Wednesday, October 31, 2007
One of the more underrated ESPN ad campaigns:
For the second time on this site, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery:
And, just for Greg:
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
C - Kenji Johjima
The Mariners wanted to give Ichiro a pal, so they signed Johjima. Kenji was happy to come to Seattle, apparently because his kids love a Japanese grocery store named Uwajimaya - a store that Seattle has. I wonder if A-Rod's love of Ukrops will influence where he signs?
1B - Ryohei Shimabukuro
Yep, this is the problem position. Shimabukuro is in the Braves minor league system, having been shadily signed at 16 years old by Atlanta. No clue if he's any good or if he'll ever make the bigs. But he's listed as a 1B, and we need one for this list. Done.
2B - Tadahito Iguchi
Former White Sock, now Phillie. Bores me a bit, except for this nugget:
Tadahito Iguchi was welcomed into the hearts of Phillies fans with his own fan group "Tadahito's Burritos".
Further proof the people of Philadelphia ain't so bright.
SS - Kaz Matsui
Welcome to the bigs - Kaz hit HRs in his first PA in '04, '05, and '06 with the Mets. Elias said he was the first major leaguer to ever do that. Alas, it was all downhill from there. The Mets happily traded him to the Rockies for Eli Marrero (really?). He has been a solid player for Colorado in his time there, but as mentioned above, his 2007 World Series left something to be desired: 5 for 17 with 1 run scored from the leadoff spot. Not gonna cut it.
3B - Akinori Iwamura
I think we already established Gheorghe's love of Mr. Iwamura. And his town's love of phalli (or is it phalluses?) Aki was a very solid player for the Devil Rays in year 1...too bad he plays in Tampa and almost no one knows who he is. A little interweb research also reveals that Iwamura is about as light on his feet as I am - he had the lowest range factor of any AL third baseman in 2007.
RF - Hideki Matsui
He's the Japanese version of leathery old George Hamilton. Might be 102. Might be Lazarus. Hollywood should look into using Matsui as "generic evil Asian bad guy" once this guy hangs up the kimono.
CF - Ichiro Suzuki
The first Japanese-born everyday position player in MLB. Best of the bunch on this list. A hit machine the likes of which we haven't seen since Lionel Richie walked on the ceiling. Is somehow going to manage to amass 3,000 hits in the bigs despite joining the Mariners at the age of 27. And, most importantly, his first name has been hijacked by several members of the G:TB writing staff to indicate Woody Harrelson's favorite herb (no, not paprika, that's Greg's favorite).
LF - Sooooooooooooo Taguchi
Simply one of my favorite MLB players. And Dennis'. Obviously, I cannot get enough of the "Soooooooooooooo [fill in blank]" joke. Kills me everytime. Then again, I'm the same guy who laughed a little too much at the Wendy's Raaaaanch Tooth and Crank Yankers.
SP - Daisuke Matsuzaka
Finally showed up in the playoffs after a mediocre first season in the states (15-12, 4.40 ERA). Throughout the season often looked like the wasted Long Duk Dong of Sixteen Candles fame. I kept waiting for Dice-K to ask Jacoby Ellsbury, "What's happenin' hot stuff?" (wait, am I stereotyping? nah...)
MR - Hideki Okajima
Red Sox playoff MVP. Absolutely dominant. Not only the best bargain of any Japanese player to hit MLB, he might be the best bargain in all of baseball. Here's what the Red Sox got for $1.25 mil (I checked with mini-Simmons, er Rob, to see if there was a posting fee for Okajima, and we can't seem to find one):
Regular Season - 66 games, 69 IP, 3-2, 2.22 ERA, 50 hits, 63 Ks
Playoffs - 8 games, 11 IP, 2.45 ERA, 11 Ks
The one major flaw I can find - the guy loves chick flicks - "Okajima's favorite movies are romances including Ghost, Pretty Woman, and Autumn in New York."
"Eric Gagne Mop-Up Duty" - Kei Igawa, New York Yankees
The Japanese...Kevin Brown? ...Carl Pavano? ...Darren Dreifort? ...Corey Hart? (hey Kei, the sunglasses are a bit much) Igawa's signing was an obvious display of Ja-penis envy by Yankees GM Brian Cashman after he missed out on Dice-K. This guy is utterly useless.
Closer - Akinori Otsuka and/or Takashi Saito
Two choices here, both dominant closers last year...and ironically, I think both guys replaced Eric Gagne.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Matt Murdock, Attorney at Law - The comic book fans amongst us will know Mr. Murdock by another name, Daredevil. Try for a moment to forget that Affleck movie was ever made (even I, who saw Fantastic Four, avoided this comic book flick), sullying this Marvel Comic legend's good name. Quite simply, Daredevil is a bad ass, the only blind super hero I am aware of, and frankly one of the best comic book characters ever created. OK, I'm done...need to go book my Comic-Con tix.
Stevie Wonder - It could be this entire post was inspired by the ad I saw in the DC Express today - Stevie is playing the Verizon Center tomorrow night, and I am angling for box seats any way possible at work. I'm pretty sure Stevie's 1976 epic double LP "Songs in the Key of Life" is one of the ten best albums ever created, but we can argue later. And yes, I consider Stevie a notch above everyone else's favorite blind musician, Ray Charles...but that could change if they ever do "Stevie" starring Tommy Davidson.
Helen Keller - What, you think this post is taking a serious turn? Think again...
[Afternoon Update - The Brawny Barrister just emailed me this humorous Helen Keller YouTube clip...I laughed quite a bit at this.]
Ray Charles - Like I mentioned above, Ray falls a tad below Stevie Wonder on the "blind soul/R&B" musician list, despite his terrific turn in the Blues Brothers. Sure, I've never even seen the Jamie Foxx movie, but my disdain of all things Foxx muddies the waters. As does Ray's work in those "You Got the Right One Baby" Pepsi ads. Still, his version of "America the Beautiful" is one of the most powerful songs you'll hear. And his prolific procreation would make Travis Henry blush.
Jake Peavy - Really, he's legally blind (without contacts). It's well documented.
Louis Braille - Perhaps the most important blind person to have ever lived. Nice work with the raised dot language, Louie.
Rutger Hauer in Blind Fury - Some of Hauer's finest work, as Nick Parker, a blind Vietnam vet who comes to America to rescue the son of a fellow soldier. Just for fun, spend five minutes on Rutger's site...it's worth it.
Mr. Magoo - Was he blind, or just functionally retarded? Or both? I must admit this is not a carton I saw much of as a kid...all I know is we have a dead ringer at the office for Senor Magoo, and I could swear this guy intentionally acts like a dummy just so folks will call him Mr. Magoo. To say he is socially stilted (the office guy, not the fictional cartoon character) would be the understatement of the century.
Honorable Mention - Don Denkinger. It's amazing a guy could umpire for 31 big league seasons while being blind. What, he isn't blind? You sure about that?
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Meanwhile, I'm utterly devoid of creative energy, thanks in part to the New York Mets, Guinness Extra Stout (which delivers said results), rainy days on the east coast, an exercise routine with as much fruition as Chinese Democracy, the first three seasons of "Taxi" on DVD, the Rugby World Cup on TiVo, a roadie-like regimen of rock and roll shows attended lately, and quite simply, having "the dummies."
Excuses, yes, and bad ones. We'll try to saddle up once again next week after destroying more brain cells this weekend in Williamsburg, VA. In truth, there's no good reason for our lollygagging around the blogosphere. We just need to get back to basics. What do we at G:TB write about? Sports, a lot of the time. Everything from Yankees-Red Sox to Brian Boitano and back. Movies and TV, good and very, very bad. Music, pop culture, news of the weird, politics when necessary, alcohol, drugs, sex, scientology, photosynthesis, Esperanto, Sorrell Brooke, Robert Wuhl, Paul Simonon, William Blake, William Blake?, William Blake, Bernie Goetz, Gabriela Sabatini, Jif vs. Skippy, the hanging curveball, high fiber, good scotch, Urkel, Mondale/Ferraro, hamburgers, Hanburger, moustaches, haiku, MRSA, Daisy Fuentes, drinking games, Evel Knievel, the sweet spot, softcore pornography, long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days, and, once a week, O.J. Simpson. The point is, there's never been any rhyme or reason to the body of work we've thrown out there at Gheorghe, so there's no point in poring over the the suitability of anything. Just write it.
This is a very simple game, this blogging. You write the post, you post the post, they read the post. Sometimes your jokes hit. Sometimes they miss. Sometimes . . . Blogger eats them.
In lieu of any real commentary today, I'll resort to some gossip-mongering, tattling, and betraying a friend's confidence. A couple of weeks ago I was wolfing down a chiliburger and splitting a few pitchers with one Thomas J. "Teejay" Maloyle -- "drunch," as he semi-cleverly put it. While I was goading him about not having taken in each side-splitting second of Yacht Rock on the interweb, Teej let it slip that he hadn't seen a certain baseball film of some note. For 100 Gheorghe-bucks (redeemable at a Gheorghe-o-mat near you), name the baseball movie TJ has not seen:
Air Bud - Seventh Inning Fetch
Major League 3: Back to the Minors
Shagging Flies: The Horsehide Whore
The Kid from Left Field
Angels in the Outfield
Okay, I don't know which of the first 10 on there he saw or not; all I know is that
TJ has never seen Bull Durham.
It's . . . it's like you know someone, and then you find out that after all these years, there's a deep, dark secret he's been keeping. Tajikhistan, you have some 'splaining to do, my friend. Until you take in one of the greatest movies of all time (according to me), I don't know you.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
"Let's run it up the middle..." gets me everytime.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The rage is general all over the land of sport. Fans, not to mention coaches and athletes, are sick and tired of being subjected to a relentless media onslaught of opinion that is simultaneously overheated and half-baked. Unfortunately, in a kind of sports Stockholm syndrome, many of them have learned to imitate the rhetorical belligerence of the media masters they resent.The quote above comes from ESPN Ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber's most recent column, a wide-ranging excoriation of the Worldwide Leader's opinion-based shrillery, and by extension, of the entire American sporting community. For Gheorghe's money, Ms. Schreiber is the best observer of the modern sporting culture going at the moment. We might even have a little bit of a crush on her, if we weren't all exceedingly happily married.
As our mission statement...um...states, G:TB is dedicated to the premise that life would be better if we all took ourselves less seriously. We've been dismayed over the past several years to watch the sporting landscape devolve into a miasma of screaming matches between meathead ex-jocks and overcompensating "journalists" about the perceived and/or contrived peccadillos of overpaid nouveax gladiators. And, as Ms. Schreiber notes with perfect symbolism, we've watched our fellow fans get sucked into the morass to the point where the only way to be heard above the rush of the lemmings is to ratchet the snarky arrogance to jet-engine decibels. And we don't exempt ourselves from this number - even as we try hard to be more silly than cynical, we've failed on more occasions than we'd care to admit.
The most poisonous aspect of the current sporting environment is that the games themselves don't matter any more. Or, more accurately, they only serve as vehicles for whatever ratings-driven controversy ESPN and FOX and the rest choose to push this week. Look no further than this week's potentially terrific New England/Dallas contest. It's predictably become T.O. versus Randy Moss, stoked to be sure by the Dallas' wideout's pathology, but not without ESPN's willing complicity. And ours.
According to ESPN.com, Ms. Schreiber's tenure as Ombudsman is a two-year gig. A smart media outlet with a little bit of cash and a willingness to roll the dice and swim against the tide would snap her up the instant she became a free agent and give her free reign to design a new sports media model. As you may have noticed, G:TB's succumbed to the almighty dollar and begun accepting advertisements. Shouldn't take you too long to put two and two together.
You've got our number, Le Anne. We look forward to hearing from you. The music we make together could be beautiful.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The news crawled across my screen during SportsCenter last night: "Sacramento Kings C Spencer Hawes out for the season". Really, a big white stiff (BWS) drafted in the first round might not pan out (yes, I know it's early with Hawes, but hang with me)? What a shocker. Or not...when will NBA GMs learn...(I limited this list to first round big white stiffs, because I have neither the time nor the patience to mock ALL the useless honkies drafted in the last 12 years):
Spencer Hawes (#10)- Congrats Spence, you're first in line for sucktitude. My favorite snippet from a story on Hawes: "Hawes, a 7-foot center, had microfracture surgery on the same knee when he was 14, though the new injury isn't related."
Is that so, Dr. Espn.com? Because it didn't take much effort me to discover that Hawes has a history of knee problems: at least four procedures, including at least two scopes on the left knee. Guess which knee is hurt this time? Yep, the left. This is not gonna work out well for the Kings.
Don't laugh Jason Smith (#20), you know you're next. Shaq probably doesn't even talk to you.
Can we count the British stiff Joel Freeland (#30)? That guy can't even get minutes for CB Gran Canaria of the Spanish ACB league. What a cigarette.
It's not even fun to make fun of Fran Vazquez (#11). I know some of the Magic fans who frequent this corner of the blogosphere might have some things to say about Fran the Wo-man, so I'll let them rip him in the comments. What's the word for "pansy" in Spanish?
Robert Swift (#12), the '04 Hawes model. I think this nicely sums up Swift's "career" so far:
"In 2006 Swift was awarded the starting job at center but disaster struck when he ruptured the ACL in his right knee after playing just over one minute in a pre-season game vs the Sacramento Kings. The resulting injury occurred when he twisted his right knee when he fell and went out of bounds awkwardly in front of the Seattle bench."
Kris Humphries (#14)- Why the hell didn't you stay in school donkey? Oh right, you could barely read (may or may not be true). Gotcha...well at least you can't be offended by your inclusion on this list.
Wow, the 2004 Draft just keeps on giving - the Mavs also took Pavel Podkolzin (#21). He's currently touring Europe tickling midgets in trees.
Chris Kaman (#6) wants to get worse, I know it. But, it's probably a reach, so somehow the '03 draft (1st round anyway) avoided big white stiff idiocy. Fun Kaman fact while we're here: He spent much of his childhood on a chicken farm and as a child he used to tear shingles off of neighbors' rooftops.
Ah yes, the magical mix of big white stiff and "athletic" European big man that makes GMs erect...Nikoloz Tskitishvili (#5). B-U-S-T. I mean, this guy was dropped from an NBA roster to make room for Joel Przybilla. And trust me, Joel's making this list too.
Curtis Borchardt (#18), Stanford - Prototypical BWS. Middle name should be "Injury Prone". I can't decide who should model for the BWS Bust I'm putting up in my cube: Borchardt, Hawes or Fuller.
Sweet Jesus...cue The Weather Girls...it's raining (big horrible white) men:
Kirk Haston (#16) - Just another failed Hoosier in the pros. "In two years he had many stints on the injury reserve list due to a lower back injury." Nice work Charlotte.
Michael Bradley (#17) - I forgot this guy even existed. 5 NBA teams in 5 years. Awful.
And the beat goes on...and the beat goes on...
Chris Mihm (#7) - Big. White. Stiff.
Joel Pryzbilla (#9) - Has more nicknames than post moves: "The Thrilla", "Joelthrilla", "Joelzilla" and "The Vanilla Gorilla."
Um, Jason Collier (#15)...let's just move on...
Jake Tsakalidis (#25) - Swapped in February of this year for fellow BWS Scott Padgett. Seems like an even, but utterly useless, deal.
Mark Madsen (#29) - Fantastic 12th man and victory parade dancer.
Fredric Weis (#15) - I'll let the photo do all the work:Cal Bowdler (#17) - I hate to rip on a CAA guy, but yep, he sure fits the BWS profile.
Scott Padgett (#28) - Damn good college player. That's all I got.
I'll let Stephen A. handle this one: "RA-SHO NES-TER-O-VIC WITH THE #17 PICK???"
(#12) Austin Croshere - Mediocre talent who hangs around the league and makes $7 million bucks a year. Unbelievable. Should be a god to all BWSs on this list.
Todd Fuller (#11) - That got exhausting there for awhile, but it was all worth it to finish at Fuller. Sorry pal, you might be a nice guy, but when an NBA GM has smoked so much crack he takes you in the lottery we need to use you as the poster child for BWSS (Big White Stiff Syndrome). I watched him play in college, did the Warriors not have a TV? What he lacked in athleticism he made up for in awkward shooting touch. Nice. And just for fun, the '96 whitewash also included Vitaly Potapenko at #12 and Travis Knight at #29.
So, in closing, please, fellas, for you own good, stop drafting big white stiffs...
Monday, October 08, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
(* - In some circles, this is listed as Hawley-Smoot, but we choose the alternative because there’s no way Hawley’s descendants are anywhere near as entertaining as Fred Smoot.)
Who's the tiny labor sec
That's a sex machine to all the chicks?
Ya damn right!
Who is the man that would risk his neck to focus the nation's attention on the need for American workers to adapt to the new economy?
Can you dig it?
Who's the cat that won't cop out
When Slick Willie’s junk is hanging about?
They say this cat Reich is a bad (little) mother
SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
I'm talkin' 'bout Reich.
THEN WE CAN DIG IT!
He's a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman and Vaclav Havel and a few Harvard-educated economists.
Robert Reich, bad mother...shut your mouth.
Bite me, Randy Newman.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
* - probably not true
In spite of the obvious difficulties in accurately predicting the outcome of short series’ in a sport designed for the long haul, the blogosphere grows bloated today with all manner of learned opinions. Let it not be said, then, that Gheorghe: The Blog didn’t fulfill its duty as a card-carrying member of the sporting underworld. On with the show, this is it:
Angels vs. Red Sox
In an effort to add to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s ongoing frustration over the continued existence of a Jewish state, Administration officials have forged a plan with MLB brass to ensure that Kevin Youkilis’ Judean roots are prominently featured in the Sox’ broadcasts. If the Sox don’t advance to the ALCS, then the terrorists have already won. Boston in 4.
Yankees vs. Indians
Somewhere, Joe Borowski is huddled in the fetal position underneath a locker room bench. Fortunately for Indians fans, Eric Wedge has no problem leaving him there. Stocky, corn-fed Midwestern girls are A-Rod’s primary weakness, and Cleveland’s got ‘em to spare. His distraction becomes New York’s downfall. Cleveland in 5.
Indians vs. Red Sox
In order to purify my soul from a karmic perspective, I have no choice but to pick the Indians to beat the Sox in 6 games. Fausto Carmona has already made his bargain with the devil – this pick is mine.
Cubs vs. Diamondbacks
True story – several D-Backs regulars are not even old enough to drink celebratory champagne*. Crafty Cubbie skipper Lou Piniella has taken a page from the movie Gus, and hatched a plan to trick the youngsters into getting completely hammered for Game 1 of the series, irrevocably shifting the momentum to Chicago. Cubs in 4.
* - perhaps not
Rockies vs. Phillies
I have a finely tuned antipathy for the City of Brotherly Love, but I really admire Jimmy Rollins. What to do? Root for Rollins to have a terrific series and for Brett Myers to completely gack away Game 5 in an epically torturous manner and then get served papers for abusing his wife as he walks off the field? That’ll work. Rockies in 5.
Rockies vs. Cubs
C’mon, there’s no chance the upstart Rox can stand in the way of Piniella and his mission from God. It's 106 miles to Chicago, Lou’s got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and he’s wearing sunglasses. Hit it. Cubs in 5.
Cubs vs. Indians
We picked the Cubs back in July, and as the Tim Kurkjian/Buster Olney School of Prognostication stubbornly forbids modifications to months-old predictions even in the face of new information, we’re sticking with Chicago. Also, we think John Kerry will win the 2004 Presidential Election.
Whit-Note: Rob did indeed pick the Cubs to win it all back in July. At the time they were three games out in the NL Central and trailed both the Padres & D-backs in the early-on wild card standings. (Nice second half for the Dodgers.) Now . . . they're in it as much as anyone.
Yesterday I enjoyed a Williamsburg drunch with TJ, and since he's blogless for a few days, he asked me to point out some of the more prescient predictions that have appeared on G:TB this summer. Rob's Cubbie vision may be one; too early to tell, but the outlook looks better than most were calling for in July.
A second was Teej's anointment of Troy Tulowitzki as the NL Rookie of the Year a month or so ago. At the time, some called it a wasted effort, what with Ryan Braun's banner year in Milwaukee. After the last four weeks saw Tulo's continued ascent, Braun's countless fielding blunders, and the fortunes of each's team reach juxtaposed heights/depths, this may really be a race. Teej may have been onto something, as opposed to . . . you know.
As for me? Well, I predicted -- in colorful, utterly insulting fashion, no less -- that the Washington Nationals would have one of the worst baseball teams in recent league history. They finished at a relatively respectable 73-89. There were eight teams with worse records, and most significantly, they single-handedly eliminated my New York Mets from postseason contention. If ever there were karmic retribution in the blogosphere, this was it. A terrible underestimation on my part, but like Willie Randolph, my inner fire is still burning and I'll be back next year.