Showing posts from April, 2008

Graves and Cardinals forced to battle NFL reality

Note: This column appears in the 5/1 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 5/2 issue of the Peoria Times

Poor Rod Graves.

While Cardinals’ general manager Rod Graves is certainly enjoying the newfound expectations that have come from the improved situation he helped create, there remains one man inadvertently trying to hold him back from future success. That man has slicked-back hair and once held a press conference on Terrell Owens’ front lawn.

That man is Drew Rosenhaus.

What?! That contract is a week old! Stop living in the past!

Just when the Cardinals seem on the cusp of a winning season, the sports agent du jour has arrived to remind the franchise just how difficult it can be to turn a corner. Two weeks ago, linebacker Karlos Dansby -- whose agent, coincidentally, is not Drew Rosenhaus -- signed the tender offer that acknowledges his “franchise tag,” and thus will earn over $8 million this season. (Graves says a long-term deal is on the horizon.) This reminded defensive tackle Darnell…

Classic card of the week

Jeff Kent, 1996 Topps

One of my favorite things about Jeff Kent -- besides the fact that, by many accounts, he can be a total dick -- is his ability to drag the glam of the late 80’s/early 90’s straight into 2008, as if every progressive fashion trend that occurred during that time was just a passing fad. There is virtually no difference between the Jeff Kent of 1992 and the Jeff Kent of 2008. That’s probably why, according to the bizarre last line of his Wikipedia page, “he is often mistaken for Jeff Foxworthy.” Apparently, white + mustache = Jeff Foxworthy. (Although, Jeff Kent DOES have his own line of beef jerky, which is a strange coincidence.) I am working on getting this line changed to: “He is often mistaken for Rance Mulliniks, who is often mistaken for Jeff Foxworthy…by nobody in particular.” I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

But enough shenanigans -- let’s check out the back of the card:

Kent’s knack for out-producing his athletic abilities made him a favorite of Manager D…

Cardinals’ ’08 schedule is a land of opportunity

Note: This column appears in the 4/24 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 4/25 issue of the Peoria Times

It’s been rather slow on the local professional sports scene around here lately now that spring training and the Coyotes are finished. But the NFL threw us a bone last week by releasing the schedule for the 2008 season. As everyone knows, the NFL landscape can change pretty dramatically in a year’s time, so looking too much into a team’s schedule four months before the season even starts is fairly pointless and presumptive. But it just so happens that my whole style is pointless and presumptive! So that’s what we’re going to do – look too much into the Arizona Cardinals’ 2008 schedule four months before the season starts. Because, it seems to me, if Matt Leinart can put the beer bong down for two seconds, that the Cards have a chance to do some pretty special things this year.

For starters, after two consecutive seasons in which the league put the Cardinals on national television -- …

Concert review Friday: Bon Jovi

One of the cool things about my job is that I oftentimes end up getting tickets for stuff. Like Jimmy Buffet. Or a monster truck rally. Usually, these are events that I probably would not attend were it not for the fact that I have free tickets. However, a musical act came around recently that I really wanted to see. This musical act is called “Bon Jovi.” They are a “rock” band from New Jersey, and my wife and I prefer to call them “the Jov.” Lucky for us, we got tickets through my work.

Let me first say this: I am aware that there are many (some?) people out there who like Bon Jovi on a serious level, and consider them as legitimate a rock & roll band as say, U2. I am not one of those people. I don’t even really like them that much. I liked them when I was a kid -- it took me a few years to grow out of naming “Living’ on a Prayer” as my favorite song, and I distinctly remember “Bad Medicine” coming in first on Z100’s “Top Five at 9” for approximately 829 straight days. Then I beca…

Classic card of the week

Anonymous, 1990 Upper Deck

There are four reasons why a baseball player’s name would not appear on his own baseball card: a) that player is so well-known that it is actually unnecessary to include that player’s name on the card, b) somebody just straight-up forgot to include the player’s name on the card, c) this player simply does not exist, and everything you are seeing is an illusion, or d) you are in a movie, and this player is your father, and you have to go back in time and save him from going into that building that was on fire, and then his name will appear on the card again.

So, if this is a player who is so well-known that his name goes without saying, then I’M the moron. There is only one player I can think of from the 1990 Houston Astros that trancended sports and became an international superstar, and whose name was not required to print on a card because everyone already knew who he was, and that man was Franklin Stubbs. This is not Franklin Stubbs. Trust me. Upon furthe…

Hanging with Jimmy Buffet down at Margaritaville

Note: This column appears in the 4/17 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 4/18 issue of the Peoria Times

When my editor handed me two tickets to go see Jimmy Buffet perform live at Margaritaville, I asked her if I could write about it, since ya’ know, I usually write about sports (poorly). She joked with me that I should try and find a sports angle for the column. At least, I hope she was joking, because after much contemplation -- I think I may have heard “Cheeseburger in Paradise” during halftime of a Nets game back in the ‘90’s! -- I have decided this is too much of a stretch.

So, screw it. I’m writing about Jimmy Buffet this week. Not sports. You’re welcome.

No. 1 album on iTunes last week

I should preface this by saying I am not a Jimmy Buffet fan per say, which is to say I do not consider myself a Parrothead. (This should thoroughly annoy all of the die-hard Buffet fans who couldn’t make this show, as tickets could only be won, not purchased. Or, in my case, handed to me by an edito…

Classic card of the week

Tariq Abdul-Wahad, 1998 Skybox

For the past several years, this blog has been flooded with requests to post a Tariq Abdul-Wahad card. Also, this is not true. Also, here is your freakin’ Tariq Adbul-Wahad card, you heathens! Now leave me alone!

The front of this card is rather unspectacular, even though I do love me a good montage of the same pose. As far as the random “A” is concerned…I only discovered that it signified the “A” in “Abdul-Wahad” by looking at other cards in this series. Knowing this, however, does not diminish the fact that this makes no sense. As if the letter “A” is an easier means of identifying Tariq Abdul-Wahad:

Me: Yo, my boy A was off the heezy last night?*
Other person: Oh, fo real? You mean Ala Abdelnaby?
Me: What? Pfftt! No jerkoff! I’m talking about Tariq Abdul-Wahad!
Other person: True, true.

But again, this is nitpicking. The real fun exists on the back of the card, where we have this interesting little nugget with regards to Abdul-Wahad:

Tour de France?

I didn’t b…

Classic card of the week

Zane Smith, 1989 Score

When Zane Smith was in the zone -- and this was, pretty much, all the time -- his face tended to reflect the extreme focus with which he pitched. A contemporary equivalent would be the face that Dave Matthews makes when he is jamming out to a particularly jam-worthy Dave Matthews song. (Ed. note: White people be crazy!) Besides, it’s not like Zane Smith made that face all the time:

Do the chickens have large talons?

Regardless, let’s find out more about Zane Smith, the athlete:

Zane, a southpaw, side-arming sinkerballer,

Interjection: This tidbit won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for “Best Use of Alliteration in the Category of Zane Smith.”

was one of the better lefthanders in the league in 1988 despite his losing record.

Granted, I understand that wins are not an accurate reflection of a pitcher’s performance. (Shout-out to FJM!) Still, after reading this, one may be inclined to say to himself, or even to herself, “Okay, I’ll buy that. So what was he like, 11-13 with a 3.85…

Cardinals’ standout switches sports for Marshall Ranch

Note: This column appears in the 4/10 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 4/11 issue of the Peoria Times

Last Monday, pictures showing Cardinals’ quarterback Matt Leinart partying with some co-eds, a beer funnel, and a hot tub were discovered online. Regardless of your opinion on the matter -- those passing judgment from afar in such instances can become rather tiresome, if you ask me (which you didn’t) -- it’s pretty safe to say that these pictures did not necessarily provide the Cardinals with good press.

Last Wednesday, the offensive captain of the Arizona Cardinals was doing something a little bit different. Anquan Boldin was at Marshall Ranch Elementary School, playing basketball against some seventh and eighth graders.

This was the second year that Boldin -- widely considered one of the toughest wideouts in the league -- took part in this game, which is an event orchestrated by Marshall Ranch boy’s basketball coach, and former baller himself, Scott Shaver. Basically, Shaver recru…

Classic card of the week

Brian Giles, 2001 Stadium Club

Few things in the history of civilization generated as much pure joy as playing for the 2000 Pittsburgh Pirates. Just ask Brian Giles, who scored the winning run during Game Seven of the World Series -- a day game -- to give the Pirates the title, and celebrated by opening his mouth to catch the popcorn that the fans were joyously tossing in his direction as gratitude, and also by pulling Kevin Young’s batting helmet over his face. That, or Brian Giles was being chased by a bee.

Also, after dissecting Dean Palmer’s, I am in the mood again for some ANALYSKILLS, and luckily for me, Brian Giles has them as well. Let’s take a look:

Drives the ball where it is pitched…

Giles led the major leagues in 1999 with 179 hits into the catcher’s mitt.

Level, quick swing that produces line-drive home runs…

One of Brain Giles most renowned ANALYSKILLS was his ability to hit majestic, line-drive home runs that would often injure fans that did not bring their gloves to the park…

Somebody pinch me – Glendale adds to its sports resume

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

I’ve barely recovered from the Super Bowl.

Now this.

Last Friday it was announced that the University of Phoenix Stadium will host its first ever basketball game. (The game will not, as I had assumed it would, be between the University of Phoenix Online Cougars and the Harlem Globetrotters.) It will be a doubleheader event that will take place sometime this December, with one game pitting national power Louisville against the University of Minnesota, and the next game featuring Brigham Young against ASU.

Not as good as THIS, but still...

First question: Why? Well, for one thing, the Stadium has already been awarded the West Regional’s of the 2009 NCAA men’s basketball tourney (where, by the way, I already have Gonzaga losing to whoever they’re playing), and these games will be, at the very least, a trial run for that. Second question: Why else? Well, the games will also serve as a show…