• Michael D., Manchester: "Here's an article from the Worcester Telegram about UConn's refusal to play Holy Cross in this years Coaches v. Cancer Tournament. I'm not sure whether this is a testament to the quality of HC's program or an example of Jim Calhoun's win at all costs mentality. As a Holy Cross alum, and a life long UConn fan/current grad student I'm torn."
• Jeremy A., Redondo Beach: "Really funny spoof video of Friday Night Lights that some of my friends did. This video got the director a job at Will Ferrell's Funny or Die.
• Luke in Chicago: "Were you trying to revive the ghost of Sam Malone in your column about home fans booing? Although the whole clip is classic, the first 25 seconds fit in perfectly with your latest magazine article.
• Joe S. in Madison, WI: I'm sure you've read this Greg Garber story already, but I thought it was an excellent insight on the "Spy-gate" story:
• Jon B. in Indy: "Check out this review of Karate Kid III by Siskel & Ebert. I don't know what's better -- Ebert mistakenly referring to a Mr. Morito or Siskel's praise of Thomas Ian Griffith's delightfully bad performance as being so good it "almost saves the movie." High comedy indeed.
• Dan in Strongville: "From the current Zabka file -- check out this story. How does this guy not have any money left from his Oscar worthy portrayal of Johnny Lawrence?"
• My buddy JackO sent this along from Hartford: Details from the worst performance by a groom in the history of weddings.
• Steve T in Waukesha, WI: "As the father of a six year old daughter with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), stories like the one with Jason McElwain and this one can shed some light on what life is like for a child with autism. I think many of us, myself included, need to be reminded about simple, more important goals, such as "stay on the dotted line."
• Mike in San Fran: "Have you checked out Rajon Rondo's blog on Yardbarker yet? Apparently, he loves Ruth's Chris. Let's work on a jumper instead of a steak, Rajon."
• Tim H. in FLA: "Thanks for the shout out to the Miami Project. I am a college classmate of Marc Buoniconti and have been supporting the Miami Project for a number of years. The work that the researchers have done there is incredible -- they will beginning some human trials soon. I forwarded Marc the link to the Globe article and I will forward a link to your page as well. A number of us are getting together for an annual fundraiser at The Citadel in a couple of weeks. I woiuld appreciate it if you would include this link. Thanks!"
• Chris B. in Cranston, RI: "Just in case you are interested in buying KG's house and have $54 million kicking around ... "
Gundy is a MAN! (Sept. 25)
I find the still-developing Mike Gundy story fantastic on a number of levels, including ...
1. Even if Gundy overreacted to a fairly written column that just happened to be a little mean spirited, who wouldn't want to play for a coach who stuck up for his players like that? That may have been the greatest recruiting video of all-time. "MY NAME IS MIKE GUNDY AND I HAVE YOUR BACK! COME TO OKLAHOMA STATE!"
2. As Jesse in San Jose, Calif., pointed out, "Gundy's classic rant (particularly the "COME AFTER ME! I'M A MAN! I'M 40!" portion) reminded me of this also-classic Will Ferrell sketch. I was waiting for Gundy to shout "I DRIVE A DODGE STRATUS! PEOPLE ARE AFRAID OF ME!"
3. The fact that Oklahoma's biggest newspaper has such an elaborate Web site that there's a "The Tirade of Mike Gundy" special section, with video clips and everything. You know the Internet has made it when The Oklahoman looks like MSNBC.com.
4. Check out the Oklahoman's video interview with columnist Jenni Carlson (the one who was lambasted by the coach) and sports editor Mike Sherman, if only for the first few seconds When the interview gets going, Carlson starts speaking and Sherman inexplicably continues to stare into the camera. I watched this 10 times this morning. Fantastic. I also liked the fact that Jenni Carlson dresses like Meg White.
(Speaking of Meg, I can't link to anything about it, but I hope you're all following the ongoing story about her alleged sex tape that allegedly caused the White Stripes' 2007 Tour to be canceled. If I were her, I'd be more upset that people confused me for a girl in a sex tape who had a pot belly.)
Some other good links from the past few days, courtesy of the readers:
• Chris W. in the Bronx: "When Jessica Alba can't save your movie, your career might be in trouble. Note the many critics calling for Dane's head. Wonder what the MLB heads are thinking right now ... ?"
• I loved this ongoing story about Matt Geiger battling with his neighbors because he wants to build a helipad on his mansion. When Matt Geiger has a $20 million mansion and a helipad, it's the best argument for capitalism maybe ever.• Justin from Houston writes: "You predicted this once upon a time: It's a video of the Houston Light Rail's greatest 'hits.' You will be transfixed or your money back!"
• VJ from Philly: "Could OJ's insanity be blamed on concussions? Check out this Slate magazine piece."
• Phil B. in Alberta: "I just finished reading your comments on betting against the public trends. When I used to work at the parent company that runs Covers.com and Wagerline.com I used to keep track of these trends. It was amazing how many times you can make money just by betting against the heavy public favorite. The best site I found to track this info is the betting trends section of Sportsbook.com. It's the same idea as Wagerline.com but it tracks people betting real money rather than just free contests.
• Andrew W. in Andover, Md.: "Here's a really depressing story about Wayne Chrebet that's worth reading, especially with the Kevin Everett situation and former NFL players having trouble making ends meet due to disability. Even as a Pats fan, he's one of those players all fans can respect."
• Jared in Nashville, Tenn.: "I love these old PSAs from The Fonz. The lady in the first video is amazing and I'm not sure but I think everyone with the exception of John Ritter and Winkler has got to be on a sexual offenders registry somewhere. Two things to watch for in the second video: (1) the Honk lady coming out of nowhere and (2) the best "awkward sex-ed song for a second grader performed by a serial killer" song ever.
• Matt in K.C.: "I toyed with complaining about how utterly ridiculous [the Chiefs'] play-calling is. Herm hates touchdowns. The Chiefs had 54 yards of total offense in the first half. I was wondering if God was playing Madden with Minnesota's defense. ... The main point of this e-mail, however, is to point out this article. Jason Whitlock has the inside scoop and shows that even though the coaches are oblivious, the Chiefs players are as pissed as I am."
• Stephen in San Diego: "My wife and I went clothes shopping for her this past weekend. We stopped in Old Navy and she picked out among other things to try on, a sweater that had the sleeves cut off at the forearm. It did not look bad on the mannequin so she tried it on. When she came out of the dressing room, the first thought that came to my head was "Bill Belichick" and I quickly told her "no way." Belichick is an amazing coach, but he should get extra credit for being known as the NFL's worst-dressed coach yet becoming the inspiration for the next women's fashion trend. Here is a link to the sweater on their Web site.
• Tyrel B. in Seattle: "Here's MuteMath performing a song in reverse on Kimmel. Amazing live."
• Duggan in Providence: "Why do wrestling fans get such a bad rap? Oh, wait ...
Links for the weekend (Sept. 20)
• Check out Vanity Fair's feature about the media changing their tune on Al Gore since the 2000 Election. I don't think people realize how easy it is for writers (and now, bloggers) to affect the general opinion of somebody by playing up half-truths and unsubstantiated stories.
• Here's the iTunes link for all my podcasts. Posting it only because we keep getting e-mails from readers wondering when the podcasts will be available on iTunes. Remember, we're doing two a week during the NFL season -- one on Tuesdays, one on Thursdays.
• Heading into a potential 60-win season, I need a favorite Celtics blog and these guys are the leader in the clubhouse right now. Really good stuff in here. They need one more writer and someone to post links every day to push it to the next level.
• Peter King changed his tune in S.I. this week; now Eric Mangini is a snitch who broke the coaches' code. If there's a Boston fan and frustrated blogger out there, please keep track of all the writers and broadcasters who destroyed the Pats from 9/10 to 9/18 and then backed off that stance or did a 180 afterwards when A.) it became clear that this wasn't a six-year pattern of spying and cheating, and B.) other NFL teams were using similar methods to gain information (just wait until the story about a certain Dolphins linebacker comes out). I bet it's going to be a gigantic list. By the way, when the NFL releases the "We haven't found any other evidence against the Pats, our investigation is closed" statement in a few days, is there any doubt it will be glossed over in every pregame show and newspaper?
Some more links from the readers ...
Matt in Wilmington, NC: "No excuses for the readers now. Just in case they didn't see the sidebar in your column, FNL Season 1 can be watched in its entirety at nbc.com
Bill L. in Atlanta: "You'll probably get this link a million times, but since I also love Friday Night Lights, perhaps you could plug this website.
Patrick in Staten Island: "This is my friend's new website. It's just up and running, so it only has a few, but its rates some restrooms in bars/restaurants in our fine country, mostly ones from the NYC area though. Enjoy!
Matt in Denver: "Have you heard about the "don't taser me bro" guy who inmterrupted the John Kerry speech? Well, good news! You are his favorite sports writer! So much so that he stole a bunch of your jokes after pre-emptively defending himself for doing so! Awwwww. BFF alert for sure.
Kellie M. in Boston: "Have you seen these video-recording binoculars? I bought them for my dad for Father's Day, and on a trip to Mexico this summer he got some quality close-up video of my sister and brother parasailing, at least 300-yards off the beach. Are you telling me that there's nobody out there in the NFL (or sports in general) using a pair of those for 'advanced scouting?'"
Daniel H. in Marietta: "Look, you can finally run your own TV network. I think you and Sports Gal should go head to head (like with your NFL picks) so that she can kick your ass in this too."
Rick in Scottsadale: "Have you seen this video? It's strangely hypnotic to watch a guy hurl waffle balls that break 12-14 inches."
Neal F. in LA: "Have you checked out either of the two weekly columns that your new colleague, Bill Parcells has written? He's not going to win any awards for writing ability, but talk about a guy whose opinions about the NFL you can take seriously! His article about how suspensions and injuries actually can help a team because they effectively allow a team to expand beyond the 53 man roster was enlightening. This is the kind of stuff that The Worldwide Leader should be giving us more of, rather than tirades about the evils of CameraGate."
Craig H. in Portland: "I just thought I'd let the Sports Gal know about the ending of Reunion ... my girfriend and I watched it pretty religiously (more like she really loved it and I was present), and were heartbroken when it was canceled. However, the writers of the show left a hint for the faithful as to who the killer was: Sam's daughter she gave up for adoption. Here's an article about it.
The Juice, O.J. and more (Sept. 18)
For anyone who wants to recommend a link, please put "LINKS" in the subject heading of the e-mail so we can find it more quickly. Here are some good ones from the past few days:
• I enjoyed Best Week Ever's comparison of O.J. Simpson's 1994 mug shot with the 2007 mug shot. Good ammunition for every Barry Bonds defender who claims that his head increased in size because of age.
• David P in New York pleads, "Please link to this video of Adalius Thomas' interception. It's just awesome. If you look, in the first 10 or 20 yards he increases his lead over the two WRs chasing him. I'm speechless."
• Remember "Karate Kid III" villain Mike Barnes? Well, the guy who played him was arrested for a DUI last week. No word if Thomas Ian Griffith bailed him out.
• From Cory in Memphis recommends the outtakes from "The Best of Charley Steiner" DVD that's out now. OK, it's not out. But it could have been just for the deleted scenes.
• I enjoyed Best Week Ever's comparison of O.J. Simpson's 1994 mug shot with the 2007 mug shot. Good ammunition for every Barry Bonds defender who claims that his head increased in size because of age.
• David P. in New York pleads, "Please link to this video of Adalius Thomas' interception. It's just awesome. If you look, in the first 10 or 20 yards he increases his lead over the two WRs chasing him. I'm speechless."
• Remember Karate Kid III villain Mike Barnes? Well, the guy who played him was arrested for an alleged DUI last week. No word if Thomas Ian Griffith bailed him out.
• From Cory in Memphis, Tenn., recommends the outtakes from "The Best of Charley Steiner" DVD that's out now. OK, it's not out. But it could have been just for the deleted scenes.
• We linked to this late last week, but Dr. Z wrote a really good column about cheating for SI.com. Although it was funny to hear him call someone else "smug" and "arrogant."
• From Matt W. in Indy: "This link that shows which NFL games are being broadcasted in each market and who has the doubleheader. Definitely helps fans who aren't in their teams market.
• A reader named Jess N. in Texas was upset that I implied that Tony Dungy could be considered a better person than Bill Belichick because he's never cheated at football: "No, Dungy has probably never cheated at football. But Belichick has never come out in support of a ban on gay marriage. Belichick has never raised money for and spoken in front of a rabidly anti-gay group that not only opposes gay marriage, but also gay adoption. And Belichick has never said that being against gay marriage means you're on "the Lord's side." What Belichick does is use his position to help Jim Brown's Amer-I-Can group. Dungy a better man than Belichick? Hardly."
• From JR in Oregon: "Isn't this the kiss of death? Could you take legal action against a Web site for comparing you to Vin Baker? Would the Hollywood equivalent be comparing a up-and-coming actor to a young Andy Dick? So many questions ... "
• Multiple readers pointed this out: When I poked fun at Nemo's "A, 2, D" e-mail in last Friday's column, Nemo was apparently referencing a quote from Buzz in "Home Alone 2." Let's just say that movie isn't in my rotation.
• From Tom in Superior, Wis.: "Here's an Ali roast from 1975 that includes Wilt Chamberlain, Freddie Prinz [Sr.] and the man who once played Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Crystal."
• From Owen in Bethelem, Pa. : "The ESPN.com article about the Pirates firing their GM mentions that 'Littlefield's failure to protect some top prospects and keep marginal ones led the Pirates to lose five of the top six picks in the 2005 winter-meeting draft, resulting in audible laughter in the New Orleans hotel meeting room.'
"Audible laughter"?! The GMs actually laughed out loud at him? Grown men laughed at him, like it was a loser at your fantasy draft? Did they make the 'We got his money, right?' joke? How did he keep the job for two years after that? Why do I root for this team? How can they just throw that out there at the end of the article and not explain it? I'm actually feeling some emotion for the Pirates right now (beyond pity). That might be a good thing, even if it is rage. How is a Priates fan supposed to respond to the news that their GM was literally the laughingstock of the league ... and kept his job for two more years?"
• Here's a montage of the Pats dynasty framed by Al Pacino's "Any Given Sunday" speech. It has a couple of swears in it, so we couldn't make it the "Found on You Tube" clip of the day. But if you're a Pats fan, you'll enjoy this.
• Couldn't agree more with Brian in Brooklyn, N.Y.: "You MUST read Gary Smith's feature of Miami's new head football coach Randy Shannon. I read it on the train home from work the other night and my jaw was literally on the floor. Just an amazing piece of writing, you will really enjoy it." • On behalf of everyone who loved the "Match Game" in the '70s: So long, Brett Somers. Interesting that she passed within a year of Charles Nelson Reilly.
• Michael M. in Florida wonders: "Why is nobody talking about the fact that, last year, the Dolphins admitted to knowing exactly what Tom Brady was calling during a 21-0 victory? As much as I want to see the Patriots lose, I don't really think it is fair that they are getting picked on for this so much."
• From Cam in Toronto: "WNBA humour rarely disappoints." I liked that he threw the "u" in "humour." Canadians are fun that way.
• John from North Attleboro, Mass., sends along one of the most underappreciated and forgotten great moments in Red Sox history: Tom Brunansky's diving catch to clinch the A.L. East in 1990.
• Vince from Medford, Ore., points out that Boston wants more cowbell ... literally.
• Speaking of Boston, it looks like the state of Massachusetts is pulling out all the stops in an attempt to lure me back home. Check out Gov. Deval Patrick's plan to build not one, not two, but THREE casinos in the state. This looks too good to be true. I'm not getting excited about it yet.
• Tyler L. from Brooklyn sent a link that clears up a mistake I made in Friday's column, although I still think the announcers should have cleared this up for everyone watching that Cards-Niners game and wondering why the Arizona safety didn't just knock the ball out of the end zone. Here's what the Arizona Republic said about it.
"Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating, contacted the team Thursday and referred everyone to Rule 12, Section 1, Article 8, Subsection B of the rule book. In the end zone it is illegal to intentionally bat a loose ball in any direction (in the field of play, it is illegal to intentionally bat a loose ball forward). If [Eric] Green would have batted the ball out of the end zone, a penalty would have been called. The 49ers would have maintained possession, and a half-the-distance penalty would have been enforced."
• Finally, Alex Hart in Medford writes, "If you're looking for another underrated football story receiving no attention due to boring CameraGate, what about George Martin walking all the way from New York to the Golden Gate Bridge to raise money for the rescue workers on 9/11. You can reach his Web site at ajourneyfor911.info. This is the sort of stuff people should be publicizing more."
Dave Anderson farewell (Sept. 17)
One of the great sports columnists is retiring: Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Anderson of the New York Times. Check out the link to his Dick Howser column for Anderson at his absolute peak. And if you want to read a collection of his columns, find a used bookstore or book Web site for the 1979 collection, "Sports of Our Times."
The Pats and cheating (Sept. 12)
Three links for everyone mourning CameraGate back home:
1. In this Eagle-Tribune column, Jason Varitek pleads with Sox fans to stop booing J.D. Drew. This actually made me feel bad for about two minutes. Then I went back to booing him from 3,000 miles away.
2. Over the next few days, check out the post-CameraGate reactions from our friends at Patriots Daily. I highly recommend this blog.
State of the SG Union (Sept. 11)
For 364 days a year, I feel like I have one of the greatest jobs on the planet. For the 365th day, I feel like I'm wasting my life and doing something dumb. This is Day 365. I don't need to explain why. Like everyone else, I had to go to work, so I'm going to work. Life goes on. Even on a sad day like today.
Anyway, I feel obligated to explain the revamped Sports Guy World page. Some things you should know:
2. I've never tried a Heineken Draught Keg, but it sounds delicious.
3. We're using a picture for me on the top of the page that's five and a half years old. I know. It's ridiculous. At this point, I want to see how many years I can get out of the picture. It's the
4. We started a "Found on You Tube" section that runs on the bottom right of the page. We'll be changing the clip 4-5 days per week, and there won't be an archive for the clips, so if you end up missing a day, you'll have to live with that "What did I miss?" feeling for the rest of your life. We're keeping the KG interview up there for one more day because it's that good.
5. I'm still writing my weekly NFL column for Page 2 (runs every Friday) and my column for ESPN the Magazine (runs every other week, usually on Wednesdays). I'm also scheduled for a shorter podcast on Tuesdays (going through the weekly NFL lines with Cousin Sal) and a longer podcast on Thursdays (although that schedule could vary depending on the week and the availability of the guest). Other than that, everything is up in the air. We structured the SGW Page so that I have a ton of flexibility from week to week -- if I want to write a Wednesday column and a Friday column and that's it, I can do that. If I want to write a Friday column and a slew of shorter blog posts, I can do that. It really depends on what's going on in the sports world and the quality of the coffee I'm drinking for that particular week. As long as I have Dunkin' Donuts coffee in the house (and there's 10 bags in our kitchen right now), we should be good to go. But again, you never know from week to week.
To that end, we built three separate blogs within the site:
A. The Basketball Blog
Works the same as last spring when I was updating throughout the NCAA and NBA playoffs. Posts could be 300 words or 2,000 words, depending on the subject. For instance, if we had the SGW site running during the FIBA Championships, I probably would have made a couple of 400-word posts about how ridiculous it was that we were supposed to be impressed that our American All-Stars were crushing all these crappy teams, and how it's going to be completely different next summer when everyone sends their best guys, and how stupid it was that they left Kevin Durant off this team.
B. The Boston Blog
I'm sticking all of my Boston-related thoughts right here -- could be as much as 2000 words, could be as little as 300, depending on the topic. The Boston thing has always been tough because I'm supposed to be appealing to a national audience, so every time I write about a Boston team, I have to broaden my thoughts a little for everyone outside New England. Not anymore. If you don't give a crap about Boston, that's fine. I won't take it personally. Just don't click on the link. For everyone back home, this is the place where I can complain about J.D. Drew and write 300 words about how ridiculous the Dennis/Callahan "holdout" was. In fact, I might write about that this week.
C. The Links/Recommendations Blog
This one will operate most like a true blog -- every time I have a couple links I like, or a recommendation for a book or a TV show, or even a couple of iTunes songs I like, we're posting them here. We posted a big batch of summer links to start things off, but after that, it's going to be smaller/quicker posts.
For instance, if I had the links blog last week, I would have posted something about HBO's depressing new "Tell Me You Love Me" show and warned everyone about the graphic sex scenes which included some gravity-challenged testicles, a guy pleasuring himself and two old people getting it on. During my podcast with Adam Carolla last week, we discussed how to revamp the ratings system for shows with disturbing sex scenes; instead of showing broad categories right before the show like "N" (nudity) and "SC" (sexual content), they need to get more specific with categories like "GPH" (guy pleasuring himself) and "OPGIO" (old people getting it on) and even "GCT" (gravity-challenged testicles). Unfortunately, Carolla ended up getting too graphic and they had to cut the whole thing. That led to the following e-mail from Dan in Phoenix last night:
"After watching 'Tell Me You Love Me,' I'd just like to thank HBO for the traumatizing experience in HD."
See, that's why we needed a links/recommendations blog! I could have saved Dan in Phoenix from a traumatizing night.
Anyway, we're attempting this infrastructure for the next few months and seeing how it works. One potential obstacle needs to be mentioned: I'm doing more non-Web site stuff for the Worldwide Leader and more traveling for my magazine column, so there might be times when I have to disappear for a day or two. If that happens, we'll warn you ahead of time in the "Links & Recommendations" section so you're not reloading the page for two days and wondering if I've been kidnapped or went on a Bill Maas-like guns-and-drugs binge or something.
One more thing: There are two potential time ranges when we'll have something new up: Any Page 2 column will be posted in the noon-1 p.m. ET range (because that's when Page 2 gets updated); anything written for the SGW Page will be posted in the 3-4:30 p.m. ET range. You don't need to check during any other time range, although you should feel free to reload the page over and over again if you're bored.
So that's all you need to know for now. Wait, I have some fun links for you!
1. Luke in Boulder, Colo.: "Check out the highlights of Gus Johnson's Broncos-Bills call on Sunday. He brings Roscoe Parrish's punt return to a whole other level."
2. David L. in New York: "A friend of a friend has constructed a Web site based on your request that 'somebody create a Web site that features the recent history of NFL numbers against the spread.' It's called Sunday Strategy and it looks pretty detailed (seven-plus seasons of historical NFL data, with results against the spread and over/under for over 1,800 games.). Check it out at sundaystrategy.com.
3. Ryan in Chicago: "Check out Sam McGuffie, the guy is like running in fast forward. He apparently signed with Michigan for next year, 4.3 [40-yard dash] and a 41-inch vertical!"
4. Casey in San Antonio: "The Helmet Project was a good link, but I think this guy's site is MUCH, MUCH better. Post this one as well!"
5. Matt in Hartford, Conn.: "One of my largest frustrations in language is when I come across the use of the term 'decimation.' In popular language its used to describe some form of extreme defeat. It's actual origin is quite different. When a group of soldiers abandoned the army, uprose in an act of mutiny or simply failed in some military act, military leaders would line up the convicted and kill one out of every 10 as a form of punishment. The rest would usually be allowed to return. So technically decimating is to destroy one-tenth of a given unit. A big win would usually imply destroying greater than one-tenth of the opposition. In the instance of the Pats-Jets game, eleven-elevenths would be closer to the mark."
6. Zach K. in Minny: "Being 30 years old and a born-and-raised MN sports fan, all I can say is have fun. From 1998-2004, we arguably had two of the top 10 players in all of sports in Randy and KG and now you get to have both of them after they stepped into the Juvenation Machine this summer. I'll tell you this much -- I found this picture from one of Randy's rookie year TDs and it immediately became my wallpaper on the work PC. Enjoy what will be, while all of MN will continue to imagine what might have been."
7. Andrew in Washington, D.C.: "Need your opinion(s) on whether or not you feel the Patriots' season is tainted already after [Rodney] Harrison's HGH connection and the video-recording vs. the Jets. I am feeling twinges of shame and am curious to see if you are too. Between these developments and Randy Moss being so ridiculously awesome Sunday, I'm afraid we're prime candidates to become the most hated team in the NFL after being known as the team that did it right (teamwork, paycuts, sacrifice, work ethic) for the last five years. Thoughts?"
Here's my one thought: Let's see if the story is true before we start calling the Pats "cheaters." I sincerely doubt that Belichick -- one of the most prepared and logical coaches in the league -- would risk losing a draft choice so he could blatantly bastardize the sport by ordering a cameraman to tape the signals of an inferior Jets team. Not only does that seem too improbable, wouldn't it be extraordinarily easy to get caught if you were standing on one sideline with your camera suspiciously pointed right at the opposing coaches? You don't think you'd stand out? Besides, as Mike Nifong taught us, an accusation doesn't mean anything unless it's true.
Summer Links (Sept. 10)
Here are five links from the summer that you might have missed:
1. In late July, I did an extended interview about my favorite TV shows with Al Norton, a Boston writer who has an entertaining TV column called "Two Tivos to Paradise."
2. Last week, I appeared on Adam Carolla's radio show with Billy Zabka -- that's right, THE Billy Zabka -- and we broke down the "Karate Kid" like it was the Zapruder Film. Here are Part 1 and Part 2. Also, if you never saw the life-altering "Sweep the Leg" video that Zabka recently starred in and directed, check it out here.
3. All the disgruntled Rocco Baldelli fantasy owners need to read this. Then light themselves on fire.
4. I was never a big D.L. Hughley fan, and I'm not condoning what he said about the Rutgers women's basketball team, but I loved his attitude in this interview with the AV Club. We need more people with the balls to say, "Yeah, I said it. Here's why I said it. That's the way I feel. And if you don't like it, feel free to take a shot right back at me." I don't agree with what he said, but I agree with his right as an American to speak his mind. In America, in 2007, nobody is allowed to express a controversial opinion unless they're doing it anonymously on a message board. Then it's OK? That's free speech?
5. Following up from my podcast a few weeks ago with footballoutsiders.com creator Aaron Schatz, Aaron decided to figure out the worst RB seasons of all-time and the 2006 leaders for third-down drops. However, he steadfastly refuses to create the Adrian Wilson Index.
Here are the summer recommendations from readers, in order of when they were received:
Adam E. in New York: "A very young pre-anything Bill Murray interviews Johnny Unitas about his preferred carmaker. A very young Christopher Guest joins him for some sideline reporting before Super Bowl X. Completely surreal on so many levels."
Regina in Cal: "You know the 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas' ad campaign that all men hate? I did some investigating and basically the whole Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is made up of women. It explains a lot."
Joe in Vestal, N.Y.: "As a certified Red Sox Hater (actually the fans), this is very hard for me to do. Give the Sox fans their due. The reaction to the Autistic person singing the anthem is nothing short of fantastic. As the parent of a 13-year-old son with Autism, it is scenes like this that help us to keep up the fight for Autism Awareness. Please pass this clip on to your readers if you haven't already. Thanks."
Steve R. in Boston: "I honed my pranking skills as a freshman in the Mullady dorms at Holy Cross. I was in Chicago this [summer] and had a hand in the Cubs' sweep of the Astros. A few friends and I found out Houston was staying at the Westin Chicago and after boozing it up at a wedding reception for six hours -- and a few hours of after-partying -- we decided to prank call everyone on the Astros who had reserved a room under his actual name. It was so funny -- we were rolling around the hotel room laughing after waking each player up and almost convincing them to come down to the lobby to help their teammate who was locked in an elevator or getting sick in the lobby or getting sent back down to the minors. Evidently, the players told the media the next day, and we made the paper, AND they mentioned it on ESPN! Here's the Houston Chronicle article about it."
Donald R. in Boston: "As a fan of the late David Halberstam, I thought you would appreciate a link to one of the last pieces he wrote prior to his untimely death. A blistering analysis of the Bush presidency."
(Note from Simmons: As a former poly sci-major, I LOVED this piece. It almost made me want to break out my old Vietnam books.)
Jesse S. in Washington: "I thought I'd seen the best Youtube had to offer. I thought wrong. This stirring tribute to Milt Palacio will make you stand up and cheer even as you struggle not to vomit in your mouth."
Sean OB from parts unknown: "This old commercial for the Scotch n' Sirloin breaks the unintentional comedy scale. Rick Carlisle, Robert Parish and Bill Walton all arguing what food is better -- followed by Larry Bird starting the most awkward wave of all time. A classic."
Morgan in Upper Arlington, Ohio: "Here's a great link to an old Sports Illustrated with two of your boys rocking the cover. I was under the impression that if they ever touched, something would happen with space/time that would lead to the destruction of the universe as we know it. Guess not ... "
Tom in L.A.: "The countdown to Charles Oakley's autobiography is on!"
Aaron in Chicago: "How do you know your career is in a slow period? When Corey Feldman has to break it to you that you are not getting a cameo in the straight-to-video sequel to 'Lost Boys' and you start bawling. Welcome back Corey Haim, we missed you."
Mitch in Coral Gables, Fla.: This site is incredible for football buffs. It shows almost every helmet from almost every football team that ever set foot on the gridiron in Division III or higher. Of course, it includes The Cross (Patriot League), but it even includes my father's alma mater, little known Hampden-Sydney College (Farmville, Va.) of D-III's Old Dominion Athletic Conference. It even has XFL teams and goes right down to defunct Arena Football II helmets. It's the best site I've seen in a while. For fun, check out the original Florida State helmet with the 'now we would consider it patently offensive' Indian caricature on the side. This site is awesome!"
James Wu in Houston: "In your KG column, your pain-inducing mention of Houston's Game 6 loss to the '97 Jazz ended with: 'The Rockets won 57 games and came within two victories of the '97 Finals, losing to the Jazz for one reason: Rookie point guard Matt Maloney was absolutely eviscerated by John Stockton. This was like watching Frankie Williams get destroyed by Roddy Piper on Piper's Pit, only if it happened for six straight games over the course of two weeks. That's why they lost.' Well, they also lost because Karl Malone literally picked up Clyde Drexler and carried him nearly to half court on that play, while Barkley stood there watching instead of switching over to pick up the wide-open Stockton. What? Was Barkley frozen in shock that the refs didn't call the moving screen when they hadn't called a single one the entire series even though not one of the Jazz players knew how to set a screen without moving?"
Howard U. in New York: "The Boss may not be dead, but apparently his brain is pretty close to it. Although I'm an avid Yankees-hater (I'm originally from Seattle), I found this article quite depressing ... "
Damian in Toronto: "I don't know if you were a fan of the old 'Siskel & Ebert' show, but it's easily the best program of its kind, and one of my favorite shows growing up. They apparently just archived more than 5,000 of their reviews on streaming video. For a movie fan growing up in the '80s and '90s, it's hours of great TV and totally addictive viewing."
(Note: Check out how serious Ebert is during the Road House review. High comedy.)
Pete in Chicago: "No more than one hour after reading your summer mailbag where you wondered how they made those DirecTV ads, I read this story in the Tribune."
Josh from Brooklyn, N.Y.: "Did you see this article in the New York Times? As a fellow fan of 'The Wire,' you've gotta read this!"
Drew from parts unknown: "Check out this cool angle from the stands of Barry Bonds' 756th homer."
Kevin in San Francisco: "Prepare to recalibrate your unintentional comedy scale."
JT in Iowa City, Iowa: "Thought you would enjoy this extraordinarily in-depth review of the history of football in the video game world. It covers nearly every title ever released and talks about all they have contributed. Enjoy!"
Kevin S. in Reno, Nev.: "Check out this Robert Swift article. As a Sonics fan, I'm happy to see he's living in the weight room. The 120 hours getting tattoos and the exotic snake collection were surprises. I still like your bowl haircut idea, but the buzz cut and tats have him looking like a completely different guy."
Mrugesh in College Park, Md.: "Here's a very good Chris Benoit feature from the Washington Post, a must read!"
Tom in Cleveland: "I was pleasantly surprised to hear you say you thought Mark Price was one of the better guys of the Jordan era. Someone finally posted a great YouTube montage of him."
Tom V. in Portland: "You have referenced this many times: It's the most disturbing 'Very Special Episode' ever, Dudley and Arnold almost getting molested by Gordon Jump on 'Diff'rent Strokes.' "
Rob Meyers in Dallas: "I know the sports journalism world just loves this [Michael] Vick thing, and I'm naive to think the media would actually focus on something positive. That said, the Buffalo News article about J.P. Losman's 'Buffalo Lives' grassroots city beautification organization deserves some attention. This is a guy who truly cares about the community in which he plays and resides. A feel-good story about a good guy that shows MOST NFL players are not thugs and criminals, but upstanding citizens in their communities."
Reff in Roslindale, Mass.: "I know you'll appreciate this old Converse commercial -- the best part is when McHale puts the shoe on Isiah's head."
Tom in Superior, Wis.: "This is among the weirdest videos I have ever laid eyes on, and I've seen Shatner's 'Rocket Man' performance. It's Carl Douglas lip-synching, badly I might add, Carl Douglas' Greatest Hits on an insanely weird Dutch TV show."
Erik A. in Charlottesville, Va.: "So I'm watching the 'Grand Championship' finale of Season 3 of American Gladiators on ESPN Classic (featuring a ridiculous finale; see about the 6:15 mark of this video), at the beginning of the show, announcer Mike Adamle actually said the following words about 'contender' Mark Ortega: 'Let's go back to the first half of the season. Mark Ortega, the Southern California former prep football star running back, methodically sliced through the competition with his O.J. Simpson-like moves.'
"I am NOT making this up -- this was 1992, before O.J.'s downfall. Can you think of a statement in the past about a celebrity that could have possibly been more ironic given the outcome of that person's life? I say no."
From Kyle Jen in Lansing, Mich.: "Aaron Schatz has statistically validated the Ewing Theory potential of this year's Atlanta Falcons!"
Phil in Fresno, Calif.: "I am sure you have seen this picture of a fake Barry Bonds rookie card 1,000 times by now, but it never gets old."
Carl in Detroit: "An excellent article on how pathetic the attendance has been at the WNBA finals -- 5,000 showed up for the Finals no less; 4,000 of the tickets were free."
Patrick in Santa Monica, Calif. (via Portland, Ore.): "I couldn't agree more with your sleeper pick being the Falcons. I have been a Joey fan forever as I have been an Oregon fan since I was born. He finally has a system that works and there are absolutely NO expectations surrounding him for the first time. Plus he has a broader fan base than Vick; check out this link. Enjoy."
Ben in Atlanta: "You're going to LOVE Wes Welker in a Pats uniform! I'm a Texas Tech grad, just like Wes, and the guy is my favorite football player EVER. I'm glad to see you jumping on the bandwagon of one of the finest football players ever to play the game. Here's a highlight video of Welker's greatest college plays. Including his record-setting eighth punt return for TD. I promise, he will NEVER fair catch a punt, and he will NEVER drop a pass!"
Mike in Savin Hill: "I started recording a little bit early, and my friend and I make some dorky comments, but here's some footage from inside of the park of the top of the ninth inning of Clay Buchholz's no-hitter."
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His book "Now I Can Die In Peace" is available in paperback.