Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

America the Overbearing

So I just spent a week-and-a-half in Germany visiting areas of Franconia in northern Bavaria. Pretty hard to argue with the omnipresent bratwurst and the litany of beers to taste. It was asparagus season so the Spargel was available on every menu in soup, as a salad or whole. But one of the best parts of being out of the country for more than a day or two was the total lack of American sports coverage. Sure, I could check the internet for the scores of the NBA playoff games, but as far as newspapers (which I couldn't read anyway) and television (which I also couldn't understand) were concerned, it was refreshing to not have to read stories about this or that athelete's legal troubles, rumors about the NBA draft or articles about which pitchers are statically the best hitters.

It made me wish that each sports writer out there could get a week off every month to just get away from the daily grind that is the sports beat. The types of articles, interviews and opinion out there on a daily basis are so over the top when stepped away from them for even a short time. Do we really care who Joey Dorsey thinks will be the top pick in the draft? Does there need to be two full days worth of discussion about one end-of-game no-call?

This blog hopefully brings a bit of humor and pure opinion to a usually overthought, overreacting and double-speaking industry. If it ever turns into anything resembling Jay Mariotti, or even Mike and Mike, let us know and we will immediately shut this down...

Daily Dose of Better...

Better O'Brien: Dan or Jim?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

PREMIERship

After yesterday's rousing Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea, the worlds' eyes are certainly on England, a soccer-mad country which placed 3 teams in final 4 of UEFA's most prestigious competition. The phenomenal quality of the affair, which saw Man U eke out a 6-5 victory by PKs, may well finally drive home a point that I've been making for a while now: the English Premiership is, by leaps and bounds, the best soccer league in the world.

Consider: in the past 3 years, the fabled "top 4" teams in England--Man U, Chelse, Arsenal, and Liverpool--have all reached a Champions League final. Additionally, were it not for an ill-advised red card drawn by Jens Lehmann several years ago, we might well be celebrating the fact that 3 different English clubs had hoisted the UEFA trophy in a span of 4 years.

People love to point to Spain--to the Bernabeu and the Nou Camp, where traditional European powers continue to lure quality players with the prospect of mega-club football. There's also Italy, where perennial European giants AC Milan can afford to buy nearly anyone.

Now... it's hard to liken football's team-trading to anything in American sports. There aren't tidy analogies to be found, simply because European football spans numerous countries, each with its own culture, environment, and soul.

Still, though... why would any world-class player want to play anywhere but England right now? If, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Manchester United for Real Madrid, I will be shocked. Sure, their past is storied, and they always contend for trophies... but look at the state of the game. England is consistently placing one or two teams in the Champions League semifinals these days. It also says a lot that the best English-born players--John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard--have chosen to stay in their native league.

As things stand now, Chelsea are a team with limitless potential; Manchester United have a core of players that could win any number of trophies; Arsenal are among the most consistently competitive and exciting teams in the world; and Liverpool under Rafa Benitez display an extreme knack for European competition.

Other than Barcelona, AC Milan, and Real Madrid (the traditional giants), who else in the world is going to challenge the dominance of England right now? Going into next season, one has to like the odds of Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, or Liverpool hoisting the CL trophy yet again.

Daily Dose of Better...

Better Clyde: Drexler or Simmons?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wilbon

Is it just me, or has Mike Wilbon aged twenty years almost overnight? The guy who was once interesting, insightful, relatively young and great at his job(s) is now overly conservative, old-sounding and more or less a first rate curmudgeon. Rather than focusing on sports analysis, Wilbon spends most of his PTI time at least, ranting against things or people that are in his opinion, "a joke," "a dope," or "junk." These things include Toronto FC fans throwing streamers on the field as celebration, any player (OJ Mayo being a recent example) who appears young and brash, or really anything that doesn't fit his particular set of beliefs. He is unabashedly supportive of all teams Chicago, which isn't a bad thing. However, Wilbon takes it to the nth degree by asserting that any player or coach who is from Chicago (Candace Parker, et al) are destined to be great because of their being from Chicago. He also name drops like it's his job, particularly when it comes to NBA conversations. We all know that big time writers are well connected, they wouldn't be big time writers if they weren't. But we don't need to hear about a round of golf with Charles Barkely or eating sushi with Michael Jordan. And we especially don't need to hear about all the "hip" clubs and restaurants he goes to. You never know how riches will change a person but Wilbon appears to be an example of someone who has allowed it to go to his head and affect his ability to even remotely cover sports without biases.

Isn't it also weird that Wilbon, a married man, would talk so openly on tv about wanting to have been invited to Matt Leinart's hot tub party? Those girls weren't even of legal drinking age and are less than half of Wilbon's age. Seems so contridictory to preach about the morals and right ways to go about living in the world of sport and constantly talk about the girls he'd love to share a hot tub with.

Daily Dose of Better...

Better Red: Grange or Auerbach?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

NBA Playoffs 2k8 - Yawn

Regional interests aside, the NBA playoffs have been awfully boring so far. The sole exception was the Hawks pushing the Celtics to a seventh game, but sadly that dream was debowed pretty much immediately in that game. But the other series left a lot to be desired. Sure, if you're in New Orleans or LA or Cleveland you can be excited about the playoffs, but on a national stage, is anything interesting happening? The Sixers briefly gave us all hope that the boring-ass Pistons might not make it to yet another Eastern Conference Final (or further) but alas they collapsed under the weight of a simply better team. Even the idea that the Hornets could 'upset' the Spurs isn't that interesting as they're the higher seeded team and they so completely dominated game one.

With the San Antonio-Phoenix and New Orleans-Dallas series being so one-sided, the playoffs have simply lacked that feeling that the games even matter until the conference finals. The 'right' teams are advancing for the league (meaning LA and Boston, of course) so they're probably not worried, but it just isn't doing much for me. I was legitimately excited about these playoffs, figuring they could be some of the most intense and combative in recent years. They certainly still can be, but to hold my interest through this month and into the next, things had better pick up. Because even if it's an LA-Boston final, if I haven't been able to keep interested in it, I don't know how much I'll watch...

Bonus Better...

Better Bill: Hall or Musgrave?

Daily Dose of Better...

Better Clark: Tony or Rico?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

RIP Eight Belles

If Hinduism turns out to be right about all of this, remind me not to be reincarnated as a race horse.

Daily Dose of Better...

Better Ralph: Friedgen or Sampson?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Idiots

Exhibit 1: Jose Conseco provides us with the following gem, "Obviously, when you make all that money, people think, 'OK, let's assume it is $35 million.' People have to understand that $35 million, you're paying the government 41 percent. That leaves you with about $17 or $18 million, not even." Seriously guys, Jose was left with not even 17 mil. Incidentally, fifty-nine percent of $35 million is about $20.65 million.

Exhibit 2: From the 100 meter world record holder to heroin dealer. Tim Montgomery is just making us all sad.

Helping of Hane

Haner Former Functional UMASS Backcourt Member: Carmelo Travieso or Edgar Padilla ?

Daily Dose of Better...

Better Avery: Sean or Steve?