Archive for the ‘Fandom’ Category

I like this guy. Image c/o NY Daily News

Lou Lamoriello resigned as president of the New Jersey Devils last Thursday. During his 28 years with the Devils, he won the Stanley Cup three times. He’s moved on to become the 16th general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. As a Washington Capitals fan, you’d normally expect me to ask, “Who cares?” But Lamoriello appears to be a generally good guy. What you all could verify with a mouse click is that Lamoriello took out a full-page advertisement in the sports sections of The Record and The Star-Ledger on Friday to thank Devils fans. That certainly seems like a decent thing to do, but I have more reason to believe that Lamoriello is really good guy.

I graduated from law school in 2000, and with nothing to lose, I decided to take a ridiculous shot at getting a dream job. I wrote every single NHL, NBA, MLB, MLS, and NFL team (except the Dallas Cowboys, because fuck those guys) asking for an interview for a position as in-house counsel. First, many of these teams don’t hire in-house counsel, instead retaining large law firms (which I call out-house counsel, because fuck those guys) to do the work. The jobs for which I applied, in some cases, simply didn’t exist. Second, for those people hired in-house at such a dream position, it takes a mountain of experience to get it, and there are the additional factors of luck and connections that a dopey, recent law school graduate isn’t going to have. As you might expect, I received rejection letters from about half of these teams, with the other half simply ignoring my request.

But not Lamoriello. He hand-wrote a letter to me explaining why he couldn’t interview me but wishing me well in my job search. This is a guy who had much better things to do than to tell me something that I already knew. Even if he were inclined to extend an extra bit of courtesy in the interests of public relations, he could have had his secretary send me a form letter with his name stamped on it. Nope. This guy appreciated my interest and wanted to connect.

I still hate the New Jersey Devils, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and every other that isn’t my team (because fuck those guys), but whatever you want to assume about people, this is no bullshit: Lou Lamoriello is a class act.

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It’s all over the internet. Sports commentators are so happy to have some news of this magnitude. The Seahawks-Packers game was decided by a bad call. Okay, I get it . . . sort of. I don’t understand the focus on the catch itself. Was it a simultaneous catch? Was it stripped away at the end?  At least there’s an argument there for the Seahawks, however weak, and I could see the refs being out of position for that call, justifying (to some extent) the screw up.

The push off, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.

The talking heads are talking about the push off too, so I don’t need to explain it to you in great detail. In summary, there was unarguably offensive pass interference, visible from every angle,  which would have brought back the play and resulted in a 10-second run off by rule.  This means the game would have ended, with no second chance for the Seahawks.

There’s no excuse for missing it. A first-time ref with no prior experience at any level should have seen that. I could have made that call. You could have made that call. That should be the focus, because that’s the strongest argument to be made.

I Hate Drama

On another note, quit your bitching Packers fans (and all football fans). The replacement refs are making bad calls across the board. While complaining about the lower quality is reasonable, you’re overstating your arguments when you claim that a single call costs you the game, even a call like the one in question here. Without several prior bad calls in your team’s favor, your team would probably not be in a position to win the game on that play anyway. I’ve objectively watched this happen to my Redskins in both of their losses. Yes, they were robbed, but so were the Rams and Bengals. It seems to be balancing out. If your team lost, they lost, and next time they should try harder.

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And now, a stupid diversion.

I love football. It’s no MMA, but it’s pretty damn awesome. It’s the perfect sport for the American culture, which is why it’s surpassed baseball as America’s true pastime. I love watching preseason. The first quarter of the first couple of preseason games is always a great predictor of how well a team will do in the regular season. I also watch every regular season game I can, even if it has no direct impact on my Washington Redskins. (If you’re wondering why I call them, “my Washington Redskins,” it’s because the news media officially recognizes them as such.)

I’ve been in my fantasy football league, the DFFL, for 10 years or so. It’s a true keeper league. We draft players and sign them for up to 3 year contracts, securing them for the future. We get one franchise player per year, which allows us to keep that one player for up to 4 years before he goes back into the draft. I never have a Cowboy on my roster. NEVER! I’ve won the league a few times, and came in second a couple of others. I’m currently defending my #2 status in the league.

My team was originally named “Moesha’s Crew.” This was when Moesha, and Brandy Norwood for that matter, were still relevant. (If you don’t remember her, don’t worry about it.) Every year after the first couple, I’d create a press release to announce that my team had new ownership and was renamed accordingly. That process eventually evolved into the latest media disaster taking over the team by way of a drinking contest or other such event. The GM (me) would always express his frustration in the change of ownership.  Past owners have included Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, Snooki, Paris Hilton, and last year’s owners, the Kardashian sisters. This year, I used a Washington Post article and took a new slant on ownership, though depending on your political viewpoint, you might characterize the new owner as a “media disaster” as well. I’m not going to get into that. This is a sports blog.

by Fred Snerd, Washington Post

Manassas, Virginia – In a surprise move, Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate for President of the United States, has purchased the current #2 DFFL franchise from the Kardashian sisters. Asked to comment, the former governor of Massachusetts noted, “Hey, you might not have heard about this the first 1,000,000 times it was mentioned by me, but I have experience in sporting events. I saved the Olympics, and in turn, the United States of America. Taking over a football team makes perfect sense, especially considering its prior owners looted its assets, leaving it on the verge of bankruptcy. I can work with this . . . or fold it. I don’t care. I need to have something to do, because after November, I’m going to be unemployed again.”

It’s been widely speculated that the Kardashians were shopping the team to potential buyers on account of the fact that they now prefer to sleep with professional basketball players rather than professional football players. One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, opined, “Look, there are far fewer members of a basketball team than a football team, so there’s more money to throw around on salaries In short, the basketball players make more, and that’s all those whores want . . . as if they don’t have enough money from their dead daddy already. I don’t know how I can keep running this team with annual changes in ownership, but I’m optimistic the new Republican ownership might be a better fit for me. Don’t print that last part. I want to remain anonymous.”

When asked to comment, GM Robert E. Bodine, Esq., attorney-at-law, Republican shill, and evil overlord of the DFFL’s biggest failure, said, “Don’t print that last part. I want to remain anonymous.”

Anonymous indeed.

I present to you the roster for Romney’s Roughhousers. I’ve changed the line up since taking this screenshot, so there’s no need to tell me I need to make changes.

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I find it appalling that the Internet doesn’t respect the privacy of celebrities. The following photo has been circulating the internet, which is the earliest known photo of Michael Phelps. I circulate it just to say how horrible it is that you guys are circulating it.

Shame on you!

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork

While watching Strikeforce last night, I got into a Twitter conversation with Frank Trigg and some guy I don’t know (@mahklynch on Twitter) about Frank getting a shot as a color commentator with Zuffa. Frank should get such a position. He’s experienced, having done booth analysis for Pride FC and, if I recall correctly, having served as a color commentator for at least a few fight cards with smaller promotions. From what I’ve seen, he does a particularly good job. He apparently does his research and does a good job explaining what he knew to the fans. That’s his job, and he does it well.

Now, you might say that I’m saying this because Frank has such a good personality for the fans, being very responsive via Twitter to fan comments, not to mention sprinkling in some decent humor at time. Well, yes, that is part of why I’m saying this, because those are good characteristics for a commentator as well, and Zuffa recognizes those as good characteristics for its employees. As I’m sure you all know, Zuffa rewards its fighters for good interaction with their fans through Twitter.

I was of the position that Frank should have gotten his second chance with the UFC as a fighter. Yes, that was a position I took based on emotion. I’m an old-school fan of the sport, having been with it from the start, and even working for a promotion at one point (the now-defunct Extreme Fighting, formerly out of New York City). Frank got that second shot in the UFC, and it didn’t work for him, so in a sense I was wrong.

This is different. Frank’s not “past his prime” as a color commentator. Frank should get the job, or at least be next in line when a new one opens up. I understand that there aren’t many positions available, so it could be that there’s nothing open right now. However, Zuffa has too many duds on the payroll already: the idiotic Mike Goldberg, the embarrassing Bruce Buffer, and Frank Shamrock, who hates Dana and constantly insults him. At least if Frank Shamrock were let go Frank (Trigg) could instantly get a job. Of course, part of the problem is that the UFC doesn’t feel it owes Frank anything, but does feel it owes Stephan Bonner, Kenny Florian, and Randy Couture those jobs if they want them. At least Stephan and Kenny still do, so that’s a problem. Also, Chael Sonnen has a job if he wants one, whether he’s retired or not. Scott Coker, however, isn’t in that same position (except, unfortunately, with Frank Shamrock), so that’s a more likely place for Frank Trigg to land.

Zuffa made a smart move pulling Jon Anik away from ESPN’s MMA Live. Jon is a knowledgeable and good to the fans. Picking up Frank Trigg would be another step in that direction, and I’m hopeful that either Dana White or Scott Coker will make that move.


Edit: @mcmax3000 made an observation that I need to point out. If Frank were actually to be hired as a color commentator for Strikeforce, it would be Showtime that would have to hire him. Showtime manages the production, so Mauro Ranallo, Frank Shamrock, etc. are actually employed by Showtime directly. This could be good news for Frank (Trigg). Whereas Coker might feel he owes Shamrock (he was their first middleweight champion), Showtime may have  picked him up based simply on star power alone rather than a personal “debt.” If that’s the case, a more competent broadcaster that still retains star power (i.e., Frank Trigg) could more easily supplant Shamrock. There are details to the Shamrock contract we don’t know, so how and when this could occur is ultimately beyond our knowledge. My point stands though: Frank Trigg would be an asset to any broadcast team. He should be near or at the top of the list of those next in line.

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No kidding. Last night’s Strikeforce card was every bit as good as any UFC card I’ve seen, and this isn’t attempted as an insult against the UFC. As I often mentioned here and on my appearances on Fight Fans Radio, even UFC cards that on paper look like duds are almost always good cards. Truthfully, despite initial appearances, there are no bad UFC cards. Well, this was UFC-quality. We had drama, a “changing of the guard,” plenty of finishes, and two title fights. While some of these guys aren’t UFC-caliber, they certainly make for exciting match-ups against each other. Strikeforce is just getting better and better. Scott Coker should be proud of how he’s handled the merger with Zuffa.

Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo should be replaced, though.

It should go without saying, but it’s good to say it from time to time. Thank you to the fighters for putting on a show at great risk to themselves. Yes, they get paid (now), and yes, most, if not all, of them love what they do. Nevertheless, they’re a necessary part of a sport we love, and they deserve our thanks.

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The main event for UFC 148 was possibly the biggest fight in the history of the sport, but I don’t feel like I need to say anymore about Anderson Silva v. Chael Sonnen than what I said on the post-fight Fight Fans Radio episode. Instead, I want to focus on something else that’s been bugging me. In the fight between John Alessio and Shane Roller, Roller used his wrestling background to full effect, maintaining dominance on the ground on route to a clear-cut decision victory. During the fight, Alessio asked with a frustrated yell, “Do you wanna fight me or do you wanna ride me?” He was, of course, referring to the fact that, with time running out in the third round, Roller had Alessio pinned to the mat, peppering Alessio with punches, and giving Alessio no opportunity for a lucky punch that would allow him to steal a victory. For that, Alessio was angry (or at least was pretending to be angry in order to get the fight he wanted). What bothers me is that many so-called fans of Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) were also angry.

MMA Is Not Boxing

There’s nothing wrong with boxing. The sport, that is. The industry of boxing is corrupt. The sport, however, is fantastic, as is kickboxing. MMA is also fantastic. That’s my opinion. You’re free to disagree. You’re free to say, “Boxing is great, but MMA sucks.” (I’m looking at you, Jim Lampley.) If that’s your honest assessment, you’re entitled to your opinion and shouldn’t be watching MMA. It seems, however, that many MMA viewers aren’t fans. Whenever the fight goes to the ground in an unspectacular fashion, we hear a chorus of boos. Sometimes a submission specialist will get a grace period – a few seconds during which the impatient fans give him a chance to pull off a quick submission – but it doesn’t take long for those fans to turn on him, even if the submission specialist is constantly working for a submission.

Exactly what do you expect a wrestler or submission specialist to do? Why would they ever choose to slug it out with a slugger? If they do, they’re stupid and deserve to be gone from the UFC!

You shouldn’t blame a lion for roaring, and you shouldn’t blame a wrestler for wrestling.

Am I Missing the Point?

In the fight between Mike Easton and Ivan Menjivar, the fans were booing despite it being a purely stand-up, all-striking affair. Is it really a hatred of grappling, or is it merely impatience (e.g., no one was bleeding yet)? On my political blog, I’ve certainly acknowledged that my fellow Americans are, on the whole, an impatient bunch of spoiled brats, so that certainly applies. It doesn’t matter, though, because rarely do we see a ground-and-pound fight gradually lead to a tap by the “pounded” fighter. In other words, wrestling by its nature is always going to trigger a negative response from these fans, so that fan is always going to hate the wrestling aspect of the game; therefore, that fan shouldn’t be watching MMA.

Get over It

As I see it, these fans are channeling (in the Ghost Hunters sense of the word) the frustration the non-wrestler feels at being completely overwhelmed with no chance to win the round (or the fight). Well, then he should learn wrestling, and those fans should either learn to deal with it or watch another sport. It’s mixed martial arts. That means it’s a mixture of several martial arts, and everyone engaged in it must be, at least to some extent, capable of at least being passable in all areas of the fight game. If you want to boo someone, make sure you’re booing the guy who hasn’t learned to wrestle but insists on being in this sport anyway. He’s the reason it’s staying on the ground.

If that isn’t a fight you’re willing to watch every now and then, stop watching. Clearly, MMA isn’t for you. There are plenty of one-dimensional boxing and kickboxing matches that are better suited to your entertainment needs.

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