Friday, April 27, 2007

Meg Bulger is NOT Available

No matter how badly your favorite NFL team drafts this weekend, they can't top this. Meg Bulger was drafted in round 3 of the WNBA draft by Sacramento. She's the sister of Marc Bulger, and a scoring machine at West Virginia University (19.8 this year until she got injured). I was actually surprised she wasn't drafted a tad higher.

One small problem, though: she wasn't eligible for the draft! She never declared, never worked out for anyone, anything. She's going back to WVU this year. A complete reach by Sacramento, and the pick was voided. What kind of crazy GM drafts a player who isn't even eligible for the draft? I mean, how stupid is that? Sure, it was only the 3rd round of the 3-round draft. But it was an incredible waste of a pick.

Oh. Credit to for the picture. On second thought, nice try, Sacramento GM. I'm sure calling pretty girls and apologizing for drafting them on accident is a much better way to get dates then sending gmail invites to them as gifts. Um, not that I would know anything about that. Now if you'll excuse me, I "drafted" Candace Parker and Heather Zurich in my fantasy baseball league by accident. Ooops.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Look-alikes: Alec Baldwin and Bill Laimbeer?

I must be crazy, but I was watching an old Bill Laimbeer video on Youtube, and I'm starting to think he and Alec Baldwin look alike. Agree? The evidence:



*Thanks to and for recent links, much appreciated. But no, this isn't the part where I breathlessly have a blog intro to tell new readers all about how magnificent I am and my vision for the site, and beg you to come back. You can make up your minds for yourself on the merits of this blog without that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bloggolalia: Catching Them on the Way Up

The Extrapolater has graciously agreed to weigh in on the topic of gaps in sports blog land. He wrote on Catching Them on the Way Up here. He talks about covering minor-league players before they are stars and covering small-school teams and obscure sports. Very comprehensive and highly recommended.

And if you haven't weighed in or read my post on the technology gap, here, take a look. The post has authentic video footage of a blogger and blogger-created video, so check it out and let me know what you think.

If you'd like to take a turn at analyzing gaps and growth possibilities in sports blogging, by all means, let me know and I'll link to your article.

There may not be a post tomorrow, as I did more posting today than I had planned on.

Salvage Value: Jemele Hill, Gilbert Arenas Follow-up

For those of you who read Newsweek, its cover story pointed out that ESPN's Page 2 Jemele Hill played a significant role in getting Don Imus's comments to a large audience. It's surprising to me that ESPN has been so under the radar in acknowledging this, especially with Page 2 being so quiet nowadays. Understandably, though, because of ESPN's ties to ABC, they probably don't want people thinking that their journalists are going around savaging hosts from the competition. (Imus worked for CBS radio and MSNBC TV, if I am not mistaken). Here's the exact quote:

"...Young black journalists were among the first to demand that Imus be ousted. Thursday evening, one day after Imus's comments, Jemele Hill, an ESPN reporter, posted the Media Matters link on the National Association of Black Journalists' e-mail list... In a matter of hours, black journalists in newsrooms across the country were clicking on it, and getting angry. The next day the NABJ demanded an apology from Imus, then called for him to be fired."

Read them for more of the surrounding text.

Also, I received a bit of notoriety here for my Gilbert Arenas SuperStars Be post. It's fair; if I'm going to write a post with strong opinions, I expect to get them back. But just to clarify; I love nerdiness and geekiness. I love late bloomers and underrated prospects. Just look at my Shay Doron post as an example.

Coming from anyone else, my post would be Gilbert-hating. Coming from me, it's excess affection that should make Gilbert double-lock his door as a precaution and hope that I'm not a big John Amaechi fan, ha.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mourning Halberstam's Passing

I am saddened by the death of the author David Halberstam. I have three books of his; "The Breaks of the Game", about the Trailblazers of the late 70's and other NBA stories, "War in a Time of Peace", and "The Reckoning." I haven't read The Reckoning yet, but I certainly will soon. Frankly, this post is going to be lousy; it's not very easy to make this interesting or cheery.

What I find so enviable about David's writing gifts in "The Breaks of the Game" is the way he could even make injured players interesting. When we read something like "DNP: Foot injury", we tend to forget that player or ignore them. David interviewed them and showed how they were struggling to stay in the league, or regain their starting jobs, or even return to an MVP level (in the case of Walton). Especially interesting is the Billy Ray Bates story; you know Billy Ray is doomed, but thankfully the book is done before it happens.

I also envy the way he reports the story without falling prey to jock envy. Sports books can get ruined because the embedded reporter is either too close to the story and players, or because the reporter is too distant and snobbish. But David navigates such shoals and sandbars with ease in his book.

Halberstam wrote a few articles for ESPN Page 2. Somehow, this was never promoted the way it should have been. Either that or I missed it. But here is an article he wrote titled "Sports can distract, but they don't heal" about getting our priorities right after 9/11. I recommend it. And my sympathies and condolences to those who knew him.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bloggolalia: The Technology Gap

Let me first apologize in advance for all the blogs I will leave out of this attempted analysis. Sorry. Tell us about yourselves in the comments.

I wanted to analyze a gap in sports blogland, and that is the underuse of technology. I really think that blogs should create more of their own stories, but unless you have a locker room pass or something, that's unlikely for most of us. However, all of us have access to some pretty sweet technology nowadays. So why don't we use more of that on our sites? There's video and photos and wikis and podcasts and radio and TV and mobile Internet applications that can really help spruce up one's blogs. Anyway, here's my survey of the bloggosphere so far. Hey, it's Friday: you've got time, right? And I wanted to respect people's content, so I tended to link to the site rather than put the pretty pictures/video here. So go visit them already.

Video: Ok, nearly everyone by now knows how to link to or embed You-tube on their site. (And hey, don't forget about and other video sites; not all the cool videos are on Youtube). But what else could we do?

Well, you could use videos as a footnote to your story to help readers find out more about the individuals/teams involved. Tedhas really outdone himself with matching video to the first round of the NBA playoffs. Standing ovation, sir, nicely done.

You could create your own videos with your own characters, as TSW did
here: I have to warn you about the objectionable material, though; I'm pretty sure I saw some Steelers gear on one of the characters. Proceed with caution.

Sony Muvee, a program that is free on many computers, allows you to mix photos and music very easily. Or, try Windows Movie Maker, or other freeware programs. Here's a video I did about Rasheed Wallace; all I had to do was toss in the pictures and pick the track, and the program mixed it together for me with special effects.

And...deep could actually show your own face and do a videoblog! Now look, perhaps bloggers aren't the most comely lot in the world. But really, there has to be some lovely lass or gregarious gent who doesn't mind showing a little face, right? Well, I tried to lead the way...but I have to admit, it's harder than it looks!

Radio and TV:
This is out of reach for most of us, but here's a few applications: had a radio show a few times. I don't know exactly where their links are to it now, though.
Every Day Should Be Saturday does a call-in show, apparently using the magic of Skype. Details are as follows: "EDSBS Live Tuesdays 7:30pm-9pm EST Call in! (310) 984-7600"
And who could forget the Sports Blog Show? It's on TV! The dream of couch potatoes everywhere to be on the other side of the screen has finally been realized. And Dan talks about cheese! Reason #2342 to move to the Maryland/Virginia area.

The Basketball Jones does a podcast on a regular basis, which I really will listen to in detail one of these days. Promise! Maybe this is a nice compromise for you who have a face for radio but have great voices?

True Hoop set up a wiki to track the elusive William Wesley, I believe. Nice idea: perhaps a wiki would also make play-off live blogging more fun? Or, I'd love to see how much controversy a Kobe Bryant or Terrell Owens wiki would create. But I'd hate to be the web-site owner having to keep that wiki peaceful, so why don't you try?

Pictures can be used to better understand the subject or enlighten us, and here, you know I'm giving lots of appreciation to freedarko. This is one shining example. It's been a while since I've self-promoted, so let me fix that by referring you to my OJMayo analysis using pictures:

You already may know of the Photoship and Paint magic of and Miss Gossip. Wonderful work on the NBA. You can either get existing sports pictures from the games themselves from Yahoo! Sports or perhaps one of the big three sites like, or create your own from scratch.

There's also using pictures for objectifying hot athletes, as practiced by The Big Picture, LADIES..., and Girls Gone Sports. It can be fun to read, until the readers/posters provide TMI about their desires. Eww.

Finally, if you want to find pictures of your favorite athletes in their more candid moments, I suggest,, picasa (through Google, now with community features), and But please, take it easy on the "smear reputation via photo" route. There's no lack of that in sports blog land.

Mobile Internet:
The AOL FanHouse is readable via wireless phone, something I did not know before. Check out the clean yet small view at But I have to think some other sites would also look great on wireless, too. Withleather, thebiglead,, and deadspin all are sites that focus on current news and have shorter posts. Consider it?

Additional comments?

SuperStar Be: Gilbert Arenas

One of the hallmarks of this blog is waiting until a story is stone-cold to pick its bones. Some of that is intentional; I want to write something that's not just repeating the latest news. And that means waiting until more of the story comes out.

Well, the vulture strikes again, as I finally have gotten to Gilbert Arenas now that he's injured and his team is looking like it will lose in the first round of the playoffs. But I bet you the Wizards win 2-3 games: look at who they play. The Bulls? Raptors? I don't see either young team being consistent enough to sweep the Wizards.

Gilbert Arenas Be Black and...Nerdy
Or geeky, depending on where you stand on the age-old nerd/geek typology. Let's examine the evidence, from that Esquire article eons ago:
OCD traits: plays video games non-stop, collects many different items
Awkwardness in Intimacy traits: does not like women "touching him" in his words
Odd pursuit of greatness traits: has a hyperbaric chamber in his house, tries to win 3-point contests shooting 1-handed

Looks like a solid case to me! I think that Gilbert really isn't as complex, behaviorally, as bloggers have made him out to be. Brian from Yaysports has been on this from nearly Day 1, and I agree with him. Although, I don't think anyone else but MCBias is pushing the nerd/geek hypothesis.

Gilbert Arenas Be an Underappreciated Late Bloomer
I believe this may be a reason for Gilbert appreciation among bloggers. If you look around the sports bloggosphere, you see a lot of people who took odd paths to a writing career. It's not the kid straight out of school who's writing the top blogs. It's your 28 year old single who came out of school and ended up doing work that wasn't what he/she went to school for, and for pennies at that. If, instead, they came out of school, instantly started making 100K, and dated/married all the cheerleaders/athletes, or what have you, they wouldn't be blogging.

Similarly, Gilbert started slow in high school, college, and the NBA before becoming a success there. He has a chip on his shoulder about all the setbacks he faced initially in each field, and it shows. Frankly, that's attractive to a lot of people. Men follow guys with chips on their shoulder, as long as the chipster can back up his talk. Women desire a guy with an edge, the "outsider" who isn't too outside. And Gilbert pulls off this delicate dance in an enviable way, most of the time. Although that verbal attack on LeBron James makes me think that Gilbert isn't as mentally secure and confident as Gilbert should be for the great seasons he's had. In fact..

Gilbert Arenas Be Sad
There's something about Gilbert's eyes, even when he's smiling, that saddens me. Maybe it's just a physical phenomenon, and not the way he feels in his soul. But the man grew up with his father as his only parent, homeless here and there, and with a father who was emotionally distant at that. He holds onto things way too long; the chip is a little too deep in his shoulder when he talks about the rejection of the NBA (2nd round draft pick) and USA basketball (being cut from the squad). As a human being, I worry about Arenas as he ages and loses his athletic gifts; I have a feeling he won't age happily or contentedly. Being driven is a blessing when you're trying to get to the top of the mountain; but it won't let you examine the scenery at the top as you slide down the other side.

Sheesh, there MCBias goes, pitying another millionaire. Get a grip, MC; shouldn't you be making fun of those overpaid, oversized humans? Maybe next time I'll pick a superstar who deserves to be savaged. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The 76-inch Reason for the Rutgers Press Conference: Elena DelleDonne

When I first saw the details of the Rutgers press conferece, I was a little annoyed, to be honest. I felt that C. Vivian Stringer (henceforth, CV), the Rutgers basketball coach, had three choices in organizing her response to the Imus controversy.
1. Ignore it
2. Brush it off and play the "no respect" card. Imus is just another in the long line of people who disrespected us, but we got in the championship game and will be in the hunt again next year.
3. Fan the flames and make it clear that Imus' comments were hurtful and disrespectful.

Having seen so much men's basketball, I was expecting 2. to occur. However, CV chose 3. Why "3."? (EdBias: it took me forever to answer this. Just giving you prior warning!).

Aside: And why, pray tell, did all the women have to wear their warm-up gear to the press conference? Those women should have been in nice dresses and pant suits, making a mockery of the sterotypes behind Imus' words. Seeing is believeing, ladies; you missed a great opportunity to back up your statements with your dress.

Take a look at the Rutgers' roster. 70% of the players come from New York or New Jersey. Those aren't bad states to recruit from; it must be nice to get ballers from the Bronx and Brooklyn. The NYC Factor is nothing to be ashamed of. But Rutgers Remains in a Regional Recruiting Rut.

What must have stung CV and Rutgers the most was the sliver of truth in Imus's belittling, offensive comments. Imus was right when he referred to the Rutgers women as "tough" in his initial statement. I watched all of Rutgers vs. Tennessee last year, and listened/watched to significant parts of Rutgers games from the Elite Eight on. Rutgers devoured Arizona State with their aggressive defense. CV is a tough, admirable woman who gets the most out of her players; she got Cheyney State into the Final Four 25 years ago. I mean, at least most fans had half a clue as to where George Mason was located. Cheyney State?! Rutgers is tough from the coach on down.

However, they have not been able to get the blue-chip all-American players to come to Rutgers. Rutgers has the misfortune of being in Connecticut's shadow. Just like the men's game did some 25 years ago beginning with Magic Johnson and later Scottie Pippen, the women's game is starting to develop point forwards. And Rutgers' inability to sign such a player hurt them in the final game. Tennessee's Candace Parker (6'4") and Sidney Spencer (6'3") were able to score and defend inside and outside on the court.

But this year, Rutgers, not Connecticut, was in the Final Two. That should help Rutgers finally recruit on a national level. Those of you who went to the "other" high school in town or the "other" college in state know how tough it is to beat out the team on top; but if you can do it once, you can do it again. This is the type of breakout year that CV can use to build a PROGRAM for years to come. A strong incoming recruiting class guarantees a five-year run of excellence (including this last year). And guess what? Next year, there is another Candace Parker on the recruiting horizon. CV must have been excited indeed.

Elena DelleDonne plays in Delaware, and the 6'4" member of the class of 2008 is the Lebron James of high school basketball. I'd rather not post a lot of pictures, as she isn't a senior yet. Use google image search, though, and you can see the skills in her game. She was leading her team to state championships as an EIGHTH grader! Take a look at the body control on her rebound here, and you can tell that she is one gifted athlete. CV would have loved to stick her on Parker in the championship game.

Her list of schools? (thanks to for the info) Connecticut, Maryland, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee, Texas, Villanova. Two members of the Big East are there, but no Rutgers. Elena has never expressed interest in Rutgers, to my knowledge. And to be honest, there wasn't much reason to in the past. But guess who was at last weekend's Boo Williams tournament, where Elena DellaDonne was playing? CV. Sure, she was probably there to see April Sykes, who has voiced interest in Rutgers. But I'd be very surprised if a coach as experienced as CV didn't manage to "bump" into Elena in the halls, either.

With Rutgers' performance this year, they earned the right to be re-considered by the Elena DelleDonne's of the world. They were shedding that small, scrappy, second-rate image that they had compared to the Connecticuts and Tennessee's of the NCAA. And with a few casual words, Imus pushed them right back into that mold.

Think Elena's parents want her going to a team of "nappy-haired hos"? Think her friends wouldn't give her a little grief about considering Rutgers now? Think her Connecticut friends wouldn't tease her about how "you don't want to be one of those hardcore hos, do you"? They would, and CV knows that. I suggest that CV participated in the press conference as she did, not only to defend her current team, but also with one eye on how this affected recruiting. That's no surprise; it's what smart coaches do.

I know the Rutgers story is old news, but I wanted to let you in on some of the background subtext that you may not have been aware of. I'll try to give you a better and SHORTER post on Thursday.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bloggolalia: Filling the Gaps in Sports Blogspace

Hi all. So over the next few weeks, I hope to get to a topic that I've investigated off and on for the last 4 months. The questions I hope to address are, where are the gaps in sports blogspace? What type of content could we be providing that isn't already being supplied? I've already touched on why we need more female and minority bloggers, but there's much more to talk about.

Eventually, we'll also get to a sub-issue that really affects the gaps in the blogspace. Vocationally speaking, what exactly are sports bloggers? We're not exactly journalists, and not exactly fans either. We may be information providers, but since we're biased toward the more salacious information, that's not quite true either. Should we try to hit one of those vocations accurately? Or can we continue to get away with stealing the best of all of them, and still experience increased views and legitimacy? I'm suspicious that the answer to the last question is "no." Stories connected with and Emily Gould's Gawker Stalker adventure in the last weeks have shown that this issue of blogger identity is not going away.

I have been speaking with some bloggers about this via e-mail; if you want to jump into the discussion, feel free. What I would like to do now is get your input on the issues, rather than overwhelm (more like underwhelm) you with my own stored-up thoughts on this. What do you think? This isn't just an academic exercise in identifying undiscovered genus and species. It's about making all of us even more famous (should we wish to be) for the ridiculous amount of time we spend on our blogs, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jesus Plays Sports: Imus:Wrong::Me and Us:?

Jesus makes his return to the MCBias blog. It's time for a post where I freely admit that this is a Christian perspective on a sporting issue. We all have biases. When they truly are the source of a post, I think it's best to say so clearly. Maybe some other time I'll mix in Republican "Tear Down this Offensive Line" or Democratic "It's about the Defense, Stupid" taglines, too.

There are very few circumstances and actions that our culture universally deplores, but Don Imus made a great attempt at attaining complete revilement. Let's check the profile:
1. Celebrity (and as a bonus, white, rich, old, male, AND unsexy! yes!)
2. Action done in a public place with no shortage of witnesses, instead of at some private location among friends or sycophants.
3. Action is a sexual or racial remark aimed at innocent targets, instead of making fun of accepted targets in creative ways.

Definitely wrong and evil according to our culture. (And I do believe Jesus would think the same). And a quick aside; why is no one focusing on the misogyny, and everyone is focusing on the racism? Is it because there is no feminine spokesman to match Sharpton? Sadly, yes.

So ok, let's judge him already and condemn him. Fine. What I'm more worried about is, what about the rest of us who aren't celebrities? What about the hypocrisy? Let's look at 2. and 3. on society's sin list.

If Don Imus had thought "nappy-headed hos" instead of saying it, he wouldn't have gotten in trouble. And that's too bad. Sadly, I'm sure that other people were thinking similar thoughts, and they will get off without any reprimand. That's what I hate about this press coverage. I feel like bigoted reporters are rushing to pile on Imus so they have some defense for their own past mistakes. The people throwing stones are not sinless. The hypocrisy here is so deep, we're talking Marinas Trench here.

I sympathized with her on this topic; really, does this change the way blacks or women will be treated in our society? The guilty will say "Well, at least I don't SAY nappy-headed hos to that one co-worker." But they think it, don't they? What do the white players think when the black man comes into their gym looking for a game? It's the 00's, so no one fights or makes comments. But you can bet on plenty of frowns, sighs, and turned heads when he comes in the gym. (Speaking of what I've seen here, not hypotheticals). One thing I both love and hate about Jesus's teachings is his emphasis on sins of thought, not just action crimes. Just because you're too much of a wuss to act on your thoughts doesn't make you innocent. You know there are people out there who are an easily procured gun or knife away from doing something about their hate; are they that much better than the ones who did find a gun or knife?

Moving past racism and sexism, I dislike that we like to condemn what we are least likely to do. I don't like thinking of myself as a sinner, a bad person. I have a decent command over my tongue in public situations. So it's tempting for me to blast Imus on this topic. But, what if we expand our definition of sin? What about my command over my hands when I type? Do I manage to avoid slandering and accusing people there? Eek. Thankfully I've been on the web long enough to make smaller mistakes in less visible areas most of the time...and that one forum is thankfully no longer around...but, um, see, there's this post on here labeled "apology" that you can find...yeah, not a good thing.

Bottom line is, we all sin in many ways. This isn't where I mimic the movie "Crash" and try to tell you "Everyone's a racist! It's just how much or how visible it is!" No, that's nonsense. I know people who I'm pretty sure don't have a racist bone in their bodies. We don't all have the same sins; blame genetics, brain type, or upbringing, but they differ.

Some judgment should occur in society, else our prisons are empty and our morgues are full. But let's drop the pretense that Imus is somehow a supreme sinner, just because those of us under 30 are a little more trained in diversity or in spitting hate only among our same race/gender friends (ahem). Plenty of sin to go around, and we all need forgiveness for what we do on a daily basis.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tribute: San Antonio, Part 2

Now for San Antonio's other team that perhaps 99% of you have never heard of, the WNBA Silver Stars. They recently acquired two players who have worked hard to get more playing time. While many a snarky female might argue that being blond and reasonably attractive is a huge career asset, it's no guarantee that you'll start in the WNBA. Just ask Becky Hammon or Erin Buescher.

Becky Hammon came to the New York Liberty in 1999 from a relatively unheralded women's program at Colorado State University. Her statistical profile is here. She finally became a starter and fan favorite in New York after 5 years in the league. Becky even had a local restaurant name a sandwich after her. (Hammon, Cheese, and Egg was the name.) Yes, it's a life ambition of mine to have a sandwich named after me, and I'm fearfully envious. No MCBias Bagel? It's because I'm not 5'6" and blond, and can't shoot over 20% from 3-point land, isn't it? Stupid Title IX! (Picture from

Anyway, she was traded to the Silver Stars on draft day, so we can look forward to the Hammon Tortilla sometime soon. I don't have pictures of Becky in San Antonio gear, but here's a picture of her fighting for the ball to remind you that basketball is a contact sport:

Erin Buescher is a free-spirited individual who loves Bible study, surfing, and reggae. She decided to leave her Division I program at Santa Barbara in college to transfer to the Master's College, a small NAIA school, for her senior year. You would think that such a step would kill her chances at the WNBA. And her stats were those of a substitute for her first four years. She was trapped in Greece in 2006, on a team that didn't care about basketball, with her career in the WNBA perhaps ending. But instead of giving up, she decided to work on her body and her game. And it certainly paid off! (thanks to the good folks at RebKell's for the initial screen grab and info, see here for details.

Oh, and she won WNBA Most Improved player in 2006. Whatever. I'm still thinking about how hard I'd have to work out to get abs like that. Um, wait, do I even still have abs? (pokes at belly in vain for signs of abdominal muscles).

And now she too is a Silver Star, signed as a free agent. It will be interesting to see if Erin and Becky can improve their games even more in their new location, or if they've peaked as athletes. Regardless, even if they don't do much else, they've definitely shown great improvement since their rookie seasons.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Tribute: San Antonio is Esperanto for "Hard Work"

So I may have made up the Esperanto part. Forgive the home-spun hooey for a moment, but I personally want to make sure to write some positive articles after the black hat posts of the last two weeks. This will hopefully be a more than one-and-done feature on giving respect where it's due. By the way, San Antonio is named after the Portugese saint "Anthony of Padua"; I had always wondered where it got its name from, and now I know.

San Antonio has but two sports teams that I know of; the San Antonio Spurs (men's basketball) and the San Antonio Silver Stars (women's basketball). This post is written to praise the Spurs.

Photo available for purchase here.
Tim: You know, Tony, in this country it is traditional for rookies to allow veterans to punch them in the nose. It's how you become a part of the Spurs' family. You want to be part of our family, right?
Tony: Um...I guess so.
Manu: (laughs, remembers falling for this last year)

As for the Spurs, I respect their star players for making themselves into stars despite what appeared to be a lack of physical gifts. Tim Duncan was born in the US Virgin Islands and hoped to be a swimmer. Although he did have the advantage of height, he was no hotly sought after recruit. As I recall (according to Feinstein's book on the ACC in 1996? or so), Wake Forest's coach was lucky to find him.

Tony Parker is a short man in a country not known for its NBA stars (Frederick Weis, anyone?). Manu Ginobili is not particularly tall, fast, or high-jumping for his position, and is from Argentina. All three came to the US from very different areas of the world and became champions through their hard work.

Yes, their style of play may not be as visually attractive as that of some teams, but their ruthless consistency in performance is admirable. I know someone else must have noticed this somewhere (I couldn't find it via Google), but I believe they have to be considered as the first team made up of international stars to capture the NBA championship. (No, only Olajuwon, not Sam Cassell, counts as international from those mid-90's Rockets teams, ha.)

I don't know if the Spurs can win the title this year, but it would shock few people if the number sequence 1999,2003,2005,? ends in 2007. It's a good sign that in their win over Phoenix recently, Tim Duncan put up a 4X5 game (5 or more assists, blocks, rebounds, and points) despite only being 2 of 9 from the line. If TD has enough in the tank, San Antonio may yet acquire their fourth title in the last decade.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Bloggolalia: Links to Female and Minority Bloggers

Seriously, I am really busy today, so I can't finish all of this. But I decided to put up a list of the female and minority bloggers I know who bring those needed abilities (that I listed below) to the table. Add more if you will. I'll have commentary on each blog's contribution some other time.


Minority: Note: In my own words, not theirs, NOIS believes that exaggerating potential injustices in the sports world will help draw attention to the biases in coverage overall. It's a great perspective and a must-read, but even NOIS doesn't believe everything they write. So grains of salt for you first-time readers, don't overreact, ha.

Ok, that's a start. More?

Bloggolalia: Why do we need Female and Minority Bloggers?

TBL had an interesting article about how most of the ESPN Insiders were white guys; something like 34 of 37. here As mentioned by Captain Caveman (appreciate your honesty on that, CC),and others, the same is true of the most popular sports blogs. The problem is, we have no excuse of having been hired by the same company, so it's even more embarrassing.

Look at the supposed listing of the top 20 sports bloggers: here . Are we really any better? Here, let's play Where's Waldo: want to find the minorities and women in this picture? Even trying to find a decent tan is fruitless.

Now, for some reason I have a blogging death wish today, so I decided to tell you why we need more female and minority sports bloggers. Most sports media are white males, whether its ESPN or the big sports blogs; is that fair to say? I think so. We need female and minority sports bloggers, not because we need to fill some magic quota, but because I feel that white male sportswriting in general suffers from two critical flaws in perspective. And only females and minority members of American culture can fix those.

Flaw 1: Lack of Emotional and Personal Depth
The first flaw is a terrible inability to convey emotion and motives in sports stories. Men in general are less in touch with their emotions than women, fair to say? What I hate is how often sportswriters turn to weak, freshman psychology class type analysis of players and teams. These sportswriters often have never played professional sports, so their analysis is even worse because of it. So we get this one-dimensional view of most athletes, or ridiculous platitudes about working hard and overcoming adversities.
Female sports bloggers, on the other hand, tend to present a more well-rounded view of a human being. I often find that they bring up angles to a story that I hadn't thought of. It amuses me that even when it's a blog created mainly to express crushes on male athletes here , the women still continually veer from the script to present the athlete as a person, not just a hot body. We learn that so-and-so is crushworthy not only because he's handsome, but because he volunteers to help kids, because he and his family appear so close in some picture, etc.
My concern about some female sports blogs is that sometimes, I feel they don't get to the point. The article starts great, it's witty, it's interesting...and then I reach the end and go "huh?" So I wouldn't want to live in a world of all-female sports bloggers, either. And that is why we need both male and female sports bloggers.

Flaw 2: Rush to Judgment
The more offensive flaw of many of today's sportswriters and bloggers is a rush to judgment any time they don't understand something or that an athlete doesn't match their cultural background.
I saw a lack of understanding just today. Garrett Anderson doesn't want to wear Jackie Robinson's number like everyone else. here for example Ok, so what? I don't want to wear a Live Strong bracelet like everyone else; does that mean that I want Lance Armstrong to die of cancer?!

But no, let's rush to judge him, right? How dare the black man not enjoy the Jackie Robinson holiday! We have set this up for you to make us, err, you, feel good about black players! Never mind that there are only 8% black players in the league, 50 years after Jackie! Enjoy it, black man! Follow the leader! Conform! Sigh. You get my point.

Or, take OJ Mayo. Let's suppose OJ Mayo was a white boy with a 30 ACT score, and that his father was the one who wouldn't give out his cell phone number. Nope, nothing wrong about that! We'd praise his family for having taken control of the crazy recruiting process. But because he's black and seems to be cocky, no such thing. Look, Bill Simmons, Kevin Love is 5X cockier than OJ Mayo. Reader, google his name on the web; Kevin's dad tried to get his coach fired. Read Slam's High School Diary articles with him. The editor there deserves a Pulitzer for all the filtering he does of what Kevin Love really says. Kevin is no better.

Even more mind-boggling is Gilbert Arenas being treated like such a curiosity. Let me run this by you, slowly. Gilbert Arenas has admitted to playing video games non-stop, being rather OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive), having intimacy issues with women (not wanting to sleep next to them), and doing odd thing to improve his performance (like a hyperbaric chamber in his house). Now, if this was a white center from Stanford, what would those characteristics mean? NOTHING! He's a nerd, or if you will, geek. We can recognize that type. Gilbert Arenas is a nerd or geek, is all.

However, heaven forbid that sportswriters and bloggers ever met a black athlete (or black man; they're different, you know) who was a nerd or geek. Nope, not at all. Instead, we have all this weird Gilbert cult talk, because we don't have enough minorites who can understand someone who doesn't quite match popular athlete culture.

Sorry, enough ranting. What I love about minority bloggers is that they don't rush to judge someone who doesn't match the cultural norm. They look for explanations for that behavior, and sometimes those explanations do exist in a cultural context. They personally are used to not fitting into the cultural norm, and so minority bloggers are more insightful in analyzing athlete behavior. My only concern is that sometimes, minority bloggers are unwilling to call "FOUL" when it should be called. They get trapped into an odd corner where they're the go-to person on their particular minority when it comes to sports personalities. So they're afraid to say anything bad about their boys (or girls), or anyone else's boys or girls. Big mistake; it lessens their integrity with the general population of readers. We need some judgment in sportswriting, some winners and losers; we just have to be careful that we don't filter everything through our own cultural biases.

All right, I know, I've generalized and typefied and done all those things we aren't supposed to do in our society, and that is always risky. If I really did mess something up, though, I'll own it. Comment away.

Next week, we'll discuss about how to make blog-land even more diverse and creative. For starters, a favorite complaint of mine; where are the small-town bloggers? Why aren't they making it big? Why is it just NYC, DC, and LA, with a little Detroit for flavor?

Bloggolalia: Is really so innocent?

So blogland is all in arms about what Colin Cowherd did to a poor innocent blogger known as TheBigLead ( site is down now ). And I don't like it either; apparently, Colin Cowherd did deliberately try to shut down the site. I really liked TBL's article this week about "why we blog", and they've had some great articles in the past. But let's look at this honestly; is TBL so innocent?

According to TBL themselves via, what has TheBigLead ever done to Colin Cowherd? Nothing. But let's check the facts via Google's cache. I searched for "colin cowherd" on the site and found the following:, in an article titled "Scoop Jackson has his Colin Cowherd moment"
"But now that Scoop’s gone and bogarted someone else’s thoughts and ideas and not attributed them to their correct source (his Colin Cowherd moment), we’ll say it slow and hope it sinks in: Journalism in 2006 isn’t what it was in 2001. There’s a new checks and balances system in the form of bloggers, and they’re watching the big boys. It’s happened in politics, it’s happened in entertainment, and now it’s going down in sports. So get your act together."
Hmm, seems like they did get their act together, TBL, only not the way you hoped. Instead, they checked and balanced you into submission. Now what?, in a random gathering of links.
"Looking for ammo against that douche Colin Cowherd? Look no further" --and then there's a link to an article that has since expired.
And why, TBL, should we be "looking for ammo against that douche"? I don't understand. Looks like you provided ammo for Colin Cowherd yourselves with that sort of talk.

TBL's hands aren't as clean as we think. I sympathize with TBL, sure, but I refuse to pretend that TBL is as innocent as Mother Teresa. Blogs in general need to wake up and drop the inferiority complex when it comes to ESPN. There are checks and balances BOTH WAYS. Blogs in general need to hold themselves to a basic level of integrity. Stop randomly slandering ESPN personalities by taking pictures with them under false pretenses, questioning the credibility of their columns when it isn't necessary, and accusing their personalities of all sorts of sexual and physical misdemeanors without facts. I thought our blogs were about sports, not a fifth-rate version of defamer or gawker going after D-list sports celebrities. It makes us look cheap.

Yes, you probably didn't like this piece, dear reader. (And frankly, the fact that it's "dear reader", not "dear readers", is why you're hearing this information here, and not in a more well-trafficked blog. They have much more to lose by potentially angering the blog gods.) It's much better to believe that the little guy is always righteous and true-blue, and that "big media", "big pharma", "big oil", or "big whatever" is just keeping us all down. But real life is much more complicated than a slick 2-hour film at your local cinema. TBL found that out this week.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Guest Bias: The Short And Happy Life of a Royals Middle Reliever

So you let a guy post a guest blog, and he thinks he knows what he's talking about. Ted Bauer is back for more punishment. He maintains a decent blog A Price Above Bip Roberts , but he tends to go a bit overboard on some of his claims. For example, he seems to think - in contrast to my ever-so-eloquent Benchwarmers post of Monday - that the life of a benchwarmer is all sunshine and lollipops, specifically when you play on a bad team. He also seemed to think, back at the beginning of the week, that the BoSox would shatter the spirits of the Royals off the proverbial bat. Er, that didn't happen. Check his rants, penned Sunday, then let him know just how wrong he is.

When I sat down to write something for my associate MC Bias, I started out with a meandering, poetic essay on "what baseball means to the American soul," peppered with a few references to Jim Nantz's place in the sports culture this week. I realized it pretty much sucked, and who could give a rat's ass what I think about baseball's place in our hearts?

I scrapped that in favor of something on Joe Torre, because I firmly believe this is probably his last year at River Avenue, but then I realized there are far more interesting, informed surveyors of Joe Torre's time in the Bronx, so I scrapped that.

I needed something, though. I mean, at the time the Mets game is 6-1, I was Instant Messenging with a girl I knew in high school in a futile effort to get some and slowly realizing she basically has a boyfriend, and I had little else to kill my time. Then it hit me: a diary. An Opening Day Diary of a Royals middle reliever.

In stark contrast to Mr. Bias, I used to tell people back when that I think the ultimate dream job would be Kansas City Royals middle reliever. You make the league minimum, which automatically makes you richer than half of America; then, you basically get paid to plug holes. See, playing for KC in this day and age, you're almost never going to enter a meaningful situation. Either the starter got absolutely rained down upon, and you're on the short side of a 7-1 game, or you're mopping up something, or you're bridging to a closer no one really thinks can close in a game everyone expects you to lose.

Basically, you make a lot of money to travel around the United States for a summer, telling girls you play professional baseball, seeing a lot of ballparks, working maybe 100 innings, and never really having a lot of responsibility. Sure, I mean, I bet the losing gets grating after a while, but doesn't the pressure of winning too?

If I were a KC middle reliever, here's how my day would look tomorrow:

Arrive at ballpark. Exchange pleasantries with groundscrew and other assorted personnel I haven't seen for a while. Old Man Morty, one of the clubhouse guys, says to me, "I really think this is the year!" I smile and say, "Totally." I'm so full of crap, it's unbelievable. Providing false hope to a man close to the grave should be punishable with something horrible. Instead, I'm removing a paperback copy of the latest James Baldacci novel from my duffel bag. I'll be reading this by the 4th.

Some of the dudes arrive. We, too, exchange pleasantries. Someone yelps, "Who the hell are we playing today, anyway?"

Jersey'ed up - I sometimes think the KC jersey is embedded with a sweet stench of failure that high-quality free agents can smell, like one of those dog whistle kind of deals - I take the field at Kauffman. A few VIPs are milling about, and some hardcore fans. I take my first deep breath of the spring. Nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning.

I'm limbering up playing catch with a few guys in the outfield. A fan asks for my autograph. "Any idea who I am?" I ask. "None," he admits. "But you're wearing the jersey." Imagine if it was really that easy in other professions to become revered. "Do you know what accounts I manage?" "Not a clue, but you're wearing the suit."

David Ortiz walks around the batting cages with Manny Ramirez. They take a few practice hacks. I'm pretty sure one of them landed by Bill Self's toupee over in Lawrence. I turn to my brethren and mouth, "Oh crap." They are just staring straight ahead.

I'm up in the bullpen now, sitting around and not doing much of anything. Meche, who we're calling "Millions" until he bloodies one of us at a bar later this week, is throwing around. Me and the guys are scoping out a few females slowly filing into the bleacher area. "Think this year will be better than last, overall?" one asks. The bullpen catcher chimes in with a new question: "Best road trip of the past season?" I vote for Seattle, which pleases Millions. "I was making out with this girl at this tiki bar," I begin, before the pitching coach shows up. I quickly halt my story. He glares at me, then smiles. "It's Opening Day, baby," he intones. "Nothing like that."

I see a fan with a paper bag on his dome. Nothing like it.

Millions is tossing his final practice pitches near us. I've cracked the Baldacci book already - we were on the field too early - and am already near the beginning of Chapter 2. One of the guys is starting his first Hot Foot of the season, aiming for the bullpen catcher as a target. A few girls have winked or waved ("The Essential Ws," as we call it) down at us already. Millions looks nervous. "Hey Millions," I bellow, drawing a glare. "Don't sweat the small stuff out there, you know? No one expects anything." He stares at the ground, then looks back at me as if to say something, then stares back at the ground. "It's KC, baby," I finish. A good middle reliever can always get the last word, because when else does he? "If it ain't BBQ, it don't matter." Millions smiles and begins his trot to the dugout.

National Anthem is gearing up; I'm wondering if they'd let me take a laptop out here. I'm then wondering if Kauffman is wired for WiFi. I wonder if it would be a seminal moment of my career if I took a "wireless dump" in the bullpen of Kauffman. This Baldacci book isn't too well paced; once we sit down, I'm headed to my bullpen bag for some US Weekly. I heard there's an article about Katie Holmes and Chris Klein's torrid sexual history together, and it possibly being rekindled. That's some good stuff.

Women's Sports Week Encore: WNBA Draft Pick Pictures Part 2

Part 2 of my WNBA Draft Picture post. As for the human details:
Shay Doron's family is apparently adorable; lots of Jewish babble and calls to Israel to tell family there where she was drafted. They are going to love her in NYC.
Meg Bulger, sister of Marc Bulger, was drafted. No sign of either on site, though.
Rebecca Lobo is apparently very underrated in person. She was talking about her husband for a moment too, but sadly my embedded reporter had no details. (Ok, like I'd tell you anyways. Eavesdropping is a bit much.)
Brooke Smith was eating a huge white-chocolate chip cookie, but my embedded reporter was the softie type and warned her of the lurking camera before he took a picture. Too bad, that would have been fun.
A lot of the ladies were really sweet. I'm not surprised at this. The Draft is a seminal event for an athlete's life; it doesn't get much better than knowing you'll actually make some real money now. It's like graduation...only if you got money at the graduation ceremony. :-) Cool.
Katie Gearlds still seemed to be disappointed at not being able to move further in the tournament than the Elite Eight. It must be really odd to go from trying to beat North Carolina a week ago to being drafted.
No security whatsoever. My reporter should have gotten someone else to go with them so they could have taken pictures at the podium, ha.

Players here include Brooke Smith, Shay Doron, and a player I can't identify. Click for a larger view of any picture.

Women's Sports Week Encore: WNBA Draft Pick Pictures Part 1

One thing that drives me crazy as a blogger is how hard it is to get original content. I mean, 85% of blogging seems to be some couch potato typing "I can't believe so-and-so said that in that one interview" or "Didn't Erin Andrews look good the other day on ESPN?" It's ALL secondhand. And frankly, it holds blogging back from a larger audience. But it's nearly impossible to get contact with famous pro athletes, so what can one do?

Well, why not pick a less popular sport, where you can actually get closer to the athletes? Here you go: pictures from the WNBA Draft, not as good as the official WNBA gallery of course. To be honest with you, it's a lot like the NBA draft, with happy families and poorly fitting suits, only with women. These players pictured below appear to be Jessica Davenport, Katie Gearlds, Ivory Latta, Gillian Goren, and Carla Thomas. Thanks for cooperating, ladies, with my photographer.

Monday, April 2, 2007

NCAA Men's Final Four: Bench Boys

We're only about 7 hours away from "One Shining Moment" being played. I wanted to talk about some overlooked members of college basketball teams: the bench players.

Now, usually when you see those little-used players, they're hopping up and down after their team just made a key basket to move closer to victory. Sounds like a pretty good job if you can get it, right? Well...what about their thoughts at other times in the game? Let me fill you in: if Smith and Johnson go pro, Onfen graduates, and the campus police stop letting Infamume off when they find him passed out in his car with minors locked in his trunk, and Henderson chooses Duke instead of here, I might play next year...

...Wish I wasn't flunking Accounting this year. I didn't want to take it during the Winter quarter, but it's my only chance if I want to graduate. Coach said there's no funding for next year for me to go to school. Funny, there was funding when he recruited me, before I hurt my knee... Henderson keeps elbowing me every time in practice. Any real defense on him in the post draws an elbow. It's a foul, but coach won't call it. Tells me to "be a man". Funny, they didn't tell Henderson that when I blocked his shot last week and he got mad and broke the table. I swear Coach James was telling him it was a foul on me after practice. Me? The only foul was what the staff have been letting Henderson get away with the last 3 years; Janikitz still hasn't seen a dollar from the $300 he let Henderson borrow to "see his mom." I can't wait until Henderson has to sit the bench like this in the pros.

...Becky hasn't called me in a week; says she's busy vacationing in Florida. I remember when I was Prom King and she was Prom Queen at high school. I remember when she told me "I love the best athlete ever!", felt so good...Oh, and Dad told me that Jeff Manders, the guy who broke my high school scoring record this year, is visiting Florida this week. I'm not surprised he broke my record; he was my height and always was more athletic than I was. Wait a minute...

...Coach told the reporters Jones is the last guy out of practice every day. I guess that means I'm not on the team anymore, because I leave a half hour after he does. Heaven forbid Coach mention a player the national media can't ID without a guide...

...Assistant Coach Lenders stopped me the other day and told me I needed to be more enthusiastic on the bench. Said I didn't look excited enough when Jones hit that big three last night; said I should be jumping up and down, showing how happy I am to be at State U. Oh, there's another jumper by Jones. Think happy thoughts...oh, like only one more year before I graduate! Woo-hoo!...

...Social Work sounded like an easy major, but now, what do I do with it if I actually have to work? Yeah, like lots of single moms are going to let a 7-foot man into their house to check on their kids. I can't wait to hear "I was expecting the agency to send a woman" for the next 30 years of my life...

...Jones broke into my locker again and borrowed my Blackberry without asking. Only this time, he scratched up the faceplate when he dropped it, and now it stopped working. I'd say something to him or coach, but we're all supposed to be extra nice to him since he's talking about going to the NBA....

...I swear, if Assistant Coach Lenders looks at my girlfriend again like that after the game, and offers to buy her something while she's waiting for me to get dressed, I'll...say nothing. Because I want to play, and he's my only supporter on the coaching staff...

...Two more inches, the coaches told me. I was only 17 when I graduated; if I grew to be 6'1", they could see me playing the point for 3 years here after Jones graduated. Hey, David Robinson grew 6 inches in college, right? Not me. I'd believe in God too, if he gave me a 6 inch growth spurt right now. Or Allah, or Buddha, or Victor Conte...