Week of December 23, 2016

I think he really bleached his goatee for this, too. 


Have a week, DeMarcus Cousins! Earlier this month, Sacramento Bee columnist Andy Furillo wrote a column about a lawsuit filed against Cousins and teammate Matt Barnes, over an alleged incident at a night club in November. In the column, Furillo wrote about Cousins’ brother (there’s a joke about Kentucky, where Cousins went to school, in there somewhere, but I digress) was tased inside of a night club. Furillo follows in the footsteps of the Sac Bee’s Aileen Voisin, easily the worst, most trollish columnist I’ve ever read. The Furillo column set off this incredible series of events:

  • The next time Cousins saw Furillo in the locker room, he berated him and stood over him.
  • That incident was caught on video, and the Sacramento Bee took the liberty of creating the following video (it won’t embed, but you should watch) of other incidents from over the years they describe as Cousins “bullying” Sacramento media, along with a letter from the Bee’s executive editor about Cousins. The Bee, clearly, was declaring war.
  • Cousins was fined $50,000 and then issued an apology, mentioning a number of people and organizations – but not Furillo or the Bee.
  • On Tuesday, Cousins torched the Portland Trailblazers for 55 points. With the score tied and 35 seconds left in the game, Cousins scored go-ahead bucket and was fouled. Cousins reacted by stomping over to the Blazers bench. At that point his mouthpiece came flying out and landed at the feet of the Blazers players. Whether he spit it out or it came out because he was yelling things that would make even the hippest grandmother blush, is unclear. See for yourself:

  • The referee saw the result, believed Cousins threw his mouthpiece, and gave him a technical foul. It was Cousins’ second of the game, and he was thus ejected. Cousins went to the locker room, saying later he was looking for something to destroy. In the meantime, the referees conferred, determining Cousins did not throw the mouthpiece (an automatic technical), and thus rescinded the technical foul. The announcement was made, the crowd went nuts, Cousins came storming back onto the court, hit the free throw for his 55th point and the 3-point lead, and the Kings won. Incredible!
  • Moments later, in his post-game on-court interview, Cousins went in on what he believes is unfair treatment from referees (a little odd considering the unprecedented step of un-ejecting an ejected player, but generally speaking I’m with him) and moreso on Blazers’ whiny punk Meyers Leonard. Here’s the interview:

  • Meyers has been pumping himself as a defensive stopper, and Cousins was understandably emotional about the un-ejection and dropping a double-nickle on Leonards’ head. After the game, Meyers whined about Cousins’ behavior, not realizing this is sports and we want to be entertained. Meyers obviously had some overprotective parents. He looks like he’s going to cry.

  • Finally, on Wednesday, Cousins greeted the media with a hearty, “Hey, friends! I missed you guys.”

Let’s quickly dispense of the Meyers Leonard thing. He’s a whiner, upset Cousins dunked all over his head all night, and needs his mommy and daddy to come support him. Go pound sand, Meyers.

The Sac Bee issue is a bit thornier, and causes me to jump through some hoops to support Cousins. Admittedly, the way he yelled at Furillo was bad. But I get why he’s angry – Cousins’ brother is not a public figure (despite the Bee’s weak insistence that he is) and his past incident is not relevant to Cousins’ recent night club incident. Cousins is not his brother’s keeper; the sins of the father, etc. Worse, was the smarmy, patronizing way Furillo wrote that column – ending it by encouraging Cousins to find better places to hang out. The Bee’s response, in putting together a package of 5-6 times Cousins has been rude was out of line, especially because those events are given no context. It’s also hard to know what the goal was – to get local public opinion to turn on DMC? That’s not gonna work when he’s dropping 55 the next night. Trying to get the team to trade Cousins? The team is well aware of all those incidents, and many more, I’m sure. Trying to embarrass Cousins? I guess if you want to make the lives of your writers even more difficult, I’m sure that has been accomplished. It also distracts from some of the great things Cousins does in the community.

In the end, I think both sides have some fault, but I’m siding with the guy whose anger was justified, if expressed poorly. As I said at the top I am #TeamCuz.

Phil Ivey Just Got Boned

It is difficult to win a case on appeal. But at least from the facts in this article, a federal judge in New Jersey is about to get overturned. Professional poker player Phil Ivey (no relation to 123’s Phil) was ordered this week to repay an Atlantic City casino for breach of contract. What did he do? Phil noticed a certain brand of playing card (purple Gemaco Borgata) has an inconsistency that gives away high-value cards. Phil and his buddy contacted the Borgata Casino and asked them to set up a high stakes Baccarat game, using a single deck of the purple Gemaco cards, and an automatic shuffler. The casino obliged, and Phil took them down for about $10 million. DAAAANG.

The Court, according to this article, found Ivey had breached his contract with the casino by violating the New Jersey Casino Control Act, which prohibits players from marking cards.

This is INSANE. Ivey didn’t mark anything. He just noticed an inconsistency with the cards, asked the casino to use those cards, and when they agreed he took advantage. Perhaps there is more to this case, legally speaking, than the article suggests. But on its face, this is some bull. -TOB

Source: Poker Pro Phil Ivey Ordered to Repay $10M to Atlantic City Casino”, Rebecca Everett, NJ.com (12/19/2016)

Annoying But True: Curt Schilling Belongs in the HOF

Deadspin’s Tim Marchman tackles a tough subject – the Hall of Fame candidacy of Curt Schilling. By the numbers, Schilling is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. One of my tests of a Hall of Famer is when his team is in town do I say to myself, “I’d like to go see him play, so I can say I did so.” In the prime of his career, still with the Diamondbacks, Schilling was pitching a rehab start against the AAA-Sacramento River Cats. A whole group of of us went to watch…and found out when we got there he had pitched the night before. The point remains – Curt Schilling was a great pitcher. But Curt Schilling is also a racist pig. Marchman does a great job listing the awful things Schilling has said and done – claiming to be a fiscal conservative while accepting and flushing million of taxpayer dollars down the toilet in a failed video game venture, bizarrely defending his right to ogle pre-teen friends of his children, and sharing a hoard of racist and idiotic memes on Facebook among them.

Most recently, Schilling approvingly shared a picture with a man wearing a shirt encouraging people to lynch the media. It was abhorrent. In response, a number of baseball writers, who vote on the Hall of Fame, have invoked the so-called “character clause” of the hall of fame ballot instructions and publicly vowed to never vote for Schilling – including some who had voted for him in past years. Marchman makes an excellent argument that despite Schilling being a disgusting buffoon, that has nothing to do with whether he should be in the pro baseball Hall of Fame:

“Your typical clubhouse is filled with funny, thoughtful people who are excellent at doing extremely specialized and impressive things with baseballs; it’s also filled with rednecks, spoiled rich kids, self-obsessed assholes, degenerates, drunks, and Bible-thumpers who have opinions that very few people who read the New York Times could agree to disagree on. John Smoltz—as a pitcher essentially a lesser Curt Schilling and, incidentally, rightly regarded as an uncommonly insightful and intelligent analyst, good enough to call the World Series—was elected to the Hall on the first ballot two years ago. He also compared gay marriage to bestiality not long ago. Baseball is tolerant of its contradictions, and in all better for it.

Curt Schilling has repeatedly crossed every line he can cross; it’s perfectly fair that he works for Breitbart and not ESPN; he richly deserves the scorn he generally enjoys; and if there were any player whose opinions were so bad that they should be read back onto his playing career, it would probably be him.

For writers to do so, though—to mark a line that says that playing excellence is only worthy of recognition when the player spends his retirement meeting the arbitrary and arbitrarily-enforced standards of sportswriters—is essentially to say that baseball itself is about something other than baseball.”

This isn’t even PED use; while I believe steroid users should be in the Hall of Fame, I can also acknowledge steroid use affected the field of play. We are talking about an idiot being an idiot. He wouldn’t be the first idiot in the Hall of Fame, and he won’t be the last. I cringe at the thought of his induction speech. But, god damnit, he should get one. -TOB

Source: Curt Schilling Should be in the Hall of Fame”, Tim Marchman, Deadspin (12/16/2016)

All I Want for Christmas is Jugs

Talk about a headline that writes itself, eh? Here’s a story that falls into the unsung hero category. Few products reach a level of success in which the product is referred to by one brand. Kleenex, Q-tips, Jell-O. The Jugs machine fits into that category as well.

Jugs are pitching machines and football throwing machines, and they’ve exponentially increased the number of reps players – hitters in baseball and receivers in football – can take. Many baseball players will likely tell you they prefer live pitching to a machine, but football receivers swear by the Jugs. Every NFL and College team has them, many high school teams have them, and the trend is expanding: More than 100 of the light blue (paint color patented, too) have been shipped to Australia for Aussie Rules Football.

Because we can’t embed the video, make sure to check out this link to see some of the NFL’s best make insane catches using the Jugs: http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=18303318

Why is this one machine so indispensable? Ravens receiver Mike Wallace sums it up with the following: “You might go through a whole practice and get two to three passes. And to me that’s not enough to get better that day. But if you’re catching 100 before practice and 100 after practice, you’ve caught 203 balls that day instead of catching three.”

Where did the idea come from? A parent trying to help his little leaguer out, of course.

John Paulson played semi-pro baseball in the 1920s, and when his son Butch was coming up in Little League, he designed a machine in 1971 that would throw consistent pitches. The Jugs Curveball Pitching Machine was the company’s first product, with the name derived from an old-time baseball expression about a “jug-handle curve,” which the original machine could be adjusted to throw. In 1974, John started working on a football-throwing machine, eventually securing a patent. Soon after, he started showing it to NFL teams.

This is a fun, light read on the invention and impact of a practice tool. – PAL

Source: “Jugs Effect: The machine that changed football“, Greg Garber, ESPN (12/22/16)

Video of the Week: 

Bonus Video of the Week

Enjoy your trips home, everybody!

PAL Song of the Week: Hugo – “99 Problems”

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Email: 123sportslist@gmail.com

Twitter: @123sportsdigest


“Damn. How can you give Kris Kringle a parking ticket on Christmas Eve? What’s next, rabies shots for the Easter Bunny?”

-S. Claus (Home Alone)

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