Saturday, September 7, 2013

The worst football play I've ever seen deserves a better fate

During the Patriots demolition of the Jets last year on Thanksgiving Day, I remember watching the replay of Mark Sanchez losing the football after running squarely into his lineman's behind and saying something like:
"I think that's the worst football play I have ever seen.  I know people exaggerate and make ridiculous claims like this all the time, but honestly, that really was the worst."
And every Friday since then for the past 40 weeks, the rest of the country has agreed.  Sportscenter's "Not Top Ten: Worst of the Worst" pits a different challenger each week, and on every occasion fans have voted for Sanchez's fumble.  It's the longest running "Top Play" or "Not Top Play" champion in the show's history.  However, with a new NFL season starting the folks at ESPN have taken it upon themselves to retire "the butt fumble."

I have to say I am extremely disheartened by this.  Who are they to play God with what is and is not the worst play ever?  Come on ESPN, let the people continue to speak!  Maybe if the infamous gaff ruled supremely (or an antonym of that) for one full year I could understand the network arbitrarily ending its reign, but even then it would be very disappointing.  If and when the viewers get tired of it they will stop voting for it; but until that day comes, why mess with (im)perfection?

As a farewell to commemorate the play, Sportscenter created one of their awful "Sports Science" features analyzing it.  Strangely enough ESPN's official version of the clip (which I watched yesterday) now appears to have been removed from the internet.  We'll see how long this youtube rendition lasts:

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's time to get rid of customer "loyalty" cards

One step in the right direction.
The other day I went grocery shopping at Shaw's; there's one in Boston that I go to occasionally, but hadn't visited all summer.  When I got to the register I whipped out my Shaw's "rewards" card, and the lady said "we don't take those anymore, everybody gets the sale prices all the time."

Shaws, I applaud you.  All these cards have gotten totally out of hand.  I hate the fact that the one time a year I find myself in Borders I feel like I'm missing out if I don't have that stupid little key chain card on me.  And I'm sick of them asking me to sign up for one every time I go to Best Buy (honestly I think maybe I even did a long time ago and forgot about it).  Clearly the purpose of these things has nothing to do with loyalty anyway if I have one for CVS, Rite Aid, and Osco Drug.  Not to mention the fact that when I'm at the check out counter at Stop and Shop and I realize I brought the wrong set of keys, the cashier just swipes their own card for me anyway.  These things are pointless and I'm sick of them.  And no, those aren't actually my keys.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How to win the 2014 Super Bowl

With the 2013-2014 NFL schedule kicking off tonight, media prognosticators everywhere are making a wide variety of predictions about what will happen this year.  I'm not going to tell you who is going to win the Super Bowl, but I am going to describe what the eventual champion's season may look like.

Last year the Ravens started 9-2, and were coming off a ridiculous momentum building 16-13 OT win over San Diego, in which Ray Rice converted a 4th and 29.  But then Baltimore dropped 4 of their last 5, and limped into the playoffs at 10-6.  The season before that the Giants jumped out to a 6-2 record, but went just 3-5 in the second half before backdoor-ing their way into the playoffs at 9-7.  In 2010 the Packers began 7-3, stumbled to 8-6, then snatched up the NFC's final postseason spot at 10-6.  And in 2009 the Saints opened the year 13-0 before losing their final 3 regular season games to finish 13-3.

Just in case you've been living in a cave, those are your past four Super Bowl winners.  In recent years getting "hot down the stretch" hasn't translated into championships.  The path to a title appears to be a strong start, followed by a mid to late season slump that isn't quite bad enough to keep you out of the playoffs.

Either that or just make sure to play the Eagles in their home opener, something else those four clubs all had in common.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I'm a little shocked it took this long for a major fast food place to offer a "french fry burger"

Burger King just recently unveiled this new edition to their $1 "value menu."  I don't think it's an earth shattering idea or anything; but I do think it's a solid one, and I can't believe they never put it out there earlier.

Twenty years ago when my high school friends first started getting drivers licences, I remember taking a road trip to McDonalds one summer afternoon.  A buddy of mine showed us all how he liked to put the fries inside his Big Mac, and I gave it a try as well (I'm also fairly certain that was the first Big Mac of my life).

On the rare occasions ever since then that I have gotten a basic fast food burger and fries, I've done that same thing every single time.  I'm sure a great many people started doing it long before the summer of '93 as well, so it's seems a little crazy that it didn't crack the menu as it's own item till 2013.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ever wonder if Bill Belichick is bored of winning?

Deadspin has been writing a series of NFL team previews called "Why Your Team Sucks 2013," from the perspective of rival fans looking for any reason they can to hate each franchise.  The articles are a little vulgar and gratuitous, but also definitely include some seriously some funny stuff.  The subject of today's scrutiny was the New England Patriots.  This quote on Bill Belichick made me laugh out loud (stop reading now if you get offended by PG13 language):
"Your coach: MILF-hunting sociopath Bill Belichick, who makes draft choices like a music snob who intentionally chooses the most obscure bands possible for his year end top-10 list. I honestly think Belichick is bored with the idea of winning Super Bowls. I think he takes much more pleasure out of running a tight-end quick kick on third down and seeing if it works. It's like when you win a video game and you decide to go back searching for hidden levels, not actually giving a shit about winning the game itself again. Let's see if I can make a decent H-back out of a potential murderer! KEWL."

Also pretty amusing was the response on twitter from some Pats fans who may not have realized Deadspin has been writing these sarcastic pieces about every team:

Monday, September 2, 2013

The numbers behind the ridiculous free fall of Daniel Bard

From 2009-2011 Daniel Bard was one of, if not the most dominant 8th inning pitcher in baseball.  He registered 79 holds in his first 192 big league appearances, the most ever by a player that early in his career.  But in late 2011 he somehow forgot how to throw strikes.  When the Red Sox suffered their epic September collapse, Bard was one of the leading culprits.  For the month he went 0-4 while yielding 14 runs in 11 innings (as well as 11 hits and 9 walks).  His ERA skyrocketed from 2.03 to 3.33.

The following offseason Boston decided to convert Bard into a starter.  I was actually in favor of this move, but the Sox yanked him from the rotation after a 4-6 record with a 5.24 ERA through 10 starts (with 37 walks in 55 innings).  Despite being nowhere close to his old self, he wasn't terrible; until he got demoted to AAA.  In 2012 with Pawtucket Bard walked 29 batters (and hit 10 more) in 32 innings, while posting a 7.03 ERA.  Boston gave him another chance this past April, but in his second appearance he walked the only two hitters he faced, throwing just 1 strike in 9 pitches.  He was sent down to the minors again, and then things got really really bad.

With AA Portland this year Bard gave up 17 walks, 13 hits, and 11 runs in just 12.2 innings.  Last week he took the mound in the season finale for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox (rookie level, below single A), and walked 5 batters in two-thirds of an inning while allowing two runs to score on wild pitches.  Boston decided to give him one last opportunity in Lowell (A) on Saturday night, and this time he walked 4 in one inning.  Sunday he was cut from the Red Sox roster.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "I Wish" by Skee-Lo

When I went away to college in the fall of 1995, email became a part of my life for the first time.  I had a group of about 15 high school friends that kept in touch and told stories this way.  It was the first online audience that I ever wrote for.  One of the emails I sent to this group was a list of sarcastic and funnier (at least I thought so) lyrics to "I Wish" by Skee-Lo, which was a huge song at the time.  It was a collection of random thoughts like "I wish Hootie and the Blowfish would change their name to Hootie and the Carolina Panthers" (that's the only line I can remember, and I'm not exactly sure where it came from; I wonder if it's possible to somehow dig up this email from the depths of the internet?).

Anyway, if years from now somebody is doing a thesis on the roots/origins of, that's probably a good place to start.

On a related note, a week ago I wrote a blog about Grantland's "Song of the Millennium" tournament.  For the "Awesome (not very old) Song of the Week" I chose Outkast's Hey Ya as the champion from the 64 song field.  I wish I'd put money on my selection (sidebar: imagine how much fun it would be to take bets on that?), because on Friday Andre 3000 and company took home the title.

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