Cubs season off to a flying start
WASHINGTON -- This was supposed to be a magical season for the Chicago Cubs.
After acquiring manager Joe Maddon and ace Jon Lester in the offseason, their plethora of young talent seemed ready to take the big leagues by storm and return them to the playoff chase. With the bleachers remodeled and new video board installed, the iconic venue of Wrigley Field would be set for the chance of at least a partial fulfillment of the Back to the Future II prophecy of a World Series title in 2015.
Things haven’t gone as planned. A particularly harsh Chicago winter pushed construction plans behind, and the mayor refused to allow crews to work around the clock to get the job done in time for Opening Day.
Partially as a result, the ballpark had far fewer restrooms than it needed when the season began Sunday night, causing nearly hour-long waits.
Management scrambled to fix that issue by bringing in 74 portable toilets for their second game…which never took place. In anticipation of storms, the game was postponed, although no rain ever actually fell.
Now, the Cubs’ television partners are getting in on the comedy of errors. During the intro to the ABC 7 Chicago broadcast of Wednesday night’s game, graphics for a number of MLB teams were shows. There were a number of spelling errors, and one particularly egregious error that went a step further.
The team names included the “Cincinnnati Reds,” the “Milwalkee Brewers,” and the Washigton Nationals.” But the real kicker was the “San Franscisco Mariners.” Yep.
We’re only two games into the season. Who knows what else the lovable losers of the North Side might have in store for us this year?
The Phillies are trying to kill their fans
That’s tough to take for Phillies fans. A once proud franchise just seven years removed from a title and only four years from a 102-win season may be the worst team in the league. As such, they’ve tried to draw attention for the upcoming season off the field.
Those intentions may be pure, but the execution, well, it’s dirty.
First, the Phillies made efforts to help numb the pain of what’s sure to be a dumpster fire of a campaign by serving wine and hard alcohol at Citizen’s Bank Park for the first time ever. While that may raise the mood at the ballpark a bit, the idea of Philly fans consuming higher concentrations of alcohol probably raises eyebrows among fans of any other team daring to make a road trip to the City of Brotherly Love.
Now, the club has announced that they will wage full on warfare on their customers’ arteries in 2015. Behold the Triple Triple Burger, a nine-patty, nine-slice of cheese culinary abomination and edible heart attack squeezed between some decorative vegetables and two halves of a bun, which appear to be hanging on for dear life.
What could possibly go wrong? Other than Cliff Lee’s potentially career-ending elbow injury. And Jonathan Papelbon trade requests. And Jordan Danks starting in right field on Opening Day. And Sean O’Sullivan, one of the 15 worst pitchers in MLB history, claiming a rotation spot. And Ryan Howard being owed $50 million more for the remaining two years of his contract.
And Philly fans potentially literally eating and drinking themselves to an early death.
Basketball player with f-word last name lobbies to display it on jersey
WASHINGTON -- The Medicine Hat Rattlers in Alberta, Canada sport black and yellow jerseys with “Rattlers” across the front and each player’s last name across the back. Each player, that is, except for their Brazilian-born, 6-foot-6 leading scorer, Guilherme Crabogiale Fuck.
For obvious reasons, the school requested that the forward use only his first two names, with which he initially complied. But now, with the support of his coach, he has lobbied to get his actual last name --pronounced FOO-key -- on his jersey, just like everyone else.
The name is of German origin, according to the player, and means “fox” in its original language.
If the Brazilian keeps pouring in 18.3 points per game, collecting 10.1 rebounds a game and shooting 42.5 percent from three-point range, he’ll make a name for himself on the floor as well.
NCAA reminds us all once again that they are just the worst
WASHINGTON -- In its constant, back-and-forth battle with FIFA to establish itself as the worst organization in sports, the NCAA has sunk to new lows in establishing guidelines for March Madness watch parties. Let’s run through the eight rules one-by-one and see how they stack up on the scale of hypocrisy from 1 to Mark Emmert.
1. No admission may be charged for admission to a party whose primary purpose is to view NCAA tournament games.
So, you can hold a watch party, but you can’t charge a cover. As the Tournament is broadcast on network and basic cable, this seems kosher.
Hypocrisy Rating: 1
2. There should not be sale of food or beverages. Members of the organization are permitted to bring their own food or beverage (free of charge).
One can see the idea here, but it’s not like the NCAA isn’t happy to let venues charge for food and drink for those paying to attend games, and it’s not like you can bring your own food in from the outside.
Hypocrisy Rating: 4
3. Sponsorship or commercial advertising is prohibited from being a part of a viewing party.
Remember, only the NCAA can sell every inch of available advertising real estate to make money off the Tournament. Even if you’re putting on your own admission-free, no-refreshments-for-sale event out of the goodness of your own heart and your love for amateur athletics, you aren’t allowed to let anyone know that you’ve done so by advertising that fact.
Hypocrisy Rating: Full Emmert
4. Asking for donations in exchange for being part of the viewing party is prohibited.
Donations can only be given to schools through official booster channels, which can then be used by the institutions at their own discretion. You are not allowed to take part in this racket.
Hypocrisy Rating: 3
5. Promotion of the event is limited to those affiliated with the organization. For example, if a church conducts a viewing party, it is able to promote within its own publications (e.g., church bulletin) to the congregation. However, any website promotion is prohibited.
The NCAA literally doesn’t understand how electronic communication works. Posting to one’s own website is less of an advertisement than putting something in a bulletin, or a newsletter, or a mailer. Websites are like virtual telephone poles, places that people need to actively seek out information to find. This is idiocy, and completely backwards.
Hypocrisy Rating: 7
6. Please carefully review the NCAA Advertising and Promotional Standards, which can be found on NCAA.com/media and click on the “NCAA Advertising and Promotional Standards” link found under Broadcast and Digital Policies.
Ok, I’ll follow your clickbait. Here’s the opening graph of that page:
“The NCAA's advertising and promotional standards are designed to encourage those advertisements and advertisers that support the NCAA's ideals and exclude those advertisements and advertisers (and others who wish to associate with NCAA activities) that do not appear to be in the best interests of higher education and student-athletes.”
You know, the best interests of higher education, like Coca-Cola, Capital One, Buffalo Wild Wings and Infiniti. There’s nothing like junk food, bars, banking institutions and car that no student-athlete can afford to support the virtue of amateur athletics. I’m sure none of them specifically do any of the things the NCAA says they should not:
· Cause harm to student-athlete health, safety and welfare.
· Bring discredit to the purposes, values or principles of the NCAA.
· Negatively impact the best interests of intercollegiate athletics or higher
Hypocrisy Rating: Full Emmert
7. Commercial entities are not permitted to conduct viewing parties without securing a commercial cable subscription or commercial satellite license from their cable (e.g., AT&T Uverse, Comcast/Xfinity, Time Warner Cable) or satellite (e.g. DirecTV, DISH Network) provider.
Hypocrisy Rating: Full Emmert
8. All non-profit or for-profit (commercial) entities must comply with U.S. copyright laws. The U.S. copyright act addresses issues such as charging admission to view or watch events on television, size of the TV(s) or video screen(s), securing or holding the appropriate copyright license (commercial cable or satellite versus over-the-air), etc.
Hey, the law’s the law. No problem here. Just with pretty much everything else.
Hypocrisy rating: 1
So, if you’re thinking of throwing a watch party, just remember that only the NCAA is allowed to squeeze every possible penny out of a product in which the actual participants are unpaid. For you to do so violates the spirit of everything the NCAA stands for.
The NFL is even more delusional than you realize
WASHINGTON -- It’s been a bad year for the NFL.
If any professional sports entity could use some image polishing, it’s professional football (good try, good effort, NCAA). And yet, when presented with an opportunity to do so, not only did the NFL punt, the league managed to show itself to be even more delusional of its own grandeur than anyone had probably realized.
Eric Sollenberger of SBNation hosted a panel at SXSW last Saturday about sports and comedy, which including Funny or Die’s Alex Richanbach. Following President Obama’s appearance on their popular show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, FOD and the NFL began to discuss the idea of having NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell do some time of video for the site. Per Sollenberger:
The league was obviously interested in a bit of goodwill coming their way for a change, and Funny or Die would have relished the opportunity/challenge that would go along with presenting Goodell in a comical light.
As the President had with the Healthcare.gov in his video, the NFL wanted to highlight certain talking points. That was no big deal to FOD, but the producers wanted to make sure the league was aware that they would be making some jokes at the commissioner’s expense, because that’s what a comedy website does.
In response, the producers reminded the league that the leader of the free world was more than willing to play by that set of rules. Surely they could see the light.
In an attempt to salvage the relationship, Funny Or Die countered by reminding them that even the leader of the free world was willing to take a joke, saying "but Obama did it, and he's President of the United States."
Richanbach said that the league shot back, "well, he's not the commissioner of the NFL."
Minor League team to wear ‘Full House’ jerseys
WASHINGTON -- The Frisco RoughRiders are a Double-A team in Texas, but they’re using their native geography to do some Major League level trolling.
As anyone from Northern California will tell you, San Franciscans hate it when people call their city Frisco for short. With that in mind, the RoughRiders are holding a Full House night, featuring these abrasive jerseys, and even hosting one of the show’s stars, Dave Coulier, for a celebrity appearance and meet and greet.
San Francisco’s a beautiful city, so the jerseys are no doubt aesthetically pleasing. What’s that? They look like a third-rate art school student’s attempt at combining Andy Warhol-era art deco with poster boards from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?”
Those sure are rough, ‘Riders.
Monstrous gator crawls onto golf course
WASHINGTON -- No, you can putt first.
The course is on Florida’s west coast near Port Charlotte, dozens of miles from the edges of the Everglades. Let this serve as a simple reminder to never go to Florida.
John Wall, Adidas unveil cherry blossom sneakers
WASHINGTON -- Now that the snow is finally gone, all you’ll hear about for the next month (until you actually see them) is cherry blossoms. Thanks to John Wall and Adidas, you’ll see them a little earlier, on the hardwood.
For the second year in a row, Wall is getting his own Cherry Blossom Festival-themed shoe, a white sneaker with a pink sole, gold accents and pink blossoms along the toe, tongue, and the sides of the heel. It’s…bright. Hooray for spring.
While you freeze, Redskins players surf in San Diego
WASHINGTON -- Kirk Cousins and Alfred Morris seem like nice enough dudes. They’re in the middle of their offseason, and therefore entitled to do pretty much whatever they want, so long as it falls within the bounds of the law and the NFL collective bargaining agreement.
So they’re more than entitled to go surfing. In San Diego. Under cloudless, blue skies. But do they really have to rub it in while the rest of us are trapped under 6 inches of snow?
Enjoy, guys. We’ll just be over here living vicariously through you until Spring.
Astros bring giant snake into clubhouse
WASHINGTON -- The Houston Astros brought a giant albino Burmese python into their Spring Training clubhouse Thursday because, why not? While this doesn’t seem nearly as cute as Joe Maddon’s penguin endeavor with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, I guess anything's worth a shot to help a team that’s averaged 104 losses over the past four seasons.
In related news, has anybody seen Jose Altuve today? Asking for a friend…
CC Sabathia is in the best “shape” of his life
WASHINGTON -- As any good baseball fan knows, every player shows up to Spring Training every year in the best shape of his life. In CC Sabathia’s case, that shape is round and oblong. Ovalish, if you will. Like a pinstriped egg.
After dropping down to 275 pounds last year and looking like a cartoonishly skinny version of his prior self, Sabathia is back up to his fighting weight of 305. He looks like his old self, but the question of whether the heft will help bring back the 34-year-old’s former velocity remains to be seen.
If nothing else, it’ll bring a whole new competition to the classic AL East rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Danny Espinosa is Sam Elliott in The Big Lebowski
As for his handle bar mustache -- he gave that to himself.
They call Viera the city of “faith.” I didn’t find it to be that exactly. But it’s a place where pitchers and catchers are reporting for Spring Training, and where position players are showing up with facial hair dramatic enough to stop you in your tracks. But sometimes there’s a mustache, sometimes there’s a mustache…