Tuesday, February 8, 2011

fingers crossed

today's post inspired by my favorite band from scandinavia, in no small part because they manage to make a gretsch and a dual rectifier work together. for those of you who, while musically inclined, are not up on your guitar/amp pairings, that's like george harrison joining slayer.

oh, the nba and your constant flurry of making me feel human emotions. what's the single biggest heartbreaking story you've delivered to my electronic doorstep this season?

the end of greg oden's career in portland? no (although wesley matthews, on whom i am developing a creepy man crush, going to portland is in my top five).

the unsurprising news that your idiot fans voted yao to the all-star game even though (1) he mediocre at best, and (2) he's constantly injured? booooriiiing.

is it even the jazz and their middling, consistently inconsistent play? i'm afraid not.

no, the nba's 2010-2011 saddest byline has been, and continues to be, the plight of the cleveland cavaliers. i get that gilbert's open letter, along with footage of fans burning lebron jerseys, from seems-so-long-ago summer made the team and its supporters out to be a bunch of crying bitches. but you know what? they were right to be angry.

hey jazz nation, remember every time boozer had a radio interview with chicago or miami? remember how you wanted to pluck out his goose-turd (anyone ever play a round at forestdale?) eyebrows and forcefeed them back to the guy for talking about leaving utah so openly? how do you think you'd feel if he had promised you a championship after growing up in ogden, only to run to LA as soon as he was a free agent?

see, they had a right to be changry.

and now, given the 25-and-counting losses by the cavs, i present to you the saddest story in modern basketball. a team, once a perennial playoff contender; a team that, for a few seasons, was at least a darkhorse championship threat, is now a poster child for pity. and it's not like the season started out completely bleak for cavs fans; even before the streak, cleveland wasn't looking fantastic, but they were sitting at 8-19. that's a .296 record, enough to have them only 4 or 5 games out of playoff contention right now had they kept that tepid pace (detroit, at .373, is 3.5 games out of 8th as of this writing, while new jersey, at .288, is 8 back). but this losing streak: it's enough to make most nba fans look away from sports center out of sheer embarrassment.

so what's got my fingers crossed? besides always having some lateral strain on the knuckles in my hand for the sake of the jazz making it to 4th in the west in the next 9 weeks, i'm crossing them in hopes that the jazz don't turn into cleveland after the 2011-2012 [season/lockout]. yesterday, scott howard-cooper, or scow-poop as i like to call him, posted a quick note regarding sloan's recently announced one-year extension over on nba.com's hangtime blog. predictably, the comments were split evenly along three lines:
(1) non-jazz fans who respect sloan but hate the jazz wishing their team had a coach like sloan;
(2) jazz fans who are excited about the news; and
(3) jazz fans who have a flaming case of hemorrhoids who think the team would be better off without sloan if only because retaining him is going to send d-will packing once his contract is up.

i'm not one to put much weight behind comments on sekou smith's brainchild, though i realize the irony of being one of many inane sports fans with his own dozens-of-hits-per-week blog while discounting my fellow social-media-savvy morons. but the last few weeks of chatter regarding deron's unhappiness, sloan's unwillingness to change, and the "necessity' of having a big three to be a championship contender has given me pause.

frankly, i don't see sloan's presence as a deal-breaker for his gr8ness. if deron wants out of utah, it's not going to be because of sloan (despite a snide comment about running the same plays for 23 years). it's going to be because of the front office's unwillingness to spend "what it needs to" to build the jazz into a title threat (i refuse to refer to championships as "chips," by the way). it's going to be because the existing team is, frankly, pretty lazy. it's because the ESA is getting quieter by the game. it's, to some degree, because he moved from downtown to holladay which is full of creepy polygamists and people who say things like "i got that H for you."

simply put, it's because deron wants to win a championship, and because he's such a perfectionist, he's not going to wait for that to fall into his lap.

the comparisons to john stockton need to stop, and they need to stop now. stockton was a fundamentals-only workhorse who did what he was told and played one game at a time. stockton played before kobe and shaq's personal problems led to one of the deadliest frontcourt pairings splitting apart; before dwayne, dwight, and chuck did commercials together; before the nba stole a championship franchise from seattle; before lebron. simply put, he played before the league finally became, right up front and unabashedly, about money first, rings second. deron wants a ring, and he knows that the fastest way to get there is with a hefty price tag.

but he also knows that a huge payroll, by itself, isn't going to be enough. the jazz are over the salary cap now and it's not working, which means utah's players and fans have one more year to prove to deron that he should stick around. that's not going to be on jerry; the guy is a hall-of-fame coach that has been to the western conference finals twice. please, go ahead and name me another coach on a team, as it exists right now, with room for deron who has better credentials.

the problem for utah is that this final year might not come. it's a real possibility that, with a season-long lockout, sloan and deron both walk; sloan permanently, and d-will to blue and greener pastures in dallas after jason kidd also hangs up his nikes.

thus i keep my fingers crossed. not for the jazz, but for the NBA, the NBAPA and derek fisher (booo) to make sure there is no lockout, no de-certification of the union to bring lawsuits. i'm crossing them for the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people across the country who will be out of work (part or full time) as a result of stadiums being closed. i'm crossing them for jarron collins and sundiata gaines and all the players who make relatively few dollars, half of which goes to taxes and the other half to union dues that might put them out of a job*.

but, selfishly, i mostly keep them crossed for myself, to keep jerry sloan and deron williams in utah. i'll take 48 wins on the season over 25 consecutive losses any day of the week.

and now we all know, 25 consecutive losses after losing your coach and your all-star is an all-too-real possibility.

*i don't need a lecture that $200k isn't a lot of money. do the math: $100k, more or less, to taxes. $30k to union dues. $10k or so to relocate yourself, and your family, to a new city every 2-3 years. family coming out of the woodwork for financial support. pressure to live up to the NBA rep and drive a benzo and eat at fleming's. suddenly these bottom-tier nba players are bringing home about what you do, and they are going to have ruined knees and backs when they're 40.

cross-posted from harpringer of doom

Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Roundup


Obviously the web allstar band is the perfect symbol for all star games everywhere

So we come to that terrible weekend at the end of January where the NFL decides to give us a week off of real football and make us watch the pro-bowl while we wait for the Super Bowl still another week away.  All that it really does is remind us that in two weeks there will be no NFL at all, it’s like after you break up with a long term girl friend and then get back together for like a month for some reason before ending it for good.

So then on to the pro-bowl, which I didn’t watch because I’m not an idiot and I don’t get back with ex-girl friends for a month for no reason.  I hear the NFC won by 400 points, since there is no defense allowed and no one has tried since The Meast made Mormon his prison bitch on a fake punt about 5 years ago let’s just move on.

In other no defense, high scoring all start games the NHL came out Sunday night without the only 2 players I care about and made some goalies wish they hadn’t showed up.  They did something that was actually interesting though and picked two captains and then picked teams, which is absolutely how the NBA should do it since that is the ultimate play ground league.  Since the two teams don’t really have names and no one cares about the score I’ll move on.

Pretty sure some people played college basketball too.

Stay tuned later in the week for tons of Super Bowl coverage, and by that I mean me saying over and over again that the Steelers will win until I believe it enough to put all my savings on a +130 moneyline bet and maybe some other stuff too.  Oh, and there will be at least one Benchcast.

E-mail us your questions and comments to benchcast@gmail.com and maybe we’ll answer them on the next benchcast, or not.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hot Chicks from the Past

Sorry I haven’t been that strong on the sports this week, but I do stuff and I’m lazy and I don’t drink as much during the day.  But as I’ve been promising here’s our first edition of hot chicks from the past.


Thanks to the impossible cool

Here’s Bridget Bardot riding around on a bike looking like a hippy, if you lived in the past she was a hot chick for sure.  Original Angelina Jolie DSL too, way to go.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

jazz @ lakers

i'll keep this brief.

times are tough for jerry's kids. losing four in a row, three of them to lousy teams, and some sardonic commentary by d-will has jazz fans scratching their heads about the present and worried about the future.

but an immediate and tangible threat looms larger than season speculation for those of us willing to live in a world where short-sightedness reigns supreme. i'm talking about playing kobe and friends at staples tonight.

ending a road trip that started in DC like this, against their own arch-enemy has to be something of insult to injury for the jazz. not to pretend that this isn't their own fault; better playing - even moderately better - would have almost surely resulted in the trip standing at 3-1 right now rather than 0-4. but that's not how things broke down, and now deron willquip must try to avoid embarrassment at the hands of the western conference's perennial elite.

so what can i say to make things seem better? the only thing the jazz can do is adopt the same attitude they don every time we play the lake-show, and [expect/hope/pray/delude] that millsap comes out of the game smiling.

"bring it, assholes."

cross-posted from harpringer of doom



Logo New

Hey everyone, new Benchcast.  It’s Ron, Morgan and me kicking it with some new technology, we have a soundboard now thanks to Ron which is actually really annoying and we now have embedded clips so welcome to the future.

We talk about the NFC and AFC championship games, a lot of new TV and laugh at that lady who fell into the fountain.  It’s classing comedy gold.


Or just listen right here.

But really you should subscribe on iTunes because that’s better for us and it will show up in your whatever device automatically.  Also feel free to e-mail us at benchcast@gmail.com


Oblong Balls


Aaron Rogers in a Steeler’s Sandwich (Getty Images)

This episode of Oblong Balls is of course going to be about the conference championships.  Two very similar games with two very similar QB lines and outcomes have set the Super Bowl up to be something that guys on ESPN love to talk about, since they are convinced that TV numbers are all that matter.

Both games were essentially one sided, with dominant first halves by the winning teams and slight come backs by the losers in the second half to make it sort of close.  Green Bay came out strong and went up 14-0 before eventually winning by 7 and Pittsburgh blew out the Jets 24-0 in the first half with a monster run game before finally winning 24-19. Essentially a reverse of the score from their first meeting.

Interestingly both Rogers and Big Ben had sub par statistical games, both had under 15 completions and 2 ints with no throwing touchdowns, yet common opinion is that both had rather good games. One of the interesting flukes of football, the difference between stats on paper and actual performance, which has always been the bane of fantasy owners everywhere.

Outside of being a Steelers’ fan and extremely happy to see the Jets go down and their pretty boy QB take more hits than a Tijuana stripper I think this match up will prove to be a great one for the Super Bowl.  I’m pretty sure that I picked Green Bay and Pittsburgh on a Benchcast about 6 months ago, but I’m not going to go back and check.

Both teams have great QBs, probably the best of the next generation, emerging running games that proved themselves against strong run defenses and what I believe are the 2 best defenses in football.  Which of course means it’s either going to be 14-10 like it should be or shit goes completely out of control like last time they met and it’s 35-36 again.

We’ll keep you up to date on all the nonsense that is spouted over the next 2 weeks about who Goodell wants to win and how many chicks Big Ben has raped and who’s talking trash and whatever other crap comes up that has nothing to do with the games.

Also, a special Saturday edition of the Benchcast will be up today and finally please e-mail us at benchcast@gmail.com if you want to ask a question on the podcast or leave a comment or even be on the show.

Friday, January 21, 2011

hashtag: jazzfail

just got back to my hotel in beantown from the boston game. i can say, quite honestly, that after attending the jazz-nets debacle in newark on wednesday night and now this latest massacre, something is wrong. terribly, terribly wrong.

i might get egged in the streets of salt lake for saying this, but i miss boozer a little. al plays as soft as c-booze in the paint without averaging 20 and 10. and, frankly, boozer’s one dunk per game was better than jefferson’s because at least boozer would show some emotion with that stupid screaming afterward, which occassionally lit a fire under the rest of the team.

the whole team looks like it’s playing in slow-motion. tonight, raja had four points in the opening two minutes – pretty solid start for him – and then was a non-factor for the balance of the game. deron was frustrated for his entire time on the floor, starting right at the tip-off, and made several rookie mistakes throughout the game, including getting into foul trouble midway through the first. i recognize that tonight’s officiating staff was a little whistle-happy, but i recognized that fact about 90 seconds into the game. deron, and the rest of the jazz, should have done the same and adjusted their game. instead, they played physical D just long enough to get players into foul trouble and then abandoned playing defense for the balance of the game.

paul millsap: buddy, what happened? you were on the verge of a breakout, all-star season after putting up 46 in miami and since then, what? a couple 20-10s scattered one game every other week? not gonna cut it, guy.

i’m going to stop myself here before i go into each player’s lack of heart in the last two – well, three really, but i wasn’t actually at the washington game so i’m not going to talk about that – games, but it’s pervasive through the entire team. these guys should have come out tonight swinging with two cellar-team-colored chips on their shoulders. instead, they allowed boston to completely control the game from tip to horn.

i’ll sum it up this way: i am embarrased to be wearing my jersey the rest of the night while out “being totally sober” (hi mom!) in boston. i’m still going to wear it; i’m not that big of a crybaby. but i think i’ll have one good conversation with a couple guys at the beantown pub and after that i’ll just mumble something about d-will having the flu and shuffle away.

sad face. llama face.