Posts Tagged ‘NBA Basketball’
Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription, Yep, I'm still here. Lawvol hasn't kicked me out of the site yet, Is Metronidazole Gel addictive, despite my laziness and lack of posting this spring. I literally haven't posted anything in a month and two days. My last post focused on Tyler Smith declaring for the NBA Draft and his prospects for that draft, kjøpe Metronidazole Gel på nett, köpa Metronidazole Gel online. Since then, Buy Metronidazole Gel online no prescription, I've had to finish up the spring semester, haul through a three week min-term class, and, buy cheap Metronidazole Gel no rx, probably most importantly, Buy no prescription Metronidazole Gel online, looked for and found a place to intern for the fall in efforts to further my career. After all, I am now a senior and hopefully I'll have graduated this time next year (yes, it's kind of scary).
I sure haven't missed too much the past month...
If you're like me, you've long been counting down to August and football season already, and only the NBA and NHL playoffs have been offering a real distraction from that, Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription. It's been a rather action-packed month for the Tennessee program, as there seems to be something come up just about every single day, Metronidazole Gel no rx, especially this past week.
• Recruiting: This new staff obviously spends an incredible amount of time evaluating and going through the process, and that has reaped some results the past two weeks. After this season, buy cheap Metronidazole Gel, the offensive and defensive lines are going to be particularly thin, Metronidazole Gel overnight, so those two positions without a doubt are the biggest needs in the 2010 class.
So Tennessee goes out and gets some big people. Yes way yes way Jose Jose started it off, followed by JUCO defenders Pat Harris and Bruce Irvin, Metronidazole Gel cost, Georgia J.C. Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription, Copeland, and Miami linebacker/d-end Ralph Williams. Purchase Metronidazole Gel online, Now I must admit I hadn't heard of any of these guys. Additionally, Jose needs to drop some weight and Harris didn't even play football in high school, order Metronidazole Gel online overnight delivery no prescription. Obviously we fans have to simply take our coaches' words for it when it comes to recruiting because it's so hit-or-miss, Online buying Metronidazole Gel, but I think we need to understand that this is likely going to be a big class numbers-wise and size-wise, as in there's going to be some beef in these commitments. I also don't find much surprise in taking some junior college players who have the potential ability to come in and contribute right away, Metronidazole Gel from canada. Then again, those guys are even more hit (Gibril Wilson) or miss (Kenny O'Neal).
• The QB situation: In addition to the needs along the lines, the other big recruiting story line is of course the QB position, where the Vols expect to sign at least two in the 2010 class, Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription. Jake Heaps and Jesse Scroggins (their Rivals profiles are linked at the end) are the two big names, Metronidazole Gel blogs, and Andrew Hendrix has been another guy whose name I've heard alot. I'll keep my opinion on this simple: if Tennessee were to get Heaps or Scroggins and Hendrix or another guy, then I think you can be happy with that.
Now that is where having the situation with Robert Marve not work out hurts a little, Metronidazole Gel australia, uk, us, usa, because now after this season you're down to Nick Stephens and Mike Rozier, Metronidazole Gel reviews, the former baseball player. That's also where B.J. Coleman bailing doesn't help either, where to buy Metronidazole Gel, but the way he handled that situation of going to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press first and throwing the coaches under the bus makes me not miss him. Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription, Good riddance and enjoy playing for a really bad UT-Chattanooga program. Doses Metronidazole Gel work, Nevertheless, we should know something on Heaps and Scroggins soon, because Heaps has said he wants to make his decision in June and Scroggins may very well be waiting to see what Heaps does.
• The exodus: OK, Metronidazole Gel dose, players leaving is a part of any program where there's a turnover of coaching staffs, Low dose Metronidazole Gel, so this was sort of expected. It happened at Alabama when Nick Saban was hired and it's happened now with the Kiffin regime. What does it mean, cheap Metronidazole Gel, exactly. Is Metronidazole Gel safe, Well, really outside of the Coleman departure's effect on the QB depth, the collective contributions of the 11 leaving players isn't much, buy Metronidazole Gel online cod, outside of Lennon Creer and Dee Morley. Creer saw the writing on the wall with Toney Williams, Bryce Brown and David Oku joining the stable, and Morley had been walking a tight line for awhile, Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription. Purchase Metronidazole Gel online no prescription, Losing some lineman hurts depth, but overall, how bad have the 11 departures really been, Metronidazole Gel alternatives. Hey, After Metronidazole Gel, if a player isn't going to cut it or doesn't want to do the work that will cut it, then see ya later.
Even the new coaching staff has had a member leave this week in strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith. Obviously the AD and Kiffin had mutual disagreements of some kind with Smith and it's unfortunate and probably a negative event, purchase Metronidazole Gel, but I think Tennessee will be OK in the end. Metronidazole Gel forum, Aaron Ausmus seems like the likely replacement, but Lane needs to find one soon, since summer workouts start next week.
• Hokey Pahokee: Much, herbal Metronidazole Gel. Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription, Ado. About. Real brand Metronidazole Gel online, Nothing. No, Lane shouldn't have said what he said and he apologized well before this got brought up again, Metronidazole Gel dosage. The principal of the school and whoever else had a hand in drawing this out to the point it got to came across as desperate for some attention. The problem I had was the administration of a school denying access of specific schools to their students, Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription. Metronidazole Gel schedule, In other words, if I'm a stud recruit at that Pahokee and there's mutual interest between me and Tennessee, should the school have the right to deny UT access to me, online buy Metronidazole Gel without a prescription. Fortunately it's apparently all good down there now, Metronidazole Gel without prescription, so hopefully UT can get another player from that talent-rich area.
• Twitter-gate: Who cares. Secondary violations don't mean a thing...unless Tennessee does it. Lane didn't even "tweet" it, canada, mexico, india, so I don't even blink an eye to this nonsense.
On another note, Metronidazole Gel wiki, what's the deal with Twitter. Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription, I've been back-and-forth on whether or not I want to give in and join the craze and following some of the various athletes' accounts would be cool, but what's the big deal. If you're on there, please tell me...
• Daniel Hood: This got a great deal of attention as well as it should have, what is Metronidazole Gel, so I won't spend too much time on it. Rx free Metronidazole Gel, It's a touchy subject as well, and I was skeptical at first about it. However, Metronidazole Gel brand name, I feel much better about it now than I did when I first got the news the Hood was getting a scholarship. Tennessee still will have a convicted rapist on the team and opposing fans will use this against the Vols from now until the end of time, but that's part of the consequences. The bottom line for me is that everyone who commented in stories I read who are and were much, much closer to Hood and the situation than any of us said nothing but positive things about Hood, Buy Metronidazole Gel Without Prescription. I mean, the victim of the whole ordeal vouched for Hood. What more does it take. I think Lane and the staff and Mike Hamilton did their work on this one, so I can handle their decision.
That's it for now. I'll probably post something about the awesomely exciting (or "amazing," if you agree with the slogan) NBA Playoffs. Also, this is probably old news, but if you haven't already checked it out, Will over at Rocky Top Talk is getting into the nitty-gritty (ie, top 15) of his countdown of the 50 best games from the Philip Fulmer era. This is probably old because they started way back in January, but it's really good stuff - the writing and story-telling is so good it might even be better than the nostalgic feelings of the good 'ol days.
Images Courtesy of: VolQuest • Rivals - Jake Heaps • Rivals - Jesse Scroggins.
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Premarin For Sale, As had been expected, Tennessee's Tyler Smith declared for the NBA Draft yesterday. As is the case with a number of others draft entrees, fast shipping Premarin, Premarin dose, Tyler hasn't hired an agent, so he's got until June 15 to come back.
As the title of this post clearly states, is Premarin safe, Premarin brand name, I think Tyler Smith is going to be playing for Tennessee next year. I don't believe I'm in the minority in thinking that, buy Premarin online no prescription, About Premarin, either. Now, Premarin dosage, Rx free Premarin, I could be very wrong, because Tyler could go work out for one of these teams playing right now (that will have late first-round picks) and really impress them.
It's not that Tyler isn't a good player or not NBA material, Premarin from mexico. My Premarin experience, There are guys in the NBA who I see and wonder how they in the league (take Sean Marks, Mark Madsen, Premarin street price, Buy cheap Premarin, Brian Cardinal and Robert Swift, for example) in the first place, buy Premarin without a prescription. It's just that Tyler is a small forward in the NBA, and he's playing the power forward spot for Tennessee, Premarin For Sale. Buy cheap Premarin no rx, He showed he can knock down the outside shot when he's left open, but this season he faced quite a bit of traffic in the lane because teams sagged off the perimeter because we couldn't shoot threes and struggled with his shot, discount Premarin. Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, The Memphis game - against a long, athletic team - comes to mind.
So he can post up, is Premarin addictive, Premarin no rx, he can shoot it decently, but can he straight-up drive by an NBA 3-man, buy Premarin no prescription. Get Premarin, Can he hit the mid-range jumper?
There is his family situation with his son to think about as well, but I think Tyler's going to be a Vol next season, Premarin description. Order Premarin from United States pharmacy, He should have better shooters surrounding him, and we saw how good he can be when you put that around him (2007-08), Premarin photos. Premarin For Sale, And even if he does stay in the draft, it'd be cool to have the number of Tennessee NBA players doubled.
Speaking of which, mad props to C.J. Premarin wiki, Watson the last seven games of this season for Golden State. Watson, Premarin over the counter, Real brand Premarin online, one of my favorite Vols all-time and a guy who deserves more credit and appreciation than I think he gets, averaged 19 points and 6 assists in those games, purchase Premarin online. Purchase Premarin, He had 38 points, 7 rebounds, order Premarin no prescription, Buy Premarin from canada, and nine assists (he made 16-of-16 free throws too) in a win over the Jazz, and had 20 points, Premarin blogs, Buy Premarin online cod, 7 boards, 12 assists, purchase Premarin for sale, Generic Premarin, and three steals in the season finale against Phoenix.
For an avid fantasy basketball guy like myself (second place in my second year of it...boom!), those numbers are more impressive to me, cheap Premarin no rx. Buy no prescription Premarin online, If this was his chance to stake his claim to Golden State's starting PG position for next season, you can't say he didn't take advantage of it.
But back to the main point of this, expect to see Tyler back in orange next year - with what should be an improved team.
Images Courtesy of: Ramin Rahimian / Reuters.
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Over the weekend I spent a fair amount of time watching the XXIX Olympic Games from Beijing -- taking in all that comes along with the quadrennial rite that is the Olympics. It was an excellent weekend of competition, celebration, and pageantry.
Bearing all of this in mind, I began to ask myself what is the Olympics "place" in the overall world of sports? Many would say that the Olympic Games are the single most important competition in sports -- the "ultimate" expression of athletic competition. On the other hand, others would argue that the Olympics really aren't about sports at all, representing the exercise of diplomacy through other means. Finally, there are those who would -- for various reasons ranging from the lack of their favorite sport from the games to a lack of interest in international competition -- say that, while engaging, the Olympics are largely a second-tier sporting event focused more on "ancillary" sporting events.
For me, however, the Olympics hold a special place -- if only because of the "amateur spirit" which they embody...
I do eagerly await the Olympics each time they roll around. They are -- for me -- a sublime opportunity to view events and competitions that are far beyond the sports I normally have the opportunity to follow. So too, there is something that is uniquely endearing in the pursuit of achievement in the name of ones homeland, where the accolade is far less tangible than that which accompanies success in modern "big time" sports. That is the essence of amateur competition -- not completely divorced from many of the reasons I so identify with college athletics as opposed to professional sports.Of course, one can become a little to idealistic when it comes to the Olympics...
Gone are the days of "lily-white" amateurism from the Olympics as an ideal governing the competition between nations. This was not only the mantra of the international Olympic movement during the first three-quarters of the 20th Century, but was tenaciously enforced by individuals such as Avery Brundage, who served as the President of the International Olympic Committee until 1972.
During that era, any "taint" of professionalism by an athlete would assuredly lead to banishment from the games for life, and could possibly lead to medals being stripped. The stand of the IOC was clear: Any athlete competing in the Olympic Games must be an amateur.Of course, things were not always as pure as the powers that be would suggest ...
As anyone who witnessed any of the games held during the Cold War, the amateurism of some of the Eastern Bloc countries was perpetually in question. Furthermore, at times the stance on amateurism often overshadowed the real purpose of the Olympic Games, and placed form over substance with only the individual athlete feeling the pain of the IOC's censure.Thus, perhaps, the "good old days" were not always as good as we have been led to believe...
Nonetheless, there is something that has been lost over the years as the Olympics seem to have moved farther and farther afield from the old amateur standards, to the point that -- in all sports but boxing -- professional players are welcomed. With this transition came the advent of the so-called "Dream Teams," peopled with superstar professional athletes from across the globe. The thought of playing against the greatest that the NBA has to offer is a daunting and discouraging prospect for a team from a smaller country lacking a professional league or an established sports infrastructure. Still, as the United States Olympic Basketball team learned in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, "David" still has a lot of stones in his sling when it comes to the "Goliaths" of the sports world.
Competition, however, is not always a fair fight, and, perhaps, that reality is part of what makes the Olympics special. Perhaps it is the "against all odds" mentality or ethos which makes the Olympics beautiful as a spectacle of competition.The Olympics are not about necessarily winning or losing, but about trying despite the odds...
For me, the single most poignant image of the Olympics is that of Gabriela Andersen-Scheiss completing the marathon in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. I still remember watching the then 39 year-old competitor for Switzerland come limping into Olympic Stadium -- at least twenty minutes behind the winner -- barely able to walk. She had only to complete one lap around the stadium track to finish the race. As she staggered from side to side, barely able to stand upright, she continued on. Fearing that she might be suffering from heat stroke, several medical staff actually walked alongside her as she took a heart wrenching 5 minutes and 44 seconds to complete the circuit of the field, before collapsing across the finish line and receiving immediate medical care.
The pragmatist would say that it was foolish for Andersen-Scheiss to continue on when she was clearly suffering and had no hope of winning. The utilitarian would undoubtedly conclude that she should stop, because the risk to her health far exceeded the benefit to be gained by completing the race. Sometimes, it is not rational, it is not practical, it is not about winning or losing -- it is about heart, determination, and finding what it takes to put one foot in front of the other to finish the journey you have begun.
Sometimes, it is simply a testament to the human spirit...
I suppose that is what still draws me to the Olympic Games. In this regard, it is still a competition of amateurs, in some ways. For many athletes at the games, the competition is not one of professionals versus the amateurs. It is not one of one country versus another. It is not one of winner and loser.
In the Olympic Games -- even today -- for many athletes it is a competition between heart and head. It is the battle between self and soul which brings competitors from far and wide who have not a single hope for victory. They do it not to prove that they can beat any other athlete, break any records, or win any medals, but to simply prove that they can compete...
... and in this battle with self -- the battle to find the will to press on -- there are no professionals.
Image Courtesy of: ZDF.de
You hardly have to be a genius to realize that I am a college sports fan.
Whether I qualify as "die hard" is open to interpretation, I suppose. Still, as a VASF donor for more than a decade, season ticket holder for Tennessee Volunteers football, and as an individual who travels over six hours one-way to see each football game in Knoxville, I probably fall into the "dyed-in-the-wool" category placing me in the top tier of college fans when it comes to dedication (or lunacy depending on your perspective).
Either way, at various times in my life, I have contemplated becoming a more avid fan of professional sports. At times I have even been a "real" fan of certain teams by most standards. That being said, no matter what I do, I always seem to lose my interest in professional sports and return to my roots as a college football fan...
... or perhaps professional sports loses interest in me.
No, that last statement is not intended to be a wildly arrogant and self-centered declaration of my importance in the sports world. On the contrary, it is meant to show my complete insignificance -- along with the millions of other sports fans out there.
In case you missed it, after forty-one years in the "City Which is Never Dry," the Seattle Supersonics are pulling up stakes and heading to Oklahoma City to be known as the Oklahoma Clod-kickers, or something along those lines.
The era of the Supersonics is over...
Owing to the fact that I live on the Right-Coast and parted ways with the NBA in the mid-1990s, I was really not tuned into this story until after the final announcement was made. I make no claims to be a Supersonics fan, and can really only think of 2 Supersonics players ever: Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel (mainly because he choked Wes Mathews in the middle of a game which is the sort of thing I tend not to forget). Still, I feel for the Supersonics’ fans, and I assume that there are a fair number of them, whether they be "die hard" or not. While I know that Seattle may potentially get another team some day, as a practical matter they now understand how SMU fans felt when their team got the death penalty for football. The only difference is that, unlike SMU who was finally able to resume play, Seattle’s program is gone for good -- gonzo, outta here, dead, kaput, snuffed it ...
If I am a Seattle Supersonics fan, that just plain sucks...
That got me to thinking (which is so rarely a good thing). The fact that the Supersonics could up and vanish like a fart in the wind, is the reason why I personally will never be anything more than an occasional fan of professional sports. At so many levels, that disturbs me. It also brings back a few memories.
I still remember the announcement in the late-1980s that, after ... well ... forever North Carolina was going to get its first professional sports franchise (unless you count the ABA’s Carolina Cougars, which I don’t) in the form of an expansion team in Charlotte. The team was to be called the "Charlotte Spirit" and was to begin play in the 1988 season. Those who were to be fans of the team realized the "Spirit" was a crappy name, and thus the team was re-dubbed the "Charlotte Hornets." You may have heard of them.
When the nets went up at the lavish new Charlotte Coliseum in 1988, I became an instant Charlotte Hornets fan. I was addicted to all things related to the Hornets. I still remember the very first game I ever got a chance to attend: 7 January 1989, the Washington Bullets vs. the Charlotte Hornets. Led by Kelly Tripucka, the Hornets managed to edge the Bullets 107 - 104, for their 9th win that season. I was also fortunate enough to catch three more games that season, and was elated when the Hornets earned their 20th win versus the New Jersey Nets, en route to finishing their inaugural season with an overall record of 20 -62.
Despite the fact that the Hornets hardly wowed the sports world with their wins, the fans in Charlotte were absolutely crazed when it came to "Hornets Hysteria" and a ticket to a game at "the Hive" was all but impossible to come by. By the end of the season, 950,064 people had attended games in Charlotte, and the Hornets were named the NBA attendance champions for 1988-89 -- a feat they would repeat from 1990-91 through 1996-97.
In 1999, however, things started going sour. Owner George Shinn started demanding a brand new coliseum to replace the one that had been opened during the Hornets’ first season, which the city simply could not justify. To make matters worse, Shinn became a pariah as due to allegations that he had raped a former employee. While Shinn ultimately won the lawsuit, the evidence that was presented hardly made him look like the innocent victim. Overnight, the Hornets went from top of the heap to bottom of the pile in the hearts of many due to Shinn’s actions and statements.
Thus, in 2002, George Shinn picked up his ball and went home -- his new home, that is, in New Orleans...
Of course, Shinn falling out of favor with the citizens of Charlotte was probably as much to blame as anything, but Shinn hardly ennobled himself when -- in the wake of Hurricane Katrina -- Shinn quietly considered the possibility of relocating the Hornets permanently to Oklahoma City, their temporary home while New Orleans tried to rebuild. Bowing to pressure from the NBA Commissioner David Stern, the Hornets did return to New Orleans. What’s more, in recognition of the fact that Shinn had completely alienated every living soul in Charlotte, the NBA did award Charlotte a new franchise -- the Charlotte Bobcats -- only two years after the Hornets left town.
Regardless of how things ultimately turned out, the whole process of watching the team pull-up and leave left me with a lingering bad taste in my mouth. After that, I decided that I simply wasn’t willing to invest the time, effort, or dedication into any professional team. Now make no mistake, the right to have a professional sports franchise in your hometown is anything but a right -- it is a privilege. Still, the list of teams which were plucked from their fans is long. Some were moved because the town simply did not support the team -- I really do not have much of a quarrel with that. Most, however, have been taken because the owners simply wanted more money than the city and the fans could (as opposed to would) fork over.
Enter the Seattle Supersonics...
I really hate it for the people of Seattle because -- to the best of my knowledge -- they always supported their team. In the end Clay Bennett wanted to move the team to his hometown -- again, Oklahoma City -- and there was really little that the Sonics faithful could do about it. Bennett’s mind was made up and there was nothing that was going to keep him or the team in Seattle -- not even the city’s attempts to stop the move in court. In the end, the city had little choice but to take the settlement, and try to lure another team to town in the near future. Sure, they have their memories, but that’s about it.
As a dedicated sports fan, I know that the few professional teams that I support (the Carolina Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes to name a few) could leave town at any time. That is why I will pull for them, occasionally go to a game, and maybe even buy a t-shirt with their logo on it, but I will never be a true fan.
That brings me back around to where I started...
While I often complain about the prices I have to pay to get my season tickets in Knoxville, it’s part of the deal. While I get tired of having to lose all of your best players every four years (or sooner) because of eligibility and graduation, it comes with the territory. While I will freely agree that the level of play in Neyland Stadium is not and will never be on par with the play at any of the NFL stadiums, I can live with it. There are a lot of peculiarities about athletic department administrations, sacred cows, and the NCAA which, at times, make following a college team maddening. There are not many food courts in college venues.
Ignoring all of the "amateur versus professional" arguments and how that impacts the true nature of sport (and I feel that some of those arguments are amazingly powerful and meaningful) there are a lot of things about college sports which make it inferior to professional sports.
Still, when I don my orange and white, I know that no matter what happens the University of Tennessee will always be the University of Tennessee. I know that the same will always be the case for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Kentucky Wildcats, Georgia Bulldogs, the Tarheads, and even the Florida Gators. I know that no matter how lousy the team is, no matter how bad the facilities may be, no matter how awful the city may look, those teams -- and hundreds of others -- will always be in the same place.
While I like to complain that in the post Big Dickey era, you have to "pay to stay" at Tennessee -- at least in terms of your seats -- I know it is a necessary evil. The bright side, however, is that even if I don’t pay -- the Volunteers are not going anywhere. In that regard, small as I may be on their radar, I guess I matter to the University of Tennessee -- enough for them to stay put. That is precisely why, first and foremost, I am a fan of college sports.
So to all of you Seattle Supersonics fans, I know you are upset -- you got a raw deal.
Still, the University of Washington is just down the road...
Images Courtesy of: NBA Pictures Online • The Fan.org
Sometimes, the Message Just Doesn't Come Across the Way I had Hoped...
Since I have been sucking at actually posting anything recently, I will pontificate vicariously! So, here's a few links from around the web worth giving a look...
- It's official, Tyler Smith is Staying at Tennessee -- UTSports.com • BruceBall Blog • Go VolsXtra • VolNation
- A Look at Erik Ainge's NFL Prospects (along with neato charts, numbers and a bunch 'o videos) -- Rocky Top Talk
- An excellent ranking of Isiah Thomas' Greatest Life Achievements and a Look at the Personal Lives of StormTroopers -- BugeHoobs
- Crimson Daddy asks "Who will be CBS' Other Love Interest this season?" -- 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
- A quick look at the 22 Worst Dunks Ever. I personally like this one:
- A poignant photo essay on Rosa Blasi (a/k/a eye candy), and The Pac Man is Heading to Dallas -- World According to MoonDog
- John Adams and Tom Mattingly get all misty eyed and reminiscent over the 10th Anniversary of the Vols last football National Championship (damn, has it been that long?) -- Go VolsXtra
- A Lesson on why no one wants to be the second pick in the NFL Draft -- Cake Rocks the Party
- That little red light on top of the camera, it means your on the air and Gus Johnson Just Singing the Night Away
-- NESW Sports
- A recruit breaks Florida's 2006 BCS Championship Trophy the BCS Trophy, that's so sad (snicker...) -- Go VolsXtra
- Yes, just what we need, more Bowl Games -- Get the Picture
- Finally, a few classic ESPN Bloopers ... going all the way back to 1979:
Lead Image Courtesy of: The Fail Blog
A little mindless YouTube action this morning courtesy of NESW Sports, and the Ethanator.
I grew up watching Larry Bird as a kid. I always remember how amazing it was that this geeky looking white guy, who seemed to have a perpetual wedgy while on the floor, could seemingly run circles around the competition and light up the basket like no other. The other thing about Bird was that he never seemed to get frazzled, always played with composure, and never seemed to get into any shoving matches with other players.All except for this one day ...
Nothing like a nice brawl to get the crowd into the game... Meanwhile, Michael Jordan decides to throwdown on the backboard with authority:
Guess MJ was ticked about the silly uniform... Finally, this is a good example of why you should never fall asleep in public -- especially at a stadium ...
By the way, if you’re looking for some good sports videos, make sure to check out NESW Sports, and tell ’em Lawvol sent you...
Videos Courtesy of: NESW Sports
Once again the sports world is abuzz about the start of spring training, and yet another Major League Baseball season. Baseball has a long list of issues on its plate as the season gets rolling along. All of the off-season chatter has centered on the problems arising from the Mitchell Report, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Bud Selig, Brian McNamee, Bob Uecker, Pedro Cerrano, Ebby "Nuke" LaLoosh, Rick Vaughn, and Crash Davis. Those last five names actually have nothing to do with the controversy swirling in baseball, but I threw them in just for the hell of it -- after all, the more the merrier.
Anyway, I am sure that the powers that be in baseball simply cannot wait to get the 2008 season going so they can put all of this ugliness behind them -- "move on" as it were. There are only 2 problems with this line of thinking:
- The start of the 2008 season is not going to put the steroid issues that have been plastered all over the media for the last 6 months "behind" baseball, not even a little, and
- Even if it did cause millions of otherwise reasonably informed Americans to suddenly forget about a story that has been covered with more nauseating detail and intensity than the war in Iraq, that forgetfulness would only be the result of the fact that increasingly fewer people in this country give two shits about Major League Baseball anymore anyway.
I think baseball has a very tough road ahead of it...
The National Pastime
Since the 1800’s baseball has held the distinction of being "the American Pastime" and the confederation of teams making up the Major Leagues have always gone out of their way to remind everyone in the US of its regal status. Baseball was supposedly invented by Abner Doubleday in 1839, of course most people now accept this is a complete crock of unadulterated horseshit. Regardless of who actually invented the game, it was around a generation before the Civil War, and by the time of the war, some people were playing it. I say "some" because at that less-than-enlightened time in our nation’s history, I am pretty certain that a large majority of our country was most definitely not playing baseball because they were slaves, who generally were not allowed to have very much fun or play games.
Anyway, by the time we all stopped shooting at one another, and the aforementioned slaves were finally given their freedom, "everyone" realized that, with no one to try an kill, they really needed some way to blow off a little steam -- how about a nice game of baseball. Of course, "everyone" excludes a few small groups of people. Those living in quasi-urban South were probably not playing, because all of the industrial centers had been wrecked due to the South’s extremely naughty behavior in starting the war, and those folks were occupied rebuilding their cities. You can also rule out anyone living in the rural South because they were poor before the war, and even poorer after the war -- lacking the proverbial pot in which to relieve oneself. Thus baseball wasn’t really a priority for them. Midwesterners really hadn’t jumped on the baseball bandwagon all that much either because they were busy with ... "Midwestern" type things, like growing corn and trying to figure out why the land was so flat (and, at that point in time, even "if you built it," they would not come...). Those living in the west were equally spare in terms of baseball playing activity. There were only about 50 whites and newly freed slaves living in the "Wild West" at that time, and the Native Americans really didn’t have the time to field a team since they kept getting chased and shot at by those 50 whites and newly freed slaves, besides
Bank One Ball Park ... er ... Chase Field, hadn’t been built yet and it was just too damn hard to try and have a proper game with all of those infernal buffaloes running about mucking up the place.
Thus, "everyone" is really better defined as "people living in the State of New York, and a few up the way in Massachusetts"...
Thus, it really wasn’t until some time later that baseball began to be more widely played and watched by Americans. One thing you have to consider, however, is that the reason a lot of folks chose baseball as their preferred recreation was because there really weren’t a whole lot of other choices out there. I suppose if faced with the option of working all day in the field picking crops, getting kicked in the face by a mule, or baseball, then I’d choose baseball as well. After all, the great geniuses that brought us basketball and football hadn’t ... well ... gotten around to bringing us basketball and football, at least not in a recognizable form.
Still, by the turn of the turn of the century, baseball had become an extremely popular way to waste time. By that point professional teams were booming in a select number of big cities -- the genesis of the Major Leagues. Of course there were no teams in the West or in the South, because either there were no people there who cared (in the case of the former) or the people there were still just too damn poor to bother with (in the case of the latter). Nonetheless, colleges and other educational institutions were beginning to play the game, and it was assuming its place as the National Pastime. Thus, baseball pretty much had a monopoly on things.Then suddenly, people discovered some other ways to have fun ...
In the 1880’s, a guy named Walter Camp came along and changed everything. Camp was familiar with baseball, and liked parts of the game. He was once quoted as saying, "I like the fact that you get to use sticks in the game, but can’t understand why you can’t use those sticks to hit the other players." Okay, Camp never actually said that at all, but he should have. Camp was, however, interested in soccer and rugby. Ultimately, Camp decided that soccer was a silly game, required you to run way to much, and didn’t have enough violence to make it worth playing. Rugby, on the other hand, had plenty of wholesome violence, aggression, and teeth rattling contact, but -- as best Camp could figure -- had no rules or object, aside from breaking bones, bloodletting, and mayhem. While he believed that some of the students at Yale could use a little toughening up, he still felt there needed to be a purpose to the contest. Thus, he set about penciling some rules for a new American blend of soccer and rugby called "Football," which was far better than "Sucby."
Meanwhile, a YMCA instructor in Massachusetts by the name of James Naismith, came up with a game which his students seemed to like a lot. In 1892, he published the rules to this game, but -- deciding that the original name, "Duck on a Rock," was just too silly -- he changed it to "Basketball."
Of course, baseball had been around for over nearly three-quarters of a century, and had been fielding professional teams for nearly half a century. The first World Series -- obviously named by someone who thought the "world" ended just past the Mason-Dixon Line and the Mississippi River (or where you could find lots of beer, thus explaining Milwaukee and St. Louis) -- was held in 1903. As the American Pastime, Major League Baseball considered itself to be the only universal in the sports world, despite its concentration in one area of the country, and the fact that a huge part of the population -- namely those who weren't white -- were prevented from even attending the games. Football and basketball were still new, and baseball settled into a prolonged, and ego-inflating, era of dominance of the sports world.
Then, in the early part of the 20th century, a group of men got together at a car dealership in Canton, Ohio to figure out if football -- which had become a popular college game -- could be played professionally. After their meeting -- which was constantly interrupted by car salesmen getting coffee under the guise of having to "ask the sales manager about that..." -- the National Football League was formed. Despite having to compete with baseball in most markets -- with the notable exception of Green Bay, Wisconsin, for rather obvious reasons -- the NFL began to field teams for the paying fan. Later, immediately after World War II, another group of men formed the Basketball Association of America, which later merged with the National Basketball League to form the NBA. These "insignificant" little leagues were no competition for the grandeur that was Major League Baseball -- or so the baseball cognoscenti told themselves.Ahh, blissful ignorance... Fast forward to today, and the lay of the land has changed significantly.
The single most watched and attended (on a per game basis) sport is the NFL. College football comes close to baseball’s attendance -- largely due to the fact that truly every part of the country has their own teams, and does so by only playing about 7% of the number of games in the Major League Baseball season. Of course, when you play 162 games, it's easy to rack up big numbers. The NCAA Basketball Tournament, is now the most anticipated playoff series in any sport. Hell, at present, watching cars go really fast, turn left, and occasionally crash into one another -- NASCAR’s addition to the world of American sports -- is more popular than Major League Baseball. The powers that be in Major League Baseball, however are still convinced that they are the proverbial "cream of the crop" -- truly the American pastime.
The fact is that Major League Baseball attendance has been flagging for years. While there are a select few teams which are wildly successful on both the balance sheet and the box score, many of the teams are hardly the icons that MLB would like to believe. Aside from the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs, many of the teams in MLB, despite their fancy new stadiums, simply cannot compete with the NFL and college football and basketball.
It was once said that "Football was America’s passion, but Baseball is America’s pastime." That simply is no longer the case. Now, football is both America’s passion and its pastime. One need only look at the television ratings for the NFL playoffs to realize this to be true. In baseball, most people will only watch the World Series if their favorite team is playing. All sports fans watch the Super Bowl, and the Final Four. In completely concrete terms, the "product" being sold is better in these other leagues. Thus, despite what the baseball powers may want to tell themselves, they’ve been sucking hind tit for a while now.
Enter the Mitchell Report...
In 1987, the NFL began imposing penalties for the use of performance enhancing substances, and later imposed a random testing policy. Although former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle thought that the East German female athletes of the 1970’s were "hotties" with all their rippling muscles, deep voices, and beards, he felt that there was no place for whatever it was they were taking in the NFL. The NCAA, long a bastion of dictatorial rule, had outlawed the use of such substances before they even existed. Baseball on the other hand -- largely due to the demands of their players -- took the "What, me Worry?" stance, assuring the nation’s sports lovers that baseball players would never use performance-enhancing substances.
This is the most laughable and myopic act of intentional ignorance in the sports world since the University of Oklahoma hired Barry Switzer...
Finally, in 2002, baseball -- somewhat reluctantly -- banned the use of steroids, and imposed a penalty of a ten-game suspension for a violation of the policy. Wow, let’s not get too draconian there, I mean banning a player for 6% of the 162 game season is getting pretty tough. Yeah right. Under the NFL’s current policies, the first time a player tests positive for any of the banned substances, a four-game suspension is mandatory -- a quarter of the NFL season -- a second test failure results in an eight-game suspension, and a third in a twelve-game suspension. In the NBA, testing positive for steroids or performance-enhancing drugs results in a ten-game suspension (12% of the season) for a first offense, a twenty-five-game ban (30% of the season) for a second offense, a one-year suspension for a third test failure, and lifetime disqualification if they’re caught for a fourth time. Even the NHL has stiffer penalties, a first-time violation of the NHL’s drug policy earns a twenty-game suspension (24% of the season) without pay and mandatory participation in the league’s substance abuse program. A second failure carries a sixty-game suspension (73% of the season). In the NCAA, a violation of the drug use policy results in the player having doughnuts attached to every square inch of their body, and then being locked in a 6’ x 6’ room with Ralph Friedgen, Mark Mangino, and the Great Punkin.
What’s more, the NFL currently conducts 12,000 annual random drug tests of its players. The NBA and the NHL randomly test their players four and two times a season respectively.In baseball, the drug test policy went something like this:
Manager: So, umm ... I hate to hell to ask this, Roger, but ... uhh ... you takin’ any drugs? Roger Clemens: Hold on just a sec ... Manager: Uhh ... Roger, what in the unholy hell are you doing? You’ve got a bunch of syringes stuck in your ass! Roger Clemens: Oh, those? Oh, those are nothing... Manager: Damn-amighty ... that’s disgusting! I bet that hurts like hell. Roger Clemens: Nahh, after a while your ass goes numb. Manager: What in hell is it for? Roger Clemens: Umm ... err ... it’s for ... umm ... it’s a flu shot. Manager: You need eight of the sonsabitches? Roger Clemens: Well, you can never be too safe. Manager: So does that last you a while? Roger Clemens: Well, to be safe, I take them four times a week. My family has a real flu history. (cough cough) Manager: Oh, well, I guess that makes sense. So, anyway, Roger, ... uhh ... do you take drugs? Roger Clemens: No sir, not me. Not now, not ever, not eight doses four times a week. No sir, I’m clean. (flexing muscle) Clean as can be. (long pause) Manager: Okay! Works for me. Good talk, Roger...
The fact is that Major League Baseball’s refusal to address the issue until it was too late has put the league front and center in the public media. Furthermore, the long term refusal to take a stand on the issue fostered an environment where the use of such drugs was effectively condoned. As a result, it wasn’t just a select few on the fringe who were using, it was everyone -- even the big stars.
Baseball’s inability to police its league and its players willingness to do anything they can to win, has called into question the very ethics of the league, and forever changed the way most sports fans look at the game. No matter what the owners and league office officials may hope, the start of the new season is not going to cause people to forget about the Mitchell Report, steroids, Congressional hearings and the rest. Images of Brain McNamee shooting steroids into Roger Clemens’ ass and old beer cans filled with bloody syringes are not going to disappear overnight. The thought of Barry Bonds taking steroids via an IV bag in his back pocket during games, isn’t going to miraculously melt into the ether world. Debbie Clemens getting her steroid fix at Jose Canseco’s house during a kegger, is not going to up and vanish like a fart in the wind. The collective consciousness has a longer memory than that. In fact the whole sports world is grounded on memory and the past -- were it not, then we wouldn’t quote statistics as if they fell from the sky like manna from Heaven.
The fact is that Major League Baseball is damaged goods. It is a league which was already falling behind -- slipping into apathy -- and now there is a reason to affirmatively dislike the league. It’s a shame for all the players who didn’t dope up, for all the minor league players who don’t play just for the money, and for all the college, high school, and Little League players who just love playing the game. Be that as it may, baseball is no longer king -- and it hasn’t been for quite a while. Now, baseball is like the slimy step-brother that everyone keeps around -- because they are family -- who is always asking to borrow money, moving from disaster to disaster, and getting drunk at family gatherings. Now baseball is on the outside, looking in.
Baseball is in the process of reacting (as opposed to "acting") to the situation and will, I’m sure, impose the most stringent drug policy of all the leagues -- that’s what happens when you ignore a problem too long. The fact remains, however, that now they are convicts, and no one will trust them for a very long time. In the meantime, all the other sports will continue to occupy the minds and hearts of the nation, as baseball continues to slide. At some level it is sad. A game that was once at the forefront is now a secondary issue. Still, the league brought it on itself. By the same token, all the other leagues out there should be wary. They all have their own problems, issues, and they all have their "weak spot." Those other leagues and sports best learn from baseball, and not go down that path. Baseball was once lord of the sports world in the United States, and it fell -- its replacements can do the same. Hopefully, football and basketball will take heed and try to avoid baseball’s woes. If they don’t, then they are destined to follow. For now, Major League Baseball will do everything it can to patch itself up, and hope that the fans forget. Eventually, the fans will forgive, but they won’t be forgetting any time soon.In the meantime, the stadium is open, the popcorn is popping, the hot dogs are ready, but baseball is out...
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