Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Other News: Water is Wet

I'm going to deviate quite a bit from the sports theme of this blog for todays post. I came across this info recently and I find it too mind-blowingly obvious funny not to bring attention to this issue. I screen captured the following image directly from a KKK web site. Please do not ask for the address--the last thing I want to do is give them attention or drive up their hit count by providing a link.

If the KKK can't get behind Barack Hussein Obama then who?

Busy Week

I am swamped at work this week and will have little time to post. Will be leaving for Madison tomorrow at 7am to spend three days covering WIAA state tournaments. Covering two guys hockey games on Thursday afternoon and will be shooting the Badger v Michigan State game from the baseline on Thursday night. Will not be able to live blog during the game but Ill upload photos sometime this weekend. Friday I'm covering girls hockey, gymnastics and team wrestling so I'm not going to be able to contribute much the next couple days. Unless I wine and dine Erin Andrews after Thursday's game I won't be posting again until this weekend.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday update.

No new news to report today. We will continue to effort sources this weekend. On Monday we will reevaluate the situation and announce whether or not we will push forward.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CBC Has Been in Chicago...NO BULL!

Day three of wing-gate and all is quiet on the home front. Trying to track down former employees that will reveal their names as sources and discuss the “business” dealings of Athena is proving quite difficult. So far the two papers we've been in contact with are following the basic creeds of journalism and requiring more than one named source along with two anonymous sources (they don't want a Jayson Blair situation on their hands). We are doing our best to provide them with this for we would like to see this story get some traction. Alas, Twenty-four hours on the couch making phone calls proved fruitless, so I needed something to snap me out of my malaise.

Of course, the Chicago Bulls had my back. The only team in the NBA to claim they can “set the court on fire” made a huge deadline deal. The Bulls, after standing pat on last few trading deadlines, were part of a blockbuster deal this afternoon which finally rid them of the failed “Big Bust” experiment. The Bulls dealt, Big Bust, Joe Smith, Adrian Griffin and a 2nd round pick (as part of a three-team trade with Seattle and Cleveland) in exchange for Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Shannon Brown and Cedric Simmons. So,they have Tyrus, Joakim and Gooden fighting for PT at PF and C, with Larry Hughes, Gordon and Thabo fighting for playing time at SG. All in all this seems to spell the end of the road for Ben Gordon.

Now, Chicago's second biggest suburb can hop back on the Bulls bandwagon with former St. Louis legend Larry Hughes cracking their starting line-up. My partner Anthony Atencio and Christian Brothers around St. Louis can re-joice, as Chicago fans are stuck paying $85 to watch Hughes sit-out with injuries for 30 to 40 games a year.

The Bulls new starting five is projected as Kirk Hinrich, Larry Hughes, Luol Deng, Drew Gooden and Joakim Noah, and I ask, how is this any better than Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni, Malik Allen and Tyson Chandler in 2006? Since the summer of 06’, almost everyone move Paxson has made has backfired. Beginning with the Chandler trade, then the Aldridge-Thomas trade and followed by the Big Bust signing. That summer seems to have single-handedly crippled the Bulls future. They’ve gone from a team that could contend for years to the 10th seed in the EAST!

As far as this deadline deal goes, I'm not fully sold that this makes the Bulls that much better. The sad thing is, I'm just so happy to be rid of Ben Wallace that I’d advocate almost any trade involving him. With the Bulls sitting at 21-32, I'll start to do what any self-respecting fan would do in this case, the reverse fanship. If the Bulls can just lose out and get a Top 3 pick then they could be set for years to come. Although a spring of losing would be hard to bear it'd be worth it, plus, baseball season is just around the corner.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Small Update

We have been in talks with two papers, but have reached a roadblock in the form of sources. They want names, and thats just not something we can do. At this time we are efforting new sources that will be willing to put their name in the paper. More later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wing-Gate Day 2

Yesterday was very interesting in our little corner of cyberspace.  George ran a story covering the events that lead to the January 27th brawl that left the tigers in shambles.  The end result of the brew-ha-ha is quite well known, but until yesterday many people were in the dark about the culture and behavior of the MU basketball team.

We had a scoop on our hands, but no way to let the masses in on it.  George penned the article, while I set out to gain it exposure.  The quickest and most effective way to get this information out to the fans seemed to be through message boards.  I spent the majority of my morning posting links to our blog on various fan forums.  The reception was less then positive.  Many message board administrators felt the need to remove all discussions regarding the story.  This left us in a tight spot.  I then decided to interview our sources and publish a press release based on the information gathered.

The Presser

Former Athena Employees Speak Out

By Anthony Atencio

St. Louis--University of Missouri guards Jason Horton and Stefhon Hannah were both recently charged with third-degree assault.  The charges stem from a Jan. 27 braw that left Hannah with a broken jaw.

New light has been shed on the altercation as several former Athena employees have stepped forward to expose the events of Jan. 27 and the culture that surrounded both the team and the nightclub they frequented.

According to sources the fight broke out when Hannah was denied gratis service.  One former employee recalled, “Every night there were issues with paying.”  Another ex-staffer described the basketball team’s attitude by saying that they were, “Rude as hell.”  He went on to say, “Everything had to be free.”

A former employee described an atmosphere where, “[basketball players] were getting compt left and right.”  He went on to say that the players, engaged in what he described as, “constant marijuana smoking” in the club.

 One source claimed, “I never saw anyone pay for anything.”  


As of 9:30a.m. The Columbia Tribune has shown an interest in going forward with the story.  I have been interviewed once, and am scheduled to do a follow up later this afternoon.  I will update the progress of the story as it develops.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stefhon Hannah Loves His Chicken Wings

By now most college basketball fans have either heard or read about the altercation involving five Missouri basketball players, since it happened more than two weeks ago. The incident resulted in Jason Horton and Stefhon Hannah getting a date with the Boone County Prosecutor.

But what started this fiasco, what could rile the team's leading scorer to such a degree that he'd become enraged enough to risk his basketball career? This my friends is what happened according to a cook at Athena Nightclub in downtown Columbia, MO (he's a friend of my roommate in college, so I've spent many an evening in that establishment enjoying the fine dining afforded from their menu).

Right around bar closing time Mr. Hannah was rather hungry and wanted something to eat for free. Apparently he wasn't satisfied by the $200 free bar tab that he and his teammates get on a nightly basis, he just had to have some chicken wings. The cook that evening, sick of dealing with these free loading athletes on a nightly basis, threw a bag of frozen wings at Mr. Hannah and said "Cook them yourself, bar is closed." Apparently this upset old number three, for he didn't want to go to bed on an empty stomach. As he was being escorted out of the club he sucker punched the cook twice, then the second cook stepped in and in one punch ended the collegiate basketball career of Mr. Hannah.

When the story initially broke Stefhon told the cops he was an innocent bystander who had no idea how this fracas started. Well, not quite, Hannah took it upon himself to show the staff at Athena how little he cared for their service, which ultimately backfired as he went to bed with an empty stomach, since his jaw was wired shut.

Which begs the question, all this for a freaking chicken wing? This is the third such incident in the last eight months under Mike Anderson's watch, after this and this went down over the summer. Now, Mr. Hannah is being portrayed as just another Chicago kid who rose from poverty and fell just as fast.

I know these are college kids who want to go out and have fun, but this type of incident involving Hannah was a long time coming. The first two with Grimes and Carroll should have been a warning to the rest of the team that they're targets, they shouldn't put themselves in a possible situation where someone will be more than happy to fight them. Then, of course, they continue to violate team rules regarding curfew because the owner/manager of Athena Nightclub, Rashid, gives them a free $200 team tab and VIP access. At some point Anderson has to get through to his players that this type of behavior is a catalyst for trouble, and that his players need to exercise better judgment.

As far as those wings at Athena, I've had them many times and they're delicious...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Week That Was (SGA and Socks Edition)

The week that was.

Pitchers and catchers reported for duty on Thursday. But the real news was the release of the 2008 Busch Stadium promotional schedule. The first noteworthy giveaway is Sunday, April 27. “25,000 fans, 16 and over, will receive a replica of Sportsman's Park, home of the St. Louis Browns and the St. Louis Cardinals”. This will complete the collection of all three stadiums that the Cardinals have played in for the most staunch of stadium give away aficionados. The next day that catches my eye is May 18. Stan Musial will be the first in what I can only hope turns into a series of Clark and Eighth replicas. Mid June brings us the next item of interest. June 15 is slated to be FredBird bobble belly day. This raises a few questions, namely what the hell is bobble belly. A quick Google search turns this up. The second issue I have with this promotion is that it is only available to children 15 and under. As we’ll explore in a second bobble heads are for everyone, but apparently when the bobble drops below the neck it’s only suitable for children. Following the belly bobble travesty there is quite a drought of worth while SGA’s—and then as if out of nowhere they hit us with two bobble head nights in one month. September brings us Albert Pujols on the 7th and Red Schoendienst on the 26th.

In case you missed it…

Anthony Reyes had LASIK surgery in the off season prompting Jeff Gordon to write, “Maybe Anthony Reyes LASIK surgery will help, but will he also bend the bill of his cap, bring down his socks and fix his pitch location?” Now I couldn’t agree more about the hat and the pitch location, but he wears his socks the way they are meant to be worn.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Aramis Ramirez Takes Down Lil' Jerry Seinfeld

Now I must disclose that Aramis Ramirez is currently one of my favorite Cubs, its not because of his hustle or his great range at the hot corner, but because of his F**k you attitude when he hits a home run. Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano have to be among the league leaders for time spent admiring any prodigious shot to the outfield. But Soriano is a little too jovial when admiring his handiwork, while Ramirez has a little Kaiser Soze in him so I've always had a soft spot for A-Ram (a much cooler nickname than his cousin Man-Ram, the innuendos with that nickname are priceless).

Then I find out he's been doing this in the off-season. Now I know that there are "cultural differences" but this is kind of revolting, especially after the whole "Vickgate" went down just months ago. I know it's legal in the Dominican Republic and that a bunch of players are involved in it, but I still find it rather disgusting that this is "entertainment" to these guys. Although nothing will come of this as far as fines or suspensions something has been lost, my "blind faith" in A-Ram.

Pitchers and catchers:The aftermath

Well this blog has been live for roughly 24 hours and it is already in the middle of a major format change. The carefree days of analyzing the Chicago and greater Rhinelander sports scene are gone. The people have spoken and I will now be voice of the St. Louis area. My job will be to keep Mr. Savaricas’ giant Chicago sports ego in check, and at the same time show why St. Louis is superior in every way.

Pitchers and catchers reported for duty yesterday, and that can only mean one thing—another chance for Major League Baseball to squeeze every dime they can out of their fans by creating a pointless spring training logo and slapping it on everything they can think of. Sorry if I’m coming off slightly more cynical then my counterpart, but unless there is a stack of money in this briefcase the Cardinals are in for a long season. No matter how the organization tries to spin it, we are in a rebuilding year.

Major question marks surround this team. The pitching staff’s hopes rest on two injured hurlers, and an ex-Cub. All three projected outfielders are left-handed (This should help the club break out of its 4 year funk against left-handed pitching). Not to mention Ceasar Izturis was our major free agent singing.

But all is not lost Cardinal fans. There are still several things to look forward to this season. 1. Albert Pujols making a bid for the Triple Crown. 2. Rick Ankiel’s continued meteoric rise. 3. Seeing if former World Series MVP Troy Glaus can return to form. 4. Watching Yadier Molina win his first gold glove. And the thing to look forward to the most this baseball season is beating the Cubs in both head-to-head match-ups, and in overall records.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Best Day of the Year!!

This is, hands down, my favorite day of the year. I strategically have never allowed a relationship with the fairer sex to lapse into February, saving me a substantial sum of money when Valentne's Day rcomes around and I don't need any relationship obligations interfering with prime sports months, aka February-May, so I've always been a June-December kind of guy. Well the four most beautiful words in the english language can finally be uttered, "Pitchers and Catchers Report" and it happens to fall on Valentine's Day, (I take umbrage with Drew Barrymore saying "cellar door" is the most beautiful phrase in Donnie Darko).

Finally the day has arrived, and as a Cubs fan hope springs eternal. The Cubs are tabbed by Baseball prospectus to be a 90-win team (along with the Brew Crew) and espn's Rob Neyer projects the NL Central as a two-team race. Now, I figure the baseball gods can only allow this curse to go on for 100-years, because there would be a sort of poetic justice if the Cubs win the World Series, 100 is just such a nice round number. 101 years, that would just be sick and twisted, I mean how much losing can one franchise endure??

This spring training, unlike years past, the Cubs actually have some stability in their lineup and rotation. They return a bevy of starting pitchers to go along with the signing of Jon Lieber. The additions of Soto playing everday as the 6th or 7th hitter and Fukudome in the 5th spot will do wonders for a line-up that struggled to score runs. I hope everyone is as excited as I am by the start of another baseball season!