Every week (or at least we hope, everyone knows we suck at schedules here) The Continental will answer your questions. Whether it is Buffalo sports related inquiry, needed advice, or just a generally stupid question you feel like seeing her answer, have at it and we'll see what this young lady is made of! You can e-mail weekly questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us @DGWUSports, or even tweet her directly @hpurricane.
The Bills are still a football team, which really bums me out. Fortunately I had Boner Shorts Day to look forward to this week and it was a great time. The next day at work? Not so much. As promised, here is my answer to last week's question
: "what's the worst thing someone has overheard you say."
To preface this, my 11th grade history teacher was a total cockbag. He graduated from the school he teaches at, he was popular then, and then in his mid 30's he was still trying to relive his glory days. He loved making us listen to him talk, mostly inane anecdotes he repeated often. I think it was about the third time he launched into his "trip to Paris" story when he paused for dramatic effect and I leaned over to my friend/seatmate and said "Congratulations." Problem: I said this in my normal speaking voice, not a whisper, cue class laughter.
Mr. Cockbag decides that this is a good place to lecture me for my sarcasm and cynicism The joke was on him because he used both of those words incorrectly. I knew he was pissy, so I didn't correct him so I wouldn't get detention.
Epilogue: he goes to my church and the one time a year I see him he never speaks to me or my family, though we sit two pews away. Assclown.
A day removed from taking LeBron to task for being a gigantic shit burger (despite also being an incredible player), it seems fitting that I'd get to stay up for a late, west coast Mets game and watch the antithesis of that on the mound. In a league with no cap, there's this guy who makes $3.9 million a year - less than Derek "Tossed Salad Roy" and Ville "The Finnish Rusty Trombone" Leino - and who is, inexplicably, right now, the best at what he does. He's so dominant that hitters laugh when they swing at his stuff. Laughing, somehow, an appropriate response because the only other logical reaction would be a temper tantrum. And no one really wants that.
I kind of fell out of love with baseball during the steroids era, as many did, and when I got brought back in to watch my family rejoice at the 2004 Red Sox win, only to find some of its heroes - Curt Schilling, for example - to be humongous dicks, I grew wary again. Sure, the Mets have been an exception, but even that has been a marriage of convenience in a sense, offset by their awful play, sometimes tough to take fan base and felonious ownership.
I was tempted to title this post "The Hero Baseball Needed?" but thought against it because it probably would have shown my ignorance to many great stars across the league - ones who perform at a high level while also being eminently likeable. Dickey, though, is certainly the hero I needed in baseball. I said it earlier this season, and it's only becoming more true - this Mets team has got me going all in.
And Robert Allen Dickey is reason #1.
He's 12-1, his ERA is 2.15, he averages just under 9 strikeouts a game, and four years ago, few of us had ever heard of him.
Unlike some stars who get pulled into the hype machine of the Network, almost forcing us to despise the guy at the center of it all out of principle, there's nothing to not like about what we're getting out of R.A. He's, comparably, vastly underpaid, he's well-liked by anyone and everyone, and he licensed his image to be on one of the best tshirts ever made.
So, if you're on the fence about baseball and need a reason to watch and have, apparently, been living under a rock during his recent dominance, start watching the Mets every five games and see the best hitters in the game get straight up befuddled at what this 37 year old knuckler does.
Sidebar: Is that Spoelstra with the backwards cap? AMAZING.
LeBron won a title. After a spring filled with the Apologist tweeting from the @DGWUSports
account in a way that strongly suggested some deep fetish that would make even Delonte West blush, I suppose I should be thankful Aps didn't hop on here with a piece about how he's happy to be a Witness to the sweat from LBJ's balls. That said, I recognize that the NBA isn't my wheelhouse... But, LeBron won a title, and - a week out - I find myself with some things to get off my chest.Caveat #1: This may be the only time I give him any credit, so if you can't stand any concession of LeBron's greatness, take it with a grain of salt.
Caveat #2: If you think his victory merits an end to the vitriol spewed his way by fans like me, you don't get why I watch sports, so if you breathlessly worship Bron Bron without regard to his many failings, take this with a grain of salt. And then think about walking into traffic.
In the lead-up to the Heat's ultimate victory last week, the prevailing wisdom was that a championship for LeBron James would provide a respite to the neverending media coverage and fan arguments about this athlete-turned-caricature. The meme of "LeBron as Choke Artist" - and the reactive and defensive push-backs that always followed - has been THE story of the NBA since James decided to forego the role of Hometown Hero
for that of Captain Callously Self-Centered
. And it hasn't disappointed, even for those of us who abhorred the circus of it all, wishing that ESPN would focus more on the sport rather than the hype.
For better or worse, our shared hope for an end to the endless hype and bickering (some amongst the brethren of the Deeg) is ultimately futile. This is what happens when one of the greatest players to ever play the game takes the court for a redemptive moment of achievement. We talk about it. We have to. Just silently watching it unfold seems a disservice, whether you've chosen to think of LeBron as athlete in pursuit of highest victory, or villain whose success is being built in the wake of heartbreak and deep resentment.
How we digest a moment like this - watching a player in complete control of his craft, getting the most of himself - can speak volumes about ourselves. What to focus on? The absurdity of James' talent and the story of his on-court achievement, or the callous way his brand has been marketed, creating a LeBron that exists between tip offs? If you focus on his image, maybe you miss out on the joy of seeing a great player, but if you focus on the player, maybe you miss the context of the icon performing amidst constant analysis, expectation and attention. Your choice then is whether you want to enjoy a truly remarkable player without getting bogged down by the background bullshit, or whether you'll be guided by your sports soul as it reminds you that this gifted player represents everything you hate about modern sports.
Even for the most vehement of LeBron haters, his talent has never been questioned. Indeed, the dude is so talented that the biggest knock against his play has been that his achievement had yet to match the potential he carried within his gigantic 6' 8", 250 pound frame. His enormous physical gifts all-but-guaranteed that he would at least get a shot in the NBA. He was a beast in high school, dominating in a way that was inarguably unfair to the opponents who simply hadn't been blessed with the kinds of tools that James had from early on. Those physical gifts - innate, unachieved and invaluable to his game - were enough to get him to the pros. His prior failures, then, were a basis for the argument that he was all talent, no heart. We all knew he could
win it all... but only if he wanted
LeBron, 4th quarters.
Those criticisms of his play, based in an overarching sense that he was showing himself to be undeserving of the immense gifts appearing in his genetic code, were probably unfair, though hell if I cared when I was a few beers deep. In any event, those criticisms are largely irrelevant now. James has little else to prove as a player. After seeing him dominate the deciding game against OKC, it was clear that he finally wanted it and was actually interested in playing up to a level commiserate with his innate talent and gifts. He did the work and he succeeded. Good job, I guess.
Yet, as much as he has closed the book on those performance-based questions about his likely legacy as a player, satisfying even the most vocal critics, so much of the story of LeBron is off the court. And that off-court story is arguably more important, as it provides a more complete narrative of LeBron's impact in pop culture and provides us real reasons to watch. We pick sides and sit down to observe the best player in the game and hope for outcomes that provide some sort of karmic conclusion to the morality play that so often force our heroes to act out. Success is thus irrelevant, as it just as easily affirms the things we hate about James - his choice to pursue a title with a stacked deck in a city so undeserving of a title that it makes me want to strangle a Marlin, for example.
This is by no means a pure way to consume the sport, though getting hung up on these particulars is also by no means uncommon. His image, with the persistent taint caused by, among other things, his public declaration that he just wasn't that into Cleveland anymore, is the real reason we all love to hate the guy. I could give a shit if he wins a championship or not, or whether he nails that last shot or not (well, I would prefer not)... He's still the guy who grew up jumping on the bandwagon of teams I hate and ignoring the franchises from his hometown. He's still the guy who took on the mantle as Messianic figure for the Cavs, only to leave the team in the lurch, still waiting on the salvation he promised. And he's the guy who scoffed at us when we collectively criticized him for callously pissing on his hometown fans and who has built advertising campaigns on shoving those criticisms right back in our faces.
He's the fucking WORST.
And unlike a player who is just a simple, unlikeable dick (Bill Laimbeer comes to mind), LeBron is the worst kind of villain - the one who wants everyone to love him, convincing some to do just that, but wanting that love to exist in lockstep with his insistence to act as he chooses, regardless of the foreseeable consequences. Forgive me for thinking that this is a reprehensible level of disrespect to his fans, almost assuming that we're all unthinking narbies, waiting only to be entertained by dunks and blocks and a nightly mist of hand powder before every game.
I'm certainly aware that these musings may not apply to everyone, or even anyone, and I know that there are probably many fans of the game who can easily ignore the context within which LeBron has existed as a brand and who can watch without being swayed by the narrative of callous sports star. After all, LeBron's callousness was nothing new or completely unexpected. It was a logical next step for the sports free agent to capitalize on media interest (and laziness, IMO) and create a spectacle out of his departure to a new, exciting team. Next logical step or not, though, these are the kinds of things that matter to me as a fan and guide the way I think about sport. The ethics of it are what make the whole thing matter to me at all.
No amount of achievement can overshadow the creamy pile of douche in which this guy seems to bathe on a a daily basis. While he may be a different guy on the court - a winner now - he's still that same dipshit off it.
REALLY? FUCK YOU.
So, even if we all have one less jab to throw at James now that he has shed the role of "choker," LeBron is still out there, making sure we know how great he thinks this achievement is and how happy he is to have finally "silenced the haters" or whatever other bullshit cliché ESPN is feeding us this week, ultimately giving us yet another new reason to hate his smug, fabulously talented face. A ring doesn't fix that, and so long as LeBron remains wedded to his role as self-centered star and uninterested in rehabilitating the image he created by atoning for his prior mistakes and our understandable indignation at them, I'll keep having my delightfully immature fun by calling spades on this d-bag.
Love this? Hate it? Leave a comment below, and follow me on the tweet machine @theycallmedubs
After a super organized podcast two weeks ago, we came up with the brilliant idea this week to complete a power hour before recording episode 31 of the CrapTastiCast. If you’re unsure of what a power hour is, it involves the consumption of larges quantities of beer in a single hour, and is usually done by teenagers and college students to get super drunk while pre-gaming. We cannot be held responsible for what followed.
In our first segment, we talk about bad decisions, the blogger summit, fan access, and get some insight on all three from regular CrapTastiCast guest, Joe Pinzone of Buffalo Wins
and his own podcast, Talkamania
. That’s right, we got Joseph lit up again. And apologies for around the 3:40 mark where there is an unexplained jump-cut. We lost about 20 seconds of casting that is now somewhere in the podcasting stratosphere.
Later on, we make numerous inappropriate jokes about people we don’t know, chat about the NBA Finals, argue more about Lebron James (It wouldn’t be Deeg approved without it!), tell stories about James Vanderbeek’s sister, and laugh at Joe as he almost takes a shit in my hallway closet. Seriously. Then we end it by playing a very drunken and forgetful version of “Name That Sports Trivia Contest Thing” during the 3rd segment. Musical interludes are from The Talking Heads, Radiohead, and the Ramones.
Download the podcast through Libsyn
or the iTunes link below, as well as stream right from the blog.
Stay tuned to the blog and podcast, as in the next few weeks we will be switching the CrapTastiCast over to another podcast hoster, so you’ll have to re-subscribe. Sorry about that, but the new host will allow us to do many more cool things, as well as save us $$$. Dollar Dollar Bill Ya’ll. Jump to 1:10 in the video below to enjoy some Keith Murray in an Alex Van Pelt jersey.
The Barrister and The Scizz
Back with another installment of the Infinite Sadness podcast, the Scizz and I talked through a series of topics - most actually sports-related. Amazing how we can stay on topic when we're not drunk.
We discuss the Kings' Game 6 win and take jabs at their fan base and then have a lengthy discussion about the Sabres offseason as we approach free agency next month. We also discuss the NBA finals briefly, and give thanks to Guatemala for tossing the World Cup Qualifier on pay-per-view last night. Other tidbits include jokes about masturbation, Tim Connolly, our fantasy for Derek Roy's demise, and horse racing. We're classy.
Musical contributions from Jurassic 5 and Dilated Peoples.
Download and stream the cast, which runs about 30 minutes, below.
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This may or may not be a colossal waste of time. Except I'm drinking a giant Sierra Nevada and everything about tonight rules as a consequence. Here we go.
7:37 - I'm starting late because I needed to eat. Typical. The Mets are down one in the bottom of the second. Daniel Murphy made it on base in the first but I can't recall how. In the bottom of the first, Jason Bay gifted the Braves with a big error, leading to guy on second with no outs and an eventual unearned run on subsequent sac flies. After absolutely thieving that HR last night, though, I'm declaring it a wash. Upside is there is plenty of ballgame left for him to make up for it.
I just banked on Jason Bay making good baseball plays. This is how bizarre this Mets team is making me.
(continue with this adventure in stupidity after the jump...)