Saturday, April 21, 2007

Just a Thought

On ESPN2's Cold Pizza yesterday, two baseball "experts" were trying to figure out the cause behind A-Rod's hot start this season. The question asked of the men was, "What has gotten into A-Rod?" I have an idea...

Steroids! I don't think it's that far fetched to believe that the MLB's baby would possibly be on steroids. I now issue my disclaimer that this is all conjecture. I have no facts or support to back this up, but I do have some logic, which I will now draw upon.

A-Rod has all the motivation in the world to be using steroids at this point in his career. He is 32 years old, and starting to enter the twilight of his career. Consider how many players past their prime are on the 'roids (Bonds, Sosa, Giambi), and then realize that A-Rod is no different from the rest of them. To add even more motivation, he plays in New York, where no matter what you do (AL MVP?), it's not good enough. The fact that A-Rod has not delivered any community hardware to the Bronx since he has been there has put him under the finest microscopes New York has to offer. This provides another catalyst for him to foray into the dark underworld of baseball.

In addition to all that, lets just take a quick glance at the numbers as well. Currently, he is on pace for 248 hits, 130 homeruns, and 324 RBIs. All of these, obviously, are MLB records, and probably world records. He won't maintain this pace by any stretch of the imagination, but doesn't it seem a little late in the year to still be maintaining that pace? We are almost one month into the season, and he's still posting numbers like it is Little League. A-Rod has almost double the amount of homeruns as the next closest big leaguer, and has double the amount of RBIs of the man in second. I can't dispute that A-Rod is good, because he is, afterall, a two-time AL MVP; however, this is absolutely ridiculous for a man who averages 192 hits/year, 44 hr/year, and 127 RBIs/year.

Lets suffice it to say that I would not be surprised if come June, July, or August if national headlines read "A-Rod Slapped with 10 Game Ban for 'Roidin'". The only thing that serves as consolation in all of this is that for how good A-Rod has been, the Yankees have been thoroughly mediocre. Yankee pitching is in shambles, the rest of the offense is lackluster, and its only a matter of time before those world famous boos start raining down in Yankee Stadium. At the time of this writing, the Yankees sit 2 games back of first place Boston, and A HALF A GAME BEHIND THE ORIOLES!!!!! Strike up the band and start the parade Baltimore... lets celebrate some good times!


(p.s. I have adjusted the settings so that anonymous users can post comments now, so you don't have to have a Google account to post.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Marijuana, Marijuana

There's a lot of marijuana related news in the NFL today, and sadly, it all just seems rather mundane. What has become of us that we think, "Oh, he just smoked some marijuana"? Without further ado, we dive right in...

The Rams have said they are interested in acquiring Dolphins' running back Ricky Williams, should he be granted his reinstatement. Williams was suspended before last season for failing his 4,872,497,298,472nd drug test, after retiring to go smoke pot with the Aborigines in Australia (if you're gonna do it, do it right). He filed for reinstatement recently, and will most assuredly get it, because he demonstrated that his ship has been righted; he played an entire season in Canada last year. Now his decision to come out of retirement was fueled entirely by his love of the game of football (read as the money acquired by playing the game of football), so the Rams apparently believe his character is no longer in question. I beg to differ... let's review:

The New Orleans Saints drafted Ricky with the first overall pick out of Texas in (I think) 1999. Williams represented all of the Saints draft picks that year, as he was such a can't miss draft pick that the Saints traded ALL OF THEIR PICKS for the chance to take him number 1. Unfortunately for New Orleans, he missed. The highlight of his Saints career was dressing up in a wedding dress for a magazine cover with Mike Ditka, and he ultimately replaced by Deuce McAllister, who is, in turn, currently being replaced by one Reggie Bush. He was soon shipped to the Dolphins, who have such great luck with trades recently (see Culpepper, Daunte). In Miami, his career appeared resurrected, as he totaled respectable rushing numbers for two years. Then, he felt the call, not of God, but of grass. He retired weeks before Miami began training camp, hanging the Dolphins out to dry. He was tracked down somewhere in the middle of the outback (eating a different kind of "Bloomin' Onion") and told he owed the Dolphins somewhere in the ballpark of $80,000,000 (big ballpark). Suddenly, the drive to play football came rushing back to him.

Ricky apparently had a good accountant, because he realized that how much weed he could buy with that $80 mill, and soon returned to Miami, only to pee in a cup and end up in Canada (I wonder how many stories actually end like that). After serving his sentence playing Canada's unique brand of outdoor Arena football, Ricky is up for reinstatement, and the Rams just may be stupid enough to bite.

The Rams, frankly, have no business with Ricky Williams, other than their coaching connection. The Rams' head coach coached Ricky in Miami, when he didn't suck too bad (maybe he was on something). However, the bad here clearly outweighs the good. Ricky will be a distraction from day one. He will undoubtedly fail another drug test, and cause more distractions. He will be a horrible influence on young Ram RB Stephen Jackson, and could potentially derail an up and coming career. If the Rams are smart (we looking into it), they will pass on the grass and let Ricky sink Miami even further.

It'd be nice if that was the only pot related story out of the NFL today, but the next one just gets weirder. Three projected top ten draft picks admitted during their interviews with teams during the Combine that they have smoked marijuana in the past. Apparently, they were not briefed on things you should and should not tell prospective employers. Calvin Johnson, Gaines Adams, and Amobi Okoye all admitted during their pre-draft interviews that had tried pot in the past. Whats more absurd, and a little bit hypocritical, is that the draftniks are saying that these revelations have not affected the draft status of any of the three of them. In a league that all the sudden has put character at the forefront of everything it does (Cincinnati Bengals, Pacman Jones), the teams are willing to let this admitted felony go. It doesn't matter how much it was, or what the circumstances were, these men committed a crime when they smoked the marijuana. Call me old fashioned, but I think that them admitting it should count as them failing their first drug test. It should carry the same penalty that is levied on any player that is found to be doing the same.

Instead, the media is lauding (means praising) these men for admitting it. Now, I for one do not care what people have done in the past... unless they admit to a felony during what was essentially a job interview. This obviously shows a grandiose lack of judgement on their part, and could possibly reflect the type of character they choose to be. Remember, Ricky Williams was a can't miss draft prospect. If you don't believe me, scroll up, and read it again. Marijuana ruined his career, and now he has to fight for his right to play in the League. Some people think its just a harmless drug, but for the three men that admitted to using it (and all the ones that didn't, as well), it could spell the beginning of the end. Just ask Ricky... the NFL only gives you four second chances.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Constitution Need Not Apply

This just in from the Department of Absurdity...

The No Fun League came down hard on Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher today, leveling him a $100,000 fine for wearing an unauthorized hat during Super Bowl media day. An unauthorized hat. An unauthorized... hat. They were also going to cite him for wearing a hat without a license, wearing a hat while intoxicated, wearing a hat under the influence, and operating a vehicle while wearing a hat, but thought those rules were just silly.

Seriously, why does Brian Urlacher, a grown man who could inflict physical damage upon almost anybody, have to ask a room full of scrawny, white old men for permission to wear a particular hat? Money, of course, is the answer.

The hat Urlacher was wearing featured the logo of vitaminwater, a company that Urlacher apparently endorses, given that he was drinking said beverage at the infamous press conference. Unfortunately for Urlacher, vitaminwater is not an official NFL sponsor. In fact, only Gatorade is to be consumed by players in public, as it is the "Official Drink of the NFL". As such, Urlacher would have been well within his rights to wear a Gatorade hat, shirt, pants, shoes, socks, underwear, bathing suit, bath robe, tube top, hula skirt, or mumu, but is getting slapped with a rather hefty fine for having vitaminwater scribbled across his hat.

Its times like these when you just shake your head at what the NFL does. Uniform police aside (different rant for another day), this dictating of appropriate corporate attire has to border on Unconstitutional. Isn't Urlacher simply exercising his right to freedom of expression? To me, it seems like he is expressing his opinion that vitaminwater is better than Gatorade, and therefore more worthy of his endorsement. His opinion is costing him $100,000 to express, and that just seems absurd. What other Constitutional rights have been sacrificed to play in the NFL? Isn't this the same league that ran rampant with felons up until a week ago, and these felons had no repercussions? This act took place after most of Pacman Jones' transgressions, but the rulebook did not have to be rewritten for Mr. Urlacher... the NFL is very clear on what opinions the players may or may not have.

Have you ever seen a player on the sidelines wearing Under Armour? Possibly. Was the logo visible? Definitely not. Players can, by NFL contractual obligations, not show any logo on their clothing besides RBK (Reebok). This very instance involving Under Armour was discussed by John Feinstein in his book, Next Man Up. While on the sidelines during a Raven's game, one of the trainers was asked to cover up an Under Armour logo that was clearly visible, as Under Armour is only a sponsor of the Ravens, not the NFL. So while every player wears it, and most players endorse it, Under Armour is not allowed to benefit from the free advertising that it is entitled to from the support of NFL players.

In all honesty, vitaminwater may be enjoying this story, as any publicity is good publicity, especially when you're vitaminwater. Who has actually heard of vitaminwater before this story anyway. But the principle remains true; the contract rules of the NFL are ridiculously, unflinchingly rigid. Does baseball mandate that all players wear one type of batting glove? No. Does the NBA require that all players wear one type of headband? No. The NFL does though. Ask Jim McMahon.

When former Bears QB McMahon (what is it about the Bears?) wore an Adidas headband during a game, he was slapped with a fine from then-commish Pete Rozelle. The next game, McMahon wore another headband, with ROZELLE written across it (see Chad Johnson, thats called originality in comedy). McMahon was an innovator, and thank god there was someone out there willing to make a total mockery of a horrible rule.

Let's just hope that after Urlacher finished his vitaminwater (while wearing his hat), he asked permission to use the restroom, so as to not take an unauthorized pee.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Well its official... a couple of things are actually.

#1, welcome to Kurt Nose Best, the only place to get my rantings about the sports world, the real world, and other topics as I so choose. This will be my official place to rant, so henceforth, if you feel one of my opinion storms coming on, check here first. I'm sure I have something to say on almost anything.

#2, this will be my only comment on VT... its a horrible tragedy, and it could have happened anywhere. Instead of blaming the police and the administration, we should blame the gunman, because it was truly his fault and his alone. My heart goes out to all who suddenly have a little dimmer outlook on life.

#3, its that time of the year again... Madden cover unveiling! Like so many things in football, this is a minuscule event blown up to epic proportions for the sole reason that it deals with the NFL, the undisputed ruler of the sports world. But as any diehard NFL-er knows, the Madden cover isn't a position of distinction or a truly blessed honor... its a bloody curse!

Ever since Madden 2001 chose Eddie George as its cover boy, things have gone awry for the game's coverboy, and in most cases, the player's team... lets recap:

2001, Eddie George: sure, the argument can be made that George did not fall victim to the curse, since his Madden season was statistically better than the one before it. If you ask the Titans, though, the curse bit hard in the AFC playoffs that year. It was George who ended the Titans Super Bowl repeat bid when he seemingly lateraled to Ray Lewis in the closing minutes of the Divisional Round playoff game with my Ravens. George and the Titans were never the same.

2002, Daunte Culpepper: the cure bit hard here. Not only did 'Pep get injured during his cover year, he almost recovered from a post-curse hangover, only to have every (insert letter)CL in his knee ripped up, and jettisoned to the Dolphins, where hes been abysmal, frankly.

2003, Marshall Faulk: Faulk is a typical curse case, having a substantially less productive and injured riddled year during his cover year.

2004, Mike Vick: Vick is all the proof one needs to indicate the curse really exists. Vick didn't even make it to the season... he broke his leg the day after the game came out, and missed all but 5 games.

2005, Ray Lewis: I think if anybody came close to breaking the curse, it was Ray Ray (naturally). Ray was fine for most the year, helped Ed Reed win defensive MVP, and almost played the entire year (he broke his wrist before week 17). He did not, however, record an interception for the only time in his career, and the Ravens missed the playoffs.

2006, Donovan McNabb: As if playing with TO isn't enough of a curse, McNabb has this neaped upon him. One sports hernia and embarrassing Philly season later, and Donovan had enough of Madden.

2007, Shaun Alexander: Alexander and his Seahawks tried to tempt fate on every level, tackling the Big Three Curses head on (the other two being Campbell's Chunky soup and Super Bowl loser; more on those in a bit). Alexander was not big enough to overcome, however, breaking his foot early in the season. If it wasn't for Tony Romo, the Seahawks would have also made an early exit from the playoffs, as well.

So all that being said, who is this year's pick of inevitable injury and plague? None other than NFL darling and all around good guy, Titans QB Vince Young (did Eddie teach them nothing?). You heard it here first... Vince Young will not play all 16 games next season. He will get hurt. Consider that carefully in your fantasy draft. To stack the deck even more, Young will be fighting the dreaded sophomore slump, which may prove to be just too much for the Wonderboy. It is my humble prediction (take it to the bank) that Vince Young v2.0 will no longer be "In"Vince"able" Young.

The other two curses to beware of this year? Super Bowl losers have been pathetic since the Giants of 2001 (don't ever mess with Ray & co), and so this year's Bears will be a huge disappointment compared to last year. The good news is, the rest of the team sucking will finally match Rex Grossman's strong suits.

Finally, this year's Chunky Soup campaign has threatened to ruin the careers of 8 (count 'em!) players this year. Chunky Soup is no small scale curse, either (see Warner, Kurt; Roethlisberger, Ben; Hasslebeck, Matt). Campbell's is yet to announce the names of its latest eight victims, but here's hoping that the Ravens are eating Progresso this year!