-0, and get this close to 19-0, for a reason -- they are a great team on the verge of history. And the Giants are 13-6 for a reason as well -- they are a flawed team that caught fire at the right time to get this far.

I remember another team that won three straight playoff games on the road to reach a Super Bowl against one of the NFL's greatest teams of all-time. The result? Bears 46, Patriots 10. Maybe the Giants can keep it closer than that, but that's about it.


Category: NFL
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