Category Archives: Sports


Dammit. The Braves got rained out last night. It was supposed to be a TBS broadcast. But because the game was rescheduled for this afternoon, I can’t watch it on TBS or on MLB.TV. The reason is that any games played in FOX’s window from noon to 6 pm are automatically blacked out of MLB.TV and can only be broadcast by local networks. If it ain’t on FOX during that time, you can’t watch it Extra Innings or MLB.TV or any national cable channel. In fact, I suspect that if I had someone use an iSight to stream it from New England, they’d break my legs.

This is insane. This is second time in two months MLB.TV has screwed me. First I couldn’t watch Mark Buerhle’s no-hitter because my home is in a Texas Rangers blackout zone even while my body isn’t. And now I can’t watch Dice-K and my Braves because a rain delay put us into the Fox bubble.

I suspect that as long as they are raking in the cash, however, MLB won’t care about the real fans.

An Accident Waiting To Happen

I’m a huge baseball fan and the world was shaken recently by the death of Josh Hancock of the St. Louis Cards. The second I heard about it, I said, “two to one he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.” My dad’s a trauma surgeon and I’ve seen first-hand the difference that a seat belt can make. It is so dramatic that it over-rides my usual Libertarian leaning so that I absolutely support seat belt laws.

(Again, if we lived in a pitiless society that let brain-damaged quads die, opposing seat belt laws would be fine. But we don’t. Thank God we don’t.)

Anyway, now we find out that Josh Hancock was not only not wearing a seat belt, but was drunk, possibly high, speeding and chatting on the cell phone. Under those circumstances, I’m merely grateful he didn’t take anyone else with him.

It’s a horrible tragedy to see anyone under the age of 70 die these days. And I’m not saying, “oh, he deserved it!”. No one does. I just hope that all the mourning baseball players, fans and sports twerps will use this as an example, an inspiration to not drink and drive, to stay off the cell phone, to keep the speed down and, above all else, to realize they are not indestructible and buckle their fucking seat belts!.

Professional athletes, it seems, are particularly vulnerable to thinking themselves invulnerable. How many more stories do we need of promising young athletes destroying themselves with recreational drugs, alcohol, steroids, car racing (Sue and I used to always be able to tell with Ravens practice ended in Owings Mills — fifteen sports cars would race to downtown Baltimore). Yes, the pressures athletes live under are unthinkable. But this has to stop.

As I said in the wake of the VT massacre, the best way to honor the dead is to live for them. Let’s hope a few baseball players start buckling up. Let’s hope everyone does.


Seriously, I’ve never understood the excitement about the NFL draft. I’m always vaguely interested by the spectacle just baffles me. I’m perfectly A lot of these guys will never amount to much. All we know for sure is that Detroit has, yet again, blown a high draft pick on a wide receiver.

In the meantime, the best part of the draft every year is that it prompts a rare offseason TMQ.


Since TBS has cancelled Braves’ broadcasts after thirty uninterrupted years of wonderful sports entertainment — not that I’m bitter — I had to bite the bullet and buy MLB’s internet TV, which allows me to watch just about any game on my computer.

So far, I like it. It’s not idealized for Macintosh, but it works and it gives me something to watch in the early hours of my observing run. TBS has been shrinking its coverage for a while and MLB TV is a wonderful improvement over little dots on a screen (although MLB’s gameday is outstanding).

That having been said, I’ve now encountered the biggest complaint — blackouts. The entire nation has been divided into fiefdoms and assigned to certain teams. And those teams are blacked out in those regions in order to protect cable TV coverage — whether said coverage exists or not. So tonight, while Mark Buehrle was tossing a no-hitter, I was unable to watch because I’m in a Texas Rangers blackout zone.

This is insane. In the first place, there is no accounting for the fact that I simply can’t watch a cable broadcast because there is no cable on the mountain and I’m in a fucking dome. Second, this represents the common way of entertainment ventures these days — protect copyright by pissing all over your fans. Whether its music downloading, movie pirating or baseball, they have decided to slap the fans in the face repeatedly.

Allowing me to watch a Texas Rangers game on the internet in no way hurts the cable company. But denying me the opportunity to watch baseball history makes me want to cancel the whole thing.

Definition: SMT

Sports Media Twerp — the kind of individual lambasted at Fire Joe Morgan who is self-important, utterly certain of his predictions, unaccountable for anything stupid or wrong he says and sets the common fan’s understanding of the game backward rather than forward.

The defining traits of the SMT are: 1) overconfidence (“Ohio State is clearly the best team in the nation!”); 2) condescension (“See, he moved the runner over. That’s what wins championships!”); 3) ignorance (their ability to ignore a key block on a big run, or Kobe’s blatant travelling); 4) star-worship (MNF’s endless worship of celebrities, the inability to criticize obvious mistakes, such as a launching a three-point shot with 20 seconds left on the shot clock and a ten-point lead).

It’s easier to define an SMT by who isn’t one than who is since they are very common. Greg Easterbrook isn’t. Rob Neyer isn’t. Most of the boys at Baseball Prospectus aren’t. John Sickels isn’t. Ron Jaworski isn’t. Mark May isn’t (Chris will disagree). Chris Berman and Tom Jackson aren’t, except in self-mocking humor. Keith Jackson and Vin Scully aren’t. One sign of someone who isn’t an SMT is that they will admit to having been wrong and usually be more excited when they’re wrong than when they’re right. All the above qualify.

Where can you find the best example of SMT’s? Monday Night Football is loaded with them to the point of being unwatchable. Rush Limbaugh is, big time. Or was. Bill Simmons can be, especially on the subject of Payton Manning. Bill Walton. And much of the crew of Baseball Tonight.

Passover Blogging

I’m back home for the Holiday. A few thoughts before I hit the hay:

  • I am getting very close to putting an ax through the TV when i see more coverage of this Anna Nichole Smith business. Enough!
  • I’m still convinced Iran is trying to provoke an attack to rally their people. The demonstration in Iran are, like those of thirty years ago, likely staged.
  • I thought Boortz and Limbaugh could be bad. Then oday I was “treated” while driving to listening to Hannity and Savage. Hannity was debating Charlie Rangle on Iraq and kept focusing on “Hillary thought there were weapons of mass destruction!”. He doesn’t seem to have any time to address the mission creep that is getting our boys killed.
  • Savage is annoying as hell but he made a decent point on Pelosi going to Syria, saying the President should have goaded her to repeat the party line — i.e, “Hey Syria! Behave yourself!”. I can’t say he’s right but it was a decent idea. Who the hell does Pelosi think she is anyway? Much as I have railed against the massive expansion of executive power under this President, there is one aspect of our government where he is supposed to have untrammelled power — diplomacy.
  • Baseball season is back. Sweet. And I told you it would be a conservative Final Four. Boy, Buckeyes must really hate Florida now. This is twice they’ve toppled mighty Ohio State from a consensus #1 ranking.
  • It’s funny how you notice things. For 3.5 years, whenever I’ve had to use . . . dial-up . . . on my powerbook, I thought that little flashing dot on the modem icon was a heart. Now I see it’s a modem plug. What a goober.
  • Pregnant women can’t run.
  • FF Easiness

    Blogged by me in January: this year feels conservative for the Final Four.

    Reality in March: The lowest seed in the sweet 16 was #7 UNLV — who really shouldn’t have been rated so low. Elite eight is four #1’s, three #2’s and a #3.

    Having said that, all four #1’s will now lose.


    I’ve had politics on the brain lately. The last few books I read — Somebody’s Gotta Say It and Player Piano, in particular, are political. College football is done, baseball hasn’t really started and there are very few interesting movies out.

    Worse, I’m observing during the Final Four. By the time I get back home, we’ll be down to the finals and I’ll have missed a lot of great basketball. Argh! I am, however, proud that I correctly picked UVa to choke. Much as I loved being there, they never seem to go very far.

    Thursday Linkorama

  • The State Department decides to improve foreign relations by lecturing foreign governments on money laundering. Our stupid War on Drugs will be the death of us all.
  • The NCAA shows its usual aplomb by putting favorite teams in better hotels than Cinderellas — although it’s hilarious to hear a modern hotel with 19-inch TV’s described as a “log cabin”. The NCAA also set up the bracket to ensure that teams from minor conferences faced each other early. Because we don’t want a Boise State or somebody ruining what’s supposed to be a big conference showcase.
  • An analysis of the uninsured. Tell me again why we should be ponying up for these cheapskates?
  • It’s a good thing government is saving us from unprofessional decorating. Seriously, who thinks of this crap? And what nincompoop votes it into law?
  • New Link

    One of the things I regret about losing my archive are my rantings and ravings about the Sports Media Twerps, otherwise known as SMTs. But I can find some solace here.

    Ah, it feels so good to have friends to share my suffering. Read his fisking on the Tom Brady issue. Or further down where he calls Bill Simmons out for a) six months ago, stating that DJ didn’t belong in the basketball hall of fame six months ago; b) after DJ’s death, castigating the HOF for not inducting him.

    But then, consistency has never been Simon’s forte. Unless it’s bashing Payton Manning.