Showing posts from October, 2007

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!

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

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

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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…

Classic card of the week

Mike Lynn, 1991 Pro Set

This is probably my best card featuring the President and CEO of a defunct league. It is also, amazingly, the worst. Nevertheless, Mike Lynn was, as you can see, the President and CEO of the World League. “What the hell is the World League?” you may be asking yourself. Excellent question! The World League provided an alternative for the millions and trillions of people throughout the world who were sick and tired of the NFL. Around 1991, the general consensus was, “Yeah, the NFL is okaaaay, I guess. But what about some freakin’ helmet cams! And I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see some shorter kick-off tees! And let’s get some Asians involved in all of this, ya’ know?”

This is where the World League stepped in, headed by Mike Lynn, who left his post as director of cruise ship operations for the Minnesota Vikings in order to do so. The World League consisted of 10 teams, including the New York / New Jersey Knights (rolls right off the tongue!), the Tallahas…

Cardinals versus Redskins: Tale of the Tape

Note: This column appears in the 10/18 issue of the Glendale Star, and the 10/19 issue of the Peoria Times

The Arizona Cardinals travel to Washington this week to face a surprising Washington Redskins team. The surprise is that they’re decent, though the same could be said of the Cards. Anyhoo, in leu of stringing together moderately coherent sentences, I’ve instead decided to do a “Tale of the Tape” featuring random words and choppy phrases that make no sense to anyone who is unfamiliar with either team. This is where my lack of a journalism degree really comes in handy! Hi mom!

Arizona Cardinals(3-3)versus Washington Redskins (3-2)

Nickname: (Cardinals) Inappropriate, needs to be changed

Protector of the desert

Nickname: (Redskins) Offensive, needs to be changed

Redskins: Taught the Pilgrims how to play trombone

Advantage: Arizona Cardinals Scorpions

Head Coach: (Cardinals) Young, seems to like football, defers to no one

Head Coach: (Redsk…

Classic card of the week

Steve Balboni, 1990 Bowman

For the seventh consecutive season, the New York Yankees are not going to win the World Series. Joe Torre’s reign as manager may be over, most of the fan favorites of the late 90’s teams have since retired, and many of the remaining veterans are at a crossroads. Also, A-Rod and blah, blah, blah.

I spent most of the past week or so feeling down and out about the Yanks, and wondering what the future holds. Then, while flipping through some old cards and trying to come up with a winner for “Classic Card,” I stumbled upon this.

Sometimes in life, a little perspective is all you really need. Here I am feeling sorry for myself about the current state of affairs for the Yankees, and it occurred to me that I had forgotten where I came from (New Jersey). For in the vast realm of history, it wasn’t too long ago that this guy was providing the bomb for the Bronx Bombers. Yikes.

I, along with many other like-minded kids of my age, I think, used to call Balboni “Steve Balb…

Classic card of the week

Bryan Clutterbuck, 1989 Topps

When Bryan Clutterbuck first met his Brewers’ teammate Robin Yount, he introduced himself by saying, “Hi! I’m Bryan Clutterbuck. That’s Bryan with a ‘y,’ and Clutterbuck with a ‘Clutterbuck.’” That happened in 1986, during Clutterbuck’s first stint with Milwaukee, where he immediately became a household name, except not really. He would rejoin the club in 1989, which is when his career really took off, and by “took off,” I mean came to a halt. States the back of the card:

He earned his 1st major league Win: 4-25-89.
He earned his 2nd major league Win: 5-25-89.

One could easily assume – because this is Bryan Clutterbuck we’re talking about here – that he simply chose to space out his victories in perfect month-long intervals, giving him six wins every season (which is, amazingly, exactly what a 44-year old Roger Clemens is worth!). But alas, Bryan Clutterbuck would never see the big leagues again after that elusive second win, a result of him tearing his groin…

An Idiot’s Guide to the Cards’ 34-31 win over the Rams

Note: This column appears in the 10/11 issue of the Glendale Star, and the 10/12 issue of the Peoria Times

This past Sunday the Cardinals were the early game against the St. Louis Rams, and I decided to take notes on everything that occurred. Here’s what transpired…

9:52 AM: Okay, I’m at my friend Rashad’s house, who has Direct TV’s Sunday NFL Ticket. Of course, he set up a second TV so I could watch the Cardinals, because he didn’t want to waste his HD on a game featuring Gus Frerotte and Kurt Warner. Can’t really blame him.

10:01: The game hasn’t started yet, and Rams’ coach Scott Linehan is cursing on the sidelines. Good sign for the Cardinals.

10:02: Matt Leinart calls a play, throws an interception, claims he was misquoted.

10:08: Rams’ go up 3-0. Frerotte gets so pumped he bangs his head into the wall.

10:19: The camera pans to a shot of Matt Leinart’s hip, which looks like a plate of eggplant parm. I didn’t know you could get an STD on your hip!

10:24: My fantasy kicker, Neil Racker…

Well, that sucked

To Chien Ming Wang: Maybe you need a new pitch. Dick.

To Derek Jeter: You’re officially on notice.

To Roger Clemens: Go away.

To Andy Pettitte: Whatever.

To Jorge Posada: A hit would have been nice. But hey, you call a great game.

To Joe Torre: Thanks for staying awake.

To Johnny Damon: That thing down the first base line is called “first base.” You should go there sometime.

To Mike Mussina: Thanks for sucking so bad this season that the team had to ask a cigarette-smoking sinker-baller to pitch on three days rest.

To Alex Rodriguez: I don’t care what you do.

To Jason Giambi: You still here?

To John Sterling: Don’t worry, it was the bugs’ fault.

Joe, wake up! You're fired.

Classic card of the week

Greg Screpenak, 1992 Collector’s Edge

Greg Screpenak played rookie guard for the Los Angeles Raiders in 1992. Because the Raiders were the only team in the NFL to define their offensive line by seniority and not positional placement, Screpenak was ineligible to play the position the following year, or for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, Screpenak was also the first player in modern football history to have the left arm of an African American man, the face of a young Tony Siragusa, and the IQ of an oriental rug, paving the way for others of his ilk. According to the back of the card, “the L.A. coaching staff is impressed with his use of his size and long arms to overwhelm defenders.” So there was that, also.

Oh, and Greg Screpenak’s name was not Greg Screpenak, a little-known fact I discovered while Googling Greg Screpenak. To this, Google replied, “Do you mean ‘Greg Skrepenak?’” And I was all like, “Shit, I don’t know what I mean anymore when it comes to Greg Screpenak!” Frustrated …

Whisenhunt discovers defense, shows it to team

Note: This column appears in the 10/4 issue of the Glendale Star, and 10/5 issue of the Peoria Times

If someone were to say to me, “Hey Mike, what have you learned since you moved to Arizona?” I would first tell them that I didn’t come here to learn -- I came here to get a better tan. Then I would explain that I’ve learned two main things since arriving in Arizona.

First and foremost I’ve learned that -- and I hope this doesn’t come across as a vast generalization -- everyone in this state drives like an absolute maniac. I’ve honestly never experienced anything like this in my life. It’s comical to me that the NY/NJ area gets a bad rep for their drivers, when the locals here would make a New York City cab driver fear for his life. Everybody here drives 50 miles over the speed limit and tailgates like a mo' fo', which is made even more intimidating when you consider that 99% of the vehicles on the road here are pick-up trucks with tires the size of Ferris wheels. I’m not even ent…