Friday, October 31, 2008

Ben and Jerry's

I’m gonna diverge a bit here seeing as how I have been all sports focused. By the way I only ever play soccer, and that was on a club team, not high school. So I can absolutely appreciate any ire from these messages, but I really don’t care. God bless the internet!

Anyway, this blog should be short…ahem. I am going to discuss Ben and Jerry’s. Yeah you all know it, you all eat it and if you don’t you aren’t human. I believe that if we ever get really worried about alien invasion we can administer a Ben and Jerry’s test to anyone we doubt. That should give us all the pertinent data. I digress anyway. I was considering the top flavors. Not because I even really eat it that often, but when I do it is always an experience. FYI, they took a correspondence course at Penn State for Ice Cream making. So for those of you that doubts the capabilities of distance learners…nyahh! They have for years and years combined creative flavors and ideas to make theme ice cream. Their, by far and easily debatable, top flavors have to be Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Neapolitan Dynamite (combining the two) and Everything but the… which shows all the goodies at once. Being a former sundae bar junkie, I can relate to this flavor in that if the ingredients are there, might as well use them. I need to mention that the craftsmanship that goes into each flavor to create the experience that they (Ben and Jerry) intended is PHENOMENAL! They just created a waffle cone ice cream that is both crunchy and chewy just like eating a real waffle cone! Astounding! Not really sure of the purpose of this blog, but it has been awhile since I have written anything, so take what you can get.

Friday, October 24, 2008

BCS Detractors...

BCS detractors, step down!

Listen, now that I am off and blogging, there is something that has bothered me since its inception. The number of sports reporters that hate on the BCS system. A little background may be necessary here. The BCS is a series of bowl games with the controversy following the National Championship game. Previously in college football, the National Champion was determined by a poll of sports writers and a second poll of coaches. Now they don’t have to agree, and therefore there could be to different National Champions. Now this is ridiculous! How can two teams at the end of the season both be the best of the year? That doesn’t even make any sense. Now as the college season would go along, the teams would play for these prestigious bowl games, such as the Rose Bowl, which had always been a match of the PAC-10 champion and the Big-10 champion. The problem comes in when the best teams are in different conferences that never ever play each other. In many cases, under this old system, the two teams might never even play the same teams at all during the year! How could we even come close to determining who was really the champion?

Well, then the BCS was invented. It is a combination of polls from throughout the country that uses several factors to determine the top two teams in college football that year so that they can play each other to determine which team is better. The polls take into account the strength of the schedule, not the perceived strength, the computers assign a value to each team beaten and lost to. This helps to eliminate the opinion of the sports writers as to how great certain teams are. It also helps to balance the sports writer’s bias that the SEC is always the best conference top to bottom. Now I have to say that I agree for the most part, but there are years that they are not. Everything is cyclical. This year the Big-12 is the best conference, not real argument against that. A few years ago, the ACC was the best conference. By evaluation the ranking of the team when they were played what they ended up ranked as, who the other team lost to, by how much, etc. The computers are able to better determine the competition. So the BCS poll seems to give the most complete picture of the best two teams and since they are guaranteed to play against each other, we can determine who is the definitive best team that year.

The problem is that reporters that like to hear themselves talk argue against the system because of “failures”. When you have three undefeated teams at the end of the year, it is hard to separate the top two out. That is why the writers get a vote, the computers get a vote, and the coaches got a vote. Well the writers got pissy and pulled out of the BCS poll (ridiculous!), and now it is computer polls and coach’s polls. The real issue is that these self same writers can only criticize the system. They never complained about the old system, in which number one and number two might never play or have any comparables. I can concede the point that it may not be the most perfect system because there is a dividing line after the top two as opposed to having a playoff system. The problem is that the colleges make far more money across the board in the bowl system. Several teams that would never have a shot at being in the big game or the playoffs are able to compete in a bowl game and earn more money for their school’s athletic program. If you cut out the number of teams that get to play, there is certainly lost revenue. The other factor here is that number one and number two get to play each other! Even if you consider the number two team to be a number three team; at least there is a highly competitive game in which two teams that may never ever have played each other compete. The BCS may not be perfect, but it is a good system. The system works for the most part and the fans and schools benefit from this new system.

Athletes and Politics

Athletes and politics

I really wasn’t going to blog today. I mean it. I was going to take a break and relax. I was going to do a million other things that occupied my time and maybe work on some running projects. Then I sat down to watch ESPN this morning. They had a show on discussing the topic of athletes and politics. The reason being that LeBron James is going to be a major player in a Barak Obama rally. The presenters made a couple of good points. They mentioned that it is the athletes right to defend any cause they feel is right, but they take on risk of alienating fans. They also mentioned that an athlete struggles with this pigeon holing, in which we as fans only consider them as good at one thing. They struggle to define themselves as human beings and therefore will branch out into politics, business, etc.

I say that these are good points, but they really don’t get at the true core of the issue. A professional athlete more than an actor or musician has more of a responsibility to stay out of the political arena. They are paid endorsement deals that help not only themselves, but the team and the league. When you accept endorsement funds, you are becoming a contractual employee of the company. You are responsible for being a face of the organization. You are taking money for a job in which you are essentially a marketing piece for the company. If your company does not agree with your politics, or they fear that you are going to alienate their customers, then they can fire you! They should. If the CEO of a corporation publicly supports a presidential candidate, and the company loses business because of it; that company has the responsibility to fire the CEO. Why should it be any different for any other face of the company?

While I don’t dispute the fact that athletes have the right as everyone else to support their political views, I think that they have other responsibilities as well. I am absolutely positive that the endorsement contracts that they sign have a clause in them about negative image. An athlete that wants to be a political force can be, but they can’t at the same time collect a check, a very large check, from a company that doesn’t share their view. If the sponsoring company has the same politics and is not worried about the portrayal of themselves to their consumer base, then go for it, it is another chance for more exposure. If not, then cut the athlete off, and stop throwing good money after bad decisions.

BYU does it again!

BYU does it again!

For the second time in as many years that they were competitive, BYU managed to do something that no other college football D-I team has: They have managed to lose while whining about not being included in the BCS championship talk. Now BYU is in what is considered a second tier conference the WAC. They play San Jose State for Christ’s sake! Ooops, I blasphemed, but it bothers me. This team has in the last 4 or 5 years had a pretty good team and a WEAK schedule. They whined about being left out of the BCS title game even the BCS bowls in general. Sure enough, they manage to lose shortly after the complaint. I believe it is poetic, or religious justice. Ha ha! They are a predominantly Mormon University and have pumped out great talent like Steve Young. I have never known whining to get a religious our morally correct person anything. It goes against their character as a team and a school! How can you pretend to be a modest and humble, religious University and whine about your place in the world? It is hypocrisy and they have suffered each and every time! I am greatly disappointed often by the character or more to the point the lack of character that is exhibited in armature and professional sports. I am even more disappointed when a school that is supposed to exemplify character demonstrates this lack of character! How can we expect the other schools to follow a leader in character when the self-proclaimed leaders have no integrity! The only sign that there is any justice in the world is that the pillars of integrity get busted by themselves when they do not follow their own credo. By the way I just think that it is funny. The power of conferences tends to shift year to year, though the SEC tends to be better overall. The WAC can produce A good team, not several, and their non conference schedule tends to stink. Does this mean that they are not the best team in the nation? Not necessarily, but the way the current system, in fact any system of ranking works, is that you have to prove that you are the best for many years before the judges believe you. My question is, “If they were to be considered and given the national focus, could they handle it?” They can’t even handle the pressure of going undefeated which is the DIV-I standard for making the national championship. In short if you want respect, shut up and play! No one respects a whiner. If they would show up for every game and beat the crap out of their opponents on a yearly basis, then they will be considered top tier, until then try harder!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jose Canseco Apology

OK, OK, I know that I started writing this many, many months ago, and I haven’t really figured out what to do. Well, since my wife has become increasingly tired of my arguing with her, I have decided to use this as a forum to state the outlandish opinions that I hold dear and defend vehemently. I am going to mix in some sports, some philosophy, some other crap that runs out of my mouth at all the wrong times. Right now I HAVE to address this Jose Canseco thing.

For those of you that don’t know, Jose Canseco was part of the Bash Brothers back in the late 80’s early 90’s for the Oakland Athletics professional baseball team. The A’s were a team to be feared and besides their incredible pitching staff Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire (aka the bash brothers) were the reason. Jose Canseco was the first man EVER in baseball to make the 40-40 club (40 homeruns and 40 stolen bases). He was also a world-class idiot. He is the only person I know in the pros to have helped the other team score a homerun off of his head. He also in the playoffs one year managed to hit a TV camera in the stands with a deep blast, leaving a dent!

Well, the reason that I bring him up when he should have been forgotten, is his recent TV special. Yes that’s right anyone can get their own special on TV now, and it doesn’t have to be on PBS. SO the TV special is about his addiction to steroids and how he is trying to kick the habit. Seems like a stretch to me since he hasn’t been a professional athlete for many years, so why is he still taking. Well, it comes out that he is flat ass broke, again, and impotent, poor guy. Anyway, he came on the show, which probably has a fair share of You Tube play at this point, and said a heart felt apology accompanied with a cheesy sound track. The apology was not to the fans that he screwed, not to the league he burned, and not to the network that picked up his lame ass show, but to the people that he ratted out in his book “Juiced”. Jose wrote about his experiences in Major League Baseball and how he made it through his use of steroids. Not only that but these are the other people that I helped to get hooked on steroids. To give this rant a little perspective, Baseball was going in depth on the stereoids investigating at this point. We had the Congressional investigation (great use of tax funds..?) concluded, and everyone wass getting a pass. The players had a far more strict substance abuse policy (which in the Majors seems to be Meth instead of roids, but….), and we had our satisfaction as fans that only some people were users. Then there was the Mitchell investigation, which was separate again from the congressional hearings on steroids, though he was still a state senator. The fire for the Mitchell investigation came from a strong bit of investigatory reporting ala Woodward and Bernstein from a pair of San Francisco Chronicle reporters. They titled their book “Game of Shadows”. They show the under side of steroid and “performance enhancing drugs” in baseball. They also named names, spurring further congressional investigation via the aforementioned Mitchell report. At this point the investigations became a sort of indictment of Barry Bonds. Not that I have a huge problem with this because I have no respect for him as a player or a man, but it is not right to persecute someone because you don’t like them. It became a bit of a witch hunt to keep him from breaking Hank Aaron’s homerun record. He did it and now no one will touch him.

As I drift off topic, I want ensure you that I am trying to give enough background to help you along my opinion that I am about to drop. Ok, so back to Jose. He wrote “Juiced” during the time of the Mitchell Report. He wrote it after “Game of Shadows”, and had not been a player for many years. In this book he names athletes that had been under scrutiny for steroid use and some other fan favorites who seemed clean. It was a big deal and he promoted the crap out of it. He was on every sports network and radio station in the country. The end result is that he is still broke. It was not the major basis for the Mitchell investigation, and has been written off already as drivel from a bitter whiner. Someone that is trying to make a buck in the steroid scare. He then managed (god knows how) to get a show about him kicking his steroids habit. He then apologizes to the players that he outed, and he “feels bad.” I’d feel bad if I was impotent and overweight, and oh yeah, broke. He has no prospects for making money because none of the sports networks like him other than the controversy. The apology comes off as insincere and without the background track, would have no emotion whatsoever. He is again trying to create buzz for his new money making venture. As I watch ESPN they go as far as to give the man credit for the fact that he helped clean up the game. HA! That was already happening with the “Game of Shadows”. The league was already cleaning the game; Congress and our tax dollars were in twice! He contributed nothing except for a couple of great years at the A’s. Oh yeah, those years were steroid infested and there would be no way he would have even made the majors without them. He had accused a group of people that may or may not have used steroids. He gets to come out and make outrageous claims that someone only has their career because of roids, and he thinks that apologizing in his next money making scheme is OK? No way Jose! This man is a pariah in our society and for the media to even bother with anything that he says or does, is just as troublesome. Check your sources guys, this man is motivated by money and exposure and will say or do anything to keep himself in the spotlight. Jose Canseco you officially SUCK!