Category Archives: Sport

Connecticut Republicans Should be Rooting For Broncos In The Super Bowl

Courtesy of NFL.com

Courtesy of NFL.com

The Super Bowl isn’t normally thought of as a politically partisan event, but this state’s GOP probably should be pulling for the Denver Broncos on Feb. 2 if they want to defeat Democrat Dannel Malloy in November.

The reason is that the Broncos are a team from the NFL’s American Football Conference. Connecticut Republican gubernatorial candidates almost always lose when a team from the NFC wins the Super Bowl. READ MORE



Football Follies

football moron

The only difference between the Richie Incognito story and the Aaron Hernandez story is that the former has not had a tragic ending…yet.

In both cases, borderline sociopathic man-children, seemingly addicted to rage and covered with more tattoos than The Illustrated Man at the freak show, sent up enough warning flares during their athletic careers to have all but required—necessitated, mandated—intervention by adults. And yet, they were waved on through because of their talents for mayhem on a playing field.

In both cases, coaches, teammates and organizations failed to act and, only after the feces hit the fan, have the Miami Dolphins (in Incognito’s case) and the New England Patriots (in Hernandez’s case) cut their ties with the players. READ MORE



OSU Marching Band’s Michael Jackson Tribute is Ridic

Have you seen this yet? Ohio State University’s marching band is apparently pretty amazing and ridiculous, and their Michael Jackson field show tribute was so incredible it brought this former high school marching band member to tears. Seriously. Part of being in marching band is never really knowing what the whole field show looks like. I hope these guys got to watch their own performance with buckets of popcorn and kegs of beer because it’s fucking fantastic. Hi-5s all around.



Happy Friday, Now Laugh at NYC Cops vs. Skateboarders … to Yakety Sax

The week is almost over. You need some laughs. We all need some laughs. So there's this:

 

 

Police try to stop and arrest skateboarders during an annual eight mile skateboard race through the City, or something. It doesn’t really matter, all you need to know is it’s funny and you should watch it. Pronto.



Palin in Pinstripes, or Yankee Go Home

A Rod

At some point in the media frenzy over Alex Rodriguez, the disgraced third-basemen for the New York Yankees, it dawned on me: A Rod is Sarah Palin in pinstripes. Like Palin, he has convinced himself that he is an indispensable superstar that deserves center stage. And neither will quietly do what most of us want them to do: PLEASE GO AWAY.

To wit: Palin’s sole political cred, on which she has traded like a titled baron, is one-half term as governor of Alaska—she quit on the state when she realized that the national stage offered more lucrative opps for cashing in. She has since enriched herself through a PAC and endless grandstanding appearances on TV and at various and sundry tea party-type conventions.

Likewise, A-Rod owns a puffed-up portfolio and his statistical arsenal is meaningless given his chronic use of illegal substances to enhance his athleticism. His career stats should end at the point when he started cheating. And when was that? Who knows? And speaking of puffed up, when the chips are on the table, in the post season, A-Rod is a total washout—most recently, in the 2011 playoffs, he hit .111, helping the Bronx Bombers lose to the Tigers; and in 2012, he hit .120 and, again, the Yanks lost to the Tigers.

As everyone knows—because he won’t allow anyone to forget—A-Rod is pulling his ultimate Palin. Major League Baseball has banned him for the rest of the season and part of next season, but he won’t leave! He continues to play while “appealing” his punishment. All of the other players to whom similar bans were meted out—including some who are better than A Rod—have manned up and accepted their punishment. But A Rod continues to play. He pretends to be appealing his sentence on “principle,” but the truth is, like Palin, the age lines are beginning to show and he’s running out of opportunities to insert himself on the center stage. A ban would effectively end his run as the Soap Opera Star of Major League Baseball.

When he singled on Sunday, which allowed him to pass the late great Stan Musial on the all-time hits list, I found myself wondering what the Musial family was thinking. I know what I was thinking: A-Rod didn’t pass Stan Musial, no matter what the numbers say. Like Palin, he will always be an asterisk. His asterisk will say, “These statistics were amassed while this player was on drugs.” Her asterisk will say, “After two years as governor of Alaska, a state with more moose than people, Palin never came close to winning any other elective office but did earn the distinction of America’s Best-Known Grifter.”



If MLB Star Was A Cyclist, He’d Be Gone For Years

syringe

So the U.S. baseball world is all agog over Ryan Braun’s 65-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs, and the talk shows are frothing over the issue of whether he was punished enough.

Consider the following: if Braun had been a big-time pro cyclist and he was caught using PEDs, he would have been banned from competition for two years for a first offense. If it was the second time around (as it appears it may have been for the Milwaukee Brewers star), he could have been given a lifetime ban from the sport.

Lots of American fans have in the past sneered at pro cycling for its long-running drug problems, and rightly so. You can’t get much worse than finding out the seven-time champion of your sport’s biggest event was cheating. (Just in case anyone missed that reference, we’re talking Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France.)

The sad part is that no big-money sport these days is immune from the issue of drugs. Big time money means some players will do almost anything to win, and that attitude (and the PEDs that go with it) inevitably trickles down through college and high school sports to kids dreaming of becoming stars in baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis, running – you name it.

The NFL is, almost unbelievably at this point in sports history, still trying to get its players union to agree to tests for human growth hormone – a drug banned in cycling long ago. And you know if the players are fighting so long against testing that a hell of a lot of them must be using HGH.

So Braun has joined the tattered ranks of cheats like Armstrong and Barry Bonds. And the debates that raged in cycling for so long – and continue to do so – now trouble Major League Baseball.

Maybe the threat of a two-year ban would help MLB as it’s helped cycling.

 



The Wham-O Super Ball: Zectron Bounces Back

IMG_8939

Just a few weeks ago my daughter Sally and I were tossing handfuls of cheap vending machine superballs off the second-floor porch of our house onto the driveway. Despite the 20-foot-drop, the balls managed only a couple of big bounces before petering out on the neighbor’s lawn. With true “in my day…” Daddyism, I started reminiscing about a superball manufactured in the ’60s by Wham-O (the Frisbee people) which was advertised as being able to bounce over a house. When I was a kid in Iowa City, we lived at the bottom of a sloping dead-end street, a trajectory very much in the superball’s favor, and we did in fact bounce that round black beauty clear over the domicile many times.

Last week, vacationing in Vermont and browsing the gift shop of the Montshire Children’s Museum, I was startled to find that the Wham-O Super Ball is still being manufactured. Cool that a science museum would take interest. It’s not as large a ball as I remembered, but then “everything was bigger back in my day, children—candy bars, comic books…”

In case you were wondering, Wham-O Super Balls are “made of amazing Zectron.” There are no direct written-out claims on the package that it bounce over houses, but there is an appealing cartoon which has the ball bouncing all around a city street and a playground. What once was a suburban image has gone urban.

One thing’s for sure: this is one touch, sleek black hardened round mass of rubber. A joy to bounce.



The Rent Was Rocking As US Wins Gold Cup Match

The Rent Was Rocking. Photo by Lisa Santoro.

Photo by Lisa Santoro.

The thousands of red-white-and-blue clad fans sweated (and we do mean sweated) out more than 80 minutes of tension and disappointment before the U.S.  scored to beat Costa Rica 1-0 in East Hartford Tuesday night.

All that was put aside as Rentschler Field’s stadium exploded with passion over Brek Shea’s goal in this Gold Cup match.

The rapid-fire sequence that ended with Shea’s strike began with a wicked corner kick by Costa Rica.  The U.S.A.’s keeper, Sean Johnson, just managed the save, and the clearence went up the right side of the field to Langdon Donovan.

Donovan immediately sent a brilliant ball into the box, leading Shea perfectly, and the younger player hammered it in off the Costa Rican keeper.

It was Shea’s first goal for the U.S. national team. And that lovely assist will probably also help Donovan in his quest to get back on the U.S. roster for the World Cup.

More than 25,000 fans – almost evenly split between U.S. and Costa Rican supporters – took in Tuesday’s match, which was the second part of a Gold Cup double-header. In the earlier game, Cuba beat Belize 4-0.

Here’s a vid of Shea’s winning goal.

USA defeats Costa Rica. Photo by Lisa Santoro.

USA defeats Costa Rica. Photo by Lisa Santoro.



Ah Summer: Watching Sports and Wondering About Doping

As a cyclist, I’ve been watching the Tour de France for more than 18 years now and find the whole amazing spectacle fascinating. Well, all except the doping stuff.

These days, every time somebody in the TDF does something remarkable, the first thought in my mind (and often the first question from reporters covering the post-race news conferences) is whether the rider was doping.

My non-cycling friends, the folks who were more into Major League Baseball or the NFL or almost any other sport you can think off, used to kid me about all the performance enhancing crap going on in cycling. Not any more.

MLB has its own ongoing doping scandals. The NFL is still trying to get the players union to agree on testing for human growth hormone

Centers for Disease Control photo.

Centers for Disease Control photo.

(pro cycling has been testing that for ages now). And world soccer is bracing for revelations from a Spanish doctor named Fuentes who’s threatening to reveal all sorts of nasty things about athletes in the most popular sport in the world.

But cycling has always seemed to lead the way when it comes to doping. And of course the dude who presided over the sport of pro cycling during the heyday of doping, Pat McQuaid, wants reporters to stop asking doping questions. He insists the sport is now clean.

Right. Just like baseball and football and soccer and marathon running are clean as clean can be.

Ah, what would our summers be without sports and doping stories.

 



Tour de France? Ya Gotta Love the Craziness

Photo courtesy of Le Tour de France 100.

These days, the first thing that probably comes into the minds of most Americans when they hear the words “Tour de France” is drugs. The next is likely the sad, tragic memory of Lance Armstrong admitting all his tour victories were frauds.

Yet the Tour goes on. With all its controversy, silliness, spectacle and grandeur, the world’s premier “extreme” sporting event and biggest bike race is on once again.

Even if you’re not a cycling fan and have no interest in watching skinny dudes in flashy shirts and tight spandex pedal up huge mountains, ya gotta admit the entertainment factor that keeps this insanity going.

Like little white dogs darting out in the middle of the race, threatening to bring down a giant glob of on-rushing, speed-crazed bike riders.

Or a giant team bus getting jammed under a finish-line gantry (with the racers only moments away), triggering mass hysteria among race organizers fearful the snafu is going to screw up their plans on the very first day of all-out racing.

This year’s centennial edition has, for the first time in history, started out in Corsica. Aside from the stunning scenery of that island, who even knew there were Corsican nationalists ready to block the start of a day’s racing to emphasize their campaign? And what would the most famous Corsican of all (Napoleon Bonaparte of course) have to say about that?

Ah, ya gotta love the Tour and all its craziness.