Thursday, August 31, 2006
Welcome to the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Five. In case you've suffered amnesia or were in a coma during this fabulous year here's what you forgot/missed:
Martha Stewart was in and out of jail, the Terry Schiavo Debate was in full force, Pope John Paul II passed away, Tom Cruise jumped on a couch, Deep Throat was revealed, Greats Johnny Carson and Richard Pryor joined Sam Kinison in the sky, Katrina wrecked havoc on the Big Easy, America's couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston split, and the Saddam Hussein Trial began (I'm not really sure if it's over?)
In Sports, USC Football, The Chicago White Sox, Tony Stewart, The San Antonio Spurs, UNC Basketball, and the New England Patriots, were your Champions.
The Red Sox lost in the first round of the playoffs....Red Sox fans began to whine again. The NHL season was canceled...no one noticed. The Eagles cut T.O. Randy Johnson headed to NYC, The NBA added a Dress Code, Congressional Baseball Hearings were made a mockery, Larry Brown promised Knicks success, and Future HOF (not anymore) Ralfy Palmeiro tested positive for 'roids.
All of this, and John Edward Bayless the 2nd had it ALL covered. I give you my favorite 10 in Chronological Order (one is out of order, but only because I saved the best for last). Hold on to your hats.......
10. Bayless: Yay, Jose. In a few years, we might be thanking Jose Canseco for helping to clean up our national pastime. (February 14, 2005)
Jose Canseco the Hero! Here are the highlights:
- "I'm starting to get the feeling that Canseco's book, "Juiced," will be remembered the way Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" was. It just might open a window into our national pastime through which only a few media members have peeked." Juiced....as important to our history as the Grapes of Wrath!
- "I'll admit that I've heard the whispers about Canseco and McGwire "juicing" as Oakland A's Bash Brothers since the late '80s." Sure Skip......Suuuuuure.
- "So to me, "Juiced" is also about revenge. If Canseco's legacy and Hall of Fame chances have been ruined, he's taking down the highly popular and protected guilty with him. And that's fine with me."
- "I want to see average athletes succeed only because they train and play harder and smarter than their competition. I want to see records set with natural-born instead of anabolic talent. That's why I want to see Jose Canseco rub our previously upturned noses in the lowly truth with "Juiced." I don't care if he makes millions off the book. It will be worth it." That's it Skip give Jose some props.....he's a Stand-up Guy afterall.
One guess as to what this one is about.....this should be grand!
Sorry, I tried to clutch and grab you as long as I could. I'm writing the rest of this column only for me. Call it self-therapy.
I: Why do you hate hockey so much?ME: I don't hate — I just cannot bring myself to like it or watch it on TV. Oh great, he's doing the whole article like he's talking to himself. That ALWAYS works.
I: You certainly didn't think it was hokey the night you covered the Miracle On Ice at the 1980 Olympics.
ME: It wouldn't have mattered if the United States and Soviets had been playing charades that night. The point was that a bunch of no-hope college kids from America shocked a pro juggernaut from our Cold War rival. I'm sorry, but this paragraph is sacrelig to me. The reason why it was such a big deal is because the Soviets were so Damn Good in Hockey. Our highschool kids could beat them in Track & Field (I routinely did at the Pangea Games, and I was an above average runner). The Winter Olympics were (and had to be) the stage.
I: You could be burned at the stake in Canada for proposing such heresy.
ME: Canada originally fell head-over-Molson in love with hockey because it didn't have any other sports alternatives. Somebody gave me a book once as a joke — "Hockey for Dummies." I said: "That's all hockey is for." Say that to Tie Domi's face Skip....you won't do it.
I: You're not getting enough sleep.
ME: You wouldn't either if you kept having bad dreams about E.J. This hockey showdown is doing for E.J. what the Gulf War did for Wolf Blitzer. Now I'm dreaming that E.J. Blitzer is on TV saying that the NFL has decided to play on ice, that the NBA will make players dribble with sticks, that baseball will now end in nine-inning ties. Umm, bad dreams about EJ? Hmmmm....
8. Bayless: Million Problem Baby. If "Million Dollar Baby" wins Best Picture, Skip Bayless is throwing in the towel. (February 25, 2005)
Great Skipper is at the movies, and surprise....he doesn't like something! And he takes shots at females!!! Exciting.....(Who writes the titles for his articles? Is that supposed to be funny?)
- "That's why I vow never to watch my favorite show of the year, Sunday night's Academy Awards, again if Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" wins Best Picture or Best Director or turns into this year's "Lord of the Rings" with an endless parade of acceptance speeches."
- "But my intelligence was sucker punched from the opening scene on. As we first see Swank, playing a boxer named Maggie Fitzgerald, she has just won her fight on the undercard of what you soon realize is a heavyweight contender's fight at the Grand Olympic in downtown Los Angeles. I know the building. It seats about 6,000, and as Maggie watches from the wings, it's packed with screaming fans. A female boxer would have to be reasonably accomplished to get a shot on that undercard." It's a movie...
- "If the movie had opened with Maggie walking into Frankie's gym in her waitress outfit and pathetically punching a bag, I'd have been intrigued." Ah Skip's humor is on hand again. I don't know if this comment makes him a chauvinist or a pervert.
- "But that's what makes me crazy about overrated sports movies like "Bull Durham." They pander to the audience's superficial and romanticized perception. They're basically sports fairy tales. "Bull Durham" was filled with caricatures and exaggerated stereotypes, with fake Southern accents and silly dialogue, yet "Bull Durham" became a classic. Bull-loney. Give me real." I'm getting mad again.....I'm not responding to my rage. I would normally cut off the comments here to save this from being too long, but F it....this is just ridiculous.
- "I disliked the second half even more than the first half. The first half was just a silly sports movie. The second half was a maudlin, manipulative, melodramatic B-movie."
- "But for the record, I would not be devastated if Swank wins Best Actress or if Freeman wins Best Supporting Actor. Both rose above roles that defy nomination. Swank brings Maggie to life with a sweet toughness and a credible athleticism that cancel her bad Southern accent. Morgan's narration at least gives "Baby" some wise, witty mortar." Huh? I thought you hated it.....now I'm confused. As usual Skip.
- "I'm probably wrong, but I've never heard of a trainer or cut man saving a fight by snapping a fighter's broken nose back in place so the bleeding would stop. And I have never, ever heard of a fighter getting sucker punched as he (or she) walks back to her corner after a round, then falling against the stool the trainer has just placed back in the ring and breaking his (or her) neck." Skip, again.....it's a movie.
- "Yet in the hospital, Frankie reminds her that, well, she lost. So does her heartless trailer-trash mother. Preposterous. Her opponent would have have been disqualified. The mother is a sitcom parody. But instead of laughing out loud, people around me in the theater started crying when the Trailer Trash Mom pushes poor Maggie to sign away her boxing winnings. And the Oscar goes to ... "Million Dollar Baby"? Oh, baby. I think I'm going to cry."
Wow if the Million Dollar Baby article wasn't bad enough.
- "Let's begin with the Fairy Tale Factor. It astounds me that the NCAA and its conferences get away with legitimizing conference tournaments as bonus moneymakers by allowing the winners an automatic postseason berth. This is a silly rule that cheapens the field."
- "Oakland no more belongs in the Big Dance than I belong in the middle of a Destiny's Child number." Another funny!
- "But on to Thursday and Friday and the buzzer-beating upset madness. This year more than ever, your office pool could be won by Diedre Dense, who thinks Billy Packer played for Green Bay, or Thurmon Thick, who always picks Duke because his hero was John Wayne. This year, any of 20 teams could get hot and go on a six-game title tear. I wouldn't rule out Gonzaga or Villanova any more than I would trust Illinois or Carolina." Ahahahahahaha.....Dense and Thick, I get it!
- "You just know that some kid who grew up on a farm without plumbing or electricity, and who was taught to shoot baskets by his blind father when he wasn't caring for his paraplegic mother, will heave a full-court, overhand shot that will bank in at the buzzer, allowing Your Team to beat My Team by one. You just know that Donald Dim, the sports moron who sits over in the corner of your office, will win your pool by picking UConn, because he has a great aunt who lives up there in Canada. You just know I'm right: This tournament is sensationally flawed madness." No comment.
John now tries to explain how Mike Tyson is a marketing genius.....when he's dead broke. This should go flawwwwwlessly.
- "Heck, he might rape an alien and eat his own alien baby, giant ears first, right there on pay-per-view. So hurry, hurry, step right up and order now!" Yep....flawlessly.
- "After all, what legacy does he have to protect? Since Tyson began boxing 20 years ago, he hasn't beaten a single great heavyweight in his prime. At Tyson's pit-bull best from 1985 to '90, he couldn't have beaten any of the greatest from the Ali Era – not Ali, Frazier, Foreman or Norton. Tyson beat Larry Holmes when Holmes was 38. He mauled Michael Spinks in 91 seconds because Spinks was nothing more than a decent light heavyweight." I don't think you can blame Tyson for the state of the Heavyweight Division back then.....I personally think he would have a decent chance against the best of all time (in his prime of course).
- "Tyson's enduring appeal boils down to: What might this maniac do next? Tyson knows he can be the devil inside us all. As he once said: "This country wasn't built on moral fiber. This country was built on rape, slavery, murder, degradation and affiliation with crime." He knows he is a part of us all." Umm, maybe you Skip. I personally have not ever been involved in slavery, murder, or rape. Do we have some skeletons in our closet Johnny?
- "And, to reporters about how much he hates his life: "I want to throw down your kid and stomp on his testicles, and then you will know what it is like to experience waking up every day as me." Tyson says he's on Zoloft, for depression. What might he do next? His face tattoo cinched it. This guy is crazy! Like a very intelligent fox."
Skip and the Draft. He's been known to "not use statistics that much"....that will work well with this piece.
- "I like Deron Williams – you probably love him. But I say the high school kid, Gerald Green, will turn out to be better than anyone else in this draft." Gerald Green is killing......the NBDL.
- "Luis Scola almost certainly will be a better NBA player than anyone who will be drafted Tuesday night. You probably say: "Who?" I still do Skip....I still do.
- "Bogut's Utes lost a Sweet 16 game by 10 to Kentucky, which didn't exactly have a front line of Walton, Olajuwon and Ewing. Bogut had 20 points and 11 rebounds. But, come on – if he were a future perennial NBA All-Star, he would have dominated Kentucky, then Michigan State, then made eventual champion North Carolina sweat in the Final Four." Umm 20 and 11 IS dominating in a college game. Especially when Kentucky knew Utah was going to him every play.
- "As a freshman last season, Williams was completely content to come off the bench. Bad sign." This statement is so idiotic I don't know what to say. Does he realize who started in front of him and that he was a freshman? No? Okay then, that makes sense.
- "Could Paul become a better scoring point guard than Parker? Paul is certainly a better passer than Parker, who becomes a turnover-prone liability against good defensive teams. But at 6 feet, Paul is two inches shorter than Parker and isn't as quick. Parker is astonishingly slippery and inventive. You always know he's on the floor because he's a rare talent. I watched lots of Chris Paul games in which I kept losing sight of Chris Paul. Is he unselfish to a fault? He was at his best when he was forced to take over to keep Wake Forest in a second-round NCAA game against West Virginia. But long story short: Wake lost. I've heard so much more than I've seen about how NBA great Paul will be." Good call.....Chris Paul was an awful Rookie last year. Wait, he won ROY???? You're kidding me right?
- "It was a good sign that Green signed with Oklahoma State. That meant he wasn't afraid to learn the game the right way – the hard way – from tough old Eddie Sutton in no-frills Stillwater." Hahaha, what game was that? The DUI game? No frills baby.
- "If I were the Bucks, I'd have a hard time passing up Gerald Green."
Bayless uses his Bonds know-how to hint that Little Leaguers are using steroids. Hmmm?
- "Bichette turned down an interview request from ESPN's Harold Reynolds earlier that day because he wanted to sleep in. Yes, a 12-year-old blew off ESPN's most respected ex-player analyst." Ha....that's too funny.
- "I will bet you my precious old Mayfair Chipmunks cap that some of the kids in this year's LLWS have used or are using steroids. I just saw a LLWS commercial. "Little League baseball," it says, irony dripping, "has always been about the important things in life." I feel as if I've just watched the movie's chilling fade-out."
Another Bonds article....we ARE lucky individuals.
- "But yes, his comeback has been even better than James Bond in "You Only Live Twice." What? Come on Skip know your target audience.
Skip tells about three guys that will be retiring.....except none of them retired.
- " You are Mario Lemieux, No. 66.All the new pieces just created more of a puzzle. You can't practice hard and you're slowing down an offense champing to accelerate under the new freewheeling rules. So how did you solve the problem? You signed off on firing your coach and friend, Eddie Olczyk. Face it: You are at least part of the problem."
- "You are Brett Favre, No. 4. But deep down, you know that even your biggest fans are starting to wonder if that longevity record is the only reason you keep playing. Yes, you've had a tough run. You lost your father in December of 2003 -- and responded with one of the greatest "Monday Night Football" performances ever, four touchdown passes in the first half of a 41-7 road destruction of the Raiders. Your wife overcame breast cancer and lost her brother in an all-terrain vehicle accident. But you have endured. Until this season."
- " You are Roger Clemens, No. 22. Yes, enjoy watching your kids grow up, on and off the field. But commit more than ever to conditioning your body, too. Your hero, Nolan Ryan, pitched a no-hitter at 44 and didn't retire until he was 46. But he hit the exercise bike and the weights even harder than you do. Rededicate yourself, in Houston, and you could pitch until you're at least 46. Lemieux and Favre will envy you." Yep, that sums up the careers of some of the best players of mine and possibly any generation. Thanks Skip.
Now I know you haven't read all of these articles in their entirety (if you have you'd be ready to throw up about now....kinda like me), but if you read any of them read this one. It's athletes at war with Skip, and it's awesome.
"I've been bumped and shoved, but never punched. For me, some of these discussions got very loud and settled nothing; others cleared the air and created mutual respect and productive working relationships. I wish I could say I've always remained calm and professional with an athlete or coach in my face, but … well, you be the judge." Oh man this is going to be good. Post your favorites in the comments section. (Clashees: Frank Thomas, Tommy Lasorda, Cliff, Harris, and Mark Tuinei.
(Side Note: I remember having an argument once with my friend Boston Barry about the Red Sox, and he compared me to Skip Bayless. I don't think I've ever been more livid in my entire life. That's the type of shit that starts wars my friend.)