Category Archives: Everything You Know Is Wrong

Space Aliens Agree: Utah Hornets & New Orleans Jazz

neworleanshornets Unknown

New Orleans and Salt Lake City need to trade NBA team nicknames giving us the New Orleans Jazz and the Utah Hornets. If you came from another planet and were given a list of facts about each city and team nickname this is how you’d pair them up. Why? Let’s start with the obvious:

The Jazz, and their Mardi Gras inspired color scheme originally moved from New Orleans to Utah, where – the movie “Baseketball” claims – “They don’t allow music”. That’s a little harsh, but musically: Utah gave us the Osmonds (“a little bit country” and “a little bit rock and roll” = 0% jazz) and Mormon Tabernacle Choir – both quality in their own right. New Orleans, however, gave us Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and…I guess the Neville Brothers. New Orleans is SO into jazz they actually have a jazz trumpet on their 2nd logo!

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We’d all be cool with them switching. The Jazz and Hornets are just stuck in the status quo like two coworkers with massive crushes on each other afraid to make the first move. Maybe what they both need is a drink.

Hey, let’s talk about alcohol! Utah is the home to notoriously conservative liquor laws. Jazz music gained popularity through illegal speakeasies during prohibition. Drugs and alcohol dance hand and hand with jazz. Though, Utah’s prohibition-inspired liquor laws are as close as you can get to the “Jazz Age” in modern America. This one’s a wash.

On the flip side, Utah is the BEEHIVE STATE. They have a beehive on the flag! Look!

sealLarge

There’s some story about Mormon pioneers traveling with a shit ton of bees on their way to Salt Lake City and they like their industriousness. So, what is a hornet but a bee that’s become more and more pissed off over millennia of evolution. The hornet is vaguely cultural and speaks to their religious heritage. Call the stadium the “HIVE” and have “SWARMS” of fans. Let the team ride in on covered wagons even. You’d have to call them the “Joseph Smiths” to be any more perfect! You may be thinking “But a hornet is technically a WASP, not a “bee”. To that point: 1. Congratulations on splitting hairs. 2. Here is a density map of Americans who claim English heritage. Add to that: The state is 95% white and 64% Mormon and you’ll notice a remarkably high concentration of WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) in Utah. So yeah, science.

Americans claiming English descent.  Dark red/brown being the highest percentage.

FIG. 1.a — Americans claiming English descent. Dark red/brown being the highest percentage.

Final note: Be careful with your football team, New Orleans. Utah is also home to the world headquarters of the Latter Day Saints and the original state nickname “Land of the Saints”.

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Lost Sports Video Games

Remember “The Black Bass” and “Shaq Fu”?  Neither do we, but cleaning out the office recently we found a couple awful old sports video games you may have missed (because they are fake).  Here are the first two.  We’re also welcoming submissions of your own obscure and terrible sports video games.

Here’s an NES classic celebrating the drunken tradition of trying to start the wave.  Experience the thrill of fan apathy, tangle with fan assistants and keep that beer meter full!

WaveStarter_NES cartridge box

The NES Classic “Wave Starter”

More recently, womens’ golf jumped on to the “street” trend.

LPGA Street for PS3

“LPGA Street” was the “And 1” of Womens’ golf

Promotional copy from the back of the box:
It’s time to take women’s golf back to where it all started – THE STREET! EA Sports’ new “LPGA Street” puts YOU in control of all your favorite female golfers. From Inbee Park to Jiyai Shin, all of your favorite LPGA Tour golfers are here. You might watch the LPGA Tour every week but you’ve NEVER SEEN WOMEN’S GOLF LIKE THIS BEFORE!
“LPGA Street” has features you JUST WON’T FIND in any other women’s golf game including:
– The hottest FREESTYLE GOLF ACTION featuring OUTRAGEOUS DRIVES, INSANE IRONS and HEART-STOPPING CHIPS!
– FULLY PLAYABLE, INTERACTIVE LEVELS including Rucker Park, Venice Beach and the Greenbrier Golf & Country Club Parking Lot.
– Signature moves from today’s hottest LPGA stars. Blow the competition away with Gerina Piller’s signature DOWN ‘N’ DIRTY DRAW DRIVE! Melt faces with Paula Creamer’s XTREME CHIP & RUN! Crush the field with So Yeon Ru’s PITCHING WEDGE FLOP SHOT. String shots together for AWESOME COMBOS to take down even the toughest par-fives.
– Players are fully customizable with authentic LPGA hairstyles including SHORT! MEDIUM-SHORT! and MEDIUM! Deck them out in the hottest duds with clothing options such as shorts, Capri shorts and khakis IN MULTIPLE COLORS. (Note: khakis not available on Wii.)
BUY NOW and receive a $10 coupon good for the preorder of “NASCAR Front Tire Changer 2013.”

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Inside Eric Winston’s (and Matt Cassel’s) Brain

First, watch the video, you will be ahead of 98% of the fans who have commented on this story.  Watch this video first or I will FIGHT you!

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000071794/Matt-Cassel-injury

Did you watch it?  OK, good.

You probably know the tale:  This week Chiefs fans got accused by offensive lineman Eric Winston of cheering for Matt Cassel getting hurt.  On that play you just saw!  Did you spot it?  Here’s Winston’s take:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7tG8HJsi0Y

(It’s important to stress ROMAN Coliseum, as Matt Cassel spent his college years not-playing in the “Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum”.)

Fans everywhere got half the story and start throwing around the word “classless” like the phrase “job creators” in a presidential campaign.  I like what Winston said, but I think he’s wrong.  I’m positive this situation has happened countless times, you just never had a lineman go off to the press about it.  I watched the game (as a Chiefs fan) and I didn’t hear it.  I’m a Chiefs homer and canNOT be trusted.  So, judge for yourself.

When Cassel went down, I BRACED myself for the fan reaction because I know two things:

  1. Fans have been clamoring for Cassel (and General Manager Scott Pioli, and head coach Romeo Crennel) to go.
  2. Many fans are – by nature – terrible people.

 I  CRINGED when they cheered for Brady Quinn coming in, for three different reasons:

  1. Coach Crennel didn’t pull Cassel for performance.  He was injured.  (Or WAS he?  Maybe this was a scam to save face.  If you don’t believe me, watch “The Adjustment Bureau” or “Wag the Dog“.)
  2. Again, Cassel was hurt.  This is surely what rubbed Winston the wrong way.
  3. Brady Quinn was booed harder than Cassel when he played for the EXACT same coach in Cleveland.  Cleveland!
Where everyone’s coming from:

Chiefs fans in general are known for being loud and – believe it or not – knowledgable.  Like any fan base, they have plenty of complainers spewing ignorance and impatience on message boards and sports call-in shows.  They don’t like Cassel.  Some of it’s justified, but he takes too much blame for a bad team.  Says who? Says me! and I’m SMART!

I’m a patient, rational, optimistic fan, and even I’m ready to see the Chiefs try someone else under center.  (Such a gross term.  Think about it.)  Personally, I’d go easy on cheering for the backup coming in when it’s at the expense of another guy’s brain health.  Consider that, and the constant criticism of Cassel, and that it’s Eric Winston‘s JOB so he’s going to take this very personally and maybe you can see what was brewing in his head.

He makes excellent points and is super cool for standing up for the players about what he believes he heard.  Fans do all the complaining but none of the work (or pay, yeah I know).  They can be real jerks and I love seeing them called out on it.  No doubt some dumb-dumb was a little too happy, but in this case, I’m not seeing/hearing it.

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Basketball returns! The altered reality of a post-strike season.

Merry Christmas, NBA fans.  Your season begins on December 25.  It’s time to dismount your moral high horse and get back to cheering for millionaire players and billionaire owners.

They’ll go ahead with a 60-game season instead of the usual 82, but will still subject fans to their 82,000-game playoff tournament in which every team but the Los Angeles Clippers will qualify.

Shortened seasons can leave fans wondering about what could have happened had mommy and daddy not been fighting over money when they could have been fighting over a ball.  I had hoped to blow your mind with a “what if” version of the 2010-11 playoffs with the Golden State Warriors edging out the Pacers in the final.  I figured that the only way for the season to be taken seriously would be to switch to an “NBA Jam” (or “NBA Street”) version of the season where players go 2-on-2, have giant heads and “catch fire” after making 3 consecutive shots.

Unfortunately for my hypothesis, I checked the numbers and learned this: Aside from minor seeding differences, ALL division winners and playoff qualifiers from 2010-11 would be completely unchanged if last year’s season ended at 60 games instead of 82.  This only furthers the “NBA regular season doesn’t matter” argument.

Let’s look at how some other sports have handled their domestic disputes:

FOOTBALL

In 1982 the NFL’s 9-game strike-shortened season ended with a 16-team tournament (there were 27 teams at the time) that ended with the 8-1 Redskins beating the 8-1 Dolphins in Semi-Super Bowl XVII.

This year of course, the NFL players and owners played chicken all summer, then gave fans a big, fat “you’re welcome” for making their lives matter again.  Football “came back” promising more pizzazz and bullshit than ever.

BASEBALL

The 1981 Major League Baseball season was interrupted by a mid-season strike that inspired the interesting decision to divide the season into two halves, with the 1st and 2nd half division leaders qualifying for the playoffs instead of going by overall standings at the end of the season.  This allowed the 50-53 Kansas City Royals in over the 57-48 Texas Rangers, and eventually put 3rd place New York Yankees into the World Series.

MLB’s 1994 season ended with the ultimate “Oopsie Daisy” when the season was cancelled just 2/3 of the way through and we all missed what would likely be another thrilling New York Yankee World Series championship, possibly over the 1st place Montreal Expos.

HOCKEY

Then in 1994, the NHL season was cut in half, followed by the annual Stanley Cup Tournament in which teams actually have to make an effort not to qualify.

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Update! Great Yankee Conspiracy Debunked?

To bring you up to speed: The Great Yankee Conspiracy, is my theory that the Yankees MIGHT play half-speed against the Tampa Bay Rays in hopes of knocking the Red Sox out of the wild card spot in these last days of the season.  I said the Yankees don’t have the stones to do it (or that it’s good strategy not to, take your pick).  It’s hard to say, really.  Tonight there’s no A-Rod and no Russel Martin, and the pitcher was “TBD” until about 10 minutes before game time, but it looks like the PLAYERS are at least taking the game seriously.

Most importantly, last night my STAR witness in the Great Yankee Conspiracy, Russel Martin who claimed “Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome to me,” proved that the Yankees ARE in-fact playing to win against the Rays, even if it means the Red Sox make the playoffs.  First, he hits a home run.  Then he bats into this incredible triple play – a story in itself.

Watch the Rays turn an amazing and crucial triple-freaking-play.

What’s most important here is to note Russel Martin did not give up on the play and is seen DIVING into first base.  The Yankees are playing to win, whether it’s just the pride and pressure of athletic competition, or strategy.  Strategically, can you blame them?  The Rays are surging, confident and dangerous.  They should treat tonight’s game like a playoff game where they can defeat knock out their first opponent, Tampa Bay.

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Do the Yankees REALLY hate the Red Sox?

Admit it. The "rivalry" is a sham!

In the next three days, we’ll see just how far this Red Sox / Yankees rivalry really goes.

With the season winding down, the Red Sox limp toward the finish line and a potential wild card spot. Despite going 6-18 through September, they’re still in front…barely. Closing in fast are the Tampa Bay Rays. That means the Red Sox will be cheering on the Rays opponent for this final series: the New York Yankees.

This puts the Yankees in a very powerful spot – a “top” if you will – in determining who secures the American League wild card. Tank these 3 games against the Tampa Bay Rays, and you’ve got a very good chance of knocking the Red Sox out of the playoffs without even playing them.

But would they?

If this were a REAL rivalry, a deep-seated, near-religious loathing that truly ran as deep as we’re led to the believe, I would say yes, without a doubt. I don’t think the Yankees have the gonads to pull a stunt like that though.

Barely three days ago, Yankees catcher Russel Martin admitted “I hate the Red Sox” and “Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me,” and then you know what his team did?  They lost to the Rays 15-8 (though they had just beat the Rays in the previous 3 games).  Consider the Yankees general manager recently claimed to have shown interest in outfielder Carl Crawford during the last offseason only to drive up the price the Red Sox would eventually pay him. Whether or not those were his real intentions is an entirely different debate, but it clearly illustrates that the rivalry plays out beyond the framework of 9 innings. Interesting.

Listen, I doubt any team would deliberately lose a game – or at least admit it. There’s too much pride and competition in professional (or even rec-league) sports for anyone to throw a game – though the 1919 Chicago White Sox offer a strong counterpoint. But will they put their best foot forward against the Rays? Will they truly be motivated to win these last three games? I suspect some younger players will see some time while key starters sit out, if only to rest for the playoffs.  Whatever the motive, these tactics could easily be spun as a sound end-of-season strategy.

Would it REALLY be New York if they acknowledged the existence of any other city? This is best team in the biggest city in the USA. Maybe part of the rivalry is pretending you don’t even care about the rivalry. They could beat anyone, anywhere, any time. The REAL prize is winning another World Series, no matter who you have to play.

Let’s not forget the Rays. If the Yankees lose to them, they’d end up facing them in the playoffs. Could the Yankees be cunning enough to use the next three nights as a psyche-out? Sandbagging it before coming on full-force in the playoffs? Or would the confidence boost and momentum they’d give to the Rays backfire on the Yankees in the playoffs?

Still, if the Yankees are confident enough that they could beat anyone, any time and if the two teams TRULY hate each other as much as legend says, either of them would absolutely pull a stunt like that. Of course, the athletes aren’t MassHoles and Bleacher Creatures. These are rational, paid professionals who want to beat any team, anywhere, anytime. In fact, the slumping Red Sox might be a more desirable opponent than the Tampa Bay Rays.

Regardless of New York’s motives – the situation puts the Red Sox in a tough spot. They’ll put their hopes not just in their own team, but also in the Yankees, on the road, with 3 meaningless games to play before the playoffs.

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