We hope you take a listen. Yell at us afterwards if you must.
Download here or here. Stream below. RSS feed here. Subscribe and download via iTunes below. Get after it,
|Dear God Why Us Sports||
Racism, Sexism, Institutional Oppression and Why Donald Sterling Isn't the Exception to the Rule ... A Bonus Episode of the DGWU Sports CrapTastiCast
The Barrister is joined by The Defenseman, a former DGWU Sports contributor (though he swings by now and again), to hash out the myriad reasons why stories about race and gender conflicts - stories about Donald Sterling and Jameis Winston and rape culture and institutional degradation of freedom - are both frustrating and fascinating and important to discuss. Humans are pretty shitty at humanity, it's fair to say.
We hope you take a listen. Yell at us afterwards if you must.
Download here or here. Stream below. RSS feed here. Subscribe and download via iTunes below. Get after it,
This will be short and probably not very entertaining. I'm actually embarrassed that I'm even about to write it, but I have some time to kill, and it's been annoying me so screw it, here we go.
I'm only 32. I'm not really "old" by your standard definitions. I have no major medical concerns, nor unexplained grumpiness towards specific demographics of people (except Canadians), and I'm still known to stay out until the sun comes out on a weekend, getting way too drunk for anyone's well-being. I'd like to think I still live a pretty "young" lifestyle, but there is one thing that keeps bothering me lately; unless it's a weekend, I can't stay up late enough for any major sporting event. I just can't do it.
This poses a problem for somebody like me who decided years ago to make sports a major part of his life (like so many others in this country, of course). Game times never used to be a huge issue for me. Sabres on a west coast road trip with 10pm starts? Of course I'm watching. NCAA tourney games starting at 10:45? Let's do it. Monday Night Football Jaguars Vs. Raiders? Sure, why not? None of this used to matter to me, even if I had to be up early the next morning.
Now? I haven't made it to the end of a MNF game in almost three years. I'd like to say it's my lack of interest in these games and larger concern for sleep, but now that's even been disproved from this year's NBA Finals. Once the Bills were obviously headed for another playoff-less season and the Sabres showed what a bunch of losers they were, I began investing myself in the NBA. Not just my New York Knicks mind you, but the league in general. What followed has been a huge appreciation for a league that I truly feel is the most entertaining of the big four (Basketball, Baseball, Football, & Women's Lacrosse. I gots hockey jokes!) The NBA playoffs have been wildly entertaining in both conferences and at the beginning of these finals between the Spurs and the Heat, I could not have been more excited....then I fell asleep during the 3rd quarter of game one.
I mean I tried to stay awake, I really did. I had every intention of making the long haul even though I had to be up at 5am. I just couldn't do it. Luckily, I managed to wake up with four minutes left in the 4th quarter and didn't miss one of the most amazing, clutch shots in the history of the league, but my point still stands. If I can't even stay awake for a game that I'm beyond legitimately excited about, am I getting too old? At first I was in denial worse than people who still think Darcy Regier is doing a good job. Old? No way, it's these God damn late starts, it's not my fault! Back when I was a kid, the NBA Finals started at 7pm, this 9 o'clock bullshit is the media's fault. They keep pushing the games farther back to hit the key demographic for advertising to twenty-something douche-bags who actually drink Bud Light and think it's good. As I think back to the 1993 finals when the Bulls beat the Suns, I was definitely not 12 years old staying up to midnight to watch the series every night!
Most the game times were at 9pm then, too?
I am getting old.
That's all there is to it. Most the time when I'm picking between more sleep and a sporting event, I'm going with sleep. And now, even when I think I'm staying up "late" to watch a game, I can't even do it. Shit, I don't even have kids yet! At this pace, by the time I'm 40 I'm not even going to make it through pre-game warm-ups (which isn't necessarily a bad thing if Bill Simmons and Mike Wilbon are still employed). Of the six complete games of this series, I have successfully made it through only half of them in their entirety. And honestly, that's only because both Sunday games had 8pm start times, and last Friday I got to go into work later than usual. That's why despite my hopes and dreams of the Gregg Popovich's Spurs topping the Heat and sticking it to David Stern last night, I'm a little glad they lost. Thinking about it, I would have missed the final game of the season AND would have been a zombie the rest of the week. Now with the final game in the series on Thursday and a day of nothing at work on Friday, I can go balls-to-the-wall for the big 7 and worry about catching up on sleep over the weekend. This is what I've become. Planning my sleep patterns days in advance if I simply want to stay up and watch one stinkin' game. This sucks.
Ah fuck it, pass me a metamucil and vodka and let's get the party started....but leave me alone from 4 - 5 in the afternoon, that's my catnap time.
So we got drunk at a Mets game last week. They lost. We recorded banter.
Honestly, we talk about enough bullshit with no real direction that I should probably give you some sort of road map but absolutely have no desire to be of such assistance. You'll love it all the same.
Appearances from, as usual, the Barrister and the Apologist, and guest spots from our friend who is a Red Sox fan and my buddy JB who split sometime in the 7th inning. Musical interludes from Jefferson Airplane, The Beastie Boys, Ozomatli, Walk the Moon and Radiohead.
Oh, and we talk about my homie Rabbi Darkside (from Buffalo, by way of Brooklyn) who just came out with an album. Order that shit on iTunes now!
For the podcast, bitches, download here or here (choices!), hit the iTunes button below, or the stream from the player. Booyah.
It seems silly to try to avoid talking about it, so I'm just gonna say it. Times like these make it easy to put sports in their proper perspective. Too often we allow ourselves to slip into a place where we "live and die" on the successes and failures of our favorite franchises and freely discuss how much we "hate" Tom Brady or LeBron James. It's mostly tongue in cheek, but at the same time, I know I'm not the only guy who has a sporting event ranked in his "Top 5 Most Enraging Moments of All-Time." For some of us, sports might occupy all five. But after something like the bombing at the Boston Marathon or the explosion in West, Texas, you realize that none of it really matters all that deeply to us and that you hate athletes like you hate mayonnaise. You remember that a hero isn't a quarterback playing on a broken leg. It's a marathon runner at a blood bank two miles from that desecrated finish line. Hopefully, you go back to the games with fresh eyes and remember that this is only entertainment. Invigorating, maddening, wonderful entertainment.
And with that in mind, no matter who you root for or against, the NBA playoffs bring a welcome respite from a very taxing week.
The regular season of the NBA serves more as context than content. We usually know who the good teams are and by the time the season ends, it feels more like you've been waiting all this time for it to start. And let's face it, this all feels like a preamble to Heat\Thunder II, The Rematch.
Both teams took over 1st place this season (and for the foreseeable future) in their respective conferences. Both defenses have virtually identical numbers to last year. Somehow, both stars got better. Durant improved in nearly every single statistical category, while James led his team on a 27-0 streak that may have permanently silenced the "Can he be clutch?" conversation for good. And both seem likely to be raising MVP trophies at some point on their journey to the championship round.
But there hasn't been a championship round between two 1 seeds in 13 seasons for a reason. While the teams that enter the playoffs are very often predictable, what happens between the first round and the last is anyone's guess.
The path to the Finals is certainly much more difficult for Oklahoma City. James Harden leads a promising Rockets team their way in the first round. Assuming the young Rockets aren't ready yet, next the Thunder would most likely face the dynamic & deep Clippers. CP3 & the Poster Child lead a great blend of youth & experience that could easily give Durant, Westbrook & the rest of Thunder a very tough series. But if OKC can knock off Lob City, it's hard to predict who they'll face next.
Golden State is a fun team to watch, but also a likely first round out. The Lakers are an intriguing story line, but it's hard to tell what, if anything, they've got left at this point. Without Kobe's production & World Peace's defense, it's hard to see them winning two seven-game series. The Spurs are looking every one of their many years. And Denver has a good team, but not a great one. All this adds up to an opponent that, if they make it, the Thunder will most likely be favored against.
Across the aisle in the East, life is easier for the Heat. The Bucks are beaten already and neither the Nets nor the Bulls pose much of a threat. Yes, Chicago ended the 27-game winning streak. And if Rose returns, they'll certainly be able to give James & Co. a tough, grinding series, but it's hard to see them making it to the conference finals.
It's obvious that the biggest threat to Miami's Eastern Conference title are their old rivals, the New York Knicks. But to get there, the Knicks will have to knock off another rival, the Boston Celtics.
Clearly, this is the most intriguing matchup. To say this series will be emotional is like saying Captain Ahab was a little preoccupied. If there were ever a team built for this kind of unwanted scenario, it's these Celtics. Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett know their window is closing, but remain defiant in the face of long odds. You know they will give absolutely everything they have for each other and their fans. And they'll make sure everyone in their locker room does the same.
And they'll need every bit of it to stop 'Melo. Anthony is playing the best basketball of his career on the best team of his career. The Knicks haven't been this close to a title shot since Clinton was President. But can they handle that pressure? While they've certainly proven that they deserve to be amongst the league's best teams, they're still a franchise without a series win this side of 2000 and a star who's been out of the first round once in his career. All signs point to their talent overwhelming the undermanned Celtics, but don't be surprised if the Knicks make their usual early exit.
That being said, it's most likely that New York will get past Boston and whoever escapes the "Who Cares" series between Indiana and Atlanta. Then the two stars of the 2003 Draft will hopefully put on a show for the history books.
It still might seem as though we're just waiting to get to the Rematch and that's certainly where I think we're headed. But at the risk of wearing out a tired cliche (whatever, the playoffs started 45 minutes ago and I'm out of time), there will most definitely be some excitement you won't want to miss along the way. Don't miss the start of Game 3 in Boston. Track how many Holy-shit!'s the absurd talent of LeBron, Durant and Westbrook bring out of you. Keep an eye on James Harden and Steph Curry. And whatever you do, make sure you watch any highlight reel involving the Clippers.
This is as belated as we've been in a while. Maybe the dad among us shouldn't promise to edit anymore, particularly on a noght of such heavy drinking. With esteemed Deeg colleague Monsieur Boner Shorts in town, things got weird.
I won't bother recapping it, except to say this was recorded the night of Tuesday, March 26th, in the midst of Sabres, Knicks, USMNT, Clippers/Mavs and shots of whiskey. Also, the Scizz was there, so if you love the soft tones of his Franklinville accent, make sure to join in the fun with a download.
Download HERE or HERE or stream below if you want, whatever. Subscribe via the itunes link below, or via RSS at www.deargodwhyussports.libsyn.com/rss ... I think?
The Apostles of Bob (Yachstman & Scizz)
The title of this episode is slightly misleading since we don't even discuss the Lakers until the second half of the podcast, but it has a lovely ring to it, so shove off.
Fresh off the NBA All-Star break, the Apostles gathered on a day off to discuss the state of the New York Knicks and the monumental fear that comes with it. This crippling fear, of course, was proven 100% accurate by the Knicks when they got absolutely dismantled on Wednesday night in Indiana and schooled Friday night against Toronto. Yay! The Road to the 5th seed! (We also recorded with WGR personality, "Coach "Sal Capaccio on his Buffalo Bills Now! podcast so feel free to check that out AFTER YOU LISTEN TO THIS!)
We also discuss the potential playoff outlook of the entire Eastern & Western Conferences, why we both hate Dwight Howard (I mean besides Nazi sympathizers, who doesn't?), and finally say a few kind words about the legendary Jerry Buss, may he rest in peace. Bonus: Scizz pronounces Stephen Curry's name wrong while trying to compliment him and Yachtsman might have threatened to poop on the floor of MSG too. Music interludes go punk this week with the Clash, Bad Religion, and Iggy & the Stooges. Download from Libsyn, iTunes, or stream below.
Sorry if you only want to listen to the CrapTastiCasts. We use the same feed so just delete this shit when it downloads....OR listen to us because we're neat!
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. OPTIONS!
The DGWUS CrapTastCast - Episode 37: Rollbacks. America. Reality., feat. guest Colin Bruckel from The Hosers.
What a busy week it has been at DGWU Sports! Between news of the NHL Lockout and our battles with the various personalities at WGR for refusing, as is their custom, to engage with viewpoints other than (a) their own, or (b) those of the mouthbreathers who call into WGR and make it their mission to express their vehement disdain for everything in the world, there was a LOT to discuss when we gathered Wednesday night. More shots were fired and kindling put onto the world of Buffalo sports media so that we can continue to watch it burn. Heh. Sports.
Oh, and there are those Buffalo Bills, too, which is actually where we started in segment one as we recapped the shit show that was Sunday with the Deeg. Bills @ Cardinals was by no means an enjoyable time, but recapping the fun times we had and the trainwreck of a game ended up being pretty fun/depressing/rage-inducing.
In segment two we welcomed Colin Bruckel, one of the founders of TheHosers.com, a site we have linked to for a while and which provides stellar insight about the legal issues surrounding professional hockey and, in particular, the CBA. Colin's assessment of the current CBA negotiations was as interesting and well-presented as any I've heard, and it is an understatement to say that we were lucky to have him on. I would note, however, that since our discussion took place before the NHLPA presented its own offers to the league (and before Bettman rejected them immediately), you'll want to keep an eye on his site for more hot legal takes. Or you could continue being ignorant and just keep listening to the superficialities of sports talk radio.
Segment three brings it back to our wheelhouse of inappropriateness and ill-conceived sports takes as we talk the USMNT's win on Tuesday, the NBA's new policy restricting pre-game celebrations, Apologist's suicidal ideations following the Orioles' elimination from the playoffs, and our predictions for the Bills/Titans game this weekend. I must add that we had intended to talk more about (read: make fun of) Shawne Merriman's return to Buffalo, but had to toss that to the back burner so we'd have time to talk about the more pressing issues of gloating about our intellectual superiority over talk radio hosts. It's a burden, really. In any event, I'm hopeful that Merriman's second tenure in the 716 will give us plenty of opportunities to point and laugh.
Musical interludes this week are provided by Broken Bells, Gov't Mule & REO Speedwagon, as well as - of course - The Jambrones.
Download here and stream below, or check out our Libsyn page or iTunes button below where you can get all of our archived podcasts and subscribe for future hot, aural takes.
I am a new Knicks fan. I wasn't there for Patrick Ewing, John Starks' dunk heard round the world, or Spike Lee getting into the face of Reggie Miller. In fact, to this day Reggie is still one of my favorite players, I still hate John Starks, and I cheered so hard against Ewing when he played the Chicago Bulls I used to make bets with my teacher in 6th grade with extra homework on the line. This means I'm not a typical fan. When my friends that are life long Knickerbocker fans talk about the pain and suffering the team and organization has caused them, I shut up and take a back-seat (learn a lesson here you post-lockout hockey fans).
The Knicks team I fell in love played between 2008 - 2010. They were a rag-tag group of players nobody expected to play well, and were all there simply filling space until the massive free agency rush of 2010 began. But these players, guys like David Lee (I still have an unworn jersey from him), Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari were fun to watch. They weren't big time names, but they played hard every night, and maybe my passion for lovable losers from my Buffalo sports teams made me latch on. Who knows.
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 to.
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.
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.
It's the Hope that Keeps Us Going by @pvo78
Battling the Narrative Bemoaning Premature Exultation by The Barrister
Re-Framing My Blog Game by The Barrister
Mr. Nolan's Opus - "Guest" Post, courtesy of @jambrones
Like Smoking a Chicken Bone- The Death Throes of the '14-'15 Sabres, by The Outlander
Black & Blue & Gold
Buffalo Sabres Nation
Die By The Blade
The Goose's Roost