Week of January 29, 2016

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Dog Enters Half-Marathon; Finishes 7th, Proves Owner Wrong

In Alabama earlier this month, a dog escaped from its home and ran over to the starting area of a half-marathon about to begin. When the racers started, so did Ludivine, a 2 ½ year old hound dog. That cute doggie up there is Ludivine. Undoubtedly trying to prove wrong his owner, who called Ludivine “actually really lazy”, Ludivine ran the whole damn race!

Dog1

Ludivine was able to overcome distractions like dead rabbits on the side of the road, and the need to romp through streams and sniff yards the course passed by during his race. Ludivine finished in 1:32:56, good for 7th place. Good boy, Ludivine. Good doggie. -TOB

Source; Hound Bandits Half Marathon in Alabama”, Megan Hetzel, Runners World (01/22/2016)


Ciara Deserves Better

Russell Wilson and Ciara (a very hot pop star) are a couple. Russell Wilson thinks he’s a brand – a squeaky clean, god-lovin’, no-humpin’-till-we’re-married, cliche-spewin’, Super-Bowl-winning brand. In fact, no one really likes him. You know what else he is? Lazy with the compliments for his lady. I can deal with the cliches, Russ. As a romantic, I’m offended you googled “how to compliment women”, copied and pasted, posted it on twitter, and no doubt thought, “I’m such a good boyfriend.” Incorrect, fraud! – PAL

Source: “Russell Wilson Googled “How To Describe A Beautiful Woman To Find Something Nice To Say About Ciara”, Barry Petchesky, Deadspin (1/28/16)

TOB: As Phil notes, Russell Wilson sucks. He’s so disingenuous that it raises an interesting question for me: Wilson famously spends many hours each week at Children’s Hospital of Seattle, cheering up kids who are enduring untold suffering. That is without question a great thing to do. But the fact that Russell Wilson is so public about it, and with everything else we know about him – he’s a #Brandbot – it makes me fairly confident in positing that Wilson only goes to the Children’s Hospital so that he can pat himself on the back, and have others pat him on the back, for doing so. In a way, is Wilson expending only his time and then using sick children to further his #Brand? Ugh.


I Was Born For The Theatre!

If All-Star games are truly about the spectacle, which they are, then someone had a very great idea. The McDonald’s All-American dunk and 3-Point competitions, featuring the best high school basketball players in the US and Canada, will be held at a theater!

MCDHow cool is this? Very cool. Makes you think of other options for dunk competitions. Have it on an aircraft carrier, have it on on Alcatraz…have it in Rockefeller Center. Time to think even more out of the box for these exhibitions, especially ones as stale as the dunk competition. – PAL

Source: The McDonald’s All-American dunk contest will be in a real theatre with balconies and stuff”, Rickey O’Donnell, SB Nation (01/28/2016)

TOB: Great find, Phil. That will be appointment television.


Young, Dumb, and In Love

Manny. Manny, Manny, Manny. Manny. You are 23 years old. You’re an amazing baseball player. You’re rich. (Though the five-million dollars you will make this year is pittance compared to most players of your ability, it’s still a lot of money). And I get it – your wife is very good looking. But…man, a HUGE tattoo of her face on your arm?

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Manny, Manny, Manny. I don’t want to suggest you WILL regret this one day – but if you ever do, you are going to wonder what in world you were thinking. You can’t cover that up, man! I wish you the best, though. -TOB

Source: Orioles Star Manny Machado Gets Wife’s Face Tattooed On His Arm”, Jonas Shaffer, Baltimore Sun (01/28/2016)


Video of the Week


PAL Song of the Week:

Nina Simone – The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes

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“Oooooooh! It’s a lady!”

-The Ladies Man

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Week of January 22, 2016


Portrait of the Quarterback as a Whining Baby

This story of former Washington State Quarterback Connor Halliday should be required reading for all football players entering college. Halliday was a prolific college QB, as many QBs have been in Mike Leach’s offensive system. But Halliday was hurt late in 2014, his senior year, and went undrafted. There’s a lot to unpack here, because frankly, Halliday comes off as a spoiled brat.

He will not miss 2015. During last spring’s NFL draft, Halliday, who was recovering from a major injury, did not hear his name called. Then, after the Washington Redskins signed him to a free agent deal, he ditched rookie camp. Vanished. Played golf “until the money ran out.” Got married. Was signed by a Canadian Football League team and then cut a day later. Got dumped by his wife.

“I had a second interview with an advertising agency the other day,” the handsome, auburn-haired Halliday says. “The interviewer made a big deal about being a leader in the classroom. I told him that my major was leading an offense. That every decision I made in college was designed to get me to the NFL.”

Halliday looks out the window and contemplates why he walked out on the Redskins. “I was so down, and I felt so little,” he says. “I felt so helpless. I have battled through so much, and I have never gotten a reward for this.”

To recap: Halliday spends his entire 5-years in college worried about the NFL, not his education. Then, when he gets hurt, he still gets a shot at the NFL. Instead, he quits, runs home to play golf, and then whines that he has “never gotten rewarded.” Wow. And the article has so much more to make you dislike this guy. Kids, don’t be like Connor Halliday. -TOB

Source: Connor Halliday Was a Lock for the NFL – Until He Found All the Doors Locked”, John Walters (01/17/2016)


Hit the Road, Hack-a-Shaq

Over the last couple years, a few teams have become quite brazen in their practice of the so-called “Hack-a-Shaq” – fouling horrendous foul shooters like DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond away from the ball to force them to shoot free throws. This works as a form of defense. The Rockets, always at the forefront of strategic analytics, took this practice to the extreme this week – fouling Andre Drummond repeatedly at the start of the third quarter. But it worked – Drummond went 5 for 18 from the free throw line in three minutes before the Pistons finally gave in and removed Drummond, a dominant defensive player, from the game. Just look at this god awful play by play:

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As Kevin Draper points out – the NBA deserves this. This problem has been growing the last few years, but the NBA declined to tweak the rules to fix this problem last summer. I was watching ESPN’s studio show on Wednesday night, when this occurred, and Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups said that there doesn’t need to be a rule change because this is only happening to a few players across the league. Well, millionaires, tell that to the fans to pay their hard-earned money to come watch a game and are treated to eighteen rim-breaking free throws in 3 minutes of play (which probably took closer to 30 minutes in real time). I get the argument that the players should just improve their shooting. But the NBA must remember that its main goal is to entertain. That is not entertaining. Mr. Silver, change the rule. -TOB

Source: The Rockets Just Took Intentional Fouling to Its Logical Extreme”, Kevin Draper, Deadspin (01/20/2016)

PAL: Philosophically, I don’t want this rule to change. I would like to see this play out. Do players like Drummond (and his team) become neutralized because of one major flaw in his game overshadows the advantages is gives his team? Do the teams applying the Hack method have the wherewithal to actually continue to do this, or would individual opinions on this method cause a rift between coaches, management, and players? I’d like to see this play out, but I don’t want to watch it, and that’s the larger point. If this problem persists, I would like to see a rule change after this season.


NFL Coaches Don’t Need Analytics; Just Grade School Math

Last week, the Packers completed quite possibly the greatest drive in NFL history. The Packers started the drive at their own 14, with 1:50 to go and no timeouts, and needing to go 86 yards for the touchdown. Look at this photo, and marvel at the fact that the Packers ended up scoring a touchdown on this drive:

packers

4th and 20. From their own 4. Every receiver is blanketed. Rodgers is scrambling for his season, in his own endzone. That’s about as low a possibility for conversion as you will see. And yet, Rodgers threw up what amounted to a Hail Mary, and completed it, for 60 yards. The Packers were in business, but there wasn’t much time. With 4 seconds left, Rodgers dropped back again, and completed another Hail Mary (his second of the drive, his third of the season), this time as he was falling to the ground, about to be hit by a defender.

The Packers found themselves down 1 and decided to kick the extra point. In the emotion of the moment, I was pleading with them to go for 2. But is that the right call? Well, FiveThirtyEight’s Benjamin Morris uses some simple math to argue that they absolutely should have gone for two. Even more convincingly, he argues that the Chiefs, after scoring a TD to cut the lead from 14 to 8, should have also gone for 2, which coaches have almost never done. Interesting stuff. -TOB

Source: NFL Coaches Are Getting Away With Crimes Against Middle-School Math“, Benjamin Morris, FiveThirtyEight 01/21/2016)


College Football Team Falls Just Short of Dynasty

And by just short, I mean to say that the team never existed. Here’s an entertaining read about how a guy went from poring over football scores in the sports page to creating an undefeated team with a Chinese-Hawaiian Heisman hopeful.

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In the spirit of other great sports hoaxes like Sidd Finch, I bring you the story of The Plainfield Teachers College football team of 1941. – PAL

Source: The Greatest Hoax in Sports Reporting History (The Times Fell for It, Too)“, Bill Christine, The New York Times (01/15/2016)

TOB: This is great. I really like this passage:

In The Philadelphia Record, Red Smith was still writing about Plainfield in 1956. It was the era of Norman Kwong, a Chinese-Canadian who was a star in the Canadian Football League:

“The China Clipper, as they call him, is reputed to be almost as good as John Chung, the Celestial Comet, whose triple-threat genius put the Plainfield Teachers in the headlines 15 years ago. A minor point of difference between the two: John Chung didn’t exist, and neither did the Plainfield Teachers, except in the imagination of Morris Newburger, who created the college, team and star as a sports page hoax. Chung was the prototype of all the galloping ghosts and flying phantoms that clutter the autumn editions. Kwong is as corporeal as meat loaf.”


Cop Shoots Hoops

This is pretty cool. Some jerk called in a complaint to the Gainesville, FL police about kids playing basketball too loudly. At 5pm. In what looks like a rural area. So an officer responded. Approached the kids…and then shot some hoops with them for a few minutes. He even got them to lower the rim so he could dunk! -TOB

That’s a good cop.

Source: Cop Responds to Noise Complaint of Kids Playing Basketball by Lowering Rim and Dunking on Them“, Patrick Redford, Deadspin (01/22/2016)


Video of the Week

This is an excellent free throw distraction.

Bonus Video of the Week

This is why brothers should never compete against each other.


PAL Song of the Week: Willie Nelson – “Buddy

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“Alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright!”

-Andre 3000

 

 

Week of January 15, 2016

ARod

Actual caption A-Rod wrote for this pic: “Just another day at ARod Corp – signing baseballs for fans and managing my inbox “. SMDH.


A Man, A Citibike, and a Dream

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This story is kind of amazing. 35-year old Jeffrey Tanenhaus was working an office job he hated. Living in NYC, his one daily joy was riding Citibike – New York’s bike sharing program – to and from work. Tanenhaus loved the concept and the execution. So one day, he quit his job, terminated his lease, got a Citibike, and took off across the country. If you’ve ever used a Citibike (I’ve used the equivalent in SF and D.C.) you understand how amazing this is. Those bikes are like little tanks. They are heavy, not that fast, and they are brutal on hills. On his trip, Tanenhaus made one potential love connection in Tulsa, Oklahoma that he is still in contact with (but he was not using Tinder on his travels. Bro, you gotta get on Tinder. So I hear…) and also was nearly murdered by a crazed-man (not kidding – a man stopped his truck and attacked Tanenhaus, saying that he hates bicyclists. Later that evening the man broke a baseball bat on his roommate’s head and tried to kill his neighbor with a battle axe). It’s not clear yet what Tanenhaus plans to do next. He left NYC in August, and expects to finish his trip next weekend. But at least he’s no longer métro, boulot, dodo, as the French say. Good for him. -TOB

Source: “Everyone Has a Dream. For Jeffrey It Was Riding a Citibike Across America“, Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian (01/13/2016)


The Flip Side of Kentucky Basketball: Gopher Hockey

Gophers-Hockey

We are all familiar with where John Calipari has driven Kentucky basketball. He’s taken advantage of insane NBA rules prohibiting high school players from going directly to the NBA and created a feeder system. Many of the top prospects go to UK with no intention of staying on campus beyond 1+ semesters. Kentucky isn’t the only feeder in college sports. For all of my life, University of Minnesota Hockey was the dream of every kid in Minnesota. A tradition I imagine is similar to that of a storied college football team. They built an NHL stadium – for a college hockey team – and sold the joint out every game. Hell, Herb Brooks – a Bear Bryant figure in hockey – coached there. You want tradition? It wasn’t that long ago that the U of M exclusively recruited Minnesota players while consistently remaining a national powerhouse. Over the past 10 years, the hallowed – and I don’t use that term lightly – program has become a stepping stone. The team is filled with 1st round NHL draft picks. The only problem is the team now sucks. Unlike basketball, two 5-star recruits doesn’t translate to success in hockey. People are pissed, and not just fans. One NHL scout had this to say about players at Minnesota: ‘“If a kid is going to Minnesota,’ says one NHL scout, ‘concerns are openly discussed in our rooms about how it might affect his development.’”

To be fair, the role of college hockey has changed. In this story, Cory Zurowski points out that “A decade ago, roughly 20 percent of NHL rosters consisted of college players. Today, the number is closer to one in three, making the collegiate ranks the fastest-growing path to million-dollar contracts.” That is to say, the Gophers are a mess, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Thanks, Lisa Lang for passing this one along…I still live vicariously through if my niece and nephew if they donned the M sweater. – PAL

Source: What happened to the University of Minnesota Hockey Program?” Cory Zurowski, City Pages, ℅ Lisa Lang (01/13/2016)

TOB: I have no dog in this Coach vs. Alumni fight. And while some of the excuses make sense (e.g., Minnesota fans are spoiled rotten and need to get used to the fact that there are now 60+ programs competing hard in college hockey, and thus there will be parity; the age difference between the Gopher squads filled with young stars vs. the aged veterans at smaller schools who washed out of semi-pro leagues), Coach Lucia also seems full of it. For example, when defending his offer of scholarships to younger and younger players, some as young as 15, Lucia says this:

“The hard part becomes, at some of these ages, you don’t know when you have to do it,” Lucia says. “Somebody else could come behind the scenes, bring in a kid and offer him and tell him he’s got a week to decide…. All of a sudden he’s gone. He’s off the board. And so that’s sometimes the hard part. Do we have to recruit this kid in 11th grade? Do we have to recruit him in 10th grade? Or do we have to recruit him in ninth grade?”

His excuse is that he’s simply keeping up with the Joneses. But this writer gets something very wrong, and it seems to be coming from Coach Lucia: Minnesota is not “signing” these kids at 15. Players cannot sign until their senior year (and even then, in specific periods of time during the year). Scholarship offers are not binding until that time. But Coach Lucia is acting as though, by being forced to offer young players, he is then tied to them for good. That’s simply not true.


How College Athletes Can Quickly Retake Power

As we’ve chronicled here before, college sports is an absolute mess. This is a great and well-researched op-ed published last weekend, ahead of this past Monday’s college football National Championship Game, by sports agent Donald Yee. Yee argues persuasively that college football players have much more power than they currently wield, and that it would not take much for them to take that power back. Yee argues that a mass protest, such as the players for Clemson and Alabama to refuse to play Monday’s game, would have quickly and convincingly tipped the balance of power in college football back to the players. As someone who does love a little chaos, I would have thoroughly enjoyed this. -TOB

Source: College Sports Exploits Unpaid Black Athletes. But They Could Force a Change”, Donald Yee, The Washington Post (01/08/2016)


Jimmer: Just Go to Europe, Dude

Jimmer Fredette is just one of those guys: A great college player because of a great, singular talent: He can shoot the rock. But where Jimmer was able to excel in college, he failed in the pros. He was not quick enough, and didn’t have the dribbling ability, to consistently get a clean look at the basket. And he could not defend. At all. So, despite being one of the greatest college scorers of all time, in the NBA, he sucked. Jimmer is back, though. Sorta. He’s now tearing up the D-League, playing for the Westchester Knicks, in front of crowds far smaller than he did at BYU.

Jimmer professes in this article that his goal it to get back to the NBA – to prove he can cut it. But my question is: Why? My other question: Is the stated goal sincere? He kind of seems to be enjoying the heck out of once again being the big man on campus, so to speak. Sometimes in life, we need to accept our fate. Jimmer, you’re never going to make it in the NBA. Go to Europe, shoot twenty-five times a game, and make some good money. Stop riding the bus in Westchester, chasing the impossible. Also, I still can’t believe the Kings took Jimmer over guys like Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Brandon Knight, Jimmy Butler, Chandler Parsons and Kemba Walker. Holy hell, the Kings suck. -TOB

Source: Jimmer Fredette is the Steph Curry of the D-League”, David Vertsberger, Vice Sports (01/07/2016)

PAL: In baseball, Jimmer would be what you call a “quadruple A player”. Too good for the minors, not good enough for the majors. And – holy shit – I can’t believe he was taken before that list of dudes in the draft…then looked up who was taken before Steph Curry, including:

  • Hasheem Thabeet
  • Tyreke Evans
  • Ricky Rubio
  • Jonny Flynn

Draw Bored

Not so long ago we featured a story about a cool tradition of the Minnesota Vikings (Donut Club). I like stories about weird traditions amongst teams. Thanks to 123 Sports reader, Alex Denny, I had the pleasure to learn a bit more about Hawks’ youthful tradition. The notion of a bunch of millionaires playing Uno on a chartered flight is nothing but great. Al Horford: “…you can only watch so many movies.” – PAL

Source: For Some Atlanta Hawks, a a Revved-Up Game of Uno Is Diversion No. 1”, Scott Cacciola, The New York Times (01/12/2016)

TOB: This is pretty hilarious. My favorite part is how they pillaged other Uno decks for the Draw-2 and Draw-4 cards, added them to the deck they play with to make their game tougher, and call that “Laying the Heat.” That phrase will now be added to my everyday vernacular.


Video of the Week:

Please don’t let the Browns draft Jared Goff.


PAL Song of the Week: David Bowie – “Changes

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“Don’t talk! The hot tub is too hot. I flew down here. For the seventh time! I’m not coming down anymore.”

-Zach G.

 

 

 

Week of January 8, 2016

Ken Griffey Jr. as a rookie in 1987. : " I'M HAPPY BEING ME AND IF I'M HAPPY EVERYTHING SHOULD GO WELL," SAYS MARINER ROOKIE KEN GRIFFEY JR. 8/4/87 (Harley Soltes / The Seattle Times)


The Kid: Hall of Famer

Ken Griffey Jr. was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week. Few athletes in my lifetime have captured the collective imagination and adoration of the nation’s sports-loving youth like Ken Griffey, Jr. did in the 1990s. It’s not hard to understand why: Griffey was cool as hell.

It was that swing.

It was the defense. Look at this GD catch.

It was the backwards hat at the Home Run Derby (and did I mention that swing?). Picture Perfect Swing - Imgur

It was the awesome commercials:

Like I said, he was cool as hell. Griffey had perhaps the best first 10 years of any MLB player of all time – as good as Willie Mays. And then…he started to get older. He started to get hurt. There was no late-career surge like many of his contemporaries enjoyed. But he still ended up with 630 home runs, and by all accounts was able to do so naturally. For this, Griffey was rewarded with admission to the Hall of Fame, in his first year on the ballot, with the highest vote percentage of all-time – Griffey appeared on 437 of 440 ballots – 99.3%. Griffey making the Hall of Fame makes me feel old, but also happy. In honor of The Kid, here are the two best Griffey-related articles I read this week. The first is a very personal story by a sportswriter about how Griffey helped the writer, and his family, when they needed it most. The second is a statistical look at Griffey’s amazing career. Enjoy. -TOB

Source: A Different Kind of Ken Griffey Jr. Story“, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati.com (01/06/2016); Griffey In His Prime Was the Second Coming of Willie Mays“, Neil Paine, FiveThirtyEight (01/06/2016)


Why Daily Fantasy Sites Need You to Lose

Jay Caspian Kang, formerly of Grantland, does a great deep dive into Daily Fantasy Sports, from its origins, arising out of the ashes of the now-illegal online poker industry, to its current predicament, facing legal death. Kang outlines the biggest problem with the industry – DFS are completely unfair to small-time players, who serve as virtual ATMs for the sharks. Kang expertly breaks down the key conflict for the DFS sites: The DFS sites are competing for users. To attract users, they must set big jackpots with small entry fees. If you, as a user, can pay $20 to enter a game for $1,000,000 – that sounds great. If a competing DFS site has a similar game for $20 but the jackpot is $2,000,000 – that sounds even better. To be able to pay these jackpots off low entry fees, the DFS sites need users – lots of them. But instead of needing 100,000 users to pay a $2,000,000 jackpot (not to mention prizes for runners-up), the DFS site can accomplish this much easier by not limiting how many entries each player can submit. One player submitting 100 entries gets the DFS company into the black much quicker. So the DFS sites come to rely on these sharks who enter lots of games – so dependent that they have begun changing rules to appease them (as casinos do for whales). Do the sharks want to be able to use third-party software to play hundreds or thousands of entries a night? Sure. Do the whales want to use scripts to allow them to make roster changes to all those hundreds and thousands of entries quickly, just before the deadline to set rosters? Have at it. Because if you don’t let them, they’ll take their money to a competitor who surely will. As Daily Fantasy commentator  Gabe Harber says in the article:

“I believe the major sites are fully aware of these competitive issues, yet they continue to do nothing about them because of the high amount of rake the power users are bringing in for them. As long as they can spend advertising money to bring fresh meat to the table, the power users will eat up the new players extremely fast by using their competitive advantages. No one is saying that better players should not win money off worse players, but it should not be at this rate and it should not be with misleading advertisements that prey on consumer confidence. Everyone does not have an equal chance, and everyone is not playing on the same field.”

There were a few moments back in September, during the deluge of DFS advertising at the start of the NFL season, where I kicked around the idea of trying it out. I’m quite glad I did not. -TOB

Source: How the Daily Fantasy Sports Industry Turns Fans Into Suckers”, Jay Caspian Kang, New York Times (01/06/2016)


Credit Card Saves Dabo’s Day

Solid feel good story leading into the college football national title game. Clemson Head Coach, Dabo Swinney was a redshirt freshman receiver at Alabama in 1989 (Clemson’s opponent next week). He was late on rent and on tuition, and he was out of options until he went sifting through pizza coupons in the mail. He found a small miracle, with interest of course, that might have changed the course of his life forever. – PAL

Source: Two Checks, One Path Altered: How A Timely Discover Card Envelope Changed Dabo Swinney’s Life”, Andy Staples, Campus Rush (01/05/2016)

TOB: Dabo Swinney has been on the national scene for nearly a decade now, and his name still makes me laugh. This story finally gave me the motivation to find answers to questions I have: Is Dabo his real name? If so, what the hell? If not, what is his name? And what the hell does Dabo mean? So I checked. Wikipedia shows that his real name is William Christopher Swinney and does give the story behind “Dabo”: “He was nicknamed Dabo as an infant by his parents when his then-18-month-old brother would try to enunciate “that boy” when referring to Swinney.” Da bo! Well, if that’s just not the cutest damn thing ever. Also, watch the man dance.


Dan Haren: Straight Talk

One of the funnier things to read is when former athletes reveal secrets about what went on behind the scenes – something fans never get to see. Recently-retired Dan Haren provided just such an inside view this week, with a series of tweets about what life is sometimes like as an MLB pitcher. The highlights:

Also, solid twitter handle, Danny. -TOB

Source: Dan Haren Opens Up About Pitching, Bowel Movements, and All Those Dingers“, Samer Kalaf, Deadspin (01/04/2016)

PAL: I didn’t know wine makes it harder to go #2. A lot of great tweets from Haren in here. My favorite: 


Story Update: Short-Shorts Trickling…Down.

Back in November, we brought you a story about LeBron James’ transition to shorter shorts than have been worn in the NBA in about 20 years. I wondered how long it would take short-shorts to take hold. Well, it didn’t take long. This week, this photo popped up in my Twitter timeline:

shorts

On the left is Ira Lee, a Top-50 ranked high school basketball player for the Class of 2017. And look at those shorts! Those are a few inches above the knee, and that’s with a downward-looking camera angle. The trend has been set. And as I said in November, 1-2-3’s own Phil Lang was ahead of the curve:

.Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 10.29.09 PM

-TOB

PAL: Let’s be clear – I’m wearing a climbing harness in the picture above, which causes the shorts to ride higher. I’m not walking around in shorts 12 inches above the knee, folks.


Video of the Week:


PAL Song of the Week: Rakim – “It’s Been A Long Time

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“I’m happy being me, and if I’m happy, everything should go well.”

-Ken Griffey, Jr., as a rookie in 1987

 

Best of 2015, Part 2: The Funny Stuff

The other day, 1-2-3 Sports featured the best stories of 2015; todays’s post is all about the laughs. Here are the funniest stories and video clips that we came across in 2015.  We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the post than this picture of Chris Christie playing softball.

In all seriousness, we love sharing these stories with you, our friends and family. If you love 1-2-3 Sports, or even like it sometimes, then we would so very, very much appreciate you spreading the word this weekend. While our readership is the best, it’s quite small. We’d like to change that, and we need your help in order to do so. Send the link to a friend and tell them it’s worth 10 minutes every week. – TOB & PAL

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Email: 123sportslist@gmail.com

Twitter: @123sportsdigest


Mascot Rampage

This is amusing. The guy pictured below, with the fantastic mullet, went to a minor league baseball game in North Carolina last weekend. 

mullet
He got so drunk that he passed out in a stairwell and awoke around midnight, long after the ballpark had been deserted. While leaving, he stumbled upon the team’s mascot’s costume. He put the costume on and met up with friends at a local bar – dancing the night away and, as he put it, “ragin’, dude.” Nice work, guy. Also, excellent headline, Creative Loafing Charlotte. -TOB
Source: Homer’s Night on the Town: If You Drank a Shot With the Knights’ Mascot on Sept. 20, You Were Basically Harboring a Fugitive”, Ryan Pitkin, Creative Loafing Charlotte (09/30/2015)

PAL: Since there is nothing I could possibly write to make this story any better than it is, please read this excerpt:

He said he was at Hooters, so I told him to stay there. I start walking down the hallway to leave and I look to my right and see the mascot dressing room. I thought, there’s no way this door is unlocked. I turned the handle and it opens right up and there’s the damned costume.

So, I suited right up, walked out the door and proceeded to Hooters. I walked right up into Hooters and my buddy didn’t even know it was me. I was ragin’ dude.

I left Hooters and there was a big line at Tilt next door. I just said, “Yo man, can I go in?” The guy said, “No,” and I was like, “Dude, You’re not gonna let Homer the f*&kin’ mascot into your bar right now?” Then he said I could go in. There was nobody on the dance floor. I come sliding in and start getting it. I was doing all the moves you always wanted to try but are too embarrassed to.


Manny Being Too Manly?

Pedro Martinez released an autobiography this week. He’s been making the media rounds, telling some stories; this one, about the 2004 Red Sox, is especially great. They called themselves “The Idiots” – and, really, it was hard to argue. But the team also was a lot of fun. Pedro writes that before playoff games the players would take a shot, suggested by a different player each game. When it was Manny’s turn, he suggested a shot of “Mama Juana” – gin, honey, wine, and medicine root. But Manny added his own twist – Viagra. Ellis Burks, who was on the team but not active, decided to give it a shot. As Pedro tells it:

“I say, ‘You know, this Mama Juana, if you drink it, you might get turned on.’ He said, ‘Oh, I’ll try it. I’ll try it. I’m not playing anyway.’ So he took it, it seemed like it worked. So everybody was coming up to him for a little shot.”

Watch Pedro tell it himself here.- TOB

Source: Manny Ramirez Gave Ellis Burks a Boner”, Barry Petchesky, Deadspin (05/06/2015)

PAL: Two things: (1) Pedro Martinez, a head-hunter loathed by many (and one of the best 10 pitchers in the history of the game), is going to age very gracefully and become MLB’s cool uncle who’s full of wisdom. His stock will only go up in retirement, and he’ll become baseball’s better version of Charles Barkley. (2) Baseball players are a bunch of grown-ass men acting like fifteen year-olds, and sometime that’s really funny. This is one of those times.


Kurt Busch’s Ex Is A WHAT (allegedly)?

Nascar is dumb, but this story is fun. Fun > Dumb. Kurt Busch makes left turns for a living, and allegedly got into a physical altercation with his girlfriend. They’re in court right now, and part of Busch’s defense is that he didn’t do it because Patricia Driscoll could kill him…because she’s an assassin. Here is a thorough back story on Driscoll that makes it at least appear that the Busch’s claim isn’t that out of left field. The accompanying profile video on Driscoll is hilarious, too. – PAL

Source: “Testimony: Kurt Busch Ex Terrible At Keeping Assassin Gig On The Downlow”Stef Schrader, Jalopnik (1/14/15)

TOB: This is great writing. When I read the headline I thought, “This is going to be the dumbest thing I read all week.” But…as Phil suggests… somehow it makes sense! She’s totally an assassin! I’m all in on this and I can’t wait for the resolution.


Rapper Baseball Card Puns = The Best Tumblr

There’s more where this came from at http://straightouttacooperstown.tumblr.com


Never Change, Marshawn

This one does not require much explanation: Marshawn Lynch was at his youth camp this week and a reporter saw he had chicken wings. Stored in his sock. When the reporter asked why, Marshawn said: “My auntie fried up some chicken and I had my hands full, and I don’t have no pockets on my shorts, so I just had to use what I had.” So resourceful. As I said: Never change, Marshawn. -TOB

Source: Why Marshawn Lynch Kept Chicken Wings in His Sock”, Jeff Bercovici, Maxim (07/16/2015)

PAL: Man, this would have been great as an “extra” in the Marshawn Lynch biopic (single tear). Hard not to love Lynch, but – come on – this is disgusting.


An All Too Familiar Scene

This is great. A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle dragged his girlfriend to the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night, and the two of them chronicled the events in a series of amusing tweets. Here are my two favorites:

https://twitter.com/EireannDolan/status/677629950694981633/photo/1?ref_src=twsrctfw

Source: Sean Dolittle Dragged His Girlfriend to Star Wars“, Barry Petchesky, Deadspin (12/18/2015)


Funniest Videos

Not much for reading words? We got you covered. Here are the funniest videos of 2015. We’ve watched these videos over and over, and they in no way get old or unfunny.
Shake that off, cake eater

I will never get tired of that smirk followed by that bomb. -TOB


Greatest Post-Fight In-Ring Interview Ever

I almost made this the Video of the Week, but it really deserves so, so much more. When I saw this I texted it to Phil and said: “This is why we started 1-2-3 Sports!” It’s quite possibly my favorite sports video of all-time. Quick background: British boxer Tyson Fury beat long-time Heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko last Saturday. It was a HUGE upset. Klitschko had been the champ for 10 years. In the ring after the fight, Tyson Fury (that name is pretty fantastic) took the mic and…just watch:

Tears in my eyes, man. -TOB

PAL: I cannot recommend clicking on this link enough. So absurd and hilarious.


I Just Want To Be Friends With The Currys

Yes, that is Steph Curry, on a pony, set to Ginuwine. 


He’s The Bro-iest Bro We Know

May-may!


Life Moves Pretty Fast

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfL4G_8Uy9g

I could watch this over and over and over and laugh every time. And I have. -TOB


Warning: Explicit Language & Dumb L.A. Guy


Funny Song of the Year, Part 2: John Prine – “In Spite of Ourselves”

Check out all our weekly picks here. It’s a good playlist.


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“Life gets in the way. And, you know, the songs weren’t that good.”
-Darland Miller

Best of 2015, Part 1


On this, the day of the Rose Bowl, a.k.a, “The Granddaddy of Them All”, we bring you Part 1 of 123’s Grandaddy of Them All – the Best of 2015. Today’s post features our 6 favorite stories we shared with you throughout 2015. Take some time and read even one of these stories. They are all fascinating. Tomorrow, Part 2 will feature the 6 funniest stories and our favorite videos from 2015. This AP photo of Harry Caray was our favorite that we came across. Are you sensing a superlative theme here?

In all seriousness, we love sharing these stories with you, our friends and family. If you love 123 Sports, or even like it sometimes, then we would so very, very much appreciate you spreading the word this weekend. While our readership is the best, it’s quite small. We’d like to change that, and we need your help in order to do so. Send the link to a friend and tell them it’s worth 10 minutes every week. – TOB & PAL

http://123sports.net 

Email: 123sportslist@gmail.com

Twitter: @123sportsdigest


Mark Davis Doesn’t Give a Damn What You Think

This is an amazing piece of journalism, by one of my longtime favorite sportswriters, Tim Keown. Keown profiles Raiders owner Mark Davis, who took over the team when his dad, Al Davis, died in 2011. That guy above? That’s Mark. Do you see that haircut? Mark has been rocking that awful hairdo for years, and people have been mocking it for just as long. But Mark Davis doesn’t just like that haircut. He travels 500 miles to Palm Springs to go to the same barber to get that haircut. Does he know people laugh at it? Yep. Does he care? Nope. The dude is worth $500 million and he does not care what you think. Check out the opening paragraph to the story:

Most days start the same — behind the wheel of a white 1997 Dodge Caravan SE outfitted with a bubble-top Mark III conversion kit, a VHS player mounted to the roof inside and a r8hers personalized plate. Mark Davis pilots this machine from his East Bay home to the nearest P.F. Chang’s, where he sits at the left end of the bar, same spot every time, puts his white fanny pack on the counter, orders an iced tea and unfolds the day’s newspapers. Beside him on the bar, next to the papers, is his 2003 Nokia push-button phone with full texting capability. When someone calls and asks him where he is, he says, “I’m in my office,” and sends a knowing nod to the bartenders. It gets ’em every time.

I have read that five times and I laugh every time. If that doesn’t make you click this story to read the rest, I give up. -TOB

Source: Just Live Up to Your Dad’s Name and Solve the NFL’s L.A. Problem, Baby!”, Tim Keown, ESPN the Magazine (10/01/2015)

PAL: The next time someone tells you “I don’t care what other people think,” you can call bulls*&t. Simply pull out your phone, have them read this story. Mark Davis doesn’t care what other people think, and he’s the only one. Hilarious story. Great find. Also, the man is worth $500 million and he drives a conversion van with a vanity plate. Can we get the Mark Davis biopic movie into pre-produciton already?


Twins.com

This is one of the funniest stories I’ve ever read. Durland and Darvin are twins. In 1995 they registered for the URL twins.com. In the 20 years since, all but 3 URLs for MLB baseball teams have been secured by the MLB. The holdouts: The Giants (football team got that one), the Rays (a restaurant in Seattle has that one), and the Twins. While the Giants and Rays situations make sense, the Twins URL makes for a great, absurd, hilarious story. I don’t want to spoil too many tidbits about these brothers – remember, their names are Durland and Darvin – but here are a couple teasers:

  • Aside from living together, at one point they had complementary black and white humvees. 
  • They were in a successful San Francisco band…a “copy” band of course, and nearly made the finals of a national Battle of the Bands in the early 80s against eventual winner…Bon Jovi.

I want a 30 for 30 doc on these brothers, and I want it now. – PAL

Source: “The Website MLB Couldn’t Buy”, Ben Lindbergh, Grantland (8/27/15)

TOB: I cannot recommend this story highly enough. It is completely absurd and I laughed out loud at least a half dozen times.


Before He Was A Cub, Harry Caray Was A Trailblazer

“The Stacks” collection is one of the best series featured on Deadspin, and this week’s story will have you smiling all the way through. Read how Harry Caray (the legendary Cubs announcer and perhaps Will Ferrell’s best impersonation) got his break into calling games for the Cardinals, how he changed the way baseball was announced, his odd but powerful relationship with “Gussie” Busch (Budweiser), and how his “call it as I see it” approach enraged players and coaches alike. Some people loathed him, but the fans sitting by the radios throughout the country loved him. In his own words:

“I like to think that if I’ve accomplished anything, well, I’ve tried to develop the feeling in the little man, the man we call the fan, that I have his interest at heart. In the baseball business I’m the last of the nonconformists. I feel that eventually, in this day and age, my kind of guy’s gotta get fired.”

Fantastic read that got me ready for the baseball season to kick off! – PAL

Source: “When Harry Caray Was A Rebel With A Microphone,” Myron Cope, Sports Illustrated, October 1968 (℅ Deadspin, 4/1/15)

TOB: Like many baseball fans of my age, I grew up watching Cubs games on nationally-aired WGN, announced by Harry Caray. He was like a lovable grandpa – loud and funny, maybe a little drunk. He loved baseball and he made you love it, too. But this article has me rethinking my understanding of Harry Caray. While I will always appreciate the enthusiasm with which he called a game – and his concerns about play by play announcers becoming mellow and boring was prophetic – e.g., Joe Buck, Dave Flemming (yes, I said it) – this article sure does mention a lot of people that worked with Harry that did not like him. He sounds like the kind of guy who stepped on a lot of people to get to the top. There are multiple facets to every person, but this does paint a picture of a Harry as someone whose public persona was more contrived than I had previously thought. Still, I can’t help but agree with this poem, taken from the story: “If you lack the tickets to see the Cards, you can listen in your own backyards, and the greatest show, no ifs or buts, is to hear Harry Caray going nuts.”


OH, HELL YEAH: A STORY ON HUMAN CANNONBALLS

Yeah, I went full caps lock. That’s how excited I am to share this story. It doesn’t disappoint. How are the cannons made? No one knows. How far down the barrel is the human projectile? No one knows. How many people have died doing this? Not exactly sure. Why don’t we know the answers to any of these questions? Because the human cannonball is like a magic trick in that no one who practices the art divulges any information on how it is done and it’s not like there’s a circus version of Baseball Reference out there to keep records such as fatalities for a stunt that’s been going on for hundreds of years. Also, good luck if your dream is to become a human cannonball. It’s a family affair, in large part to protect the aforementioned trade secrets. One overachiever from – where else? – Minnesota has found her way into a club that some estimate is less than 10 active members. Gemma “The Jet” Kirby gives writer Robbie Gonzalez a partial peek into the guarded world of the Human Cannonball. – PAL

Source: A Glimpse Inside The Secretive World Of Human Cannonballs”, Robbie Gonzalez, io9 (4/30/15)

TOB: Wow. This is fascinating on many levels. I recall the first time I saw a person shot out of a cannon. The details are incredibly vivid to me. I was at Disneyland, probably about 6 years old. We were headed toward Tom Sawyer’s Island (yes, I know the name has changed). A crowd was gathered and my parents told me that someone was about to be shot out of a cannon. What in the world!  We were quite close to the cannon – I remember him tucking inside. He was dressed a bit like Evel Knievel. There was incredible anticipation in the crowd. Then an explosion! And holy hell if the guy didn’t fly halfway to Tomorrowland! Looking back, he probably flew only to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. But it was far! Far enough that I couldn’t see him land. My dad assured me he was ok. But in reading this article, and about how dangerous this job is, how could he have been so sure? Maybe the guy broke his neck? Thanks for letting me see a guy break his neck, Mom and Dad. Also: Drug dealers use cannons to shoot drugs across the border from Mexico??? This story has it all. Finally, am I imagining this story at Disneyland? Was it a dream? Mom and Dad, you are invited to chime in on this topic.


Tom Brady: Profile of a Christopher Guest Character

Tom Brady is successful, and, according to the writer, “anything but a bonehead football player.” Yet, he comes off like a, well, a bimbo in this story. Like the best characters from all of the Christopher Guest movies, he seems to lack self-awareness outside the realm of the football field. I’ll let one quote do the heavy lifting for me: ‘He marched me back into the house, through the kitchen and past a shelf that displayed a large glass menorah. “We’re not Jewish,” Brady said when I asked him about this. “But I think we’re into everything. . . . I don’t know what I believe. I think there’s a belief system, I’m just not sure what it is.”’ There are two types of people that can say something like this and get away with it – really attractive women and Tom Brady. And – yes – of course he is a spokesman for Stetson cologne. – PAL

Source: “Tom Brady Cannot Stop”Mark Leibovich, The New York Times Magazine (1/26/15)

TOB: If you’re looking for some laughs, read this story. Phil and I had a great time copy/pasting the best Tom Brady lines to each other as we read. Find a buddy and do the same.


Steve Kerr: Good Dude

Steve Kerr is a five-time NBA champion as a player, and his Golden State Warriors are presently up 1-0 in the NBA Finals in his first year as an NBA coach. He is quite possibly my favorite person in sports – earnest, honest, unflappable, a great father, and above all else he seems kind, which is a rarity in his world. But there was a time when Steve Kerr was just a scared, lonely, 18-year old kid, just weeks into college, when he received news that his father, a university president in Beirut, had been assassinated by a terrorist organization. Kerr’s family was scattered throughout the world at that point. He could have packed it in and left college. I don’t think too many people would have faulted him. Instead, he marched on. As his college teammate Bruce Fraser says, “It feels strange to say this, but…I think the death of his father helped Steve as a basketball player, because he realized it was just basketball.” I am sure that if given the choice, Kerr would take his dad over his basketball career, but it does give some insight into how he has become such a truly decent person, when so many people in sports are not. Kerr understands – this is a game, it is not life, and he is lucky to have created such a great life by playing a game. -TOB

Source: The Assassination of Steve Kerr’s Father and the Unlikely Story of a Champion”, Chris Korman, USA Today (06/03/2015)

PAL: I wish this focused less on Kerr’s biography following his dad’s death and more about how he struggled and/or dealt with the tragedy. That wish isn’t likely to come true. By all accounts, Kerr doesn’t talk about it much, and his friends follow his lead. I understand. I’ve heard Kerr on a couple podcasts and on his weekly interviews with Tom Tolbert, and this guy comes off like the real deal. Sincere, funny, and – judging by this story – a hard-ass competitor. There’s not a lot of bluster to him, and I like that. I was just talking to TOB, and we agreed – we’d like to be more like Kerr than, say, a Tom Thibodeau if we were coaches (we’re talking about coaching a Little League team to greatness next year). Kerr seems like a good dude who’s succeeded following a horrible tragedy, and though that storyline might seem cliché on the surface, his version of it is unique in sports. With that said, I don’t understand how he remained at school instead of going to Beirut for the services after his dad’s death.


Video of the Week: Wait for the Best of 2015, Part 2 tomorrow! We’re posting the best videos/vines of the year in addition to the funniest stories of the year.


Song of the Year: No, this is not a song released in 2015, but a song discovered in 2015. For me, it was a clear choice: Fleetwood Mac – “What Makes You Think You’re The One”.

Check out all of our Songs of the Week in this here playlist.


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“What kind of person could ever cheer for that Duke team over the Fab Five? Is that someone you would ever want to be friends with?”

-Chris Ryan, Grantland