Monday, August 30, 2010

I Like A Da YouTubes, Volume III

Simply put, it's time for another Youtube post.

This first one is from Summer Heights High, the new favorite show of everyone here at the blog and a subject of an earlier post by John. The genius behind this show is unspeakable. Get to know Jonah Takalua in this video and then do yourself a favor and watch a video or two of the show's other two main characters, Ja'mie and Mr. G (there, I even typed it in the search bar for you, so now there's no excuse not to).

Our next one you may have seen before, but it's always worth looking at again. It's an impeccable RBI Baseball re-creation of the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, complete with Vin Scully's play-by-play. It combines arguably the best baseball game on the original Nintendo with arguably the defining moment of baseball in the 1980s. And of course, a chance to take a dig or two at Boston.

The last video for this installment is an answer to those who contend that Jersey Shore is exaggerated. I've said it before and I'll say it again: these people exist. The best part (aside from the dude's awesome Hyundai) is the driver saying "I can't wait to watch this on fuckin' Youtube" at the end. Pure gold, it is.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Rocky IV Drinking Game

Everyone loves pregaming. It's a science and an art form at the same time. But sometimes the usual mix of beer pong, flipcup, and whatever overrated card game is being played are not enough. This was the case back in the fall of 2004 on the campus of The College of New Jersey, at which time an idea was born, almost by accident. One night while watching Rocky IV and making Keystone Lights disappear, a few of us got to discussing how the fourth installment is so bad that it's good. What evolved over the early part of that semester is still talked about - and vehemently endorsed - today. The game is played as follows:

-Drink the entire time the robot is on screen
-Drink the entire time someone is down on the mat (yes, that includes when Apollo gets killed)
-Drink every time Paulie makes you laugh (i.e. every one of his lines in the movie)
-Drink every time Adrian is a huge bitch (i.e. every one of her lines in the movie)
-Drink every time Apollo's death is foreshadowed
-Drink for the duration of the "Living in America" scene before the Creed-Drago fight, or at least half a beer
-At least half a beer every time Ivan Drago speaks
-Drink every time Duke jumps over the top rope
-Finish your beer during the "No Easy Way Out" montage
-Half a beer or so during "Burning Heart" and the first Russia training montage
-Drink for the entire duration of the "Hearts on Fire" montage, and be prepared with a second side beer in case you finish your current beer
-Half a beer after Paulie's teary-eyed "You're all heart, Rock" speech before the Drago fight and into the Russian national anthem (because it's badass)
-Drink steadily during the Rocky-Drago fight (remember, Rocky gets knocked down about 30 times)
-Finish your beer at the end when Rocky gives the "If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!" speech

If played right, the game should yield you between 9 and 12 beers over the hour and 40 minute running time of the movie. It's pretty much a must to use light beer, as you'd assume. Also, be careful what you eat beforehand. Senior year in college, my buddy (and the game's co-creator) Collins once threw up that night's entire seafood dinner all over his shirt during "Hearts on Fire." But, true to form, we paused the movie, he cleaned himself up, and less than 5 minutes later he rejoined us, and not only finished the game, but set a still-standing record of 13 beers and change. Such is the level that the Rocky IV drinking game will inspire you to reach.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hating the Past: Dumb Little Child

In Kindergarten, Dickie Noles came to our school for an assembly to tell us drugs were bad, mm'kay.  At one point during the assembly, Noles is giving away prizes.  He asks when did the Phillies win the World Series?  I didn't normally volunteer as a child in these situations but my hand sprang up.  Noles actually called on me, and even as a little guy I knew the answer.  "1980," I shouted.  Noles says that was correct, walk up here and get your copy of a 1980 World Series Program. I was proud that I knew the answer and proud that I won a prize.

I took the program home and was excited to show my parents.  My dad said to hold onto the program, which I did for a little while.  Collage Day game at school soon enough and guess which pictures I couldn't wait to put in my collage?  Unfortunately I was a dumb little child after all and cut apart a piece of memorabilia and posted next to glitter, stickers, and who knows what else.  Good news for me is the programs aren't worth much more today then they were in 1980. 

Kind of a nothing post I know, but you might find it interesting and think of something dumb you did when you were little, not matter how insignificant.

Tricky Names

The College of New Jersey is an excellent institution of higher learning. Yes, I am a graduate. During my time there, I came to notice something that the powers that be were hung up on, they wanted so badly to be Princeton. It was so evident. Granted, schools should strive to be like Princeton, but don't go so far as to take their old name as your own. Alot of the time, I felt as if TCNJ was Patrick bateman to Princeton's Paul Allen. Only students at tcnj have slightly better haircuts. Why can't people just have their own identity and be secure in that? Why is TCNJ being coy with their title? My suggestion for their next name change: Princetown University. Yes. Change the school colors to orange and black, and change the mascot to the Bengals. A mascot change to the tigers would be too obvious. Now, graduates of TCNJ can quickly say they went to Princetown and people won't have the balls to question whether they said Princetown or Princeton. There is nothing wrong with this. It's no different than the University of Hartford's similarity to Harvard.

Recently, my job title at work changed from financial services associate to financial professional associate. Salesman. I'm a salesman, if you want service go to a service or professional associate. If you want to buy something, come to me. When I pass my next test don't call me associate no more, advisor call me. But the point is, stop with the euphemistic titles. First of all, it's annoying to the people who have earned a legitimate title when unqualified people try to title themselves inappropriately. Second of all, you won't get away with bullshitting to the people you actually want to work with.
Professional sports. I realize that being paid to play a sport constitutes being a professional athlete, but don't tell me the Camden Riversharks and the Philadelphia Phillies are both professional baseball teams. In my opinion, professional sports is a category that describes the top level of a sport. In other words, when I say someone played professional baseball, I mean they played in the majors. If you played single-A that means you played in the minors, not professional baseball. That might work with the chicks, but don't try getting that weakass shit past me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Too Much Mouse, Not Enough Cat

As Yogi Berra once said, "you can observe a lot by watching." Pay undivided attention to something - anything - for a little while and you'll be surprised by all the nuances you can pick up on. It really can be anything - the way your dog picks out his napping spot, the timing patterns of traffic lights, or the go-to phrases of your favorite (or least favorite) broadcasters. Recently I've taken my step-back perspective and used it to observe a timeless art of human courtship, namely the behavior of men and women in bars.

I used to always wonder how funny it would be to see a Discovery Channel-type documentary on humans done in the way you see it so often done with wild animals, including some British-sounding voice narrating the interaction between, and pursuit of, both genders. Well, it turns out, something to that effect has already been made (beaten to the punch on yet another idea). In any event, my main conclusion is that men and women pursue each other like it's a cat-and-mouse game. I'm not exactly breaking new ground with that, but the comparison is valid nonetheless. Before I say anything further, let's make it clear that this is a pretty big generalization made from a small but semi-respectable sample size, and while it's far from definitive, it's not outrageous either.

Your typical bar scene consists of males in the act of pursuit and females in the act of trying to be pursued. Men scour the room looking to see which women they want to go over to, and women scour the room looking for which men they want to come over to them. And so the game ensues. Women do their fair share to try to attract the attention of those they deem desirable, but most of it is nonverbal and passive - a glance here, a half smile there, maybe even an attempt at eye contact - it is all a momentary lowering of the drawbridge over the moat of inapproachability. Unlike the male approach to directly engage, the female approach is merely to facilitate interaction, not necessarily to initiate interaction.

Case in point - John, Kevin, and I were out a few Fridays ago, enjoying 3 dollar Guinness at a comfortably crowded bar with a band playing that almost didnt suck. As we were standing near the bar discussing baseball trades, three not bad-looking women made their way over and sat down at the table about 3 feet behind us, abound with "talk to me" body language. Almost simultaneously, three seats opened up at the bar, which I implored us to take because I had a bad hamstring at the time and my legs were killing me, plus how often can you get 3 seats at the bar at 11:00 on a Friday? We sit down at the bar, at which point Kevin notes "those girls behind us looked like they wanted us to talk to them, they're probably pissed." Sure enough, they left less than 10 minutes later in a small huff.

Of course, we'll never know if they left as a result of our supposed indifference or not, but it's still easy to picture one or two of them venting on the car ride home, "how dumb are those guys...didn't they notice that we sat down close to them and smiled in their direction?" Which brings me to my underlying issue - why do so many people consider it the male's obligation to get the ball rolling? If you really want to try to get to know me or one of my friends, it's not against the law to say "hi" yourself. Is it some underlying feeling of having the lower hand when you are the approacher as opposed to the approach-ee? Do some people really consider it beneath them to have to go up to someone else? Is it some female tendency to want any man to be able to read her signals, thus failing to act upon a woman's subliminal inviting messages means an instant disqualification? Of course, it could just be the fact that, when you're the approach-ee, you have surefire knowledge that the approacher is interested in you, whereas, if you're the approacher yourself, part of you is never quite sure right away if your target is actually attracted to you or if they're just being nice until they can invent an excuse to get away.

Obviously, we humans have done a decent enough job of pursuing each other over the years, hence our existence as a species. But I leave you this evening with this bit of wisdom: men are a preoccupied species. Our minds are a clouded archive of sports facts and movie quotes, and that's before the first pints of the night are poured. It took us decades to realize that when a woman utters the phrase "I'm fine," it means the complete opposite. So please, take that into consideration if you're trying to attract our attention, especially after a few beers. Because that point, we can't tell if a glance or two in our direction means you want us to talk to you, or if you're simply trying to look out the window to see if your car has a parking ticket on it or not.

Only Thing Black at Colorado is Uniform

The financial woes at Colorado University are astounding.  First they can not afford to fire Dan Hawkins.  Then its so desperate for cash it agrees to a one time payment of $1.4 Million to play @ Ohio State with no return date back to Colorado.  Today, they appear destined to be picked on for two years instead of one by staying in the Big 12 through 2011.  This is because they cannot come to terms on reducing a $10 million buyout to exit the league. 

Colorado University has handled their finances so poorly over the last decade that they have been forced to retain a coach for at least one more year than they would like, play a body bag game when they are in a power conference, and remain in a league they choose to leave for two years.  Colorado needs your money so badly it will let you smash them with your pimp hand and call you daddy.  It has truly been a fall from grace for a program that has been good for so long (16th on all time win list).  Since the controversies of Gary Barnett, Boulder, CO has been in ruins.  (If anyone can find the clip of him talking about the female kicker, free beer for you)

What Is Your Event?

Tailgating is something I had long misunderstood and perhaps still do. Before I drank at all, I was mystified by people drinking themselves into a stupor and stumbling into an event.  It was and still is all the more peculiar when you are going to a sporting event you have shelled out good money for. Why anyone would want to pay $100 to go to a football game drunk and not remember what happened is beyond me.  They are fraud fans. 

If tailgating is your event, fine. I think its perfectly reasonable to drink before a concert because

A. It's not that important to me
B. Concert's generally consist of standing around and listening to music not played as well as on a CD.

I am not a major music fan, so for me drinking before a concert isn't a big deal.  People who tailgate and get wasted before games are generally not major fans of the teams they are watching.  The drinking may even be the only reason they are there.  I suppose I just get frustrated seeing people falling over themselves drunk.  It's really only funny after the bars are closed, not at 4 PM.   If you are going to drunk at a sporting event you should do your best not to annoy those around you who care about the result.

Let me make it clear that having a drink or two before the game is fine.  I generally do not do it unless I am at a soccer game because I want to entertain my guest and get them buzzed to sing and chant.   If you get hammered before a game you care about your a jackass.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hating the Past: Group Projects

It was a major trend in college.  Group work seems to be academia's favorite way to do assignments.  Professors would preach the "this is how you do it in the real world" meme. Except it was always bullshit.  If someone doesn't carry their weight in the real world they get axed, plain and simple.  In school, you were lucky to have two people in a group willing and able to work.  How many times did you find yourself in situations where you are carrying the burden of the group? 

The most specific example I can muster is my senior year where I was completing my core business courses with a Business Information Systems Course.  The entire semester you were to work on a group project with a team.  I was placed in a group with two female basketball players and the star men's basketball player.  We were supposed to place everything on a team issued jump drive that the teacher had labeled as if it were some kind of experiment on how to take care of this flash drive.  The flash drive was lost at some point along with some workpapers and the teacher decided to punish the group entirely.  When work was done it was done incorrectly, one of the team members struggled to read PowerPoint's feed to them.  We also had a group test where one of the team members was caught cheating.  It was a disaster.  The teacher said he was giving the group a B- for the year and I flipped.  He immediately threw out the "real world" meme to which I emphatically squashed.  I had internships and a job offer at this point and said that you can see what I am working with.  He didn't care.

College's don't get it.  Not all kids in college are created equal and people should be doing their own work far more often.  Students should also be graded on an individual basis at all times.  And in the "real world" chances are you are going to have better team members especially in a smaller setting where there is no place to hide.  If people don't pull their weight in the corporate world they are fired, or at least prevented from rising in the company. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Card Subject to Change*

You frequently see this when you look at concert lineups and wresting/boxing/mma cards.  Sometimes things happen and people are unable to perform.  Usually its understandable and the booker of the event will attempt to alleviate the disappointment by having someone else fill in.

Yesterday I attended Ozzfest in Camden.  The weather was pretty bad at times with heavy rain and the threat of thunder storms.  Still my friends and I did not care about getting soaked.  We were attending Ozzfest for one reason and it was to see Black Label Society.  Unfortunately as Black Label Society was due to close the Second Stage (outdoors, not in amphitheater) the weather worsened.  People were told to take cover and that Black Label Society would open the Main Stage.  Except after waiting about 45 minutes to an hour, Black Label Society did not perform.  No formal announcement was made.  Conflicting information was provided by roadies.  Apparently the rain had damaged some of their equipment. The band we were dying to see didn't perform, not even for a couple of songs.  Nothing was done for the customer.

Today, I find out (unconfirmed) that BLS was prepared to play with borrowed equipment but Live Nation had a schedule to stick to.  Obviously the day was a disappointment and all we got were soaked clothes and a shitty performance by Rob Halford. I'm not sure who to blame but the customers were fucked over.

Live Nation is surely to be blamed for another issue though. Parking was advertised to be free.  It was the usual $25 cash grab. They are supposed to be issuing refunds now but I'm skeptical. I certainly won't be going out of my way to attend any concerts at the Susquehanna Bank Center anytime soon. Overall Ozzfest was poorly organized and I'd say it was my last one if I wasn't so sure it was officially dead anyways.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Here We Go Again

It has not been long since I finished my post regarding the crap factory that is Hollywood in 2010. I just saw a commercial for a new horror movie called The Last Exorcism...yes, really. A new low. What shmuck would pay to go see that? This movie does not have a shred of an original idea to it. It's the same damn thing as the original Exorcist film and all of it's bogus sequels and knockoffs such as the Exorcism of Emily Rose. What a joke.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two Big Holdouts, One Big Similarity

Football is making its way back into the mix of our everyday lives, and with it comes the inevitable story of The Big Holdout. For years, training camp holdouts have been as much a part of August as two-a-days. Some holdouts can go down in history as blips on the radar screen and do nothing to derail the long-term success of the team and player (i.e. Emmitt Smith, 1993). Other holdouts can cripple a player's development and turn out to be little more than a supremely expensive punchline for the team (i.e. JaMarcus Russell, 2007). There seems to be one high-profile holdout each year that gets the lion's share of media attention and controversy. Last year it was Michael Crabtree holding the 49ers hostage until October, and this year it's Darrelle Revis all but telling the Jets to feel free to give out his #24 to someone else this year if he doesn't get every last dime.

So what's strikingly similar about these two scenarios? On the surface, nothing. Crabtree was a rookie wide receiver dealing with an NFC team on the west coast. Revis is a 4th-year cornerback dealing with an AFC team on the east coast. But both holdouts were essentially done as a reaction to a previous decision/contract struck by a totally uninvolved third party - the Oakland Raiders. Crabtree was widely thought to be the best receiver in the 2009 draft, yet Oakland infamously drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey #7 overall, dropping Crabtree down to San Francisco at #10. The ensuing holdout was based on the belief that Crabtree deserved to be paid as if he were taken higher than tenth, since he was clearly a better overall package at his position than Heyward-Bey (who has yet to show himself to be more than a track star in shoulder pads). Revis, who in 2009 staked his claim as the best corner in the game (a title that seems to change hands every 18 months, but we'll tackle that topic another day), grew envious of the fact that Oakland was paying Nnamdi Asomugha an average of $15 million a year. One thing has led to another, the rift between the Revis camp and Jets ownership has been allowed to fester for the entire off-season, and now the holdout has gotten bigger than Rex Ryan's mouth (and his gut).

It's very easy to mock the Raiders for throwing their money around the way they do, and to blame all these holdouts on them. I'm going to go in a different direction here. The Raiders are allowed to do whatever they want (within the rules, of course) in order to build a winning team. So what should they really care how the rest of the league is going to react to them making a questionable high draft pick or giving a cornerback (albeit their best player) the kind of money that HOF-bound quarterbacks make? Neither the Jets, nor the 49ers, nor any of the other 29 teams are the Raiders' problem. The problem is the copycat nature of the NFL. On the field and off of it, teams are constantly basing how they do things off of how everyone else does them. If one team wins with the Cover Two, the Wildcat, or the two-back system, then the whole league has their own version of it within a month. If you're a high draft pick, your contract does not get done until the deal of someone drafted in a slot close to yours is signed, thus giving your agent and your team something "to use as a guideline." Same thing goes if you're a free agent - whatever your deal is, it's going to be based off of whatever a player of similar caliber received recently.

It's probably asking too much, but what I want is for people to stop being so obsessed with using the whole rest of the league as a measuring stick. I know it's just natural competitiveness and a desire to earn what you are supposedly worth, but to me the whole NFL in recent years has begun to take on the form of 1980s yuppies comparing business cards. Whatever happened to having your own idea of what constitutes a legitimate salary, and not being preoccupied with the goings-on of all the other teams? I know it's probably a lost ideal of long-ago, but a man can dream can't he?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

This Needs A Title

It appears my anti-Hollywood sentiment is shared by the others in high places. This past weekend, the wall street journal ran an article that made the case for 2010 to be crowned the worst year in movie history. Russel Crowe's Robin Hood was inhumanely dull and lifeless. My lambasting of Robin Hood is well deserved. Hollywood is making remakes of remakes for goodness sake. How many more freddy Kruger movies must we endure. Movies have gone the way of baseball cards, they are being destroyed by mass production. Slap together a cast of no-talent tabloid fodder stars with a shoddy script and predictable premise and you have yourself a 2010 movie. Where have you gone Steven Spielberg?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ok, Burn the Newspapers

About 5 years ago I was a staunch defender of the newspapers.  I had read them from a very young age and was sad to see them in decline.  Over the last few years I have had the pitchfork and torch out.  There are several reasons for this which I will get into in future posts.  For now I will focus on the beat writers and game columns.

One of the philosophies of the newspapers that I don't understand is to be non partisan.  In local newspapers it seems to be taboo to put real emotions into your work.  Sportswriters are not fans.  Most of them are simply moving from city to city trying to get the most exposure and most money.  They are more concerned with playing wordsmith and distancing themselves from showing the emotion of fans.

Dave Kindred explains sportswriters. "Lord knows there is nothing wrong with being a fan. I love sports.  Without the painted face people, I'd be writing ad copy. But have I ever been a sports fan?  A fan of reporting, yes. Of journalism, of newspapers, of reading and writing, you bet. I am a fan of sports, which is different than being a sports fan. I have never cared who wins. We don't care what happens as long as there is a story."
At least Kindred has the decency to separate himself from us by stating it as fact. He gets it. It would be nice if those in his profession understood this as well.  It seems as if writers would rather scoff their noses at you, then take the fan's account serious.  I denounced blogs at their inception and defended newspapers.  I wrote off blogs like many people are still doing.  Claiming anyone can do it and why does their opinion matter, blah blah blah.  I was wrong.  Its comforting reading articles that delve into the emotion of sports fandom.  Reading a blog and surrounding yourself in a community that shares your same emotions makes for better writing and reading.  There is nothing fake about it. It goes well beneath the surface of what you will read in newspapers because they tap into the heart of the sports fan and what you go through with your team. When your a fan of the team and write anything about that team your going to work that much harder than a beat writer.

Brian Cook, the leader of,  works harder than any sports writer covering Michigan Football.  He reviews each play of each game to grade out the players, rather than the repeat the same tired lines you hear in the media. How many times do we here lazy stats like red zone efficiency, defensive points against, and returning starters that don't take into account that 7 does not equal 3, the offensive of your team, and strength of returning players and depth? Blogs can provide better answers to these questions instead of the same drivel you will read in main stream publications.  A major difference between sports fans/blogs and beats/game columns is that the newspapers take things at face value rather than pealing the onion and going deeper into the game.  When I read the newspaper the day after a game rarely does it provide me with any information I did not know from yesterday's game and it also fails to connect on a personal level.  It's boring.

Newspapers represent conventional wisdom and if there is anything you should take from this blog in general is that conventional wisdom is for asshats without an original idea. Ultimately newspapers will fail and people will vote with their clicks. Sportswriters should be afraid because in order to survive they will need to change the way sports have been written in newspapers for decades.

Words and Phrases That Should Be Stricken Part 1

There are words that I hear and cringe. Either because they are dumb, pc, or any other reason. Remove these words from your vocabulary and smite those that use them.

Manilla- as in manilla folder.

Jive- this isn't the 60s

Parity- a favorite word in college athletics among broadcasters

Little people- they are midgets

Chalet- Used to describe glorified tents.  Usually at golf events or corporate events.  Apparently if you use a french word people will things its fancy.

Administrative Assistant- Its a Secretary.  Stop dressing things up to be something else.  This can apply to any job really.  How many fake VPs are out there?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Defining an Upset

The word" upset" is thrown out quite frequently in sports.  The media loves to sell you on the story of something incredible happening.  Except that many of the upsets are far from upsets.  In fact I can recall several occasions where a team that Vegas had favored* won and it was called an upset.  I can also recall situations where a ranked team lost to and unranked team and it was called an upset.  Minimum standards for mentioning the word upset:

  • 7 1/2 point dog in college football.
Conference games must have double digit spreads.  Texas Tech beating Texas at home 08 is not an upset.  Stanford beating USC 07 in the Coliseum is the biggest upset of that year.

  • 14 1/2 point spreads or National Championship implications for bitter rivals.
Michigan beating Ohio State or vice versa can almost never be considered an upset. The hatred runs so deep in games such as this that anything is liable to happen, especially when you ignore other game preparations for the sole purpose of beating your rival.
  • Must be an NFL playoff game with a double digit spread. 
Giants over Pats in the Super Bowl qualifies. When there are 32 teams playing under a salary cap its hard to say that the bottom team has no chance at the top team on any given Sunday.
  • NBA Basketball #7 seed over a #2 seed. 
  • "Little guy" over storied program.
Even Butler over Duke would have qualified despite around a 7 point spread. Had it been UCLA over Duke with an 8 point spread then surely it wouldn't have had the upset flair.

Upsets do not exist in hockey in my opinion.  Pucks bounce funny, things are random and clunky at times.  You can outshot and outplay your opponents and still end up on the losing end.  Sure this happens in other sports as well but none so frequently as hockey and I am including soccer here.  Hockey good sport but I think this past NHL and NCAA seasons proved that "upsets" are far to common to be treated as such.

Soccer I generally believe the results are fair but shit happens here too and smash and grab victories can occur.  Football is the purest of the major sports to determines a victor.  If you compare yardage parity and 3rd down conversions you will generally find your winner.  Fluky turnovers can occur to swing a result but its far more unlikely than in other sports. Basketball can be more easily corrupted by officiating but it also typically has a deserved winner.

As you can see I did a poor job of explaining my point and deviated from the premise.  The overall point is that the word upset is thrown around all too much.  Please do not fall into the hype created by ESPN, and take some measures yourself to determine an upset.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Nonviolent Stick-Up - What Would You Ask For?

The home run ball is a souvenir unlike any other in sports. It's just so damn cool - a tightly wound sphere covered with stitched leather that was, for a brief moment in time, the focal point in a square-off between two of the world's most skilled throwers and hitters of the thing. Not to mention, if you snag one of those bad boys, it's practically free (we'll ignore the cost of your ticket). If even the run-of-the-mill home run ball is the shit, then you can easily imagine the hubbub over an historic or milestone home run ball. The guy who catches one of those ain't putting it in a plastic display case somewhere. No, that's because someone with a whole lot to offer - the player who hit it, the team, or the Hall of Fame - is going to make a pretty handsome barter with that lucky fan. Imagine catching one of those milestone home runs and having officials and representatives coming up to you, looking to make a deal. Pretty powerful feeling, huh? It's a nonviolent stick-up. You're Omar Little, but with a specially-numbered baseball instead of a shotgun.

I know, I know, I know, we're all sick of the A-Rod 600th home run stuff. I'm a Yankee fan and I'm sick of it (that being said, I wouldn't terribly mind if he hits it this Saturday against Boston, a game Kevin and I will be at). Rest assured that the matter of A-Rod's 600th homer is little more than a tangent to this post. One of our loyal blog readers (and one of my great friends in the world), a man who goes by the name of Tony, has a partial season ticket plan in the left field bleachers at Yankee Stadium. His seats give him a remote chance of catching a home run ball; it would have to be a real blast but he's down low enough in the bleachers that it's possible. One of the games on his plan was this past Monday night vs. Toronto, with Alex still sitting on 599. So, being a man who admittedly over-thinks everything (part of the reason we're such good friends), Tony had his Omar Little moment all figured out already, as he related to me in the following email on Tuesday morning:

As I was getting ready to go to the game last night, I started the usual getting way ahead of myself and planning what I'd ask for if Arod hit his 600 and i managed to get my hands on it.

Did we have this discussion before (after thinking about how i had to talk to you about it i vaguely remembered doing so)?

regardless i think this would be an interesting blog post for you if you were searching for ideas to put in the hopper

and just in case, my current slate of requests:

-4 tickets to the opening game of each round of the playoffs the yankees reach

-tickets to every home world series game
-authentic #36 jersey (maybe even request it be tailored to fit me like players jerseys are to an extent

-autographed ball by the entire team

-maybe 10 legends [Editor's Note: the absurdly priced, full-service seats behind the plate and dugouts] tickets to a game
-and my last definite was that my dad brother and i could play catch on the field (with the possibility of me pitching to and hitting off of my brother at that point)

OK, a few things. First, A-Rod is still at 599. Second, Tony's list of demands may rival Newman's list of demands when he had to go pick up daily calzones for George and Mr. Steinbrenner after George got himself banned from Paisano's (the only Youtube of the actual Newman scene was in another language, sorry). Third, he and I did discuss this topic before - last year we were at a game when Derek Jeter was in reach of the Yankees' career hit record and we were sitting in home run territory.

What I found interesting about this otherwise-mundane exchange was that none of Tony's would-be demands were huge in a monetary or logistical way. It would be really easy for the team to grant all of those requests, and it would cost them very little. I find it a far and refreshing cry from what usually happens with milestone home run balls. The 70th hit by Mark McGwire in 1998 was bought for $3 million by the guy who created the Spawn comics. A-Rod's 500th went to an auction house after the guy who caught it asked Rodriguez for a 6-figure sum. Fashion designer Mark Ecko dished out over $750k for #756 off the bat of Barry Bonds, and then went on to hold an online poll to decide what to do with it. That's better than the 71st home run Bonds hit in 2001, which ended up sparking a legal battle because two different men claimed to have caught it. Even in 1961, the man who caught Roger Maris's 61st sold it for a then-hefty $5,000, albeit only after Maris gave him the go-ahead.

Of course, the dwindling economy and steroid cloud will hurt the monetary value of any big home run that Rodriguez hits, but there's still a good sum to be made. I have to say if I was offered $100k for the ball by an auction house, I'd have a tough time saying no. But if that didn't happen, I'm a big fan of Tony's list because it gets the ball back to its rightful place and provides the lucky fan with a set of unforgettable experiences, some of which money may not even be able to buy.

So, to our readers, the floor is yours. What would you ask for if you caught a milestone homer?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Symbol of Our Love?

Before I move forward with this post,let me say that is one small step for a man, but one giant leap for blogkind as this is my first post from my iPhone. This is big for me because I am unable to blog from my place of business. I recently overheard a concersrion between two women about the cost of their friends engagement ring. In this particular case, some poor sap dropped $12,000 on his fiancĂ©es ring. What an abysmal waste of money. You can't live in a wedding ring, nor can you drive it, eat it, walk it, play sports with it,make phone calls with it, or use it in self defense. It's an inanimate object that only has value because women insist that the sucker they dupe into marrying them lay out ridiculous amounts of cash to prove they are committed. It's supposed to symbolize a couples love? Give me a break. It's a useless object. Think of All the better things couples could be spending their money on. Paying down a mortgage, saving for retirement, lavish vacations, clothes, anything that is at least more practical and fun. A ring is not fun. A woman wears it to keep other chumps away. What a ring on a woman's finger really says is that "I have a husband that has spent a lot of money and aggravation on me, and he would appreciate it if you would please stay the fuck away. Thank you". About a thousand bucks or so is all that should be required to get an adequate ring. It makes me particularly sick when people without the means go of the deep end price wise on a wedding ring. Why can't a healthy balance sheet and a nice house symbolize a couples love. Women cove these damn rings like that freaky gollom character from lord of the rings. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.