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31 March, 2011

Expendables 2 is coming!

In case you missed it, Expendables 2 is coming in August

30 March, 2011

Wish List

 By Tom McConville

I wish TV channels that still sign off at night would do so with this.

I wish I had an answer as to why I watched “Just Wright” in its entirety last night.

I wish someone could tell me why some parents think it’s a good idea to give their children first names that start with the same initial (i.e,, Koby, Kory, Kacy, and Kody Clemens)

I wish I had the nerve to tell various Facebook “friends” that I have no interest in your politics, inspirational quotes, what you had for lunch, or your weekend viewing of the "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman" marathon on the ION Network.

I wish that if it was accidentally revealed what Bryant Gumbel was writing after a “Real Sports” segment, it turned out to be completing an incomplete Mad Lib.

I wish  I was the assistant director on “Rudy” who had to approach Ned Beatty and say, “No really. You have to say this.”

I wish one professional golfer after winning a golf tournament and thanking his family and caddie would then yell “Lemmy is God!”

29 March, 2011

2011 Mets predictions

by Gus Ramsey

Opening Day is almost here. I'm fired up. I know there is little reason for optimism for the 2011 Mets, but I refuse to think negative thoughts this early in the year. That said, I am a realist. So after some serious number crunching, reading, interviewing and completely made up stuff, here are my predictions for the core group of this years Mets.

Ike Davis: He had a very respectable rookie season. 72 walks, 19 homers and fell over more railings  than Inspector Clouseau on a house inspection. In college he and a teammate faked a fight to fire up their teammates before a big game. The Mets haven't even had fake enthusiasm in 3 years, so hopefully Ike emerges as a team leader and is part of the revolution.

.274 avg, 24 HR, 88 rbi, 2 railing catches, 5 homers into the Pepsi Porch, 3 appearances on Mike Francesa's show where Francesa says "you got a nice swing, you know that? Really nice swing. I mean a nice swing, ya' know?"

Brad Eamus: The Mets went to spring training with 5 second basemen. Much like when an NFL team has 3 quarterbacks in the mix for the starters job, they don't really have a QB, the Mets don't really have a second sacker. One anagram for Brad Eamus is Bard Amuse, which means he might entertain the Mets beat writers. Another is A Armed Sub, which may suggest he is better suited to be a defensive replacement. A third is A Dames Rub... let's just leave that one alone and move on to the predictions.

.253 avg, 6 HR, 41 rbi, 18 different pronunciations of his name by Ralph Kiner.

Jose Reyes: This is going to be tough. In 2006 I was excited about having Wright and Reyes together because they were home grown and would be franchise cornerstones for years to come. Plus, my boys would kind of grow up with those two. Wright and Reyes would be their guys. You don't get that much any more, so I was really looking forward to it. That's coming to an end this year. Jose, his dreads, his obliques, his hammy, his great smile and laugh, his fun HR celebration, his awesome arm and his blazing speed will be gone before the season is out. It will be odd and emotional too. The Mets haven't dealt a star player mid-season since David Cone in 1992. He was part of "The Worst Team Money Could Buy." Kind of appropriate that the worst investment of money by a team will be the reason Reyes will go.

.298 avg, 7 HR, 26 rbi, 24 SB as a Met before being dealt and playing in the playoffs for some American league team in October. He'll be back at Citi Field in 2013 for the All-Star game.

David Wright: My good friend Pete can't stand Wright. He hates how friendly Wright is with opponents. He hates how Wright doesn't "deliver in the clutch." I mean Wright really drives him nuts. If Wright ever hits a walk-off homer and punches out the catcher as he crosses home, Pete will love him. David had me at hello. He had the leader tag thrust upon him from the get go. When other teammates were high-tailing it out of the locker room during the '07/'08 collapses, Wright stood there and faced the music every night. I was at his first All-Star game in Pittsburgh and predicted a double down the line in his first at-bat. He homered. I met Wright at the All-Star game in San Francisco with my boys. He could not have been nicer. In short, I like him. So I root for him and I hope he plays his entire career with the Mets. If he happens to take out Rollins or Jeter with a hard slide, or charges the mound after being drilled by a Brave or a Marlin, great! I know it'll make Pete happy.

.313 avg, 25 HR, 92 rbi, 22 SB, 2 fights.

Jason Bay: I always thought when a player gets knocked loopy like Bay did in L.A. last year, the team should just start saying "You are Babe Ruth, you are Babe Ruth..." over and over again. You never know, he might come to and start playing like the Bambino. Instead the Mets said "You are Shane..." and Bay never came back. I hope he turns it around this year because he has so much headline potential;
"The Bay Hey Kid," "Bay, City Rolling," "Bay Watch (if he gets a long hitting streak)," "Bomb Bay!"
"Canadian Bay-Can" and "Oy Bay!"

.271 avg, 21 HR, 78 rbi, 3 back-page headlines.

Angel Pagan:  I have no idea what to make of his 2010 season. In his 5th season, and first with extended playing time, he looked like a guy who could be just below star-calibar. His splits are a little concerning
1st haf: .320, .362, .467
2nd half: .260, .317, .382
I suspect this Angel falls to earth in 2011. Not in a John Goodman in Fallen "I got touched by the Devil so now I am the Devil" kind of way. More in a Nic Cage "there's this hot girl I really want to get with so I'm going to make myself human" kind of way.

.262 avg, 12 HR, 47 rbi, 18 SB, 1 collision with Beltran.

Carlos Beltran: I've always been a supporter of his. It's not his fault he was offered an absurd contract. From 2006-2008 he averaged 112 runs, 113 rbi, 33 HR, .278 avg. and WARs of 8.0, 5.3 and 6.8. Even in '09 when he only played half the season he produced 50 runs, 48 rbi and 100 hits in 81 games. He's been a very productive player who has measured against his contract and not his peers. Beltran was first in RBI for CF over from '06-08, 2nd in runs only to Sizemore, 1st in HR's and 1st in Slg%. Injuries have clearly crippled his career and he is no longer the player he was. Watching him run the bases this spring was like watching the ice road truckers driving over the perilous roads; slow, cautious and it felt like he could collapse at any moment.  I expect the Mets will end up dealing him for nickels on the dollar and the Beltran Era will end with a whimper.

.248 avg, 9 HR, 38 rbi, 4 cortisone shots.

Josh Thole: He's got some John Stearns in him. He smacks liners around the yard, is athletic behind the plate and will quickly become a fan favorite. I see him being the kind of hitter who will bat around .280 and maybe chase .300 some year. He's on twitter and tweets things like "Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead." (we'll work on that.)  Plus, as best as I can tell, he is the only Josh in Mets history, which makes him Josh 1.0

.283 avg, 6 HR, 54 rbi, 152 tweets (3 of which will be funny)

Danny Muprhy: Murph is a bat without a position. I think the Mets will get him 350-400 at bats and he'll be productive. Hopefully he'll spend more time in the corner infield than the corner outfield.

.288 avg, 8 HR, 44 rbi, 5 - the number of times he is attacked by a fly ball.

  The starting pitching was a pleasant surprise last season. It will be again. In part because Citi Field is pitcher friendly. I'm hopeful Niese and Pelfrey take forward steps. There's no reason to think K-Rod won't be fine, so long as family members stay away from the ballpark.
  You could tell me the Mets will win 70 games this year, you could tell me they are going to win 85. Neither result would surprise me. A lineup of Reyes, Pagan, Wright, Beltran, Bay, Davis, Thole, Eamus could be very productive while it's together. However, I can't shake the feeling the offense will struggle again.
  But they say hope springs eternal, so I'll continue to hope for good things to happen. I'll hope the ownership situation is resolved quickly. I'll hope that they play competitive baseball like the did in 2005. Just play crisp, hard-nosed baseball and give me a reason to watch. I'll hope Ike and Josh emerge as new cornerstone guys. I'l hope Bay, Beltran and Pagan stay on the field. I'll hope Dickey's knuckler flutters like the feather in Forrest Gump. I'll hope somehow Reyes stays the year and Wright shows a bit of a nasty streak so that Pete will like him.

2011 Mets 79-83

27 March, 2011

Sly takes on fashion

by Gus Ramsey

It's surprising it took this long. I mean, the man has made a combined 10 Rocky and Rambo films (if you count the one that most do not acknowledge). So the fact that it took Sly Stallone this long to come out with a fashion line, like Rocky himself, is a little slow in developing but brings a smile to my face. Look for me in my Rambo jeans rocking a Rocky watch (Hey, yo. You got the time?) in 2012.

26 March, 2011

Opening Day is National Cliche Day

In the spring of 1989 I was a senior at Rollins College and invented Cliche Day. Granted, it's not Facebook and hasn't made me rich beyond my wildest dreams, but it was fun none-the-less. With opening day of the baseball season just around the corner I thought it would be a good time to bring it back and go national.
The concept is simple; when you engage in conversation with your friends, you must use cliches. The preference would be to begin your remarks with a cliche, but just getting them into the conversation is fine.
Since baseball broadcasters seem to rely on the cliche more than any other, opening day is the perfect day to break it out.

"Hey John, you look like a million dollars today."
"Thanks Tom. I'm just taking it one day at a time."
"I'm going to put my best forward and go get some lunch. Want to come?"
"Does a bear poop in the woods? Let's go."

So on Thursday celebrate National Cliche Day.
Give it %110 and help make it a tradition unlike any other.

Headlines I love to see

by Tom McConville

Aging Townsend asks Daltrey, "Who are you"?

Once a devotee of John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success", Knick coach now favors his own "Obelisk of Mediocrity".

Hollywood: Studio on edge as Tyler Perry threatens to make another movie.

Eye chart unintentionally spells last name of Slovenian goalkeeper.

Review: Stephen Dorff on golf fails to deliver the laughs.

Area gospel singer agrees to "TESTIFY!!!!"

24 March, 2011

Shout out to my sister

by Gus Ramsey

Happy Birthday to my little sister, Katy, owner of one of the great moves in American Gladiator history.

23 March, 2011

Stuff my mind comes up with

by Gus Ramsey

Bobby Darin sang a song that was very popular called "If I was a Carpenter."
I'm sure some of you are unfamiliar with it, so here's a link so you know what it sounds like.

Now, just so you understand how my brain works, when the Cardinals had John Mabry and Chris Carpenter together on their team, I wrote this (sing it to the tune of If I was a Carpenter.)

If I was Chris Carpenter
And you were John Mabry
Would you pinch hit for me?
Would you have my A-B?

I just wanted you to know what you're dealing with. 

22 March, 2011

Randomly Funny Scenes Part 1

by Tom McConville

The film might be so-so. Maybe even a bomb at the box office. But it makes no difference. There are those scenes that for some reason or another stick out.

Take for instance, this one from "Joe Versus the Volcano". I guess you'd call this a Tom Hanks stinker. It was pretty much panned by critics, and definitely ignored at the box office. Still, it did have Hanks, a normal looking Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges, Nathan Lane and one Abe Vigoda. In short, no shortage of star power.  But the guy who stole the show was a character simply known as "luggage salesman". When Tom Hanks character decides to go to an island and throw himself into a volcano, he encounters the salesman as he prepares to go to a remote island. However bad this movie may have been, this actor's strange devotion to luggage remains one of the more bizarrely funny moments in film.

This one's a guilty pleasure. "Rat Race" was a remake of the 1960's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World", and featured John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg and Seth Green. But it was Jon Lovitz that blew the doors off the rest of them. I wasn't a huge fan of his before that. But this scene, from start to finish, changed my view of him completely. Please be advised - if an urgent need to use the bathroom, evil Germans, stolen cars and all girl biker gangs make you uncomfortable, prepare to squirm. Otherwise, enjoy.

This one is a toss up. While this movie was way more miss than hit, this scenes with Mike Meyers as a Scottish Father and the one at Alcatraz with the late Phil Hartmann make "So I Married an Axe Murderer" rewatchable again and again. And here's my theory - Anthony Lapaglia isn't acting when he's laughing.

How about you? Any clips that always make you laugh, no matter how many times you've seen it. Tell us what they are we'll post them up.

In case you missed it

remarkable basketball sequence and awesome call, of which I understood 10% 

21 March, 2011

Say Goodbye to Ollie-wood

by Gus Ramsey

I believed. I really did. Then again, I always do.
It was January of 2008. A friend of mine said the Mets couldn't win the NL East because their rotation wasn't that good. I took offense to that. Why? Because they're my team and I always defend them. So to make my case I tried to make arguments that at least sounded believable, aka, convincing. Mind you, this was BEFORE the Mets traded for Johan Santana, so there was some work to be done. But my mind works quickly and I can rationalize anything. Ask my wife. So I quickly pointed to Pedro Martinez's promising 3-1 record and 2.57 era in his '07 September cameo. I noted that Tom Glavine was still capable and Mike Pelfrey was our young stud ready to take a big step forward. But the #1 argument that rings in my ears was this, "John Maine and Oliver Perez each won 15 games last season. They're 26 and 25 years old. Who's to say that they're not getting better and won't at least repeat those performances?" John Maine won 18 more games as a Met. Oliver Perez won 13. Injuries and inconsistency marred their remaining time in New York. Perez was the biggest enigma, among the biggest to ever wear a Mets uniform. 
   Ollie caught my eye in 2004 when he was on the Pirates. 196 innings pitched. Only 145 hits. An astonishing 239 K's, which was good for a league leading 11 k's per 9 IP. The 3.7 BB/9IP was easy to overlook because that could be fixed. Lots of big strikeout pitchers started their careers a little wild and figured it out. This was a 22-year old lefty who threw in the mid-to-low 90's with a nasty 3/4 delivery, some times dropping down laredo-syle, a wicked slider that could make any hitter look downright silly. When the Mets got him in a trade in '06 I was secretly fired up. "He's out of Pittsburgh," I rationalized "Who can focus there when all they do is lose? Bring him to a contender and let Rick Peterson work his magic. This is going to work." Perez made 7 starts for the Mets in the '06 regular season. In one of them he threw a 5-hit shutout while walking only 1. (See, he can do this!) In the other 6 starts, he never pitched more than 5 innings and walked 16 batters in 27.6 IP. (It's ok, he's still young. It's a work in progress.)
too much this

and not enough this

 Then came the playoffs. Pedro and El Duque were hurt and the Mets had no choice but to give Ollie the ball. They did it in game 4 of the NLCS down 2-1 in the series. There were few fans who had high hopes, but there was no choice. (Hey, maybe he'll be Good Ollie tonight.) Ollie wasn't exactly lights out with his 5.2 IP, 9H, 3 HR, 5 ER performance. The Mets bats bailed him out and he got the win in an outing in which every inning it seemed the roof would cave in but he always got the critical 3rd out. He came back in game 7 and was excellent. 6 IP, 4H, 1 ER, only 2 walks and 4 K's. Admittedly, Endy Chavez saved him from being the goat with one of the greatest catches ever made in the postseason, but in the minds of Mets fans, Ollie had delivered in the clutch. (See, Rick Peterson's magic is starting to work.) So when Ollie cranked out 15 wins in 2007 it was easy to think he was on the way up. But in September of '08, when a faltering Mets team really needed him, he stunk. 6 starts, 32.6 IP, 33 hits, 5.79 era and 21 walks. In the off-season the Mets rewarded Perez with a 3-year, 36 million dollar deal when the only competition for his services was between the Mets and the Broncos de Reynosa of the Mexican league. There were crossing guards in New York City who did less walking than Perez, yet the deal was given to him. Perez pitched in the World Baseball Classic and came to camp overweight and it was clear giving him 36 million dollars was as prudent as investing with Bernie Madoff. 
  2 years, 3 wins, 24 million dollars and a league worst 6.81 over-that-time-period era later, and the Mets finally said "Ollie, Ollie set him free." Perez had so many people in the Mets organization scratching their heads you would've thought his only contribution to the team was a giant case of lice. That electric left arm from 2004? A distant memory. Those glimpses of great potential in '06 and '07? Washed from our memories like drawings on the beach with every verbal wave of "Ball 4" splashing over our frustrated faces.  
 And now he's gone. I believed in him. Why? Because he pitched for my team and I wanted him to be good. Because I saw what others saw in '04, including the Mets front office, potential to be good. On Monday the Mets finally admitted it, and so will I, we were wrong. 

19 March, 2011

Creating the '86 Mets

by Gus Ramsey

Having been inspired by my friend Steve Berthiaume to re-create players on MLB '11 The Show, I have begun the process of bringing the '86 Mets to life in my video game. Here are my Doc Gooden, Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez. They're a little creepy, but pretty good I think.

they didn't have a perm option for the hair

closest I could find to Carter's stance

I'm Keith Hernandez!
No, I'm Keith Hernandez!

Adding Dykstra and Backman, the Wild Boys.

17 March, 2011

Cool film

this is 35mm film taken from the front of a cable car in San Francisco in 1906. Lots of stuff to look at. the clothes, all the horses, the randomness with which everything and everyone maneuvers around the street.

16 March, 2011

Enough already? by Tom McConville

I call it a Dr. Gregory House moment. When you stare at an inanimate object and suddenly the answer becomes crystal clear. Last night, while my eyes were fixated on the Thomas the Tank Engine toy that I had successfully snaked out of our downstairs toilet, I had a realization. I don’t care about March Madness that much anymore.

For as long as I can remember, the tournament was always - always - the unofficial start of spring for me. It was the perfect chaser for the bigger cocktail - OPENING DAY. Now, it feels different.  Don't get me wrong. I'll still fill out a bracket and watch. But I don't know if it will ever get me pumped up like it did before. 

Because my dad went to St. John’s, I’ll be pulling for the Red Storm. And because Duke is Duke, I will be rooting for their opponents. But that’s about all the excitement I can muster.

My problem is this. I liked it the way it was before. When the games started on Thursday. When I had to plan an elaborate excuse to take a 3-hour lunch to watch the early games. When CBS or ESPN would switch to games the same way the Red Zone on NFL Network does. When you could see the look of excitement in Bill Raftery’s eyes before tip off.

Now, everything feels forced. I didn’t even watch the games last night because 68 teams feels like it cheapens the whole thing. I’ve got nothing against TNT or Tru TV. But it doesn’t feel the same to be watching basketball on channels that I normally go to for my Detective Lennie Briscoe fix and “COPS” marathons.

I know it’s all about money, and I also know that if CBS didn’t farm out these games, another group of networks would do the same. But, I despise the way the money and ratings dictate where and when I can watch my favorite teams. Other people have made the same argument better than I can, and I’m sure I’m just yelling at the wind. But there is something nice about keeping traditions – like starting March Madness on Thursday with 64 teams – traditional.

What do you think? Am I on to something, or is this just the first sign of my rapid descent into middle aged ornery-ness?


15 March, 2011

Old Madden Podcast

For those of you who are new to me, and what I do, here is a link to a Podcast I did with Bill Simmons back in '08 where we discuss the history of video game football.
Go down about 12 on the list of podcasts .


William Packer

What's on your mind?

Ugh. First, the barista at Starbucks messed up my Orange Mango Vivanno Smoothie (again). Then, I was told that wouldn't have any role in this year's March Madness.

12, 394,675 people like this.

14 March, 2011

What's Their Line? by Tom McConville

The Magic is Back”

-       New York Mets marketing slogan, start of 1980 season

“The Magic is Back….23 games back”.

-       Slightly altered New York Mets marketing slogan, late July 1980

Sometimes it’s known as a marketing slogan. Other times an advertising tagline. Call it what you will, every sports team has one. During good times and bad, teams come up different ways to pump up their fan base. Nine times out of ten these slogan are created by marketing departments and/or ad agencies before the season begins. In rare instances, they just evolve during the course of a season, like  Tug McGraw’s “Ya Gotta Believe” for the Mets in ’73.

So here’s your chance to play marketer for your team. What do you think their tagline should be for their upcoming season?

There’s no right or wrong way to come up with a line. If your team is good, you can go the safe route and give a fact based account of their dominance. For example, the Boston Celtics slogan at the start of the 2008-09 season simply said, “17 Time World Champions”.

Or, you can always take the alliteration route, coming up with something like, “Pride=Passion=Power (2011 LA Kings) or “All Out. All Season” (2008 SF Giants).

Need to use an exclamation point? Go for it! You would be in good company, thanks to the 2006 Anaheim Angels (also known as “The A Team!”) 

Remember - if you need any more reason to ratchet up the energy, nothing says excitement than three of those punctuation marks in a row.

Of course, if your team has fallen on hard times, you can also go cynical for good measure. After the games resumed during the strike shortened ’81 season, the Mets held an inter-squad game at Shea, free of admission. A fan held up a sign that said succinctly captured what all Mets fans were thinking to themselves at that point. "The tragic is back!”.

Not to be outdone, the Phillies marketing department in the late 80’s provided one of the most painfully truthful slogans for their – at the time - down-and-out franchise. “You're in the stands, you're a fan."

So give it a shot. Go to the comments sections and tell us what your team’s tagline should be. Or, share your favorite bad slogans from years gone by. Either way, here’s hoping you all continue to “Be Coyotes Cool”.

11 March, 2011

The Year of 25 years Ago

Someone sent me a tweet this week asking me to recommend some sports movies from the 80's that he should watch. That inspired this column.

   2011 is a year where I am going to spend a lot of time saying to myself and similarly aged friends, "That was 25 years ago?!" Songs, movies, sporting events, personal events... It's going to be a year of fond memories. 
  In 1986 I was 19 years old. When you are 19 you are the flag bearer for independence. When you're 19 you're in college, starting to feel like a real grownup, but you are far enough away from graduating that you don't have to worry about being a real grownup.
  When I was 19 the world was in my wheelhouse. The Mets were great, the Broncos were riding high, parts of my body that were once destined to be a vestigial organ were now serving their purpose. If someone drove into my driveway tomorrow in a Delorean that had a flux capacitor firing on all cylinders, I'd hop right in, set the date for 1986 and floor it. Sadly, that ain't happening. So the best thing I can do for some of you who were born around that time is impart some insight about the entertainment of that era that may not be on your radar. Unlike Mark Cuban, I don't mind living life in the past-lane. In fact, I excel at it. So let's begin by looking at the sports movies released in 1986 and rank them in order of must-see, going from best to worst. 

Hoosiers: Even if you were born in 1986, or after, if you are any kind of sports fan and haven't seen this movie then you deserve to be flogged with Gene Hackman's resume. I played basketball my entire life and at 19 was at the zenith of my love for the game, so it's not surprising that Coach Dale, Jimmy Chitwood and the rest of the Huskers blew me away. But by any standard, this is a classic film. Excellent basketball scenes, lots of quotable lines and multiple chill-scenes, including this one, which did everything but bring in the Rocky music toward the end to signify the turning point  Not seeing this film would be the biggest air ball of your sports movie viewing career. 

Lucas: Corey Haim and Charlie Sheen. Seriously. Together. In the same movie. Throw in a young Winona Ryder, Courtney Thorne-Smith and Jeremy Piven and the rewatchability factor of this movie is higher than Sheen himself on any given day. Who can refuse a movie that features a plot summary like this? 
A socially inept fourteen year old experiences heartbreak for the first time when his two best friends--one an older-brother figure, the other a girl with whom he is in love-- fall for each other.
Watch the trailer and tell me you don't want to see it 
Can you imagine being the girl caught in a Haim-Sheen-You love triangle? You have a better chance of surviving a menage-a-trois with Andre the Giant and Yokozuna. Poor Kerri Green was so frazzled she has only made 3 movies in the ensuing 19 years. 

The Color of Money: You can debate if pool is a sport, I don't feel strongly either way. Paul Newman won an Oscar for his role and Tom Cruise was coming off Top Gun,  just starting to emerge as a bona fide star. This was a Hollywood Heartthrob Passing of the Torch if ever there was one. Looking at it now it's hard not to notice a similarity to Charlie Sheen in looks and attitude by Cruise, especially in this scene.
 The film did receive "two thumbs down" from Siskel and Ebert, for what that's worth. (If you are 19 today do you even know who those people are?) It sports a solid soundtrack with performances by Eric Clapton, Don Henley, B.B. King, Mark Knopfler, Robert Palmer and Warren Zevon.  

Youngblood: A while back Bill Simmons ranked this film 52nd on his list of sports movies and gave it an A+ on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. This one features Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze with Keanu Reeves thrown in for unintentional comedic purposes. Good thing this is a hockey movie otherwise there would have been a world record set for most hair product used on one movie set. The need to wear helmets and look sweaty saved the day. Rob Lowe learned how to skate for the movie, which proved to be about as effective as Sly Stallone learning to sing for Rhinestone. It gets my vote for least inspiring sports movie trailer of all time.

The Karate Kid 2: This was the 2nd highest grossing film of '86. That tells you how much the movie industry benefited from the absence of the Internet back in the day. Before the Internet people would rush to see sequels if the first movie was good because, well, the first movie was good. Other than Siskel and Ebert pointing their thumbs up or down, there wasn't a whole lot of movie reviewing. Now a movie can get a world-wide karate kick to the man-area before it even opens. So in '86 when KK2 came out and Mr. Miyagi and Daniel were back in action, America flocked to the theaters like they were giving away free leg warmers. But most of the movie felt like a bad Happy Days episode and when your climactic scene concludes with Daniel tweaking his adversary's nose, well, let's just say it's not exactly Rocky knocking out Drago. The trailer tried to sell the coming of age angle, but since Daniel looked like he was 14 in this movie, it was tough to buy.

Others: Wildcats, The Best of Times, American Anthem: I will save you the pain of reviewing these 3 less-than-stellar films. Just know this, in Wildcats Kate Hudson's mom plays a football coach. In The Best of Times the guy who was the voice of the genie in Aladdin (the Disney movie you loved when you were 6 or 7) is the hero in a high school reunion football game. And in American Anthem, Mitch Gaylord (an actual gymnast) is inspired to return to gymnastics by Wayne Gretzky's wife. Sadly, Kate Hudson's mom is more believable in her role than Gaylord was in his. 

   1986 was not the best year for sports movies but it did produce one of my top 3 favorites in Hoosiers. As 2011 goes on I will continue to take you back 25 years and share with you some of the things that made 1986 so memorable.

Thanks Gus by Tom McConville

Vince Ricardo: Just go with the flow, Shel, just go with the flow.
Sheldon: What flow? There isn't any flow.

-       "The In-Laws", 1979

I’ve been a fan of the blog since it started way back in early 2011. But more importantly, Gus has been a friend for much longer. I’m excited to join in, add my rambles and grateful for the opportunity.

While I am a big sports fan (Mets, NY Giants, Seton Hall Pirates), I can’t hold a candle to what Gus brings to the table. So, consider me something of a fish out of water. While I’ll share some sports stuff from time to time, my niche will be a bit more on the observational side of things. Less Art Rooney, more Andy Rooney. (Minus the Leonid Brezhnev-like eyebrows.)

And to that end….
Once and for all Cialis, why the two bathtubs. Outside.  Why?

  • Listening to Wilco and watching soccer. These are two things people tell me I should do more of. But every time I do, it feels like a chore.

 First his brother Dennis, now 
Charlie Sheen. When will Randy Quaid ever 
take center stage?
  •            My wife is starting to talk about getting the patio furniture out from the shed. Little do she know that one of the plastic Adirondack’s will once again be used as a makeshift wiffle ball backstop.

  •       This morning, I saw two homeless men relieving themselves on a subway platform. I’m on edge right now, since these things come in three’s.

  •       Now I can certainly understand putting up inspirational quotes in your cubicle. But Family Circus cartoons? The woman in cubicle 1457-D scares me
  •       I vote for bringing back the bullpen car. And when a brawl happens, having all the relievers pile into one, speed to the fight and then climb out like clowns in the big top.

  •       Even though I love my 2 ½ year old dearly, I still sometimes wish there was a boarding school for pre-schoolers.
  •       I don’t believe in random acts of violence. Unless it’s against the person who created the 1-800-Kars-4-Kids radio spot.

March means NCCA's. Spring Training. Parades.
And of course, the return of Cookie O'Puss to Carvel.
It's what St. Patrick would've wanted.

Thanks again. To Gus, and all of you.


Very Funny

Batting Stance Guy with a really funny look at some baseball historians

10 March, 2011

MLB '11 Review

Steve Berthiaume of Baseball Tonight invited me to do a video review of MLB '11 The Show.
Also make sure to check out his column on creating players within the game.

08 March, 2011

cool video links

I've tweeted out some good video links this week. In case you missed them, here they all are in a one-stop-shopping setting.

Even the little Sparkys are making the great shots

One of the great beer commercials of all-time. Love the smile at the end

LeBron moved (or drawn) to tears

Things I would never do on a bike

Kick, Kick, Hooray

07 March, 2011

New Addition

I'm pleased to announce that Tom McConville is joining Gus Stuff as a contributor. Tom is a long time friend who once witnessed me throw my pitching wedge deep into the woods of the 12th hole at SpyGlass golf course. Looking forward to having Tom contribute and helping me keep the site current, entertaining and fun.

06 March, 2011

Saying "I Don't" to your team

Next to saying "I do" at your wedding, there may not be
a more sacred vow that you can take than committing your 
fandom to your team. 

Yesterday on Twitter I was asked the following question:

 Ben Mehl 
@ under what circumstances can you drop your local team?

It's a serious question. The importance of fan loyalty has been well documented. Root, root, rooting for the home team, or even just cheering for "the laundry", as noted by Jerry Seinfeld, is serious business.
It's personal. In most cases, very personal.

Some of the most serious arguments that you ever get into are about your team or a player on it. Fans feel an association with their teams that often is tied directly to how they feel about themselves. When your team is winning, you feel good. You have a bounce in your step. When they are losing, times feel a little tougher. You're less likely to don that ball cap or sweatshirt with your team's logo on it. Some fans feel "my team wins, so I'm a winner." Or worse yet, "my team loses, so I'm a loser." Cities like Cleveland and Buffalo seem completely absorbed by their loser labels.
When Forbes put out their list of the Top 5 Most Miserable Sports Cities, some Clevelanders bemoaned to me that they weren't in the top 5. "We can't even win that?!" they asked.
  So making that decision to cut ties is a serious one.
My first thought about it is this: if you do it, don't come crawling back when things get good again.
Don't be the boyfriend who dumped his girlfriend sophomore
year because there were hotter girls out there, or she just wasn't
giving you what you needed, but then comes begging when she
blossoms into a full blown hottie in her junior or senior year.
If you want out, you're out.
 When I was a kid I LOVED Dr. J. He was my idol. I had his
posters, I practiced his moves and I watched all his games with
an awe and love like I had never felt. Hell, I even tried to figure out how to grow an afro.
Because he played for the 76ers, I was a diehard 76er fan.
But something funny happened that I never saw coming.
When Dr. J retired I started to lose interest in the Sixers.
Charles Barkley kept me around a while. I was like the guy
who keeps coming back to his favorite watering hole even
though now it's under new management, they serve as
many wine spritzers as beers and the juke box has been
replaced with a guy on an electric keyboard singing Piano Man.
Once Barkley was traded to Phoenix, I was out.
The league was changing for the worse. My NBA interest, once
as passionate as anyone I knew, was fading faster than the novelty of saying "Winning!"
I was done. I was no longer a 76ers fan.
Something I could have never imagined in the 1980's.
I came back in the early '90s because I was working in Orlando when the Magic were born and I am a fan of theirs now.
I wasn't going to be that fair-weather guy and jump back on the Philly bandwagon.
I was going to take my lumps with the expansion Magic. It was the price I was paying for saying so long to the 76ers.
  As a diehard Mets and Broncos fan, there were similar opportunities to jump ship. As a 10-year old my heart was broken when the Mets traded Tom Seaver. He was my baseball hero. The Mets stunk. There was NO reason to keep supporting the Mets. They turned their back on the fans. Plus, Seaver had gone to the very successful Cincinnati Reds. It would have been easy to follow Tom Terrific to the Big Red Machine. I was only 10. But I didn't.
  The Denver Broncos went to the Super Bowl when I was 10, 21, 22 and 24 years old. They lost those games by a combined score of 163-50. John Elway or no John Elway, if ever there was a time to say, "I CAN"T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!" that was it. But, I stayed with them too. The Mets and Broncos  rewarded me with a World Series and two Super Bowls.
  So if you put a gun to my head, I say no, don't abandon your team. But there are extenuating circumstances that can make it acceptable.
1) Your team leaves town. 
Pretty simple one. If your team uproots and high tails it to some other market, then all is fair in love and war. I'm guessing there aren't a lot of Seattle basketball fans pulling for the Thunder these days. Conversely, you live in a town without a team and root for another, like an Oklahoma City resident rooting for the Bulls. If all of a sudden a pro team lands in your town, I think it's ok to jump on board.
2) Your favorite player is traded/retires/leaves for free agency.
I can't blame someone if they had a guy they just loved and then that guy is shipped off or even leaves as a free agent. I'm sure there are youngish fans in Cleveland who lost their sports idol virginity to LeBron and took their emotional talents to South Beach when LeBron left.
Imagine if Jeter had left the Yankees in 2001. I'm sure there would have been a portion of fans who would have taken their loyalties to whatever team he went to (unless it was the Mets or Red Sox.)
3) Your owners show no interest in making your team better. 
I sat in on two panels this weekend at the Sloan Sports Conference in Boston, both of which featured owners of teams as featured speakers. The message that kept coming back from them was this: it's important to reward your fans with a good product. It's important to make the game experience one they will fully enjoy. It's important to show your fans you are committed to trying to win a championship.
  If it becomes evident that is not your owner's agenda, then I can't blame someone for getting so frustrated they want out.

  In truth, I still can't see myself ever abandoning my teams.
Even though I bailed on the 76ers, that was more an indictment on the league combined with the retirement of Dr. J.
  So when a Mets fan wants to know if it's ok to kick his team to the curb, I say this; Hang in there.
Last year I didn't go to a single Mets game. In my mind, I felt taking my boys to a game and putting $200+ in the Wilpon's coffers was rewarding their incompetence. I watched the games on TV. I hoped they would win games and got upset when they lost. That's how you can show your frustration. That's how you can say "I'm not enjoying this relationship." It may not be terribly satisfying, but it's better than giving up.
The true test will come if the Mets hold a fire sale like Joel Sherman suggested in today's Post. If next year Beltran, Reyes, Santana, K-Rod, Bay and yes, even David Wright, are all gone, will you stay too? It would probably be the most severe test of a Mets fans loyalty since the Seaver deal.
  The other issue is, if not the Mets, then who? Last year I jumped on the Rockies bandwagon in September because I admired their style of play. But it wasn't the same. Plus, I have all this Mets stuff. T-shirts, hats, pullovers, posters, autographed pictures, ties, game worn jerseys, bobbleheads and so much more. I can't just put it all in a box and leave it at the end of my driveway for someone to come along and take away. I've been in this relationship for 38 years. It's been a volatile mix of good and bad. When it's good, wow do I love it. And even when it's bad, it's still kind of fun.
  So I'm suggesting you hang in there. I mean, ask Rays fans where they were in 2004 when their owner was more looney toons than Bugs Bunny and their team was a the laughing stock of the league. Or ask Rangers and Giants fans how they were feeling about their clubs 3 or 4 years ago.
  Go if you must. It's a personal decision. It's a really tough decision. But if the Mets get off to a good start and Bay and Wright are sockin' those home runs over the wall and Santana's rehab is progressing nicely, don't come tweeting back to me asking for forgiveness.

03 March, 2011

Alternative Fantasy Baseball Leagues

I've never been much of one for fantasy sports.
I get why people play them and enjoy them, I just don't
by the rational. But that's another topic for another time.
So I am here to present two different options for enjoying
a fantasy baseball type game without all the heavy lifting.

Some 30 years ago my dad and I drove to Winter Park, Fl., 
to visit my brother at Rollins College. We stayed in a hotel 
called The Langford. It was here that the three of us created
a home runs only league, which we dubbed The Langfords.
Fantasy was just going mainstream but we wanted to keep it simple. 
So we created a league of 10 players per person that would 
The home of The Langfords
reward a point for every home run hit by your team. 
Winner got 50 cents a homer off the differential from the other two teams. 
Over the years we have tweaked it.
Here are our current rules.
Each team has a roster of 6. 
4 players are active. 
1 is on the bench. homers hit while on the bench do not count toward your team's total.
1 is on the DL and must be on the DL for 15 days from the time he is placed there. 
Each HR is worth 1 point.
A grand slam is worth 4.
Roster moves can only be made on Mondays (easier for league commissioner to maintain).
All-Star game HR worth 2.
Home Run Derby winner worth 4.
Rosters freeze on 9/1
HRs hit in LDS are worth 2, in LCS 3 and World Series
homers are worth 4. This puts a strategy on the roster moves
before 9/1 and deciding who to cut loose and who to pick up or 
All 6 roster members are active during the playoffs.
You can keep 1 player from your final roster the next season.
Winner gets .50 per homer from the other league members. 
So if winner has 100 homers and 2nd place guy has 80, he owes $10.
It's low-maintenance but still lots of fun.

As crazy as it sounds, this one is really a lot of fun.
In my league we draft 5 umpires and one manager.
Any time your ump tosses someone or your manager get tossed, 
you get a point.
The beauty of this league is it makes watching random games
SO much more enjoyable. Any time there is an argument you
scramble to see if it's one of your guys. Any time there is a bean ball
war, the chance for a huge score is intoxicating. Important tip, it's
always good to have at least one crew chief on your team because 
in a brawl situation, all subsequent ejections from the instigators get
credited to the crew chief. There are places on-line where you can
Bob Davidson is Albert Pujols
look up last year's ejection leaders, so it's easy research. Getting your 
hands on Bob Davidson or Joe West is just like having Albert Pujols
or Hanley Ramirez on your fantasy team. Just trust me 
on this, the enjoyment factor of this league will sneak up on you. 
When the Baseball Tonight guys do an update to a game and say 
"tempers flaring in Texas tonight!" you instantly perk up. 

  So there you go. If you don't want to spend too much time 
worrying about WHIP and other stats, or having to research who 
every team's 2nd baseman or closer is going to be, these are two 
light-lifting alternatives that can be a lot of fun. I hope you give them
a try.