Monday, July 30, 2007

MCBias Update: Infrequent Posting Ahead

In the next few weeks, I will be experiencing some major life changes. (Nothing serious; e-mail me if you really need details). Thus, my posting on this blog will be random and possibly infrequent (Mondays and Fridays are the days you'll find new posts, if any). I love blogging, but I'm just going to be too busy for it soon. There's also a video project that I wanted to do but couldn't find time for; maybe I can now by giving up regular posting.

Finally, since basketball, my favorite sport to cover, is soon going to be done (WNBA winding up, NBA has no real news now), it's a logical time for a break anyway. There's only so many Youtube videos I can link to, you know. Here's one more Youtube video for the road; Top 10 NBA Playoff Blocked Shots. E-mail me if you would like to be notified when regular postage resumes.

Bloggolalia: Blogging Laws I Love to Break, Part 2

Part 1 of Blogging Laws I Love to Break is here.
6. You shall make fun of everything you do not understand in the world of sports. This tendency especially annoys me when it shows cultural ignorance. If black players want to have a special handshake, or Latino/Euro players want to kiss on both cheeks, or Christian players want to point at the sky or make the sign of the cross, let them. When bloggers make fun of such things, from my vantage point it appears ignorant and shows disrespect. Save your comedic stones and arrows for stupidity that transcends genetics and culture. Or, a player will be a little eccentric (Gilbert Arenas, or Manny Ramirez) in a way that wouldn't raise many eyebrows at your job. However, because it's an athlete, it becomes a big deal. Frankly, sometimes I wonder if nerd resentment is the cause; bloggers are saying "You may be my physical superior, and get more ladies, but I am smarter than you!"
7. You shall mock outspoken or thoughtful athletes by telling them to "shut up and play", while complaining all the time that "nobody ever does anything interesting" in sports.
Admittedly more of a regular media bias, but see, for example, Deadspin on Curt Schilling. Look at that hating! And yet, what major leaguer is more like the average blogger than Curt Schilling? And it's fascinating how much resentment is launched toward players who give thoughtful opinions on topics (see the coverage of Steve Nash for his anti-war stance). Again, media like to think of athletes as their physical superiors and mental inferiors, and they don't like it when an athlete messes with the social structure. Quick quiz; think of Derek Jeter/Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant/Shaquille O'Neal, Tom Brady/Peyton Manning. Now, which one gets the better media coverage? It's the one who talks less or seems less intelligent. Hmm...interesting.
8. You shall never admit it if your favorite athlete messed up, especially if you share a belief or skin color with that athlete.
Just once, I'd like to visit a blog after their favorite team or athlete messed up and hear them admit "So-and-so just had a bad day" or "Maybe he's not who I thought he was." Look, this is a blind spot for me too. If someone told me (hypothetical example) that David Robinson was caught on tape stealing millions from the Spurs, my first comment would probably be "Oh, not David Robinson! He's such a good Christian!" However, the more impressive move would be to admit "David sinned, he needs to repent and repay the money, and if he doesn't, I can't continue to pretend he's an excellent Christian. It doesn't make me or anyone else any less of a Christian just because David was less of a Christian." etc. It's not the time for me to start squawking about "disrespect of Christian athletes", "Mainstream Media Bias" and "If you keep digging and hating, of course you'll find something." Completely out of place; any clarifying argument is much more legitimate if I admit the fault up front.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Linkstigation: Cobra Brigade, Serious Tip, and Wall Street Journal

I don't like linking that much, as explained in my Blog Laws I Love to Break, but I do want to show some respect to my betters.

Jack Cobra is now featuring various lady bloggers from around the sports blogland. I think this is important because often the ladies aren't able to network quite as well as us guys (because there are fewer lady bloggers) and they thus go unread. It's a shame. Check
his feature on the ladies from Babes Love Baseball.

Jordi is doing a feature on the sports calamities that have hit the NFL, WWE, and NBA. It's an excellent series and idea; it just seems all these crises have hit at once. Let me moralize for a minute, if I may. Sports and sports blogging are an escape, and that's fine. But if you truly are using sports as some sort of utopia to hide from real issues in your life, such as a spiritual void, family/significant others who deserve more of your time, etc., this week should be a wake-up call to you. It is to me, to be honest. Sports isn't any more free of problems than anything else in the world. It's tragic that this summer we've seen athletes and other sports personnel (allegedly in some of these cases) give in to senseless violence, blatant cheating, and drugs. I think all we're missing is a sex scandal to hit for the temptation cycle here, heh.

But I hope also that some people struggling with smaller versions of those same temptations realize that there can be severe consequences. I know several young people in the 80's were warned off cocaine after what happened to poor Len Bias. Although I'm saddened by the alleged tragedies/crimes, I hope that some similar good comes out of these cases in sports now. Anyway, off the soapbox for now.

Oh wait, back on for a second. I was a little upset to see how much shoddy reporting went down with this referee case. As said in the Wall Street Journal, it was NOT so obvious that Donaghy was cheating. All these junk statistical results being published to say it was obvious...well, by saying junk you know how I feel about it. I've yet to see any realistic evidence that Donaghy could have been detected by statistical analysis.

And who started the rumor that referees get meager wages? I saw that over and over again in the articles from media and bloggers alike, but no one corrected it until Stern himself clarified it in the news conference. You bloggers already know this, but again, it's surprising how much misinformation can surround stories in sports. Anyway, I had hoped to get to my Blog Laws I Love to Break series, but next time; too much going on this week.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Guest Bias: Rec-Specs and The 2 Michelles

A Price Above Bip Roberts has decided to let me write another article as part of their "Most Influential" series. What a terrible mistake to let me talk about my favorite sports possession! Here's the Ode to Rec-Specs.

Also...um...*blush* Read the July 25,2007 entry from The 2 Michelles: http://2michelles.accountsupport.com/index.html. I had banned myself from putting female bloggers on my Random Sports Crush because I want to keep them all to myself err, I was worried about someone potentially stalking a female blogger if they were featured in an RSC post. But I may have to change my mind now. The 2 Michelles, even if you may not get an official RSC post quite yet, you both certainly already are an RSC to me for being so gracious in your words about my blog. I'm going to have to get a larger hat to fit my ego! Seriously, please do check out their site, as they are blogging about the NFL, a topic I sometimes under-post about on here. Here's their intro video they recently made to tell people who they are and why they are NFL fans:

Monday, July 23, 2007

MCBias Interviews: Alissa Czisny

For years, I have been fascinated by how an athlete (or really, a person in any walk of life) can improve performance. I am not very interested in how a Lebron James or Peyton Manning can be such a great athlete. I am more interested in how a Gilbert Arenas or Tom Brady learns to be a superstar. So when I had a chance to interview an up-and-coming athlete, I jumped at the chance. Today's interview subject is Alissa Czisny, an American figure skater. I confess that I am not as informed about figure skating as some of my readers may be, so I focused on questions of how an athlete works their way up in a sport. I appreciate Alissa being gracious enough to answer my questions, and hope that you readers will be similarly gracious in your comments.


*Fan Questions:*

I think that sometimes us fans forget how much joy there is for an athlete in a good performance. What has been your most joyful moment in figure skating?
One of my favorite moments in my skating career was this past Nationals long program performance. It was a favorite program of mine, and I had skated the best I had ever skated that program. I was so excited to win the long program at Nationals and to make my first World team!

As your performances have improved in the past few years, you have
received more media and fan attention. I was wondering how you feel about
that? It must feel really great to hear people cheering when your name is
announced, but it is human nature to start feeling more obligations and
pressure as well. As a young figure skater, do you get coaching on dealing
with fans and media? And this is a good time to thank you again for making
time for my questions!


A couple of years ago, when I first started getting media attention, I began to feel that extra pressure. It affected some of my competitions, but I've begun to learn how to deal with the pressure. It is exciting, though, to hear people cheering my name and to know that they are supporting me.

*On the Ice:*

I would be amiss in not asking a question I suspect my lady readers would like to ask, ha. Of the outfits you've worn over the years, which is your personal favorite?

One of my favorite dresses that I've worn is this past year's long program dress. It is just a simple dress, but yet so elegant.

What would it mean to you if you made the US team for the 2010 Olympics?

It would mean a great deal to me if I made the 2010 Olympics. My goal is to compete at those Olympic games, and I work each day to make that team.

Being an Olympic athlete, how do you keep yourself from getting too excited or too depressed during a performance or in the time leading up to big competitions? It seems to me that emotional control is very important for figure skaters. Or, do you find that you do best when you let your emotions out?

I agree that emotional control is very important for figure skaters. When we let our emotions rule, it is hard to control our performances. Keeping calm and focused is best before and during a competition. However, we can let emotions come out in the choreography of a program (assuming that they are appropriate to the choreography and character of the program).

Your twin sister Amber was once a figure skater herself. If you had a chance to skate a duet together, what song would you choose?

Hmm, that is a hard question to answer, but I do know that she would probably choose the song and choreograph it. She wants to become a figure skating choreographer, and has already started, so I think that she would be best doing that. Only once, did we ever actually skate a duet together, when we were about ten years old. It was to the song "Wipe Out"!

When training, how do you balance creativity and artistry with the need
for flawless execution and repetition? And which part of skating do you
enjoy more?


It's hard to say whether I enjoy the repetition or the artistry of skating more. Usually, the beginning of the season is filled with new choreography and steps, so there is less repetition and more creativity. I enjoy that, but I also enjoy the repetition of training jumps and programs, which brings a satisfaction of accomplishment.

I read a book on figure skating, written about a decade ago, that mentioned how tight-knit the figure skating community is. Do the top figure skaters know each other well, and if so, which figure skating competitor has most impressed you?

I think that the figure skating community is a very close group. We gain so many friends through the years that we spend skating, and stay close to those friends. I have made so many friends through the years that I have been skating, and I am thankful for all those friends. I look up to Kurt Browning and Brian Boitano especially, because they have been so helpful in passing along their advice to me. Both of them, and also Scott Hamilton, are so humble and friendly, and it impresses me that their accomplishments have not changed them.

*Off the Ice:*

Other than figure skating, what is your favorite sport to watch or play?

I enjoy bike riding, rock climbing, playing tennis, and taking dance classes. I like to watch gymnastics, dance, and tennis, although I rarely watch sports.

I think one of the underappreciated things sports does for a person is that it strengthens one's ability to concentrate. What lessons have you learned as to how to switch focus from a hard figure skating practice to your classwork?

I agree that sports can increase a person's concentration. I feel that I am able to use the same concentration in my schoolwork as I use in my skating. Also, I have learned that when I am doing one, I cannot think about the other, or I will get little accomplished.

Speaking of school, what is the most interesting fact or concept you have learned in school in the past month?

Actually, I haven't been in school this past month. I have not taken any summer classes, so I've been out of school for a couple of months. But, I'm looking forward to taking, among other courses, a course in public relations. I think that it could be useful in my skating career.

What is your favorite language?

Besides English (of course!), I enjoy learning French!

Choosing to excel at anything means that you have to give other hobbies lower priority. If you were not skating at this point in your life, what would you like to do?

I've often thought about what I would do if I did not skate, but I have never been able to figure out what I would rather do. I obviously have other interests and hobbies, but figure skating has been a part of my life for so long, that I do not know what I would do if I didn't skate.

You have mentioned in previous interviews that you are a Christian, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to interview you, being one myself. How do you keep figure skating from becoming too much of an idol in your life? It seems like it would be easy to become overly obsessed with it.

I think that God has given me this gift of skating to use for His glory and His benefit, and I try to make sure that what I'm doing will glorify Him. I believe that He has put me where I am to be a testimony to others, and I try to remember that wherever I go.

And finally, how has your Christian faith enriched your skating experience and life in general?

I think that my Christian faith has not only given me a purpose in life, but has also given me a purpose in my skating. It keeps me grounded, as well as giving me perspective in my skating.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Guest Bias: Price Above Bip Roberts

I finally am evening up my account with Ted by writing on his site after he guest-posted here. I wrote about major media mogul The Cavalier from Yaysports.com. When I first found his site I was completely in awe of the Cavalier; he did graphics, video, and text! It must be the feeling Atari fans had when the first Nintendo came out, ha. Thankfully, the Cavalier has since developed a weak point or two in his blogging game, which I mercilessly mocked in the article, but he's still one of the greats. Read the article here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pure Sports: Ballin' at the Graveyard

I already got in my Wednesday post yesterday, but here's a little something in case I can't get back to my computer this week. Check out ballinatthegraveyard.com; it's a documentary (in progress) on pickup ball at a basketball court in Albany, New York. Here are a few clips; language warning applies here. I'd love to play there sometime.



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pricing in Basketball via the Free-Agent Market

I am fascinated by who's getting overpaid in the basketball free-agent market, and who's getting underpaid. Five or ten years ago, the players being overpaid tended to be the big men: Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier, Adonal Foyle, etc. But now, young bigs like Darko Milicic and Drew Gooden are getting paid somewhat normal contracts. Eight million a year for a young starter at PF who was a former high lottery pick? Yes, nowadays those aren't bad deals. It does proves that the MAX ceiling is definitely too low; I think that if the market determined prices, we'd be looking at 24-32 million a year contract for the best players (4x the price of an average starter).

But look who's getting overpaid--Rashard Lewis? Vince Carter? The players now being overpaid are tall jump-shooting scorers with the occasional ability to go inside. The market is now over-valuing tall players who can make small-ball line-ups work. So why is this happening?

One reason for prices of big men to go down relative to jump-shooting forwards could be scarcity. Now that we can get big men from Europe, Australia, and Asia (Yao Ming, Andrew Bogut, etc.) as well as Africa (Mutombo, Bol, etc.), I think that there are more big men available than before. Thus, the prices are finally falling. However, tall jump-shooting forwards are becoming more scarce. The problem with this idea, though, is that Europe is filled with tall jump-shooting forwards.

Another reason is that small-ball has truly taken over; so instead of having a 6'9" PF and a 7'1 C in your line-up, you run out two 6'10" PF/C types instead who can run the floor. To me, I think this may be the reason. I haven't believed some of the small-ball hype in the past (none of the final four teams in the NBA playoffs played small-ball), but when it affects the way GM's spend money, then it must be true.

So what do you think? Why aren't GM's throwing money at any callow starter who stands 6'11" in his stocking feet?

Monday, July 16, 2007

SuperStar Be: Derek Jeter

I usually write a long, pretentious psychological analysis on each superstar. Because no one reads it and it puts even me to sleep, err, because I don't understand Derek Jeter at all, no such analysis today. (Free Darko was right; picture gathering does take forever!) He is hard to figure out. What do you remember Derek saying that was noteworthy or gave insight into his personality? Do you remember the last in-depth interview with him? I certainly don't. Therefore, I shall only use pictures of Jeter with fans and you can analyze him. I am a little surprised at how many of them there were; I thought it would be hard to find pictures of Derek. I am slightly surprised not to find more pictures of him with male fans rather than just female fans, but females are most likely to post such pictures to brag, anyway. (I should say that I left out most of the MANY pictures of female fans assualting Jeter cutouts and figurines. Scary. Cancel that order for MCBias figurines, pronto! No one's grabbing my plaster posterior!)
I am serious. Run Derek, before it's too late.
Becca and Derek Jeter.

RUN!!!
The gang here wit Derek Jeter!


Here's the rare female fan who was NOT grabbing a Jeter cutout.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Derek Jeter and Jessica Biel playing volleyball...and oh, is Derek cowering to avoid a spiked volleyball to the face? This was part of what I was excited about, sadly.
again

umm derek jeter, jessica biel, and there friend ? playing volleyball

No more comments for now, except for a short open letter. Dear Google-addicted wanna-be girlfriends of Derek Jeter. He's dating the girl in photo #5, err, #8, um, all of them. May I suggest a sports blogger? Sincerely, MCBias.

DEREK JETER!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



MMMM YES...that would be Derek Jeter.

Me and Derek Jeter...or as Katie would say, Deter LOL

Derek Jeter at The Cheesecake Factory!!!!!

Derek Jeter and I

me n derek jeter

New Years 2000 in NYC with Derek Jeter!!!!

Who is that behind me oh yea that would be Derek Jeter!

 DEREK JETER BITCHESS!!!!!!  my fav part of the trip

me and derek jeter! (he was so nice, i have a new respent for him...he said happy birthday to me

DEREK JETER!!!!!!!!!!

AV Monday on Tape-Delay

But trust me, it'll be a good one. Disagree with me, and I'll get Chris to beat you down, ha.
Lisa and Chris Berman,.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bloggolalia: Blogging Laws I Love to Break, Part 1

Sports blogging has its own unwritten rules, like any community. But there are some commandments that I think bloggers should break early and often. Here's some laws of blogging I most like to break, and why. Oh yes, there will be a sequel, bank on that.

Law 1. You shall not say anything bad about posts from other sports bloggers, else the circle of mutual back-patting/ego-stroking will be broken. Where do I start with this? I forgot that the sports bloggosphere was ruled by a dictator and that dissent was punishable by death. Or you would think so, for all the fear and anger people display when anyone criticizes their blog or their favorite writer. And I always love the robotic nature of comments to blogs that just take one side of an issue: "Master Blogger has decided to choose Side A instead of Side B! Let us all agree with Master Blogger!" Disgusting.

And just because someone criticizes your blog doesn't mean they hate you. I met at least one of my best friends in blogging because they criticized my blog, or vice versa. Do you want to be a better blogger? Or do you want people to prop up your sagging ego? I guest-posted at The Starting Five, and Jordi took issue with the points I made. You know what? He was mostly right, and I'm glad he called me out. Otherwise, dumber readers might not ever figure out that what I was arguing might be flawed.

Law 2. You shall link to other blogs as often as possible and beg bigger blogs to link to you, so you can increase your hits. Let me be honest. When my small-blog pals link to me, I appreciate it. But it means, what, 10 more hits in my sitemeter? Same when I link to them; I do it every so often to show respect, but the two readers I bring them isn't going to make a big difference.
And when my big-blog pals link to me, sure, it means I get 800-1000 hits for the day (thanks to TheBigLead). But it means I get about ONE comment, because people who come here from a big blog already have tons of other blogs to read. Or, it means I get uninformed trolls (such as when I ran the Gilbert Arenas article and the Washington Post blog linked to it). Please, let go of your link fixation; you don't need the "gold star" from Deadspin as badly as you think you do.

Law 3. Your main goal shall be to increase hit count.
Covered here. I don't want many readers, I want good readers, people who look at more than one post when they visit and have something insightful to say.

Law 4. You are a marvelous, insightful blogger, and commenters should be fans. You shall not lower yourself by speaking to the commenters in the comment section or asking them for their opinions. Commenters are my main customers, so to speak. I'm not going to let them run my site, but I do want to know what they think. They can go anywhere they want, and they should know I want them here. Sports bloggers need to stop looking to some media outlet for validation (see Law 2) and start realizing that you first need to form a consistent core of commenters. Notice I didn't say fans (see Law 1), I said commenters. Look at how much the Nation of Islam Sportsblog has done with commenters; I'd rather read the comment section than the posts lately. (Um, hope that doesn't make me less righteous, NOIS.)

Law 5. You shall show people how up to date you are by posting only about today's news, even if you have nothing to add to the story. As I read more and more sports blogs, it gets to the point that I can only read one blog about a current event. Writers make similar jokes, have similar biased takes, and often don't have anything to say. Why? Because they're all reading the same AP copy or watching the same video to make their post! Not everything you post has to have happened today. I'd rather write a funny post on something that happened ten years ago than a boring post on today's events.

So, was this post inspirational enough to get you to break Law 1?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

AV Wednesday: Jason Kapono and Shay Doron

I wasn't going to post anything today...but then I made my Youtube run and found some new Elie Seckbach footage.
First, here is Jason Kapono being interviewed. The Silent Assassin himself talks about his shooting guru, Mike Miller, and Gilbert Arenas.

Second, here is Shay Doron being interviewed by Elie.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Guest Bias: Barry Bonds Article on The Starting Five

For once, it's me guest-writing on another site. Writing this article helped me realize how much more practice I need at the short essay/column form, but hopefully you can get something out of it. My take on Barry Bonds and the media actually being peers (much as they would hate to admit it) is at The Starting Five.

Oh, and don't forget that the ladies from Babes Love Baseball will be live-blogging the All-Star game tonight at Deadspin.com; I'm sure it'll be well-done and funny. Check it out.

Monday, July 9, 2007

AV Monday: Amy K Nelson Interviews Dan Haren

I have only seen two so far, but I am really enjoying these Amy K Nelson interviews. They tend to be of players who have recently enjoyed career peaks, so everyone being interviewed is happy and honest. I am not saying every video should be that way, but we need a few of those stories. This time, it's Dan Haren, the starter for the America League All-Star Game; take a look. http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/ivp/index?id=2927568

AV Monday: Darko Milicic Video

I'm switching Audio Visual day to Monday from Wednesday, because I finally realized that during the summer months, there are no big sporting events occurring during the weekend. So writing a recap column on Monday of the big weekend sports news is a wasted effort.

I decided to try my hand once more at making athlete videos. This one is dedicated to Darko Milicic for his free-agent troubles. After his agent went off on the Magic as if they had left Darko with a knife in his back in Disneyland, I kind of get the feeling that Darko's getting a little desperate. Maybe, just maybe, he's the one big man who won't get overpaid this summer. Forgive me if I'm not overcome by sadness on his behalf.

Music by LA Symphony, "The Money Song".

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Linked Bias: Living with Addiction

I have a feeling that a lot of people missed this post the first time through, so I wanted to point it out. You should read Jack Cobra's take on Josh Hamilton, especially if you are going through issues related to an addiction in your life. Oh, some of you may laugh at Josh Hamilton's reference to the devil; but if you've ever been addicted to something/someone and couldn't control yourself, or directly know someone who has, it's not so funny.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Bloggolalia: Should Increasing Traffic be Our #1 Goal?

Recently, the fine writers at You Been Blinded and Five Tool Tool have posted about how to increase traffic to your blog. I think that their ideas are very useful for bloggers, and I thank them for sharing. I wanted to push the topic a little further. For me, getting a lot of traffic for your blog is similar to wanting to have a lot of people visit your store if you're a small business owner. It's a worthy goal, especially when you're starting out your blog. But after you've been around for a little while, hits by themselves can be less rewarding. If your customers at, say, a bookstore are just sitting there reading books and not buying anything, who cares if you have 100 or 500 customers a day? Here's some other things to consider in your blogging. (Of course, if you just blog to have fun, ignore uptight, stuffy folk like myself and stop reading pronto).

* Goal of increasing comments. Without funny or insightful comments, my posts are not the same. I don't want one-time visitors; I want traffic that returns again and again. This is why Deadspin links may not actually be that great; Deadspin links to some 20? blogs a day, and if people are coming to you from deadspin, chances are they already are reading a ton of sports blogs. How are they going to fit you into that schedule? ├Źnstead, find people who will be loyal to your blog and comment again and again. Talk to your commenters, reward them (Best comment of the week contests, ala WL?), etc. I also wonder, on the really odd side of things; what if, once you write about Kobe, you go drop a post into the lakers forums and let fans know you're talking about their guy? Yes, it's playing with fire, but hey, if you want comments, you have to get a reaction out of people.

* Goal of increasing revenue. Many bloggers have some kind of "If you want to advertise, send me an e-mail" section. But I wonder; what if you would actually go after advertisers yourself? For example, if you post on geographic topics (i.e. Chicago sports), why not give a local sports bar or two a call? They might give you a try, if it costs 1/10th or 1/100th the price it would for a local paper. And what about other forms of revenue? If you take an interesting video of a sporting event and post it on revver.com, you get paid through revenue sharing. That's what the guys who did the Kobe video are doing (once they realized people wouldn't cough up $1.99), and they have 100,000 views.

* Goal of better blog content. There are people out there who are too busy to write their own blog. But they have interesting news facts and tidbits, or they are good at writing themselves and know how to improve your blog. If you can find some way to reward those people or let it be known that you want content from readers, you can tap into their skills. Also, a lot of times us writers are so busy trying to get EVERY LAST DETAIL AND JOKE out of a story because I MUST PROVE THAT I AM SO FUNNY OR SMART, that we don't give the reader anything to do. Like what I'm doing on this post, for example (hypocrite alert!). Leave some questions open on your blog for people to answer, don't tell all the jokes yourself, or just take the "Yes" side of an issue and invite commenters to write the "No" side for you. Deadspin does this nicely, and that's part of why it's so popular, in my opinion.

Do you think I'm right in saying we overemphasize traffic; or does traffic lead to these goals anyway? Note: see original post and comments at BallHype.

Oh, and Fan Friday brought to you by Dan; this may be the silliest Red Sox fan video yet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

AV Wednesday: Pure Sports

Every so often, I like to post videos that don't have anything to do with professional athletes. I call those videos "pure sports" as they are of competition from the D III college level on down. Here are two videos of amateur athletes in action.

The first is of Andy, a reporter for his high school, getting pulverized while trying to return a female volleyball player's spikes. Yes, I think this is funny:


The second is of a girl's basketball team in Greece. I'm not sure what the ages are, but what I did notice is that the quality of play is improving in women's basketball leagues. Some of those moves or shots I would have some trouble executing; I haven't been always able to say that in the past.

If Sitcom Stars were NBA Draft Prospects: Seinfeld and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Inspired by NBA Draft reports, here is a breakdown of your 90's sitcom ballers from Seinfeld and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Add your own sitcom star breakdown in the comments!

C: Cosmo Kramer
Strengths: Unorthodox post moves, height, ability to think outside the box; the best highlight video of the five with the exception of Will Smith. His behind-the-backboard lay-up is nearly unstoppable.
Weaknesses: The nightlife and ladies; who can forget watching him mouth his phone number to the cheerleaders before making those foul shots to beat Ohio State? Says what's on his mind at any time; may anger conservative fan base. Intensity is a question mark, as is intelligence.
School: Talented big men have to go to Georgetown, only because the sight of Kramer posing with, say, Patrick Ewing makes me laugh.
Reminds you of: Kwame Brown, Keith Van Horn, Zydrunas Ilguskas

PF: Will Smith
Strengths: Explosive moves off the dribble, possesses an unusual ability to get to the hole through multiple defenders, bulletproof fro to protect him from concussions, extensive post game featuring an excellent drop step and jump hook, shot-blocking ability off the charts. Made his reputation off excellent pre-draft workout against Isiah Thomas:

Weaknesses: Questionable home life and hints of trouble in his past, rumors of William Wesley funding to get him to California and bigger media audience, question as to whether anyone at all played defense in his conference:

School: Will Smith is definitely Pac-10: what about Cal or Washington?
Reminds you of: Rashard Lewis, Drew Gooden

SF: Jerry Seinfeld
Strengths: Does more with nothing than anyone before or since, deadly mid-range jump shot, plays tough defense, attended school all four years, managed to lead a cast of losers and misfits to the conference title, Jewish heritage makes him a potential drawing card for NBA team with space on the bench
Weaknesses: Under pressure his game falls apart, a complimentary player rather than a star. Is he really that good, or is the competition that bad?
School: White, preppy, over-achiever with questionable skills for the pro game? Do I even have to type out Duke?
Reminds you of: Shane Battier, Danny Ferry

SG: Carlton Banks
Strengths: Fundamentally sound in all aspects of the game, inspiring Charley Rosen to write about his jump shot for 2 straight weeks until Charley had a heart attack while watching Carlton's 12-14 shooting night; intelligent kid from wealthy two-parent home; already dresses to match NBA dress code
Weaknesses: Maturity, toughness, height, one too many sweaters for post-game interviews, can fall back on finance degree if struggles in the NBA, completely incapable of forming a complete sentence when interviewed by Erin Andrews. Gonzaga isn't an all-male school, right? Not so sure after that interview.
School: Gonzaga; do you really think THE Carlton Banks would go to a large public institution?
Reminds you of: Cuttino Mobley, Rip Hamilton

PG: George Costanza
Strengths: Teardrop floater in lane with either hand, high basketball and sports IQ (wants to be a coach or front-office worker some day), fiery on-court personality (led team to come-from-behind wins in several games)
Weaknesses: Defense, dysfunctional home life, shorter than Rachel Nichols in that ESPN interview, led conference in technical fouls ('roid rage? HGH?), and what's with the balding? I really don't believe he's only 22.
School: Winona State; your classic small-school star that may not be able to make the jump to a bigger pond.
Reminds you of: Khalid El-Amin, Tony Parker

Monday, July 2, 2007

Minutae: Volleyball and Basketball Video

I am too tired and busy to put words together today, sorry. I have four posts that I really like, all half-written, and don't want to ruin any of them by putting up junk. How about we just meet here tomorrow, and I'll have something better up? In the meantime, here are some videos of young basketball and volleyball players prepping for the pros. I'm always interested in the "minor league" portion of professional athlete's rise to the pros, and these videos show some insight.

The first is female college volleyball players preparing for the beach volleyball game, courtesy of CSTV.com:


The second is a promo video for Barking Abbey Basketball Academy, an English basketball school. It's lengthy, but interesting if you want another look at how basketball players in other countries are trained.