January 29, 2011

If Athletes got Oscars: Best Picture Awards in Sports


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced the Best Picture Nominations for 2010. The ten films chosen are appropriate titles for the personality and temperament of many of today's athletes, so lets take a look at the nominees.

True Grit: No-one plays the game with more passion than Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Despite his size, Pedroia plays the game with True Grit everyday. And like the film's star, the diminutive Pedroia looks like a 14 year old - and both are fearless.

Black Swan: Shaquille O'Neal. Chasing after loose balls, Shaq is taking swan dives into the front row with increasing regularity. And like Natalie Portman, his role is in jeopardy, as another O'Neal - Jermaine - waits in the wings. When Shaq rebounds he is the White Swan. But when he tumbles all over the floor and makes unnecessary fouls, he is the Black Swan.

The Fighter: Milton Bradley, who was arrested last week for threatening a woman, has a long history of antagonistic behavior, once challenging fans to fight him at Dodger Stadium. It wouldn't surprise me to find Bradley holed up in a crack house like the character played by Christian Bale.

The King's Speech: Lebron James, known as King James, held a notorious press conference this summer. The sports world had anxiously awaited the King's speech for months. When announcing he would sign with the Miami Heat, King James declared "I'm taking my talents to South Beach", which has become one of sports' more memorable soliloquies.

127 Hours: This is the amount of time it will take before the Pittsburgh Pirates are totally out of contention. They have a high mountain to climb before they improve, and most fans would give their left arm for a superstar to cut them loose. As a small market team with little salary flexibility, the team lies between a rock and a hard place.

Inception: Bonus Baby Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals' top draft pick, waits excitedly - along with all baseball fans - for his Inception to Major League Baseball. But Washington management says they will start Harper in the lowly 'single A' minor league team - stealing his dreams.

Social Network: The NBA. From LeBron's tweets to VH1's 'NBA wives', there is a world of jealousy, greed and failed friendships in the Social Network of the NBA. There was a time when a player's status could be found in the sports pages. Now we read it on the Facebook wall.

The Kids Are All Right: Like the protagonists in the movie, the Warriors hail from the Golden State. And they also need a donor to save their NBA lifeline. They are the youngest team in the league, but with rising star Monta Ellis, the kids are all right.

Toy Story 3: Childish Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban always had a fondness for toys, installing dvd players and other gadgets in the players' locker room stalls. This year the Mavs are giving away bobblehead toys at ELEVEN different games. And their team is held down by an aging Kidd. The Mavericks Toy Story is ready to break at any moment, just like Woody.

Winters Bone: Quarterback Brett Favre made news this winter when a New York Jets cheerleader accused him of sending her a photo of his, um, "second and nine". Many fans responded to Favre with a cold, chilly reception. So when Favre watches the upcoming Super Bowl, he will regret his Winters Bone.

And now the envelope, please. The final votes have been cast, and the winner is... LeBron James, who overcame the issues with his speech, and won over his minions.

January 24, 2011

Return of The Idiots: Tampa's Devils

This winter, the Boston Red Sox signed Tampa Bay Rays free agents Carl Crawford and Dan Wheeler. So it's fitting that Tampa turned around and signed former Red Sox stalwarts Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez.

While the Rays' collective batting average may rise, their collective IQ just dropped.

To assimilate with their new star teammates, Tampa players have been asked to read 'Idiots For Dummies'.

GPS location trackers have already been installed in Manny's jersey, should he wander during the game to play with the outfield stingray tank.

Interestingly, Damon has attendance incentives built into his contract. The less people he scares away with his batting average, the more he is paid.

Damon is adept at making contact, but his throwing arm leaves a lot to be desired. The Rays will be lucky if a Damon lob actually goes FORWARD.

As for Ramirez, now that the league has stricter guidelines for PED's, Manny can get his energy boost from a limitless supply of Tropicana orange juice.

But Ramirez could be a real mentor to younger players. His skills include how to fake a hamstring injury, and managing unruly cornrows.

Meanwhile, Joe Maddon had better subscribe to 976-WAKE, because getting these guys out of bed might prove to be a more difficult chore than winning the division.

Jilted Dodger fans have described Manny Ramirez as evil. And Johnny Damon, nicknamed Jesus by Sox fans, became known as Satan when he departed to play for the Yankees.

Manny and Johnny - putting the DEVIL back in Tampa's Devil Rays.

January 19, 2011

NBA All-Food Team

I have an insatiable appetite for the NBA. The league has a full plate of tasty players that leaves you hungry for more. Here's the dish:

The Boston Celtics employ Von Wafer. A sweet Wafer is always welcome at a Boston tea party. Otherwise you'll choke. Just ask the Lakers; they saw it happen to Boston in the Finals firsthand.

New Jersey Nets' swing man Steven Graham averages only 3.9 points per game, making fans want S'more scoring from him. Further proof the Nets need Marsh 'Melo.

The Knicks have spiced things up considerably this year, and have the ability to stir the pot with a dash of Curry. Eddy Curry, that is.

Good Fisherman have a way with a timely sinking of the net, as does Laker guard Derek Fisher.

Bulls guard John Salmons would make a good back court tandem with Derek Fisher.

Fisher is known for the 3, and Salmons are known for Omega 3.

Thirsty for more? The Bulls big man Carlos Boozer averages 10.3 rebounds a a game, the same figure as his blood alcohol level. He should avoid mixing it up with a Brewer - whether its Cory or Ronnie. Remember liquor before beer, never fear.

Many health conscious Americans are avoiding pork and eating vegetables instead. Ham is out, and Greens are in.

Sure enough, Darvin Ham is no longer an active player. But Willie Green and Dante Green are new lunch pail favorites.

The Suns and Clippers employ Channing Frye and Brian Cook. And no fast food establishment could function without a Fry Cook.

Most confusing is OJ Mayo. Mayo has skills, and most defenders want no part of OJ Mayo. Then again, if you're lactose intolerant and have acid reflux, you want no part of OJ Mayo either.

The Nuggets are the tastiest sounding team in the league. And for good reason. They are powered by smooth, sweet play of Carmelo.

There you have it - NBA food for thought. One warning: with such a mouth watering menu, make sure to avoid a double dribble.

January 13, 2011

Cold makes things expand; Heat makes things contract.

A few weeks ago, Lebron James took a swipe at the Nets and Timberwolves, implying contraction of a few NBA teams would help the league.

Nets coach Avery Johnson responded "Maybe the league would be better if we didn't have three stars on one team." Touche!

This is scientifically correct - as cold make things expand and the (Miami) Heat makes things contract.

James backpedaled, claiming he didn't know what the word "contraction" meant. This makes me think that LeBron should avoid taking his talents to Jeopardy.

This week, the Lakers decimated the Cavaliers, James' former team. Shortly thereafter, LeBron tweeted "Karma is a b****"

And the next day, James backpedaled again, claiming he meant no ill-will, and that the tweet was written by a friend.

Time for LeBron to fire his ghost writer!

He didn't mean this, he didn't mean that. When the Heat played the Cavs last month, I'll bet LeBron meant to avoid talking smack to his former teammates on the bench during a timeout. But a higher power made his lips move.

James also meant to sign with the Knicks. He meant to donate money to charity, but forgot. He meant to play better against the Clippers last night.

In 2009 I had nothing but love for Bron-Bron but James has quickly become the league villain. We are all witnesses, indeed. Witnesses of a chump with a big mouth.

January 9, 2011

Matt Garza: baseball's compulsive spitter.

The Chicago Cubs dealt five prospects to the Tampa Bay Rays this week for pitcher Matt Garza, one of the more prolific spitters in the history of the game.

If you've ever watched Garza pitch, it can be as nauseating as the sight of Joe Maddon's pot belly in an Under Armour shirt.

Sometimes it appears as if Garza is attempting to create a moat between himself and the batters box. This is an effective way to make a hitter think twice about charging the mound, lest they drown in an ocean of Copenhagen.

Forget a rosin bag on the mound. Garza needs a spittoon. Or an industrial-sized garbage can.

Note the photo of Garza. His beard appears to be stiff and starchy from dried up saliva, and there's a morsel of chicken salad on his lower lip.

The Rays acquired 5 prospects in the deal, but can now relieve a half-dozen field maintenance workers whose job it was to sanitize the playing field.

Garza gives me the creeps. He always looks sickly to me; and skittish, as if he's amped up on Red Bull, coffee and a case of Four Loko.

I'd like to see a cage-match between Garza and temperamental teammate Carlos Zambrano. It would make Ali-Frazier look like a catfight.

January 2, 2011

The Big Geriatric

While I enjoy photoshopping images for comic effect on Sports Shorts, the above photo of Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal has not been manipulated.

But a closer look at this photo is unintentionally funny and very telling. First, the aging Shaq is dependent upon a walking cane. Now 38, and oft-injured, the stick appears to buckle beneath his massive heft.

Now look at the basketball in the upper left corner. The weight of the ball is heavy on his shoulders, symbolic of his inability to carry a team.

Finally, look at how Shaq has set a brutal pick on the Celtics' lucky leprechaun. Ever since his arrival in Boston, Shaq has been injured, spreading bad luck to fellow teammates.

Jermaine O'Neal, Delonte West, Rajon Rondo, and now Kevin Garnett have all been victimized by injures. Coincidence? I think not.

Shaquille O'Neal (The Big Aristotle), once a physical powerhouse in the NBA, has become 'The Big Geriatric'.