I'm fucking bitter. Right from the outset, dear readers, please understand that there is a LOT pissing me off these days. For the life of me, though, I can't stomach a full post where I take on one, cohesive topic of my rage. I'm exhausted from vacation (go figure), I'm already exhausted from work, and I'm exhausted by the dozen or so little corners of my sports world that make me want to find Jerry Sullivan's NYC doppleganger and strangle him to a long, slow death.
I am not in a good place, in other words.
For your sake, while I will be using the tried-and-true "mail it in" bullet points, I'll try to keep things in some comprehensible order.
The Buffalo Bills
- That point is at odds with my previous willingness to buy into the "character guys" meme thrown at us by OBD. Thing is, when the guys judging player character are using what appears to be a bogus metric, what are we really accomplishing? For Stevie Johnson, he's being judged by his failure to conform with an arbitrarily executed rule against excessive celebration, concocted by a group of owners who are, generally, both (a) white and (b) suckers of fun and creativity in sport. Moreover, Stevie is being judged for breaking a rule that he reasonably thought, based on precedent (the only thing he has to go with), to have been following. No rational thinking person believes that the excessive celebration rule, as doled out by subjective officiating teams, is inherently fair in the ways that other rules of sport are. It is a rule that warns against a slippery slope of self-agrandizing behavior, and maybe it is necessary in some way, but it lacks fundamental benchmarks that might let players know where on the slope they are at any given moment. In other words, it sucks.
- Either way, I'm ok with Chan benching Johnson in a meaningless game (ignoring, for the moment, that Chan's record gives him little credibility on anything, really). Indeed, I hope that the benching signals Chan's desire to keep #13 in a Bills uniform next year, to keep teaching him lessons about how to improve going forward. It seems like Stevie is already absorbing that message in a positive and realistic way, noting that "the league will never change so maybe he has to," so I guess we'll have to wait and see. What the benching CANNOT signal, however, is some sort of green light to run #13 out of town as some bad dude who poisons the locker room. We're not talking Santonio Holmes, here. The guys at the Buffalo News (both dipshit writers and dipshit commenters) know that he is far from that and that he is generally well-regarded in the locker room, of course. Yet, either they choose to ignore it or simply can't see past the blinders of curiously shallow moral high ground and bad writing.
- Final Bills thought: Stevie should have done media time on locker cleanout day. Nothing hurts your public perception more than personally offending the guys paid to hype you up / tear you down. Falling back with a paid WGR interview (which, I will say, gave Stevie an opportunity to explain himself very well, and he did) is kind of a dick move. But, again, he's not Santonio Holmes, and the Bills aren't the Jets. He stays.
I lost a lot of what I wanted to say here during the drafting process, so this may be hastily reconstructed. Deal with it.
- These clowns won last night, thus taking the ragestorm winds out of my sails a little bit. Drew Stafford had a nice little game, proving that he is, indeed, alive. Phew. (Note: some nights, I actually prefer him dead). Good outing aside, FUCK YOU DREW. Nearing the halfway point of the season, and you have done your very best to make me look a fool for standing up and praising you this summer. "Nay, this was not some contract year mirage," I argued. Newsflash: I don't need your help, Drew, to make me look like a hack with no real knowledge of sports. I am an adult. I can do that all on my own. I backed you and your apparently overvalued contract, and you repay me BY SUCKING SO VERY VERY HARD. Tips for the rest of the season: (1) suck less, (2) score more. Maybe, just maybe, if you pull those two off, I'll reconsider that pseudo-fictional post about your penchant for cheap, toothless strippers I have been planning for mid-February.
- Everyone not named Vanek can be traded for a #1 Center. Before I lost all my well-crafted points in the ether of the interwebs, this point was much more nuanced. But, seriously, I'm probably ok with losing anyone at this point other than TV.
- That point is both sad and true. I want these guys to succeed, because they're OUR guys. But, jesus. They have a track record of mediocrity, and most of them haven't even been able to reach above "shitty" to "mediocre" with any consistency this season. Trim the fat, Terry. Replace it with, you know, guys who can play hockey.
- Speaking of which, Ryan Miller is not good at hockey lately. If he can't fix it, he's basically asking to be traded, even if we all shudder at the thought. Only questions are how long his leash of shitty play is, and whether another team is willing to trade big and bank on him rebounding to his old self in a new setting. I tend to think a lot of teams will make that bet, so let's find the one with the best center and a serviceable backup, and get a deal worked out. (we won't).
- Arguing about fan noise, or lack of fan noise, is both stupid and fun, and will never really stop so long as the alternative is talking about how awful the team is. The more we yell at each other, the more we can blissfully ignore the tragedy of the Sabres' suckitude. Sure, I understand why people sit quietly through Sabres games lately - the team scores fewer goals than it allows. Easy enough. Yet, it's still horrendously lame. Not in the "omg, that makes NO SENSE" way, but in the "I don't want to hang out with these quiet, bored people at a game, so I will now make fun of them on Twitter" way. Perhaps it is the luxury of being an expat who isn't burdened with the dozens of painful home games a year, but when I go to a hockey game, I like getting drunk and supporting my boys with full voice. Shitty play on the ice will not stop this. Indeed, with any luck, I'll be just drunk enough where I won't be able to tell the difference between good and bad hockey. Yes - this is extremely immature. No - I don't care. So, to recap, I understand why our arena has been quiet, but I choose to ignore that understanding in favor of faceless internet potshots at anyone who doesn't share my love for unabashed cheering and brazen heckling. (and, besides, the arena was quiet during the ECQF last year, when the team proved it could hang with the Flyers, so don't you dare blame it ALL on this season's play).
- None of the recent shitty play, you'll be happy to know, has derailed the plans to #OccupyNassau on February 4th. If anything, it will simply motivate us into being SUPER snarky as we show Derek Roy just how much of a bitch we all think he is. Again, leave a comment here or hit me up on twitter if you want in on this special adventure with the Deeg.
Other Shit Tossing: Liverpool, Les Habitants and Anal Sex Froth
If you are still reading (you aren't), kudos to you and your remarkable stamina. I intended this to be shorter, but I find self-worth in word count. Pathetic and factual. I take solace, though, that my self-worth isn't dependent on being a contrarian douchebag who toes the line between simple, outdated values, and simple racism. I also like the fact that my name isn't Jerry Sullivan. Those thoughts aren't necessarily related. Unless you think that they are.
- Liverpool lost yesterday at Manchester City. The first game without Luis Suarez, against the premiere defensive side in the EPL with one of the better keepers, so I suppose we shouldn't be surprised by the lack of finishing touch. Stewart Downing, who had one of the better chances of the match for the Reds, remained goal-less for Liverpool as he couldn't find a way past Joe Hart from about 12 yards out. That first half chance, well before City found their own scoring touch sneaking below a bizarrely innacurate dive from Pepe Reina, was really the only decent one. City fullback Vincent Kompany was man of the match, and with good reason. He was simply outstanding, and Liverpool should count themselves lucky to have gotten any good looks at goal with the kind of game he had. The Reds get a couple chances to redeem themselves with the Carling Cup legs coming up, so we can hope that they learned a little something about what it will take to win against the league's best.
- Liverpool also needs a striker, since Andy Carroll has apparently forgotten how to play the position. Now is the time, Kenny. The time to spend some more of John W. Henry's beautiful, beautiful money. As much as I'd love to, we can't just assume Captain Fantastic will come off the bench and score game winners. He didn't last night.
- In more Liverpool news, the club decided - as noted above - to start Suarez's eight ban with last night's fixture. Good looking decision on the club's part, I think. With the FA as seemingly incompetent as it is, and the lingering language barrier preventing any real closure for Suarez, Evra or the FA, a protracted appeal seemed futile. Additionally, while it would have been nice to have Luis suited up for last night's match, as well as the Cup matches to come in January, the timing of the suspension - starting last night - may allow Suarez to miss only three league matches (assuming LFC progresses past Oldham in Round 3 of the FA Cup this Friday). With the ultimate goal of this season as a Top 4 finish and Champions League qualification, the Club demonstrated their commitment to that goal, even if it means having less strength for the peripheral goals of Carling and FA Cup success. Finally, acceptance of the ban allows the team to move beyond the issue once and for all, and hopefully avoid any more of England's own version of sloppy, sanctimonious and fact-averse journalism. Good riddance.
- Hockey fans out there are probably aware of the "apology" issued by the Montreal Canadiens yesterday in the wake of criticism directed at the team for not hiring a French-speaking head coach. Notwithstanding the fact that this makes me angry on behalf of Randy Cunneyworth - current Habs coach, non-French speaker and originaly a Sabres draft pick - this illusion of coaching worth as tied to language proficiency is laughable. But, for the Habs, some things are more important than others. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that this is coming from a team who, in valuing head coaching, has cruised to wins in only 45% of their games since the last time they won the Cup. (For those keeping score at home, of course, the Sabres have won 47% of their games since their last Cup. Which was never. /puts head in oven). Either way, to make this kind of apology DURING THE SEASON WHEN CUNNEYWORTH IS STILL FUCKING COACHING YOUR XENOPHOBIC FRANCHISE is stupid.
#ParlezVousMyBallsYouFrenchBitches is alive and well. Thank goodness.
- Finally, and you'll forgive me for briefly dipping my balls into politics (not like I need your approval), but Rick Santorum won Iowa last night. Swirl that around in your mouth for a second. Feel utterly disgusted yet? No? Well, then maybe a trip to the #SantorumSexDungeon is in order. Seriously. Our country is a fucking joke. Just like our sports teams.