Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Maybe Kobe got too cocky

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Now thats funny.

Whats more impressive the jump or the car?

Now this isn't real, but many people believe it is, so hats off to Nike this is how you advertise in 2008.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April at Augusta...or what I see from my couch

I'm live blogging the first round of the Masters from 3-6PM CT. My most recent posts will be at the top, enjoy.

6:05 - Well folks I have to sign off because the Cubs game is on WGN and duty calls. After day one I'd give the leaderboard a C+ as far as name recognition. Tomorrow should shape up to be an interesting day, and after round one I think Paul Casey is going to be the one donning the green jacket Sunday afternoon.

5:58 - Vijay Singh, furious that's hes in second among Singh's (although Vij is tops in the ladies department), just put it about ten feet away on 16. Seems as though all the big names are lurking around even par or so.

5:57 - I just looked outside my window and it's freaking snowing, I couldn't be more depressed. Watching the Masters in the midst of a snowstorm in Northern Wisconsin, looks like I won't be golfing for another few weeks...

5:48 - Brandt Snedeker is getting interviewed now. If I had to set the over/under on his round two score I'd put it at 76. He has to be the most likely of anyone near the top of the leaderboard to just puke all over himself in round two. Plus, he usually hits his stride around August:
"After missing the cut in early August at the Cox Classic, had to sit out five tournaments due to a broken collarbone suffered after tripping over a tree root."

5:39 - Shingo Katayama just missed an eagle putt on 13 and is +3 on the day. If there's anybody that's furious with the popularity of Brokeback Mountain and the subsequent jokes from it, it has to be Shingo. That movie destroyed his niche as the gay golfer/cowboy...that was his look. I think it's time Shingo did some soul searching and ditch the cowboy hat for something new, to show his masculine side.

5:22 - Paul Casey just rolled in another birdie to move to -2 under. Casey is one of those sneaky Brits (like Luke Donald, they went to college in the US), he went to Arizona State so you might think he's from the US, but then he gets interviewed and the Brit in him comes out in full force. Random factoid on Paul Casey compliments of his bio:
"Tried for a tennis scholarship at Foxhills, at age ten, was unsuccessful and then returned the next year to earn a golf scholarship."
Conspicuously absent from his personal info section, "Has a banging wife."

5:08 - Sandy Lyle just finished up firing an even par 72. I like that he wore a visor with no logo's on it and a generic golf shirt. It's as though the pgatour, make that the entire golfing community had no idea he was actually going to play in the Masters. I bet they didn't let him into the Clubhouse and he had to change into his golf clothes in the parking lot;
Sandy - "I swear to god Im Sandy freaking Lyle!"

Attendant - "Who?"

Sandy - "The 1988 Masters champ."

Attendant - "I thought you retired like 10 ten years ago."

5:00 - Trevor Immelman is in the clubhouse with a -4 under 68. In his bio it says:
"Began playing golf at the age of 5....was a scratch golfer by the age of 12."

4:56 - What's happened to Vijay Singh this year (ED: he's at even par), you know he's struggling when he's not even the low Singh in the Masters. That distinction belongs to my favorite Hindu golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, who fired a -1 under 71.

4:43 - Finally, the Brian Bateman one-on-one, Im dying to hear his post-round re-cap. His first Masters appearance, from the way he's describing it I'm surprised he didn't soil himself on the first tee (ED: He fired a -3 under 69). Bateman's pgatour media guide earns some points though, mentions under Personal Informtion and Other Information that he's:
"A big wine enthusiast with an extensive collection. He and his wife travel to the California wine country often..."
I'm just glad this pertinent fact was important enough to mention twice in his personal bio.

4:35 - I like how they say its the defintion of "spring time" with the Masters starting up. Well, maybe for the Southern half of the country. Im staring out at half a foot of snow in Northern Wisconsin, this isn't spring to me Jim Nantz, you condescending ass.

4:33 - Rose just got interviewed by Mike Tirico. Tidbit of interest, only brought his wedges with him on the course in yesterday's practice round so he could practice specific shots. I don't know if I like this strategy, or if its crazy enough that it just might work.

4:29 - Back is getting sore, moving to new position on the couch.

4:20 - Rose goes draino on 18 and fires a -4 under 68, he's tied with Trevor Immelman. This leaderboard is lacking any really marquee names, check that, Brian Bateman just moved to -3 under.

4:14 - Tiger getting interviewed by Tirico, there's no way Tiger doesn't break 70 tomorrow. They're showing the Tiger montage now, he gave away at least a stroke on 13, and had horrendous drives at 14 and 17 yet still shot 72. I'd say he has to be glad to be only be four shots back.

4:05 - Brandt Snedeker just missed a birdie putt to move into a tie for the lead. Little known fact about Snedeker:
"After missing the cut in early August at the Cox Classic, had to sit out five tournaments due to a broken collarbone suffered after tripping over a tree root."
This guy doesn't look like he'll be splitting the atom anytime soon.

3:55 - Zach Johnson is getting interviewed, his damn pink shirt, and he's from Iowa, I hate this guy.

3:45 - I wonder if ESPN is contractually obligated to play this annoying "Masters Music", it's way to sentimental and reflective. I feel like I should be dancing in the King's Court on the set of the Tudor's or something. They need John Tesh to come up with a new Masters theme song along the lines of "NBA on NBC" (Roundball Rock).

3:39 - Zach Johnson leaves it short on 18 and fires a -2 under 70, yet I still can't root for this guy. He's got to much of the "aw shucks" demeanor.

3:30 - Boo Weekly just went draino for eagle on 13, he's now at even par. I wonder how long it is until Boo replaces John Daly as the "Johnny Everyman" that people pull for even when they make the most excruciating mistakes in contention, or when they fall off the wagon.

3:22 - Sandy Lyle just drained a birdie putt to move to -3, I had no idea he was still alive, let alone golfing...who knew. On a side note he is the only player to repeat as the Par-3 Champion, winning in 97' & 98', so he's got that going for him.

3:13 - A decent leaderboard shaping up, Lefty at -2 and Brit Justin Rose atop at -4. I'm a big Rose fan just because of the British in 98' when he finished 4th as a 17-year old amatuer, almost pulled a Francis Ouimet. I think this isn't brought up enough when announcers talk about Justin Rose, he finished 4th in a major as a 17-YEAR OLD, that's ridiculous.

3:09 - I like how Mike Tirico read almost the entire leaderboard at the top of the telecast but didn't even try and touch Jeev Milkha Singh at -1.

3:02 - Gotta love Arnold Palmer teeing it up the as the honorary starter, I think they should include Jack and Gary Player and make it an honorary threesome.

2:49PM -
Heading into ESPN's first round coverage defending Master's champ Zach Johnson was atop the leaderboard at -3 under with a group of other players. Time for me to grab a quick lunch befoe I'm couchbound for three straight hours.

2:40PM - Well the Masters is finally here meaning the PGA Tour is once again relevant. As far as the four majors go the British would have to be my favorite to watch, but you can't top the mystique surrounding the Masters. Tiger Woods will be searching for his 5th Green Jacket and 13th Major title overall. With today off from work I figured it was a perfect time to assume the position and live blog the first round of the Masters telecast starting at 4ET/3CT on ESPN.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Racing gives me such a rush...that and the heroin

The Sporting News reports that NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike admitted that he used heroin on race days.
This story immediately evokes memories of Doc Ellis' LSD and David Wells' booze induced no-hitters. But it is apparent that this is a completely new level of drug abuse. Mr. Ellis and Mr. Wells had little chance of critically injuring their peers. Aaron Fike was behind the wheel of a vehicle, thus endangering himself and all of the other competitors.
I have always been for mandatory PED testing, but against mandatory recreational drug testing in professional sports. I don't see the problem with a line backer enjoying his day off however he sees fit. Auto sports on the other hand are a horse of a different color. These guys are flying around the track, thats why it surprised me when I read that NASCAR's policy is to test for drugs only when suspicion has been aroused. Every driver in the NASCAR series needs to demand a policy change for their own safety.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Happy Days Are Here Again

Anheuser-Busch hopes that beer drinkers across the nation will raise a glass on April 7 to toast a significant milestone in the history of American brewing – the 75th anniversary of the end of Prohibition for beer in the United States. But is April 7 really a date for celebration?
Bob Skilnik, author of "Beer & Food: An American History", argues that industry embellishments and poor research have distorted the true date of Repeal on December 5, 1933, which signified the revocation of the 18th Amendment and the enactment of the 21st Amendment and brought back the manufacture and sale of all alcoholic beverages.

"Congressional events leading up to April 7, 1933 allowed only the resumption of sales for legal beer with an alcoholic strength of no more than 3.2% alcohol by volume (abv), weak by today's standards. Congress had earlier passed the so-called Cullen-Harrison Bill which redefined what constituted a legally 'intoxicating' beverage. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the bill on March 23, 1933. The bill's passage took the teeth out of the bite of the Volstead Act of 1919 and raised the Prohibition-era legal limit of alcoholic drinks from .05% abv to 3.2% abv."

Regardless of what Skilnik says the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, the nation’s largest brewer will celebrate the anniversary with a gathering commemorating the events of April 7, 1933, including the introduction of the Budweiser Clydesdales and the re-broadcast of August A. Busch, Jr.’s national radio address from the steps of the Budweiser brewery’s Bevo bottling plant.

On the night of April 6, 1933, more than 25,000 St. Louisans, , gathered with eager hearts and tin cups in hand to once again sip Budweiser, a sensation legally unknown to them for 14 years.

As the clock atop the brewhouse showed one minute past midnight on April 7, 1933, sirens and steam whistles sounded, the large wooden doors of the brewery’s bottling plant opened to the cheers of the thirsty, and 55 trucks laden with America’s favorite brew rolled out into the night, delivering the first cases of post-Prohibition Budweiser to the masses.

The airwaves echoed with the voice of August A. Busch, Jr., who spoke to the nation through a radio broadcast welcoming the return of beer saying “Beer is back!” and restoring confidence in American industry during the Depression. “April the 7th is here and it is a real occasion for thankfulness marking a newfound freedom for the American people made possible by the wisdom, foresight, and courage of a great President and the cooperation of an understanding Congress,” Busch proclaimed.

Simultaneously, the Budweiser neon-lit clock in New York’s Times Square rang out with the tune, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

On December 5, 1933, the true end of National Prohibition became a reality when Utah signed on to the Repeal amendment, satisfying the requirement of needing at least 36 states for the enactment of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

It is clear that Anheuser-Busch is trying to follow the Hallmark model of establishing a holiday around an existing product in order to boost sales. They would certainly receive less flak from historians if they used December 5 as the day that they commemorated the repeal of prohibition. Looking at it from a marketing standpoint it would be difficult to sell the nation on going out on a blistery December night to celebrate a non-holiday. So taking a queue from Cinco De Mayo they are taking advantage of the spring weather, and the added bonus of the NCAA tournament. So go out and celebrate on the 7th the repeal of prohibition is as good of a reason to drink as any—as if you needed one.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Opening Day at the Friendly Confines

Well yesterday was an interesting opening day to say the least. About a month ago my TV station applied for media credentials at the Friendly Confines since the Brew Crew was opening the season there. More than a month after applying we somehow got rejected (supposedly due to the influx of Japanese media covering Kosuke Fukudome's debut with the Cubs) just days before the opener leaving our plan in shambles. How do I cover opening day with exactly zero access to the game?

Well our new plan consisted of myself and a news reporter covering the pre-game festivities from 11:00-11:00, followed by us finding a sports bar or friend's apartment to watch the game at and then once the game ended we'd have to drive back to Wrigley and do our post-game recap. Keep in mind this plan was hatched late Sunday night with little regard for the weather forecast, parking or general maneuvering around Wrigleyville on Opening Day.

So we wake up Monday morning to light rain showers around 9:30am. We head down to the ballpark at 10:30, find ez out parking for $25 but we had to be out of the spot by noon, giving us a little more than an hour to cover the pre-game festivites. At about 11:30 a downpour hit so we're trying to cover people tailgating and heading to ballpark and there all rushing in to avoid the showers. At noon we wrapped up but had nowhere nearby to go, so we headed back to my Mom's place in Evanston to watch the game. Of the next five hours I spent 4hours 59minutes in this position watching the game (professional journalism at its best). Brewers go up 3-0 in the 9th so we try to beat traffic and head back to Wrigley. We heard the Fukudome jack and the go ahead sac fly on the radio and we got to Wrigley and parked at 6:00. Now I had to be on air at 6:07, and I had to find where the Milwaukee station was to poach off their satellite time. Luckily the first corner I turned I practically ran into them doing a live shot, hopped on right after they were done and got my re-cap on air with only 30 or so drunk Cubs fans behind me screaming obscenities.

I had never fully come to appreciate how obnoxious and intoxicated Cubs fans can be until I had to try and do a post-game recap outside of Wrigley (and I'm as die-hard a Cubs fan as there is). Literally every single intoxicated yahoo would walk by screaming Brewers suck or worse and try to either hug or push or somehow get on TV and the guys from Milwaukee had it about 10 times worse than I did. The report I did for the 10 o'clock news was not as aggravating to try and pull off since we nudged ourselves back from the sidewalk a bit, but I can say I'm just glad I don't have to do that on a daily basis.

Overall, two rain delays totaling 90 minutes along with a 4-3 thriller made for a heck of an opening day, but the real excitement was trying to cover the game with absolutely no access.