Monday, September 28, 2009

Seriously Chapter 46: "Requiem for a Heavyweight" and A Few Things

When you're in the presence of greatness, you really should bow. But I was already laying on the floor of my screening room so I couldn't bow as I watched Rod Serling's heartbreaking, "Requiem for a Heavyweight," for the first time just today. Jaw on the ground. If Mickey Rooney isn't the greatest actor that ever lived then I don't know who is. And that was opposite Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn! The movie was killing me and I couldn't understand half the shit Anthony Quinn was saying. I got tired of being asked about that film and as a Rod Serling devotee, Seriously felt derelict that he'd never seen it so he had Maggio, the guy who runs my screening room, set it up for me. I cried and I never cry. The opening scene through the camera camera's p.o.v. starring a young Cassius Clay as the upstart fighter who dispatches Tony Quinn? Gleason and Rooney? Jack Dempsey at Jack Dempsey's when it really WAS Jack Dempsey's? Julie Harris and Willy Pep? I'd never seen this movie and I lecture at and participate in symposiums on sports films all over the country.
Imagine that. Imagine also that I know or knew every single one of these people in this film (except Dempsey.) Sadly, Seriously's only experience with Mickey Rooney was at Dan Tana's one night in 1994. I was having dinner with Tommy Lasorda and his wife, Jo, and Mickey was sitting off at a corner table by himself with a big belly, a stained tie and way too many jack and sodas. Though we have friends in common, I'd never met him and I must say that I walked away from our brief conversation thinking, "Hey, this guy will talk to absolutely anybody."
Is it my fault I know everyone in Quake Town?

My point in all this being, you should know and admire all the great sports-themed movies and report on your favorites in case even I haven't seen them. And I've seen them all.
One of the blessings of having no staff around, besides Harmless Keith, is that I can feature all these up-close-and-personal things, like Seriously talking about sports films. Hey, shoot me. I'm not trying to go all Ken Burns on you guys
I just like to go off the beaten path, yo.

But back to the business of information.

From the Diamond:

The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to stumble around while running away with the division at the same time. And as they're kicking ass, they've got tons of injuries, also. Go figure with this squad. It seems like Kemp, Ethier, Loney, Blake and Furcal are so damn good that nothing else matters. Seriously was sure the Dodgers would win the NL West and be dispatched early in the playoffs but now I must confess to pangs of doubt.
The Rockies seem like they're going to hold off the impressive Braves but Colorado has continued to lose it's luster. They don't seem like the divine steamrollers anymore.

Regarding the NL East, I just got off the phone with my old friend, Phillies manager, Charlie Manual. Sweet Country Charlie assured me that Brad Lidge will remain his closer in the post season despite his 11 blown saves and fans screaming for blood. Charlie said, "Baseball is exactly like war. Sometimes a commander has to make tough, unpopular decisions in the battlefield." Charlie says he's watched Brad and feels the vet will "lose the hiccups and rekindle that post-season fire of his." I asked what he'd do if Brad Lidge went out and blew the save in Game 1. Would he be the closer in Game 2? Charlie just smiled and wouldn't answer. Then he tried to jam some of that damn chew in my mouth. He's been trying to get me on that crap forever thinking I'm desperate to be one of the guys, but I'm not. I said to him, "That's disgusting, Charlie, I'm a journalist." And he said, "C'mon, Seriously, it's in it's own little pouch." I love Charlie Manuel, pockmarks and all, and I was lucky enough to have sex with his lovely daughter, Evie, a couple years back. I respect him as a baseball man and a person and I believe his Philadelphia Phillies are going to win the World Series.

The only issue in the junior circuit is the AL Central race between Detroit and Minnesota and tonight's bubble was totally burst as the Tigers and Twins were all set to play the opening game of their huge decide-it-all series but the rain done put the kibosh on that, y'all. How's that for a sentence? Detroit's up by 2 games with 5 or so left to play but Minnesota's won 8 out out their last 10 and is on Detroit like Charlie Sheen on a whore. This division is guaranteed to go down to the wire.

From the Gridiron

In the AFC West, Denver continues to evoke nausea at 3-0, somehow beating the mighty Oakland Raiders and their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback, Jamarcus Russell. San Diego is a limp-wristed 2-1 after their whatever victory over the I-Can't-Believe-We're-A-Bill-Parcells-Team-And-We-Suck Miami Dolphins.

The Baltimore Ravens continue to be the dominating force in the AFC North. Yes, the Cincinnati Bengals made history by beating the Steelers, and the Bengals WILL win the Super Bowl this season, but the Ravens are a big time load of a team with no discernible weaknesses at 3-0. Regarding the team in Northern Ohio: If I can borrow from "The Godfather," the Cleveland Browns are "an abortion, Michael! An abortion!!"

The odious New York Jets, led by That Mexican, moved to 3-0 in the AFC East with their victory over the hapless Tennessee Titans. It pains me how strong their defense is and how almost fun they are to root for. On a side note, That Mexican took a dangerous risk diving head-down into the end zone the way he did on that sneak this Sunday. Right into a bunch of 300 lb. bellies and tree trunks. I would hate to see That Mexican get injured. I want him to get a beat-down but not like that. I'm looking for interceptions and losses. Okay, maybe a cracked rib. And then I want to see the look on those saliva spewing Jet fans. There's something exquisitely beautiful about the Jets and Mets getting their ass kicked. Seriously isn't that way about the Yankees and Giants and I can't explain it. It simply feels right.

The Indianapolis Colts, at 3-0, continue to make mockery of the AFC South. They went against last year's Super Bowl team, Arizona, this week and made them look like they were playing flag football.

The 49'ers are still on top of the NFC West at 2-1 after their dramatic loss to Brett Favre and the Vikings. It was a God-Damn-That-Hall-of-Famer-type loss that can happen to any good team as long as Favre has a football in his hands. The only possible long term danger for the `Niners is if Frank Gore, Son of Al, has a serious injury to that ankle. This is a tight young team that has zero spare weapons on offense. If Son of Al can't play, they're in trouble.

The NFC Central has the Minnesota Vikings at 3-0 and Brett Favre wasn't just throwing dunkers and screens like they were accusing him of in previous games. He was throwing lasers all over the field including that last game winner with 2 seconds left. Combine that with All-World, Adrian Petersen, and that defense? I don't knooooooow! Green Bay and Chicago are still iffy, even at 2-1, with neither seeming particularly confident and both having lots of holes. Detroit was a stand-up-and-cheer inspiration in winning their first game, literally in flippin' years, and Seriously has nothing but love for the Lions and the entire city of Detroit, Michigan. I loves me an underdog and all of you can kiss my narrow, white ass.

The NFC South's New Orleans Saints continue to Brees at 3-0 but Atlanta, at 2-1, has the look of a team that could contend if they can solve their problems on defense. Don't count the Falcons out in that division. Matt Ryan to Tony Gonzalez is almost unstoppable.

The N.Y. Giants are playing great football, though they bend too much on defense, and sit on top the NFC East at their own version of 3-0. They seem like a team that will creak and sway but still end up putting a foot in your rear. Philadelphia is a weak 2 -1 and will be in trouble if McNabb doesn't get back soon. His back up, Kevin Kolb, has thrown for a lot of yards but looks like an unravel waiting to happen and HIS back up, Michael Vick, is a guy who can run real fast, not a professional quarterback.

And finally, let me just get this off my chest. Seriously cannot stand the Dallas Cowboys. They're an unattractive, bloated mess and are the National Football League's monument to wretched excess. When Al Queda said they wanted to blow us up, it was because of the Dallas Cowboys, their stadium and those of their ilk. The awful Facebook poll that's in the news shouldn't be - should our president be killed? It ought to be - should Jerry Jones be killed? I know that's extreme and I hope it don't get me FBI Red Flagged but that's how this reporter feels and that's how he'll report it.

Cincinnati and Seattle are still on track to meet in the Super Bowl with Marvin Lewis and the Bengals hoisting the Lombardi in early 2010.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seriously Chapter 45: Change of Services & Gratitude

In case you haven't noticed since the last time we met here, there's been a change of services at the Sports Seriously franchise as it relates to correspondents and the reports that they file in that there won't be any in the foreseeable future. SCHNEIKEE!!!
Now please, dear reader/fan, please don't be shocked and take this to mean that the sports stories you need to know about will go unreported. Seriously and the agency would never in a million years violate the oath we swore to you, those of you who have blessed us with the solemn responsibility of being your sports information source of record. You will get your stories and sounds and interviews from the trenches, they'll just be coming directly from me for a while a.k.a. I'm just letting you know how we do things around here. (Yes, I never really could write a proper sentence.) I've "culled the herd" as I am want to do (those who know this site) and I am gumshoeing it big time as of right now. YOU ARE BOSS CRAZE BALL!
You'll be getting the stories directly from me, the big cheese, the man who made the plan, the King of the Whole Damn Thing. I have to do this every once in a while in order to keep the product/process fresh and real, so I can stay in touch with that which brung me to where I am today. Y'all feel me? This necessary evil and it's accomplice, the hallways of this building literally ringing with the sad echo of imposed emptiness (???) does not come without cost. Yes, I'm paying the entire staff while they're laid off, GENEROSITY, they're free to take other assignments, and yes they'll be asked to return. But these guys and gals always take this personally, nonetheless, and that reality hurts me a lot. I love my reporters and stringers. LIP QUIVERING. I love these guys and gals a great deal. And, lord knows, I need them. I depend on them to get me into every imaginable nook and cranny of the sporting world from the locker room to the executive suite, right on down to every single major professional athlete's complete and total private, personal head space. Yeah, Sports Seriously really is like that. THE PLACE TO BE, AS IN - SPORTS REPORTING NIRVANA. And they do it with a relentless professionalism that moves me to speak of, write of or even gesture regarding. And I frequently do speak in public. I know most of you are familiar with the culling of the herd but for those of you who aren't, here's the deal: I laid off my entire staff except for Harmless Keith who keeps my computers and machines humming and I'm gumshoeing the whole goddamn thing. This is not the boss hitting the assembly line for a few hours, this is serious mother f-ing business. I'm covering this crazy sports game on my own using all the power, wisdom and resources that god has seen fit to give me. This thing, this thing of ours called Sports Seriously (6,210 people strong as of today,) is beyond just me, us and we. IT'S EVERYTHING.

From Where I'm At

The Diamond:

The Angels are cruising in the AL West like the anonymous little punishing bitches that they are. Texas, after showing great pitching and a powerful line up, has seen both fade. Jeff Hamilton for Edinson Volquez is looking like a wash, even with Volquez's blown out arm. Yikes.

Detroit leads the Minnesota Twins by 2 1/2 games in the AL Central, both teams playing for the right to completely get their asses kicked in the playoffs.

The New York Yankees continue to anally violated entire American League and possibly the world. The Red Sox and their arrogant fans have no interest in winning this AL East division. They smugly see themselves as the Not-So-Wild Card, beating the Yankees and getting to the Series. Seriously is a National League Guy (with all staffers screened to assure the same - one of the few rules here - we love homosexuals and others.) As a National League Guy, Seriously is without a dog in this American League hunt. Seriously and staff are unanimous, however, in their desire to see the Boston Red Sox completely obliterated.

The bumbling, stumbling, depressed squad known as the Los Angeles Dodgers are not only winning again (7 out of the last 10,) but they're starting to run away with the division. Hut ever! While the Rockies have lost their mystical quality, they seem more than enough to hold off the disappointing Giants who back up their great pitching with whiffle bats. Rockies to the Wild Card though I hate seeing Timmy getting hammered. Damn NL West!

St. Louis in the NL Central is a less devastating, more nuts-and-bolts version of the Yankees. Scary championship potential.

In the NL East, Philadelphia is scheduled to lose to St. Louis. But we say, in this case, until you beat the champs they have to be the choice. Philadelphia was the best team Seriously and the staff had seen all year BEFORE they got Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez. The Philadelphia Phillies will not only go to the World Series but they will win the championship.

The Gridiron:

In the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens have come out 2-0 and championship-like with a diversified, score-at-will offense complimenting a still-monumental, shut-down hammer defense. If I put any more dashes between words, I deserve to die. Cleveland, 0-2, is a sad team team that is lost and Pittsburgh, 1-1, deserves much worse than losing Troy Polamalu. They deserve to have very bad, nasty things happen to them whereupon the least of their worries is losing tons of football games. I want them dead. DEAD!!!

In the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts, 2-0, look like the N.Y. Giants of the AFC right now. Houston, at a weak 1-1, doesn't look as good as advertised, even with the monster, Andre Johnson at receiver. Jacksonville, 0-2, looks like they have nothing and the Tennessee Titans, 0-2, seem completely shocked at how bad they are.

Seriously and the Staff are committed against the 2-0, New York Jets as well as their fans. It's with great reluctance that we point out and acknowledge their surprisingly nasty defense and the solid play of their quarterback, That Mexican. See how the New York Jets can bring out the worst in anyone? New England, 1-1, still lives in the AFC East but only by the sheer will of their quarterback, Tom Brady. Buffalo and Miami are playing just poorly enough to lose somewhat badly.

In the AFC West, the Denver Broncos sit as one of the weakest 2 - 0 football teams in the history of the sport. This despite being led by that great leader of men, Kyle Orton. The entire rest of the division, K.C., Oakland and San Diego are disasters of epic proportions with the exception of Raiders' future Hall-of-Famer, Jamarcus Russell, who continues to batter nearly all of Oakland's team passing records in only his second season at quarterback.

NFC West's San Francisco, at 2-0, is THE surprise team in football, winning both games not in spectacular form (Al Gore's son, Frank, aside) but in workman-like form, like a team accustomed to winning. Good for Mike Singletary who seems to have turned the franchise around in a very small amount of time. Last year's Bowl runner-up, Arizona, evened themselves at 1-1 after looking like a bad version of the Atlanta Falcons in their first game. St. Louis is the greatest 0-2 team in history and is still a strong pick to win this division and be an absurdly dark horse choice as a Super Bowl possibility.

In the NFC North, Minnesota looks invincible until Brett Favre gets hurt or starts throwing interceptions. The rest of the teams, Chicago, Green Bay and the Lions have this division looking not like black and blue but like green and hue-ish. Think on it.

In the NFC South, the Saints looks like a much better 2-0 team than Atlanta who has a suspect defense. New Orleans' Drew Brees is playing like Yelberton Abraham Tittle. There's also Carolina and Tampa Bay but they're just awful right now. Look for Carolina to right the ship, however.

The 2-0, New York Giants, look so damn good right now, they make the rest of the division, very good teams except Washington, look like total scrubs.

Ultimately, the Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks still appear to be the overwhelming choice to meet in the Super Bowl with the Bengals as a sure pick to be hoisting the Lombardi in early 2010.

Until Next Time

Stay tuned. This site, while still providing top notch news and commentary, is going to be a bit more wild, a bit more shot from the hip and hopefully from the heart. I think you'll enjoy the change of pace and God bless you all for coming along for the ride.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Seriously Chapter 44: The N.L. West is Frisky

Hate to blow smoke up the West Coast's rear, but isn't this National League West the most exciting division in baseball at this point? These Dodgers, Giants and Rockies just stomping all over each other? The Giants have built their foundation (un-Giant-like) on pitching and now have the nerve to be hitting the ball, the Dodgers are playing like the Dodgers of June and the Rockies look like they could reel off six straight at any time. Dodger Tony, doing his usual lurking around every crevice of the organization, has gotten word from Joe Torre himself that the Dodgers see themselves getting to the World Series with not much problem, Joe specifically pointing out, "...nobody's had more pressure-cooker games than us. This regular season has made even our youngest guys, grizzled veterans." That's pretty big talk when the Dodgers have looked so crappy, so often these last two months. But how can you argue with Bigelow Joe? Full disclosure if you're not in the know: Seriously has known Joe Torre for 26 years and absolutely anybody who does know him knows he drinks Bigelow Decaffeinated Green Tea like you and I breathe air. Between the consumption of tea and his old-man prostate, I'd say Joe goes to the john every six minutes if you happen to be sitting in his office at the stadium. But anyway, Bigelow Joe makes the call that the Los Angeles Dodgers will play for it all. Seriously and the staff have the Dodgers getting dispatched by whoever they play in the first round but that's something I'll have to say to Joe in person.

Let's Just Punk Another Brother

Dateline Cleveland 9/17/09: Cavaliers forward, Delonte West, was escorted into the white racist power structure (aka our judicial system) when he was pulled over Thursday night and arrested for speeding (allegedly) on his motorcycle. Not having a trunk at his disposal (duh, he's on a motorcycle) Delonte had no available storage which is why he, logically, had to carry both of his hand guns on his person. Nor was their room for his Remington 870 shotgun which he, respectfully, had hidden in a guitar case and slung across his back (so as not to alarm people, yo.) For love of god and all that is good, can we please leave these professional athletes alone? Let these young men be. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I speak for myself and the entire Sports Seriously staff when I say I despise racism in any form.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Seriously Chapter 43: Dodgers, Seahawks and Bengals T.C.O.B.

From the Diamond

The Dodgers have re-discovered their April to July mo-jo even though they're still falling apart and players are having lousy years. That quality can be hard to beat if it continues into the post season. The Dodgers defy reality, it seems. Seriously and the entire staff keep waiting for the Dodgers to take a total dump but it hasn't happened.

From the Gridiron

NFL Week 1 proceeded exactly as Seriously and Staff had forecast with both Super Bowl 2010-predicted teams, Seattle and Cincinnati, pulling off impressive victories. Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck looked fantastic in his return, going 25 of 36 for 279 yds. and 3 touchdowns in a 28 to 0 victory against a gritty, spunky, nasty-hitting, never-say-die team called the St. Louis Rams. You know, sometimes when you're picking teams and people are waiting to hear what you have to say (with people's jobs literally being on the line) you don't get to vet all your choices, even in your own brain. I know that's deep but I know you know what I'm talking about. What Seriously is trying to say is that St. Louis Rams are the Super Bowl team that he wishes he could have chosen. They are a fantastic squad of football players. As are the Cincinnati Bengals, who ultimately disappointed no one in their 7 to 6 slugfest victory over the powerful Denver Broncos led by future Hall of Famer, Kyle Orton. This game was highlighted by Carson Palmer's 76-yard, game ending drive/masterpiece, culminating with a dramatic 1 yd Cedric Bensen bull rush into the end zone as time ran out. Week 1 of the NFL. What a week it was.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Seriously Chapter 42: Shawn Merriman is a Man of Faith

Seriously just got off the phone with San Diego Chargers lineman, Shawn Merriman, and he's informed me that he did not choke bi-sexual reality t.v. host, Tila Tequila, "in any way" when she was trying to leave his Poway home early Sunday morning (though he did assure me she was "popping some major shit.") He denied the charges with a vehemence that left him in tears. Believe me, I've heard Shawn cry before but never like that. The Sports Seriously franchise has had a relationship with Shawn Merriman since his rookie year in 2005 and I've personally spent time with him all three years he's been in Honolulu for the Pro Bowl. I remember being one of the first members of the media to tell him to get a mohawk, Shawn was so shy back then. We knew he was a big hitter on the field, he just needed a little psychological something to put his game over the top. Know this about Shawn - he's not only a friendly man but he's a godly man. And he reiterated to me MORE THAN ONCE that he has absolutely nothing against little Vietnamese people. This latest off-field saga has turned his life upside down much, much much more than any of his other off-field sagas, and he'd love to "roll public wit it" but his lawyers have dropped a major info clamp on everything and everybody. While I won't sit here and revisit the countless examples of the grotesque media/judicial bias visited on professional athletes on a yearly basis (a crucified Michael Vick who's just trying to make a living "fo his kiz" as he's told me over and over, the beheading of Dante Stallworth who ran someone over with his car in a TOTAL ACCIDENT) let's just say that this is a classic case of a hysterical female and a messed up judicial system that always seems determined to want to throw in a twinge of "let's get darkie." Wait until this farce comes to trial, you'll see what I'm saying. Bias against professional athletes who just want to let off a little steam after leaving their heart, blood and soul on the field isn't just wrong, it's un-American.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Seriously Chapter 41: Wade Leblanc is Cy Young

In previous years, Sports Seriously correspondent, Dodger Tony, would be on a window ledge and about to jump if his Dodgers had gotten shut down like they did last night by Wade Leblanc of the Padres (he the owner of an 0-2 record and 16.30 era at Dodger Stadium.) In years gone by, Dodger Tony would have been crouched in his shower about now, knees to his chest and holding a small knife. But I was thoroughly encouraged by my conversation with him last night from the Ravine. In fact, I took his report on the game myself. (Yeah, the owner rolls up he sleeves around here. Good god, are you kidding me?) While he was on several meds, he also was surprisingly philosophical about the potential demise of his beloved, front-running Azul. We don't fly the Dodger colors at Sports Seriously, nor do we support the Dodger brand here. The Dodgers falling on their face so epically would have no more effect on this agency than would a Vermont snowflake in the winter, just to let know how bad blog writing can be. What we are not, also (huh?) we are not immune to the human sports suffering than one can endure in following the various games. In that respect we feel for Dodger Tony. He is a man kept awake by the sound of footsteps in the night.

Bengals on Track

The Cincinnati Bengals will defeat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl of 2010. The journey begins next Sunday against a white-hot Denver Bronco team lead by Hall of Fame lock, Kyle Orton.

One of the Greats

I just got off the phone with my old friend, Ernie Harwell, and he tells me he has inoperable bone cancer. God bless Ernie Harwell for the rest of his days and beyond. A hall-of-fame broadcaster and hall-of-fame individual. I love Ernie and his family and I'll use Ernie's kicking the bucket as training for the day when Vin Scully has to go. Bless you, Ernie, as you take your next journey.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seriously Chapter 40: Ben Roethlisberger is The Terminator

From the Michael Vick League

With his return to practice five days after his ankle was hanging off the bone, Ben Roethlisberger has shown he must die - somehow. Ben Roethlisberger must die.

The Cincinnati Bengals, like the Los Angeles Clippers, are considered a jewel franchise along the lines of the New England Patriots and baseball's New York Yankees. Their overweight, first-round draft pick breaking his foot two days after signing a 42 million dollar contract will only springboard the Bengals to yet another Super Bowl title.

Aaron Rodgers is Jesus

This man is the finest quarterback in the game.

Kyle Orton Has Grounds for a Law Suit

Denver fans already want to run Kyle Orton out of town. After everything he accomplished in Chicago? Denver Bronco fans wouldn't know a great quarterback if it slapped them in the face.