This evening the Buffalo Sabres host the Boston Bruins in what will be the fifteenth game of a forty-eight game season. With the season nearly a third complete, they find themselves tied for not the division, not the six seed, not the eight-seed, but for dead last in the Eastern Conference. I have watched the “L”s string along on the schedule I keep on the wall at work, next to schedules of other teams with their own impressive collections of losses. We’ve all grown accustomed to the Sabres being a fairly “streaky” team with no shortage of peaks and valleys throughout the seasons, of a team that will run out to commanding division lead only to go .500 the rest of the way and get bounced in the first round (09-10), or a team that will piss all over themselves like a bro after his first night out in Canada for four months and then become the hottest team in the league on the valiant run to eighth place (10-12). They are four points away from eighth at the moment, could conceivably find themselves there by the time I return to the office on Monday. But they won't, and that's why I'm here.
I don’t apologize often, for what I’d like to think are two reasons. The first is that in recent history, the words coming from my mouth that I regret the most have been apologies, apologies that were not warranted or deserved, even in abstract form. The second is related and offered with a grain of salt- I just believe I’m wrong less often than other people. Many fields demand that from those they employ, mine is no different.
So it is with gritted teeth but sincere repentance that I apologize for ever believing that this team, with these players, with this coach could ever put together a shortened season that could be described as anything other than a soul-sucking death march to the draft. We’ve spent many words here at the deeg eviscerating Ralph for not firing Jauron when it was called for, not firing Gailey when it was called for. I called him a “villain from a Dickens novel” and published it right after he had fired the coach I was ripping on him for not firing.
Ask how proud we are about "regionalism"
Ralph Wilson turned his franchise into a sideshow, an embarrassment. Perhaps they always were and we were just born at the right time to think otherwise. But I think at this point it is only fair to begin taking an objective look at those pulling the levers at the foot of Washington Street, because 2007 is rapidly disappearing in our rear view mirror and if all you need to do for immunity in this town is commission a bronze statue and plop an admittedly wonderful complex steps from the waterfront, then we deserve to be ridiculed by other fans, we deserve to be irrelevant.
The eeriness of the similarities is becoming disconcerting and I wonder if Ted Black follows Buffalo’s other hapless franchise enough to see those similarities, or if he is too busy digging through his thesaurus for new ways to explain “Terry’s” dedication to winning a Stanley Cup. We all love a good orator; myself probably more than most, and we cannot deny- especially in light of the last occupant of the owner’s box- that money talks. Throwing godfather offers at Richards and Doan, upgrading the arena, putting up the Harbor Center if for no other reason than we don’t have to watch Carl Paladino erect some lifeless structure only a 1970’s East German architect could love, mean something. But “something” is as far as I’m willing to go anymore.
Ted Black has emerged as Russ Brandon 2.0, with a wardrobe upgrade and a new fan interaction feature. The talk remains about the brand, about how dedicated the owner is, how they communicate daily, how passionate he is to win and how distraught they are about the losses. Now I fully believe that Brandon is shoveling shit while Black is being at least more sincere, but the similarities of listening to these two men offer red herrings and parlor tricks to a disgruntled and desperate fan base is insulting. I’ll enjoy the Harbor Center as much as anyone, but Pegula can take the flaming tap water from “Gasland” and turn it into the fucking Bridal Veil Falls if it means there’s a parade down Delaware. I won’t fault this owner for not dealing with the Buffalo media given their current bullpen of hacks and has-beens, but that silence, pious as it may be, has a consequence to the fan base and that consequence is assumptions.
Apologist and Barrister, feat. The Continental
Oh dear. Craft beers. Whiskey. Vanishing dignity.
You may be aware that Apologist and I recently rendez-vous'd (not a word) for the Bills game Thursday night, using the time out at the bar as a perfect opportunity to revive the little-known Legal Limit podcast franchise. You also may be aware that new-to-the-Deeg Continental - of Smarten Up! mailbag fame - joined us, making her podcast debut.
You probably wouldn't have predicted this level of shit show, though. Good good, we are terrible. Actually, really, just the Barrister. He was most definitely over the legal limit, right guys? ... I'll show myself out.
We talk Bills/Dolphins, of course, but also take potshots at Al Gore, celebrate the Knicks move to 6-0 against the Spurs, talk about how the NBA may pick up disgruntled hockey fans during the lockout, commiserate Ryan Fitzpatrick's role in Bills franchise history, laugh about blunts and guns, and then bump into some Hurricane Sandy refugee Chicago Bears fans who happen to also love the Miami Heat. I'd claim it all makes sense in the end, but it most surely does not. Luckily, I'm pretty sure it's about what you've all come to expect from this embarrassment of a website.
Musical interludes include Jefferson Airplane, Oddisee, Bob Dylan and The Beastie Boys.
Stream below, download here
, via the iTunes button below, or on our podcast page here
For the last few weeks, I’ve been chomping at the bit for something to get worked up about and post about. I mean it doesn’t take much, but I’ve found the current storylines swirling around here in Buffalo have been so meaningless, so trivial, that to try and put some 1,000 word diatribe about them would be so transparently fraudulent - not to mention really difficult for me to do - that it would frankly unbecoming of me. I don’t have many standards when it comes to what I’ll write about, but faux-outrage (copyright: national media, November 2011) - or blatant trolling if you will - is the lowest point of blogging you can reach (Ed. Note: We've all been there). I’d rather read hot takes on what the French Connection statue should look like, or an in-depth post on whoever the other punter in Bills camp is. Vince Young? Who cares? Tarvaris Jackson? Ditto. The NHL lockout? That’ll be worth discussion in a month, when the first slew of games have been cancelled but for now, the two sides are speaking so far past each other they can’t even bother being insulted, and neither should we. Shane Doan? My once raging doaner is now flaccid and sad.
The one place I didn’t expect to provide inspiration was my baseball team, the pitiful (go ahead, drink that word in) Boston Red Sox. I wrote about them
some thirty games into the season (respectful post on the Youk notwithstanding
) and until a week or so ago, nothing had changed. They still sucked ass, their roster was still filled with a bunch of egomaniacal tools and, frankly, why subject you, our refined readers, to Red Sox garbage when this baseball season has been so captivating otherwise. God knows you’ve had enough shoved down your throat by ESPN about Pedroia v. Bobby V
, and “can they turn it around” crap that attempted to take you away from the Pirates (!?!), the Nats (!!), the A’s (!!) and R.A. Dickey
that I felt no need to pile on. You deserve a summer without Red Sox talk, and with the team wallowing in mediocrity, what better summer than this one?
Are you fucking serious?
Lost in the haze of last night's epic USMNT win at the Azteca was the circus, clown shoes shenanigans of Dusty Baker, as the Reds manager chose gamesmanship over common sense, and gave Mets fans another reason to hate his stupid, fat face.
Up 1-0 in the second inning against my lowly Mets, Baker successfully prodded the umpire to instruct RA Dickey to remove two bracelets from his wrist. Two bracelets that had been given to him by his daughters before he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last winter, and which he has worn in every one of his magical starts this season - not to mention his All Star Game innings earlier this summer. Dickey complied - how couldn't he - later conceding that, well, rules are rules. Dickey would go on to give up three homers and the Mets lost 6-1.
Advantage DB, I guess.
I had hoped I wasn’t going to have to address this, but I suppose I will.
Last week’s Niagara Falls Reporter
piece by former alleged stalker
and current bigot Lenny Palumbo managed to rightfully stir up enough voices around the internet locally
to shout down and condemn the rantings of an angry white man who longs for the days where he could oppress others to placate his insecure and disturbed soul. It appeared to me that Palumbo and perhaps the Reporter
itself was hoping for this type of reaction in the way the author tactlessly shoehorned anti-gay rhetoric into a meandering bitchfest about the Sabres - or at least the past roster - being pussies. Their latest issue has confirmed these suspicions as Palumbo doubles down on the hate and publisher Frank Parlato puts on his ten-gallon hat and climaxes to the image of a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag while reciting the first amendment at the top of his lungs. (Editor's Note: This is true, we have
video) As a fellow proponent of the Constitution, I feel I’ll take a crack at exacting my right to free speech as well.
Lenny Palumbo is a piece of shit. He is weak, hateful, little man. As a man I am ashamed to share my gender with him and as a Western New Yorker I am ashamed to share my region with him. However, there is no changing these people. One thing about this region that so many hateful souls like Palumbo love is that they can completely wall themselves off from the world and live in their own version of 1950 where homosexuals are synonymous with “deviants” and minorities have to call every white man that addresses them “sir.”
(I will not stoop to Lenny’s level here and make assumptions that he is a racist. I will
say that many of the people I have come across that hate gays also have no problem voicing their deep hate for anyone with a different skin tone than them.)
It sure has been a while since I dusted off my gloves and took the media to task for its latest absurdity in the sports world. Sometimes, these venomous hit jobs are directed at The Network - an easy enough target, what with the willingness to sit on apparent evidence of child molestation at Syracuse, only to run the story without even giving the authorities the opportunity to vet that evidence and find that, in sum, it was demonstrably false. And sometimes, these hit jobs are directed at Buffalo sports media - also an easy target, what with the spelling errors, the apparent desire to merely yuk it up with a failing, entrenched hockey coach and the pathetic derision of a blogger community which has arguably provided better and more insightful sports analysis over the past couple years. (Not here at the Deeg, of course. We are more than happy to be the slime scraped out of the bottom of the barrel, presented as food for your more carnal cravings. It's what we do.)
One of the things I've noticed about Buffalo sports fans is that they can tend to believe that their town is getting jobbed at every opportunity. It's certainly no surprise, given the history, but it can leave people with a lingering sense that, in essence, whatever we get in Buffalo is a class below what everyone else gets in other cities. Sports teams? Inferior from top to bottom. Local theater and music? Undeveloped and of poor quality. Government? Corrupt and ineffective in a way unseen throughout America. Schools? Underfunded and forgotten. Cheerleaders? Sixes instead of tens. (This one may be right).
Some of this is true. In many ways, other cities do have it better. In a lot of ways, though, Buffalo has the exact same problems as other cities, but has convinced itself that the grass is greener in New York City, in Boston, in D.C., in Philly. I've found this to be especially true when it comes to how we digest our local sports media in Western New York. There always seems to be a lingering sense that Bucky and Harrington and Hamilton and Sully are on a lower tier than the guys who cover sports in the big markets. With the internet, though, we can verify that this is simply not true, and never was this more apparent to me than during the post-game presser following last Friday's Rangers-Devils Game 6.
Dear God, it was brutal.
So, in keeping with the overlap between "media hit piece" and "mailing it in," here is the transcript of the questions asked to Rangers coach John Tortorella following Game 6. My thoughts are in italics.
Ah yes, the Beautiful Game. See, Scizz? Soccer is awesome!
With the Gold Cup just around the corner, FC Buffalo's season now underway, the Women's World Cup on the horizon later this month - and the Mets struggling to even be watchable - soccer will be getting some pretty consistent coverage over the next couple months. The Yachtsman - previously the sole promoter of the Beautiful Game here on DGWU Sports - has been without internet access for about a week now, so after a big weekend of Buffalo and National Team games, I'll take this opportunity to recap the action. And, with the US Men's National Team opening Gold Cup play Tuesday vs. Canada, while I'm at Citi Field enjoying a live friendly between Greece and Ecuador, make sure to check back later this week for recaps of those games as well.
Spain 4, USA 0: Warm-up Game or Not, Americans Embarass Themselves in Front of a Record Crowd at Gillette Stadium
For my first footy roundup, this game was slated to be the main attraction - actually the only game I'd be able to watch, what with a pretty busy schedule and the 400 odd miles between my apartment and All-High Stadium in Buffalo. Now I just feel depressed spending this much time thinking about it. DEAR LORD I HATE YOU FERNANDO TORRES. I HOPE YOU CATCH THE PLAGUE.
There, I feel marginally better.
Despite the fact that the USMNT took a victory away the last time these two teams played, we all knew this Spanish squad would be tough to beat again, particularly as they're still riding high from their World Cup win last summer. I also know that the US team had a recent string of, well, shitty results. Sure, they drew against Argentina, but they also drew against Chile and lost to Paraguay. Not bad teams - in fact, Chile has cracked the top 10 in the world rankings in the past year - but still disappointing given the high that US fans were on coming off of last year's group win in South Africa. In essence, I wasn't expecting too much on Saturday, but was at least hoping for something watchable.
Unfortunately, the match brought the team's recent record into sharper focus, as Spain exposed the US side's many flaws - on both ends - and embarrassed the team and its record-setting crowd of supporters in Foxboro with a lopsided 4-0 beatdown. Hell, I'm used to seeing my team go to Gillette Stadium with optimism for an upset and lay a turd, but even this was shocking. Four - nil is bad, and it could have easily been much, much worse.
In case you missed it, well, you're lucky. I'll give you the Spanish language version of the highlights so we don't have to listen to John Harkes try to convince us that they did it better in his day.
Now, I know they were playing with reserves in a lot of positions - trying to avoid injury before the "games that matter" begin this week, as well as missing a few key guys due to injuries - but, honestly, those reserves are still part of a group that represents THE BEST PLAYERS WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY. They're still professionals, and they should still be good enough to, I don't know, mark players in the box and make sure Spanish strikers don't get uncontested looks from 11 yards out. Tim Howard, as good as he is, was laid out to dry all afternoon, and his frustration showed. And, the reserves issue doesn't begin to explain or excuse the continued absence of any legitimate strikers on this team. Simply put, until the US team gets a striker who can shoot the ball without hesitation and with the touch of a pure scorer, we better get used to these mixed results in international play. This is where the US team has failed in recent years, and - even though a goal or two wouldn't have helped on Saturday - the lack of a pure scorer playing the forward position was one of the glaring holes against Spain. I can't count how many times someone got a decent through ball - actually, I can count...it wasn't that many...maybe two - only to have the player hesitate, look to pass, or just look clueless. Here's an idea: SHOOT THE BALL. Maybe it goes in, maybe it goes wide, but until the US players start believing that that they have the talent to finish, we'll be dealing with a lot of games like this.
This US Team is a string of disappointments, frankly, and unless they can muster up the pride to make a run at winning the Gold Cup, it may be time to show Bob Bradley the door and bring in some international coaching talent to shake this squad up. At a certain point, with the national development of the game, and the instances where we've seen the US play some decent, competitive football against the best in the world, games like Saturday's just aren't acceptable.
That said, they can bounce back with a great result tomorrow night against Canada and prove me wrong. Just do it, Yanks.
FC Buffalo 2, Pocono Snow 0; FC Buffalo 1, Erie Douch...er.... Admirals 2: The Blitzers Split their Home Games and Remain In the Keystone Conference Hunt
Needless to say, I didn't watch either of these games, but the interwebs did keep me in the loop. Salvaging my Saturday night after the USMNT debacle were our dear FC Buffalo Blitzers, who got a solid win against the Pocono Snow. I'll refrain from any cocaine-related jokes (after all, I never did like it when people said I went to "Snow-Bart and William Sniff Colleges"), and just say that it seemed like the team really hit their stride with Saturday evening's match. A clean sheet is always a team effort, and it was encoruaging to hear that the team got one for their first home win. Incidentally, spirits surrounging this game were also brightened today when I saw a Pocono player's twitter love for FC Buffalo's team and fans.
@Paddybhoy14, you are an Irish gentleman. Remind me to buy you a shot when DGWU visits E. Stroudburg in a few weeks.
The good vibes surrounding the Pocono match were decidedly NOT repeated in the Sunday matinee against Erie - a 2-1 loss. Reports of the game via Nick Mendola
, FC Buffalo co-owner and President, made it clear that the Admirals were doing their best Greg Louganis impersonations throughout the afternoon, thus securing themselves with a 1st half PK and an ultimate victory. Despite that, it was certainly nice to see Nick hold on to the concept of quality football over the stereotypes that so often define this under-appreciated sport in America.
As if Erie's asinine on-field antics weren't bad enough, in response to a FB post on FC Buffalo's page last night, a few players from the Erie team went trolling, accomplishing little apart from (1) making themselves look like asses, and (2) ensuring that members of The Situation Room
will be making the trip down I-90 for the revenge match later this summer. In particular, Danny Muidd and Biran Fitzgerald, I'm looking at you two DBs:
Good work guys. You've now guaranteed a shit storm of heckling down in PA.
My sources - aka some tweeps who actually get to go to games (my jealousy runs deep, friends) - have informed me that there was some sort of spat regarding the goalkeeper - Dan Mudd - talking some shit about USA, and some Blitzer supporter putting him in his place. So our dear pal Danny took it upon himself to fight back with some semi-coherent points - including a mischaracterization of FC Buffalo's length of existence - and then was backed up by his teammate Mr. Fitzgerald. Whatever. They won, so their points necessarily carry weight, even if they are showing themselves to be morons incapable of using google for some basic info.
Speaking of Google, it tells me that Dan Mudd
is actually an awful human being who steered Fannie Mae into $2.2 billion in losses over a three monin 2008. Wait, not the same "Dan Mudd?" Says who? I can't verify that online, so I'm going to assume google is telling me the truth. THANKS A LOT DANNY, YOU LOVER OF SANTORUM (the substance, nor the Senator...). Enjoy your fucking government bailout and your win. The real Americans from Buffalo will make sure to pack their whoopin' sticks when they travel down to your pathetic excuse of a Great Lakes town. As for me, I'll make sure to spread the word about you and your classlessness, ensuring that the five people who read this blog taunt you with every breath they take.
Even Erie's own "The Wonders" are embarassed by Danny and his America-hating ways.
I LOVE YOU HOPE
USA 1, Mexico 0: The USWNT steals a late winner in their send off before the 2011 Women's World Cup
Having already gone through enough analysis with little to no respect for the fact that I didn't watch the games I'm talking about, I'll keep my comments about the USWNT's game versus rivals Mexico on Sunday brief. While the Men's team was a sure underdog on Saturday, the Women's team was the exact opposite. Heading into stoppage time in the second frame, still knotted at zeros, the result was looking just as much of an embarassment as the Spain result the day before. The ladies, playing their final game on home soil before heading abroad for the World Cup later this month in Germany - where they hope to regain the Cup after two cycles of 3rd place finishes and German champions - looked less than stellar, well, until this happened.
Hey, USMNT - take some GODDAMN NOTES. Say all you want about the fact that they're women - sexist jerks - but that was a world-class strike. They keep doing that, and we could all be in for a treat when the matches in Germany get under way.
So there you have it, friends. A full weekend of football, with a healthy mix of success and failure to keep us fans interested, but not hopeful; to keep us watching, but never forgetful of the motto - Dear God, Why Us?
Check back later this week for reports and pictures from Citi Field's hosting of Ecuador and Greece, as well as thoughts on the USMNT as they open Gold Cup play against Canada.
Follow me on Twitter @theycallmedubs
And the Dear God, Why Us? Crew @DGWUSports