May 30, 2009

2009 NBA Playoff fashion

Would it kill Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy to wear a tie? I realize the boiler is expanding, and he's looking for comfort, but there's no excuse for a coach donning a mock turtleneck during the conference finals. Four words for Van Gundy: Ross Dress For Less.

George Karl's press conference sweatshirt vests make him look like a tourist at Disneyland. Doc Rivers fields questions with a loose tie and unbuttoned collar, but he stays classy in a suit. Karl looks like he hit the discount rack at Marshall's wearing a blindfold.

Glen 'Big Baby' Davis might want to look into some Celtic suspenders after his shorts fell off during a game. I love to get my hands all over tender baby back ribs, but not that kind.

Whining was en vogue during the playoffs, perfected by Boston's Eddie House. Speaking of Eddie House, was a he a baller on the inside? Did he do hard time in the pen? Because his tats make him look like an ex-con from the big house.

Ditto for Nuggets guard J.R. Smith, whose ink also makes him look like an inmate. Same for Cleveland Cavalier Mo Williams, who looks stylin' with wisdom written on his chest in a prison font.

The neck tattoo, usually associated with jailbirds, is huge in the NBA. It first appeared on tattoo trail blazer Allan Iverson, but is now all the rage throughout the league, from Trevor Ariza to Kenyon Martin to Delonte West, who gives hilarious insight to his stylin' ways in this video.

Headbands are back, and I'm not sure what Rolando Balkman, Anderson Varejao and Pau Gasol would do without them. How do you concentrate on lightning-quick passes with a mop on your head? 

The Rip Hamilton "Phantom of The Opera" face mask made an appearance on Orlando guard Courtney Lee. And mouth-guards, usually a hideous two-tone, have thankfully trended toward opaque.

Finally, what's with players' shoes falling off? How on earth does this happen? Are guys willing to sacrifice safety and practicality just so they can bust shoelaces like Run DMC?

Velcro anyone? Can we bring back Dee Brown's 'The Pump'? There are many foolish fashion faux pas, but hobbling backwards on one foot to retrieve a sneaker takes the cake.

Read my post about baseball's ugliest uniforms.

May 27, 2009

Stars' Candy Bars - Part 2

A few weeks ago I discussed baseball player candy bars. Time to take a look at a few more sweets named after athletes. These are real candy bars I found online.

Let's start with the Chipper Jones bar, which leaves many questions unanswered. Why the rip-off of the 3 Musketeers graphics? That larceny, along with the photoshop nightmare on Chipper's cap are immediate tip-offs that something has gone horribly wrong here.

And why didn't Chipper endorse a potato chip, or a wood chipper? If it had to be a candy bar, then surely this bar would have lots of chocolate CHIPS, right?

Uh, no. The wrapper says 'milk chocolate and crisped rice'. Now that, my friends, sounds like a candy bar for Tiger Woods. Sorry, I had to say it.

Dale Earnhardt Jr's Big Mo bar looks like a laxative. I'd eat it only if it were the last candy bar on earth.

Does it cause a Big (bowel) MOvement? I don't get it. What the fuck is a 'Big Mo'?

The wrapper promises caramel. But in the photo there is no evidence of any caramel in those flaky relics they call chocolate.

Big Mo. Yeah, Dale Earnhardt is a Big Moron.

The Mark Price Bar. Is there any athlete more boring and less deserving of a candy bar than Mark Price? I mean, seriously. What's next? The Chris Dudley bar? Flip Saunders cologne?

But surely the wrapper shows Price at his best, nailing a free throw, or making a spectacular pass?

No. It's Price and his helmet hair, holding the ball in a confused haze. He's wondering why one of his team-mates didn't get a bar named after them instead. Honestly, they would have tripled their sales with the Brad Ehlo bar.

The real head scratcher is why no candy bar was ever named after veteran point guard Jason Williams. Williams, who has unusual style for a white guy, is widely known as 'White Chocolate'.

A candy bar match made in heaven. But the tattooed, turnover-prone White Chocolate gave teams headaches like a bad root canal. Which shows that even if your passes are sweet, turnovers can cause a cavity in the offense.

The most galling detail about all of these candy bars? The dollar price tag on the Chipper Bar. Even tried and true candy bars still cost under a buck. But Chipper Jones, who makes 14 million annually through 2011, somehow has to charge more.

After all is said and done, no-one can hold a candle to old standby Bazooka Joe. He's the only candy found in every team's clubhouse and dugout, and he gets blown multiple times every game. That explains his crooked ball cap and salivating smile. 

May 21, 2009

Peaved at Peavy

Today Jake Peavy rejected a proposed trade to the Chicago White Sox. Big surprise. We've been through this song and dance several times through the years.

I've written before about the absurd amount of media coverage this guy gets. You'd think Peavy was the second coming of Bob Feller.

Why is the world so hung up on the future of Jake Peavy? He pitches in the National league West, the beer league division of baseball.

And why is Peavy so picky? What does he want, a red carpet welcome with klieg lites? Beluga caviar and truffles in the clubhouse spread?

Is he holding out for the private jet package that Sheriff Malone gave Kevin Brown? Does he want the trainer, masseuse and fresh seafood deal that Theo Epstein granted Deisuke Matsuzaka?

Some team is going to snap their spine bending over backwards for this guy. And sportswriters will be tongue-tied when the deal finally goes down. What is there to talk about other than Jake Peavy?

Why don't the Padres brass obtain a list from Peavy of the teams to which he would accept a trade? Is that so insane?

Then we wouldn't all have to suffer through the nonsense like today's Peavy to White Sox non-story.

Wait, hold on a minute. Big news! Jake Peavy just ate a BLT. Jake Peavy! Jake Peavy! Jake Peavy!

May 19, 2009

A Tribute to Rem Dog

For many baseball teams, a local, former member of the roster who looks good on camera passes as a color commentator. They don't offer much.

Jerry Remy is not one of those guys. Rem-Dog is a beloved part of Red Sox culture with a wicked pissah Boston accent to boot.

Unfortunately, Remy is recovering from health complications suffered after cancer surgery. Watching Sox games isn't the same without him by Don Orsillo's side.

I've written before about my fondness for Rem-Dog's brutal honesty and blue collar charisma. Knowledgeable and funny, he makes the game interesting.

I always hope for a lopsided score, because that's when Remy lets loose. Watching him crack up Orsillo gives me the same satisfaction I got watching Tim Conway break up Harvey Korman on the Carol Burnett Show. On Nickelodeon, of course. I'm not that old.

Get well soon, Rem-Dog. Red Sox nation misses you.

May 15, 2009

Look Alikes - Part 2

Utah forward Mehmet Okur and Hollywood casualty Tom Green have turkey in common. Okur hails from Turkey, and Green's whole career has been a big turkey.

Okur fouls big men, and Green is a fowl, little man. And both seem to have come from the same litter.

Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Lakers coach Phil Jackson both are members of a union. Both men are regarded by many to be great, inspirational leaders who took a unique path to their success.

And both have similar salt and pepper streaked, brillo-pad hair. This season Jackson has shaved his beard, but he's known for his crumb-catcher, which bears a striking resemblance to the "bigote" of da Silva.

Finally, I have always been struck by the resemblance of lethargic right fielder Bobby Abreu to Libyan madman Mohmar Khadafi.

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Khadafi. He is the only guy other than Michael Jackson that can pull off wearing a jacket lined with gold epaulets AND fake military patches.

But if you look at the smile, the nose, and the fact that neither man is known for their defense, it's plain to see - Abreu and Kadafi were separated at birth.

Check my previous Look-alikes post.

May 8, 2009

Candy Bars of the Stars


In baseball, candy bars are usually named after sluggers. 'Baby Ruth', 'Oh Henry!', and the 'Reggie Bar' were named after Babe Ruth, Henry Aaron, and Reggie Jackson, respectively.

The chocolate nougat 'Baby Ruth', round and stout, resembles the lumpy figure of the portly Babe.

The subtle sophistication of the 'Oh! Henry' wrapper, with a conservative typeface, is appropriate for the reserved, distinguished Home Run King (Sorry, Barry).

And looking at the orange 'Reggie Bar' wrapper, loud and powerful, it brings back memories of the brash Mr. October himself.

I will propose a few baseball candy bars of my own, potential products for modern stars.

1) The Milton Bradley Bar. This bar would be totally NUTS, just like the personality of the temperamental journeyman. Both are dependable, but brittle. And both are prone to cause outbreaks. Not good from a candy bar or an outfielder.

2) Joba's Jawbreakers. Kevin Youkilis could chew a few of these and forgo the wild arm of the husky Nebraskan. If you're going to risk a jaw injury, you might as well enjoy the sweet, tart flavor of the experience while you're at it.

3) W&W's. Last year, no pitcher issued more walks than New York Met Oliver Perez. All M&M Mars needs to do is invert the M&M graphics. Unfortunately, this year Perez is having a meltdown, which is a bad thing for a pitcher or chocolate candy.

And if Alex Rodriguez loses sponsors over new steroid allegations, he could easily endorse 'Whoppers' - both are tough on the outside, soft on the inside.

In a world of punk'd pranks and aggro advertising, these candy bars would fly off the shelves. If you'll excuse me, I need to go file a patent.

READ: Candy Bars of The Stars Part 2

May 3, 2009

Best. Playoff. Series. Ever.

The Bulls / Celtics playoff series was great basketball. The games were reminiscent of hoops in the late 80's. Physical play without being too dirty. Every rebound was contested and every loose ball was smothered.

I had given up on the first few rounds of the NBA playoffs, tired of all the lolly-gagging isolation plays and soft D. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! 

Goodbye Hondo, hello Rondo - the Celts have a new star. Rondo is focused like no-one on the court. His passes were spectacular and his assist-to-turnover ration was obscene. So was his acting after foul calls.

And Glenn 'Big Baby' Davis played like a grown man, although he did need a nap and burping at half-time.

The Bulls are an exciting team and showed no fear. Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon are explosive, and I love the beard on forward John Salmons - a real crumb catcher.

Guard Kirk Heinrich and Coach Vinny Del Negro have two of the more unique proboscises in the game. They look like hit men for Tony Soprano.

But after the grueling series came to an end, players on both teams showed true sportsmanship and wished each other well at home court.

In a game where egomaniacs make a beeline for the showers, avoiding the media and ignoring the victors, that was a welcome sight. 

If Dennis Rodman were on today's Bulls team, he would have angrily hurled his sweat-soaked jersey into the stands, grumbling his way to the lockers, and put on a party dress. That's no way to go out.

May 1, 2009

What's the point?


There was a time when pitchers trusted their fielders to catch the ball without pointing wildly to a pop fly. But an ugly trend has slowly developed. And now there is a pointing pandemic.

It all began with pitchers pointing out towering fly balls directly over the catcher, an attempt to guide their battery mate when blinded by the sun. Fair enough.

Eventually, pitchers took the liberty of pointing to the sky on any fly ball hit over the infield, should all four infielders be miraculously focused on the ground. OK, so pitchers are "control" freaks in two ways.

Now, however, most fly balls hit anywhere on the diamond - even the outfield - provoke pitchers to point frantically. Unacceptable.

Did you ever see Joe Montana or Magic Johnson point out the trajectory of their passes? No. They trusted their team-mates. And pitchers need to do the same.

Additional digit-dangling occurs when pitchers point to umps to acknowledge a well-called game. Pitchers also point at their outfielders after a great catch. Pedro Martinez famously pointed at batter Jorge Posada when, uh, noting dandruff flakes in the Yankee catcher's hair.

Julian Tavarez has made an art form of pointing, by sticking his finger in the direction of anyone to whom the ball is hit. Perhaps it helps him count outs.

Hitters have also adopted finger-wagging, pointing to the Gods when crossing home plate after a home run. Sometimes the Big Fella even gets a heavenly point after a walk. This is baseball, not Our Lady of Perpetual Forgiveness.

And Manny Ramirez is known for joyfully pointing at fans and team-mates with both hands. The double point has become quite popular, too.

Did Babe Ruth start the trend in 1932 when he pointed towards the bleachers in the World series and famously "called" a home run shot? Who knows.

But I have some advice for Major League players: keep your fingers to yourselves. Waving them in the air is pointless.