The David Stern Complex

>> Wednesday

There is a cerain high school ref that has clearly been taking lessons from Reggie Miller. His flop almost got OJ Mayo suspended, except a judge overruled the suspension. One one hand, we all know that spectacular high school athletes like Mayo get special treatment. But after watching this video (thanks to Complete Sports), who the hell does the ref think he's fooling?

This, along with the ridiculous Kobe suspension, kind of re-raises an issue that certain people are forcing us to look at every other week.

Now, I don't really know too much about Mayo (perhaps Zuch could help us out here), but I do know Kobe, and it certainly seems like the entire basketball work has come down with a David Stern complex. That is, we say "We need athletes to be good role models and will not put up with 'punks' that want to get in fights and shoot guns." What we really mean, however, is, "We want more white athletes to succeed in basketball, because they're so much easier to deal with than black athletes."

If Steve Nash had smacked Manu Ginobli in the face, would we have even heard about it? Because in the original broadcast, it was seen as nothing more than a good defensive play by Ginobli ("You see the right hand from Bryant coming down and smacking Ginobli. Overtime coming up, after this...").

Yesterday, Tank Johnson referred to his situation as "normal" considering his background, opposed to the expectations of "White America." Of course, people scoffed at the idea that having those kind of weapons in one's home was, by any standards, "normal." Except those people don't understand the standards of certain societies. That type of lifestyle is normal in the background that Tank comes from. Not to excuse Tank, because Kordell Stewart, of all people, made a great point this morning, saying that Tank got himself out of that society and therefore should rise above what is "normal" in the society he was raised in. But the point remains that many of these players are coming out of much rougher situations than the analysts and commissioners that wag their fingers at these players.

All of this is not to excuse the gun-toting, fist-flyin behavior of certain athletes. It is simply to say this:

The world of sports is great for many reasons, but one of those reasons is the ability to give people with no escape, an escape. Many athletes, had they not had (insert sport here), would be dead or in jail today (probably including our beloved Dwyane Wade). I'm talking about basketball especially (which, ironically, is the sport that is most trying to rid themselves of the "thug" image) because you can go into the worst neighborhoods in the country and find a basketball hoop. The players that are good enough at basketball to earn a brighter future are asked to completely change their value system and give up everything that was important to them growing up.
Ideally, every "thug" and "punk" that pull themselves out of those bad neighborhoods and ascend to sports world glory would become Dwyane Wades and be perfect role models. But I don't think anyone realizes how much that is asking of these kids. One more time: I'm not saying these players are innocent, but I'm much more inclined to believe Tank Johnson when he says he doesn't consider himself a bad person.


Watch how you come into the OB

"You don't come into the OB playing that stuff. You're across the ocean over there."

Truer words were never spoken, even here. Perhaps topping even the schadenfreude of Bears fans over their New Orleans Saints counterparts , Miami officials are planning another big party following the Super Bowl targeted at the city's large Cuban expat population.

A party for people to dance on Fidel Castro's grave at the Orange Bowl . T-shirts are already planned (Some YCS Suggestions: "I Survived Castro's Death '07" ""The late Mr. Castro is survived by ME!!!" "Castro killed my family members, forced me into exile, ruined our economy, nearly brought us to nuclear war, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.")

City Commissioner Tomas Regalado, a Cuban-American who came up with the idea, told The Miami Herald, "There is something to celebrate, regardless of what happens next ... We get rid of the guy." Commissioner Regalado wanted to make clear though that this isn't a "Death Party." Errrr....right.

So now on the Orange Bowl's website, they can say that they've hosted U of Miami Football, NFL football, Super Bowls, college bowl games, international soccer matches, baseball, and the Castro Death Fiesta. Ole!


RIP, Barbaro

>> Tuesday

That's all (in good taste) I'm writing on the subject. He's a friggin' horse, people.


Reacting as only a cop (or violent crazyperson) would

>> Monday

Let's put this together:

impending retirement + aggressive nature - outlet for aggression + cop badge + tons of money + [criminals ^(Shaq money / 10,000,000)] + celebrity status + conspicuous physique - people telling him "no" + (ability to inflict physical harm) x 3.8 = ?

Answer: weekly excessive force lawsuits


YCS Super Bowl XXXXI Accu-Pickin' is here!

This past season, ESPN introduced their "Accu-score" simulation, which was proven such an effective virtual crystal ball by's...(chuckle) "talent," that all of them bet against it for last week's NFC Championship game. Accu-Score promptly made them all look stupid.

As effective a prognosticator as Accu-Score is, we think we've one-upped the big boys once again here at YCS with our cutting edge "Accu-Pickin'" technology. So if you have a crippling gambling problem, instead of getting help like you should, one of your other options is to see what this fine group of gentlemen thinks about the upcoming Super Bowl. (click for a larger view of the misshapen heads that house the most intelligent brains in sportsertainment.)

In fact, our minds are so in tune with this game, that you may notice that all the YCS staff members who presently live north of the Cheese Curtain in the State of Wisconsin, home to the Green Bay Packers, not only want the Colts to beat the Bears, but think they will as well.

Also, almost all of the residents of the greater Chicagoland area wanted the Bears to win, and picked them as well. Only Pat is hedging his bets.

This means that most of the YCS staff has absolutely no rooting interests clouding their judgment.

But just to be sure, as the great final arbiter, our Accu-Pick System (proven to be right 50% of the time, what are the odds???) has decided that it thinks the Bears will win, but its heart is with the Colts.

So happy pickin' with YCS Accu-Pickin!


Hollywood "fan" is welcome on any bandwagon he wants to get on

>> Sunday

Michael Clarke Duncan, a Chicago native, is very proud of himself for predicting that the Bears would be in the Super Bowl. Of course, so is my three-year-old cousin. But Duncan is going to ride the credibility of that "prediction" as far as he can, even if he can't name a Bears player other than Grossman or Urlacher. Duncan's not just jumping on the bandwagon, he's commanding the driver's seat.

And, damn it, we're going to let him have it. Because when you tell Skip Bayless "I'll kick sand in your face, old school style" you get whatever the hell you want, as far as I'm concerned.
This heated argument between Duncan and Bayless gave Cold Pizza one of its rare, I'm-glad-I-had-this-playing-in-the-background moments. There's no video, but just stare at this picture, and imagine Duncan and Urlacher going after Skip...and disembowling him. Everybody wins.


Nooo!!! How could Chris Harris do that?!?!

>> Saturday

How could he break some random construction worker from Crystal Lake's heart like that? How utterly devestating and newsworthy!

Oh, phew! The story has a happy ending, as it affected me--nay, affected everyone--tremendously. With so much going on in the world, I'm grateful for local journalists taking the time to pursue such an important story to its end.

And by the way, if one more week of "Woooo, Bears! We're going all the way!" won't satiate your thirst for wild interjections screamed into cameras, CBS2 reminds us what we can look forward to if the Bears win.

"The fans took to the streets. And they're still out there; they're, uh.. in very high spirits. As I look down the street, I can say they've turned over a car, so they're up to, uh, some of their hijinks."



Just in time for the playoffs (Not really, but play along)!

>> Friday

It's YCS's first foray into music!

Click to listen: "The 3,468th Super Bowl Shuffle Parody" (now featuring sound)

Consider this our Under-construction Website Launching Extravaganza. (Keep bookmarked, however, as it should be mostly complete in a few days.)

This was intended to have a release date around Week 16 or 17, but when you're blessed with our level of ambition and organization skills, these things tend to slide. Fortunately, it managed to stay pretty current, minus a few references to the Bears playing poorly. Anyway, the lyrics are below. Enjoy!

We are the Bears, hustling you
Say it's for the fans, they think it’s true
We’re so good, we don’t need friends
We’ll blow this town when the season ends
We’re not just sitting by
Hearing your stories of ‘85
We don't find your hints too subtle
So here's your goddamned Super Bowl Shuffle

Thomas Jones
They call me “T.J.” and I like to dance
But the injury risk is too big to chance
We set the goal in Bourbonnais
To make it past the divisional game
We’re not doing this out of devotion
We’re just doin' it for self-promotion
The next few games might be a little trouble
So let's just do this Super Bowl Shuffle

Muhsin Muhammad:
This is Old Man Moose, and I'm second rank
I like playing but I love the dank
I wake at ten; I toke by noon
I've gotta think my drop-sies will be back soon
I once got called a “chocolate fairy"
I don't forgive, so watch it Kerry
But should I ever get another Class B
A Super Bowl win oughta get me free

Hunter Hillenmeyer:
I’m Tennessee Hunter, of modest game
Part of the defense but only in name
I've been hidden on most of our plays
Blending in and getting a raise
Give me a chance, andI’ll do alright
Nobody cares if our cap room’s tight
Whatever I’m worth, I think I make double
I'll gladly do this Super Bowl Shuffle

We are the Bears, backing in
Shufflin' our roster and getting thin
We once looked tough; now unsure
Maybe we are who they thought we were
We’re not just getting stuffed
We're giving up yards to everyone
We're not feared; we're in trouble
Better enjoy this Super Bowl Shuffle


Rex Grossman:
I’m the fickle QB known as King Rex
When I take the field, it's “Oh, what next?!”
I throw that rock and say a prayer
I can't tell it where to go from there
My first five games were such a tease
We went with Griese when we could've had Brees
So Sunday I’ll still be in that huddle
Let's hold off on the Super Bowl Shuffle

Brian Urlacher:
I’m Choir Boy Brian, I'm one of a few
The old guys love me ‘cause I’m white too!
I'm slick with my image as one can be
No PSA ever got past me
Some guys get jealous of me and Briggs
But as long as we're tight, I’m in with the [whistle]
So don't bring up my custody trouble
And I will do your Super Bowl Shuffle

[Harmonica solo]

Kyle Orton:
They say Grossman is our guy
But if no one else could, I guess I’d try
This is Kyle, I'm no Marino
But I look like Jesus and drink like Deano
So bring on the Irish! The maize and blue!
Oh shit; hold on—This isn’t Purdue
Well I can’t play when I’m seeing double
So I’ll just sleep through the Super Bowl Shuffle

Devin Hester:
I'm Hurricane Hes, I play both ways
They don't get on me 'cause I run like Hayes
When I flew off the board in the second round
Everyone wanted to put me down
But I can shake it, break it, any kind of kick
I like to score it and shake my dick
But please don't try to put me on D
My Wonderlic score was a 1.3

We are the Bears, stumbling through
The Sheriff's words are proving true
We looked so good, we started fast
Everyone wanted to crown our ass
But we're not just lying down
We're training dogs and storing up rounds
We promise if we get in trouble
We'll get off in time to do the Super Bowl Shuffle

Tank Johnson:
The fat man's comin’, I’m your man Tank
If the quarterback's lippy, he might get shanked
We stop the offense, we force a punt
We'd like to get Brady and kill that [whistle]
I'd love to beat on my neighbor's face
He'd better stop filing those noise complaints
So don't get close, unless you want trouble
And we'll give you a Super Bowl Shuffle

Ricky Manning Jr.:
Ricky here, I’m Mr. Intense
If they called me “Hit Man”—that would make sense
Eye me wrong, better run
I’ll beat you, faggot, just for fun
Lovie’s guys fill the ICU
That’s why they call us the Cover 2
So come on everybody let’s drink and fight
Then Grand Slam Breakfast at midnight!

Cedric Benson:
You’re looking at The Ced, the bonus baby
We may have Jones, but they should still play me
You’ve seen me sulk, You’ve seen me pout
Thirteen wins, but I've felt left out
I’ll be awesome; you will see
But the others have it in for me
Until my carries at least get doubled
I’m holding out of this Super Bowl Shuffle

We are the Bears, hustling you
Anything we want, you'll gladly do
We’re so big, we have our way
From East Chicago to west DuPage
We’re not dumb; we know your kind
You'll abandon us when we're 7-9
You're lucky we went through all this trouble
To give you clowns a Super Bowl Shuffle

"The 2,754th Super Bowl Shuffle Parody" is the intellectual property of Yellow Chair Media, Inc., and should not be reproduced or redistributed without the express written consent of the authors, the National Football League, and Chicago Bears Football Pesented by J.P. Morgan Chase BankOne Corp. and Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. Unlawful sale of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited. Not that this is copyrighted or anything, so if you can turn a buck on by ripping us off, you won't get arrested but you're still a scumbag. And you won't make any money. Voices are not those of the actual players, and if you couldn't figure that out yourself, you might qualify for a handicapped sticker.
All rights reserved, bitches.


Local sports bimbo writes extremely short, poorly edited, seemingly incomplete fluff piece

A big part of me always feels bad making fun of someone else's poor writing. Let's face it; compared to someone--say, Skip Bayless or Jane Austen--all of us are good writers, and compared to someone else--say, Ernest Hemmingway or Matt Christopher--we're all bad writers. But this little local news feature on Rex Grossman's moms and pops is even worse than Pride and Prejudice.

Here's an interestingly constructed sentence:

“We’ve been Colts fans, but since April 2003 we are only, only Bears fans,” said Rex’s father, Dan Grossman, said.

And the stiring close to this warming piece:

And if Rex plays with the same passion his parent have, the dream will be fulfilled for the Bears and the Grossmans.

All your subject are belong to a different verb form, Megan Mawicke('s editor).


Real classy, fuckwads

This story has already been all over the Chicago media, but I think these imbeciles deserve to be humiliated through any outlet possible.

Woo, sports.


YCS Grab-Bag (Or, stories that weren't long enough to deserve their own post)

Valentine's Day's comin' up, gents, skirts
An invention whose arrival is long overdue, the next logical step up the ladder from the stadium pal. This invention takes the salmon of your pee back to the headwaters from whence they spawned. The Beer Belly enables you to sneak more than a six-pack of booze into any sporting event without having to jam a bunch of flasks in your bag crotch, and for the special lady in your life who doesn't want to look pregnant, there's the aptly-named wine rack.

Deportivo Idol
It is listed on CD Chivas USA's website that they have partnered with Spanish-language station Univision and will announce a televised search for the top undeveloped soccer talent. It will be announced on Sunday on Republica Deportivo, which is like Mexican Sportscenter, but with more dancing girls. DC United sold for $33 million, Beckham signed, Claudio Reyna signed, All-Star Game against Celtic FC in Denver this summer, the league was probably due for some stupid/bad news eventually.

But if I can't grill my Brats and get loaded off cheap beer to go with my $5,000 tickets, the terrorists have already won!
Tailgating has been banned at Dolphins Stadium for the Super Bowl, due to security concerns.


It's Been 10 Years?

I feel so...old (but mostly because of the gray hair someone found on me yesterday at work).

Anyway, as our Bears fan counterparts gear up for their team's first Super Bowl appearance during their cognizant lifetimes, Nate and I are left with an 8-8 season and only fond memories of ten years ago today, when the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI 35-21.

Among the game's highlights was Desmond Howard's MVP performance, as he returned a kick for a touchdown that helped seal the Packers' first Super Bowl since the '67 season. The exact footage of the play can be seen here, courtesy of YouTube (also, for the record, Favre should have been the MVP, he got hosed).

Also, since I'm feeling particularly reminiscient about great Packers moments, here's a hilarious Tecmo Bowl recreation of one of the greatest things I've ever seen, Josh McCown's touchdown pass to Nate Poole to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs and get the Packers in at the end of the 2003 season. It's not quite on the level of the RBI Baseball remake of Game 6, but for Packers fans, it's pretty damn close.


Hot Stove Alert: Cubs sign bad free agent, but this time they only MIGHT overpay him

>> Thursday

As reported by Jayson Stark, the Cubs and Cliff Floyd have agreed to an incentive-loaded one-to-two year deal that could make Floyd anywhere from $3mill to $17.5mill, depending on how many at bats Floyd receives next season.

But of course, barring injuries or something wholly unexpected--like, say, Cliff Floyd being able to walk without a cane again--he won't see much more than that guaranteed $3million. That's not to say, of course, that the Cubs would be much worse off with a cripple playing in right ahead of No-Arm McGee-Jones. The point is that his incentives are ridiculous--not only because they're so far-fetched, but because they're so far out of his control.

He can make up to $17.5 million over two years if he has 550 plate appearances in each of the next two years. He would make $15.5 million if he gets 500 plate appearances in each of the next two years.

Consider that for a second. Now riddle me this: How do those stipulations in any way offer incentive to Floyd? Does anyone--Jim Hendry, Cliff Floyd, Barry Weinsteinberg (Floyd's agent, cheaplaugh Jew joke) included--think that Floyd will perform his way into that money?

What incentive could this contract possibly offer Floyd? The incentive to put a hurtin' on Matt Murton? Or cast a spell-a on Lou Pinella? I really can't see how else Floyd might cash in. Wherein lies the problem with most incentive contracts--the incentives are stupid.

Now I'm not against incentive contracts in principle. A guy is a high-risk investment, so you want his pay dictated on actual results and not projected results. Ok, I'm fine with that. You have poor faith in humanity and believe that players need immediate financial gain riding on their level of effort. Alright, I can accept that too. But why not make sure the incentive is something that will actually help the team?

Granted, the Floyd deal is way better than, say, if I were an NBA GM and told Gilbert Arenas, "Hey, I'll pay you an extra $20million if you score 84 to 85 points per game." It's workable because Floyd can't really hurt the Cubs by not fulfilling the incentive. Essentially this deal says, "We'd rather not pay or play you very much, and if all goes according to plan, we won't. But should we have to, we'll see to it that you get paid more than your market value as an everyday player. And if it things go according to plan, you'll still get more than market value as a bench player while making friends with Henry Blanco."

Of course, it's nice to be the Cubs and have no financial constraints whatsoever (except when it comes to your best player and the best pitcher in the league). Otherwise, a deal like this is a waste and does, in fact, hurt the team. Having said that, it can theoritically only hurt a team's payroll and not its on-field perfomance since his bonus hinges strictly on being needed. That is, unless Floyd actually does attempt to kill Matt Murton, or better yet, pays Murton large sums of money to copy passages from Encyclopedia Britanica while he steals his at-bats and tunnels his way into Murton's house.

I do, however, have a problem with performance-based incentives that a player can consciously dictate during isolated game situations. The ill-conceived "Arenas 84.5 Clause" would be a pretty good example of this. And while admittedly, stat-based incentives can't be nearly as damaging in an individual-oriented sport like baseball as they can be in basketball, they tend to be poorly conceived nonetheless.

Consider that a popular stat-based incentive in baseball is the RBI--a ludicrously poor indicator of the player's value. About a third of RBI accummulation is actual performance, while the other two thirds simply reflect the strength of preceding hitters and the mere opportunity to play every day. (Note: Ratios not exact. At all.) Yet this can bring on all sorts of personality conflicts, stemming from frustration with teammates and batting order, and it creates a rich-get-richer spoils system for established players. So in short, it's crap.

Let's be clear--I don't buy into the whole mentality of "This guy's an asshole and a team cancer and gives our team asshole cancer because he won't lay down a bunt or weakly ground out to second because of his greedy greed and money money money." But there's no doubt that a player will change his swing to knock out five more dingers and fulfill an incentive, even if costs him 80 points on his OBP. I know; a homerun clause is probably an obsolete example to make my point. But given the ferverently reactionary anti-power backlash since the early aughts, maybe we'll soon see sac bunt clauses or weak-groundball-to-the-right-side clauses. And my point would still stand. No matter the short-sighted stat, the situational bent toward a particual stat is nearly always damaging.

Sure, a player can choose to be steadfast, forthright, and pure and refuse to put the well-being of his bonus over the well-being of his team. But embedded in some psychological tick among his split-second impulses (you know, the part of your mind you use to hit a baseball), the bent toward that bonus stat will always reside. And for a player, the opportunities to work toward such incentives are too immediately identifiable.

Which finally gets to my point. To be effective, performance incentives should actually measure performance. They shouldn't reward success in some singular category that only loosely reflects a player's contribution to his team. And maybe just as importantly, statistical incentives shouldn't be so trackable and so apparent in isolated situations. A player should be rewarded for more wholistic contributions--those that maximize his abilities in all facets, not ones that overextend his limitations in one area at the expense of others. Easily trackable incentives no doubt strip some of the invaluable instinctiveness from an athlete's approach. And when that happens, raw ability suffers, and individual approach is stifled.

Also consider that such small-scale outcomes make for poor motivators over the course of a six-month season. Players can only go so long trying extra hard to come through in these isolated instances--which, oh by the way, doesn't actually work--throughout the course of the season. They can lead a player to obsess about the blips and failures and deflect their focus from just generally playing well. Incentives should motivate a guy to do things like stay in shape and stay sober on gamedays, not to pop an extra greenie when the bases are loaded.

But I guess that gets to the sticky issue of whether players and agents trust measures like VORP or Player Efficiency Rating enough to replace RBI, ppg, TDs, etc. I would guess that there will always be a reluctance precisely because they are complicated and difficult to track. But I'd also guess that over time, these types of performance indicators will be accepted on the player end, as they're already growing more and more accepted on the management end.

And sports agents are pretty savvy dudes. Even more so than mangaement, I'm sure that most, if not all agents are well-aware how retarded it is to use RBI as a primary performance indicator. Then again, if they're Scott Boras, they also know full well that their middle-of-the-order established superstar clients will disproportionately profit from these faulty incentive clauses and that there's always a Jim Hendry to gladly indulge said profits. So who knows.

So what does this all have to do with Cliff Floyd? Well...shit. Nothing, really. I got way the hell off topic, didn't I? Except I at least managed to bookend the post with jabs at Jim Hendry, so that's a good thing.

Anyway. Yeah. Performance incentives. Something. Goodnight.


Super Bowl Media (Overkill) Week

Ah, that wonderful time of year, when the NFL takes a week off before the Super Bowl, so we can get 13 days of straight mostly meaningless coverage of the big game, leading right up into the cherry on the sundae, the 19 hour pregame show.

While trying to avoid too much coverage of the Super Bowl (hard to do living in Chicago right now), I stumbled across This story in the Sun-Times. This, and a few other ones, were written about "true" Bears fans.

Before I go on, let me make one thing clear. I am not a Bears fan. I'm rooting for the Bears to win next weekend, because it's fun to pull for the local team when you have no true stake, but my NFL season pretty much ended when the Jets went down.

That being said, I know many who are Bears fans, and certainly "true" Bears fans. I find it highly condescending of the Sun-Times to single out a few hardcore fans and call them the "true" Bears fans. Maybe they won't go through crazy shennanigans to get to the big game, but any fan who's been pulling for this team all year long, but is content getting together with the buddies to watch the big game on TV is still, in my mind, a true fan.

At least if the lady gets her tickets, her kid can grow up knowing that he or she was sold out in the womb for Super Bowl tickets.


Take that, New Orleans!

We have our own disaster to recover from and our own drively-human interest stories about how football "gives us hope" (but doesn't actually solve any real problems)


Like...There was an All-Star game tonight, eh?

>> Wednesday

Yeah, some league called the NHL that plays hockey I guess. Weird. And the score was 12-9.

But for real, how many of these guys have you actually heard of? Honestly. Not more than five years ago, I considered myself a pretty devoted hockey fan, and I'm recognizing, oh... 70%, maybe 80% of those names, being generous. And these are the biggest stars in the sport. It's sad, really.

I heard all the new space-age uniform hullabaloo, but did anyone know there was an actual game? Did they even televise it?


Oh, its one of THOSE columns.

>> Tuesday

As in one of those "I'm outwardly trying to be self-effacing, but really, it's just a cover for the real purpose of this column, which is to show that people in important places have been been paying attention to me" columns.

Admittedly, I'm being a little hypocritical in criticizing The Woj for his stunt. Let's say, by some wild circumstance (probably by Gene googling the tar out of his ridiculous Polish last name), Gene Wojciechowski were to come to this blog and call us out for ripping him, you'd better believe I'd make a big case of it to promote YCS. But until that day comes, Gene is still the scumbag, and we....are also scumbags, but for different reasons entirely. Either way, it's good to see Woj admit he's been obsessed with ripping the Bears.

Well, I guess I should be watching the State of the Union Address. Honestly, though, if I wanted to watch a lame duck speak, I could just go to YouTube and watch that Denny Green tirade for the tenth time [rimshot] or go to Blockbuster and rent some Duckman DVDs [double rimshot]... Of course, I'd probably have to go to Jason Alexander's hometown to find a Blockbuster that actually carries a Duckman DVD [triple rimshot]. Fuck yeah! You know what the fuck I'm talkin' about! [laughter, applause, hoots and hollers]



A fine hooray to YCS' own Nate Franklin, who learned this afternoon that he will soon be the pround parent of a baby boy. Since this is YCS' first foray into producing spawn (and let's face it, best hope for legacy continuation), congratulations are in order.

Reports of the child having a tail and BAC level of .15 could not be confirmed as of presstime.


What Joe Morgan might have to say about this

"I don't need some computer program or statistical evidence telling me how the temperature has changed. Unless you've been there, unless you were around in 1901, unless you planted a gigantically long measuring rod in the ocean floor, you can't teach me anything about climate changes. I know plenty of people who were around sixty, seventy, even eighty years ago who don't feel any hotter than they did back then. I don't see how someone can call themselves an expert in climate change when they were never even there themselves. You'd have to have been there in 1901 and able to perceive a 1.2-degree temperature difference to teach me anything about climate."

P.S.: Apologies to FJM for stealing their material.

P.P.S.: For fifty points: Can you guess which YCS member (as of last spring) used the meaningless conservative buzz-term "junk science" in regard to global warming?


Thank you, Joani Crean

for having a bunch of kids in Milwaukee, and Marquette for shelling out a bunch of money, because otherwise, if the 2003-coaching-carousel rumors were true, this clown would be coaching the Warriors.



This is dumb.

>> Monday

If you're keeping track, this gives me two vaguely sports-related, barely-a-post posts in less than twenty minutes. But to reiterate the title, this is dumb. I don't know much about economics, but I take this as the stock market equivalent of "The ___s are # and # vs. the ____s in games decided by # points or less in ___ Stadium since 19__."

Also note that there are four--count 'em--four hokey bull-bear plays on the page by the end of the second sentence.

Yeah. Dumb.


Come on, Vinnie. That's not about sports.

Like hell it ain't:

Emperor Theodosius wiped out the last vestige of the Olympian gods when he abolished the Olympic Games in 394 A.D. The modern revival of the Olympiad maintains a slender link to ancient ceremonies.

slender link to Olympic Games = about sports

Anyway, I just wanted to link that story because it was too good to keep to myself. Carry on.


Christ, now they're being ENCOURAGED

We here at YCS have never been one for bandwagon types who switch teams and try to hop aboard right before they win a title....Well, seven out of eight of us don't stand for it. The other knows who he is.

But as a sports fan, this just bugs me. now has a feature more or less as "The Bandwagon calculator" that reads more like an IQ test to determine which team you should root for in the Super Bowl. Of course, you already know who you're rooting for if you're a fan of the Colts or Bears, a fan of one of their rivals (Patriots, Packers, Vikings, Titans), or a fan of another team, but pay attention to the NFL. But luckily for the people with no loyalties, no attachment to the NFL, and who weren't paying attention anyway, we figured it out!

Based on my answers, I was kind of hoping it would spit out a randomly computer-generated answer telling me I should root for the Colts, but it determined that I should root for the Bears. OK, internet! You got it!


Samurai Mike Destroys his Legacy

by remaking the Super Bowl Shuffle with a ditzy blonde who thinks she's black and a grizzled old redneck.

For additional ridiculousness, check out "We Are Who You Thought We Were" from a guy who looks like his Whitesnake tribute band kicked him out.


Mr. Awesome-In-The-Clutch Does Something Suspiciously Not Clutch in Clutch Situation

>> Sunday


For the record:

Mr. Clutch: 21/34, 232, 1 INT 1 TD
Chokey McChoke: 27/47, 349, 1 INT, 1 TD

Similar? But how? One's Mr. January, the other's a choker? My world no longer makes sense.

What next, David Eckstein striking out in the 9th inning? Hah, that'll be the day.

Also, you have no idea how happy I am to be able to use that ridiulous "interception" picture again.


Crown their ass (NFC champs)!

Now comes the hard part for Bears fans: withstanding the all-consuming local media buzz that follows the success of any Chicago team.

These next two weeks won't be pretty for those of us who aren't rah-rah dolts. Let's stick together. It might require earplugs.


Late Shoes-In (or is it Shoe-Ins?) of the Week

I'm bringing back the Shoe-In of the Week to pick the conference Championship games.

As it stands, my regular season record during the random weeks I remembered to do this was 0-5. And as anyone who knows anything about math or probability can tell you, independent events that come out a particular way several consecutive times are due--and therefore more likely--to reverse themselves.

So what I'm saying is I'm guaran-'Shied (as in 'Shied Davis of course) to win both games.

The Bears (-2.5) are playing at home in classic Chicago January weather. Which, of course, is totally meaningless, as cold weather--all in all--affects both teams equally. Also consider that Rex Grossman is a Florida alum, and Drew Brees a Purdue alum, just to give one example that lends to the absurdity of the "cold-weather edge" claim.

Having said that, I'm calling the Bears to cover, just because I want them to.

In the AFC, I'm picking the "Manning choker, Brady clutch" angle to reverse itself--again, just because I, as well as everyone else on this blog, desperately wants this to happen. So the Colts cover and win by ten or something.

Not only would this Super Bowl matchup cause Zuch to, well, I won't say, but it would also mark a milestone for minority coaches, as both Super Bowl head coaches would be black for the first time ever. Of course, if I'm wrong as I have been the last five times, white superiority will be reaffirmed yet again.


Why you should root against Peyton Manning

-You hate freedom

-You hate people

-You hate everyone

-You are a bastard

-Your parents never let you eat Froot Loops

-You can only score fat chicks

-You suck

No wait...Actually, that was what a Deadspin poster wrote about YCS for cheering against the Detroit Tigers.

But really, if you've been listening to the media AT ALL lately, it's the same kind of attitude. All the, "You can't help but root for this guy"s and "We all want to see him win"s and the "He makes such great commercials"s. Well I for one say "fuck'im!"

Reason 1 for rooting against Peyton: You don't feel sorry for a guy who gets fired when he continually showed up to work drunk and incompetent. While it takes a whole team to win or lose a game, Peyton has been an instrumental piece in all of the Colts' recent playoff woes. In the playoff losses of the last three years(*I will be exclusively discussing Peyton's career from 2003-07, since that's when he has earned the sympathy of the nation through his playoff upsets), Manning has thrown 2 touchdowns to 5 interceptions, a far cry from his 106-30 ratio over the regular seasons. His passer ratings in those games were 35.5, 69.3 and 90.9. Now I know passer rating is a stat so complicated and unexplainable that I don't even know how to average the three numbers, but those aren't good numbers. Stats don't necessarily reflect truth, but anyone who watched any of those games knows that Manning stunk it up. The only loss where Manning played semi-well was last year's game against Pittsburgh, when the Steelers' blitz-happy defense sacked him 5 times and was on his ass all day. But even in that game, Peyton got his chance to win.

Reason 2 for rooting against Peyton: The whole "You're measured by your Super Bowl rings" is a little bit overexaggerated. Of course it's true to an extent, but the fact that sports heads talk about it so damn much is proof in itself that we realize Super Bowl victories as an unfair measurement of a quarterback's career. Believe me, Peyton's going to be remembered and revered after he breaks all of Marino's record. That's the former Miami Dolphin quarterback, Dan Marino for all of you out there who have never heard of the ringless chump.

Okay, that's not so much a reason for rooting against Peyton necessarily, but enough of this "woe is me" shit for a guy who could buy Puerto Rico, which takes me to...

Reason 3 for rooting against Peyton:Aren't you supposed to root against the guy born with a silver spoon up his ass? I mean, isn't that guy the villian in the movies? This is America damn it, and we want the guy who pulled himself out of the gutter, the guy who went against all odds. We love this story, most recently told by Will Smith's Pursuit of Happiness. Maybe this is just my politics coming out, but I've got something against the priveleged, and Peyton certainly is/was that. Do you really credit genes for the fact that Archie Manning has two NFL quarterbacks for sons?
I'm not saying Peyton didn't work hard to get where he is. I'm just saying that he's been catching breaks in life since day one. In fact...

Reason 4 for rooting against Peyton: Peyton's play of late should have him on the couch this weekend. The reason he is playing today is because Peyton's teammates, especially that out-of-nowhere defense, have played their asses of to overcome Peyton's mistakes! And yet, if the Colts win the Super Bowl, it will be "Peyton Manning's Super Bowl" regardless of how they win. I have never seen a quarterback's team as underappreciated as the Colts. Marvin Harrison is quite possibly better than Jerry Rice and Reggie Wayne would be a four-time pro-bowler with any other team. But mostly, I'm talking about the big uglies.
Although no offensive line gets its due credit, the Colt's gets less than most, and Peyton himself threw them under the bus last year (oh yeah, remember that? unofficially reason 5). We're talking about an offensive line that has led the league in sacks allowed for the past three years, and was 2nd the year before that. Read that again, because it's quite an accomplishment. Over the past four seasons, Peyton has been sacked a grand total of 62 times. This is a guy who's slow and stiff, and panics under pressure. Peyton will take the sack before he'll make the throw and leave himself exposed to a big hit (unofficially reason 6). Still, his line managed to keep his jersey cleaner than anyone else in the league. Without that line, Peyton would probably be an average quarterback. In fact, I believe that's why Peyton fails in the playoffs. Not because he's a headcase or because he's cursed. When Peyton faces the better defenses in the league, he can't handle the pressure. The offensive line is great, but when you pit a great o-line against a great defense, the results will vary. This opposed to the regular-season dominance that Peyton is used to.

Over the past four seasons, the line has allowed three or more sacks in a game just seven times, including two of the three playoff losses. The regular season games came against some of the strongest defenses ('03 Dolphins, '04 Chargers, '05 Chargers, '05 Jaguars and '06 Patriots). This is all to make this point: the Colts line does not allow less-than-great defenses to get to Manning, and he seems to take this for granted. The problem is that in the playoffs there's a lot of great defense, and when Peyton's line can't hold the rush off for five seconds on every pass play, Peyton holds the ball and gets hit. And when Peyton gets hit, Peyton gets pissed. That's when the bad stuff happens and everyone goes "awwwwww, poor Peyton." (I say the same thing, but with excessive sarcasm).

Reason 4 comes down to this: without his offensive line (one of the greatest of all time) Peyton would not be the icon that he is today, and yet he threw them under the bus! I can't stress this enough, because I have no love for anyone that bad mouths the big uglies. Period. Finally...

Reason 5 to root against Peyton Manning: Those commercials man. "Cut. That. Meat." Sure, it was cleverly funny at first, but now I can't seem to get Peyton off my TV screen. It's one thing to sell out, but to be celebrated for it? Come on. Not to mention that it further seperates him from the team (Tom Brady, on the other hand, did a commercial with his offensive line that has since become the hands-down most recognized and celebrated o-line in the history of the league...I'm just saying).

All things considered, the only reason I can think of to cheer for Peyton Manning and the Colts today is that it would make Bill Simmons very, very angry.


Well now I don't know WHO to believe!

How accurate is ESPN's "Accuscore" thing-a-ma-bobber if all the....hahahahaha...."talent" is picking against it?


"What he did wasn't so bad. I should know--I once beat the fuck out of someone with a baseball bat."

>> Saturday

At least the veterans' committee isn't all a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites.


NutriSystem = Miami Dolphins pension fund money-making scam

First it was Dan Marino urging middle-aged dudes to eat "real man-food like a real manly man." And now tonight, I see Don Shula and his wife hawking the stuff to seniors. It seems suspicious is all.

Well, whatever NutriSystem is, I'm gonna bet it's either fraudulent or loaded with deadly amphetamines. Enjoy your blood money, Dan and Don.


Mike Hunt is not comfortable being all over the internet

I know it's childish and ranks just ahead of dick and fart jokes, but the fact that Milwaukee has a columnist named Mike Hunt is a constant tease to write about it, er, him. (It's been done before, with hilarious results) And the fact that he looks like an oversized hobbit and speaks with all the elequence of a drunk groomsman giving a toast just makes it impossible to resist. We should have a Mike Hunt post at least once every other month, because...
He's at it again, as the Journal Sentinel actually decided to create a segmant called "Mike's Monologue" (after they threw out the initial title, "Mike Hunt's Hot Stream of Consciousness").

You know what? Just watch it. At least skip ahead to 3:08 where he starts going on about basketball intro music, complete with grainy soundclips in the background that almost drown his voice out. I swear, there's someone just off screen with a CD player. Talk about flashy presentation.

Some bullet points:
-Mike Hunt generally blames ESPN for poor free throw shooting
-Mike Hunt thinks Prince is too racy for the Superbowl
-Mike Hunt thinks U2 is too preachy for...well, Mike Hunt just doesn't like them


I wouldn't know. I'm a man. And acknowledging any opinion I have on aesthetics would threaten that.

These columns seem to be popping up quite often lately. I know I saw one on NHL uniforms a couple weeks back, and I remember seeing something similar (maybe in a different sports publication) not more than a few months back.

Is this not the definition of gratuitous? (No, it's not: "adjective- being without apparent reason, cause, or justification") Why are people paid to write columns whose sole purpose is to indulge the author? That's what blogs are for, duh! "Uniform rankings" are probably the lowest form of written expression and the second-most fruitless use of time (first: bitching about gratuitous sports coverage, of course).

I won't pretend I don't take pleasure in the sight of a pretty uniform like anyone else. All I'm saying is, keep "Uni Watch" in mind the next time you hear a likely-homophobic sports fan crack a fashion designer gay-joke (the second lowest form of hack-dom, by the way... first: small penis jokes).

Alright, whatever. I said i'd be in bed an hour ago. Fuck you, Page2.


Bill Simmons writes another fine column for the Boston Globe.

What's that? He writes for ESPN, a national sports media outlet? My mistake.

But truth be told, I'll be damned if he isn't making sense and hitting on my guilt nerve. I guess he's not dropping anything revolutionary on us, but I just really like the way he put it in this paragraph:

Now we're on six years of football euphoria. And I get the part where the outside world is ready for another team, because that's the way our society works now: We embrace something new, digest it, beat it into the ground and move on to something else. One minute, "Borat" is the greatest comedy of all-time; the next minute, it's overrated. One minute, everyone loves "Lost"; the next minute, we're wondering if it jumped the shark. One minute, everyone loves The Killers; the next minute, they're self-important sellouts. It's the Everything Sucks Era. We spend an inordinate amount of time bitching about everyone else. Nobody's good, nobody's worthwhile and everybody needs to go away. That's the prevailing theme.

Sure, it's preachy and a little over-the-top. And then he gets a little carried way (If you can't appreciate THIS team, even as an impartial observer, what does that say about the future of sports?), but his point is well-taken. It almost makes me feel guilty about writing anything on this blog.

Well, that's it, boys. I'm hanging it up. I'm gonna have to quit. Alright, I don't quit. But I am thinking like Bill Simmons, so maybe I'm going a little soft.


Congress Once Again Involved in Constructive Debate Over Pressing Problems

>> Friday

Congress's schedule, regardless of what party controls it, is always full of crap, meaningless resolutions whose only point are to get some face time in the local papers back in the district. Things like renaming post offices after some local Civil War hero.

So while social security is failing and budget defecits balloon and the country's at war...we have this...a resolution commending the Florida Gators on winning the BCS Title Game. H.Res. 39 was passed the day after the title game. Congress of course had taken the day off the day of the game so Congressmen could watch it, thus bringing the number of Congressional work days spent on the BCS Title Game to two.

Yes, it would have taken the whole day.

While I wasn't tuned into C-SPAN this time around, when I was in DC working hard as an intern on the Hill, Baylor winning the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball National Championship literally brought every Congressman from Texas and more from other states onto the floor to give a speech in support of a resolution that passed unanimously and had no legal binding effect.

But H.Res. 39 is different. One congressman actually voted against it!

Never graduate I guess.

(HT: Justin Phillips)


You're a Vick. You should know better.

>> Thursday

Come on, Michael.

#1. Tinted plastic only, no matter the substance. And no translucent labels! You think that pansy Aquafina label is gonna hide anything? Sheesh.

#2. Stick it in your pants, dummy! Right in the crotch. Then look for the most homophobic security guard. Common sense.

#3. Stop smokin' that ganj, kid. It rots your brain! (Just kidding, Michael. Do as you please.)

This story is exhibit A of why it sucks to be famous and recognizable. We all can relate to that heartbreaking moment when some authority figure questions the contents of your plastic beverage bottle. Or--as we've experienced--the contents of that still-sealed beer can.


Look who showed up again!

Why, it's friend of YCS and former Marquette forward Ryan Amoroso, who has been posting videos of himself executing pretty straightforward dunks on YouTube under the name "Franchise040" and referring to himself in the third person in the titles.

As you may or may not recall, Amoroso left the team towards the end of last season after sliding into total irrelevance after a career outlier performance in the final of the 2005 Great Alaska Shootout.

So what does "Ammo" do when he's taking a year off from playing 15 minutes per game? Dick around at the Rec Center, with his buddies videotaping him like a bunch of frigging skater kids.

I considered making this a Sports World Nostalgia piece, but then I remembered that no one has positive memories of Amoroso.


Occasional Benefit of Being Unemployed

While I may be not making cash-money, I do have time to occasionally stumble upon great things. Like this website, which will assuredly be visited many, many times by YCS Staff members. Of course, a picture accompanyment will greatly enhance this post.


The sad thing is that I understood every word they said.

Hilarious. Even if it is a joke that was already told three years ago.

Haha players and teams have funny names.



>> Wednesday

You knew this was coming. As soon as the clock read 0:00 on Sunday night, you braced yourself for it. It was inevitable. You'd heard whispers of it all season, but now you knew it was going to come full force. The articles praising Tom Brady for his superhuman ability to psychologically will his team to victory are here. The one I'm particularly beefin' on is certainly not the first of its kind this week, but it caught my attention and is the singular target for my animosity at the moment. It's from Sports Illustrated and it's called (brace yourself, logical thinking people)...

Even when he's far from perfect, Tom Brady finds a way to make the Patriots playoff winners

Jes. Us. Christ. Michael Silver (the author of the article), Bill Plaschke, Gene Wojciechowski and I would like to welcome you to the world of sports journalism hackdom. Congratulations, you've earned it.

My favorite part of the article is the way in which the story wastes no time in mentioning the following revelation:

Brady threw three interceptions

Despite those interceptions, Tom Brady (and Tom Brady alone, mind you), made the Patriots playoff winners. When Brett Favre does it, it's self-destructive cowboy recklessness (OK, you're right, it is, but it's still awesome), but when Brady does it, it's gritty, resilient and - most inexplicably - "crafty." Give me a fucking break.

As an exercise in out of body experience, let's take a Michael Silver-style look at Tom Brady's impact on Sunday's Patriots victory. For an added bonus, there are pictures to help you see exactly what he sees. Enjoy!

[Tom Brady] (while coaching the Chargers) goes for it on 4th and 11 from the Pats' 30(ish) early in the 1st quarter. They don't make it and miss an ultimately crucial scoring opportunity. Brady is pleased with his guile.

[Tom Brady] makes an amazing interception of a Phillip Rivers screen pass intended for LT.

Tom Brady tries to convert a 4th and 5 late in the 4th quarter and throws a pass to [Tom Brady] but it got picked off (on a horrible pass, by the way) by [the evil Tom Brady from the other team (you can tell him by his sinister-looking villian mustache)], to essentially ice the game for the Chargers.

[Tom Brady] saves the day by stripping the ball from his nemesis doppleganger.

[Tom Brady] recovers the fumble.

The Patriots win on a [Tom Brady] field goal.

Man, [Tom Brady] kicked ass in that game.




From an FJM excerpt excerpting a Buster Olney Insider (a.k.a., we're not sucker-ish enough to pay for access, except for Bechtel) column:

Wes Helms, who will share time at third base this year, is never going to be confused with Miguel Cabrera in his production, but he is a well-respected professional and of the players with at least 150 plate appearances, he led all major league hitters in average after the All-Star break last season, hitting .385.

I think certain members of this blog may recall a certain Brewers opening day that might take this "well-respected" assertion to task. (As in, he got his ass booed... on opening day.)

No, he may never get confused with Miguel Cabrera, but he often does get confused with a caveman.


Congrats on being the last sports fan in the country to discover it, you stooge

Baseball what-rence dot com?

Jim Caple's next column will profile an unheralded sixth-round pick out of Michigan who's quietly made it as an NFL starting quarterback. His name is Tom Brady (...Shhh!!).


Coming Soon To Music Stores Nationwide

In a song writing tandem on par with Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, and Page and Plant, Vinnie Bergl and I present YCS Collection, Volume 1. The album features the Super Bowl Shuffle Re-Mix, Eric Gordon's Lyin Eyes, David Eckstein's Country and many other rock classics. Get in line now, cause this baby will be out of stock in no time. Forget the Pulitzer Prize, we're well on our way to a Grammy.


YCS' Two Favorite People -- Together At Last


Bit Pessimistic for a Wednesday

A sign I passed on the way to work this morning. The website leads to The National Shrine of St. Jude, whatever that is.

St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, desperate situations, hospitals, and the Chicago Police Department. I guess they're expecting something big like a riot or a meteor impact to go down Sunday.


Tennis riots? Sweet! Finally a reason to watch!

>> Tuesday

...Well, let's not get carried away. But the riot part's true--check it out:

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Croatian and Serbian spectators kicked each other and used flag poles as weapons during brief scuffles Monday at the Australian Open.


Two groups of mostly male youths dressed in the colors of the former rivals in a bitter early-1990s war chanted slogans and yelled insults at each other near a lawn area where a giant television screen is set up for spectators.


Tom Starcevic, secretary of the Croatian Community Association in Victoria state, said witnesses told him that Serbs provoked the dispute by chanting "Die, Croat, die."

Toma Banjanin, president of the Serbian Cultural Club, blamed Croatian supporters for provoking the incident, accusing them of "mixing politics with sport."

So who wins in a mini-flagpole baton fight: Toni Kukoc or Darko Milicic?


"On this particular Tuesday, you could've watched six hours of Lucy. There's 'I Love Lucy,' 'The Lucy Show,' 'Here's Lucy'..."

Thanks to my best brother Paul for this funny little find. From's listing for Sunday's Marquette-Pitt game:

Seniors Steve Novak (Marquette) and Carl Krauser (Pitt) provide scoring punch for these new Big East rivals. The all-time series is knotted at 2-2.

Is it just me, or does it seem like Novak's been pretty quiet for Marquette this year? Like, it almost feels as if he doesn't play there at all anymore...

Oh TV Guide, you poor, hapless relic.


Wow. I Guess It Has Been a Long Time.

In today's Chicago RedEye (To the Chicago Tribune what Readers Digest is to the Complete Annotated Works of William Shakespeare), a list of things that have happened since Jan. 8th, 1989, the last time the Bears were in the NFC Championship Game.

Among the favorites...and more improbable.

--Ten, yes, ten Will Smith movies have grossed more than 100 million dollars in the United States.

--The Bulls have won 6 championships, the White Sox have won one. The Cubs have lost 1,474 games.

--Mayor Daley was elected, and has since served almost five terms, without ever having been indicted.

--All 18 seasons of "The Simpsons."

--Britney Spears won a Grammy.

--Arnold Schwarzenegger went from starring in "Kindergarten Cop" to governing the State of California.

--Likewise, and perhaps most improbably, most of the YCS staff managed to somehow graduate from kindergarten.


MU Defeats Louiville, Sabotages Local Industry

The tide in the battle for Big East dominance turned decisively Monday night as the Marquette University men's basketball team defeated the Louisville Cardinals 74-65 at Freedom Hall. However, perhaps more impressive than the Golden Eagles' victory on the court was the decisive blow the team struck to the Louisville area as they sabotaged local railway lines on their way out of town, causing a large train derailment early Tuesday afternoon.

In the wake of the rare dual-faceted victory, the Golden Eagles have won three in a row and are fast becoming one of the Big East's most dangerous teams. "We weren't that far away," coach Tom Crean said of the team's recent resurgence and the motivation for the team's impromptu attack on Louisville's regional supply lines. "In fact" Crean continued, "the railway station was on our way back to the airport anyway, so we figured we'd kill two birds with one stone."

The crushing blow to Louisville's record and infrastructure is considered by many analysts as a continued step in the right direction for a Marquette team looking to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Big East.

As of midday Tuesday, officials in Kentucky were struggling to get the accident under control, but were relieved to learn that no serious injuries were reported. "We regret what has happened here, (and) we want to find out what caused it," train company spokesman Bob Sullivan said at a news conference, adding "and by 'what' I mean 'who,' and by 'find out what caused it' I mean 'I personally am going to hunt down Tom Crean and take retribution for this eggregious and unwarranted attack'."

The attack is believed by many to be revenge for incidents in 2003 and 2005 in which Marquette suffered stunning late-second defeats at the hands of Louisville players Reese Gaines and Francisco Garcia, both of whom proceeded after the game on a rampage of looting and pilliaging in a number of Milwaukee-area neighborhoods.

When asked about the possibility of a connection between this incident and those involving Gaines and Garcia, Crean pleaded ignorance. "We've got to move forward," Crean said, "we've got a little time to grow from it and build on it but it gets as hard as it could possibly be on Sunday," referring to Marquette's upcoming game with highly-ranked Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Marquette's recent advancements on and off the court are a marked improvement from earlier in the year, when Marquette's conference record stood at 0-2 and were frequent victims of guerrilla-style attacks at the hands of factions believed to be associated with Providence and Syracuse.


Worth its own post

>> Monday

If you read the comments section from Zuch's last post, you probably already watched this Andy Rooney commentary. Or if you're a old man like Paul and me, you watched its original airing on 60 Minutes last night. Ironically, I'd intended to post the link last night but only refrained in the interest of keeping our rich Sunday night content atop the blog. Like brother, like geeky brother, I suppose. Anyway, watch and enjoy.


Jason Kidd should get divorced every week

And I don't mean that as some folksy, tongue-in-cheek overstatement. I mean that as actual, followable career advice.

In his three games since going public with his divorce, Kidd has had a 23-point triple-double performance on Thursday, a 24-point, 13-assist, 6-steal game on Saturday, and tonight, he finished one board short of another triple-double.

Causal relationship? CLEARLY.


I'll Thrash the Lot of You!

>> Sunday

This link is to a video of Conan O'Brien playing olde timey baseball at an historic site. Hilarious.

I know, it's vaguely sports related, but hey, it's mid-January and I need a baseball fix.


Bears 27, Seahawks 24


Weekend on the Couch

With nothing to do and tons of television to watch, I proceeded to spend the last two days watching plenty of exciting sports action.

Okay, that's what Marquette basketball should be. Mighty impressive to impose your will on a very disciplined, well-coached West Virginia squad.

As much talent as Ohio State may have, it does not seem to mesh well. Despite Greg Oden dominating Tennessee's young front line, the Volunteers should have escaped Columbus with a victory.

USC blows a double digit second half lead to hated rival UCLA in a precursor to the California choke-job. However, Tim Floyd has done an excellent job making the Trojans a serious contender on the hardwood again.

The Colts field goal kicker beat the Ravens field goal kicker in an ugly game. Two veteran QB's in Manning and McNair did their best Bad Rex impersinations.

In contrast to the AFC tilt, the Eagles and Saints played one helluva football game. Deuce McAllister is still a top ten RB in this league on a rebuilt knee. As a Bears fan, I fully expect the Saints to come out of Chicago NFC Champions.

Another solid effort by the Pitt Panthers. Georgetown should be a solid, middle of the pack Big East sqaud. The Hoyas lack the guard play to make a serious run at the league title.

Not a great effort by any means, but a victory nonetheless for Da Bears. They will need to play much better to stand a chance against New Orleans.

Despite having a ridiculous edge in talent, the Chargers choke away a win against the damn Patriots. With all due respect, it's painful to watch more talented teams fall to Brady and the New Millenium America's Team.

Oregon gets a tough road win against a very good Arizona squad. The Ducks have finally meshed together this season and look to be serious contenders for the Pac 10 crown with Zona and UCLA.


So does every third-grader who doesn't know about common denominators

"I wish I knew which ones (cleats) were longer. 1/2-inch? 3/4 inch? Troy, you played in the NFL, which cleats are longer, the 1/2-inch or 5/8ths?" ~Joe Buck


Bears-Seahawks preview

Will it be Good Rex or Bad Rex? Bad Rex or Good Rex? Who will show up today? Will Rex be Bad Rex, or will he be Good Rex? Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Will Rex be prepared? Which Rex will show up today?

Good Rex or Bad Rex or Bad Rex or Good Rex or BadRex GoodRex BadRex GoodRex BadRex GoodRex BadRex GoodRex BadRex GoodRexBadRexGoodRexBadRex...


The executive producer of NFL on FOX must've once run over Dick Stockton's kids.

>> Saturday

That's the only explanation I can give why he's still employed. Sure, the guy's got a good broadcaster's voice, but is there anyone more clueless and error-prone than Stockton, this side of the late Harry Caray?

Case in point: Did he seriously think the Saints ran an intentional fake punt from their own 30-something with 20-some-odd seconds left in the half just now?

"You talk about trickery!" he says.



Semantic, Pedantic

A little example of how players' reputations influence characterization of their performance--FOX commentator Moose Johnston just referred to Jeff Garcia's crappy play in the first quarter of the Saints-Eagles game as "not efficient."

Of course, Jeff Garcia's reputation is that of a "game manager." Were it Rex Grossman being crappy, I imagine Moose would have gone with "careless" or "BadRex." Were it Peyton Manning, the phrase "slow start" would have undoubtedly surfaced.

Ok, this post was stupid. But that title is pretty catchy, eh?


I mean seriously, it's a stat you could track from memory if you tried.

Not to be a wet blanket on the whole Saints / city of New Orleans lovefest (again), but has anyone noticed that the Saints were only 4-4 this year at home?

Yes, I realize one of those losses was in meaningless Week 17. But while everyone keeps on about the lift from the New Orleans fans and the superduper-Superdomefield advantage, I just think someone should mention that they lost to the Redskins there a couple weeks back. Just sayin' is all.


Divisional Round Predictions AKA Most of Us Can Care Less about Ms. Beckham

Gamblers take note, YCS is back with some advice that will assuredly net you some cash-money this weekend. Of course, the wise betting advice would be to go against these picks (Lines from Bodog).

Indianapolis +4 at Baltimore:
Incredibly biased alert notice. Going against convential wisdom, I think the Colts travel to their former home and come away with a berth in the AFC Championship game. Peyton Manning has shown a playoff propensity for wilting under pressure. Despite going 30-38 last weekend, he managed to threw 3 INT's against the Chiefs. However, the pressure will not be squarely on Manning this time. The Ravens have won four straight heading into the playoffs, leading many to tab them the AFC favorite. Their defense looks to be on par with the dominating 2000 unit. However, an under the radar fact leads to my choice of the Colts in this game: the play of Baltimore CB Samari Rolle. While he still piled up a bunch of interceptions, Rolle was regularly beaten by talented receives this season. Likely matched up against Reggie Wayne, I look for Wayne to have a game similar to his 10 catch, 3 TD performance in Denver. Now, Manning will need to have time to exploit this favorable match-up. I look for the Colts O-Line to step up and atone last season's pitiful performance against Pittsburgh. The Colts D looked much improve with the presence of Bob Sanders in the line-up. When teams were gashing the Colts against the run this season, Sanders was sidelined with a knee injury. I'm sure Brian Billick will not abandon the run like Herm Edwards did last weekend, but look for Colts to at least contain Jamal Lewis. Also, I think the play of Steve McNair this season has been greatly overrated. I look for him to throw a key interception tomorrow that helps tilt the game to the Colts. Let the commercial filming begin, the Colts will be a step away from the Super Bowl.
Colts 24, Ravens 17

New Orleans -6 vs Philadelphia:
Like the Falcons heading into MNF in Week 3, I think the environment will totally overwhelm the Eagles in this primetime playoff game. With the city completely inebriated by kickoff, I expect the Saints to kick the Eagles in the mouth with a heavy dose of Deuce McAllister. With the Eagles in an early hole, the real Jeff Garcia will emerge again. In plays reminiscient of his Lions and Browns days, the underrated Saints D will capitalize on his mistakes and set up their high-powered offense to put the game away. Drew Brees will connect with a healthy Joe Horn and Marques Colston, and the Saints will have this game put away as Fox pans to a shot of Emeril toasting a victory at halftime. Mama McNabb can celebrate, as the Eagles will crumble without Donovan under center this week.

Saints 34, Eagles 10

Chicago -9 vs Seattle:
With the nauseating coverage of Rex Grossman, the real story on this game has been overlooked. A porous Seahawks run D will be up against the talented tandem of Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. Both Bears backs have played well coming in, with the bruising Benson emerging as a force between the tackles. Jones has settled into a nice groove, mixing his shiftiness with a quick burst into the open hole. In a game where the conditions should be awful, I expect the Bears ground game to mow over the Seahawks defense. On the flip side, look for Bears D to game plan around stopping Shaun Alexander and force Matt Hasselbeck to beat them in inclement weather. In a driving sleet blizzard, anything could really happen. However, look for the more talented team to control things and set up a 1 vs 2 NFC Championship match-up

Bears 20, Seahawks 6

San Diego -4 1/2 vs New England:
In a closer match-up, Bill Bellicheck betters Marty Schottenheimer. The difference in coaching acumen pails to the strong edge in talent the Chargers possess. The Chargers offense with LT, Tony Gates, Philip Rivers and an emerging star in Vincent Jackson will have their way with Pats undermanned D. A much inferior Jets squad moved the ball against the Pats, but could not punch the ball in. The Chargers will not be stopped short, as the all-time leader in single season touchdowns will cross the goal time multiple times. The younger Gates will take advantage of the Pats slow, old linebacking core. Jackson should take advantage of the much smaller Pats secondary. Shawne Merriman will find his way to the Pats backfield plenty often, and it will be Lights Out for the 2006 New England Patriots.

Chargers 28, Patriots 10

Come Sunday night, I will likely be kindly recommended to stick to basketball. Until then, have at it Vegas.


Things that are obvious to David Beckham, and only to David Beckham

>> Friday

LOS ANGELES -- Former England captain David Beckham sought the advice of his actor friend Tom Cruise before agreeing to his big-money move from Real Madrid to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

"Obviously I asked him for his advice because he is a very wise man and a very good friend of mine. It's going to be a big help for us to have friends when we arrive in L.A.," Beckham said.

[Emphasis added.]

Sorry, Zuch. I'll never bump you for a Beckham post again. Better yet, I'll bump you back up.


The Joy of Becks

Author's note: Yes, I know this is our second Beckham post in a row, but it's a story worth going into. Also, when Bechtel asked me last night to write a piece "comparing Becks' arrival with Pele coming in the 1970s," I initially thought The Beck was referring to himself.

David Beckham will not bring MLS to EPL-level popularity. David Beckham will not kill MLS. Settle down, people.

The dust has begun to settle on the biggest blockbuster move in Major League Soccer's history, with David Beckham leaving Spanish giants Real Madrid for the greener pastures and faker breasts of Southern California. They say that history repeats itself, and in the minds of many sportswriters who don't spend the majority (or even a slim minority) of their time writing about soccer, the move has drawn comparisons to Pele signing for the now-defunct New York Cosmos in the now-defunct North American Soccer League in the 1970s. Just this morning passing by a sports bar, I saw Becks and Pele on Sportscenter. Oh, brother.

Are there similarities? Sure. Both Pele and Beckham are icons that transcend their sport. They both played a sport that was/is looking for a foothold in the crowded national sports landscape. For another example, not many Americans follow skiing with the passion of a Packers or Red Sox fan, but I bet a lot of people would be able to tell me who Bode Miller or Picabo Street is. Same with golf and Tiger Woods, or Tennis and Andre Agassi. Likewise, Beckham's move could mirror Pele's by bringing more star talent to America's top flight. Pele's name lent instant credibility to the upstart North American Soccer League, which helped lure players like Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, and George Best. Today, the MLS offseason rumor mill is flying with word of Ronaldo (Brazil), Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic), Claudio Reyna (USA), Luis Figo (Portugal) and Jared Borghetti(Mexico) making the jump to MLS by this time next year. Beckham's signing bought the league more free advertising in a day than it has probably had in its previous 11 seasons.

But the comparison between Beckham's arrival in 2007 with Pele's in 1975 is a faulty one. It looks similar on the surface, but the reality is anything but. The two players enter two completely different teams in different leagues in different eras with totally different standing in the sports mindset.

Major League Soccer is not the NASL, Becks is not Pele.

For starters, soccer, while still definitely the 4th or 5th sport in a 3-sport country (Depending on where you place hockey in the national consciousness,) is in a much better position now than it was in the 1970s. The 2006 World Cup Final drew more viewers than the World Series in 2006. That never would have happened in the 1970s, regardless of who was playing. Pele's arrival was a last gasp for a league on the verge of folding. Beckham's arrival at Victoria Street is the logical next step in a league that has survived its financial childhood and is maturing into a legitimate, stable, long-term league.

Stemming from this relatively increased popularity, Major League Soccer actually has the money to afford to pay Beckham without bankrupting the league like the Cosmos's All-Washup-All-Star team did in the 1970s. The NASL had no salary cap, and no league-wide structure to ensure that payroll expanded correspondingly with financial growth. The end result was a player-salary arms race between the New York Cosmos and Los Angeles Aztecs. Any game not involving those teams was more or less irrelevant. Teams regularly folded like socks.

MLS on the other hand is organized in a single-entity structure, and has alotted only one "Designated Player" slot per team (13 league wide). The slots are tradeable, but no team can have more than two. New York has two such slots since trading Honduran international and team captain Amado Guevara to CD Chivas USA in exchange for their DP slot. RBNY can now sign two players, for whatever salary they want, with it only counting as $450,000 against the salary cap. This structure allows even the small-market teams like Kansas City Wizards and Columbus Crew to avoid repeating the fate of their predecessors, teams like the Tulsa Roughnecks and Tampa Bay Rowdies, who simply could not afford to keep pace with the wild spending of the Aztecs and Cosmos.

So where's this money coming from? Well, for one, ESPN has just signed an 8-year deal with MLS, marking the first time that rights fees have ever been paid to the league. Next summer, if you turn on ESPN2 on Thursday nights expecting to see a baseball game. Sorry to disappoint you, but you will be watching the best soccer teams in America (and one in Canada) square off. By contrast, the first NASL game to be televised on ABC, went to commercial breaks. Yes. Commercial breaks in a soccer game. But the players kept playing, and during the break, the first goal of the game was scored. Soccer's come a long way since then.

The money that MLS has that the NASL never had also comes from teams having control over their revenue streams by playing in their own stadiums. The idea that the NASL was widely popular in the 1970s is a stretch at best, and a farce at worst. The NASL average attendance never hit 15,000, and even during Pele's reign, leaguewide attendance only averaged about 8,000. Even teams in big markets like the Chicago Sting and Toronto Blizzard struggled to draw 5-digit crowds. Many tickets were just given away. Sure, the Cosmos may have been the league's highest-drawing team, and were popular in the era of Studio 54. However, even the Cosmos couldn't fill half the seats in Giants Stadium even in their Pele heyday. Likewise, they still had to pay rent to play in a stadium that did not belong to them. A few seasons later, attendance dropped, fan interest fizzled, and the Cosmos were relegated to the sports nostalgia scrap heap.

Fast-forward to 2007. This season, Major League Soccer will have 13 clubs in 12 cities. Of those 13 clubs, 7 will play in stadiums designed for Major League Soccer. One more (New England) plays in a stadium its owner (Bob Kraft) owns (Woohoo! Free rent!). New stadiums in New York and Salt Lake have already broken ground. New stadiums in Kansas City and Washington, DC are not far off. In addition to not having to pay rent, MLS owners can fill dates by booking other events, such as lacrosse, high school and college sports, international matches, other sporting events, and concerts, which bring in the most money. Having control of this revenue is what will enable Anschutz Entertainment Group (Owners of the LA Galaxy) to pay Beckham. It also offers a more aesthetically pleasing game than watching a perfect cross headed into the back of the net with "BRONCOS" painted across the front of the goal mouth.

In addition to new money coming in through local investment (MLS has had 6 new ownership groups come into the league since 2005), MLS is also attracting more foreign investment to help fund its growth. It has a 10-year, $252 million deal with adidas. The New York club was bought by Red Bull last year along with their to-be-built stadium for more than $100 million. Salt Lake sold ad space on its jersey to European juicemaker Xango for $500,000 a season. That's about a quarter of their team salary paid for before they sell a single ticket. Another AEG-owned team (believed to be the Chicago Fire) will be selling ad space on its jersey much like many European giants in a deal rumored to be in the millions. The NASL never had that kind of coin lying around. MLS is slowly making money thanks to the slow-and-steady approach advocated by Commissioner Don Garber since 2002. The NASL had a "Let's be the NFL next week" approach that was as unrealistic as it was financially insane.

Today, MLS teams are actually reporting profits instead of hemorraging cash like the NASL did. Beckham's drawing power only opens new revenue streams for the league that the NASL didn't have. Just think about how much e-commerce has evolved since...well...since it was created, which was likely after the NASL's demise in 1984. I imagine gold and green David Beckham Galaxy shirts are flying off the e-shelves from Orange County to Okinawa (Becks is huge in Asia, possibly leading to foreign broadcast rights fees to be paid to the league), and in fact, Los Angeles Galaxy is planning a tour of Asia in 2008. MLS teams didn't tour untill now. NASL teams never toured. European giants tour America. Now it's on the other foot, and Los Angeles Galaxy and MLS can develop its brand around the footballing world.

The other difference between Beckham and Pele is the players themselves, perhaps something that even the media is underestimating. While much has been made of Becks making the turn stateside because wants to be a movie star, or because he hasn't been able to crack the starting lineup at Real Madrid, that doesn't mean he's a washed up pretty boy. He's still a hell of a footballer. Staying in the first team for a club of Real Madrid's calibre is hard to do for any player. Becks is 31. Pele was 35 when he signed with the Cosmos. Beckenbauer still played with the Cosmos when he was 38. While Beckham is definitely past his peak, he is still in his prime. Becks could be a marquee name for MLS for a good 4-5 years. And this is in a league where the talent pool is much deeper than anything the NASL ever produced, largely due to the fact that more kids played soccer in the 1980s and 1990s than did in the 1950s and 1960s.

I would be hard-pressed to find any area where the NASL was in better shape at the time of Pele's signing than MLS is today. If you can, let me know, but untill that time, any surface comparisons between Becks and Pele will be just that. Comparisons that are relevant on the surface.


All Hail the Coming Media Circus

>> Thursday

OK, the speculation is over. Becks is coming to America. If there's going to be a media circus, I'll be damned if YCS isn't a part of it.

You've probably already noticed the story popping up on your other favorite news and sports websites, which undoubtedly you go to to read about sports other than the one the whole world watches besides you. Since they are all more or less overwhelmingly positive, (and it is a great move both for Becks and for MLS). I'm gonna mention the stuff that the other articles have left out, in typical YCS fashion.

1.) Personally, I can't help but look forward to the first game between Galaxy and Salt Lake, after Beckham was a shovel-turner at RSL's stadium groundbreaking last summer. Only problem is, the Utah State Assemblyman who represents that area now says state funding for the stadium is dead in the water. The Salt Lake stadium story has even more back-and-forth to it than whether or not Beckham was coming, which by my count, changed three times in the last week.

2.) Say what you will about this just being one player, but Beckham's name and image gives MLS instant credibility for other stars looking to ply their trade in America. I'm expecting New York to announce a deal with former US National Team captain Claudio Reyna in the coming weeks, and for DC United to announce a South American signing sometime before the season starts on April 7th.

3.) Real Madrid's season ends in May. Beckham will leave the team in June, and join Galaxy in August. If the reason Becks is coming is because he can't crack the starting lineup at the Bernabeu, then why the fuck doesn't he come over in June? Is sitting his ass on the bench for a whole season THAT exhausting that he needs the rest?

4.) Regardless of what I say about Los Angeles midfielder Landon Donovan , Becks is a great crosser, and Donovan a great finisher. Their partnership in the Los Angeles midfield, along with the offseason trade for All-Star goalkeeper Joe Cannon, instantly makes the Galaxy MLS Cup contenders out of a team that missed the playoffs last year.

5.) Just for laughs, and good measure, the Beckhams' interview with Ali G.

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