Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Big Jester & The King Together At Last

Well, this oughta upstage the draft, eh?

While the reactions to this trade are mixed at best, the most significant storyline regarding Big Diesel's move to Ohio concerns one LeBron James, and how 2009-10 is now about 95% likely to be his last in Cleveland.

Shaq has one year left on his contract, and is clearly being brought in at the behest of King James as a sign to the NBA that he wants to win next year, and will not accept anything less from his subjects. If they fail to deliver, he is on the next G5 to JFK or whereever else he deems worthy to re-establish his kingdom.

But even if the Cavaliers take it all next season (and obviously this move makes them serious favourites), you have to believe that LBJ will say, "Goodnight Cleveland! Thanks for the ONE ring!" and book it out of town.

I'm patiently awaiting the newest video from the wonderful people at Cleveland Tourism on the deal that guarantees one more year of people caring about their city.

Joey Votto Is A Person First, And A Ballplayer Second

Sometimes as sports fans we lose sight of what is really important. Sometimes we forget that the athletes we idolize and/or villify are people too, with everyday problems.

And sometimes those problems can become too much to bear. That's what happened to Joey Votto.

His father passed away last August, and almost a year later, it finally hit him. And it hit him hard.

Unable to fully deal with the grief of losing his father, Votto tried to push the feelings away and just play baseball. But after nearly a year of that, the emotions became overwhelming, and after Votto got an upper respiratory infection and had to be hospitalized, the emotions finally broke him.

Votto addressed the Toronto media this week, in a courageous interview, telling reporters the details of his depression, of his anxiety attacks, of the loss of his desire to play baseball, and of the road to recovery upon which he still walks.

What was perhaps most remarkable was the way Votto began the press conference, asking that no members of the media attempt to contact his family or friends about his issues, lest they answer to him.

This wasn't a threat; it was a family man asking other family men and women to respect his wishes. And with good reason.

Because what Votto has had to go through on a daily basis has been exacerbated by the actions of so-called "fans" berating him during his illness, calling him soft, a pussy, or even gay.

These actions, while they are despicable and cowardly, are hardly unexpected, given the strangely intimate relationship fans now share with athletes, for better or for worse.

Gone are the days where an athlete's personal life is one of mystery and intrigue. With the surge in popularity of fantasy sports and the rise of social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook, every sordid detail of an athlete or celebrity's goings-on is well-documented and commented upon.

I myself am guilty of this to a degree. I have Votto on my fantasy team, and I recall being upset earlier in the season that he couldn't get over a goddamn ear infection, not remembering the things he had gone through, not long over half a year earlier. For that I am truly sorry.

What embarrasses me most is that I also went to school with Joey Votto. While I didn't know him well at all, I knew the kind of person he was: a quiet, reserved Italian kid that was deeply close to his family. I grew up with 20 Joey Vottos.

I could not begin to imagine his pain; no one should have to deal with the loss
of a parent at such a young age.

Stories like this are not often told about athletes, especially not now; we the media are more concerned with performance, or with off-the-field shenanigans, or with big-money contracts being earned or not earned.

But stories like this should be told, because they bring to light that athletes and celebrities are just people, no different from you or me, and that's what good journalism is all about: telling compelling stories about people.

So get well soon, Joey, and good luck. You're a heck of a ballplayer, but more importantly, you're a good man. Your father would be proud.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Halladay, Downs, Janssen All On DL, Fans All Off Bandwagon

Jesus. This is getting ugly.

Jeremy Accardo, Brad Mills and a 51-to-be-named-later have been called up to plug the holes.

And the timing couldn't be better...just as the NHL and NBA finish up, Toronto fairweather fans check up on the Jays and see that three more pitchers are hurt!

Better get to Gate 9 early!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lakers Win, Kobe Wins Without Shaq, Now Let's All Move On

There. Can we stop talking about it now? Great.

So, what else we got?

*checking schedule*

*seeing nothing but mid-summer baseball for months*

*checking AL East standings*

Um...when does the NFL start? Not for another three months? Awesome.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sidney Crosby Is A Stanley Cup Champion And Roy Halladay Is Hurt

...I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Anyway, congrats to the Pens, who quite simply played a better Game 7 than Detroit, and since the series came down to one game, they deserved the win.

And yeah, Halladay left his start tonight with a tweaked groin. Mass panic ensued (scroll down to the comments at about 8 PM) and rightfully so.

The Jays traditionally head right into the tank whenever the Doc is not in (just cause he has the nickname doesn't mean he has to take impromptu "vacations" when we need him most!) so if he misses significant time they're well and truly fucked.

Proper fucked
, even.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Magic Lose At Home, Assassinate Anthem-Singing Little Girl

OK, not really. But don't expect to hear any more creepy autistic children singing the anthem in Orlando.

The Lakers will wrap this series up in the next game or two and Kobe will earn his first Shaq-less ring, good enough to put him in the one-of-the-best-players-ever conversation, even though he's not even the best player in the NBA right now (imagine what LeBron will have done by the time he's Kobe's age).

As for the Magic, there's no way they could keep shooting the lights out, and so the spotlight then falls on Dwight Howard and his offensive shortcomings. Your franchise player simply cannot average eight shots in the NBA finals, especially when said player barely makes 60% of his free throws and can't stop smiling.

So when the Lakers capture the title in a few days, the countdown to The Most Hyped Offseason In Basketball History begins (sure, there will be a 2009-2010 season, but it'll only be a precursor to the LeBron/Wade/Bosh/Nash/Amare/Dirk free agent shitshow).

Really, David Stern? Couldn't you have just given everyone the Lakers/Cavs Kobe vs. LeBron series we all wanted? Would it really have been that hard to put that fix in? Trust me, everyone would have looked the other way, no big deal!

The NBA: Where Less-Than-Amazing-So-That-No-One-Will-Think-It's-Rigged-Even-Though-It-Totally-Is Happens.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Reggie Evans Is The Answer

...if the question is, how can the Raptors get a decent rebounder and give away a player who has no defense whatsoever?

So farewell, Jason Kapono, you and your one-dimensional game and hilarious out-of-shape-white-dude style of running.

And welcome, Reggie Evans: you will be asked to do 100% of the rebounding when you're on the court.

Apparently, some of your fans will miss you.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Of Course He Pitches For The Phillies

...with a name like Antonio Bastardo.

I am not making that up. That's his name.

This dude could only be a Phillie, or a Yankee, or maybe a Ranger.

He should wear a black mask and a cape to the mound...and they should play the Gypsy Kings version of Hotel California when he toes the rubber.

Anyway, yeah this Bastardo character is making his debut for the Phillies Tuesday night.

He's taking the rotation spot of known wife-beater Brett Myers, who has a hip issue and...wait a minute, a dude named Bastardo is replacing Brett Myers? Doesn't anyone else see what's going on here?

Brett Myers IS Antonio Bastardo! It's all a ploy to duck the law! He's on the lam from the fuzz!

You didn't fool me Myers, you sneaky domestic abuser, you!