September 30, 2008

Can I Interest You in Some Kielbasa?

I just saw a commercial (or "advert," as the Brits might say) for the MLB playoffs, narrated by Angels center fielder Torii Hunter. I attempted to find the clip on YouTube for reference, but was unsuccessful, so here's the transcript (in a minute you'll see why I'm typing it):

The commercial begins with a shot of Hunter holding a laptop, and on the screen are graphics saying "The Halo Effect, Posted by Hunter 48" (it is clear at this point that we're seeing what is supposed to be a Torii Hunter blog entry)

At this point, Torii says: "We're not about earning points for good behavior."

Then, an announcer's voice comes in over a highlight: "Oh my goodness, what a play!"

Torii: "We're about scoring runs."

Announcer (speaking over a shot of Angels 1B Mark Teixeira): "Salami time!"

There's more to the commercial, but let's just stop right here, because I know I did a double-take at this point.

Just so we're clear, I know as well as anybody that the term "grand slam" is sometimes morphed to "grand salami," apparently because even something that happens as rarely as a bases loaded home run must be augmented to give a shout out to salted and cured meat.

Even so, this use of the announcer's call "Salami time!" struck me as decidedly odd. Sure, you can easily decipher what it means in baseball terms, but you also have to consider the broader context, and where I come from, "Salami time!" can mean two things: 1) that you've just ordered the meat and cheese plate at your favorite Italian restaurant, or 2) you're a teammate of Charles Haley on the late 1980's and early 1990's San Francisco 49ers.

What I'm left to wonder here is whether or not the person who put together the script for this commercial considered the double meaning of "salami time," or if I am indeed the only a-hole juvenile enough to immediately consider the more anatomical interpretation.

I would like to think that the producer of the commercial was in on the joke, but in a world where I routinely hear on-air phrases like "that's the deepest penetration the Jets have enjoyed all day," I just don't know what to believe anymore.

Sometimes I think that we're losing our ear for innuendo altogether. But fear not: Any time an announcer cries out the words "Salami time!" into the night, I will be here, ever vigilant, to point out the undeniable truth: that he basically just said "Penis."

September 29, 2008

Here's Johnny

Bruce the Intern dug up this grainy video footage of what appears to be Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon taking part in an exciting and somewhat unusual offseason endeavor. I for one had no idea he was such a talented and empassioned dancer. Please note the breakout just before the 2-minute mark. Bravo, Monsieur Damon. Bravo!

Would You Mind Chopping Off This Ligament For Me?

In baseball, it has become something resembling a rite of passage: Blow out your elbow, visit Dr. Andrews, go under the knife, rehab, and come back throwing harder than ever before.

Have you had your Tommy John surgery today?

Though it's commonplace in the world of baseball, ligament replacement surgery has not been prevalent in two other sports that prominently feature throwing: football and dagger toss. But while dagger toss has continued to be a largely surgery-free sport (aside from those random instances when a dagger misses the target and hits a bystander in the gut), it appears that the Tommy John phenomenon could be on the cusp of breaking through to the NFL.

Unless I'm forgetting someone (and research indicates that I'm too lazy to check), the real pioneer in this regard was Panthers QB Jake Delhomme, who had ligament replacement surgery last year, and has come back to throw for 860 yards through Carolina's first four games. Now, there are rumors that Cincy QB Carson Palmer may need to have his elbow ligament replaced as well, which has led to reports that a certain fantasy GM (read: me) recently threw his desk through the third-floor window of a Manhattan apartment building.

Regardless of whether or not those Palmer rumors are true, it's not hard to envision a day when having a new ligament is the norm rather than the exception in the NFL. It's also not hard to picture some knucklehead tearing up his elbow in a recreational baseball or softball match and opting to have T.J. surgery so as to continue his recreational sporting career.

I am here to tell you that with your support, I would like to be that knucklehead.

I am 100 percent willing to go under the knife and perform the necessary rehab if it adds 5 mph to my fastball and 10-15 yards to my deep ball (not to mention adding one more notch to my dagger-tossing prowess). Shouldn't every half-serious recreational athlete feel the same way? And for that matter, shouldn't every flacid-armed QB in the league (Chad Pennington, par exemple) be hoping for a ligament eruption so that with just one year of rehab he can come back as a QB who finally commands some goddamn respect?

Chapter 1, Section 3, Article 1.2 of the Official Dagger Toss Rulebook states: "The most noble competitor shan't fear the knife, so long as it is pointed at the appropriate target, and not at his gut, spleen or some other vital organ."

The same could be said for those all across the world of sports who are facing a rendezvous with Tommy John. Don't fear the blade. Embrace the blade. Let the blade embrace your elbow. Let the blade chop your elbow into little bits. Then come back stronger than ever before. Your NFL career (or your flag football league) will never be the same again.

September 24, 2008

Hello, Neighbor

Early Wednesday evening, as I walked back from [undisclosed location] to my palacial New York City apartment, I caught sight of a man I immediately recognized as Marko Jaric. The extremely brief encounter left me with more questions than answers.

For one, did his presence in New York City have any bearing on the seemingly dormant trade rumors that had him going from the Grizzlies to the Knicks in a deal for Zach Randolph?

And why is it that every year, Marko Jaric inevitably summons an extremely high level of play for random stretches (see his lines of 16 pts, 8 rebounds, 10 assists against Golden State followed by 15, 8 and 10 in his next game against Phoenix in January) only to end up my fantasy team just in time to revert to disappointing, maddeningly unproductive Marko Jaric?

Perhaps more importantly, why was he wearing sunglasses at 5:33 p.m. on a late-September day, when the streets could be described a thousand ways other than "sun-drenched"? (And don't give me the answer that he was trying to avoid being spotted -- I would put myself in a relatively small percentage of sports fans who would actually recognize him on the street.)

Speaking of which, does anyone in the NBA more perenially look like he just stumbled out of a club at 5:22 a.m. than Jaric?

Another question: Why is it that I can't ever hear his name in my head without internally pronouncing it in a Pirate's voice? (Marko YARRRRRR-itch)

Why, also, on the one occasion when I randomly spotted him on the street, was he walking around with some random dude instead of Adriana Lima?

And, lastly, a question we may never fully be able to answer: Why, as I walked past, were he and his compatriot thinking about walking into that nondescript establishment on the corner about two blocks away where I once went for brunch, only to have a rather disappointing omelette?

September 22, 2008

I See Yardage Totals

Last Monday, I wrote a post on this blog touting the potential of Raiders rookie RB Darren McFadden. Towards the end of that post, I said:

If you're in a fantasy league, it's time to hope he throws out a 14-carry, 42-yard clunker next week, and then trade for him and don't look back."

McFadden's line yesterday against Buffalo: 14 carries, 42 yards.

This can only mean two things:

1) As I suggested last week, it's time to attempt to trade for McFadden immediately;

2) More importantly, through circumstances I can't currently explain, I may have been endowed with some sort of psychic, number-predicting powers. Of course, me forecasting McFadden's 14-carry, 42-yard line came the same week that I dreamt that 49ers QB J.T. O'Sullivan would throw for just under 500 yards and 5 TD's while rushing 40 times for -96 yards. That, of course, did not happen. However, I would be remiss not to point out that Saturday night, I did have a dream that Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown was going to have a big game against the previously stout New England defense. (Brown's line on Sunday: 113 rush yards, 4 rush TD's, 1 pass TD)

These factors lead me to two definitive conclusions:

1) I may be psychic;

2) I really need to stop wasting so much time and brain space thinking about football.

September 19, 2008

O'Sullivan's Wake

Last night I dreamt that 49ers QB J.T. O'Sullivan (who this week will be in the starting lineup for my fantasy football team, Waivers Rancheros) threw for just under 500 yards with 5 TD's, connecting on two of those TD's to Bryant Johnson, who is also in my starting lineup this week. As you can imagine, this brought the comatose me a great amount of joy. It should also be noted that in my dream, O'Sullivan ran 40 times for -96 yards (yes, that's 40 carries for negative 96 yards).

The fact that my subconscious was so focused on a pair of semi-obscure San Francisco 49ers got me to thinking that if there was a rehab center for fantasy football addicts somewhere out there, I probably wouldn't check in. But I can imagine that there are some poor bastards out there who really need help.

Me, personally -- am I an addict? Absolutely not.

So what if I blacked out last week and came to at an Internet cafe in Mumbai, where it was 10:57 p.m. on Sunday (12:57 p.m. Eastern time), as I frantically attempted to set my lineups in time for the 1 p.m. kickoffs?

Seriously, I don't see what the big deal is. I've always thought you watched too many Hill Street Blues reruns, but I don't call you an addict for that.

So if you would, please back off -- you're suffocating me. Besides, it's very difficult to tend to important business such as pondering my weekly lineup and making meaningless waiver wire transactions when you're hovering over me like that.

Thanks for your understanding.


(Blacks out)

(Wakes up Sunday morning in Azerbaijan)

September 15, 2008

See Darren Run

Somewhere around 2 p.m. yesterday, Darren McFadden had 5 carries for 10 yards in the second quarter against the Chiefs, and -- having invested in McFadden in two fantasy leagues -- I was browsing the Wikipedia page on how to commit Seppuku.

But shortly after that, Raiders starting running back Justin Fargas' groin exploded, McFadden erupted, and I sheathed my Samurai sword (only to take it out and run it across the sharpener when I realized that I had McFadden on the bench in one league).

My own completely gratuitous self-inflicted fantasy football torture aside, McFadden (apart from a wee fumbling problem) looked positively awesome on Sunday. If you're in a fantasy league, it's time to hope he throws out a 14-carry, 42-yard clunker next week, and then trade for him and don't look back.

Of course, if McFadden does mess the bed next week against Buffalo, I will most likely be dusting off that katana blade once again (figuratively speaking, Jeff).

September 12, 2008

It's That Nice Young Man From the Motor Club

I probably don't need to remind you of the scene in Groundhog Day during which Bill Murray -- in the midst of his quest to essentially complete the perfect day -- spots a group of elderly ladies who have run aground on a flat tire. But before they're able to decide how to handle the situation, Murray's character of Phil Connors has deftly jacked up their car and replaced the tire.

I bring this up because recently, Cowboys QB Tony Romo did his finest Phil Connors impersonation, pulling over at the side of a Texas (not Punxsutawney) road to help Bill and Sharon White, a local couple who had blown a tire. As Sharon told the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, "Bill was fooling with that tire, and I was standing beside the car watching him. The next thing I know, a nice-looking young man, very well-dressed, but with something strange on his chin, he walked up, smiled, and said, 'Hey, you need some help?'"

It's the "nice-looking young man" line in particular that calls to mind the scene in Groundhog Day when Tony Romo/Phil Connors is at the dance and sees the women he had helped out earlier, prompting one of them to say, "It's that nice young man from the motor club!"

And naturally, the prevalent (and logical) response to Romo's actions is to laud him for his act of good sumaritanism. But it should also be noted that Romo's apparent likeness, Connors, had a memorable dark period in the film, during which -- among other attempts to rid himself of the cruelty of waking up in the same Pennsylvania town every day -- he hurled himself off a building, drove off a cliff, climbed into the bathtub with a toaster and kidnapped Punxsutawney Phil, the iconic groundhog.

If Tony Romo really is the golden boy that everyone's making him out to be, we most likely will not be seeing him attempt to murder himself or steal a famous mascot, but with any luck, perhaps we could see him defend Jessica Simpson's honor in a snowball fight.

September 09, 2008

Have You Seen This Man?

Question: Is there an official term for the opposite of the Midas touch, whereby instead of gold, everything you touch turns to shit?

I seem to be afflicted with this condition when it comes to my fantasy football squads. They went a combined 0-3 during Week 1 of the NFL season, and while I realize that this shouldn't significantly affect my demeanor or outlook on life, the prospect of having crappy fantasy teams makes me want to douse myself in kerosene and take a headlong plunge through a half-inch thick plate glass window.

Thank you for listening; that is all for now.

September 02, 2008

Baums Away

Pretending like the blog hasn't been in a coma for the past two weeks...

I was watching tennis the other day when I happened upon a match featuring Sybille Bammer of Austria. And during said match, it came to my attention that her last name is pronounced "BAUM-er," which immediately called to mind "The Baumer" himself, Richie Tenenbaum, the depressed former tennis pro portrayed by Luke Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums.

Which immediately made me think of the man working at the graveyard in the film who spots Wilson's character walking past, prompting him to say "Hey Baumer! Alright!" a phrase that will heretofore pop into my head every time I see Sybille Bammer take the tennis court for all the rest of my born days (which is to say, probably about five or 10 more times).

Perhaps this is too much to ask, but I would greatly enjoy it if "The Baumer" of real life women's tennis would have a meltdown on par with that of the fictional Baumer in the film, sitting down on the court and taking off her shoes and only making a cursory effort to swat at every shot that came across the net.

And lastly, I know it's Austrian, but why in the blazes is her name spelled Bammer and pronounced "BAUM-er"? Do they call prison "the SLAUM-er" in Austria?

Very important issues at hand here, as you can see.