Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Allen Iverson Should Join the Rochester Lancers

You would think that the Rochester Lancers tattoo
means that
he already made his decision.

The Rochester Lancers have made a very public offer to Allen Iverson to play indoor soccer. Part of the reason why this has received so much attention is the easy opportunity to make AI puns. I don't have the answer to why every person with a blog or twitter feels this is necessary. Maybe they just need more practice writing.

This offer is extremely embarrassing for Allen. It draws more attention to his debt. He would be a publicity stunt, playing something he has never played before against professionals. If there's one thing that Iverson does, it's do what he wants. Appearance fees are standard, but appearance fees masked as a contract are not.

On the other hand, the team is willing to be extremely accomodating and has offered a significant amount of money. Despite having missed Monster Jam Thunder Nationals in Rochester by over a month, Allen Iverson should accept the contract for the following reasons:

1. The fans are going to love him. Rochester has been starved of a major 4 pro sports team since the Rochester Royals moved to Cincinnati in 1957. The fans recognize when something is worth going to: Strasburg starting at AAA was standing room only.

2. Indoor soccer is all the good parts of soccer without the bad parts. Goodbye, low scoring and limited substitutions. Hello, 2 pointers.

3. He would get to play with Rochester legend Doug Miller. Miller led the Rochester Rhinos to the 1999 US Open Cup title while winning the Open Cup MVP. The Rhinos are the only non-MLS team to win the Open Cup since the MLS began in 1996, defeating 4 MLS teams along the way. Doug Miller is also remembered for his signature move of taking off his shirt after scoring. Later on, he had to wear a pinny underneath to avoid being carded. Stevie Johnson attempted to honor Doug Miller this season by lifting up his jersey to reveal, "Happy New Year." Stevie recieved a 15 yard penalty for it.

4. He gets to live in Rochester. Unlike Buffalo, Rochester has nice hotels that the team will put him up in. Unlike Turkey, Rochester is in America. Garbage plates. Genny Light. American history. Birthplace of amateur photography. You're welcome.

5. The Lancers are a storied franchise. They won the NASL championship in 1970 before the New York Cosmos began a spending spree, signing Pele and Franz Beckenbauer among others, that led to the league's demise. Through a series of league mergers and realignment, the Rochester Lancers have seemlessly transitioned to indoor soccer.

6. The playoffs are starting next week. He's not even going to play.

7. Chad Ochocinco would pay for this type of publicity. No experience? No problem. Danger? Bring it on.

8. This would be a laugh with him, not laugh at him situation. Everyone knows that he needs the money and it's unfortunate that he has to resort to consider playing made-up sports that he's never played before. However, everyone wants to see him succeed. It's like when Billy Crystal pinch hit for the Yankees in Spring Training. A 60 year old Billy Crystal cannot compete against the best baseball players in the world, but everyone wanted to see him get a hit.

AI probably passes up the offer and no one talks about this offer again. However, if he sucks up his pride and accepts it, Rochester will support him like a 4 time NBA scoring champion doing something new, not a past-his-prime athlete trying to chip away at his debt.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I love Jeremy Lin as much as the next guy (although it still upsets me that if Chris Paul was a Laker, Jeremy Lin would still be playing for my Houston Rockets) and I don't think this is a fluke. Jeremy Lin is really really good. But we should keep our expectations reasonable, and remember that, no matter how good he may seem against NBA teams that haven't practiced in 3 months, I'd still take 15 other PGs over him. Don't believe me? Here's the list:

Derron Williams: because he's stuck in Jersey, people forget that he might be the most talented PG in the game. Size, strength, speed, inside game, 3 pt shot, court vision, and defense. He has it all.

Derrick Rose: quickest player from the 3 point line to the rim in the league. Not to mention he's one of the best finishers in the league. His fight-for-everything underdog mentality is at the heart of everything the Bulls do.

Chris Paul: no one better at orchestrating an offense. The definition of a pure PG

Russell Westbrook: Westbrook makes 2 or 3 plays a game that no other PG in the world could make. Rising star

Tony Parker: People forget he was an NBA finals MVP

Steve Nash: I don't care how old he is. Arguably the best shooter in the league, and if he's on your team, you're guaranteed to have a top 5 offense in the NBA.

Kyle Lowry: 16 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals is an average night for K-Low. Best defensive PG in the league.

Rajon Rondo - If only he could shoot the ball. Everything else is an A+.

Steph Curry - 17-7-4. I've always been shocked that everyone just forgot about Stephon once he got to the NBA. Maybe it's because he plays for the Warriors.

Kyrie Irving - Your rookie of the year. 19 ppg on 49% (that's higher than Tebow's completion percentage!) shooting and 44% from 3.

Rubio - You know about the passing, but he's also second in the league in steals. Lots of potential.

John Wall - stuck in a black hole, but he's still the fastest player from one basket to the other in the NBA. If only he had someone to pass the ball to.

Brandon Jennings - Only 22 years old, and averages 19 ppg. Doesn't always make the best decisions, but can fill it up with the best of them.

Jrue Holliday - The best player on the 20-13 Sixers. Could be a an even better socrer, but it spends the 3 quarters getting his teammates involved before taking over in the 4th.

Tyreke Evans - Maybe he doesn't like to pass the ball, but someone who averages 20-5-5 his rookie year has a long career in front of him

Kemba Walker, Brendan Knight, and Ty Lawson all could also have made the list.

So before we start demanding that Jeremy Lin wins championships or get disappointed when he doesn't average 25-11 for the rest of his career, let's try to keep things in perspective.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Promotion And Relegation

Well, our team got relegated, but at least you have a sick pair of sunglasses.
With just over one-third of the season remaining, the quest for the title of the Barclay's Premiere League has essentially become a three-horse race. Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur sit atop the tables with just 2 points between 1st and 2nd and 5 points between 2nd and 3rd.

More compelling, perhaps, is the race at the bottom. Wigan, Bolton, and Wolverhampton all sit in the relegation zone with 21, 20, and 19 points respectively. Two teams sit just above relegation, also with 21 points. Even Swansea City, as far up as 11th, might not be safe, with 30 points on the season. 

We'll never see promotion and relegation in the United States because the owners will never approve it. The risks are far too high. Being relegated means losing alarming amounts of money and often follows with partial or total dismantling of rosters. The rewards for teams in the top American leagues are essentially nil; there is nowhere to be promoted to.

Even so, there's a certain allure to the excitement of promotion and relegation. Imagine if the "Suck For Luck" campaign last season was instead morphed into "Don't Suck Because If You Do You'll Get Moved Into A Clearly Inferior League And Lose Millions Of Dollars." We sure would have seen less of Curtis Painter. Here's a look at what might have happened if, at the end of the last full season, American sports leagues turned to the European model.

Relegated: Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings

Promoted: British Columbia Lions (Canadian Football League), Geelong Football Club (Australian Football League), Los Angeles Temptation (Lingerie Football League)

Fallout: Devastated, Indianapolis trades away every single player on the roster, sending Payton Manning to the Seahawks in exchange for the Space Needle and Curtis Painter to the Miami Dolphins for a hug. Jared Allen vows to eat Roger Goodell, while the citizens of St. Louis take solace in the fact that they at least still have Albert Pujols before realizing that they don't, in fact, still have Albert Pujols. Meanwhile, the NFL manages to expand its international reach, as the league so desperately desires. Football finally gets its sex appeal, and the issue of an NFL team in L.A. is at last put to rest.

Relegated:Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers

Promoted: Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Kontinental Hockey League), Rubin Tyumen (Vysshaya Hokkeinaya Liga), Sheffield Steelers (Elite Ice Hockey League)

Fallout: The NHL now has only 1 more team than is appropriate in Florida. Canadians riot, which Americans once again find hilarious because there is no such thing as pain in the magical land of Canada. 100,000 Avs fans show up at Tim Tebow's door and ask him to pray their team back into the league. With the influx of European teams, the number of Russians in the NHL stays exactly the same.

Relegated: Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors

Promoted: Panathinaikos (Euroleague), Guangdong Southern Tigers (Chinese Basketball Association), UniCEUB/BRB/Brasilia (Liga Sudamericana)

Fallout: Minnesota loses its 2nd professional team in a span of just a few weeks. All "industry" in Cleveland collapses; the NBA finally manages to get rid if its lone, nonsensical Canadian team. Canadians riot, which Americans once again find hilarious because there is no such thing as pain in the magical land of Canada. The quality of play in the NBA actually improves.

Relegated: Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners

Promoted: Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (Nippon Professional Baseball), Tigres de Quintana Roo (Liga Mexicana de Beisbol), Leones del Escogido (Dominical Republic Professional Baseball League)

Fallout: Minnesota is simply crushed. The brand new Target Stadium barely draws 1,000 people per game with the Twins out of the MLB. With only one team to root for, the Wild move all games into the Mall of America so the entire city can come watch. Houston's move to the American League is postponed on account of them being terrible. Seattle dismantles its team, trading Ichiro in a three-team deal involving the Indianapolis Colts in order to get the space needle back. Facing the possibility of a player strike on account of too much travel, Bud Selig does what any good MLB commissioner would do and locks the players out. The MLB finally returns in 2020, at which point a game that much more closely resembles Super Baseball has been created. Major League Baseball fails to restore its fanbase and folds in 2022.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trading Spaces

When I was in 6th grade, I was the tallest kid in my class, and was dominant on the basketball courts. I spent every practice working on post moves, pushing around smaller kids, and trying to dunk the basketball.

Then everyone else started growing up. I never grew any taller. My post moves stopped being effective. Reality set in. My athletic career was essentially obsolete.

Now, I can only dream of scoring touchdowns, hitting home runs, and making game winning 3 pointers. But if I'm just gonna make up fictional scenarios, why not just pretend I'm somebody else? Why not just switch lives with someone who's already done that?

Which leads us to the "Who would I most want to switch lives with" question.

The criteria for having a great life:
1) being one of the greatest of all time in your industry (both from an individual and team perspective)
2) being famous (the majority of society should know who you are)
3) dating/marrying someone that I would absolutely want to marry/date
4) money

There are two obvious answers: Jay-Z and Tom Brady. I don't even have to explain, so they are clearly in the top tier.

Let's see if there are any competitors. There are no correct answers. But there are stupid opinions.

(In no particular order)

1) David Beckham - Signed a $250 million contract. One of the greatest and most well-known players in the world's most popular sport. Two-time runner up for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award and took home the ESPY for best male soccer player in 2004. Also, he's married to Posh Spice.

2) Justin Timberlake - With his recent engagement, he might possibly be the top contender. From his time in 'N Sync, to his record label, to starring in The Social Network, Justin has had incredible success in a few different industries. He's also a golfer.

3) Cristiano Ronaldo - Does extremely well on the field and off the field. Money's definitely not an issue. Like Beckham, plays in the world's most popular sports, and is one of the few guys who is consistently scoring goals in that sport. The only issue? Every time I look in the mirror I'd be reminded how much of a douchebag I am.

4) Tiger Woods - Two years ago, he is clearly in the top tier. No question about it. Now, it's hard to get past the fact that he will forever have a tarnished legacy (despite the fact that what he did had nothing to do with golf). With that said, Tiger Woods is golf. He will become increasingly more popular once he starts winning again, and I'm sure he will find a new girl(s) soon enough.

5) Derek Jeter - Money, championships, women, clutch plays. All those are nice. But why Derek Jeter? Because he owns the greatest city in the world. It's one thing to be a famous. It's another thing to be a legend.

Honorable mention:
Brad Pitt - I just want to be Tyler Durden
Justin Bieber - lots of potential, but a lot of room for error
Michael Jordan - still on the cover of an NBA video game 15 years after retiring. Arguably the coolest athlete ever. But there's the whole "he's the biggest asshole of all time" and recent divorce thing, too.
Wayne Gretzky - possibly the most respected and most liked athlete of his time. Greatest hockey player ever.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Award Show

The NFL recently handed out its annual awards, with Aaron Rodgers claiming the MVP trophy in a landslide and the rookie of the year honors going surprisingly (he said, with the utmost sarcasm) to the highest drafted offensive and defensive players.

Most Utterly Useless Statistic - The Patriots have never won a Super Bowl when when an "Idol" winner sings the anthem beforehand. Thanks for that gem, Fox Sports. If Americans wanted more tidbits like that, we'd have petitioned for Joe Buck to do the play-by-play.

Most Ridiculous Assumption - America's 60-40 split predicting a 4th straight year of "heads." Really would have expected a closer vote...

"Biggest" Referee Disappointment - John Parry will be tonight's official, robbing the world of a chance to marvel at Ed Hochuli's alarmingly enormous biceps and hilariously thorough explanations.

Most Likely Nip-Slip - "Big Daddy" Vince Wilfork

Most Outrageous Prop Bet - "Will Madonna wear a hat at any point during the Super Bowl Halftime Show?" Man, people will bet on anything.

Most Exciting News For People Who Want To Watch The Super Bowl Alone - You can stream it now!

 Of course, a pre-Super Bowl post wouldn't be complete without the Sports Casual endorsed pick. So here it goes:

In the second quarter, a distraught and deranged Richard Seymour emerges from the stands and bloodies up Eli Manning, knocking him out of the game and bringing David "Broken Down" Carr to his first game action since joking about how parachute pants are no longer "in" was, in fact, "in." But Giants fans get a break when Tom Terrific sees his reflection in the locker room jacuzzi during halftime and nearly drowns trying to kiss himself. The 2nd half becomes a battle of backups, and after Hoyer and Carr produce the most boring quarter and a half of football we've ever seen, Julian Edelman intercepts Carr and then fills in for Hoyer. During an emotional Bill Belichick speech, Chad Ochocinco has to correct him when he starts to talk about "perfection," but the Patirots do indeed "go to work," running a Fake 23 Blast with a Backside George Reverse for an 80-yard TD as time expires.

Final Score: Patriots 27, Giants 24. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Super Bowl Additions

It's the last football game of the year, and I want to see a quality matchup. I want to see star performances. I want to see tremendous plays. I want to see the best game of the year.

I don't want to see players I've never heard of. I don't want to see wide receivers guarding Hakeem Nicks. I don't want to see missed tackles, dropped passes, blown coverages, or anything that might resemble the play we usually see on this field.

So how do we fix this? We throw a new rule into the mix.

What if both Super Bowl teams could add one player from their entire conference to their team just for the Super Bowl? One player, one game contract. Two weeks to learn the system (or at least a few plays). Who would they choose?

Let's go through some options.

  1. Jonathan Joseph - I couldn't choose Revis here, because there is the slight chance the Jet could throw the game when they needed him most. Champ Bailey is a little old and a little overrated. Jonathan Joseph, on the other hand, made the pro bowl this year and was one of the key reasons why Houston turned a historically atrocious defense into one of the league's best. My only concerns with this selection is a) he can't guard all 3 receivers of the Giants, so why bother b) he would limit the schemes they could throw at them and c) well, he's a former Bengal. How's that worked out?
  2. Mike Wallace - Is this necessary? Not really. And with the Giants pass rush, the deep ball may be a non-factor. But I've wanted to see what a vertical dimension would do to this Patriots team all year. Welker underneath, the Tight Ends in the middle of the field, and Mike Wallace over the top. Not to mention, the QB's pretty good. I don't know if they could resist.
  3. Dwight Freeney - My selection. He knows this stadium. The home crowd would definitely side with him. He's arguably the best pass rusher in the game. Has played in a Super Bowl before. Great character guy, who would fit in with the Pats. The only issue is the 3-4 defense, but I don't think a "Super Bowl Addition" is expected to play much anyways. They only have 2 weeks to prepare. Eli makes a living on converting 3rd and longs. Dwight could help prevent that.
Honorable Mention: Terrell Suggs, Mo-Jo, Ray Lewis (moral support), Tim Tebow (God support), Antonio Gates (just so they can run 4 verticals from a goal line formation), Peyton Manning (to prevent his brother from getting another ring)

  1. Cam Newton - The Giants have less needs than the Patriots, so why not bring in a "goal-line back"? I like Brandon Jacobs, but having Cam on 3rd and shorts adds an extra blocker. And the deep ball threat. And a TD machine.
  2. Patrick Willis - My pick. If he's able to matchup with Gronkowski, this pick could end the game. Patrick is deceptively fast, and one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL. Great addition to one of their weaker positions.
  3. Charles Woodson - Maybe he's a little slow. Maybe he's a little old. But the guys makes plays when it matters most. One of the smartest corners around, he's the type of player who could make Brady hesitate in the pocket, and allow that pass rush to have an extra second or two.
Honorable Mention: Vernon Davis, David Akers, Larry Fitzgerald, DeMarcus Ware, Justin Smith (as if there pass rush wasn't good enough already)