Archive for the 'Sport' Category

18
Feb
10

How To Not Suck At Pinball With Greg Dunlap

You may have heard of TED, an elite technology and science conference where awesome presentations are given in a short format.  Similarly, this clip comes to us from GREG, an elite conference in Seattle, the entire schedule of which lasts a mere five minutes, focused on issues of particular interest to rockers.*  Curated by Greg Dunlap, Chicago expat, guitarrorist, software developer and longtime pal, GREG ’10 is quite the standout.  This year’s topic?  How To Not Suck At Pinball, one subject among many a Greg Dunlap, PAPA competitor is eminently qualified to discuss.  Neither deaf, nor dumb, and only mildly farsighted, that kid sure plays a mean pinball.

*conference description possibly embellished

05
Dec
08

Union-Busting Southern Republicans Just Might Be NASCAR’s Biggest Enemy

“I have automobile plants in my district. They pay $25 to $35 per
employee per hour,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) of Alabama, ranking
Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. “I am sure that I
am going to be asked, ‘Congressman, I work at Honda or
Mercedes, I make $40 an hour; why are you going to take my taxpayer
dollars and pay it to a company who pays their employees $75 an hour?

It’s no secret that the south is not fond of unionized labor.  The attitude can hardly come as a surprise given that prior to 1865, the south regarded its own labor force as owned property.  It’s easy to be in love with the free market when you’re the one with the keys to the ankle cuffs.

For Dixie, the transition from chains to employee handbook has been a troubled one with many victims.  Spurred by the current economic crisis, could the south’s most beloved sporting franchise be the next?  Put another way, is NASCAR in just as much danger as the UAW?

If the parade of southern Republican drawling heads railing on television against the auto industry bailout is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes.  While blaming the unionized labor force entirely for the sorry state of the US auto industry is exactly what you’d expect from business interests on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, this time around the calls to put those uppity line workers in their place are flirting with the very real possibility of wiping out the US automakers’ domination of NASCAR tracks.

Inspect the running order of any NASCAR race and you will find GM products in the vast majority, followed by Chrysler, Ford, and, yes, Toyota.  Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and creeping free-market globalism to be sure – thanks solely to thirty years of union-crushing by southern Republicans (and the boardrooms and radical libertarian think tanks that paid for their legislation and deregulation.) Blaming the union not only insults the men and women who put together the stock NASCAR vehicles, but it ensures that foreign-owned non-union cars will step into the gaps left by a wiped-out big three.

The irony burns brighter than a cross. The culture most associated with blue-collar pride and bumper-sticker patriotism has been routinely been led by the nose into debacle after debacle — they’ve tolerated local economic devastation, slashed education spending, Iraq.  But now, it’s serious: their elected leadership is messing with Chevys at Talladega.  Every lie now told about UAW workers being paid $75 an hour serves to ensure more Toyotas at Daytona.  Can the south tolerate this latest unintended consequence of blaming the workers?

The infield spectacle of 60-year-old female racing fans taking off their tube tops says “Charger” a lot louder than it says “Camry”, and racing fans seem to know it.  With the very essence of NASCAR at stake, will the fans in the stands roll over for business interests again and jeer the union as the big three die off?

29
Nov
08

The Perfect Knowledge Of Rinku And Dinesh

rinku

(Rinku Singh unloads the samosa)

I wasn’t expecting to proclaim a favorite National League team this year, but the Million Dollar Arm contest in India settled it for me:  I can now be counted among the Pittsburgh Pirates faithful.  The storied club of Roberto Clemente, Dock Ellis and Dave Parker can now boast a pitching staff that includes the first two hurlers from the Indian subcontinent ever signed by a major league baseball team, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.

These guys, 19 and 20 respectively, throw around 90 mph and consistently for strikes. But at writing time, their knowledge of baseball is perfect – perfectly nonexistent.  While I look forward to their stint in spring training and what will probably be the Pittsburgh minor league system this season, their Blog and Twitter have already been nothing short of awesome and it’s my bet will only get better.  From a couple of days ago:

JB sir [JB Bernstein, Barry Bond's ex-agent and mastermind of the whole contest] explained to us today about the mind tricking us.  He say that brain trick body to do bad sometimes.  What we have to do is learn to say no to our brains and tell our arms to just throw.  We need no excuses in our mind.  Just do our best and rewards will come.

He ask us what we would do if we were throwing Javelin against man who throw farther than our best throw…  We then realize that we trick our body to think we can do better than our best to beat other man.   That was good way to show us and we understand much better now.

We want to pitch very good.  We are working so hard and we are told that we may sign contract next week.  When that is true it will be the best day of our lives!

Following the baseball education of these two is going to be incredible.
10
Aug
08

Baseball Is Ruining Steroids

When Gerard Cosloy invited me to write some stuff for his sports blog Can’t Stop The Bleeding, it took me a while to get in the groove re: the 2005 World Champion White Sox in their ’08 campaign. I guess being a fan of a first-place baseball team isn’t enough to clear the cobwebs. Luckily, fear and loathing has since taken over. Once it sank in that the goddamn Cubs were all the way in it this year, I got to work. I can’t even entertain the idea of staying on the bench for this.

Here then, for those so inclined, are this summer’s screeds so far at CSTB.

Author link

There Is No Sanctuary: Contreras Out For Season, Ozzie Questions Logan’s Manhood

A Different Kind Of Tension: White Sox Pen Keeps It Interesting

Whip Ineffective Against Tigers, Mauling Results

14th Inning Stretch: CSTB Field Report

Samples Of Junior

Twins Call Up Liriano

Kenny Williams: An Enigma Wrapped In A Puzzle Concealed In A Desperate Need To Bench Paul Konerko

Bennigan’s Shuts Its Doors, Cubs Fans Take It Out On Whoever They Can

Danks Messes With Texas, Konerko Returns To Abled List

The Surge Isn’t Working: AL Central Heats Up

Will Chicago’s Real A. Ramirez Please Stand Up?

Buehrle’s Cutter Sweeps Away The Clutter: Sox Deliver Crosstown Payback

18
Jun
08

Round-Trip White Flight, Detroit Style

Ty Cobb

(Above: Detroit’s Ty Cobb spots a black guy in the stands at Tiger Stadium)

So the lady and I took off to Detroit last week to catch the White Sox play the Tigers at Comerica Park. It was our first visit to Motor City, and now I know why.

After the Sox’s 2-1 loss in the 9th inning courtesy of Octavio Dotel’s hung slider to Miguel “Not Orlando” Cabrera, resulting in a home run to left center and 3-game sweep for the Tigers, the crowd filed out onto Woodward Avenue, site of Martin Luther King’s 1963 march. We were sporting Sox black and white colors in a sea of Tiger orange, which prompted the following first-innocuous-then-horrifying exchange:

Group of white Tigers fans: Hey, that sweep’s gotta hurt.

Us: Yeah, Kenny Rogers brought his stuff today. But hey, what’s the use of being out in front of the division if you can’t drop three on the road?

Group of white Tigers fans, walking away: Well, thanks for bringing your race. We love your race.

Us: (flummoxed, stunned silence)

We were just…thanked…for being white people.

I knew Detroit is a legendarily messed up place. It did not escape my notice that in a city sporting an 81% black population the only African-American faces inside Comerica were behind the concession stands. It wasn’t a surprise that Comerica is a park built for the enjoyment of white suburbanites.

You know, it’s just like Wrigley Field.

Taking in the city at large, the scars of the ’67 riots were plain, as was the whiplash effect of driving north on E Jefferson and crossing Maryland Avenue, of moving from blight (or “bloit”, a term I coined) to manicured lawn in the blink of an eye. The landscape spoke volumes about the sorry situation on the ground. As unintegrated as much of Chicago is, Detroit’s bunker mentality set a standard of white flight that Chicago couldn’t come close to matching, thank god.

But…thank you for being white? Hey, I’m fat and lazy too, where’s my trophy?

06
May
08

Slumping White Sox Explore Alternatives To Euthanasia

Ello, ello ello...what\'s all this then?

Greg Walker, Chicago White Sox batting coach and oft-touted fall guy for the team’s sleepy offense might not have been the one to dream up last night’s profoundly retarded clubhouse exhibit, but I bet nobody’s happier to have his name out of the papers for a few days.

In a move one might better expect from a Duke-graduate Cubs fan planning a bachelor party in Kenilworth, the Sox clubhouse was decorated with a tableau of blow-up dolls and baseball bats. Now get this, some of the hee hee bats were haw haw inserted into the dolls dude!

Yeah, it’s a regular Algonquin Round Table in Major League Baseball.

While the Sox have every right to be concerned about repeating – with depressing exactness – the awful 2007 season of wasted pitching via petulant non-hitting, this is the wrong approach. As badly-needed motivational initiatives go, instead of one reeking of moronity, desperation and latex, I suggest the Sox consider all the options the world of sport has to offer.

For example, Saturday’s Kentucky Derby reminded us that for some competitors, the end of a bad day comes not in a clubhouse but in a little white trailer staffed with a doctor, a syringe and a map to the glue factory.

Let me be clear: I am not, under any circumstances, advocating that 2B Juan Uribe (Avg .181) be led into that trailer.

I only suggest renting and parking that trailer in 3rd base foul territory, so that repeated trips back to the dugout while going 0 for 4 include for each batter a glimpse of what might be.

That’s got to work better than proxy-rape humor – the whole point of a wake-up call is that it’s something you don’t hear all the time.

17
Sep
07

Triumph Of The (Free) Will (Stewart)

Big Jim Thome, not writing a check

Political and religious philosophers agree: left unsaddled by a healthy fear of an angry, magical clerk in the sky, people behave like real assholes. The (Republican) party line goes: given a fraction of a chance, your fellow man will in his natural state show himself to be a pilfering, hoarding dick. And no self-regulation, it is repeated, can interfere with this imperative of narrow self-interest. Without fear of imposed authority, no drinking well remains unpooped-in for long; there is nothing beyond grabbing or ruining, nobody and nothing beyond encroachment. We cannot make the right choices. Our hopeless flaws can be tamed only by laws – of morality, of the market, of the land.

Fuck that, says Will Stewart. The Texan from Austin, accountant, baseball fan and indisputably good person is the guy in the left field stands who caught Chicago White Sox DH Jim Thome’s game-winning 500th home run ball at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday. Stewart did something unexpected in a decade history will remember for its appalling culture of greed. Ball in hand, fully aware of the (at least $100K) potential dollar value to Thome, Stewart did not grab. To the chagrin of clergy, cops, and commodity traders the country over, Stewart failed to conduct business as usual by opening with a price negotiation.

Instead, Stewart gave Thome the ball. For no price. While the club has showed their gratitude by handing Stewart a pair of season tickets (which he then donated to Thome’s favorite charity) the fact remains Will Stewart passed up a six-figure payday – in 2007 – out of common decency.

“I feel it is a part of Chicago baseball history,” said Stewart, right after handing the ball back to the White Sox slugger during a postgame press conference.

On the other hand, O.J. Simpson recently enunciated a markedly different take on the ethics of sports memorabilia when he said “Hey, take this fucking pillowcase off and put those fucking balls in it“.

Paging the sky clerk.

09
Mar
05

man’s best friend’s gambling problem

http://www.lasvegas.com/pokerblog reports…

in other poker art world news two paintings from artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s 1903 series of dogs playing poker brought a record price of more than ten fold the pre-auction estimated sale price. The New York auction house, Doyle, believed the two paintings, Waterloo:Two and A Bold Bluff, would bring between thirty and fifty thousand dollars. The hammer price was $590,400. The previous record for a Coolidge painting was $74,000. The two paintings went to an unidentified bidder in New York City. Suddenly, you remember that you have one of the reproductions from the Coolidge Dog’s Playing Poker series and you think it might be worth a bundle; so, what do you do? A good starting point would be the official dogs playing poker website. Doyle New York holds an annual “Dogs in Art” auction to coincide with the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.a subsequent auction of coolidge’s lesser-known series cats shitting in a box did not fare as well at the hammer.

19
Jan
05

rivered again!

seems no matter what i do, every jackass on the planet ends up doing it years later. my pal greg dunlap and i have been playing poker for fourteen years and, true to form, america was late to the party. now that the general public is in love with texas hold ‘em, the game is on tv, in homes and online for millions of amateurs lining up to donate their sheckels to the older hands.

but it’s still poker. which means that even amateurs can get cards. the bad beat is a regrettable part of the game, where almost winning hurts a lot more than plainly losing. enjoy riveredagain.com, the poker equivalent of gaping at horrible accidents on the freeway.

26
Aug
04

we need more athletes named juicy

congrats to italy’s women’s water polo team who took the gold today. contributing to the victory at the center forward position was giusy malato, righthander and 2002 italian world cup team captain.

congrats as well to the nbc announcers on the gold medal telecast where italy beat greece for making the phrase “juicy mulatto” sparkle with all the emphasis it deserved.




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1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende
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