Saturday, June 16, 2007

3AM Fun with Google Image Search: Tim Hasslebeck

Hey, who else blogs for you at 3AM? Nobody but TSE, that's who. I am bored and still awake, waiting for Larry King Live to come on at 3AM (the guest is Al Pacino). And I was thinking: how much does Tim Hasselbeck's life suck? He has a wife that goes on TV everyday and makes a damn fool of herself, and he is an NFL quarterback, but still isn't the greatest active quarterback at his Thanksgiving dinner table. Pathetic. Then, I decided to Google Image him, so that I could have a picture of him... to tell the story. Boy, did I luck out. The first picture:

Buddy. You are an NFL quarterback and you can't get a picture of your own as your first pick. What a freaking disgrace. But just wait, it gets better. Second picture:

Dude, this is a picture of Jason Sehorn and Sam Waterston's daughter! You sir, are nowhere to be found in this picture. If someone had no idea who you were and they google imaged you, they would think you are either you, or Jason Sehorn. You need to go on a drug binge or something, tackle Eli Manning during a game, do SOMETHING so that the second picture of you on google images isn't someone else. Third pic:

Chief. This is your wife, your daughter, and YOUR BROTHER. Do you see what this picture is insinuating? You are not even a big enough name to be recognized for giving life to another human being. The fourth pic can't be any worse, can it?


Someone put this guy on suicide watch.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Ms. Watson, Ms. Cabrera, you needn't stand next to the 18th green on Sunday. Elin will take it from here.

First two rounds of our Open is in the books, and I have some sad news for people who think anyone other than Tiger is going to win this tournament. Tiger is going to win the tournament. Him, or Jim Furyk. These are some fun nights for the Bubba Watson's and the Angel Cabrera's of the world, but, let's be honest, these guys will fold on moving day quicker than the suit Kopech's parents bought him for Easter when he was 12. Tiger's wife will be waiting for him on the 18th, unless she is busy sending the winner of the 2030 US Open at Oakmont down the ol' birth canal. Tiger is five back, Furyk is six back, and those are my two favorites to win, in that order. Here are a few other guys to keep an eye on:


Paul Casey- Anybody capable of firing a 66 can win this tournament. Anytime you can fire a 66 in a Major Championship, you are on top of your game. When you can do it at a US Open when there have only been four scores under par in two days? Well, he has arrived, at least this week. Here's something to keep an eye on: Day one, Casey averaged 310 yards on his drives, but only hit 7/14 fairways. Day two, he took 30 yards off of his average drive, but was in the short stuff an astounding 13 out of 14 times. He has figured out how to play this course, and he could contend down the stretch.

David Toms- For the first time in a while, his putter isn't betraying him. He has putt 30 times in both of the first two rounds. That's pretty even keel for anyone, especially Toms. He has been plagued in recent years with his inability to putt confidently, which has really messed with his head. He has all the talent to contend this weekend, and if his shortstick can remain steady, it could be a great Sunday night on the Bayou.

Chad Campbell- When he's on, he is hands down the best ball striker in the field. I know people bandy anout that term a lot, but watching him play in person, there aren't a lot of moving parts to his swing. He is this generation's Freddy Couples, minus the monster power fade. If he can just keep at it, this could be the best weekend of his life.


Freddy Funk (Dark Horse, and who I'm pulling for)- It's a long shot, but there is a reason this guy made the cut at 51 and some of the big guns didn't: he can get it in the fairway. He's only missed seven fairways in the first two rounds, and of those seven holes, he bogeyed all of them. If his putting comes around and he can keep it in the fairway, he might give hope to all of those weekend golfers whose sons are closing in on them another reason to go back out there and kick the young whipper-snappers butts.
That being said, I'll still go with the experience of Tiger and Furyk this weekend, just because they have that killer instinct and have won the trophy before. If not, expect some of these guys listed to contend for the championship. But, I can almost guarantee you that Cabrera and Bubba Watson will crash and burn tomorrow, even though it would be a great story to see the first Argentine win the US Open.
(GOCM: I'm calling shenanigans on this post's ending. No way in hell Jed would EVER give two shits about the Argentine people, played by Madonna or otherwise. Very funny, James. And the suit wasn't foldable it was machine washable. Fucktard.)
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Update: 2007 US Open Update: Round 2

Update: Angel Cabrera is unimpressed with your pithy little Oakmont course. He's your leader as we aproach the allmighty 5:00pm (when I finally get to go home). Stephen Ames and David Toms are also having splendid rounds today. Everyone else is falling apart right now and the cut is still at +10, but with scores going up, it's looking like Tits McLephty may yet play golf this weekend...Tiger is +2 on his round today but still lurking in the tall grass, waiting to trample and disembowel whomever remains (read: he's still probably going to win this whole thing on Saturday and Sunday, as so many prognosticators have...um...prognosticated).

*

Sean O'Hair has some serious running to do. Currently, through 17 holes of "golf" he's en route to a gentleman's 80. 80. That's a large number, among several on the board today. Here's your leaderboard (as of posting) and some other notable rounds that didn't put it in my fantasy golf league pooper. (Full, updating leaderboard here)

1. Nick Dougherty - E (+2 today, through 7)
1. Ben Curtis - E (-1, 5)
1. Niclas Fasth - E (-1, 2)
4. Bubba Watson - +1 (+1, 8)
4. Pablo Martin - +1 (E, 5)
4. El Tigre - +1 (E, 5)
4. David Toms - +1 (-1, 4)
38. Jim Furyk - +6 (F)
61. Zach Johnson - +8 (+2, 6)

The Cut is looking like +10 right now, which means the following players can probably go ahead and buy some Pirates tickets for the weekend.

Phil Mickelson (+11 at least he hasn't gone off of any man-made structures yet.), Stewart Cink (+12), Sean O'effhimself (+13), Adam Scott (+18!!!), Jacob Rogers (+28, low man on the totem pole).

Tiger's within striking distance (my least favorite golf metaphor), which could spell trouble for everybody else. And what the hell is (Ostrander, OH native) Ben Curtis doing on page 1 of another major? I would have put dollars to donuts he would be fighting for a card in Q-school by now. One of these weeks, I'm going to pick him and he's going to go ahead and fall in a ditch, drown in a creek, get attacked by a barracuda and then dragged off by a mountain lion. That's the kind of power I have in jinxing golfers for my fantasy league. more...

Curt Schilling - Pitcher by Day, Blogger by Night!

I'm a Red Sox fan and, let's face it, without Curt Schilling there probably wouldn't have been a 2004 World Series Championship. And I think Curt's Pitch for ALS is a really great charitable endeavour (please don't sue me now). But his approach to the media leaves plenty to be desired, especially his addition to this, the ol' blogosphere.

After getting Schelled (zinger) by the humble Rockies in his last start, let's see what #38 has to say to his adoring fans. Also, this is not a response to Boston Globe fucktard Dan Shaughnessey's (I don't care if I misspelled his name) article about 38pitches.com, but a parody of Schilling and his blog. Danny boy can go piss up a rope.

38 Pitches
Curt Schilling's Official Blog


6/13/2007 Vs. Colorado
June 14th by Curt Schilling

Hmmm. This was a truly puzzling start. I mean, I figured after I go one batter away from throwing my first career no-no that that no one would even swing the bat this time around. But I was way off. Everyone got a hit off me. Even the pitcher, and we were playing AT FENWAY! Not my best night...

Things are getting far too interesting in the AL East nowadays. I mean we used to have this 14 game lead over someone other than the Yankees but now our lead is down lower than President Bush's approval rating (but I'm still voting for him!) and they can't lose.

I think that if more people took my approach to the Yankees, they would not be able to win as much as they do. Like I said during the 2001, everything about the Aura and Mystique of Yankee Stadium is complete garbage - in fact I thought those were exotic dancers (that quote still kills me, even now). So why is it that people can't just listen to me and read my blog? Then they'll know exactly how to win at "The Stadium". Major League ballplayers can be trying sometimes...

Just as an aside, I'm not a fan of exotic dancing, in fact, I think that the proprietors of said clubs should probably seek help for themselves and for their patrons. There are so many better things to do.

But as for the start, I don't know where to begin (start and begin - great wordplay by me...certainly better than anything I pitched with 2 outs). I couldn't get anyone out when I had to and they scored a lot of runs with 2 gone in the inning. That kills my defense and it sunk our team. The home run that Hawpe hit pretty much did it for us. 'Tek came up after trying to calm me down and said, "anything hit that far should have a goddamn stewardess on it". I think he's still pissed that I shook him off last week.

Well, that'll do it for today. OH! A quick plug...I'm on Facebook.com now* trying to spread the good word about Curt's Pitch for ALS so everyone friend me. But can we please tone down the poking? That's getting annoying.


*(GOCM: yes I'm aware that the facebook thing is fake)

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The Morning After on TSE - 6.15.2007

Judd Apatow must be a Cavs fan (poor bastard).

After I tried to watch a quarter of the Cavs/Spurs "game" I gave up and finally saw "Knocked Up". Outstanding. Funnier than a Spurs sweep, a now soul-crushingly close 7.5 game lead in the AL East and the trash can begging me to take Seth Rogen's advice and yack my hangover away. And funnier than "Old School" and "Anchorman", but still behind "40 Year Old Virgin", which I realize I'll take some flack for, but every guy has a different order for these four movies (five if you add Dodgeball, which I don't). If you haven't seen it, stop reading this, go see it and come back, otherwise this won't make any sense.


After the movie got out, I started thinking about how LeBron no longer has to deal with a knocked up girlfriend. I also thought about Seth Rogen's friends and LeBron's supporting cast who, it seems, are eerily similar. Allow me to go into detail.

Ben (Seth Rogen) = LeBron James (this should makes sense even if you didn't see it)

Jay (Jay Baruchel) = Larry Hughes (he's always there, always annoying and easily forgetable...and probably couldn't hit a jumper if he wanted to)

Barry (Jonah Hill) = Anderson Varejao (good for a one-liner and is a genuinely funny character but could have been a lot better if used more effectively)

Jason (Jason Segel) = Daniel Gibson (quietly, this newcomer goes ahead and steals whatever of the show isn't taken up by the likes of Ben (LeBron) and you can tell he's just itching for a bigger role)

Martin (Martin Starr) = Drew Gooden (no other reason than both of them have a hairstyle (ever seen the vertebrae toupee* on Gooden?) that must be the result of a bet or a lost bet).

*Jed's

As you can see, it's a slow day already. US Open update, retrospective on the Cavs, breaking news and maybe even a visit from friend Curt Schilling all today on the TSE. Enjoy.
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100 Things I Hate About You

Let's face it: ESPN does a lot of stuff to piss you off. It insults your intelligence, it favors screaming analysts over game highlights and reports, it puts certain NFL 'insiders' on screen... you know. But have you ever sat down and thought about all the crap ESPN does that just drives you crazy? Well I did.

Nota Bene: These 100 items have all occurred/appeared in since the start of the 2006 College Football season. We could be here forever if we chronicled all of the past albatrosses of ESPN like Stump the Schwab, Trev Alberts, Dream Job and ESPN Hollywood.

ESPN MotionStuart Scott
Skip BaylessFirst Take
Stephen A. SmithChris Berman’s nicknames
Chris Berman doing play-by-playJohn Kruk
The Coors Light Cold Hard Facts Six-PackRed Sox-Yankees Coverage
ESPN Deportes on SportsCenterWho’s Now?
Mark MayLou Holtz
Len PasquarelliJohn Clayton
Sean SalisburyCensoring Bill Simmons
ESPN on ABCThe Fantastic Four to Watch
Jeff Van GundyMark Jackson
Roger CossackNASCAR Now
Baseball Tonight (Post-Reynolds)Doris Burke
NBA FastbreakNFL Live
Dee BrownTim Legler
The Budeweiser Hot SeatPam Ward
Chris SpielmanJim Donnan
ESPNU-exclusive broadcastsRachel Nichols always wears black
Not enough Erin AndrewsAFL on ESPN
Monday Night Football commercials that tell you what day it isSteve Phillips
Bob DavieESPN Insider
Overt Disney Synergy during SportsCenterArli$$ on ESPN Classic
Woody PaigeWomen’s College Basketball Selection Show
Jay MariottiJon Barry
Dick Vitale (sometimes)Shelley Smith
Desmond HowardThe ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll(s) and other conflicts of interest
The Finals in Harmony (seriously, what the hell is that?)The ESPYs
Around the HornColin Cowherd
Pedro GomezThe Terrell Owens/Barry Bonds/etc Beats
Scoop JacksonESPN 360
Any other non-Simmons Page 2 writers since Ralph Wiley passed awayESPN Full Circle
The declining visibility of Peter GammonsWNBA highlights at any time
MLB Draft televisedThe Best of Mike & Mike
NFL Sunday CountdownEA Sports NFL Matchup
The SportsCenter reSETWomen’s College Basketball that doesn’t involve Pat Summitt or Geno Auriemma
SportsCenter anchors chiming in on eachothers’ highlightsBill Walton
Joe TheismannThe SportsCenter Minute
Mary CarilloESPN.com Travel
4 DownsThe Big Ten-ACC Challenge
The ban on “underground” sitesDana Jacobsen
Diamond CuttersFact or Fiction
Jacked Up!Joe Lunardi prior to the conference tournaments
Bad Puns in SportsCenter graphicsFernando Vina
ESPN the WeekendChasing Aaron every night on the Bottom Line
Greg AnthonyFact or Fiction
Countdowns appearing in the Bottom Line (ie, Monday Night Football)Orestes Estrada
Top Ten NomineesKara Lawson
Take Your PickAFL highlights on SportsCenter
“You’re A Fan, You Just Don’t Know It Yet” promosAnchors that try to emulate Kilborn, Olbermann and Eisen
Not enough Bob LeyJeremy Schaap

As you can see, these mostly fall into four categories: Personalities who suck, shows that suck, corporate whoring and useless segments that take time away from actual sports highlights on SportsCenter. The fact that most of these gripes can be easily categorized means that, in theory, they can easily be fixed. Right, Norby? more...

The worst part about getting swept is that kids in Uganda don't get fresh threads.


I keep hearing the same thing from Cavs fans: I thought we would win at least one. Me too. I was in the camp that the Cavs actually had a chance to win this series, I was sorely mistaken. Outplayed and outcoached. I however watched the celebration that followed, in order to be fully prepared for when our day finally comes. And it will. It just has to.
I'm not going to sit here and bitch about we never win, why does this happen to us. We lost, got beat by a far superior team, better luck next year. Oh, and Go Tribe!
I have one piece of solace for all of you Cavs fans that are finding it hard to cope with the loss. Go on YouTube, search Barry Manilow. Trust me, you will feel better.
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sports Elitists NBA Finals Game 4 Preview: Spurs @ Cavs


Tonight can only go one of two ways for the Cleveland Cavaliers in their quest to pull an '04 Red Sox on the San Antonio Spurs in tonight's edition of the NBA Finals. The first is, judging by the first three games of the series, a bit out of the realm of the possibility. A win tonight propels the Cavs into a fifth game where anything could happen. And there is some good reasoning behind this.

As you read here on TSE, King James just had another Prince (that was TERRIBLE). Now, I've never had any children (that I know of...COUNT IT) but I'm guessing one of the reasons that LeBron has been playing so tentatively in this series has a lot to do with the fact that his girlfriend was about to give birth. You know, that and Bruce Bowen. But having this seemingly incredible burden off of his shoulders can only stand to help the Cavs. With any luck, the birth of the child might just be the shot in the arm the Cavs so desperately need.

Throughout this utterly boring series, we've seen absolutely nothing but stoic, and desperately sober action from both sides. There has been no flash, no glitz, no excitement. Part of this is due to the fact that the Spurs won the first two games in the first half. But even game 3 in Cleveland lacked any excitement on the court. Actually, that's one of the reasons I was rooting for, deep in the sub-cockles of my mind, the Pistons to make it to the Finals. All we would have seen was outlandish, NBA Jam TE-inspired passing and NBA Street-style double-dunks and taunts...and all by Rasheed Wallace. But we've had none of that.

Tonight, however, we may be in for a treat. All of the sudden, LeBron has the chip off his shoulder and might actually be able to get emotionally into the game tonight, which might just light the fire under the rest of the Cavs. The Cavs demolish the Spurs tonight and in game 5 and, all of the sudden (because the 2-3-2 format is bullshit) the Spurs need to win at home one-out-of-two. Because who knows what happens in a game 7????

Not likely, and hardly even worth thinking about yet, but I'm putting it out there. The second option, of course, is rather academic: Spurs do what they've been doing and put the Cavs away good and early. I almost think that would be better for the NBA and for the viewing public for this thing to just up and die and give way to the draft (man, do I hate those) and a new season.

I would love to see LeBron play with complete reckless abandon, but after the last game and the ultimate non-call, all LeBron did was ask, politely it seemed, if it was a foul or not. Ref says no, LeBron heads to showers. Very professional and maybe a forecaster of things to happen tonight.

Final Score:
Spurs - 89
Cavs - 85
James goes for 32 pts - 11 rebs - 6 asst but it isn't enough. The Spurs are today's dynasty and that's the unfortunate truth for fans of any other team in the NBA.

But, like Tits McLefty 8 years ago at Pinehurst, LeBron's going to be a Dad. Some things, I guess, are more important than an ugly trophy, a ring and a championship.
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LAY OFF ME, I'M STARVING!

And by "I," I mean "we." That is, we, the American sports fans, are starved for some sort of high-level sports action that's watchable.

It's not so much to ask, is it?



I don't know what Ninja Warrior champion Makoto Nagano is selling, but I sure as hell am buying it.
Well, apparently since the calendar rolled over to the sixth month, it's been downright impossible for the average sports consumer to find something palatable to view on television. The NBA Finals? Perish the thought. June baseball? Snoozefest. The Stanley Cup? LOL. There is just nothing worth watching. I've spent many of my nights so far in June finding the most entertaining televised competition to be the American rebroadcast of Ninja Warrior on G4 at 10:30 et.

But today we get the U.S. Open, the most demanding of all the PGA's major events; the event that makes the pros look a lot like me and Kopech at a public course on a Sunday afternoon. People are so fired up about this tournament that every Tom, Dick and Harry is trying to watch this sumbitch online while at work. So many people, in fact, are trying to follow the Open at work this morning and afternoon that this should be a familiar sight to many golf fans flocking to usopen.com:
Status : 504 Gateway Time-Out

Description : Unable to connect to origin web server. The web site you are attempting to access is currently unreachable. This may be due to a network outage, or the web site might be experiencing technical difficulties.




If Johnny Miller is selling Callaway gear... well, damn, I've already bought it.
That's right, we want SO BADLY to see something good that we, the American sports fan, have nearly crashed the USGA's servers in the first 5 hours of competition. Needless to say, NBC Sports must be salivating after their recent ratings humiliations.

That said, seriously, thank god for the U.S. Open. Since The Left-Handed Golfer yanked one off the hospitality tent at Winged Foot, people have been waiting anxiously for another potential Mickelson-vs-Tiger showdown at a major (or for one to ever happen at all). Add to that the requisite U.S. Open "HARDEST COURSE EVAR!!!!" hype being bandied about by ESPN and NBC, The Left-Handed Golfer's trash-talking new swing coach and bum wrist, Rory Sabbatini begging anyone to listen to him and Jed DeMuesy's never-ending love affair with Tiger Woods' 'ball bag,' it's no wonder we are all so excited to see the Open today.

And that's not even mentioning that we get to see Johnny Freaking Miller on the tube in a couple days on NBC. Miller on TV during a major, in and of itself, is worth its weight in gold these days -- especially when you consider how AWFUL non-TNT broadcasts of live sporting events have become.

Tiger has already held up his end of the bargain with a 1-over 71 on Thursday, but we're already getting lots of "Phil's wrist is worse than ever! He may have developed leprosy!" reports on the ESPN telecast. Here's hoping that's not the case. The U.S. Open is off to a great start and I, for one, am praying that it doesn't disappoint. I don't think I can take another mediocre major sporting event.

Oh, you want my pick? Sure: Aaron Baddeley.

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LeDad (that's pushing it...)

A whole-hearted congrats to LeBron James and girlfriend, who had their second child today, a boy. From the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:


LeBron James' girlfriend, Savannah Brinson, gave birth early Thursday to the couple's second son, Bryce Maximus James.

Keith Estabrook, a spokesman for the Cleveland Cavaliers star and his family, said Bryce weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 21 inches long. He was born at 12:51 a.m. at Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital, near his father's hometown of Akron.


No word yet on whether or not LeBron will be able to use this as an excuse not to play in tonight's would-be series-clinching win for the Spurs - Just kidding. Another James on the court could only help the Cavs tonight...
Finals Game 4 preview coming up later, stay tuned.
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The Morning After on TSE - 6.14.2007

Things are getting awfully interesting on the East Coast...

I'm well aware of the "East Coast Bias" that exists in all forms of media and sports-related media is certainly guilty as charged. But there's a reason that the Red Sox, Mets and Yankees get all the attention - they deserve it. I'd love to talk about the 3-way clusterfuck that was the AL West to my heart's content or about the shrine to mediocrity that is the NL Central. And Verlander's no-no the other night would make great blog fodder. But we're going to talk about the East here because that is wholly more important.

The best team in the bigs up and until this most recent round of interleague play has been the Boston Red Sox. They've had explosive offense, lights out pitching, startlingly good defense and the one-two punch of Fukijama (Hideki Okijama, but my name's better) and Jonathan Papelbon couldn't be more effective if Ali was throwing it. And then the Yankees came to town and beat Fukijama and Paps. Since that game (which was at Fenway Park) the Red Sox play has been more up and down than Paris Hilton's food in prison. Schilling throws a 8 2/3 no-no in a 1-0 win (how this offense scores 1 in a game is beyond me) and then plays his part in the 12-2 Schelling (see what I did there?) last night, again in Fenway. That's pretty much an outline for the last two weeks. And yet Manny (being Manny) seems oddly unfazed...

Meanwhile, the Yankees have surged to within 9 games of first with their 8th straight win. Their one-two punch of Abreu and Alex Rodriguez (I'm hoping that if I stop using the little nicknames he'll come back down to Earth) is as hot as ever. You almost know that A-Rod (here I go again) is going yard every other game. And Abreu has gone from a two-month slump to being the hottest hitter on his team, if not in the league. Two weeks ago, the lead in the East was over 12. At 8.5, it's getting pretty sweaty in Beantown.

Can they Yankees pull off the comeback? I doubt it. They're getting so many runs now that I could get a win starting for them, but that will eventually (I hope) die down and the mess that is their bullpen is going to rear its ugly face. But for now, it's interesting, if not completely relevant - bias or not.

Besides, the NBA Finals (which will get a post later) is between Cleveland and San Antonio. Nothing East Coast about those guys (though they certainly lack an iota of interesting considering how AWESOME this Finals has been...)
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

David Stern refuses to entertain you

So Bill Simmons started this sports podcast called, "Eye of the Sports Guy" soon supposedly to be renamed, "The BS Report." Whatever. I am in the Bill Simmons camp, and I am well aware that he is one of the more polarizing writers that exists: people either love him or hate him. I have entertained the first few of these podcasts. One was good (with Adam Corolla) one was OK (with Marv Albert) two were horrendous (Paul Shirley and some dude from Real World/Road Rules). Thursday, he will be interviewing David Stern. I am looking forward to it, and so is ESPN, as long as YOU BEHAVE YOURSELF! That's right, in Simmons most recent column, it offers us the fans a chance to ask Stern a question:

...If you would like to ask the commish a question--and please, no joke questions-- send us an e-mail...

I am assuming that Simmons was not responsible for this disclaimer being there, because if he did put that up, it would be a total slap in the face to his fans. It's like the dad who passes gas on the couch when you're watching a ballgame, but flips shit at you if you fart at Grandpa's. Simmons encourages humor all the time in his columns and chats, but now he's asking us to show restraint with the commissioner? If he did this, I'll be furious.


Let's pretend he didn't, which in all likelihood is the case. I now have some issues with ESPN. First, what kind of standard does ESPN.com hold it's readers to, more specifically, readers of Simmons, that they think need to act like our mothers before we spend a weekend at our Aunt's house?

Second, I understand Stern is somewhat of a more "honorable" guest on this podcast and ESPN had to pull some stings to get it. Do you not think that Simmons would respect that? He is the one talking to Stern! Do you really think that if I submitted a question that said "Hey Simmons, find out if Stern knows if Quntel Woods and Mike Vick are [homeys]." Do you think he would ask the commish that question? Honestly? Simmons would probably appreciate the humor in what is set up to be a very dry conversation.

Third, if they are so concerned with the questions, why entertain them in the first place? Simmons has already done four podcasts without questions from his fans, so whats the point in adding them if you are so incredibly concerned with the question's content?

Fourth, who is ESPN to assume that David Stern, the man who imposed a ridiculous dress code and inexplicably changed a perfectly good basketball, doesn't have a sense of humor?

I'm looking forward to the podcast, specifically if Simmons has the guts to ask him about his proposed changes to the NBA playoffs (which would actually make sense) as opposed to what he probably will do, and bitch about the Celtics not getting Durant or Oden. I just hope this podcast doesn't turn into Lt. Kaffee's line of questioning to Col. Jessup before he takes the drink of water.

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TSE Week in Golf - The 2007 United States Open Championship

I'll stay away from a full and in depth preview (if you want one, try here, or here) but it goes without saying that anytime a major comes about, it is certainly worth posting about, and thus here we are. Jed made us aware of his thoughts on this tournament (I'm a Masters fan myself, if only because I hate NBC's golf coverage) but it is almost certainly worth watching this weekend. The biggest reason is the venue.

Oakmont, in the eyes of the pros, will be very, very difficult this week. The rough will seem like it's knee-high, the greens will be like putting on ice and only the most consistently precise ball-striker will be able to score this week (sounds like my last two girlfriends, but seriously). Basically, there's potential for the pros to go around and, while their scorecards won't necessarily say what yours would, the way they're playing will. Imagine, if you will, easy-swinging Ernie Els putzing around your local muni course and shooting 10-over per side. If you ask the pros, there is a strong likelihood that this could happen.

So for some predictions, I've gone ahead and scanned the Internets. Here we go:

T.J. Auclair (PGATour.com) : Tiger Woods

Cameron Morfit (GOLF Magazine): Padraig Harrington

David Dusek (GOLF.com Editor): Jim Furyk

Alan Shipnuck (SI): Zach Johnson (if there's a God, I hope not)

Gary Van Sickle (SI): Steve Stricker

Jason Sobel (ESPN.com): Jim Furyk

John Antonini (Golf World): Ernie Els

There are plenty more people picking Tiger, but this was a good smattering and who's not for a little variety (wait, how many Sopranos posts did we have on Monday?) from time to time? My pick was between Sean O'Hair and Reteif Goosen and I'm taking O'Hair, who has played well throughout his rookie year (with a win at the John Deere, no less) and seems ready for a major breakthrough (see what I did there?) and on a course where everyone is going to play like dogshit, I'll take the guy who is most afraid of going over par.

The US Open begins tomorrow at 7am. We'll be updating throughout the rest of the week and weekend.

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An NBA story that ISN'T about the Cavs.

I have really only been a fan of the NBA for the last two years or so (and I use the word, "fan" as lightly as possible. It still pains me to even watch highlights of regular season games.) and because of that, I never really played basketball too much growing up. Sure, there were the driveway one-on-one games with family and such, but that was about it. Last year, when the NBA announced that they were moving to a new, synthetic basketball for official game use, I didn't think too much of it; a basketball is a basketball is a basketball. Hell, back during those driveway games, we'd use basketballs balder than an Indycar tire if we had to.

Apparently, however, NBA players thought very ill of the idea of playing with the synthetic ball (sounds like a bad testicular cancer joke, but I assure that was not the goal) and that it did make a difference to them. After the All-Star break, David Stern promptly put the old basketballs back in use and didn't even think twice about it. Though his actions were commended by the majority of players in the league (and regular people who bought, and were refunded after returning, the synthetic ball) it has always begged the question:

What happened to the Orange Roundie?*

*outstanding props to YAYsports on thinking of this whole thing. Cracks me up every time I read it.

Lucky for all of us, We Are The Postmen found out.

It’s been a while since we last checked in with our friend Orange Roundie. Last
we heard, NBA players hated him, he cut up their hands or whatever and boom, he
was gone from our consciousness and the league for good. Dude never got
any love. Sad, really. But thankfully,
Orange Roundie will now have a home.
Turns out the NBA is donating the basketballs to World Vision, a Christian Ministry that will usher the balls to children. I don't know why but I think this is great. I'll avoid getting all sappy here, but when you think about it the NBA is filled with money, most of it going to the players and owners, certainly never passed on to us regular folk. Take batshit crazy Washington Wizard Gilbert Areas, who is going to opt out of his contract and, come season's end, seek out a way to make sure he can pay the mortgage on his 20-room mansion, or something. And no one needs reminding of what Latrell Spreewell said concerning money. It's excessive and I hate it.

But this seems like a great way for both organizations to benefit: the kids get free basketballs for no other reason than they get to have fun, and the NBA gets rid of its stash of said basketballs and looks good doing it. Good show all around.

All the NBA needs to do now is move half the teams from the Western Conference into the East. Then maybe we'll have a competitive NBA Finals. But that may be asking too much... more...

The Morning After on TSE - 6.13.2007

It was a good run...
Without some miracle luck and, you know, injuries to the "Big Three" and games 6 and 7 being played at the Q, the Finals will end after game 4. The Spurs played with an anticipated level of mediocrity but were able to put the Cavs away and build up a double-digit lead, insurmountable as it turns out, for LeBron and friends. The Cavs had a shot at the end (two, in fact) but Varejao and LeBron (a twisting, ten-footer the former, and a long-range three the latter...and how was Varejao NOT fouled on his? Jesus, I hate the NBA) could not put the biscuit in the basket and that was all she wrote. The final from Cleveland: 75-72 Spurs.

Give Cleveland and their fans credit for coming out with energy to spare (the player intros were, in Jed's humble words, orgasmic). And with Larry Hughes sitting for the entire game, Boobie Gibson taking his place in the starting lineup, things probably began to look up for the Cavs, who led for a good portion of the first half before San Antonio scored at the buzzer to go up 2 at halftime. That'll leave a bitter taste in your mouth and it is exactly what Cleveland needed to avoid.

In the end, we'll all realize that the Spurs are who we thought they were - a team that can play more than well enough to make the playoffs year in and year out, only to kick it into 7th gear once they get there. And as long as Parker, Ginobili and Duncan are there, which should see out this decade...let's just say that dynasty is probably the most apropos of words.

In other news, comments are welcome on the new look here on this post, thanks. more...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The worst news the South has heard since... well...

Welcome to the South! Where the education value is historically low, and Winn-Dixie isn't just a grocery store! Ohhh I'm just kidding.. sorta. And if there's one thing that the South loves more than boiled peanuts (I implore you not to try them) it's racin'! Oh baby do they love their racin'. If you ever want to pick a fight with a Southern gentleman, make these three statements at a bar and see if you escape with anything less than two black eyes:

1. You know that Freebird song is a tad overrated.
2. Yeah, Freebird and Dale Earnhardt: Overrated.
3. I tell ya, if there's three things I hate in life it's Freebird, Earnhardt, and unions.

You might as well walk in there and say that your last name is Sherman. The second point is the one I want to focus on, the love of all things Earnhardt, including his racin' son Dale Jr. Lovingly referring to him as "Lil E", he holds the hopes of, well, pretty much the entire South when it comes to racin'.

Monday, this fanbase's world came crashing down, in a way that they never expected would happen. Dale Earnhardt Jr. annouced today that next year he would become a member of Hendrick Motorsports, making him a teammate of:

That's right! Jeff Gordon! Probably the worst enemy of Lil E fans, and most NASCAR fans in general. This is someone that has a song devoted to how gay he is because these people hate him so much. These are the main reasons, from what I can see that most of these racin' fans think hes gay:

1. His uniform is rainbow colors

2. He divorced his wife

3. He wins a shit ton of races.


To give all of you an idea who don't follow NASCAR how scarring this is to Lil E fans, this would be like Paul O'Neill coming out of retirement and joining the Boston Red Sox. Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. fans have expounded so much energy hating Gordon, that they now have to embrace him as a teammate of their favorite racer. Not only that, but along with Lil E and Gordon, this team (and don't kid yourself, NASCAR is becoming more and more of a team sport) also is adding defending Nextel Cup championship Jimmie Johnson. Hendrick motorsports is going to have some pretty impressive horses in the stable in 2008. The only question remains is that will Jr's fanbase embrace Gordon, or will they make the Eli Manning with a Chargers jersey face every time Gordon wins? At any rate, the South has caught a snag in that whole rising again movement.

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Sad news for a former RedHawk

Some sad news about former Miami RedHawks Head Football coach Terry Hoeppner, who, as we all know, is fighting brain cancer. Cobra Brigade (by way of Deadspin) tells us that things may have taken a more dire turn than any of us could ever want.

In late February of 2007, Hoeppner attended a luncheon in Indianapolis and delivered a speech. It was the last time he was seen as a public figure. In March he delivered a press release that he would not be attending the spring game because his recovery demanded the time away. As the spring has passed, IU has gotten closer to the September 1st opener against Indiana State, tension has been growing.
The article (linked above) is very in depth and very good.
Having watched Hep coach for two impressive seasons as a student at Miami, coaching Big Ben (celebrating a full year without any helmet-free motorcycle injuries!), a 13-1 season and consecutive bowl berths, I can't help but think of how unfair it is for a great guy like Hep to be stricken as he is. He was already en route to starting a turn around at IU, but I'm sure there are more important things for he and his family to consider now. It kind of makes sports, the theme on which this blog was created, an afterthought. Regardless, all the best to Hep and his family.

***

An aside, since we're sort of talking about Miami (OH) Football: Jed and I are RedHawks, Paul is an OU Bobcat, so the three of us have something in common: we all got into OU (Oh! Snap!!)
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Sports Elitists NBA Finals Game 3 Preview: Spurs @ Cavs

For whatever reason (laziness? spite? disinterest?) I'll be handling the Finals preview for tonight's game 3 in Cleveland. Quite a bit of history visits everyone's favorite lakeside town tonight, as the Finals make their first to Northeast Ohio ever. It's the first time the city has even hosted a championship game or series since the 1997 World Series (and we know how that went) so it's buzzing up in C-town tonight, I'd expect. Rachel Nichols said, during her report, the following:

"[who cares what she said, I'd plow that until next July] ticket scalpers are reporting prices upwards of $15,000 per ticket [seriously I could barely focus on anything above her neck]"

Anyway, Rachel Nichols is a babe. And there is excitement in Cleveland for this game. After all, the King reminded us that they have been down in an 0-2 hole before in these playoffs. But the Detroit series might as well have been played months ago. Things are incredibly different now and the effort needed to win that series pales in comparison to what a comeback will take in these series. That said, here are some questions pertaining to tonight's game and the rest of the series, WWL-style!

Will You Be Watching When...Larry Hughes triples his output in this series with a 3 pt - 8 reb - 3 asst line?

Larry Hughes's averages this series: 1 pt- 2.5 reb - 1 asst. Ouch. The Spurs are a very good team but those aren't even D-League numbers. Those are me in any pick-up game numbers. This is beyond "he needs a wake-up call", this is "pray for Larry!" It is unacceptable and makes the star of the team, LeYouKnowWho, have to work that much harder. I really don't sympathize for what what Hughes is going to go through after this postseason but it will certainly be fun to watch.

Will You Be Watching When...The Cavs go all Utah on the Spurs and win tonight?

Very good possibility that we could have this similarity tonight in Cleveland. The Q gets loud when important things are happening and tonight is no exception. The Spurs probably aren't on cruise control but winning like they've won leaves room for the Cavs to come out hot and dangerous. The Jazz did it in the West Finals so don't be surprised if it happens tonight, too.

Will You Be Watching When...LeBron's back finally breaks from carrying his team?

This is an unfortunate double-edged sword for the Cavs this playoff season. When LeBron is the basketball God that he was in Game 5 of the East Finals, no one else wearing wine and gold wanted the ball and you can't blame them. But when LeBron has gone under 20 (or just over 20, as in Game 2 of the Finals) and "everyone else" has to try and win the game, the results have been several shades of terrible. In these playoffs, LeBron has to play well enough win the games himself, but he also has to get his teammates in the games so he doesn't wear out in the third quarter and he has to be the team's leader on top of anything else. Accomplishing those tasks is doable for a player like Tim Duncan, when he has Tony Parker on the court with him and Manu Ginobili is coming off the pine to help. With this Cavs team, it's just too difficult to accomplish all three.

Will You Be Watching When...The Cavs win two in Cleveland, lose in six and are the first NBA Finals participant to absolutely need a shakeup in the off-season?

James, Gibson, Pavlovic, Varejao. These names will be on the back of Cavs jerseys next year. As for everyone else? Fair game. This team needs what they thought they were getting in Larry Hughes, and they're getting that from Daniel Gibson. Pavlovic is a player on this team and without James, this team doesn't make it out of Cleveland, much less to the NBA Finals. But the greater concern is finding someone to complement Varejao down low. Z is 10 years into his career and not getting any younger so Varejao must step into that role now and a competent 4/5 guy to go with him would do wonders. But these concerns are still two losses away, so let's not get too antsy.

Game 3 is tonight in Cleveland. Will You Be Watching When...it comes on ABC at 8:30pm? Judging by the ratings for games 1 and 2, survey says..........................................no.
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The Morning After on TSE - 6.12.2007

A little change of pace here this morning. I was getting mighty tired of the old theme, so I switched the thing around and went all Andy Pettitte (white and southpaw) on everyone's ass. Comments are an open thread for thoughts, opinions and a yea/nay vote. All opinions are welcome and appreciated (Jed and Paul and Matt, whomever the hell that is, included). Enjoy your morning; Lord knows I won't.

ALSO
I need a new posting name so that I don't get caught by the overlords here at...where ever it is I work...so suggestions are welcome. more...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Our Major

This week starts US Open week, my favorite week in all of golf, because this is my favorite golf major for so many reasons. I'll start by telling you why it's better than the other three:


The Masters: In recent years, this really has become a putting contest. I hate to dump right on Augusta like that, but that's all it really is. Missing the fairway doesn't mean much at the Masters, you can get up and down from pretty much anywhere you put it at Augusta. For instance, look at Seve Ballesteros. Probably could save par from on top of a port-a-let if they had them on the grounds up the road at Magnolia Lane, and won two green jackets because of it. Finished in the top 5 an additional 5 times, too. He came close in US Opens, but he just never had the game for it, simply because you cannot make a single mistake (miss a fairway) at a US Open and get away with it. Also, Geoffrey Sisk cannot be found anywhere on Augusta National property the first week in April--more on him later-- because The Masters is invitation only. Is it a tradition unlike any other? Sure, but not the best.

The Open: Some people refer to it as the British Open, I don't because I can respect the fact that they had the Open first, and they invented golf. What they haven't invented in recent years is solid competition. This might sound weird, but I can't stand that the Europeans just can't seem to win an Open Championship. The last one to do it was Paul Lawrie from Scotland, but I don't really count that considering that week was an absolute disaster, and even though another Euro should have won there, there was really no reason to declare a winner after what Jean Van De Velde did on the 72nd hole. So, not counting 1999, the last time a Euro won was Nick Faldo, one of the games true greats, who won in 1992, '90, and '87. But this guy was an ace, who also happened to win three green jackets. And if you say that Euros can't win because of Tiger, I will say to you this: it doesn't take a superstar to win the Open. Since Faldo won in 1990, here's a look at some of the names on the Claret Jug: Ian Baker-Finch, John Daly, Justin Leonard, Mark O'Meara, David Duval, Todd Hamilton, and Ben Curtis. None of these guys are world beaters. It is amazing that the likes of Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, JM Olazabal, Bernhard Langer, Sergio Garcia, and Sam Torrance can't win their own Open. Maybe spend less time kicking our asses in the Ryder Cup and play a few more rounds at the Old Course every year.

PGA Championship: It's an afterthought. Hate to say it, but if Tiger isn't involved, very few people care. The last two I remember caring about were the ones where Tiger had to fight down the stretch to hold off Sergio Garcia and Bob May, respectively. Other than that, nobody really cares. Maybe that is because it is the last major, or maybe because it is always played easier than the US Open every single year. Don't believe me? Since 1990, the combined total to par of the US Open winner: -63 (that includes Tiger's -12 outlier in 2000) PGA winner: -183.

So it's a better test that Augusta, unlike Euros, Americans are competitive in their open, and it is BY FAR a better test than the PGA. But there's more. It gives us the great stories like Francis Ouimet, Mark Jones, and Geoffrey Sisk.

The best part about the US Open is that if you are a scratch golfer and have $4,000, you have a chance to win the whole thing. In 1913, a young man named Francis Ouimet, once a caddie at Brookline Country Club, won the whole thing beating Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, two of England's great players of that time. His win is widely regarded as bringing golf into the mainstream; a game that before was previously reserved for the rich and privileged. Sure, but that doesn't happen now, you say. Sure it does, in 1996 Steve Jones went through sectional qualifying to even make it to the US Open, then proceeded to stare down Tom Lehman and Davis Love III, two of the game's heavyweights, to win.

Then theres good old Geoffrey Sisk. Props to the USGA Blog for alerting me to his story, and other amazing stories that can be found by clicking on that link. Sisk has qualified for FIVE US Opens starting at the local level every time. To give you an idea how hard this would be, it would be like having sexual relations with Pamela Anderson five times a night for a calendar year and not contracting a single strain of the Hep. Read more of those amazing stories by clicking on the link, including another guy who simply had to bogey a hole to stay alive in the sectional qualifier, and ended up three-jacking the green for a 6. Bring on Oakmont this week, because as golf fans, it's the best we got.
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Ladies and gentleman, your 2007 Jungle Kittens!

Folks, meet Arena League 2's Cincinnati JungleKats, a team co-owned by Sam Adams (recently released by the Bengals, signed by the Broncos) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (having his best year as a Red). They currently are a stellar 1-8 (how'd they ever win one?) but don't fret folks: going to see the JungleKats means you get to see the Jungle Kittens! The finest dance team dancing right now in Cincinnati. Let's take a look at a few bios shall we?

Jessica

Nicknames: J-Shock, Chocolate (I'm not so sure I want to know how she got either of these nicknames)
Favorite quote: Carpe Diem-- Seize the Moment! ( Second favorite quote: Latin is sooo confusing!)

Meg

Nickname: Megs (that's not a nickname, thats your name with an "s" on it)

Favorite Quote: A life without aspiration has no inspiration

Person you admire most and why: My grandfather, because his life aspiration was to serve God and provide for his family and he did that until his very last breath

Favorite TV Show: MTV's Yo Mama (aww... and she was doing so well!)

LaCrystal

Hometown: Bessemer, Alabama by way of Hamilton, Ohio (probably the other way around, either that or it's one hell of a commute)

Proudest Accomplishment: Making the 2007 Cincinnati JungleKats team (really?)

And finally, Peaches

Nicknames: Miss Peaches, Baby Girl (...)

Three words that describe me: extremely silly, spoiled, determined (she then added hardworking, alpha male, jackhammer. Merciless. Insatiable.)

Yep, these are the cream of the Arena League's minor league's worst team crop, boy!

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The Rocket Returns (as do sports-related posts)

As a resident of Columbus, Ohio (where there used to reside the AAA-affiliate of the New York Yankees in the Columbus Clippers, now the AAA-affiliate of the Washington Nationals, a phrase that seems oddly redundant) I was unable to watch this weekend's return of Roger Clemens to the Yankees. But let me tell you, from what I've read, seen as a highlight and assumed, it was truly all it was meant to be. The aura and mystique of The Stadium, filled with drunken morons Yankee fans, Clemens giving Babe Ruth's noggin a rub before heading out and, of course, more hoopla than is at all necessary...even for New York.

The game itself was a laugher, though that was due mostly because of the fact that we were dealing with two sub-.500 ball clubs in June, and one of them was the Pittsburgh Pirates. Luckily Why Don't We Get Drunk and Blog covered the whole thing live-blog style and for all the ruckus that was made about the actual start, it was even worse on the YES network.


1:41 -- Murcer just remarked about how strong Clemens' body is. Leiter just said how great Clemens has been at maintaining his body. The booth is going on and on about how he's kept in shape over his career. That's not true, right? Didn't Clemens fall apart at the end of his time in Boston largely because of how fat and out of shape he's gotten? I know I've read that. I thought he didn't even start working out till he got to Toronto. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
We're to expect the love-fest, of course (it is New York) but my goodness, it's like Clemens was the one who died in John 3:16, not that Jesus fellow. His numbers weren't even that fantastic. He let a run by in the first (which is giving the Pirates a ton of credit) and was pitching behind (not literally) batters all day before retiring to the dugout after 6. But, as happens to be the way of the world these days, A-Rod and the Yankees came out victorious and climbed (as of now) to within 10 games of the first place Red Sox, who just love playing games in Arizona and Oakland in June, where I'm pretty sure their record over the last few years is around 0 - 7,236.

So is the rocket the difference maker in New York? I doubt it. For a team with an iffy bullpen and a closer, the game's best, struggling a bit, a pitcher who will probably never make it further than 6 innings may not be the answer. It wasn't on Saturday and it shouldn't be the rest of the way. But the New York Dailies certainly disagree with me (courtesy of The Joy of Sox, a rather excellent Red Sox blog) and when they're not covering A-Rod as Stray-Rod, or Paris Hilton those papers are where the country goes for top-notch investigative journalism. So I guess I must be wrong.
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Sopranos Update: Thank you Commenters!

In a comment from DamianPBNJ, we find this link, pretty much putting to rest the bathroom guy as Nikki Leotardo idea. Thanks much for the insight.

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/111-06092007-1360360.html

Wasn't there an NBA Finals game last night? more...

The Morning After on TSE: Redux

Back to sports soon, I promise... but just a little more on the finale of The Sopranos. One thing that Kopech failed to mention in his thorough examination of the last five minutes of the show and the fall out thereafter, is one interesting point that I noticed only after watching the show a second time. This is thinly veiled, I will grant you that, and I'm sure this is something someone else has picked up on... but did you catch the one line that Tony said in defense of the cat when they brought him back to the Bing? Tony said something to the degree that in his short time here, he had already eaten a rat. Go back and watch it, that line is there.

If you are aware of that line, you are most certainly aware of the relationship that Paulie and the cat had as the episode progressed, it seemed like he was the only one that didn't like the cat, and he was also the only one that noticed the cat's odd tendencies.
I'm aware, and if you are an avid Deadspinner, I'm sure you are as well, that Tony Sirico has an interesting clause in his contract that stipulates that he never be a rat in the show. This was a way, in my opinion, for David Chase to make him the rat without ever really having to do so. The questions could go from here that if Chase wanted a rat to be present within Tony's inner circle, why wouldn't he have made it Bobby, or Syl, or anyone who didn't have a clause in their contract that didn't have that stipulation--which would have been ANYONE ELSE IN THE CAST-- the answer is that David Chase may be more genius and detail oriented than we could ever give him credit for. I'm going to need to watch that episode (I don't recall the number, but it was in this half of season six) where Tony almost killed Paulie on the boat. Right before that seemingly was going to happen, Tony mentioned that Paulie had some interesting quirks, one being his little laugh that Tony said may be tourettes... in the finale last night Paulie and that other dude were talking about quirky cat behavior... more on this in a second.
Another Paulie line is that Itialians will tell you that you can't put cats next to babies, because they suck the life out of them. The next line someone says, "well Paulie, you're the only baby here so we're fine." Thats another reference to him being the rat. But, in Paulie's own words "cats suck the life out of babies"... how many times throughout the course of the show has Paulie referred to Tony as his kid or baby brother? Several.
Now, about the cat's tendencies... the one guy in the back of the store with Paulie says that his Aunt's cat "would sit at the corner of the table staring out, or at the intersection of two walls staring in." Doing just a tad bit of research, Paulie was in the corner--at the intersection of two walls-- when Pussy was killed in season two. Does Paulie then represent the cat, the rat the cat ate, or nothing at all? And, did David Chase really subvertly make a reference to the death of Pussy in season two through a cat? I could just be crazy, and just trying to notice things that I want to see, but I will say that the series finale of the Sopranos needs a little further examination from everyone.
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The Morning After on TSE - 6.11.2007

So here we are, 12+ hours after the finale of The Sopranos left all of us scratching our heads, cursing David Chase (see previous post) and trying aimlessly and unsuccessfully to get "Don't Stop Believing" out of our heads. The hangover caused by the general feelings of disgust toward David Chase (again, see previous post) have subsided and now we can finally start thinking about what the ending meant. Oh, and maybe even talk about sports.
To me, the final restaurant scene was terrific because there was so much that went on in that scene. To me, that makes it an almost perfect, if unsatisfying, way to end this whole show. But what is the final conclusion? Some thoughts...
When Tony walks into the bar, he looks around and gets his lay of the land. The camera is focused on him but the next shot is apears to be from what would have been Tony's point of view and we see Tony sitting in the booth. Whether this was just a quick splice because Chase needed to cut 10 seconds or something bigger, we may never know. Personally, I think HBO would have given Chase as much time as he wanted for his finale but I'm not making those decisions for HBO. Regardless, it seemed like an odd cut and most times, those lead to something, though we may never know what.
At first, I thought that Tony does end up dying, most likely shot by the man who walks into the bathroom. Here's why. The show has lived in the shadow of The Godfather since inception but got around the comparisons by always referring to the movies (gangsters being gangsters, and so forth). The last scene had one of the great homages to the movies in the history of the series. When AJ comments on the onion rings in the restaurant, Tony calls them "the best in the city". The man at the bar then walks into the bathroom and the rest is Meadow running into the restaurant (presumably) and then that gut-wrenching cut-to-black. Sound familiar?
McCluskey: How's the Italian food in this restaurant?
Sollozzo: Try the veal, it's the best in the city
...
[Michael Corleone draws gun retrieved from bathroom and kills the two men,
walks out]

We miss "Michael" sitting down and doing the shifty-eyes that make the scene from GF1 so great, but the tie is both subtle yet perfectly overt.
Another theory I found goes to almost too in depth (this is verbatim from Gothamist, so the grammar splices and run-on sentences and, my favorite, thinly-veiled racism are not mine:

So here is what I found out. The guy at the bar who walks into the bathroom
is credited as Nikki Leotardo. The same actor played him in the first part of
season 6 during a brief sit down concerning the future of Vito. That wasn't that
long ago. Apparently, he is the nephew of Phil. Phil's brother Nikki Senior was
killed in 1976 in a car accident. Absolutely Genius!!!! David Chase is truly
rewarding the fans who pay attention to detail.

So the point would have been that life continues and we may never know
the end of the Sopranos. But if you pay attention to the history, you will find
that all the answers lie in the characters in the restaurant. The trucker was
the brother of the guy who was robbed by Christopher in Season 2. Remember the
DVD players? The trucker had to identify the body. The boy scouts were in the
train store and the black guys at the end were the ones who tried to kill Tony
and only clipped him in the ear (was that season 2 or 3?).

Absolutely incredible!!!! There were three people in the restaurant who
had reason to kill Tony and then it just ends. This was Chase's way of proving
that he will not escape his past. Tony would like it to keep going but just as
we have to say goodbye, so does he."

Hmmmm...an interesting take for sure.
The non-ending, however, may just be what we've come to expect from the show. Has anything ever come easy in this series? Every question asked was either left behind as a red herring or answered later, in some cases much later. Every episode always left us hungry for more; even this most recent string of excellent episodes (when Tony kills Christopher, for one) never fully satisfied. We even had to wait years between seasons. Perhaps the non-ending ending was, indeed, the piece of perfection Chase had been saving for a time like this all along. For how awful I thought the ending was last night, it's only now that I'm starting to realize just how good it was.
And you have to hand it to David Chase - he finally found a way to 1-up The Godfather:


Beats a Moe Green Special any day of the week...
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Anyone have a Ford Explorer lying around?

Somebody give this fuck a Phil Leotardo special.

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WHAT?


It's not TV. It's a huge dissapointment.
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TSE Birthday Bash - 6.10.2007

Before the adventure that is a JTBI live-blog begins, we say a half-hearted happy birthday to Dan Fouts - star color-man (in profession alone, no racism here) and analyst. Without him, the The Waterboy would just have been another Adam Sandler movie.

But all of the sudden, I'm getting a vivid, if not disturbing memory of Kathy Bates. It wasn't from The Waterboy, though. It was from another movie. With Jack. Wait...

Oh. My. God.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! more...

Nadal to Federer: I Own You. (On clay)

Ok, imagine that every year The Masters was played on concrete instead of grass. (I know what you're thinking, aren't the greens concrete already?) Now imagine that Phil Mickelson beats Tiger woods there, while Tiger goes on to win all of the other majors... for three years straight. Then my friends, you would have an idea of what happened today at the French Open in Roland-Garros.

This year marks the third straight year that Roger Federer has been in the Championship match at the French Open-- the one major that he has yet to capture for the career grand slam-- only to get straight up worked by Rafael Nadal. This is one of the best sports rivalries you know nothing about, probably because it is men's tennis. Consider this: Roger Federer has been the World's number one since February 2, of 2004. That's a total of 175 consecutive weeks. He's won Wimbledon 4 times, the US and Australian Open 3 times each. He just cannot win the French, and it is because of Rafael Nadal.

Nadal has been the world's number two for a record 98 consecutive weeks, and owns a 7-4 record against Federer since 2005. Decent record you say? Even more so when you consider that Federer since 2005 is 199-7 versus opponents other than Nadal. Absolutely incredible, just astounding that the number one player in the world just can't seem to shake this number two guy.

So why should you care? Well, for one is because I said so. For two is that there is nothing like it in sports, absolutely nothing. You can't compare it to team sports, becuase these are just two individuals going at it. And it is nothing like what is going on in golf, because Roger Federer is not the Tiger Woods of golf, he's better. He doesn't lose to anyone except Nadal, and has won every major since 2005 except the French Opens. Can you imagine if Federer was an American, or did anything at all to promote himself here? He would be bigger than U.S. Steel. Yet, when he lines up across from Nadal, he quivers, especially on clay. Federer's one win against Nadal on clay ended Nadal's three-year, 81 consecutive match winning streak. When these guys square off, it's always for something, and it is always interesting.

As sports fans, we should all enjoy things that are unique to the sporting landscape. There simply is nothing like what we are seeing right now in men's tennis, something previously the sport has never seen before in it's long history. Watching these two men play is outstanding: two men on top of thier games that are always playing with a chip on thier shoulder. Federer wants to beat the one man that is keeping him from being the best of all time, Nadal wants to prove that he can be the number one player in men's tennis now, not just when Federer calls it quits. I for one cannot wait for Wimbledon in three weeks.

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One final wake-up call

It's hard to believe that as I type, the final episode of the Sopranos is only nine hours away. Considering the fact that I have been watching this show since I was a freshman in High School, the final episode of the show will air one month after my graduation from college. Now, as every Sopranos fan knows, that doesn't mean it has been running with any sort of continuity since the first episode, but the show is just so damn good that they can afford to make their

fans wait however long it takes for a new slice of the greatest television show of all time.

The popular question tonight is: what will the male population watch this evening: the final episode of the Sopranos, or game two of the NBA finals? Well, first of all I would like to tell the NBA to sit and spin for doing this to me, and all other Cavs fans. There was no reason not to have game two on Saturday night, just absolutely no reason. Because of this, I am now torn, but I am in the minority considering the ratings for game one of this series. The solution that I have been presented with is to simply wait until tomorrow to watch the Sopranos (On Demand), and watch the Finals live. That would be acceptable in any other circumstance other than the final episode EVER. Even if this were the final episode of any given season, I could wait until tomorrow to watch it, but just not tonight. Then again, I am a witness.
We all are. So, needless to say, my decision has not been made, but I will be live blogging whichever I do decide to watch. Most people are trying to predict what will happen in the final episode of the Sopranos, so I figured I would offer my own assessment right now.

I just can't see Phil killing Tony. This was the big lead-up after the last episode, that Phil Leotardo got to Bobby and Syl, and that Tony will be next. If David Chase has taught us anything, it's that things almost never ever ever go as planned, that one episode's ending doesn't mean the next will pick up where the previous one left off. Here's the other thing that it might help to know going into tonight: David Chase has said that he has known how he was going to end the show when he first started it. If that's the case, I can't see Phil, who at the beginning of the show was a nobody, would end up netting the big fish. It just will not happen.

One of the children will die, and Carmela will find out about a long-dead secret. I think AJ or Meadow will bite it, most likely Meadow since they have been focusing on AJ so much in the previous weeks. If Meadow does die, that also could lead to AJ killing himself, the straw that breaks this very fragile camels' back. Regardless, I think one will die. Carm will not be able to handle this, and will obviously blame Tony. Here's where it could get ugly. I think, somehow, Carm will find out about Adrianna. Whether it's Syl blurting it out on his death bed... somehow, Carm finds out, leading to this very bold prediction:

Carmela, ravaged with grief, will kill Tony. Carmela is a very emotionally dangerous character. We have seen over the years some irrational behavior reacting to some pretty minor things. She has a very short fuse, and will definitely not be contained after the loss of one of her children, coupled with the knowledge that her best friend in the world was killed at the order of her husband, only to protect himself from the Feds. Is this prediction out there? Sure it is, but if you follow the series close enough, you know to expect the unexpected. This is all contingent upon either AJ or Meadow dying though, that alone could be enough to throw her over the edge. Couple that with the Ade knowledge? Well, that's your ballgame right there.

Let's not forget that throughout this series, there has been one constant: the Soprano family is the center of the story. Thinking that the four of them will not play a significant role in the finale would do an injustice to the premise of the show. And if David Chase wants to go out with a bang, this would be the loudest bullet in his gun.

Yeah, I'm probably going to be watching this at 9. I'll be live blogging it, as some things just go beyond sports. more...