Sports from the point view from the guy that holds the clipboard for the guy that holds the clipboard.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


And let me tell you why.

First off a clarification.  Seeing who can go faster is one of the most base of human instincts.  I like that this is a major aspect of humanity.  Every child all over the world understands the joy inherent to seeing how fast thing can go.  Applying it to planes, boats, horses, donkeys, lawnmowers and cars are all acceptable expressions of this urge.  I have nothing against racing in and of it self.

The easiest crack to take at NASCAR is the driving in circles.  It is also a fair and legit argument.  Let's take a look at other forms of racing and see at what point they stop doing circles and start racing on winding paths.  Usually between 1.5-5 laps.  Swimming is an exception but open water (straight line racing) is an Olympic event.  Cycling can be an exception when looking solely at velodrome racing, but that again is very limited in it's lap count.  But other than these racing gets to a point where circles don't cut it anymore.  Racing needs a bigger and better challenge.  All types of racing have realized they need something more than 200 circles.  200 is sometimes an unavoidable number, but at least challenge the drivers a bit.  Make think about more than just the other drivers, make the course matter.  If you can't handle a complex course then you aren't that good a driver.

The other main complaint I have against nascar is that racing is supposed to be about pushing the limits. It's about learning how cars work on a different level. It's about car companies pushing themselves to design better vehicles. Not just in terms of speed and handling but as far as safety and body design go as well. Real racing starts from scratch and makes the car manufacturers say to themselves, "what is the absolute best car we can make?" And NASCAR does not promote these things. Nascar takes engineering a car backwards. They take "regular" cars and jack them up to go fast. This is part of the reason why the American automobile industry is dieing.  They are stale and not making good products.   They aren't thinking creatively about vehicles.  All they do well is make bigger trucks, and that's not cutting it.   German and Japanese auto-makers are testing themselves on the racetrack and thus making superior products off the track.

Audi is a great example of this.  They were banned from Rally Car racing for over 20 years.  Why?  Because they developed a technology that was so far ahead of everyone else it was deemed illegal.  That technology has set them apart from other car manufactures.  It's their Quattro drive that they put into all their cars.  That technology put them 20 years ahead of every other manufacturer interested in Rally Cars.  Twenty "Years?  When was the last time and American car company was 20 years ahead of anybody in anything?

Let's take a quick look at three technologies that we enjoy in cars everyday that came from racing, and then you tell me how many came from NASCAR:
Anti-lock Bracks.

 Can you remember a time when we had none of these in our cars?  I'm over 30 and not old enough to.  But real racing has also helped beyond the track with the invention of the Jaws of Life and flame retardant clothing.

Racing is a pure expression of many wonderful human emotions, but doing it for 5 hours in a circle makes no sense to the driver or the car makers.  It does not show the drivers skill, nor does it show the car markers skill.  All it does is make both weaker.  Giving us nothing to show for at the end of the race.  No limits are pushed, no new technologies, no new tactics.  Just a test to see who can keep their peddle to the floor the longest, who can do the math on their pit stops better, and who can be lucky enough to avoid all the restrictor plate caused accidents.  That's all we get from NASCAR.  It really is a detriment to American society, and not for any of the obvious stereotypes.  

We need to ditch NASCAR, or at least the car makers need to, because the time and money they waste on it is time and money they could be spending on keeping pace with the Japanese and the Germans.    Once upon a time Ford could go toe to toe with Ferrari, now they can't even compete with Hyundai.   Racing is everything for this industry, it always has been and always will be, and until the American auto makers can compete again in F1, LeMans, and on other non-oval based circuits, then we are just waiting for them to die.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Steroids Hall of Fame: Alex Rodriguez

Honestly, whoever is in charge must really like this series, because I have been given this wonderful gift. I was so thankful when I saw the news.

Let us begin with a very relevant period in A-rod's story. The winter of '03/'04. The infamous Manny for A-Rod trade. Two times already have I thanked the arrogant and illegal actions of the Players Association for blocking that trade. Now I must thank them a third time. It is truly amazing how time affects our perspective.

Then we move forward to the end of the '07 season, when Barry Bonds career came to an abrupt end. Everyone help up A-Rod as a beacon of hope to take back the Home Run title and restore some honor and dignity to the game.

Finally we remember a few weeks later to the '07 WS, when A-Rod tried to steal the thunder of the Red Sox second WS title in 4 years. When his ego swelled to the size of Manhattan. And Hank Steinbrenner came to his "rescue".

Everything falls so neatly into place.  Life is hardly ever this clean, this neat, and this so well defined.  It is almost too good to be true.  Almost.

Once again we must all thank all the gods of all the sports for Jose Canseco!

I could go on and on about how happy this all makes me. And how thankful I am. And how much Karma has been paid. The poor bastard even lost hold of his 50 year old waaaaaay past her prime Madonna.

Now we move onto the business at hand: Erasing Gay-Roid's reservation to Cooperstown. Now the man already has a nickname: Gay-Rod, so we shall mash-it-up with the obvious A-Roid.

Excuse of choice: The classic, yet cliche  "It wasn't illegal yet!" Somehow it is fitting that this boring man of little to no personality would choose to use the lamest and least original of all excuses.

Drug of Choice: From the SI article:
Primobolan, which is also known by the chemical name methenolone, is an injected or orally administered drug that is more expensive than most steroids. (A 12-week cycle can cost $500.) It improves strength and maintains lean muscle with minimal bulk development, according to steroid experts, and has relatively few side effects.

Wikipedia page about this drug.

Cultural impact:  For this I shall use my google reader as a demonstration.  Within 12 hours my reader was bombarded with this story.

Super Punch
Awful Announcing
Surviving Grady
Cheat or Beat

Long Term Impact:  This is the line right here folks.  Will people forgive A-rod?  Will he get the pass that McGwire, Bonds, Sosa, and Palmeiro did not?  I think he very well may be the first steroid user to make it to Cooperstown.  As much as that hurts to type.  Time will tell, but we will get hints by how the media plays the story this season.  If the press is kind and if the fans are kind (especially on the road!) then he will break that barrier and Bonds will have every reason to be pissed.

Someone loves me, and that person also loves baseball. Thank you Baseball gods. You have been so very kind to me these past couple of months.

As you can tell, I have yet to write about some very obvious people, plus other recent news has given me fodder that even further deepens the pool I'm drawing from.  So I should be back on my weekly schedule.    It goes: Baseball, other sport, Football, other sport.  Thank you for reading.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

SuperBowl XLVIII Cthulhu

Yes even at the SuperBowl we have an NFL player showing his devotion to Cthulhu. His devotions must have been strong enough to counter all of Kurt Warner's prayers to the christian God.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The 8 SuperBowls more exciting than #43

Okay, withouit even trying and without mentioning any of the four amazing games the Patriots were in, I will give to you 8 SuperBowls that were better than the penalty filled crapfest that was SuperBowl 43.

Not listed in any particular order.

Niners 20
Bengals 16

Joe Montana throws a last minute TD pass to John Taylor that breaks my 13 year old heart.

Bills 19
Giants 20

No Good Norwood.  Do I have to say more?

Colts 16
Cowboys 13

Won on a last second field.  The first important end of game FG attempt in SB history.  Forgotten because noone remembers any of the SB's before 1980.

Steelers 21
Cowboys 17

And interception in the endzone on the last play of the game is less exciting than SB43?  Can we say modern bias?

Cowboys 31
Steelers 35

The Steelers score two quick TD's to seemingly run away witht he game but Roger Staubach leads the cowboys back with 2 td's in the final minutes.  The fourth quarter of that game was one of the most exciting in all of football history.  There is no way 2 touchdowns in one period tops that.

Bengals 21
Niners 26

A crucial goalline stand by the Niners in the third quarter is key to holding off a 20 point comeback by the Bengals.   Goalline stand, including a failed attempt to score a TD on 4th down!

Broncos 31
Packers 24

Will anyone forget Elway's first down pick-up on their game winning drive?  Then add in the back and forth that was the second half and you had a great game.

Rams 23
Titans 16

A tackle at the goalline in the last seconds to keep the game from going to overtime?!?!?  Wow!

SuperBowl 43, as good as President 43, except that SB43 actually could have been worse.