Saturday, January 23, 2016

Is it weird to have somebody who's not an American sing the national anthem at a sporting event?

Before the start of the Celtics game Friday night, the TD Garden P.A. announcer said something along the lines of:

"Now, performing The Star-Spangled Banner, Ireland's premier tenor, Paul Byrom."

My immediate thought was "An Irish guy is going to sing the national anthem?  Isn't that a little weird?"  And you know what?  It was.  Click on the link in his tweet to watch a brief clip.  He definitely sang it a little weird.

But regardless of how the words actually came out, something about a foreigner singing our national anthem just doesn't quite sit right with me.  Maybe because it's the Celtics there's a little leeway to have somebody from Ireland do it though?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Andre the Giant, Wilt Chamberlain, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a Danny DeVito tweet bot

What the hell is a Danny DeVito tweet bot?  Well, I'll tell you:

Yesterday I saw this great tweet of an old picture that made Arnold Schwarzenegger, an enormous human being, look like a small child:

That got me thinking of the movie Twins in reverse, so I retweeted the original pic and added this one with the caption "And Arnold with Danny DeVito..."

I got this response:

Somebody created an automated account that searches for tweets mentioning Danny DeVito and responds to them.  Why this exists I have no idea.  Even weirder is the fact that whoever is obsessed enough with Danny DeVito to do this somehow doesn't know he capitalizes the V in his last name.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rajon Rondo vs. Steph Curry in the playoffs?

Rajon Rondo dunked last night, which at this point in his career is a big deal:

(Although I thought his first dunk of the season was better)

More importantly, Rondo's 11 points, five rebounds and 17 assists yesterday helped the Kings rout the Lakers (Sacramento's third straight win) to improve to 18-23 and take over the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.  If the season ended today, Rondo and the Kings would take on Steph Curry and the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.

Sure, Golden State would probably win every game in that series by about 35 points, but it's still an exciting proposition.  Maybe, just maybe, we'll get to see the return of playoff Rondo.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It's definitely time for MLB to use a robot umpire behind the plate

Yesterday, posted an article about why an automated home-plate umpire would improve Major League Baseball.  I couldn't agree more.

One of the things I like about baseball compared to other sports is that for the most part, umpires (or referees) don't determine the outcome of close games.  Alternatively, this happens all the time in the NBA and NFL.  In those leagues refs can call fouls or penalties on just about anything, and the inconsistencies in their decisions frequently affect who wins and who loses.

With MLB, that's not really the case.  When somebody gets a game-winning hit, there's rarely any debate.  In football and basketball players defend each other, which gives referees the ability to award penalties and fouls if that defense is not played fairly.  In baseball, guys defend the ball--either they make the play or they don't.  It's not up to umpires to decide things like "no that's not an out, you defended too aggressively to make that catch, I'm ruling it a hit instead."

However, there is one part of baseball where the umps do have complete control and human error plays a major part: Calling balls and strikes.  Check out the stats in the article I linked to above on the difference between hitting with an 0-1 count vs. 1-0, or 1-2 vs. 2-1.  They're staggering.

The TV networks broadcasting the games already show us whether or not balls cross the plate in a batter's strike zone.  Why not just give this info to umpires to make their calls?  It seems like a no-brainer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Do you know how bad Peyton Manning has been this year?

Let's start with touchdown passes.  How many times has Peyton Manning thrown a touchdown pass this season?

Nine.  Manning only has nine touchdown passes this year.  He's played 11 games.  His nine TDs are tied for 31st overall among quarterbacks (in case you forgot, there are 32 teams in the NFL).  For comparison, Tom Brady has thrown a league-best 38 touchdowns in 17 games.  Manning has also completed just one TD pass at home in Denver this season.  ONE!  In the lone game Brady already played there, he tossed three.

Now let's look at Manning's interceptions.  Manning has been picked 17 times this year, the second-highest total in the NFL behind Blake Bortles' 18 (although Bortles played 16 games).  The Broncos win over the Steelers Sunday was the first game all season Manning started and did not throw an interception.

Brady, on the other hand, has gone without a pick in 11 outings this year.  Manning has also been intercepted multiple times in five of his 10 starts.  That's only happened to Brady once.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Do single guys in bars hate Uber?

This is the second half of a two-part blog I started the other day.  Here's Part 1: Is January the best month of the year for internet dating sites?  Read that first if you haven't already.

At the end of one of the many internet dates I observed in my bar last week, the guy paid the tab and the couple was ready to leave.  There was that bit of hesitation where neither was exactly sure what the next move was.  Or at least I thought there was, but then the girl looked at her phone and said "Oh, my Uber is here, I have to go," and just like that she was gone.

They'd clearly gotten along well enough that neither was quite ready to give up like that, but when your Uber is waiting, what choice do you have?

For guys on a first date (or even just in a bar hitting on somebody random they just met), pretty much the No. 1 game plan is to try to keep things going as long as possible.  The longer she doesn't go home, the better your chances are.  Even if she decides it's time to leave, there always used to be that stroll outside to search for a cab (and possibly share that cab), maybe smoke a cigarette, go to another bar, convince her to walk a bit, etc.  There were plenty of opportunities to extend things in any number of ways.

But now with Uber, as soon as that order is made the clock is ticking, she's going home, and there's nothing that can be done about it--definitely a major obstacle to overcome for the single-guy bar-goer.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Apparently "basic fairness" is a rule in the NFL now (and maybe they should use it more often?)

On the overtime coin flip during the Cardinals win over the Packers Saturday, the coin didn't actually flip.  The ref immediately said the toss was not valid and flipped it again.  Arizona won both times, so there wasn't much of an issue.  Still, there was some confusion and people wondered whether or not the coin actually should have been re-flipped.  Sunday, the NFL made a statement.


"There is nothing in the rulebook that specifies [a required flip]," NFL spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement. "But the referee used his judgment to determine that basic fairness dictated that the coin should flip for the toss to be valid. That is why he retossed the coin."

If you ask me the NFL should go with this "basic fairness" line a lot more often.  Was it a catch?  Was it a fumble?  Is it pass interference?  Was the quarterback's arm going forward?  There are too many rules that are open to interpretation, and nobody ever knows what the call is going to be after the replay review.  Rather than come up with a technical explanation every time that people don't buy anyway, why not just admit it's a judgement call?

"Yeah, it was a catch, because it looked like a catch and, you know, basic fairness."

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