Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Give Break Please

Right, right so Favre says he's staying retired. But then he qualified it with baloney like this, as relayed by Peter King:

"I passed up the greatest chance I could have had right now, and it hurts,'' Favre said. "By saying no, I know I'm leaving an incredible opportunity on the table, and that opportunity is not coming back.'' There's no sense in asking the question about whether this is it for Favre. He said he was finished 17 months ago in Green Bay, and he insisted he was finished five months ago after leaving the Jets. Even he knows his gut feeling can't be trusted right now. "Very unlikely,'' he said. "I really believe this is it. I truly, truly believe it's over. But if someone calls Nov. 1, who knows?''

Dear God. Here's what he's really saying:

(1) I'm old;
(2) I'm spoiled;
(3) Playing football is hard, especially when the fans are mean to you and the team you're on isn't that good and everyone doesn't cowtow to you;
(4) I'm not interested in participating in a training camp or really practicing at all, especially not for a full season; and
(5) After Tom Brady shredded his knee in the first game of the regular season last year, I realized I should have waited to demand to be traded, so I could have selected a better situation for myself.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Favre Tidbits

According to this article, John Elway had the same biceps-disfiguring surgery as Favre just had, before he and Terrell Davis led the Broncos to two Super Bowl victories. Crap. The toothy car salesman from the San Fernando Valley is also egging on Favre to return. Haven't you done enough, Elway?

Also, providing further fuel for the "Favre is really just in it for the money" theory, Favre has filmed a commercial for Sears, featuring him, wait for it, waffling over a purchase at Sears. Sigh. I guess it makes fun of him, so that's good. But the man has no shame. Or at least, he has no shame now, when he knows he's nearing the end of his commercial viability. How much do you want to bet that he gets fat, and then gets thin again and jumps on board with Marino's Nutrisystem ads?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Singularize me

How come people covering sports teams with plural team names reference the individual member of these teams in the plural? This happens all the time and it's always absurd.

Follow me. Let's take for example the White Sox. We know that Sox is just a fun spelling of Socks. The team name is undeniably referencing socks. When Mark Buehrle throws a perfect game, he is not the first White Sox to do so in 80 years. He is the first White Sock, or the first Member of the White Sox to do so. Definitely not the first White Sox.

I hear this garbage all the time on sports shows and every time it sounds awkward and you can tell that the speaker is forcing themselves to give the individual a plural reference. Whose terrible convention is this? I often take issue with public nomenclature and this particular form of usage really annoys me more than most. Webster's dictionary adds roughly 100 new words a year. It's not as though all these journalists really need to follow this ridiculous protocol(1). We can change this and let's start now.

Reason No. 5 Why Fantasy Sports Are Great: I played fantasy baseball this year for the first time. I drafted Mark Buehrle in the late rounds and he has been good even though he has few Ks and gives up HRs. I was home packing to move west yesterday, and I decided to watch the White Sox game because I had Buehrle going. That's the only reason. I watched the entire game yesterday. I would NEVER have done that without Fantasy. I saw a perfect game from start to finish with an amazing HR saving catch in the 9th that I dreamed about in Little League whenever I was in the outfield.

I'm working on a thesis that uses sex and sports to explain how fantasy is like alcohol. It's not finished, but here's the outline. Lots of people love having sex and lots of people love following sports. Now even though having sex is enjoyed by everyone, alcohol came along and aided the experience. It made people relax it and it made people's vision worse. It does innumerable things to catalyze the sexy time. It's come so far that most mates meet while drinking or have drinks on their first 2 dates. We drink to get in the mood and we drink to get others in the mood.

Now let's look back at sports. Most guys like sports. We enjoy following sports. Now here comes along fantasy. And it allows guys to have more reasons and more opportunities to enjoy sports. It brings more people in. It gives me a reason to send an email to AJ. It makes us watch. It also gets the ladies more willing. I date a girl that has been playing fantasy football for 2 years now and she has done so on her own volition. She will rootlikeHELL against the opposing players if they touch the ball. She won't watch all the games, but she will check the scores. She has dipped her toe in the water. Fantasy has given her a reason to get in the pool, she can outdraft her boss and beat him on Sunday. The girls want it the boys want it. Fantasy is the sizzurp of sports.

(1) I'm not actually sure what the defense for this pluralization of the singular is, but I'm sure it's out there and I'm referring to whatever it is as "protocol"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jackie I: Freed!

Unsurprisingly, Jack Ikegwuonu joins his brother Bill in being acquitted on the ridiculous "burglary" charges the Dekalb County State's Attorney's Office charged them with. Again, they were found in a townhouse that Bill's friend was renting, allegedly holding an XBox, by Bill's friend's roommate, who was drunk and freaked out, and they ran off. That's the worst case scenario of what occurred. The Ikegwuonus said that they had plans to meet up with Bill's friend and saw a light on inside, so they went in. In any event, this seems like typical college male stupidity. Did you ever borrow anything from a friend's apartment or dorm room without asking? Probably. Did you get charged with burglary? Uhh, no.

I hate to say it, but throwing the book at two African-American scholarship football players in this sort of questionable circumstance reeks of overreaction. But why? Did Dekalb State's Attorney John Farrell think it'd be good press to persecute (not prosecute) two out of state black college students by charging them with a felony? (To be fair, Ron Matekaitis, now--horrifyingly-- a judge, was State's Attorney at the time of the brothers were charged.) Did he not want to look soft on athletes in a college town like Dekalb? Did he have something against guys with African last names? Who knows. What I do know is they should have offered some deferred prosecution agreement, like Madison has, where the charges should have been dropped in exchange for community service. And they certainly never should have charged the Ikegwuonus with a felony. Jesus. A conviction would have ruined these guys' lives. Ridiculous.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I'm pretty sure that this article means that Barry has changed the person in the UW athletic department who oversees ticket sales. (I believe that Vince Sweeney used to be in charge, and at the bottom of that portion of the article it says he's moved on to a different position.) If that's the case, hallelujah. Time for some new blood in there to shake up the policies, especially, as has been oft-noted here, those regulating student tickets.

If they're looking for some new ideas, take a look at those proposed in the post by the oddly named "LynxRufus" (down toward the end of the page) here. Those all make sense to me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Theory

So. Before the '07 football season, you know, the season where Favre played like a rock star (except for any game with inclement weather), and was runner-up in the NFL MVP voting (only because one smart ass sportswriter decided to protest the deserved Tom Brady unanimity), he apparently spent the off-season working with a personal trainer. I believe this was a personal trainer the Packers paid for, whom they sent down to Mississippi to live with Favre and hound him on a daily basis. Allegedly, he then came into training camp "in the best shape of his life."

Then, before the '08 season, he seemed to spend most of his free time sending vague texts to Peter King and Chris Mortenson, and then occasionally worked out with a local high school team. He then played decently before getting injured and stinking up the joint the back third of the season, blowing the Jets' playoff chances.

And now, before the '09 season, the one where he wants to, allegedly, sign with the Vikings, make them into legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and shove his Peter Panology down Ted Thompson's throat ("Hey, Ted: Fame! I'm gonna live forever!"), he's . . . occasionally working out with a local high school team again. In cargo shorts. And he's another year older, and coming off shoulder surgery. On his throwing arm. Hmmm . . .

Monday, July 06, 2009

Whither Student Tickets?

So the Wisconsin State Journal's sports editors have finally caught onto the fact that something is amiss with Wisconsin's student ticket policies. This dawning realization led to this article, with its implied criticism of students who buy football season tickets and then immediately turn around and scalp them. My thoughts on that extremely common phenomenon are as follows.

First, there's the general and irrefutable truth that every year, at least some students are going to try to resell their student tickets. They're in college, they need money, standing for three hours in tiring, sobering up in the middle of the day isn't pleasant, all the games are on TV anyway, Wisconsin v. Wofford isn't particularly compelling, etc. So I don't begrudge kids' efforts to resell tickets and make some money. Indeed, I've bought scalped student tickets on several different occasions myself. (I do, however, begrudge the idiot student in the article who insisted that he isn't being "selfish" by buying tickets and then immediately scalping them. Dude, you're doing this to make money for yourself, and in doing so, making some other fan (like the incoming freshman mentioned in the article), pay more for tickets. That's selfish. Get a dictionary. And it's okay-- capitalism is based on selfishness. Just embrace it, you coward.)

Anyway, given that fact, the question is what to do about it. It seems to me, that the university currently has policies that tacitly encourage scalping, and I'm talking about the way that they allocate tickets and how they admit "students" to Camp Randall. In regard to allocation, until this past month, the university had a pure lottery for tickets. This year, they changed the policy to a first come, first served sale, but held the sale online at 8 am on a weekday-- not the most convenient time for students who have summer jobs. (The system didn't work particularly well as the University apparently cheaped out with their contract with Ticketmaster, but that's another matter.) In any event, neither method of allocation works that well. If you want to discourage scalping, you need to make getting tickets kind of a pain in the ass-- making people who want them do something a bit difficult, like wait in line for a long time. Certainly, making people sit in front of their computers for an hour is more difficult then just having them submit their names to a lottery, but they're still making it far too easy for the commercially-minded to buy tickets.

Second, I have never understood how anyone can walk up to the student gates, submit a voucher, get a ticket and waddle into the student section without any proof that that person is actually a student. Hell, an eighty-three-year-old who doesn't speak English can use a "student" voucher. It's ridiculous. Because of this complete lack of verification that the users of student vouchers are in fact students, the resale market for scalped student tickets is unlimited. If the UW did what other schools do without too much hassle, that is, simply ask for student IDs along with a voucher, the market for scalped vouchers would be halved, at least. Apparently spending three seconds to glance at a student ID is too much to ask of the ticket takers though. Sigh.

I'll make it plain-- in combination with the documented neutering of the "Grateful Red"-- it's clear that whoever runs UW's student ticket program for the major sports is doing a piss-poor job. Folks, this is a down economy. People are scrambling for work, the state (like most states) has serious budget problems, the university is looking to save money-- how about firing whatever half-assed, uncreative, and overpaid simpleton is handling student ticket policies? I'm guessing you could hire some young turk with fresh ideas to replace that person at 60% of the cost. Maybe a recent graduate of UW's MBA program? Hell, they could have a competition for that job among second year MBA students, with applicants needing to submit proposals to revamp the system. But that would be far too fun and unorthodox for the athletic department under Barry's reign.