Showing posts from 2007

The 2007 Arizona Cardinals awards show bonanza

Note: This column appears in the 1/3 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 1/4 issue of the Peoria Times

Because I am not above such literary gimmicks as handing out fake end-of-the-year awards to professional athletes who don’t give two craps about what I have to say anyway, I think it’s time to do just that! So brace yourselves, Arizona Cardinals, because it’s award time…

Biggest Surprise:Kurt Warner. From his valiant effort in replacing Matt Leinart against Baltimore in Week 3, to his 369-yard, three-TD performance versus Atlanta in Week 16, Warner pretty much saved the Cardinals from yet another embarrassing season. And he did it all with one elbow, an ever-graying beard, and while being sacked 20 times. Even Kurt Warner was surprised by Kurt Warner.

Best Season That Wasn’t That Great:Edgerrin James. Many (for example, Edgerrin James) will point out that James now has back-to-back seasons of rushing for over 1,000 yards, the first Cardinals’ RB to do that, since...I have no idea. Ever…

Classic card of the week

Louis Lipps, 1992 Collector’s Edge

Louis Lipps did not exude the confidence of a man who caught passes for a living. Take this card for example. This looks like the “before” snapshot of an extremely bad dropped pass. There is too much concentration going into this feat. Louis Lipps is attempting to catch this pass as if his life depended on it, and that is just too much pressure to place on oneself as it pertains to the pure simplicity of catching a football. If this were Randy Moss, he would casually be reaching down to catch this pass with his right pinky finger (or, ya' know, his ELBOW!) while simultaneously staring at a cheerleader and contemplating what he was going to do for his touchdown dance. Meanwhile, Louis Lipps doesn’t even have his chinstrap fastened, there’s not a defender anywhere in the picture, and it looks like he’s one second away from pooping his pants. Even his positioning doesn’t make sense! His back is to the freakin’ endzone, and he looks like he’s fielding…

Classic card of the week

Latrell Sprewell, 1997 Upper Deck

When there’s a minute and 10 seconds left in the game, and you’re playing in a half-empty black-and-white arena against a team that refuses to wear numbers on the back of their jerseys, there’s few people in the NBA that you want with the ball in their hands more than Latrell Sprewell. To wit:

In a game vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, Sprewell became the difference in a 97-91 victory. With 1:10 on the clock in regulation, Sprewell shaked and baked his way to a three-point play and sealed the win at home.

Did Walt Frazier write this little tidbit? That will remain a mystery. And apparently in California, 1:10 left on the clock equals “crunch time,” regardless of the fact that those final 70 seconds probably took 23 minutes to play out. (Not mentioned is another “crunch time” play by Sprewell during this game, when he sank one of two free throws midway through the second quarter.)

When asked by a reporter after the game how he managed to be so clutch against…

It could be worse for, seriously

The Christmas season is a time for joy, and also for perspective. Arizona Cardinals fans throughout the Valley are left lamenting the fact that their team will, yet again, miss the playoffs.. To this I say, “Who cares?” For now is the time of the year to appreciate what we have, so as the Cards face-off against them this Sunday, I think it’s time for everyone to be thankful this holiday season that the Arizona Cardinals are NOT, in fact, the Atlanta Falcons.

For all the disappointment inherent in rooting for the franchise that is the Arizona Cardinals, it can be argued that those twenty years of general ineptitude cannot match what the Falcons have accomplished in a mere six months.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? The Falcons’ star quarterback -- and, to the casual NFL fan, their only recognizable player -- was suspended for the season as a result of being indicted on charges of heading a dog fighting ring. Two weeks ago he was sentenced to almost two years in a federal priso…

Classic card of the week

Brad Davis, 1990-91 Skybox

The easy joke here would be to say that Brad Davis was flaming. Or, at least, his balls were flaming. But I am not going to go there, because that is not how I roll. “But how does Brad Davis roll?” you may be asking yourself. That, I cannot answer. All I can do is show you the back of the card,
(check the “Brad” in the lower right-hand corner of the picture…that’s class!), remind you that Brad Davis played for a team whose symbol was a cowboy hat resting on top of a giant “M,” and then ask you to look at the front of the card again. Says Troy McClure, “Yes, Smithers IS Mr. Burns’ assistant.”

Of course, I am joking with these implications and innuendos. Brad Davis was just a product of the times, a times that just happened to involve short shorts, mustaches, flaming basketballs, and cowboy hats. Let’s face it – we were ALL a little gay in 1991.

Anyhoo, I perused Brad Davis’ Wikipedia page, where I discovered that Brad Davis was not a good basketball player. This…

Cardinals must cover up Warner’s inevitable mistakes

Note: This column appears in the 12/13 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 12/14 issue of the Peoria Times

If this past Sunday was, in fact, the biggest game in almost a decade for the Arizona Cardinals, then let’s hope that they don’t react the same way this Sunday, which will definitely be the biggest game in almost a decade for the Arizona Cardinals.

Now to the hard part.

As good as he has been this season, the fact that Kurt Warner is the starting quarterback has been the elephant in the room. Warner has never been adept at taking care of the football, and if not turning the ball over has become a football cliché, then Kurt Warner obviously did not get the memo.

The Cardinals failed in every aspect of the game against the Seahawks. The defense was terrible, and could never manage to stop the bleeding. Special teams was, at best, a non-factor. And the rushing “attack” was on par with what it’s been for most of the season, which is to say that Edgerrin James was, yet again, nowhere to …

When keeping it full goes wrong

Dramatization: "Before"

This morning I was filling my car up with gas -- yes, in Arizona you have to pump your own -- and I was, as usual, watching the money counter, and making bets with myself on where it was going to land. Keep in mind that, as any professional gas-pumper will advise, I was not actually holding the pump. Instead, I had it set in its little pump crevice. “Let the pump do all the work!” is my motto. So I was watching the digital money screen with my arms folded, looking pretty cool, if I might add. Now, I had expected it to land at around the $25 mark, so when it passed that with no signs of slowing down, I said to myself, “Huh, that’s strange.” Then $27…$29…$30…

As it’s going through the 30s, I started to hear a funny noise, like it was raining outside, but only next to my car. When I looked down, gas was splurging everywhere. Apparently, the pump had failed to click and deactivate. At this point, gas is spewing all over the car and on my shoes, the money co…

Classic card of the week

Kevin Willis, 1992-93 Stadium Club

Kevin Willis is arguably the last link to those legendary Atlanta Hawks teams that were pretty good, but not really. It is impossible to think of the late 80’s/early 90’s Atlanta Hawks without immediately seeing a visual image of Kevin Willis in the background of a Dominique Wilkins poster. Or, possibly, you see this very image instead. Or, even more unlikely, you rarely think about the late 80’s/early 90’s Atlanta Hawks, in which case you can go to hell.

Kevin Willis was famous for his humongous biceps, which were on par with those of David Robinson. In fact, the only difference between the two men was that David Robinson had a small face, and Kevin Willis had a huge face. And they played for different teams. And David Robinson scored more than seven points per game.

But Kevin Willis could rebound his face off! So to speak. For statistical proof, let’s check the back of the card:

Remarkable rebounding season, finishing 2nd in NBA…Had as many as 33 board…

Classic card of the week

Jim Les, 1992-93 Fleer

Asked to describe Jim Les in three letters or less, Jim Les replied, “’Good.’ No wait, that’s four. Ummm, give me a second here…” After approximately ten minutes, the light bulb went off for Jim Les. He leaned back slowly in his recliner, flashed his famously cocky smile and said, “Me.”

Jim Les rocked #33 as an obvious homage to his idol and career rival Larry Bird. Also like Bird, Les rocked the lethal combination of curly bangs and a short mullet, to the delight of no one in particular.

And also like Bird, Jim Les did his lovemaking behind the three-point line, so to speak. In fact, let’s find out what the back of the card has to say:

Les is more if you are talking about three-point shooters.

Hey, is that a mispri-…Wait, I get it! JIM Les is more, like the phrase “less is more!” Ha, ha! Back of the card, you’ve done it again! Wait…that makes no sense. Whatever! What else ya’ got?

One of the NBA’s most feared long-range missile launchers, Les led the league in trey …

Cardinals ruin Thanksgiving, add “kicker” to holiday wish list

Note: This column appears in the 11/29 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 11/30 issue of the Peoria Times

I came home this past Sunday from a nice, long holiday weekend, ready to watch the Cardinals move closer to an NFC playoff spot. Here’s what happened…

-After 10 weeks of suffering through the likes of Vince Young and Jason Campbell, Kurt Warner has somehow become my starting fantasy quarterback. And good thing, because he is dealing on this first drive. Warner to Fitzgerald, touchdown! Looks like both the Cardinals and myself are headed for the playoffs.

-(That was foreshadowing...the bad kind.)

-Trent Dilfer is starting for the 49ers today. My friend Rashad and I like to use the term “Dilfered” to describe a bad loss. For example, if Rashad were to lose a round of golf to an 84-year old woman, I would say he “got Dilfered.”

-Frank Gore goes down awkwardly, and is now limping off the field, which leads the announcers to say that this game could turn into “the Maurice Hicks show.” I h…

Classic card of the week

Sedale Threatt, 1992-93 Stadium Club

I KNOW you ain’t lookin’ at Sedale Threatt.
-- Sedale Threatt

When not just chillin,’ Sedale Threatt could be found leading the Los Angeles Lakers in various statistical categories. Or, making babies. One of Threatt’s former lovers accused him of having “as many as 14” children. Said Threatt in response, “Accused? What, is it a crime to reproduce?” Sedale Threatt would later find out that, yes, it is a crime to reproduce, as he was sentenced to six months in prison back in 2000 for failing to pay child support. Nevertheless, one of Threatt’s offspring, Sedale, Jr., plays quarterback at Leigh University. As for the others…do they play sports? Then who cares?

But such is not the legacy of Sedale Threatt. For he was much more than fertile. History will remember Sedale Threatt as the man who replaced Magic Johnson as point guard of the Lakers in 1991. So there’s th-…wait. Wait a second. I’m sorry…that…

Say Coyotes, ‘If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em…senseless’

Note: This column appears in the 11/21 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 11/23 issue of the Peoria Times

On November 10th, in what would eventually become a 2-1 Sharks’ victory over Phoenix, former Coyote Jeremy Roenick became the third American-born player to reach 500 goals.

On November 12, the Sharks’ Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi each scored twice as San Jose shutout the Coyotes 5-0.

Excited at the prospect of watching the Coyotes potentially turn the tables on this one-sided “rivalry,” I went to this past Thursday’s game, which was Phoenix’s third straight against San Jose. And, at the risk of ruining a week-old surprise, the Sharks won 6-0.

For those scoring at home, last week -- a week that started, mind you, with Phoenix on a very modest two-game winning streak -- resulted in a 13-1 loss, mixed in with some milestones for the opposition, a 2-7 home record, and a last place showing in the Western Conference.


Admittedly, I am no hockey connoisseur. But this was the third …

Classic card of the week

Elmore Spencer, 1992-93 Fleer

Elmore Spencer is confused. What the hell play are you calling coach? Princeton? X? What is the ref doing? I can’t see! Did he just say I have eight fouls? WTF? Besides being perpetually confused by the intricacies of his role in the NBA -- rebound, outlet pass, stay out of the way, repeat – Elmore Spencer was also famous for being the first player in NBA history to wear eye black during a game, as a result of the glaring sun that often crept its way into various indoor arenas throughout the league. Spencer also chewed tobacco during games and once tried to break up a fastbreak by sliding into Sherman Douglas, tearing Douglas’ ACL in the process.

When he wasn’t busy pretending to play a different sport, Elmore Spencer spent most of his time being fat. Says the back of the card: Spencer, the consummate widebody, led UNLV to a 26-2 mark last year as a senior while averaging 14.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Consummate widebody? Really? In t…

Big plays, big playmakers define Cards’ ‘D’

Note: This column appears in the 11/15 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 11/16 issue of the Peoria Times

Before the start of the season, I wrote, regarding the Arizona Cardinals, that “not one player stands out on defense. Not one.” Now more than halfway through the NFL season, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I was correct.

After all, there are at least five players that stand out on defense. Not one.

See? I just italicized the wrong word! Of course, I’m lying, and once again, an idiot. Granted, at that point in time it seemed, to me at least, that maybe only Adrian Wilson had the potential to affect the outcome of a game on his own. So maybe it’s not that my idiocy has been exposed, but rather that several players on this defense have stepped up to, well, stand out. (In my dreams, I like to imagine that my critical statements provide bulletin board material for the Cards. One scenario has Ken Whisenhunt walking into the locker room, and slamming down a copy of The Glendale Star o…

Classic card of the week

Stephon Marbury, 1998-99 Upper Deck

Let’s update the paragraph on the back of this card, shall we?

Over the course of the two too (many) seasons which Stephon Marbury has spent with Minnesota New York, the club has taken on the look of one of the league’s premier young teamsthis. Building upon Regressing from a rookie season which saw him earn NBA All-Rookie First Team honors (Second Team honors that year? Kobe Bryant) and carry the Timberwolves Knicks(‘ interns) to their first-ever playoff back-seat-of-a-truck appearance, the second-year rate point shooting guard racked up the NBA’s fourth-best highest assists turnover total* in 1997-98 2006-07 and placed his (self-imposed nick)name (Starbury) alongside the game’s history’s premier playmakers franchise killers, such as Isiah Thomas. Marbury’s improved decision making (“Are you getting in or not?”, Dogfighting is a sport too!) and blinding quickness forehead also combined to boost the former Georgia Tech star’s Phoenix Suns player’s …

Some quick “facts” about Cardinals and Lions

Note: This column appears in the 11/8 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 11/9 issue of the Peoria Times

On Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals take on the Detroit Lions. Many people may be confused as to the details surrounding this matchup, and by “many people” I mean “no one in particular.” Nevertheless, that is why I am here. Below are some fast facts about this Sunday’s matchup. Keep in mind however, that my “fast facts” are similar to “Snapple Facts,” in that no one is really certain whether or not they are actually true.

-The Cardinals and Lions first faced each other in the year 1776, with the winner earning America her independence, and the loser forced to move to Detroit. Kurt Warner was but in Kindergarten.

-Many in and around football are describing this matchup as “a poor man’s Colts versus Patriots.” However, they are stressing that the man in question is very, very poor. And also dead.

-In Kurt Warner and Jon Kitna, Sunday’s quarterback matchup will feature two of the most outwa…

Classic card of the week

Gaston Green, 1992 Collector’s Edge

“Oh, snap! Gaston Green ‘bout to poop in his knickers!”

This is almost certainly what was going through Gaston Green’s mind at this particular moment, although there is no concrete evidence to back that up. What is for certain however, is that this card marked the first time in NFL history that an opposing player showed visible fear of the Chargers’ defense. (This is before, of course, Shawne Merriman began injecting himself with rhinoceros tranquilizer.)

In 1987, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist named Rakim grew a thicker mustache and decided to secretly join the NFL, under the simple alias of Gaston Alfred Green III. Makes sense. Anyhoo, after toiling in Los Angeles with the Rams for three years, Rakim was informed by his hip-hop partner Eric B, that, “Yo! I heard even hip-hop pioneers can thrive within that Denver running system, kid!” Word. And with that, Rakim Gaston hauled ass for Denver, where he immediately rushed for over 1,000 yards in 1991 a…

Cardinals have played on expectations…to a draw

Note: This column appears in the 11/1 issue of the Glendale Star, and the 11/2 issue of the Peoria Times

This Sunday marks the beginning of the second half of the season for the Arizona Cardinals. If I were asked to sum up the first half of the season, I would probably say, “Ehhh,” and then shrug my shoulders. The first seven games have provided a constant mix of good news and bad news for this team. Everything seems to be evening out -- the Cardinals are suddenly Jerry Seinfeld. In fact, let’s recap, shall we?

Bad news: Matt Leinart is playing like crap.
Good news: Here comes Kurt Warner!

- - - - - - - - - - -

Bad news: Here comes a quarterback controversy.
Good news: Leinart got hurt! Controversy over.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Bad news: Warner is hurt.
Good news: Wait, no he’s not!

- - - - - - - - - - -

Bad news: We are 3-4, under .500.
Good news: Three of those four losses are by a combined eight points, and the 15-point loss to Carolina came with Tim Rattay at quarterback. This team is in every …

Classic card of the week

Dennis Awtrey, 1973-74 something

With the start of the NBA season just around the corner, I figured now would be as good a time as any to take a look back, and acknowledge how the NBA has changed. Not much, I say! In fact, on almost any day of the week, you can spot current Chicago Bull Ben Gordon, happily dribbling a basketball in the carpeted hallway of United Airlines Arena, or, at his old high school, on career day. Why? Because what the hell else are you going to do when you’re dressed in full uniform, standing in a carpeted hallway, and someone hands you a basketball? Frown at it? Not likely. Sure, maybe Ben Gordon doesn’t wear his underwear as an actual uniform, and maybe he doesn’t rock the curly white-afro mullet combination. And yeah, he probably wouldn’t be caught dead looking like this under any possible circumstances. In fact, maybe Ben Gordon is bad example. But still, not much has changed! Seriously!

As for Dennis Awtrey, if that name rings a bell, then you must be Dennis…

Coyotes, you had me at "giant flying taco"

Note: This column appears in the 10/25 issue of the Glendale Star, and the 10/26 issue of the Peoria Times

I’m not going to lie -- I am not a big hockey fan. In fact, at the Coyotes game this past Saturday night, I went to get a beer with my friend Rashad at one point during the first period. When we tried to go back to our seats, there was a cluster of people waiting to do the same. Of course, I tried to push my way through the crowd with a bunch of “excuse mes” while Rashad waited behind me, pretending like he didn’t know me. Yep, I didn’t realize you had to wait for the whistle to go back to your seat. You know you’re not a hockey fan when one of the three black guys in the arena is telling you how to act.

So yeah, I don’t know much about hockey. But ya’ know what? If I’m going to have the type of time I had this past Saturday night, then there may be hope for me yet.

At the risk of having this come across as some type of corny, “Hey Glendale -- if you haven’t been to Aren…