The last comment I will make about the matter for readers disturbed that ESPN did this investigative report and angry that people like me think it important, is to point you in the direction of the "About" link at the top of the SportsFilter page. It reads in part: "SportsFilter is a weblog where anyone can contribute a sports-related link and participate in discussions. The range of topics includes anything in the world of sports, from football, baseball, horse racing, and the Olympics to sports personalities, culture and the impact of sports on society." Far as I'm concerned, the topic qualifies. If I can add a disclaimer, the thread was posted in the category of "Culture," not "Football." Peace.
posted by the red terror at 01:26 AM on July 21
"Whatever the merits of the article, I feel like ESPN is exploiting Tillman as much as the current administration did." O-kay, let's assume for purposes of your point that ESPN is indeed exploiting Tillman's memory. Does that mean we're supposed to accept this as a moral equivalence? Or might we be dispassionate and reasonable enough to discern one party exploiting Tillman's life and death with fake phony revisionist lies that would make Stalin proud, and the other exploiting Tillman's life by trying to get at the truth? Is one exploitation exactly the same as the other? Or might there be a wee small sliver of difference? Not trying to pick a fight here, I'm just asking. Maybe it's just me, but being a sports fan has never meant leaving my brain at the door and letting others take advantage of my fandom and intelligence. Even professional wrestling fans know a "mark" when they see one.
posted by the red terror at 01:13 AM on July 21
"An American just put in one of the most courageous, gut-wrenching performances in the history of the Tour de France... (moan, gnash, whinge...)" I suppose volunteering for service and taking three bullets to the head lacks sufficient courage and wrenching of guts compared to a bicycle race. Glad to see you have your priorities in order. Here's a clue: if you don't like a headline, feel free to pass over the story and read something else. Nobody is holding a gun to your head. IMO the Tour de France will receive widespread coverage from AP and Reuters and more all over the globe today, tomorrow and this weekend. And I suspect most articles will all read exactly the same. ESPN's investigative report is an important piece of journalism, even if it does make some of us sleep a little less comfortably at night. If it distresses you, feel free to ask a loved one to tuck you in to bed, and know that as long as you're not sitting in a filthy trench with a helmet strapped tightly to your head, you'll wake up tomorrow morning no worse for wear.
posted by the red terror at 12:58 AM on July 21
"I read just the headlines about him deserving the Silver Star? He deserved the Silver Star for leaving millions of dollars to die for his country." So, what you're telling me is it's all about the money, and not about the life lost. Thanks, that changes everything. "Regardless of his cause of death. LET IT GO ESPN...please." Why? Because it pains you? ESPN did the most thorough investigation and reporting on the Tillman scandal I have yet seen or heard, and that was only Part 1. The facts indicate the Pentagon glorified Tillman's service and exploited it to recruit new enlistees. And it wasn't just Tillman they exploited, but NFL fans too. When he paid the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE, the signs indicate politics took over. There was a cover-up, the truth was hidden from his FAMILY and his service was sold as a FICTION. That is everything Pat Tillman stood against. It seems to me that some sports fans actually expect and enjoy being played for gullible fools. The Silver Star was awarded to Tillman for one reason and one reason only: he was a celebrity athlete whose name recognition, service and death was exploited as a propaganda tool. Pat Tillman deserves better than that. His memory deserves the truth. Every American deserves the truth, especially since they are bankrolling it with their income tax.
posted by the red terror at 12:48 AM on July 21
"This happened like five years ago." At least you can count. All the way up to two. 1+1=5. "Can we please move on to something that is actually current?" The article was published today. "Sure its tragedy but who needs to hear about it all the time?" All the time? I bet you knew all the facts five years ago, right? I guess that's why you felt you didn't have to read the article. Thanks for the valuable comment.
posted by the red terror at 12:32 AM on July 21
Vizzini: "He didn't fall? INCONCEIVABLE!" Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
posted by the red terror at 12:59 PM on July 20
If Gibbons was going to blow up and challenge his players to a fight, he would have been better off directing his anger at middle relief. It's not Shea Hillenbrand's fault this team collapses in the 7th and 8th innings.
posted by the red terror at 12:54 PM on July 20
The team is imploding. Hillenbrand's departure isn't going to change much. The players are in shock, they say they didn't see it coming. Now reports are that Gibbons stormed into a players-only meeting and lost his temper. He is saying players will no longer be allowed players-only meetings. The more I hear, the more Gibbons sounds like a control-freak with a short fuse. Sounds to me like you've got two hot-heads here, and it reached a boiling point. Both guys probably deserve blame. If Hillenbrand was a cancer in the clubhouse, then Gibbons and Ricciardi should have seen it coming and dealt him weeks or months ago instead of letting it get this far and seeing his value plummet.
posted by the red terror at 12:35 PM on July 20
Hillenbrand's former manager at Arizona, Bob Brenly is on Fan 590 and says he can't speak for the Jays, but claims in his experience he never had a problem with Hillenbrand, claims he was a hard-nosed gamer that never caused him problems, was never a distraction. Says he loved the guy and couldn't have asked any more from him. Brenly believes there's a lot more to this story that none of us will ever find out.
posted by the red terror at 12:14 PM on July 20
Hillenbrand says Gibbons cursed him in front of the team and challenged him to a fight. He claims Gibbons wanted him to "punch him in the face," but Hillenbrand refused, saying "I'm an adult." If the fight challenge was in front of teammates as Hillenbrand claims, that doesn't make Gibbons look like the worlds best manager, either. Was he sending other teammates messages that no dissent will be tolerated. Maybe an insight into why Frank Catalanotto says he stands by the decision. He said/she said.
posted by the red terror at 12:04 PM on July 20
"I think Chacin pitched on his wedding day last year." Hardly a commendation. Baseball players get paid millions of dollars, they shouldn't schedule their weddings during the season.
posted by the red terror at 11:48 AM on July 20
Hillenbrand was on The Fan 590 a minute ago. Says he loves the team and city. He denies he ever ripped any Canadian flag off his cap. He denies he ever wrote the "sinking ship" comment on any chalkboard. He claims he wasn't in the dugout because Gibbons told him to get out. He claims he had his agent doing communication with Ricciardi because Ricciardi wouldn't talk to him. He even thanked the Blue Jay organization and said he "had a fun time." He said/she said...
posted by the red terror at 11:43 AM on July 20
J.P. Ricciardi on the Fan 590 this morning.
posted by the red terror at 09:36 AM on July 20
Joke taken. I apologised. Settle down. Let it go.
posted by the red terror at 09:35 AM on July 20
"There are also reports that he ripped the Canadian flag off his uniform and wrote "THIS SHIP IS SINKING" on the locker room blackboard." I have since heard he refused to sit in the dugout the other day, too. If true, then that would certainly be grounds for dismissal. Having said that, a team needs a CAPTAIN who can step forward and take responsibility for reading riot acts and kicking a players ass before it ever gets to the level of management. I'd be disappointed if his teammates didn't try sorting him out first.
posted by the red terror at 09:33 AM on July 20
"Try a little context there, sport. Or do you bring up Pat Tillman every time somebody mentions the military?" This is, admittedly, off-topic. But I didn't raise the military. Suffice it to say, I'm not trying to score points, but when somebody says joining the military is a "win-win" proposition, I'm not so much a chickenshit to shy away and not stand up and say I beg to differ. So do Pat Tillman's parents. Pat Tillman was an athlete who was elevated on a pedastal for his dedication to service. If his name can be used for propaganda purposes -- and it was -- and has high name recognition amongst sports fans, there's no harm whatsoever recalling his experience when somebody says war is a "win-win." I am a big Pat Tillman fan. It wasn't a "win-win" for him, nor his parents, who rightfully feel sucker-punched. War is not a joke. Perhaps I don't treat it with the same frivolity and play it for laughs the way some would expect of me. Maybe both of our nerves are exceedingly sensitive. So, I apologise. Back to our regularly scheduled debate. That is all.
posted by the red terror at 09:24 AM on July 20
Join the military; not only will you hear one nearly every day, you'll also be serving your country...it's a "win-win!" Try telling that to the family of Pat Tillman.
posted by the red terror at 08:15 AM on July 20
The facts as they are dripping out is only giving us half the story and we have to try to fill in the blanks reading between the lines. Management is painting him as some sort of tumorous arsehole. Whereas the players say he always "had a smile on his face," and they are "shocked" by the decision, calling it "crazy," and "taking the news hard." Who to believe...? I'm a fan of Gibbons, but he sounds like a "PistonWristedGibbon" (read: wanker) for reaming him in front of his teammates. That stuff should be sorted out in the managers office. Unless, of course, Gibbon wanted to make an example of him and send messages to his teammates as well. This suggests team chemistry ain't good. Players like Vernon Wells will say, fark this, when his contract expires, I'm outta here. And free agents will distance themselves, and that's already a problem. Completely unprofessional all around. I don't know what Hillenbrand's personality was like behind closed doors. Maybe it's true he was a major league ass, but his selective teammates comments don't suggest it, and regardless, on the diamond he was hitting .301 and hustled. Again, we don't know the whole story, we're even littler than the "little people."
posted by the red terror at 07:21 AM on July 20
Wikipedia has more.
posted by the red terror at 09:22 AM on July 19
One of the best books I ever read about baseball was "You Gotta Have Wa" by Robert Whiting. The book is really about Japan, giving an insight into their culture by looking at the way they play baseball compared to the way we in North America play and look at the game. It shows how Japanese approach the "short ball," bunting, stealing, the way teams perform training drills, the way rookies are treated as water-carriers, the way fans get together hours before the game and rehearse their chants. When I read the book 15 years ago, I never expected that somebody like Ichiro Suzuki would bring all those elements to MLB and become a superstar. Looking back, that book not only gave me a perspective into Japanese culture, it also gave me some insight into the Japanese professional ball-players' discipline and attitude toward the game. (BTW, Japan are current Baseball World Cup champions!) Moneyball and the Bill James books are pretty good too.
posted by the red terror at 05:23 PM on July 18
re: "I think that if you were to put today's NFL player in full contact games without pads and helmets, during the course of one 16 game regular season, you would probably see a dozen or so deaths." I think you could say the exact same thing about NASCAR drivers and jockeys. They wear helmets for the same reason (for the former, seatbelts and rollbars, too). Does that mean Richard Petty and Willie Shoemaker were "tougher" than Lawrence Taylor or Colin Meads? I dunno. Maybe it does. From my own participation, I played both rugby and football. I never got a concussion playing football. I did, however, take knees, elbows and head collisions to my noggin playing rugby, totalled three concussions over my last two seasons, so decided to retire and took up football. There I was made a starter in the secondary because I had speed and could tackle. I gave the sport up after a couple seasons, because it got too boring standing on the sideline half the game, and doing nothing but covering and tackling when playing. I like to get my hands on the ball, and unfortunately football isn't a game that shares the ball. Football is kinda like NASCAR in the respect that a "special" player gets to drive and receives all the glory and the rest of the team toils in obscurity in the pits doing grunt work that is appreciated and recognised by hardly anybody. I also like a chance to get my name on the scoresheet and dot down TDs as part of the offense. In football, I was explicitly defense and told my job was to tackle. I love watching both sports, and it's hard to pull me away from watching my beloved Bills every Sunday, even when they suck which is pretty much their history in the 21st century. NFL may actually be my fave sport to watch on TV. But as a participant, I much preferred playing rugby, despite the full impact knees to the head. If I'm not mistaken, rugby has the highest prevalence of spinal cord injuries. Look at the pressure exerted on the back of a front-rowers neck when a scrum collapses -- it's about 2000 pounds of torque applied on the neck from each side, potentially 4000 pounds of pressure. Expecting your neck to withstand three to four tons is scary, and many unions want to ban contested scrums because they are too dangerous. (Thank my genes that I never had the bulk for a coach to throw me in the engine room! Some of the injuries I saw my front-row teammates receive made me shudder.) Max Brito famously got paralyzed from the neck down in a World Cup match. His neck vertebra were pulverized under the weight of a ruck. It happens too frequently at club level as well.
posted by the red terror at 10:00 AM on July 18
Re: "a faster, rougher" game. I don't think I ever made that statement. But regards the speed, sure, the NFL player can run a quicker 40. But instead of asking yourself who the quicker player is, ask yourself what the faster "game" is: a) an 80-minute game played in two halves: average duration of game: less than two hours; or b) a 60-minute game played in four quarters: average duration of game: over three hours? Rugby has more continuity. The "speed" or "tempo" of a rugby game moves much faster than an NFL game. In the time an average NFL team makes a 7-second play, advances the ball a couple yards, huddles for 35 seconds, has another 8-second play that might be a pass that gets a first-down, move the chains, wait for another 35-second huddle, etc., a rugby play could have both teams sweeping end-to-end-and-back-again with the ball moving 250 yards. I love football. But I have to conceed that as a viewer of the NFL, I probably spend more time watching replays than actual snaps, and probably as many minutes watching Dodge and Budweiser commercials as actual "ball in play" minutes. NFL football is a game I can go to the refridgerator, make sandwiches, grab beers, take piss breaks, make phone calls, change channels to get other scores, roll doobies, whatever, and not miss a single play. I've tried doing the same during rugby tests and to do likewise is infinitely less possible. The game moves too fast and I might miss something, so I take care of all that business before the game and during half-time intermission. And pay particular attention to the last two minutes of a rugby test when a game is on the line, with time ticking down and players running off their feet having to improvise with their own brains in real time; versus the last two minutes of a close football game with multiple huddles and time stoppages and players running over to get their oxygen and player substitution and coaches running in fresh players with set plays and umps moving the sticks and promos for the Simpsons and Ally McBeal or whatever -- that last two minutes of an NFL game sometimes takes 15. The last two minutes in a rugby test generally lasts two minutes, so you have to bite your nails much faster. Both sports have rough violent physical contact and collisions. Boxing, ice-hockey and rodeo do as well.
posted by the red terror at 05:40 PM on July 17
Re: "Rugby is definitely a sport that needs a wider international appeal, because the RWC always end up being contested by the tri-nations, France and England, with the group matches being utterly pointless (100-0 thrashings are regular occurrences)." It's worth remembering that of the super-powers, England beat SA by 50 a couple years ago. Last weekend NZ beat Oz 32-12. Earlier today, that same Oz side slaughtered SA 49-0. So hammerings occur even at the elite level. And ... it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that next week the humiliated Boks will show up and defeat NZ. That's the way rugby is. It happens in other sports too. In 1990/91 the Buffalo Bills beat the NY Giants during the late regular season at Giants Stadium, and then a few weeks later crushed the Raiders by a cricket score in the AFC Championship game, only to fall to the underdog Giants (the team Buffalo beat weeks before) in the SB a week later. Moral of the story: when you play a violent game of physical contact that awards 7-points for a converted TD, and you play that game with a pointed ball that creates unpredictable bounces, sometimes the tide runs your way and you can run up big scores. Then a month later you can lose to the same team you just annihilated.
posted by the red terror at 09:46 AM on July 15
"Will this be enough to boost the status of two of rugby's minnows?" Short answer: No. But it's a start. Twenty years ago NOBODY ever saw Australia almost upsetting Italy at a FIFA World Cup, so why can't a North American team compete in rugby? The real problem for XV-man test rugby in North America is that it isn't shown on TV. Without television exposure, new audiences won't know about the game, can't get excited about the game, can't begin to understand the miasma of laws of the game. ~~~~~~~ "i don't think it will "take" in the U.S. at least. probably for some of the same reasons that soccer hasn't." Soccer is played by more Americans than football and basketball combined. The TV audiences aren't there yet, but just because American Idol is popular doesn't mean other people aren't interested in Nova and The American Experience on PBS. Soccer is immensely popular in the United States. Having said that, it's unlikely rugby will grow in participation the way soccer has. It looks too suicidal for most people who think of it as football without the helmets. That's a very simplistic interpretation, but that's the perception. ~~~~~~~ "One of the design faults of rugby (especially since the advent of the professional era) is that there are very few upsets and it is increasingly hard for lesser nations to do well at the Rugby World Cup." There is some truth to that (see below) but who's to say that isn't a minor hiccup? Factoid 1: There have been EIGHTEEN FIFA World Cup tournaments. And yet, there have been only SEVEN winners of that tournament. If you discount Uruguay, who haven't been competitive for 50 years, the number falls to SIX. For a sport that is far-and-away the most popular of 200 nations on the planet, that's not a lot of parity. Factoid 2: There have been FIVE IRB World Cups, and there have been FOUR winners. I believe the parity compares well, especially since Rugby Union is the number one sport is all of about five nations on earth (and three of those nations are tiny Samoa, Tonga and Fiji). Prediction: The next RWC is next year, and I would put good money on the host nation being the 5th different nation to win that trophy in 6 tournies. That's not bad parity at all for a "fringe" sport. You could say the exact same thing about ice hockey, cricket, basketball and baseball, that only a handful of nations have a realistic chance at winning World Cup or Olympic glory in those sports. Same for rugby. ~~~~~~~ "I don't think it'll take in the states either. Too similar to American football." Fair enough comment, I suppose, once we get past the idea that rugby doesn't stop for 35-second breaks after every 7 seconds of action, and once we get past the idea that rugby doesn't allow unlimited rotating player substitution, and once we get passed the idea that rugby players don't wear helmets and allow the forward pass. It's a curious part of American sporting history that until McGill invited Harvard to play rugby, American colleges wanted to play soccer. Harvard took the rugby they learned from McGill, and the other Ivy League found it wa-a-a-a-ay more exciting. They abandoned soccer quickly and threw their weight behind the "running" game. A few years later Walter Camp at Yale decided the game had to be uniquely American, so re-wrote the rules and basically introduced the foundation of what we know today as American football (or "gridiron"). There's no reason football players who don't like standing on sidelines more than half the game, who want to run with the ball *and* tackle and maybe even score a real "touchdown" instead of letting the same 3-4 players out of a 45-man roster do all the scoring, shouldn't want to give the game a go, and they'll probably be more adept at it than most other nations. ~~~~~~~ "it is the best sport to teach sportsmanship, humility and respect. bar none." Agree completely. After the Dodgers bowed out of the 2004 NL wild card against St. Louis, it was remarked that Dodger manager Jim Tracy made his players go out to the field in a single file and shake the hands of the opponents. He said it was a mark of respect he learned from NHL playoffs. But they only do that at the end of playoff series in hockey. In rugby, after you've beaten the tar out of your opponent for the previous 80 minutes, you line up and do a post-match meet-and-greet handshake with opponents AFTER EVERY MATCH, not just the conclusion of a series. Also worth remarking -- a recent study showed Rugby players are held in high esteem by those who follow the game, according to new research carried out by UK Sport and the University of Gloucestershire to assess public attitudes towards the conduct of top sportsmen and women. "A whopping 89 percent of Rugby Union spectators and 88 percent of Rugby League spectators said that their players act in a fair and sporting way. This compares favourably to an average of 80 percent for the four sports surveyed during phase one of UK Sport's Sporting Conduct study - football (soccer), cricket, tennis and golf. "Encouragingly, 89 percent of league and 83 percent of union spectators regard the players of the two rugby codes as good role models for children - significantly higher scores than those recorded for football and cricket." In short, the public and players see better role models and respect in rugby than cricket, golf and tennis. ~~~~~~~ "Whenever the RWC rolls around every 4 years, I'm always disappointed how badly the US and Canada perform. [...] "Rugby is definitely a sport that needs a wider international appeal, because the RWC always end up being contested by the tri-nations, France and England, with the group matches being utterly pointless (100-0 thrashings are regular occurrences)." That's the reality of professional rugby. At the 1991 RWC, Canada beat Fiji and lost narrowly to super-power France (19-13), advanced to the QF where they took the defending champion All Blacks to a close decision, losing 29-13. Then at the 1995 RWC they lost to two-time champ Australia 27-11 and then fell to the host nation and eventual winners South Africa 20-0. Those were close respectable contests. In the late 80s and early 90s, Canada beat Wales and France. So to say Canada was disappointing is not true, they punched well above their weight. The sad reality for Canadian rugby players was that the year 1995 Rugby Union went professional, and it hasn't been the same since, there's no way Canada could compete against NZ, SA, Aus and France now. But with some structure and development of the sport over the next 20 years, it is in fact possible that a Canadian national rugby team could surprise a few people. Maybe the new S4 championship is a start. Maybe some of those players will receive professional contracts to play union in Europe. Maybe this will lead to rugby returning to our tv sets instead of being forced to share (read: steal) broadcasts from bit-torrent files. The game needs a profile right now, and there is dick-all. That's counter-productive. I agree with you that 100-point thrashings aren't helpful. But until TV here starts showing the sport at the highest professional levels, then our players are never going to know how to play the game, youngsters won't participate because they don't even know what the game is, and hammerings are inevitable.
posted by the red terror at 09:22 AM on July 14
"Might be cobblers"...? If the masthead says "Weekly Standard," you can bet the house on it. So clever and witty -- and it only took them two authors to produce it. These clods extrapolate an ignorant world view that soccer is nihilist because the American team supposedly played a good game and failed to score a goal: "Soccer is the perfect game for the post-modern world. It's the quintessential expression of the nihilism that prevails in many cultures, which doubtlessly accounts for its wild popularity in Europe." Of course, while we're tabulating scorelines with the number ZERO and talking "nihilism," it's worth remembering the Weekly Standard more than any other editorial board of any magazine made more noise advocating war provocation and screaming "THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT!" and "WE KNOW WHERE THEY ARE!!" etc. ad nauseum about Saddam's lethal stockpiles of "THE MOST LETHAL WEAPONS EVER DEVISED BY MANKIND!!!" In reality, there was nothing but a pile of sand. A big fat ZERO. But, alas, the warpigs are "heroes in error," whilst soccer is for "dim-witted quadrupeds" and those wacky Euros are denigrated as nihilists. Small inconvenient irony: No magazine prostyletizes about capitalism and the free market system more than the Weekly Standard does. But the sad reality is after a decade of publication, the lame magazine *still* can't turn a profit and instead requires the CORPORATE WELFARE of Rupert Murdoch's deep Australian pockets to keep it afloat. Unless your middle initial is W. and you think you are Napoleon, the magazine is not to be taken seriously and not worth the rectal inflammations it's vegetable-based ink gives you when you wipe yer arse with it. Garbage in. Garbage out.
posted by the red terror at 05:08 PM on July 06
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "The team was ready and willing to play and understood, perhaps better than their government, that sport in its purest form is about building bridges." That's a nice sentiment. I don't want to get into the details of the grievances and action of the Indonesian gov't against Israel -- if it makes people feel better, think of them the Lilliputians and Blefuscuns, or vice-versa. The fact is, sports-politics boycotts are sometimes effective. "Undoubtedly, sporting isolation had a profound psychological impact upon white South Africans. ‘South Africans are extremely sport conscious. ... A severance of sporting contacts has sensitized them to their isolation from the rest of the world more than any other issue.’ (Shepherd 1977: 148.) The ‘truly transnational’ character of the sports campaign (ibid.: 149) clearly demonstrated to ‘every South African ... that his government’s policies are not respected abroad’ (ibid.: 151)." We don't have to like it. But every day governments refuse to do business or make contacts with nations they perceive as "rogue states," through trade embargoes, science, security, religion, sport, whatever. Sides dig their heels in. They're probably acting in ignorance, but they wouldn't be doing it if they didn't believe it had some sort of effect, even if it's a classic biting off the nose to spite the face.
posted by the red terror at 02:39 PM on July 06
"I am still trying to equate Flag Burning with Freedom of Speech. Un safe act, maybe, violent protest, maybe, unlawful fireworks, maybe. I just do not get the Freedom of Speech connection." Bill Hicks talks about flag-burning... Not a big deal. Just sayin'.
posted by the red terror at 05:49 PM on July 05
Evander can probably still beat some of the slugs on the alphabet-soup Top Ten ranked lists, but for a guy that made hundreds of millions of dollars it beggars belief what he thinks he has left to prove. He's obviously taken too many blows to the head. "The Real Deal" has expired it's use-by date. Evander needs to compare ex-champs like Gene Tunney and Lennox Lewis, who got out of the sport with fat bank accounts and their brains intact, to a guy like Trevor Berbick. Then he needs to ask himself a simple rhetorical question, whether he'd prefer to spend the rest of his life with his cognitive skills operational or scrambled like Berbick. Then again, when you do missionary work as "God's Warrior" and father child-after-child-after-child out of wedlock to multiple mothers -- in 1998 it was as believed to be as many as nine, and could be higher -- decades of multiple support payments have to come from somewhere.
posted by the red terror at 08:27 AM on July 01
If the Czech Olympic gold-medallist triple Emil Zátopek had lived in a democracy, he might have run for office. Zátopek was an influential figure in the Communist Party, but supported the party's democratic wing. After criticizing the Soviet Union's 1968 takeover of Czechoslovakia, he was deprived of his colonelcy in the Czech army; deprived of his Communist Party membership; and forced to work in a uranium mine as punishment.
posted by the red terror at 06:46 AM on June 30
GW was also a rugby player. Smoking-gun evidence of him cheap-shotting an opponent here.
posted by the red terror at 06:35 AM on June 30
George Weah was named FIFA World Player of the Year, European Footballer of the Year, and African Footballer of the Year. Weah ran unsuccessfully in the 2005 Liberian presidential election. Imran Khan is considered one of the best all-rounders in cricket history. Khan is now a Member of Parliament in Pakistan. During George W. Bush's recent trip to Pakistan, Khan was the only politician detained by President Musharraf under house arrest by the police for the duration of Bush's official visit.
posted by the red terror at 06:30 AM on June 30
Re: the OLN vs. ESPN debate; according to virtually every personality on The Fan 590 in Toronto, ESPN was putting the screws to the NHL, demanding revenue sharing *and* a seat at the Rule Change Committee. Don't know if that's true, but that's the way it was reported.
posted by the red terror at 05:56 PM on June 13
Uh, yeah, it is. Is that a faux pas? [ . . . ] I just checked the user guidelines. I guess I did make a faux pas. (I can see how this policy is good for eliminating spammers, but I thought this was a community. e.g. "Our goal is to bring sports fans together and foster a thriving community." Oops, another mistake.) Feel free to remove it. (It's up on Deadspin right now, people can read it there instead.) Cheers!
posted by the red terror at 05:42 PM on June 13
"Does that make the All Blacks the mafia of the rugby world then?" The current AB coaching and selection panel have been ridiculed by media and fans alike as "The Cartel." I suspect that makes Graham Henry the new Pablo Escobar.
posted by the red terror at 10:11 AM on June 13
Makes me wonder what kind of martial law is going on when a police force can spare and dispatch SEVENTY OFFICERS on a Sunday afternoon.
posted by the red terror at 10:07 AM on June 13
The Pearl Jam thing is a philosophy they co-opted from the Grateful Dead, which is to ignore the media transom and build a relationship directly with the fans.
posted by the red terror at 07:24 PM on June 12
Golf is not akin to tennis in virtaully any capacity. Fair enough. Golf has more in common with games like curling, bocce, darts, snooker and croquet -- y'know, sports that mum, dad and grandpa can play -- than most of the physical athletics I prefer. Granted, it's a bit like T-ball -- without the running, catching, throwing and noisy fans. I get that. My other feeling is that when she does start winning regularly, and when she does compete against the men and do well, you'll forget that you had a chance to watch this all develop in such a remarkable athlete, while you were waiting for her to fulfill your simple criteria before you paid any attention. Not at all. It's not her I'm looking to fulfill a simple criteria, it is the priorities of the sports media. When Wie starts winning tournaments and beating men, good on her, then I'll say the headlines are justified. But all these teases about Wie qualifying for the U.S. Open -- and the attendant hype from some that she could actually win the tournament -- and then seeing her not even qualify for the event, sorry, I've seen this before, and IMO that hype shouldn't take priority over a Stanley Cup or NBA Championship Final. But that's just me. I suspect because golf is a very popular game with grandma and has billions in sponsorship deals, the sports media probably believes rightly-or-wrongly that Wie's story should be the priority. But I don't buy it. I guess I come from the old j-school where REAL MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS make bigger stories than "Stop the Presses" reports about a girl who fails to even *qualify* for a championship. As far as women breaking barriers in a mans world, if I have to look to sports for a certificate of authenticity on that, then I really would be an ignorant chauvinist.
posted by the red terror at 01:28 PM on June 06
Gotta say, some skin is so thin and nerves so strained on this website whenever anyone dares to dissent, it reminds me of right-wing forums when a libertarian suggests the GWOT may not be going as swimmingly as the president and Secretary of Defense spin it. "Traitor!" "Liar!!" "People like you hate freedom and should be locked up at Abu Ghraib." I expect responses from that on wingnut websites. I just never expected to see it occur so regularly here. I'm begging to think "debate" on this website means something like this: Michelle Wie is great. No she's not. She's awesome. Please, just awesome? No, she's mind-blowing genius, the next Tiger. Wrong arsehole, she's gonna change the sport in a way Bobby Jones couldn't even dream, let alone a piker like Tiger. Dude, stop belittling her accomplishments. Stop being a hater. She strikes the ball the way Christ walked on water. She's a living miracle. Ad nauseum... If that's what people here expect passes for informed debate, again, I apologize in advance for upsetting the apple-cart and making infants cry.
posted by the red terror at 01:07 PM on June 06
"I just can't for the life of me figure out why, if you are so bored about the topic, you keep coming in here and saying the same thing over and over again. We get it! you don't want to talk about Michelle Wie anymore, so stop, stop talking about Michelle Wie." I just can't figure out why, when some people state the obvious -- ie. that Wie hasn't won anything and the lavish attention paid her by the media is hype -- that angry mouth-breathers start slinging garbage like "hater" and "chauvinist." If I make a comment, I have to expect that someone might respond to it. And if the response is an ignorant non-sequitor, it behooves me to repeat and clarify myself for their benefit. They are, after all, addressing me directly and asking me all sorts of rhetorical questions. Besides, if you don't like my comments -- then don't read them. You have that right. Again, if you come here looking for an echo-chamber, then I am sorry to disappoint you.
posted by the red terror at 12:50 PM on June 06
Besides, the fact that old fat men can still compete at elite golf seems to me to diminish the "mind-boggling" fact that a girl can do it too. Golf fans should embrace and promote their sport that way; i.e. "A game so universal, that even old fat alcoholics and teenage girls can play with the best" -- instead of trying to make Wie's failure to qualify for a mens event into an overhyped mind-blowing athletic apotheosis. But of course, pointing that out makes me a hater and a chauvinist.
posted by the red terror at 12:43 PM on June 06
J.J. I picked tennis (and forgot to mention the Williams' sisters) because someone earlier didn't like me mentioning gymnastics and instead started talking about Chris Evert. I am simply stating facts -- obviously for some of the thin-skinned posters in here, uncomfortable and hurtful facts. I'll say it and say it again. Wie is remarkable, yes. But she has won NOTHING yet. She hasn't won on her own tour, whereas the tennis players I cited not only consistently won tour events in their teens, they also won MAJORS. That's a huge difference. Is your mind boggled...? I didn't think so. Female athletes reach their peaks earlier than males. It is not uncommon to see women in their teens being the best in the world at their respective sports. That is much less so for male athletes. That was another of my so-called "chauvanist" points.
posted by the red terror at 12:26 PM on June 06
So what you're saying is that the the media world should revolve around you and your desires? Not at all. Balance and levity, that's what I'd like to see, and a little journalistic clawing back the hype. Simple really. It shouldn't matter that other people care about Michelle Wie, or are curious to see how good she may or may not do on a specific day, because "red Terror doesn't want to hear it? Non sequitur. And silly. Get over your self buddy. Oooh, touched a nerve, did I...? You don't have any right to dictate to me or anyone else what we should care about, read about, or talk about. I didn't say I should be dictating anything. Being pisssed about pathetic media coverage/hype is not the same thing as dictating anything. Get a clue, already. If you don't care, don't comment. Obviously, the fact that I typed out a few hundred words means I do care. Obviously, you want an echo-chamber, not a forum. Good luck to you pal. I don't show up in every hockey thread talking about how its a silly sport, just because I'm not interested in it. And did I say anything that remotely resembled that? Umm, no. Get over yourself. I said enough on the hype. Maybe try this: read the FPPs to try and get an idea of what they are about; if you aren't interested don't click on the button. this way no Michelle Wie info will be shoved under your nose, and we won't have to listen to your chauvinist ditribes anymore. Where was my chauvinism...? Age-ism, maybe, and that's a stretch. But chauvanism...? Because my mind refuses to be carried away and "boggled" by over-hype and inanity? Y'know, it's awful hard to make eagles and birdies when you pound yourself in the head with a Calloway wood instead of striking the ball off the tee with it. Seriously.
posted by the red terror at 12:18 PM on June 06
Dudes, from my perspective, it has nothing to do with "Wie haters." That is a lame cop-out. I have no problem with Wie. I do, however, have a low tolerance for hype that gets repeatedly shoved under my nose. It is not "hatred" to point out the obvious. Wie hasn't won anything. Her skill-set and age are, as another poster said earlier, "remarkable. " But it is over-gilding the lily to define her "almost won" accomplishments as "mind-boggling." Ernest Shackleton "almost making the South Pole" and then turning back and rescuing his entire crew after months of dangerous travail and isolation -- that's mind-boggling. Michelle Wie missing a cut in a mens event -- again -- that's not mind-boggling. Wie should be entitled to enter "Open" events. I'm all in favour of that. But I'll save the "mind-boggling" descriptives and appelations for when she wins the thing, not when she "almost" qualifies. It seems to me that Wie has great agents and publicists. They are making the girl and her family a great deal of money. But her age -- again -- seems a total non-story to me. She's a female athlete who excells in her teens. Is that really a big deal? Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova all won MAJOR titles in their teens in their respective sport. Wie still hasn't won a title in any LPGA event, let alone a major. Yeah, the girl's got game. But she's got more hype than game. And that's what the so-called "haters" -- like me -- are tired and bored by, the hype. Let the girl play her game. But the spoils should go to victors, not millionaire endorsement billboards that haven't won anything yet. Jeebuz, on American sports radio stations last night, they were playing Wie's failure to *qualify* for the U.S. Open bigger than the first game of the Stanley Cup. That's a pathetic joke.
posted by the red terror at 10:59 AM on June 06
Re: "Now that we understand what sport we're talking about, name one other player who almost won an LPGA major tournament at the age of 14." Key emphasis: "almost won." I suppose I should have more imagination, but my mind doesn't boggle for "almost." And that is why I find this ongoing over-hyped story a snoozer. All I can say is bring on the World Cup and let's see some amazing athletes in a sport that matters get their 15 seconds in the American media.
posted by the red terror at 12:29 PM on June 05
Re: "She is 16 YEARS OLD!!!! I can't say that enough. No golfer in the history of the sport has ever competed at as high a level at that age, men or women." Biology 101. Females mature earlier than males. Much earlier. Teenage girls are amongst the world's elite in gymnastics, track & field, tennis, figure-skating, soccer, ice hockey -- you name it, the women in their early 20s are terrified of the up-and-coming 15yos. Male athletes mature much later. Good on her for qualifying, but forgive me for yawning, imo the girl should focus on winning LPGA events before we get out the PGA pom-poms. She gets more hype than most actual tour winners, the PGA canard says less about her ability to win the event than it does a ploy to drive up her endorsement deals.
posted by the red terror at 09:35 AM on June 04
Re: "The thing to remember about all of this is that Michelle is 16 years old!!! The mere thought of any golfer, male or female, qualifying in today's ultra-competitive environment for the men's U.S. Open at that age is mind-boggling." This story is tired. Count me excited when she actually wins a LPGA event. It's hardly a big deal that she's 16 years old -- many female athletes peak early, whether they be tennis players or gymnasts or figure skaters -- and the physical levels of athletic dexterity required to perform those sports are considerably higher than hitting a prone ball off a tee. If Wie can win a PGA event maybe my mind will be boggled by this story, but right now it's a bore and a snore.
posted by the red terror at 09:25 AM on June 04
Via Deadspin comes a reason why Joe might be so angry: his son was arrested a few years back on charges of dealing cocaine. Wonder how that turned out...?
posted by the red terror at 10:21 AM on May 31
ps. It almost seemed like a worked WWE promotional spot, bringing in an old heel like Terry Funk to put over a new babyface. That's how badly Theismann's rant has backfired -- he has inadvertently "put over" a new star that many in the audience were sitting on the fence, they're now Ricky Williams fans and supporters. Joe Theismann is a dick.
posted by the red terror at 10:14 AM on May 31
People up here believe Theismann to be an idiot. Deservedly so. He comes across as puritanical, pedantic, paranoid and absolutist. It's the Salem Witch Trials all over again. Theismann says "this isn't aspirin we're talking about." Cannabis is actually safer than aspirin. Certainly nobody should be operating a vehicle or heavy machinery under its influence, but nobody has ever died from overdosing on weed. Aspirin kills. Cannabis doesn't. The law and NFL cannabis policy isn't a war on drugs, it's a war against a lifestyle that differs from the pill-popping zombies like Joe Theismann that run their league. Ricky Williams is not a cheat, and the Toronto Argonauts and most reasonable Canadians get that. The years 1919-1933 were the Prohibition era, coincidentally the years when Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey were at their athletic peaks. Both those American heroes competed at the same time as they were regularly breaking the law and visiting Speakeasies and drinking alcohol -- wilfully bowing to an altar of Satan in the eyes of puritanical prudes -- but nobody suggested drug-testing Babe and Dempsey ten times a month. And we don't remember them today as moral reprobates, instead they have been elevated by our grandfathers and fathers to athletic sainthood. Why? Because we're supposedly adults and can recognize that punishment have to fit the crimes. Anybody who believes that Babe Ruth should have been suspended from the New York Yankees or Jack Dempsey should have been stripped of his belt for drinking recreational pints, is a moron like Joe Theismann. This is the 21st century and Ricky Williams is a victim of another Prohibition. Most Canadians have said enough, they've weighed the issues and they like this guy. They believe he has a right to earn a living, and they're not going to be hypocrites and stand in his way.
posted by the red terror at 10:05 AM on May 31
What goes on at the bottom of a ruck is a mystery to fans and match referees at the best of times; I'm curious what sort of hand-to-hand combat was going on when the cameras and linesmen couldn't see a thing.
posted by the red terror at 07:31 PM on May 28
There were times the visibility was worse than that pic. Leon MacDonald, the Crusaders fullback, said he lost kicked ball many times. There were stretches during the broadcast where the commentators were speechless and some guy with a remote microphone was running down the other sideline doing a play-by-play that the viewers couldn't see. It was farcical, but entertaining. Sad it happened for a championship game. I have seen archival footage of the infamous 1962 Grey Cup "Fog Bowl" that got postponed to replay the game's last nine minutes the next day, and this looked worse. Apparently droves of fans were leaving their seats and going underneath the stands so they could try to watch on TVs.
posted by the red terror at 10:30 AM on May 28
I've been following horse racing closely for over 30 years and that is one of the most upsetting things I've ever seen on a track. The horse is a champion. I rarely bet, I just love the sport, but I have seen enough to know that the odds of his recovering and surviving are extremely long. I realize some people (read: ignorant clods) will hold this up and use it as an excuse to browbeat the sport and demand a ban on horse-racing, but sadly, such is the nature of that animal species that it could have happened anywhere. If you want to eradicate horses breaking ankles and sesimoid bones, then you'll have to eradicate the species. And to think just a fortnight ago he won the Derby by the biggest margin in 60 years. Tragic.
posted by the red terror at 11:21 AM on May 21
If you want the perspective of someone who knows a bit more about the game than I do, this past weekend ex-All Black captain (and the most capped AB in history) Sean Fitzpatrick was interviewed by The Telegraph about Lomu. Some choice quotes: "I've never seen anybody like Jonah in his prime, just awesome. And to realise that he was just a teenager and was already struggling with his kidney problem and operating at only 80 per cent, it makes the mind boggle." ... "Nothing in rugby will compare with Jonah Lomu in 1995 and again in 1996 with New Zealand and the Auckland Blues. He scored some simply unbelievable tries for Auckland when we won the Super 12 that year. He redefined what could be done, physically, on a rugby field. "Rugby had seen very big, fit men but never anybody that big and that quick. Jonah could outsprint known speedsters on the outside and that, technically, made him just about impossible to tackle, because once an opponent is reduced to trying to tackle him with one trailing arm, all is lost."
posted by the red terror at 07:43 AM on May 10
"Have a look at Rokocoko 's try in the JJ's highlights reel, the one that comes after the famous Lomu-on-Catt try; look at Joe spin and dance around defenders, and throw a perfect pass while going to ground. Lomu could *never* have done that, even at his best." So what...? For one, Lomu didn't need to do a spinaroonie because he had double the bulk of Rokocoko and could either run through or over defenders and carry them across his back (see half his tries). And two, as far as throwing "perfect passes" when he goes to ground, look no further than the 1995 RWC when Lomu set up several tries when he gained 60 yards, had three defenders on his back, and still managed to offload to free men who scored, or the 1996 Bledisloe decider, where the ABs decisive breaks had Lomu twice slicing through the Wallaby backline and off-balance falling down offloaded perfect passes for others to score. You may not rate him, and it's true that most rugby fans don't rate him as the best-ever to play the game. But he's still the most awesome and spectacular and famous rugby player the world has ever seen, and there's good reason for that -- he exploded on the world stage in front of the biggest audiences and showed a strength and power and pace that rugby fans had never seen before. I doubt he'll make Super 14 again, let alone wear a black jersey at the 2007 RWC, but he has his dream and I say all the power to him, it's his life.
posted by the red terror at 07:33 AM on May 10
Barbaro looks good for all three, unless Frank Stronach has an ace up his sleeve that he's saving for the Belmont to ruin, like he's done before.
posted by the red terror at 09:00 AM on May 08
The hype today from Tom Hammond seems rather curious. For 22 years NBC and Hammond hosted the Breeders Cup and always promoted that event as the "Superbowl of horse racing." NBC lost the hosting rights after last years' Breeders (ESPN is carrying in now) and today Tom Hammond can't shut his mouth yapping about the Kentucky Derby being "the Superbowl of horse racing." Horses for courses...
posted by the red terror at 04:03 PM on May 06
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated says Barbaro is the best horse. Read: "Picking a winner: 10 tips to help you sort out the Kentucky Derby field" And he rates Flashy Bull as having no chance, which truthfully, he probably doesn't. But Mike Smith is capable of drawing something out of the horse for a showing. Curiously, Layden ignores Brother Derek...
posted by the red terror at 11:30 AM on May 06
addendum. Brother Drek is currently at 3-1; Sweetnorthernsaint is at 10-1 odds.
posted by the red terror at 11:27 AM on May 06
But... again ... Why do you wait so late in the day to test a new design? The guy was playing in a game that his team HAD TO WIN. And his national team is starting their World Cup in a month. That is not the time to be tinkering with testing new boot technology. It's like knuckleballer Tom Candiotti entering the 1991 ALCS and deciding he'd rather experiment with his new curveball than throw the knuckleball pitches that were his career bread & butter and what his catcher was calling. It's braindead preparation.
posted by the red terror at 01:32 PM on May 01
Doesn't it seem a bit Mickey Mouse to be trialing new equipment in a must-win game for a club team that is arguably the world's most famous, and weeks in advance of the World Cup? Maybe it was purely coincidence and had nothing to do with the visionary extreme radical revolutionary new Nike boot. But championships and World Cups are supposed to be about preparation. This smells like Bode trialing new skiis at the Olympics. Brain fart! Surely Rooney should have been trialing that boot much earlier. And if Nike was scared that they didn't want to roll out the new rad boot design until their rigid marketing schedule made them hold off and launch the promotion at the last weekend in April, then they should have made him dummy boots -- y'know, the new version packaged to look exactly like his old ones that he could have played on for as full or half season. A bit of shoe polish and no-one would have told the difference. Seems to me none of these guys have thought this thing through. Rooney probably trialed a couple versions in his light running and practice drills, but not against real competition. The FA must be dreading how their game and the preparation of their team has been interfered -- and perhaps derailed -- by stupid corporate interests.
posted by the red terror at 08:48 AM on May 01
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