Saturday, August 16, 2008
Dramatized fluff pieces. Overly-emphasized American athletes. Awesome Visa commercials. Gymnastics drama. Some swimmer named Michael. The Olympics are half over, and I have managed to watch a lot of them. Yes, I've seen enough Syncrho-Diving and Beach Volleyball for a lifetime. These are my favorite moments from the first week in Beijing (in no particular order):
Blake v. Federer This quarterfinal match-up was intriguing because Federer will relinquish his #1 ranking to Rafael Nadal no matter what, but the Swiss man still would have liked to medal. Instead, he lost for the first time ever to the American, in straight sets. The win was huge for Blake, but he couldn't capitalize, losing in the semis to Fernando Gonzalez and then in the Bronze medal match to Novak Djokovic. Nadal will play Gonzalez on Sunday to determine the Gold medal winner.
Michael Phelps' Food Intake Have you heard of him? Apparently he's not a bad swimmer. With 7 finals down and one to go, Phelps is on his way to possibly winning a record 8 Gold medals. The Baltimore bullet (yup, they call him that) has made it interesting in 2 of his swims, while winning the other 5 without much of a problem. Phelps led off the Americans, who won the 4X100 free relay in the last few meters when Jason Lezak stunned the Frenchmen. The 100 meter butterfly came down to a hundredth of a second, which was amazing to watch. Phelps now has the most Golds by an athlete ever. Ever. He also eats up to 12,000 calories a day. Read that again. He swims about 5 miles a day to balance it all out, but, that's a whole lot of calories.
The Parade of Nations Sure it was long. Bob Costas and Matt Lauer weren't the only ones getting loopy while the 205 countries walked into the Bird's Nest (I was too). Either way, it was great to see so many elated people, dressed in their country's finest (some cases more than others). I did love the little Chinese boy with that big Chinese man, Yao Ming. So cute.
Nastia Liukin and Alexander Artemev My two favorite members of the US Gymnastics Teams (thanks to my friend Kathy). Nastia is an immigrant from Russia, who's father is a former Gold medalist. After coming so close so many times, she peaked when it counted, winning the Women's All-Around Gold, beating her teammate and good friend, Shawn Johnson. Sasha, as Artemev is known, was born in Belarus and was an alternate until Morgan Hamm withdrew. He helped his team win the Bronze medal, with a fantastic performance on the Pommel Horse, one of the most dreaded men's events.
Bob Costas and Mary Carillo Bob Costas has always been a favorite of mine, ever since he did the NBA on NBC back in the 90s. I love to see him anchoring the Prime Time coverage of the games. It is also great to watch as he makes fun of himself for being short. Mary hosts the Late-Night show, which I have yet to see, but every night in Prime Time she does some story about Beijing's culture to help us Americans understand.
And here's why China is a little shady:
Their Gymnastics Team Looks 12 The girls are supposed to be at least 16 years old and there have been many reports that the government doctored their passports. Many of the girls look much younger, and a recent competition showed one who was 14. It is probably too late to try and get this fixed. The passports have already been examined by the IOC and the girls won a Gold Medal.
The Opening Ceremony By now you must have heard about the switch the Chinese made by using one girl's voice while putting a different, 'cuter' girl 'singing' center stage. Also, there are reports that a woman fell during a rehearsal for the event and she is facing possible paralysis. China tried to cover this incident up until it was leaked. And it has also been reported that performers were told to wear diapers so they did not have to take bathroom breaks during rehearsals and at the Opening Ceremony. Hmmm...
Well that's it for now! Track and Field, Diving, and the farewells for Baseball and Softball are still to come. Also, Major League Baseball is still going on, and a team called the Mets are in the middle of a win-streak! What are your favorite moments of the week? Do you have any other reasons why China is shady (please limit this to Olympic-related incidents)?
How old is this kid too? He sounds like he's 10 but he has the creepstache going on too.
I find it funny, being a quasi-celebrity like myself, when some annoying kid comes by and asks questions. If I was Troy here, I'd slap the stache off this kid. Alas that is why he gets paid the big bucks while I get paid in paper clips.
So after another 9th inning tie game bed shitting by Mo and 2 out fly out by Giambi with the bases loaded, I have come to realize something else about this beyond frustrating and irritating team. They, despite being full of veterans who played on this team last year, have, incredulously, taken on the persona and personality of their manager.
Consider this; Girardi was brought in because he was more passionate, temperamental and, dare I say, up and down than the even keeled and 1st ballot Hall of Famer Torre. As such, this team, unlike last years team that would, late in the year, consistently win 2 of 3 and 4 of 5 yet never really went on a crazy 10 in a row run, is entirely streaky. Instead of winning series, this team has compiled a semi-respectable record of 64-58 by playing horrendous baseball almost all season..... except for 4 runs of 4+ game winning streaks sprinkled throughout the 2008 campaign. They have a 4 game winning streak, a 5 game winning streak, a 7 game winning streak, and an 8 game winning streak. Outside of these fairly spaced out bursts of solid play, this team is a woeful 18 games under 500. I know you can't take away those 24 wins but it is noteworthy that this team has basically played lousy baseball except for 4 solid streaks at various spaced apart intervals of the season. Unlike Torre, who looked exactly the same at a press-conference after a loss as he did after a win, Girardi looks like his favorite dog died after each loss and looks like he just banged the prom-queen after each win. This radical temperament change, based on the outcome of games; which is appropriate for die-hard fans like myself, is not appropriate for the manager of a team whose team plays 162 games.
I admit, I thought I wanted a more passionate and temperamental manager but I think I was wrong. I am not saying Girardi is a terrible manager or that he is not the right guy for the future of this team. However, I am saying that I see negative aspects of his personality rubbing off on his team; in turn these personality flaws may in part explain it's horribly erratic play.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
Frankly, this video is a slap in the face to black men all over America. Just shameful. But I guess this is what happens when you grow up in Hawaii with white people. You end up dancing like Rick Astley.
Its gonna be a long 4 years......
Monday, August 11, 2008
Bindra’s family led the party after victory in the 10m air rifle event brought joy to a nation of more than one billion.
“He has won the greatest medal in the world,” an ecstatic A.S. Bindra, the shooter’s father told Reuters. Bindra senior is a successful businessman who has provided his son with an air-conditioned shooting range where he can train.I'm not the most patriotic hindu out there but there's nothing like winning a medal for the motherland. I know the terrorist jokes here are likely too overpowering and even I, as a gun-totting hindu, has to plead the 5th here. I find it funny that like all indian parties she is already auctioning off her son like he is 100 shares of Apple? I mean really mother can you let your son rock out and get all the poon from the indian ladies without commitment? I mean really. I mean look at him here:
He's just licking his chops at the thought of being ravished by 500,000 million females.
A few days up, a few days down. Frankly, I think that all Mets fans are lucky that our team is 6 games above .500. After 3 great (maybe lucky) wins Thursday-Saturday, the boys have put together two losses in a row. I can find ways to excuse the 8-2 loss to the Marlins on Sunday (they had already won the series, Pelfrey has been pretty damn good otherwise), but today's 7-5 defeat to the Pirates? Awful. Stupid. Inexcusable. Manuel got ejected in the game, which I really don't blame him for, in the bottom of the ninth. Maybe he should have saved his frustration for the pitchers in the bullpen, though. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that once a starting pitcher or even a reliever leaves with a lead, they deserve to get a win. It sounds simple doesn't it? Why then, have the Mets lost 9 games in which they have led in the eighth inning or later? The characters are all the same: Smith, Feliciano, Sanchez, Heilman and Schoeneweis. Together, this quintet let a 5-1 lead become a 7-5 loss, in the 7th and 9th innings. Poor Pedro has come back from injuries and the death of his father to pitch well. Unfortunately, he can't secure a win because of the pen. Not really fair is it? Its also not really all that fun for the fans to watch.
*In the above picture, Billy Wagner's MRI shows a Rare Extra 'Blown Save' Muscle. Thank you, bleacherreport.com. Nice work.
I'll be back later on this week to talk about the Olympics!!
White Flag has been raised: Congrats to the D-rays and Twins: Oh and a theory as to why the Yankees offense is sucking
That's right. The Redsox are not going to make the playoffs. The Manny trade will ultimately cost them a playoff birth. If this sounds like a Yankee fan gloating, it is not. Rather, it is congratulating the 2008 Al Wild card Champion Minnesota Twins. The Sox are not good enough to make the playoffs, the Yanks are not good enough to even contend the rest of the way. As a die hard Yankees fan, I am thoroughly disgusted and appalled by my favorite team's play over the weekend. Yesterday, they had, in 4 different innings, a runner on third and less than 2 outs and not one of those times did they successfully advance the runner home. Pettite gave his club everything he had including one of the greatest defensive plays by a pitcher I have ever seen. However, the Pen, which has been a great strength all season, is turning into the club's greatest vulnerability at the most inopportune time. Marte has been misused by Girardi (he should be a 1 inning guy or a lefty specialist), Pudge has no idea what to call for his new pitchers, and Edwar
Edwar Ramierz has hit a big time wall after dominating all season long.
However, the greatest problem with this team seems to be situational hitting not intangibles. I am not one to overly stress intangibles and "guts" or "heart" in a sport that is fairly non-violent/non-agressive and individualistic by nature; however I am also not one to say that the Yanks are just hitting into "bad luck" with runners in scoring position; which is the position that is advanced by nerdy sabormetricians like Max Kellerman. Rather, I think certain players have a skill or knack for situational type of hitting. The Yankees are bereft of these kind of players. By assembling a team of former and current superstar sluggers like A-rod (present) and Giambi, Abreu (past), you have a team that has tremendous trouble hitting a a ground ball with the infield playing back or hitting a fly ball when the infield is playing in. So I don't think it is so much that the Yankees are horribly un-clutch nor do I think the Yankees are unlucky; rather I think most of their players with the exception of Johnny Damon and Xaiver Nady, just are not skilled at the art of giving themselves up to make sure a run scores. None of them have ever been asked to do this in their superstar careers. This would be fine if they were still at their peaks of greatness but most of these guys like Abreu, Giambi and Jeter, are no longer in their greatest years and need to be able to do more in the way of situational hitting; only they can't because they never have had to. This, my fellow Yankee fans has been the greatest flaw in this year's Yankee team.
I raise the white flag not because I don't like a lot of the young bullpen arms, I think they have a great pen going forward, and not because I don't think Cano and Melky will bounce back with better seasons next year; rather, I raise the white flag because I simply don't think this offense will magically learn how to situational hit. This would be okay if we had a healthy rotation of Wang, Joba, Muss, Pettite and Ponson. However, with a rotation that features Dan Giese and Ian Kennedy getting crucial starts the rest of the way, this lack of situational hitting will ultimately cost the Yanks too many games. This, coupled with a 4 game deficit to Boston and 3 to Minnesota makes it nearly impossible to end up overcoming this wild card deficit in the end. That said, enjoy an American League playoffs of Tampa Bay, Minneapolis, Orange County, and Chicago A.L Fox and TBS. Those ratings should easily beat out Sunday night football games on NBC like games featuring the Superbowl 42 champion New York Giants, The F A R V E FARVE FARVE FARVES, the 18-1 Pats and the national teams like Pittsburgh and Dallas.
"The Israeli women....WOW! If I get with a female soldier[BH note- no idea what he wants if he hooks up with a male soldier], I demand a jersey of some sort and that it be retired to the rafters."
In honor of Devo's new mission, SUS presents a gallery of hot Israeli soldiers.