Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dan Uggla is Having a Rough Season


I love this bit by Aziz Ansari.




It’s simple and melds the unrealistic and the realistic while addressing what we all assume people really want to post on Craigslist. I love how the big punch line is him repeating the scenario.

This joke reminds me of Dan Uggla.

Uggla is in the middle of an impressive 31-game hit streak – the longest of this Major League season. He’s a former All-Star and just last year hit a very respectable .287, including career highs in homeruns and RBI. The dude makes more than $9 million a year.

Clearly, Dan Uggla can play a little and usually I wouldn’t think much of a hit streak. I know how hitting works and while it does take a great deal of talent, a hitting streak involves a lot of luck. I’d much rather spend my time talking about how incredibly good Adrian Gonzalez is.

My interest is piqued by Uggla’s hit streak because, despite hitting in 31 consecutive games, he’s still hitting just .224. That ranks him 148th amongst all qualified batters in baseball (out of 156). Interestingly, amongst the eight players hitting worse than Uggla, four of them earn more money than him (Adam Dunn, Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, and Carlos Pena).

Now, allow me to get to my point, and keep in mind Aziz’s punchline.

So Uggla has safely hit in 31-consecutive games, raising his batting average 46 points, and still ranks just148th in all of baseball. Can you imagine that? Is there anything worse? That’d be like hitting safely in 31-consecutive games, raising your batting average 46 points, and still ranking 148th in all of baseball. 

Or having the last name Uggla.

Aziz was funnier but you get my point.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Still Want to Hate Derek Jeter but I Never Will

Ever seen a grown child cry? Just put me in front of a baseball-centric, father-son tale and it’ll happen.

When I watched Derek Jeter 3K – an HBO special documenting the lead up to Jeter’s dramatic 3000 career hit – I was alone in my living room and consuming a burrito filled with lean cuisine. I had stumbled across the documentary while flipping channels and was very excited to find that I had an hour to watch it.

Bear in mind that I hate the Yankees. It’s easy to do and as a lifelong baseball fan you only have two choices: love them or hate them. I hate them. And Derek Jeter is the Yankees.

But I can’t hate him. I can’t hate him because of this and this and this. The term “gamer” gets tossed around quite a bit. Someone slides hard into second base and Tim McCarver wants to call him a gamer and make some obscure analogy. Mr. November is a gamer. He’s the quintessential player you point at and say to the nine-year-old at his first baseball game, “See that one, at shortstop, number 2? Play like him.”

There’s an undeniable romanticism to the sport well documented in flowing prose by many an author. It’s seemingly interwoven with the fabric of our nation. As Terrence Man (James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams) said, “[America has] been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past.” Flowing hyperbole indeed. But it’s far bigger than a sport and country. 

Watching Jeter talk about his childhood dream of playing shortstop for the New York Yankees, hearing his mom tell him before each game to “have fun and get two hits for me,” listening to the support of his father, I realized this was beyond bats and gloves. I was watching a universal story of family and a story that, frankly, any kid who ever played little league can relate to. Baseball marks the universality of childhood.

For me, Jeter’s career is interwoven with my childhood. He was the star as I wanted to be the star. He was the face of baseball when I was playing catch with my dad and when I was telling my dad I was going to be better than Derek Jeter. And while that never quite came to be – my dreams erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again – baseball is the simple game that reminds me of where I’ve come from and how I’ve come to be. 

Jeter dramatically belted a 3-2 pitch deep into the left-field bleachers, the 3000 hit of his career and second of five on the afternoon. In the mold of the gamer he is, the Yankee shortstop also delivered the game winning RBI. He talked about the pressure of it all and how surprised he was and how he agreed to do the documentary so that someday his kids could see what their dad once did. 

And I teared up, just a little bit.

And then the documentary ended. As the credits rolled, short clips of congratulations from relevant parties played: Tony Gwynn, Joe Torre, Michael Jordan, Bernie Williams, team trainer, etc.

And then his mom congratulated him. 

And then I realized it was probably good that I was home alone.

And then dad congratulated son.

And then I lost my shit. Straight up Field of Dreams style.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Day in the Life of Yourself


Recently, amongst the Bay Areans in my social networks, a blog post was being passed around.  It was a humorous piece by Rocket Shoes – a SF based blog run by a funny man with great taste in music, checkout his mix-tapes – outlining A Day in the Life of the Modern San Franciscan.

I read it and chuckled, certainly able to relate to or recognize a number of the stereotypes. But my immediate reaction was: why so cynical? Isn’t it cool that someone gets to work a creative job that starts at nine? Don’t you move to a dynamic city to experience it? Aren’t viral videos funny because, well, they’re hilarious?

With these questions and more bouncing about my head, I stood atop my anti-cynicism soap box and declared to two friends via gchat that I was going to write a counter-piece; A Day in the Life of the Modern San Franciscan; Sans Cynicism.

I started writing it, determined to convey my appreciation for the metropolitan beauty I had moved to just one year ago. I was going to strip away the sarcasm and ‘tude and highlight a place I’ve undoubtedly come to love.

But it was tough to write a compelling piece without unnecessarily romanticizing some glaring faults. I love public transportation, but MUNI sucks; I shouldn’t have to layer in mid-July; I spend too much time on social networking sites; I pay too much for the irony of dive bars; I’ve come to accept steep rent.

Now I’m not going to flip this into a social rant, dissecting the merits of human-to-human contact versus the time suck of turntable.fm and google+ or the drone of day-to-day. But once in awhile it’s not a bad idea to take a gander into the mirror and ask: am I just living a day in the life? Am I static and predictable? Where’s the originality?

Ok, so I’ve moved off one soap box and onto another, an existential one at that, but having wanted to get back into blogging and having done nothing about said desire, Rocket Shoes’ satirical if not cynical expose was eye opening. Was I driven to write my rebuttal because reading R.S. was like reading my own memoir? Had R.S. looked deep into my soul and pointed out my insecurities about living a monotonous, unoriginal and inauthentic existence? No. But it did hit a little close to home and it’s good to have the boat rocked a little.

I did write that less cynical piece but it read just about the same. I capitalized on stereotypes and bitched a little about this, that, and the other. Sure, I gave a few more shout-outs, perhaps showing a touch more appreciation. But ultimately I grew to appreciate R.S.’s perspective: laughing at the day-to-day can keep us sane. It certainly helped me.

It’s good to be back.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back Like Taxes

So a little break we took.  Attempted some other ventures which is a fancy way of saying we've been getting drunk, watching sports, traveling, and not writing.  Our respective bad.

That said, look forward to exploits and rants.  Because we're back, upgrading here, improving there, mashing out content we want to read and imagine you will, too.

We're back like the NFL, this guy, this guy, and this guy.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Run in March


Everyone talks about their love for March Madness.  College basketball fans clamor around televisions on Selection Sunday and feverishly scratch out their brackets convinced they have the winning combination of upsets and chalk.  When Thursday finally rolls around fans are worked into a frenzy and frantically follow games via computers, iPhones, text messaging, phone calls, two hour lunches, hooky, and sick days.  It truly is madness.  In fact loss of work productivity during the tournament costs American companies an estimated 1.7 billion dollars annually.

However, for most college basketball fans, their love of March Madness flows from their love of one team.  They grew to love the tournament because nestled in the midst of thirty two basketball games over two days was one game; one game fans cared more about than any other.  That one game you cleared your calendar for; the game you smuggled a radio into middle school for; the game that was on TV in the library at lunch; the game you got updates about in the dugout; or simply, the Arizona game.

Of course, your love of March Madness hinged on that one game.  Somewhere in the back of your mind you knew that if something went wrong on a lazy afternoon in March your professed love for March Madness would quickly dwindle to a passing interest, no matter what your bracket said.  Somehow the rest of the games lost their CBS-blue-blocked-letter-scoreboard-luster when your team was no longer involved.

However, when your team finds a way to win, steals a victory and moves on, is anything sweeter?  All of a sudden you find yourself watching, and even caring, about all the other games.  The CBS College Basketball tune plays on loop in your head; you track down obscure articles about your team; and drink up all the analysis you can find.  You're a part of the madness; your team is relevant; people ask you for insider info; the question is not, "Are you watching the game?" The question is, "Where are you watching the game?"

And isn't that how it should be?  Isn't that how Tucson remembers it?

Remember those warm Sunday afternoons in March?  Remember fidgeting about all day, trying to find something to do but always watching the clock--is it 4:17 yet?  Remember turning the TV on and standing in front of it before sitting down?  Do you remember those few minutes before your parents would anxiously walk in from whatever yard work they were doing?

How about those yards on Saturday afternoons in March--filled with barbecues, laughter, football, and lawn games--that would fall silent around tip-off.  Do you recall refusing to change the chair you sat in?  Wearing the same shirt?  Refusing to watch the game anywhere but the back room of the house?

Do you recall the streets in Tucson on game days in March: dead quiet; one or two cars driving around a ghost town--out-of-towners.  Or what about the giant "Go Cats" sign hanging off the scaffolding on the construction site at UMC?  

Do you remember being 12 years old and running outside with your dad--both screaming--when Arizona beat Kansas?  Or what about your neighbor playing "Bear Down" on his trumpet?  Honking horns?  Fireworks? Do you remember defeating God in the Elite 8?

Of course you do Tucson, because that's how March is supposed to be.  And damn, doesn't it feel great to be back...


This video was uploaded to YouTube by user "bchesin" and was not created by W.C. Homer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Laughable Pride in the Desert: ASU and Marketing and Full Bladders


On Saturday I was fighting a nice hangover.  That morning I would also make a less-than-shocking realization.  To combat said hangover, I had consumed a multi-vitamin and a medium coffee.  Black.  Overall it was shaping up to be a nice morning: laundry, homemade egg sandwich, that coffee, lazy wake up, some good college hoop.  Indeed, Saturday morning was glorious.

And, per most mornings, I had to urinate at some point.

Now, let’s briefly recap: hangover, multi-vitamin, coffee.  Such a consumption combination and subsequent urination is what led to my less-than-shocking realization.

What I realized Saturday morning as I urinated was how little Arizona State has to be excited about.  It’s a miserable athletic program with little going for it.  They are the worst basketball team in the Pac-10 and they had to apply for bowl status (denied).  They’re ranked below NAU in the Director’s Cup rankings and their primary color is the same as my hungover/multi-vitamin/coffee piss.

This is their current marketing slogan: You Are Proud.  You Are Bold.  You Are ASU.  You Are Our Home Court Advantage.  So, ASU fans are not proud or bold?  They don’t constitute the fan base?  What sort of advantage might they provide?  The athletic department, so averagely run by Lisa Love, is literally reminding their fans to be fans; how to feel and what to be.

Their position of mediocrity neither angers nor saddens me.  It feels about right.  The chants of “U of A” echoing through the emptying Wells Fargo Arena felt about right, too.   Ultimately, Arizona State’s athletic deficiencies are irrelevant to the things I care about, like conference and national championships; so Bear Down.

Allow me to spell out the beginning of what I started here: ASU gold looks like piss.  And piss is bodily waste.  Let’s take that logic and add one more line to ASU’s marketing slogan:

YOU ARE PISS POOR.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Monday Roast: Cleatus the Fox Sports Robot

1.  Few things could be made better with Shia LaBeouf, you might be one.

2.  Aren't enough stupid, overly dramatic gestures already provided by people during a football game?

3.  If my only friend were a robotic chicken I would taunt the audience too.

4.  A Decepticon would blow something up, you do the worm.

5.  Are you explicitly suggesting that football players are mindless robots made for our entertainment, or just implicitly?

Boom, roasted.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not Even 'Terrible Towel' Can Clean up Big Ben

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was arrested late last night after he was discovered in the bathroom of a local night club masturbating.  

Aleksy Pierogi, a long time Steelers fan was with friends last night at Fort Worth's "Hard Times," one of over 2.6 million "Steeler Bars" in the United States.  It was just an ordinary night until Pierogi excused himself to use the restroom a little after midnight. 

Pierogi walked into the bathroom where he said he found the Steelers' quarterback "masturbating with a 'Terrible Towel.'"  Fortunately for the Steeler Nation, Pierogi acted quickly.

"I acted on instinct," Pierogi said, "I immediately  snatched the 'Terrible Towel' away from that pervert (Roethlisburger)--not going to let some S.O.B. desecrate a sacred Steeler symbol."  Laughing, Pierogi added, "I don't know why yinz call him 'Big Ben.'"

After discovering Roethlisburger Pierogi told Petey Fonduluci, the manager of Hard Times, what he had seen.  Fonduluci immediately phoned the Fort Worth Sheriff's Department.  Sheriff Tex Daniels, and several officers, arrived shortly afterward and apprehended Roethlisburger in the bathroom.

The Sheriff's office issued the following statement:
"The perpetrator was discovered in the bathroom of a local night club with his pants off around 1 a.m. local time.  He was promptly arrested and taken to the Sheriff's department where he is currently being held."
Roethlisburger was unavailable for comment but issued a statement through his lawyer, Dusty Labia:
"Ben has committed no crime.  He believed the door was locked.  When Mr. Pierogi entered the bathroom, Ben was only freshening himself up for a date, who was supposed to have arrived at the bathroom at 12:15 a.m." 
Apparently the standard is the standard.

The Steelers' organization issued the following statement:  "We support our quarterback, but at the current time we are deeply troubled that a Terrible Towel was involved."




 

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Monday Roast: Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Songs

1.  I'm about to miss my connection and you're singing some variation on Zip-Ah-Dee-Doo-Dah?!

2.  The people that stayed on the plane during the connection know you're singing the same song twice.

3.  Singing to a group of people that are locked in a chamber to which you hold the key--and who are miserable, stressed, cramped, smelly and tired--seems more like torture than entertainment.

4.  If there were no flight attendants Southwest prices would still get people on the plane; if there were no songs more people might get back on the plane.

5.  If you're going to force me to stay seated and listen to a song, couldn't you give me an entire can of soda?!

Boom, roasted.

 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Monday Roast: Arizona State University

1.  I bet that 1-4 conference start tastes a bit like a Richmond Spider.

2.  Arizona has been to more Sweet-Sixteens (14) than ASU has tournament appearances (13).

3.  Arizona has won more National Titles (1) than ASU has Sweet-Sixteen appearances (0).

4.  Only Sun Devil fans would gloat about a 5 game winning streak on the heals of a 25 game losing streak

5.  Cry me a river, no easy buckets (see below).



Boom, roasted.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Monday Roast: Las Vegas

  1. Undoubtedly, there is a plethora of other bars and locales willing to give me a watered down Long Island Iced Tea for less than $250.
  2. Is she working?
  3. Highest ownership rate of this t-shirt.
  4. After all of it, this is where OJ got busted?
  5. I thought the Sunrise was supposed to be a beautiful, transcendent, inspiring thing.  Not rock bottom.
Boom, roasted.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homer's Preview the Pac-10 (for the last time ever)


Fear not, it's not the last time we'll ever talk about sports on the West Coast. Quite the contrary. This season marks the end of the Pacific 10 Conference as a pack of 10. 

The question heading into this season for the Pac-10 is whether the conference as a whole can get any worse.  Conventional wisdom suggests there is nowhere else to go from last season but up.  We'll see, but one thing is for sure, even though Oregon State is atop the conference today, they won't be at season's end.

Arizona:

So what's going on in Tucson?  Derrick Williams is no longer a secret; he was freshman player-of-the-year and is projected as a high first round draft pick.  Even with teams focusing all their defensive schemes on Williams, he is still a lock to lead the team in points and rebounds.  After that is anyone's guess--though not for lack of options.  Sean Miller runs 10 or more players out on the court every game with nearly every player not named Derrick splitting minutes at their respective positions.  However, no one besides Derrick seems poised to step up consistently.  There have been flashes of good play from Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom, and even MoMo Jones, but each of those players enjoy disappearing acts just as frequently.  The team also lacks consistency at the point which has provided for some serious shooting woes at times--especially against 2-3 zones.  That being said, the team is far more consistent this year than last, especially on defense.  As a result Arizona wins most of the games it should and may find a top three finish in the Pac-10 and a return to the NCAA Tournament.  Until then, the recipe for success is: don't play Jimmer Fredette, and don't play against a 2-3 zone.

arizona state:

Have you ever been somewhere and thought: "that just doesn't belong there."  You know, like a golf course in the middle of the desert; a baby in a bar; or Sean Hannity at at an Obama rally.  The same holds true for basketball at ASU.  You see it and think, "that just doesn't make sense."  ASU basketball is, and always will be, mired in mediocrity.  A glass ceiling will hang perpetually over the success of that program.  Sure they have the reigning coach of the year in Herb Sendek, but the Pac-10 was so bad last year he won by default.  Besides, anyone that can coax 10+ wins out of an ASU basketball team deserves some recognition.  We'll see what the ol' Herbivore can cook up this year without his boy toy Derek Glasser.  So far the Scummies have managed to lose every game that posed a marginal challenge.  In short, don't look for this year to be the year the JV team in Arizona manages to make a Sweet 16 (or the tournament).

California:

While we need to examine Romar’s ability to coach vs. recruit, the opposite can be said for Mr. Montgomery.  This guy is a helluva coach.  No one has ever questioned that.  He won at Stanford and he won a lot.  He was winning with inferior recruiting abilities, limited by academic standards (the reason Jim Harbough should have been national coach of the football year).  But there’s just no talent on this Cal team.  When your starting point guard is Jorge Gutierrez your team is going to struggle.  The dude is a great glue guy, solid energy off the bench, and a thorn in any opponent’s side.  He’s  just not a starting guard.  Harper Kamp is a nice player but that’s about where it stops.  I loved last year’s team.  But this team has been gutted.  Monty is going to need some help beyond being Monty.  He needs some talent and that’s going to be his problem to solve. 

Oregon:

Dana Altman huddled his players up and said, "Listen, we're getting a new arena this year, so you've got one shining moment guaranteed this season."  That moment will surely shine--Uncle Phil would not have it any other way.  However, Uncle Phil can't do anything about the talent on the floor (directly)--which is lacking.  In his first season Altman will weather the storm of transfers and lack of recruits.  Fifth year senior Joevan Catron is averaging upwards of 17 points a game this season, but it gets ugly after that.  Maybe Oregon finds lightning in a bottle and surprises someone once or twice this season.  Other than that, the story in Eugene is a new basketball arena and the football team that plays down the street.  Also, lets take a moment of silence to remember the late, great, McArthur Court.

Oregon State:

Okay, so Craig Robinson is President Obama's brother in law.  President Obama even came to watch the Beavers lose to George Washington in DC.  However, Craig has had as much early season success as his brother in law did in the midterm elections.  Craig guided his Beavers to losses against Seattle, Texas Southern, Utah Valley, and Montana.  After a promising start to his tenure in Corvallis, Craig Robinson's teams have shown very little improvement, and Oregon State's resume of losses this season tend to indicate disappointment with Mr. Robinson.  He will need to turn things around during Pac-10 play otherwise his seat will become increasingly hot.  That said, no one enjoys a trip to Gill Collesium in Corvallis and that will not change anytime soon.

UCLA:

On paper, this is a good team.  In reality, it’s just good television.  Let’s talk dysfunctional.  Evidently Ben Howland has alienated all sorts of recruiting ties and hasn’t developed a talent since Darren Collison (but even he plateaued).  Tyler Honeycutt is as good as any player in the Pac but Howland can’t get anything out of him.  He went off against Kansas but why wouldn’t he?  Oh sweet external motivators.  At a certain point you need to take a look and realize the power is in the player’s court, Howland needs to get out of his own way and figure out how to win again.  The talent is there – Josh Smith, Reeves Nelson, Malcolm Lee – but grind-it-out ball doesn’t work with elite talent anymore.  Because of that talent, the Bruins are going to win some ball games, but I ask the question: is there a clock ticking on Big Ben?

USC:

He was chastised at Arizona and became the fall guy.   But the fact of the matter is that Kevin O’Neil can draw the toughness out of players.  For goodness sake he has a Euro, Nikola Vucevic, grabbing rebounds at a 9.6 per game clip.  The sanctioned heavy Trojans tout an aggressive frontline which can cause some fits for the smaller, softer Pac.  Alex Stephensen is heavy and the aforementioned Vucevic are going to win the Trojans some games.  Conversely, it’s still O’Neil ball and they’re going to no-offense themselves out of some games and lose when they shouldn’t (TCU, Bradley, Rider).  I believe the Trojan x-factor (not ribbing or flavoring) is Jio Fontan.  The touted freshman transfer will give the Trojans a backcourt scoring option, keeping teams honest and not collapsing into the paint.  Look, big things aren’t going to come out of Watts this season, but they could just leave you stunned on a couple of Thursdays or Saturdays.

Stanford:

Can a Stanford team be any good if not stocked with a pair of seven foot tall twins?  For the better part of a decade no one had to answer that question.  Alas, this Johnny Dawkins Stanford team doesn't have one seven footer on the roster, and early indications are that no one on the roster has a brother who is seven feet tall either.  However, in true to Stanford tradition, this team does have a shooter; Jeremy Green is shooting better than 46% from behind the arc.  After that, the roster is chalk full of freshman who have yet to establish themselves.  Stanford might have some success fending off a couple teams to stay out of the cellar, but don't count on much more.  This team is still a few more years away, and there is no guarantee they won't still be a few more years away in a few more years.

Washington:

I like this program.  Romar appears to be a classy guy and runs a good show.  But at what point do we call a recruiter a recruiter and a coach a coach?  He’s planted in a hot bed of hoops – it’s still a tragedy Seattle was raped of its NBA franchise – and UW consistently scoops up this talent subsequently garnering early paper-praise.  But then why don’t these teams produce?  Why are they just above competitive each year?  As for this dance, the Dawgs had pre-season rankings as high as 8th in the country.  This has since evaporated and the Huskies find themselves heading into Pac-10 play unranked.  To be fair, they’ve lost to some good teams (Kentucky, MSU), but they still don’t seem to win the tough one.  It is encouraging to see the emergence of Matthew Bryan-Ammaning and the scoring of Justin Holiday more than double, but the team that is supposed to run away with the Pac-10 may be indicative of just how far this league has fallen.

Washington State:

Sleeper alert.  The Cougars and their Ichabod Crane looking coach, Ken Bone, have a sneaky good squad.  Reggie Moore and Klay Thomson highlight things but that’s just the surface.  Look a little further down the lineup and you’ll see a more-than-formidable big man in  DeAngelo Casto and the early front runner for Pac-10 Newcomer-of-the-Year, Faisal Aden.   Aden, a JC transfer, is scoring a cool 17 per and has helped lead the Cougs to their solid start despite missing Moore for five games.  This is a balanced attack as they can score from all three guard spots and via Casto underneath.  Thompson makes for matchup issues as his ability to shoot is the equalizer of equalizers.  I still think he’s a bit soft but the addition of Aden changes things.  Ultimately, I see the Pullman gang competing down the stretch for the Pac-10 title.  Yes, the league’s title.   

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Monday Roast: Other Drivers

1.  If you park a half car's length away from what's in front of and behind you then no one else can park in that area and that's ideal.

2.  Did you know cars were built so that the harder and longer you push on the horn the dumber you look?

3.  Just because you put your hazards on, doesn't make you any less of an annoyance.

4.  Your. Right. Blinker. Is. On.

5.  Welcome to the four-way stop.  It's standard to check left-right-left-right eight times because many vehicles can go 0-60 in less than one second.
    Boom, roasted.