Category Archives: Lists

ANNOYING FAN UPDATE! 1/7/13

Can anyone catch the Raiders!?  The Packers and Steelers are closing in!

Can anyone catch the Raiders!? The Packers and Steelers are closing in!

As of 1/7/13, here are your MOST ANNOYING FAN BASES in the NFL! Keep voting right here!

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by | January 3, 2013 · 4:31 pm

Tony La Russa Has Trouble Communicating

Tony La Russa

Image via Wikipedia

The St. Louis Cardinals dropped Game 5 of the World Series last night to the Texas Rangers, and one of the major storylines was Cardinals manager Tony La Russa’s inability to communicate with his team…literally. In a tight spot late in the game, La Russa had trouble using the phone in the dugout to communicate with the bullpen, leading to relief pitchers not being ready when they should have been and a pitcher coming to the mound who wasn’t supposed to pitch that night. It was the type of general chaos and confusion that would make George Will weep into his bowtie with the notion that the genius had lost his touch.

But it turns out that Monday night wasn’t the only recent mix-up for La Russa. A Sporting Nerds investigation has uncovered several recent incidents where the Cardinals skipper has had a hard time getting the recipient of his message to fully grasp what he is trying to say.

  • Orders a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Imo’s. Winds up getting a pineapple and ground beef pizza instead, but doesn’t check until the delivery driver has taken off with his money (plus a $2 tip). Calls to complain but the restaurant is closed. Eats two slices before giving the rest of the pizza to Lance Berkman.
  • During an interview with St. Louis radio station KFNS, responds to a question with the answer “Pujols.” Static during the call leads to a misunderstanding and a record $125,000 fine levied against the station by the FCC.
  • Calls 1-800-FLOWERS to order a dozen long-stemmed roses for his mother on her birthday. Worker at customer service center in India bungles order, instead sending 57 daffodils to a confused Rene Russo.
  • Fields congratulatory phone call from President Obama after winning the NLCS. Short from champagne on the phone line causes call interference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is on hold with the President. Tactical decision to invade Kyrgyzstan nearly made in the confusion.

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What You Won’t Watch: September 8, 2011

Here’s a quick look at the sports programming for Thursday that you’ll miss because you were too busy watching the same thing as everyone else (all times Pacific):

Playing rugby in color didn't hit New Zealand until the late 1990s.

Classic Rugby Union from 1980: New Zealand vs. Fiji (Fox Soccer Plus, 1 a.m.): There’s usually very little common ground between rugby and basketball (one sport managed to bring together South Africa after decades of Apartheid, while the other brought us the loathsome Dream Team II), but you’ll be thinking about classic NBA games if you watch the test match from 1980 between the All-Blacks (New Zealand) and the Actually Blacks (Fiji). Why? Two words: short shorts.

While it’s tough to argue that the shorts you’ll see on display are snugger than the nut huggers you might find if you watch, say, a 76ers vs. Celtics game from the same time frame, please consider the sheer level of waist-level grabbing and smashing in a typical rugby match. Then consider doing this with your junk practically exposed, protected only by a tight layer of nylon stretched over your manhood like an ill-fitting Christo installation. It will be tough to watch without crossing your legs instinctively.

NFL’s Greatest Games from 1940: Chicago at Washington (ESPN Classic, 4:30 a.m.): Reliving the NFL Championship Game where the Bears thrashed the Redskins 73-0, as Chicago tallied eight interceptions. Since both franchises would eventually be the home of one Rex Daniel Grossman III, the high interception tallies shouldn’t be shocking.

Three Wide Life (Sunshine Network, 10:30 p.m.): A look at “the top NASCAR teams and personalities away from the track.” Note: this is not a show about the eating habits of Yankees’ hurler Bartolo Colon – that is called “Three Bills Life” and is on The Food Network. Because he’s fat.

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What You Won’t Watch: September 7, 2011

Here’s a quick look at the sports programming for Wednesday that you’ll miss because you were too busy watching the same thing as everyone else (all times Pacific):

Two people with better cheekbones than you attempt to play football.

Madden NFL 12 Pigskin Pro-Am (7 p.m., Versus): A flag football game featuring former NFL greats and random celebrities. Worth watching for three reasons:

– At any pro-am sporting event, there’s one celebrity who takes it way too seriously and tries to prove that he could have played D1 (insert name of sport here) if he wasn’t concentrating on his acting/singing/modeling career. For previous examples, please refer to any Rock ‘n’ Jock event on MTV in the 1990s involving Dan Cortese or Jaleel White.

– Conversely, it’s always fun to see which celebrities have never played football before and are just there because their agent said it would be “good to connect with the 18-35 male demo.” These are the players that are hoping a ball doesn’t accidentally get passed to them, since they are likely to have it go through their hands and damage their pretty faces.

– There’s always a chance that Dan Marino will snap when Turtle from “Entourage” runs a bad route and punch him in the face. He’s a very angry man.

Progressive Bass (6:30 a.m., Versus): Unfortunately, this is not an instructional video featuring Geddy Lee, but “highlights of bass fishing tournaments across the Southern states.” Based on its geography, it’s shocking the show isn’t named “Commie, Obamacare-Loving Bass Who Hate America.”

Classic Boxing from 2001 – Ray Oliveira vs. Ben Tackie (4 p.m., ESPN Classic): SPOILER ALERT – I won’t tell you who wins, but make sure you watch after the final bell for when Stone Cold Steve Austin makes his way to the ring. Let’s just say I hope Ben Tackie is hungry for a Stone Cold Stunner!

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Does the NFL Preseason Matter?

Maybe if you’re a Redskins fan.  For everyone else, the conclusions are more indirect.  I made a bunch of charts breaking down each team INDIVIDUALLY and IN COLOR to compare their preseason records with their regular season finish.  After this, you may start cheering for your team to tank a few preseason games.

Let’s start with the big picture. The first chart considers the preseason record of every NFL team for the last five seasons – the blue area. The black dots layered on top indicate each team’s regular season winning percentage. If there was a strong correlation between the two, you’d see the black dots hovering around the edge of the blue area, and that’s usually not the case.

Click chart to enlarge…

Bad news for this year’s St. Louis Rams‘ 4-0 preseason.  Teams that win four preseason games, surprisingly have the WORST winning percentage in the regular season. There’s the especially curious case of the 2008 Detroit Lions who went 4-0 in the preseason only to lose all 16 in the regular season.  (Look out Lions fans, they just did it again.)  Even when we omit that extreme case, the best preseason teams seem to burn out in the regular season.  Look at last years 49ers – 4-0 in the preseason, 6-10 in the regular season (yet they only missed the playoffs by one game).  On the other hand, the 2008 Patriots followed an 0-4 preseason by finishing 11-5.

Now, what about YOUR team? Check out every individual NFL team’s pre and regular season records layered on top of each other and in color! A few teams (Washington, Denver and Tennessee) show a correlation between pre and regular season wins.  Detroit fans should cheer for a terrible preseason, since they often finish at the opposite end. And with some teams like Chicago and Baltimore, you might as well flip a coin. Check out these charts and giggle at how they vaguely look like stick-figure Kama Sutra positions:

Click it and then ZOOM in for the full experience!

For the most part, the number of wins your team tallies in preseason doesn’t translate to the regular season. The best bet for a good season seems to be going 2-2.

What can we draw from this? Maybe the best teams focus on player-evaluation in the fakeseason but at the same time have enough depth in their roster to pull off some wins. It takes a sophisticated football fan to evaluate the preseason – and I do not claim to be one. You’ve got to observe individual talent and how it’ll fit into the big picture throughout the real season. The bottom line is, the perfect-preseason is probably to win 2 games.  If your team had a mediocre preseason, things are lookin’ up!

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Filed under Areas of Nerdery, Jones, Lists

16 Facts About Jim Thome

Jim Thome’s 21-year career is a rare testament to Ripken-esque longevity. Tonight Thome returns to his original team, the Cleveland Indians just in time for his birthday. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about the Five-Time All-Star:

  • Has two nicknames: “Jimbo Slice” and “Ol Hickory”
  • In his first season, baseball was still two words.
  • Called then-commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis “A real sonufabitch.”
  • Early career was basis for “The Natural”.
  • Played in the first televised baseball game.
  • Played for the Indians before the “Chief Wahoo” logo seemed racist.
  • Borrowed fellow Chicago White Sox player Joe Jackson’s shoes, forgot to return them.
  • In Thome’s first season, Cleveland was still “really nice”.
  • Wrote the famous Tom Hanks line “There’s no crying in baseball!”
  • Is Drew Carey’s dad.
  • Has played for all 30 Major League Baseball teams and 2 Negro Leagues teams.
  • Voted for Grover Cleveland – twice!
  • Has hit over 600 home runs.
  • Recently admitted to being older than Chipper Jones.
  • Stole ear of corn from “Field of Dreams” set.
  • Likes coffee

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Fans: A Field Guide to the 13 Types

What is wrong with sports fans?  Not YOU of course, you’re totally reasonable.  It’s those others you see around any sports bar or office water cooler.  Like that guy from Omaha who loves the Dallas Cowboys, or  the New York fan who can’t stand the Mets.  Beyond just rooting for our home teams, we all live by a unique personal honor code dictating loyalties and rivals.  Here’s a handy field guide to help define yourself and the fans around you while trying to answer the question: “What is wrong with these people?”

THE HOMER is the most common type of fan.  If you’re a Homer, you cheer for your home team.  Duh.  Maybe that place is awesome, maybe it’s horrible.  Either way, you’re probably blind to it because it’s all you knew growing up.  Odds are it’s a place as normal and likable as all the other cities you claim to hate.  So, there’s a naiveté that comes with being a Homer, that deep-rooted, primal bond is almost impossible to break.  It may even go beyond sports.  A home team can invoke the nostalgia of a childhood going to ball games with mom and dad, smelling cheap beer and bus fumes in the parking lot.  A Homer has it in his blood.

THE FRONT RUNNER is afraid to take risks.  This fan hasn’t suffered enough to “get it” like the other fans.  They choose the easy road of cheering for a team that always wins, never earning that badge of honor for sports martyrdom.  They may like their home team, but only when they win.  Really though, can you blame them?  We laud the “Best Actor”.  We eat at the “Best Restaurant” (if it’s affordable).  Why not reward the best team?  And isn’t it the front runner in all of us that fills the stands when a team gets hot?  The Front Runners are an important part of nature, just like rats and jellyfish.

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