Archive for July, 2011

– Nick Young should probably think about signing up for next year’s dunk contest….so he can get robbed by the judges so someone with a bigger name can better promote the NBA.

– You know I miss basketball when I’m looking at exhibition basketball highlights.  This is the offseason/lockout edition of the TSB shootaround complete with exhibition basketball highlights!  Second up to bat is of Kobe Bryant tossing a one handed lob pass to Derrick Rose for a two handed tomahawk that’d make Native Americans jealous.

This highlight is probably better then the last one.  Moses is about to blow up like no body’s business next year.

– Three things to take away from this video:

  1. Who has the best beard in the NBA?  Moses or B-diddy?  I’m going to be frank here.  I don’t think Osama Bin Laden died actually.  I’m pretty sure he has killed Baron and assumed his identity.  It’s the only way we can explain why Baron’s been so bad the past few years.
  2. Lebron is in regular season form.
  3. Thank god for his team he wasn’t in NBA Finals form.

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Today is a remarkable occasion in Chicago soccer history.  Manchester United (THE Manchester United) is rolling into town to play the Chicago Fire.  This is big.  This feels big.  Chicago is, of course, an absolute backwater* in the world of global soccer, and the best description of Manchester United’s stature in that world is Yankees on steroids (Umm, wait, poor phrasing, delete, delete!).  They are consistently ranked as the most valuable sports team in the world – not just in soccer, but in all of sports, ahead of the Dallas Cowboys and the Yankees. There are undoubtedly more people in Chicago who can name the starting 11 on Manchester United than those who can name the starting 11 for the local Chicago Fire.  I’m including myself in this group, by the way.

To commemorate the visit of the world’s most famous soccer team to Chicago, I’ve decided to steal Bill Simmons’ bit and keep a live diary of the proceedings.  But I will not be doing so from my couch – thanks to the magic of StubHub, I’ll be bringing you the action live from the game.

10:00 AM – Like I said, this feels like a big event.  Driving in downtown Chicago to pick up our tickets, I see Manchester United jerseys everywhere, with a smattering of Fire jerseys as well (forsaking the first rule of journalistic objectivity, I, too, am wearing my Chicago Fire jersey).  It’s as if every secret soccer fan in the city decided to make his allegiance public today.

3:50 PM – And we’re coming to you live from section 239 of Soldier Field!  To maximize ticket sales and exposure, the game is not being held in Toyota Park, the Fire’s usual home stadium (capacity: 22,000), but rather in the much more spacious and regal Soldier Field (capacity: 61,500).  Good call.  Walking to the stadium is a decidedly soccer-centric experience, with groups of hardcore Fire supporters waving flags and scarfs and singing the Chicago Fire songs and chants.  I love a good soccer crowd.

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Breaking Bad Season 4

If you aren’t aware, AMC has been crushing it lately. Just about every drama series on the channel for the last few years has been must-see TV. I’m sure you’ve heard of the critically acclaimed Mad Men or last year’s smash hit The Walking Dead, but the best show on AMC (maybe even on TV) is the lesser known Breaking Bad which is entering it’s 4th season.

Breaking Bad is the story of a High School chemistry teacher, Walter White, who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and decides to pick up manufacturing methamphetamine to pay for his cancer treatment and provide a nest egg for his family. The series chronicles this man’s new “career” and the trials and tribulations that go along with it. The show is addicting, so if you haven’t seen it, get the DVD’s, catch up and start watching.

Season 4 begins with the episode Boxcutter, as season 3 left off with a huge cliffhanger. Walt’s former lab assistant Gail is depicted opening up the boxes containing the expensive lab equipment that meth king-pin Gus has provided for their mega-lab. In the finale of Season 3, Walt’s partner Jessie killed Gail in order to save Walt’s life. You see, a couple of Gus’s goons were killed by Walt in the finale and now that Gail knows Walt’s cooking process, he has no need for Heisenberg (Walt’s alias) and wants him dead. By killing Gail, Jessie ensures that Gus’s other men don’t kill Walt because he’ll need him to make the product. If you aren’t following me here, I apologize. Like I said, get the DVD’s, catch up and get with it.

After killing Gail, Jessie is picked up by one of Gus’s top men and brought to the lab where Walt is being held. The goons are forced to call Gus and inform him that his trusted cook has been murdered. The episode is rather drawn out (but never dull) as Walt’s estranged wife Skyler worries about his whereabouts. Gus’s goons are convinced by Walt that they shouldn’t kill him until they hear back from Gus. The same guy that picked up Jessie tries to prove that he too knows Walt’s cooking method, and that they don’t need him. The suspense builds throughout the episode until the moment Gus arrives at the lab.

This is where the episode gets absolutely bad-ass. Gus walks into the lab like a boss without saying a word to anyone. If you haven’t seen the show, the guy looks like a grown-up Steve Urkel/Carlton Banks hybrid. Very proper, always business-like and direct. Gus walks down the metal stairs and over to Walt and Jessie with a stone-cold look in his eye. He pauses for a minute, then walks directly to the the lab coats. While Walt pleads his case in order to save Jessie and his life, Gus takes off his shirt, changes into full-body lab gear then walks back toward his men.

Gus checks a few drawers and finds a bright green boxcutter, perhaps the very same boxcutter Gail used to open the boxes in the beginning of the episode. Without uttering a word, he takes the boxcutter and slices one of his goon’s throats (the same one that picked up Jessie). The man bleeds out and dies in front of Walt and Jessie, and Gus washes himself off, changes and leaves. As he’s about to walk out the door he simply says “Well, get back to work”. Walt and Jessie are spared and a legion of Breaking Bad viewers are primed for a very interesting episode 2.

Solid start to the 4th season of an awesome show if I do say so myself.

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David Wright Is Back!

July 22, 2011 by

By Michael Cruz

In the picture above, David Wright makes a diving tag on Astros’ Carlos Lee at 3B. This put out led to a stress fracture that has kept Wright out of the lineup and on the Disabled List since mid May.

Yeah, he’s only one person. But things for the Mets just continue to add up. With Jose Reyes and Wright back in the lineup, I know things will only start looking better for us.

Reyes is hands down the most exciting player in the game. I would also say the hands down National League MVP, with Kemp also in the race.

I would love to see the lineup go like this:

  1. SS – Reyes
  2. 2B – Turner
  3. 3B – Wright
  4. RF – Beltran
  5. 1B – Murphy
  6. CF – Pagan
  7. C – Paulino
  8. LF – Pridie

I have Jason Pridie starting in LF only until Jason Bay is off the day-to-day Disabled List, but if Bay continues his shitty ABs, I would have Scott Hairston hit for him.

That’s all about our Metropolitans – let’s see how we do this weekend!

Let’s Go Mets!

The Turkish team that Deron Williams signed with recently had their assets frozen because the ownership was fixing soccer matches.  Not only does this suck for Deron Williams, it gives leverage to the NBA owners.  They know that players will now be wary of signing with an European team now because of this.

Steve Nash admonishes Boris Diaw for planking at a famous French vineyard.

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Is The NFL Lockout Over?

July 20, 2011 by

Remember NFL: Your fans hold the keys to your success or failure

 By Chris Panetta

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TSB Morning Shootarounds

July 19, 2011 by
By Hasib Hossain
Every morning during an NBA season, I will try to put out news, blog articles, and interesting tidbits about Basketball and the NBA in a concise format and comment about.  I am going to call them my morning shootarounds.  I will also write my own original long form blog pieces but I feel this is the best way to get myself in to the fray of the Total Sports Blog family.  Now without further delay:

Yao Ming and Patrick Chewing breaking bread in China before Yao Ming has his official press conference for his retirement in China.

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As inevitable as day after night, as sunshine after rain, as Chris Bosh crying after a close loss in a big game are opinion pieces from clueless American sports pundits after a big soccer tournament.  These guys don’t like and don’t understand soccer, yet think they have the perfect solution to fix every problem with the sport, perceived or otherwise.  Normally, it’s a tough task to find the stupidest, most banal piece of written diarrhea on the subject, but luckily for me,  this year, one person has made the selection process exceedingly easy.  Shaun Toback, please stand up and be recognized!  Your work (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/770480-2011-womens-world-cup-7-reasons-why-soccer-will-never-matter-in-the-us)wins the coveted award.  Your prize?  A Red Carpet welcome to my shitlist.In response to a riveting Women’s World Cup which saw the United States mount comebacks and overcome stronger teams to reach the Finals, and Japan playing with a purpose and mounting an improbable run to the title, Toback chose to write a Cliche.   Read the rest of this entry »

Will you “Fear The Beard”?

By Michael Cruz

If you have not heard of it, The Franchise is a documentary type of show about the 2010 World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants. They talk about new players, players getting cut, what they worked on during off-season, and so forth.  It’s basically a “Hard Knocks” for baseball.

The Franchise premiered July 13th on SHOWTIME SPORTS. I just got done watching it, I would rate it 5 stars, no doubt.

One scene that really interested me was when Brandon Belt is in Bruce Bochy’s office and Bochy announces to him that he made the team. It was a very emotional time for Belt, as well for me! Doing it big in baseball is a huge dream for me, so maybe I don’t know how Belt felt at the moment, but I may know a similar feeling.

New episodes are  every Wednesday night, and I strongly recommend you sports fans to check it out. Either order SHOWTIME or find it online, or something. It’s an hour that would not be wasted.

(This is the second in my series of posts called “Why This Lifelong Soccer Fan Is (Currently) Unenthused About Major League Soccer)

When Major League Soccer was founded in 1993, the new league was determined to avoid the veritable orgy of overspending and lack of restraint that has sunk the North American Soccer League in the 80’s (notably, it seems that, unlike the MLS, the US Housing market did not pay attention to this lesson). Because of this, the MLS structure has some major differences from the professional soccer leagues in Europe.  Major League Soccer is operated as a single-entity model, with the league tightly controlling team spending and salaries, by having a salary cap (currently at $2.6 million per year) and a maximum per player cap salary (currently $375,000).  All player contracts are owned by the league, and the league pays player salaries from a pool collected from all the teams.

The single entity model ensures sustained growth and responsible financial behavior, but completely hamstrings teams’ ability to sign big name players.  And so, in 2006, the owners of the Los Angeles Galaxy, who, behind the scenes were orchestrating the possibility of signing David Beckham, proposed the Designated Player Rule.  The rule would enable each team to sign one player in excess of the per-player spending limit.  The player’s contract would be paid for by the league, and count against the cap only up to the limit.  Any amount in excess was the responsibility of the team.  The thinking was that importing high-priced talent with instantly recognizable names and skill level far exceeding that of current MLS players will help the league leap forward both in terms of off-the-field marketing and on-the-field play level.  This, in turn will increase the prestige of the league, further increasing profits and attraction to high caliber players.  Specifically for the Galaxy, the rule will allow them to reap the incredible windfall of signing Beckham, the most marketable soccer star in the world.  Because of this, the unofficial name given to the Designated Player Rule was the Beckham Rule.

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