Friday, August 31, 2007

Labor Day Links

-Want to bet on how many fantasy points Matt Stover will accumulate during a game? Now that Vegas is taking Fantasy Football bets, your dreams have been fulfilled. Pretty sure this is not a good idea. [MSNBC]

-First big game of the college football season, Cal vs. Tennessee, Smokey vs. Oskie fight to the death! Here's some point spread analysis for any gambling degenerates who are reading this. [Gooner's Guide]

-Charles Barkley thinks the 80's Celtics teams were ugly people who wore ugly clothes. In other news, Larry Bird has announced an endorsement deal with Just For Men, to pimp their new line of products for the Pubic Hair Moustache. [SLAM Magazine]

-Larry Dobrow's rankings of the best organizations in baseball. The Padres are ranked seventh. Yay, Petco still blows. [CBS Sportsline]

Everybody have fun killing brain cells this weekend!

Youtube Fun: Dan Marino has Super Bowl PTSD

Just messed up my lines, never won a Super Bowl, Terrell Buckley still gets to play football and I don't, AAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!!

Oh well, I'll just give Collinsworth a purple nurple after the show and maybe get a cortizone shot.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Athlete Site Reviews, Part 1

This is the first installment of a potentially two or three part series of athlete website reviews from around the internet. We'll be covering sports accross the board such as football, baseball, the NBA, hockey, curling, greyhound racing and alligator fondling.

First up is Baltimore Ravens linebacker Bart Scott's website, I am assuming that he is not actually mad about anything, but that the title simply refers to his mad skillz.

Visual: 8/10. Love the grainy, Dracula-esque site design. His purple-eye logo rocks, too.

Audio: 7/10. Just a looped violin part, but it sounds creepy. Don't jump out of the screen and horse-collar me, Bart.

Store: 10/10. Cop your Madbacker shirts. For reals.

Photo Gallery: 9/10. Mr. Scott's football camp pictures are great. It took a lot of great police work by officer McNulty to keep Avon and his thugs away from the kids.

Overall Score: 8/10. Madbacker is not a great mad-time-waster, but it looks cool, and even has a section for his cell phone pics. But it is empty right now, burner phones are a b*tch.

Back on Top

The Padres are now one measly percentage point atop the NL West and it's time to start believing again...and believing in crazy pitching schemes:

"Manager Bud Black indicated for the first time Wednesday that the thought of having a 'bullpen day' --- where a series of relievers cover the start -- was a possibility, although that would be a late decision considering how the bullpen is used Wednesday and Thursday." (

This is the best idea I've ever heard! I really hope they do it. Imagine David Wells hearing he's not taking on some sub-par Minor League call up, but the ENTIRE bullpen. Sounds perfect to me.

Arrrrrr you looking for a new place to get drunk?

Little Italy’s all kinds of trendy these days, what with its fancy condos and banners of Italian baseball players. There is one place, however that has steadfastly refused revitalization, and we’ll all the better for it.

It’s called The Waterfront, and it’s one of San Diego’s oldest bars. The walls inside are packed with pictures and artifacts from the city’s fishing industry (which was dominated by Italian tuna fisherman in the early and middle years of the last century) making it one of the few bars in San Diego that gives you both a real neighborhood, and real historical feel. They also have pretty good food; the burgers are great and the popcorn is free!

The place is a little too clean to be considered a dive (in my opinion) but it has a very friendly, come-as-you-are kind of atmosphere. The clientele is surprisingly working class for such a yuppified neighborhood, and the bartenders seem like they’d be as comfortable in front of the bar as they are behind it.

The bar’s layout is a kind of “L’ shape that makes it tough to navigate when crowded, and while there’s a fair amount of seating, you feel like your stool is in the way in a lot of spots. No one seems to get mad about it though, and people are good about getting out of you way (especially when you’re trying to carry three drinks).

Once upon a time, before the freeways came in and carved up the area, The Waterfront was actually on the waterfront. Nowadays you can’t really smell the salt air, even when you’re on the outside patio, but there is still an overwhelming sense of the nautical. It kind of makes me want to burst into a round of “What do you do with a drunken sailor?” whenever I’m there. That’s probably just be me, but you can sing along to Weezer and Violent Femmes covers on Wednesday nights when San Diego favorites Fever Crotch perform.

The giant, be-slickered fisherman on the roof makes The Waterfront hard to miss, and with the bar instituting pajama breakfasts on Saturday mornings this month, honestly why would you want to?

Name: The Waterfront
Location: 2044 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA (Little Italy)
Fun fact: The Waterfront has San Diego’s oldest liquor license.
State of Guinness: On tap, served in an American-style pint glass. The Waterfront’s Guinness tends to get that kind of coffee flavor to it that you’d expect more from the bottle or can than from the tap. The bartenders get your Guinness to you quicker at The Waterfront than other bars, which is nice, but I think the quick poor contributes to the slightly off taste.

Gingers is the Watchword

If you dig Pink Hat Nation, check out our sister blog, Gingers is the Watchword where we discuss all things pop culture.

C' know you want too...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The poor man's racquetball

Once upon a time I knew a lot about tennis. I took lessons with the Scituate Youth Center, and even won a round of a tournament. This remains my greatest athletic achievment.* This was circa 1993, which I've since been told was a kind of "Golden Age" of US tennis, when Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Monica Seles, Steffi Graff and all those guys were in their primes or coming onto the scene. My friends and I would jokingly grunt really loudly after we hit the ball in honor of our favorite stars. Apparently US tennis isn't as good any more, but I've decided I'm going to make a concentrated effort to get back into the sport anyway. I plan on watching as much of the US Open as possible this weekend. Maybe my support will single-handedly restore US tennis to the zenith it once aspired. And if not, at least I'll get to look at Andy Roddick and Roger Federer for a little while. Heyyyy!

* This victory was controversial because my friend Rachel had beaten everyone in our class to be named "Queen of the Court" and go on to the next round of the tournament. But then I came back from vacation and beat Rachel, effectively transferring the crown to the House of Malloy. Rachel felt it wasn't fair because she beat like 10 people and I'd only beat one. She was probably right, but I'm OK with it. I was knocked out in the next round anyway.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

In an effort to drum up interest in American soccer, adidas (which someone once told me stood for All Day I Dream About Soccer - which makes no sense because it's a German company and they call it Fußballspiel not soccer - but I believed her because I am a moron sometimes) has complied theme songs for each of the MLS teams (enter the site to hear them all). It's a noble effort, but none of them really live up to the football (and by that I mean soccer) anthems sung around the world...and this is the problem with MLS in general. It's like the poor man's version of football ( Like when NBC remade BBC's Coupling for American audiences and it was totally awful and lasted about 3 episodes...the MLS is the American version of Coupling.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Does the Barenaked Ladies rocking out for Toronto FC make you want to watch more MLS? Or maybe OK GO championing the Chicago Fire? I didn't think so...

The Weekly Weddle: Fitzgerald Crushing Edition

After week three of the preseason, it looks like Clinton Hart has earned the starting spot at strong safety, with E-Dub playing on third downs and nickel and dime packages. The secondary is struggling to gel as a unit, but new defensive co-ordinator Ted Cottrell (aka Tedrick the Entertainer) has yet to unveil his aggressive new blitz schemes that will include more action from the safties and cornerbacks. I honestly didn't catch much of the game, but Eric statistically led the team in tackles with five solo and one assisted. It seems that the Cards passing attack will be up a notch from last year, and there were numerous completions to the Anquan Boldin/Larry Fitzgerald tandem in which Eric helped limit the yards after catch.

Something that was not included last week is the definitive piece of Eric Weddle journalism, "Why not give Eric Weddle the Heisman?" by Doug Robinson of the Desert Morning News. It's also reminder about the radness of college football.

And finally, I somehow missed the San Diego Hall of Champions Luncheon, at which the guest speakers were Chargers GM A.J. Smith and none other than E-Dub, go figure! This is a great picture of Eric, A.J. and HOC founder Bob Breitbard posing with the bat Ted Williams used to hit .406 in 1941.

Happy Tuesday, and here's looking forward to the next preseason game, a Super Bowl preview between the Niners and Chargers!

Who Sold Their Soul to Satan?

Growing up in San Diego, the Chargers always, well, pretty much sucked. They had a few good years (1994, when they went to the Super Bowl for the first time, was pretty sweet) but for the most part, they were heart breakers. Same with the Padres. I don't really remember the '84 series (I thought sports were boring at that age...not enough singing and dancing) and, other than '98, the Padres were usually pretty forgettable. We had a bunch of stellar players through the 80's and 90's (Dan Fouts and Tony Gwynn come to mind), but most seasons, San Diegans didn't really expect much.

Now, it's so bizarre to have two, dare I say, really good teams. Both are ranked in the top 5 of ESPN's power rankings (say what you will about ESPN) and both are poised to have back to back post-season appearances. Even more bizarre is seeing Ladainian Tomlinson's face everywhere as THE guy in the NFL. He's a Charger for chrissakes! No one outside of SD likes the Chargers! And Padres Ace Jake Peavy is inciting jealously from Yankee fans, who snottily say to me, "We can't all have Jake Peavy on our team." Damn right, you can't. He's a ours. Jake struck out 11 guys last night for about the millionth time in his career and looks ripe for his first Cy Young. It's just all so weird.

SD has always been the place to go for weather and beautiful people, but now we have good sports teams, too? I feel like my head's gonna explode.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What dreams may come

I had a dream last night that my editor told me the vice president had resigned. At first I thought he meant the vice president of some company, then realized he meant Dick Cheney. Shortly after I exclaimed, "Wow, really?" I woke up. I thought to myself, "If I go in to work today and find out Dick Cheney resigned, I am officially delcaring myself a telekenetic super hero and reaping the benefits thereof."

In the course of getting up (late), showering (too slowly) and making (and then almost forgetting) my breakfast, I forgot about the dream. Then I came in to work and saw the attorney general resigned.

So, I have decided that while I may not be clairvoyant, I am clairvoyant adjacent. If I dream tonight that the Padres win the World Series, you can expect Jake Peavey to win the Cy Young Award. (Or for the Padres to not even make the playoffs I guess, depending on your opinion of the Bush administration).

The devil wears .... whatever sports agents wear

Every generation thinks something is ruining baseball; ours seems to agree its Scott Boras. The greedy, grasping, snake oil salesman of an uber-agent controls the contracts of dozens of MLB players and is notoriously hard nosed in negotiations, to the point that some teams won't even deal with him. Plus he lives in Newport Beach, so you know he's a scumbag. But is he ruining baseball?
A lot of people would argue he's responsible for driving up salaries to ridiculous levels and preventing small market teams from getting top talent. Those people are probably right. But you could also argue that he's simply taking advantage of the free agent system. He is a symptom, not the disease. Plus, the players could agree to lesser contracts. They all watch Sports Center, they know what's being offered to them. Not all of them are as dumb as they look. And if a team doesn't want to man up and talk to the guy, aren't they doing just as much of a disservice to their fans?
Personally, I'm in the "Scott Boras is a scumbag and definitely bad for baseball" camp, but even I have to admit he's not necessarily ruining baseball. Not single-handedly at least. What are your thoughts?

Things to Make me Feel Bad About Myself: Part I

An eight-year-old girl just completed a 2,200 mile, 55 day run across her native China. Holy crap! When I was eight, I was bemoaning the 50 jumping jacks I had to do to pass the President's Physical Fitness Test at Lemon Avenue elementary. Her father said he was training her for the Olympics in 2016...when I will be almost 40 and still struggling to run more than a mile at any given time. Is it just me, or is this a perfect example of why the Asian countries will rule the world in 20 years?

Friday, August 24, 2007

You got served

I like dogs a lot. My allergy to their fur prevents me from loving them (that and the fact that they lick you, I don’t really like being licked) but I really do like them a lot. So I’m as appalled as anyone about the things Michael Vick apparently did to them. And I think it’s a cool example of the system working that he’s going to jail. I’m not sure how NFL contracts work, but if he’s allowed to get any of the money he was supposed to get for playing this year, I think he should have to donate almost all of it to animal shelters.

I’m just a little unnerved that his arrest on dog fighting charges is getting WAY more attention than say, Pacman Jones’ arrest for slamming a stripper’s head onto a stage, or the strong evidence that Jamal Lewis killed someone. They both got punished for these crimes (Jones got fined and suspended, Lewis served jail time for a related drug charge) but I don’t remember the coverage and public outcry being this intense. Maybe it was and I’m just remembering it wrong. Maybe it’s because Vick is a bigger star than either of those guys, I don’t know. I just know that while I like dogs, I’ve gotten more out of people in my life, I feel like it should be a bigger deal when they’re attacked.

Place Your Bets

So, Lindsay Lohan finally admitted she is "addicted to alcohol and drugs." She now acknowledges what most people have known for at least the past year. Li Lo is back in rehab, for the third time, and seems quite apologetic and ready to clean up her act.

I don't buy it. I mean, the girl couldn't stay off the sauce with an alcohol detector on her ankle! She's gotta be sick of rehab (how much self exploration and group therapy can one person take?!?), but I really don't think it will be enough. It must be really difficult to take responsibility for your life when it's basically been run by other people for so long (and when your mother is chomping at the bit for you to turn 18 and become her wing (wo)man). The sad thing is, I really liked Lindsay (I gotta give it up for my fellow gingers). She was an adorable kid and Mean Girls was awesome, but ever since she went blond and dated Wilmer Valderrama, she has been a complete mess.

So it's time to place your bets. Will Lindsay get another DUI before the end of the year? Will we see more photos of her with knives or doing coke? Will she surprise us all and clean up her act? Or, even more shocking, make a decent movie again? Sadly, my money is on Lindsay going the way of Chris Farley before 2008. Maybe that makes me evil and morbid, but I never claimed to be anything else.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oh How I've Missed You

NBC is renewing American Gladiators. That's it...

Early Favorites for the Matt Bush Award

Interestingly enough, some reviews are already in for this year's Major League Baseball amatuer draft. Hardball Times has announced their 2007 "DRAFTY" awards, and it's no surprise that the Tigers got the biggest steal by taking New Jersey prep righty Rick Porcello, who fell into the late first round due to signability issues. Porcello joins a stellar group of young pitchers in Detroit that GM Dave Dombrowski has assembled, which includes last year's first round pick Andrew Miller.

The biggest projected bust of the draft, and this should come as no surprise to Padres fans, is Arkansas southpaw Nick Schmidt. Already sidelined with elbow problems, scouts say that Schmidt is already on the fast track for Tommy John surgery. He would join Matt Bush and Cesar Carrillo as former first round picks who basically suck or have gotten hurt within the first two years of being drafted by San Diego.

Overall, there is some nice video in this article, and interesting analysis on the number one overall pick David Price. They also talk about the Giants effort to rebuild for the post-Bonds era. Happy Thursday everyone!

Another Reason Baseball is Awesome

Last night, the Texas Rangers beat the Orioles 30-3. This is amazing. Can you imagine being at a game where 2 guys hit grand slams and your team scores 10 runs in one inning? Awesome!

Even more awesome: the feat was accomplished by the freaking Texas Rangers! A below .500 team (only 4 teams have a lower winning percentage in MLB) once partially owned by a coke head called Dubya, they are pretty much one of the crappiest teams in baseball. They've only had 3 winning seasons over the past 10 years. Sometimes I even forget the Astros are not the only baseball team in Texas.

This is why baseball is so awesome. One of the worst teams in baseball can set a modern day scoring record (granted it was against another pretty bad team...thank God the Orioles have the Devil Rays to make them look no-so-pathetic in the AL East) and garner tons of press and adoration...all to go back to being crap the next day. With so many games, baseball teams always keep you guessing. Your team will ALWAYS have incredible games, where they give you hope they will actually make something of themselves during the season, and they will ALWAYS have crap games, where your Hall of Fame closer blows a really important game against the toughest team in the Division (damn you, Trevor!). Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are you not entertained?

No matter how hard the ESPYS try to convince me otherwise, I don’t think sports are the same thing as entertainment. And I’ll tell you why.

When I say entertainment, I mean the kind you see in Entertainment Weekly or on Entertainment Tonight. Sports are a form of entertainment, sure, but not like Hollywood or popular music. Sports don’t belong in the A&E section of the newspaper. This seems obvious on the surface, but lately it seems like the leagues and the media that cover them (ESPN, Monday Night Football, etc) have marketed them more and more like they would a movie or television show. The ESPYS are probably the biggest example: a glittery, star-studded award show in the vein of the Golden Globes or the People’s Choice Awards, where the recipients are teams and athletes.

Here’s why this doesn’t work. Your favorite sports team is like your family: you're generally associated with them due to geographical closeness; you say things to them you’d never say to others; they sometimes drive you insane; you often wish you had another one; but ultimately, you just can’t abandon them. Your favorite movie or band or book is like your friends or better halves: you choose them; they were created by a total stranger yet they somehow speak to you as if you’ve known them for years; and sometimes, you grow apart.

For better or worse (most would probably say worse) being friends with me means hearing more than you’d ever want to about my favorites team, the Boston Red Sox, and my favorite band, Rilo Kiley. From the ages of 12 to 16, being my friend meant hearing more than you ever wanted to about Pearl Jam, my favorite band then. I knew more about Eddie Vedder than I did about my own brother (who he was dating, his thoughts on women’s rights, his relationship with Pete Townsend, etc). But then Pearl Jam started taking 4 years between each album. Their noble but doomed fight against Ticketmaster made them hard to see live. When they did release albums, they felt tired. I was getting into different kinds of music, and around my sophomore year of high school, I knew it was time to end my relationship with Pearl Jam. It was amicable, we stayed friends, but I didn’t listen to their albums much. When I saw them live last summer it was like catching up with an old friend or ex and it was great to see them, but I also didn’t regret the separation. It was best for everyone.

This season the Red Sox are doing well (6 points in first, as of right now). Around this time last year though, they were in the midst of an epic collapse that eventually took them from first place to third in the division and out of the playoffs. Through it all, I spent a lot of time swearing, sulking, and scheming of ways to kill Derek Jeter. But at the same time, I always knew that come spring, I’d be all about the Sox again. I’m from Boston, I like baseball, so I root for the Red Sox. That’s how it goes.

I understand that some people follow athletes more than they follow teams. They probably see this issue differently. I don’t understand those people though and frankly I find them suspect, so I won’t address their concerns here. I have a feeling that they might be the people the ESPYS are directed to, and it concerns me that they might be taking over from people who prefer to follow teams.

See, for me, having that constant in your life like a sports team you’ll always cheer for is a nice stabilizer. I’m going through something right now with my current favorite band (the aforementioned Rilo Kiley) wherein they made an album that’s radically different from their previous LPs and not necessarily in a good way. My jury is still out, but it’s definitely too polished and the lyrics aren’t as good as they used to be. There are a few good songs, but overall I’m a bit disappointed. This probably wouldn’t be a big deal for most people, but as you may have gathered from the Pearl Jam paragraph, I’m completely insane. When I declare a band “my favorite,” it’s a commitment. It’s like getting married, and it feels like my second marriage is on the rocks.

Maybe after a few more listens I’ll love the new album. I’ll declare that Rilo Kiley is growing up along with me and we’re still a perfect match. But whether or not the Red Sox stage a massive collapse this year or win the World Series, I know I’ll be back next year. The players come and go, the uniforms change, stadiums are built and torn down, but so long as the team stays in the city or region, that connection is still there.

Sports end each season with a championship and the leagues give out plenty of player awards. There is no need for award shows. Sports are entertaining, but they’re not entertainment. I’m not sure what they are exactly, but whatever it is, it’s a good thing. This should be celebrated, not subverted.

(By the way, Red Sox? Please don’t collapse this year. I really need you right now).

Trivia is a Sport, Right?

Before we decided to impart our genius to the world via weblog, Pink Hat Nation was a bar trivia team, and a pretty damn good one, too. We've been playing at Winston's in Ocean Beach for the past few months and have developed a strategy for winning. In an effort to make bar trivia the fifth US sport (screw you, soccer!), here are PHN's top 3 tips for winning at trivia:

1. Be Selective with your Team Members
When selecting your trivia team, choose people you know are smart and have a wealth of random, general knowledge. Our team members have specialties, if you will - I'm pretty good with film and awards, the fellas know their sports factoids and history, Liz kills with the "how the hell does anyone know that" category - but in general, we all know a little about everything and can use our knowledge to make educated guesses when we don't know the answer. However, more than 6 people on your team creates too many opinions and educated guesses. Bigger is not always better when it comes to trivia. If Hell's Kitchen has taught us anything, it's too many cooks spoil the dinner service (and Beef Wellington and Risotto are really popular...and Gordon Ramsey is smokin' hot). Keep your team to the select few you know will perform for you.

2. Confidence does not Equal Correct-ness
This is where your team recorder becomes important. Many times, people give an answer they seem really confident about and turn out to be completely wrong. Learn to recognize who's "hot" that night and who to listen to with certain categories. For example, I'm not gonna listen to the guy who never reads or watches TV when I get a question about Lindsay Lohan, even if he seems absolutely positive about his answer...I'm gonna go to the chick who reads In Touch and frequents's just common sense.

3. Drink
I don't know why this works, but our team always does better as the night goes on and we drink more. Maybe our brain neurons loosen up and we are able to tap into our information pockets (a real, scientific part of your brain, I swear) where we access knowledge not readily available without alcohol. I can't really explain it. Just do helps...and you know you want to anyway.

So there you have it. PHN's strategy for winning bar trivia. If you live in SD, come by Winston's on a Tuesday night and play some trivia. You can't be on our team, but you can definitely buy us a drink.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Weekly Weddle

The smiling young man seen above is Chargers second round draft pick Eric Weddle, out of the University of Utah. This guy pretty much rocks, from blanketing Calvin Johnson in the Emerald Bowl to playing both ways against Air Force for a total of 90 plays while collecting eight tackles and 53 rushing yards.

During Saturday's game against the Rams, E-Dub made two tackles, but more noticably was beaten by Isaac Bruce on a deep in pattern, after jumping the hook route. No biggie, there will be a few bumps in the road on the way to becoming the best white defensive back in the NFL, while leading the Bolts to a title.

This is your weekly Eric Weddle update. In other news, the Bolts have been graced by some superstar presence as of late. Actor Denzel Washington made a locker room appearance during their trip to St. Louis, while Hall of Famer Troy Aikman made a visit to training camp.

Here's Eric in on a gang tackle. The white jerseys with the white helmets look awesome, in my opinion:

Is it October Yet?

I hate waiting for things to end. I won't watch Lost, even though every person on the planet really wants me to, because I don't want to wait for months at a time to see how a cliff hanging season wraps up. And I'm kinda ready for the baseball season to be over, too. The Padres are 3.5 games back in the NL West...a deficit I fully believe they will overcome in the next month...but the suspense is killing me. Can't we just fast forward to the series with the D-Backs and crush them to secure our place in the playoffs? Can someone make this happen? I bet my fellow blogster, Liz, is with me on this one, too. Ready for the season to end with the Red Sox leading AL East and the Yankees out of the playoffs.

I'm also ready for Dane Cook to stop hyping October during every Fox game. I loathe Dane Cook with the fire of a thousand deaths (not really sure what that means, but, seriously, I hate that guy). He's not funny and that is a real problem when you are a comedian. Why, oh why, did MLB and Fox choose this guy to pump me up for the playoffs? Was Seacrest too busy? (he could have been named to "host" the World Series!)

I say, let's get through Labor Day and then just skip straight to October...where the Padres crush the Red Sox in the World Series and Dane Cook is tossed out onto the streets because he is a talentless hack and no one goes to see his crap movies. Who's with me?!?!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Please God Make it Stop

Last week, I complained of the atrocity that is Seacrest "hosting" the Super Bowl. Now it appears he is hosting the Emmys as well. Seriously!?! Does Fox realize there are other "hosts" in Hollywood? The Emmys suck anyway (no love for The Wire or Veronica Mars? Lame) so I guess Seacrest will just add to the suckiness, but after the show last year with Conan, I thought things were looking up. I mean who's gonna host the E! pre-show...actually, probably Seacrest.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Incoherent Diatribe of the Day

If you've followed hoops at any point in time during the last, say, 40 years, then you know who Bill Walton is. I can't even BEGIN to describe what this guy is about, but I did just learn that he attended a legendary Grateful Dead concert at the Pyramids. Seriously, Bill is one of my favorite personalities of all time, and I hope he never changes. Please enjoy, and if anybody can figure out what the hell he's talking about, let me know:

Where the Surf Meets the Turf

I remember when summer consisted of sitting at home all day doing pretty much nothing (except for watching The Price is Right at 10am...that show was like crack...and I'm not really sure why. It's not like at 15 I was really all that interested in how much a can of peas cost. Guess it was Bob's winning personality and the super kitschy games. Try and keep Bob's audience, Drew Carrey. It's just not gonna happen). Anywho, now it seems summer is 100 times busier then the rest of the year. Part of the increased activity is due to the fact I have to work all summer now (which totally blows), but it's also because so many fun things come to town this time of year. Obviously, there is baseball, which I love because it gives me an excuse to sit at home and do nothing (just like the good ol' days!) and doing nothing is pretty much the best thing ever, but in SD, we also have the Del Mar races.

When I was a kid, I loved going to the races. I would always pick the horse with the prettiest color combination, or maybe the one with the funniest name, but my choice definitely had nothing to do with odds or insider tips or whether the horse takes Lasix or not (actually, thinking about Lasix makes me really's a drug they give horses to stop them bleeding through the nose. Kinda makes me want to never go to the races because it really is kinda cruel to animals, but I'll just think about that tomorrow. Fiddle-dee-dee). My girly way of picking horses actually paid off a few mom's boyfriend even started putting money on my picks and won a bit. As they say, all you need is a hunch.

These days, I do take a look at what the "experts" say about each horse and consider the odds and look a jockey's winning percentages and all that boring stuff. Sometimes I win...more often I lose...but I'm not a big gambler anyway, so I never lose much. There is just something really cool about being at the races. It feels like what I imagine SD felt like in the 40's and 50's. Any minute, I expect Bob Hope or Bing Crosby to pop up and sing a song. People dress a little better, act a little friendlier and seem a little happier when they are at the races. I'm headed there tonight to lose some money and have a drink (or two) and have fun with my friends. There is a horse in the 7th called Red Diadem...sounds like a winner to me.

Update: Because I know you are all dying to know...I left the races with three bucks more than I gambled...of course, I spent $40 bucks on wine and food, but that's neither here nor there...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fairytale Football - Freshman Year

Settle down kids. Welcome back from summer vacation. Please turn to page 7 in your textbooks.
I am going to assume that all of you at least understand the CONCEPT of the game of FF (for you laymen, Fantasy Football). In short, each "player" fields a "team" made up of various skill position players (i.e. QB, WR, RB, TE, K). To top it off, you field an entire defensive squad, such as the Baltimore Ravens team defense. Each week, depending on the rules of your league, you play you weekly roster (typical = 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 DEF), and receive points based on their play. Standard leagues base points as such...

As you can see, you can also LOSE points if you team's player underperformed. Additionally, standard leagues allow a number of "bench" roster spots, which can used for any number of positions.

How do you pick your players? Many leagues vary from in-person drafts involving large amounts of beers, pizza, and herbs, online drafts which makes is easy for leagues which have players from all over the world, or one can have an automated draft through an online league, such as Yahoo! or ESPN. More on that later...
Finally, once your league is created, typically each team plays another team, head 2 head, on a rotating schedule. Each week, you win, lose, or tie you opponent, and that record is applied to the overall standings.
A usual fantasy schedule involves weeks 1-12/13, then playoffs during weeks 13-15. Notice that Week 16 is not included. That takes into account "slop time" most playoff teams enact, resting their star players before the playoffs.

So there you it. The basics of FF. Today's class was only meant for those that have recently fallen off the turnip truck and ride the short bus to school. Tomorrow's class will details the various draft strategies and transactions througout the year.
Miss Moynahan.......can you please see me after class......

The latest on Vasgersian and "Ozark-Gate"

Padres fans know all about Channel 4 color man Matt Vasgersian's off-mic rant on St. Louis and Cardinal fans, and may have even read his hilarious response to Awful Announcing, the blog that helped piece together his muffled swear words. Amongst other things, Matt V. decries the heat, the Rams relocation and points out that Cardinals fans should "drive their Chevys back to the Ozarks."

Well, whoever runs AA is kick ass. They've made a "Greetings From the Ozarks," t-shirt, available for $22 plus shipping. This is the cool stuff that happens when you are a "celebrity," that is down with the blogs.

On a side note, Phil Nevin is beginning to voice his displeasure with the frequency of Matt's increasingly frequent "nights off," on the Padres pre-game show. Can't say I disagree, you're the number one meathead in my book, Phil!

Thanks again to Awful Announcing, make sure to check them out.

Where everybody will say they know your name

Since this blog has no real direction or plot (I mean that in the best way possible) I’ve decided to start making regular contributions about bars in San Diego.

Today I’d like to talk about the Alibi, a bar I’ve driven by nearly every day for two years but never went into until Tuesday night. And I gotta say, I’ve been missing out.

Located in Hillcrest and with a doorway that’s often obscured by crusty old men, I’d long suspected he Alibi was a place for 60-year-old alcoholic closet cases. There may be a few of them there, but it’s also a place for straight looking guys watching the Padres, punk rockers playing pool, and my friend Tiffany’s birthday party. It had a really good jukebox with everything from Pavement to Marvin Gaye and the bartender was very friendly and cool. (He kicked us a few free shots for the party).

Summing up the Alibi’s décor in one word is easy: dark. The lighting is dim and the wood is almost black. This could turn a lot of people off, as dark tends to equal seedy, but I actually liked it. I imagine that back when you could smoke in bars the place may have been a bit dank, but now it’s rather cozy. There is not a lot of seating, which wasn’t a problem on a Tuesday night but could make it tough on the weekends. There is one of those old school Pac-Man video games, which I think are fun.

I’ve heard it can be kind of a hipster hangout but I didn’t see that on Tuesday. It was a cozy, relaxed place to get inappropriately buzzed on a work night.

Name: The Alibi
Location: 1403 University Ave
San Diego, CA (Hillcrest)
Fun Fact: The façade was used in an opening scene of the Fox show Prison Break
State of Guinness: On tap, served in an American-style pint glass, tastes about average for San Diego

Pink Hat Nation

For those of you that need an education of where this blog got it's name from...

Fairytale Football 101

The 1970's had the Pet Rock. In the 80's, Dungeons & Dragons became a movement. 90's? Well the 90's allowed it to be cool for 30-somethings to stay at home on Friday night and play Playstation. Welcome to the 21st Century, and Fantasy Football is here to stay.

Sure as death and taxes, every August comes the newest fantasy football magazine for the low, low price of $8-12.99. Forget the glossy pictures. Nevermind the articles written by the guy at the end of the bar. In the coming days, Professor Newman will be detailing the ins-and-outs, recommended resources, strategies, etc.. of the game that, up until 3 years ago, I thought was the stupidest idea I've ever heard.

Class dismissed...

By the way... I don't want to be accused to lifting copywritten material, so the above image can be found by way of the good folks at

Daily Rant

According to Variety, Ryan Seacrest will serve as "Master of Ceremonies" at the Super Bowl this coming year in Arizona. Really? Does anyone else find this disturbing? Does Fox really think they need more American Idol cross promotion? I can think of about a million reasons this is a horrible idea. I mean, c'mon! Ryan Seacrest is king of the metrosexuals. I realize this is 2007, but football is still about as testosterone-y as it gets. I can't really imagine Seacrest is a believable host for such an event. I'm a chick and I wouldn't even ask Seacrest about football. Teeth whitening and fashion tips, maybe, but football?!? I don't think so.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The other football

Soccer has been America’s “next big thing” longer than Christian Bale. Like Bale, it’s recently made some inroads to the mainstream by becoming the sports equivalent of an art-house critical darling who can occasionally anchor a blockbuster. (David Beckham = Batman in this analogy).

But like all sports, Major League Soccer is a business and they don’t want to settle for being the indie rock of American athletics. They want to replace hockey as one of America’s “big four” sports, or at least make it a “big five.” As a fan of soccer (Go Liverpool! Go Celtic! Go Revs! Go indecision!) I think this would be really cool. Especially seeing as every other country on the planet enjoys the game. It would be nice if the US could join the party.

From what I’ve heard though, it's this international flare that turns some American fans off, and I think one of Major League Soccer’s biggest mistakes is embracing the foreign aspects of soccer rather than adapting them for a US audience. Allow me to elaborate: I was watching an MLS game and they were talking about a player who was hurt and needed to come back (probably Beckham). The announcers were talking about how this player needed to “get fit.” In American sports, if a player is hurt, we say he needs to get "healthy.” Now, I’ve always thought “fit” actually makes more sense (when I hear someone needs to get "healthy” I think they have the flu - or a heroin addiction), but in American sports we say "healthy" and that’s that.

This is one very small example of how American soccer – and MLS in particular – are co-opting the world game instead of adapting to an American audience. You could say the same thing about the scarves. I love soccer scarves. I own two. But that’s kind of the trouble, isn’t it? If I think something’s cool, your average American football fan probably won’t. And MLS is trying to attract your average American football fan. They’re trying to make regular sports fans embrace a sport that for decades has been seen as a pass time for Europeans and grad students. Selling things grad students bring home from trips to Europe probably isn’t the best way to assuage that notion.

I like soccer just the way it is, but if MLS wants to attract more viewers, they need to stop calling the field a "pitch,” talking so much about Brazilian clubs no one’s ever heard of and heavily promote homegrown stars. This is American, bub: We like our beer cold, our women hot and our entertainment familiar.

If Christian Bale can make it, so can the beautiful game.

Zay Tonday Makes it Rain on Kimmel

Have a voice that sounds exactly like James Earl Jones, program some stuff on your Yamaha, write some random lyrics and put it up on YouTube. That's what this guy did, and the ensuing "Chocolate Rain" phenomena has now reached epic proportions.

If you're not on the bandwagon yet, watch this stunning live performance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Now whether or not the song is about the systematic socio-economic repression of African Americans, or rough prison sex, who knows?

Either way, I give Chocolate Rain a 9 out of 10 on the scale of "Awesome Randomness."

On a Rocky Mountian High

I love Greg Maddux. I really do. I don't even care if he can only pitch 5-6 innings anymore. He is still awesome and I'm glad he is a Padre (at least for a year).

The game last night was pretty fantastic. Six runs in the bottom of the second, two of which were walked in by the he-looks-about-12-years-old pitcher from CO, Jeff Francis. It was a game we needed...made us think we could actually, sorta, kinda hit and brought us closer to reclaiming the division from the D-Backs. Here are three indisputable facts I observed at the game last night:

1. Marcus Giles Sucks
He really did absolutely nothing for us last night. By the 9th, his ABs read like this: SO swinging, Single, SO swinging, SO swinging. The Giles brothers should not play on the same team. When one of them is hot (see Brian's weekend in Cincinnati), the other is barely batting .200 since May. Seriously, give him back to ATL.

2. Khalil Greene Always Strikes Out with Bases Loaded
You can take this one to the bank. Khalil is really good SS, though I think the Padres have hyped him more than he deserves, and fans really seem to like him, but in big inning situations, Greene is pretty much the last guy I want to see come to the plate. Last night, in the 8th, bases were loaded for Greene. I turned to my dad and said, "Well, here comes a strike out." I swear, I'm like a prophet or something...

The two guys behind us were pretty hilarious. One of them was a Padres fan and the other kept insisting baseball was not a real sport. When Khalil came to the plate, the Padre fan said "He is the greatest short stop in baseball" and Baseball Hater guy asked, "Doesn't Jeter play short stop?" Ouch.

Baseball Hater guy also spent most of the game looking forward to singing "that song they sing in the seventh inning." He was a moron.

3. The Fans Really Love to Say "KOOOOOOOOZ!"
And lately, Kouz deserves the adulation. He had a couple big hits last night. When the Jumbotron told the crowed Kouz had the most Rookie RBIs in the NL (or something), Baseball Hater guy said "He's a rookie and already has his own chant?!?!" Indeed he does and I love it.

Needless to say, it was a good time at the ballpark.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Everybody Loves Raymond

We all know that YouTube is the little corner of the inter-web that we all go to for instant awesomeness, but today is the dawning of a new era for me.

Three words: Mascot Dance Off.

Not only are the soundtracks to these things amazing (they make me feel like I've gotten a big furry lap-dance), but these guys actually get down, and it's hilarious.

Here's the Baltimore Oriole going up against Devil Rays mascot Raymond. Now the more I discover about Raymond, the more he really creeps me out. Here you can check out his bio, where it points out that he is a member of the species: " 'Canus Manta Whatthefluffalus' or in layman's terms, a Seadog." He also likes the "Hairy Potter" books and full contact shuffleboard.

This is probably the strangest franchise in sports history, but Hulk Hogan likes them and I see some really hot chicks on this video, so "Take me out to the Rays Game."

Why the hell not?


1995? Coolio on the radio? "Baby, come on....... put on 'Waterfalls'....I love TLC". It was an awkward experience back then, as it only lasted less than one minute. But the girl they nicknamed "Cheese" loved it and wanted more of it..........

So alas, my cherry is being popped again. My name is Newman and I'm here to rant. George Costanza has got nothing on me....... let the games begin.... PLAY BALL!

Top 5: Greatest Sports Movies

I'm not the first to create this list, and you can bet I won't be the last, but here are my top 5 sports movies of all time:
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention there are a TON of classic sports films I've not seen...pretty much anything released before 1975 will not be mentioned...nothing good was created before that time anyway, right?)

1. Raging Bull (1980)
It seems kinda unfair to compare this film to other films in the sports genre as it is so much more than a "sports movie," but then again, I guess the same can be said of all great sports movies. DeNiro is at his DeNiro best (there is a reason this is the guy all the Matt Damons and Leo DiCaprios want to be). The film is really about passion and pride and jealously and redemption, but the boxing scenes are some of the greatest ever put on film.

2. Field of Dreams (1989)
The speech James Earl Jones gives at the end of the movie pretty much sums it up.

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again."

Field of Dreams and the 1998 San Diego Padres are most responsible for my love of Baseball. I have seen this movie probably 100 times and I still get teary. This is the movie I watch to feel good about life and America and Iowa and to remember when Kevin Costner was talented and smokin' hot.

3. Bull Durham (1988)
Kevin Costner should probably stick with baseball movies. This one improved minor league baseball attendance forever. It is my secret wish to grow up and become Susan Sarandon's character and marry a guy who can recite The Speech. Does that make me a ho?

4. White Men Can't Jump (1992)
Sure there are better sports films, but few are as entertaining as WMCJ. Any movie where Rosie Perez can win big on Jeopardy pretty much kicks ass.

5. Rocky (1976)
I only recently saw Rocky for the first time. A friend suggested it when I was feeling a bit blue and I realized why generations of men (and women?) claim Rocky as their all time "feel good" movie. Compared to Raging Bull, the boxing sequences are kinda lame, but this one leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy. Can't believe it beat Taxi Driver for Best Picture, but that is a whole 'nother blog...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Get your freak on

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

-John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon (Sex Pistol, malcontent, reality TV star [seriously])

Contrary to all appearances, this is not a Red Sox blog. While there is a picture of a Red Sox fan to your left, and the name of the blog is taken from a saying used by fans of the Red Sox, this is not a Red Sox blog. I am in fact the only writer here who adamantly follows the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox. Appearances, you see, are deceiving.

Take, for example, a baseball team falling back as far as 15 games in the standings. It would appear that this team was done. Hopeless. Wait ‘til next year, folks. But when that team is a pack of devil’s assholes known as the New York Yankees, they have a nasty habit of going on 23-8 streaks and closing the gap. At one point this season, the Yankees were in dead last place. Now they’re 4 games behind the floundering Red Sox and showing no signs on stopping, while the Red Sox can’t even win a weekend series against the cellar dwelling Baltimore Oriels.

I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, the Red Sox won the World Series just three years ago and it was in dramatic fashion that embarrassed the Yankees and the Old Towne Team has since been propelled into the sports spotlight like nothing else with books and movies and billions of band wagon fans (who have come to be symbolized by people wearing pink hats. Hence the expression “Pink Hat Nation”: nouveau fans). This is true. And, you know what? We want more.

Red Sox Nation is an insatiable beast. Yes, we enjoyed one of the greatest comebacks in the history of American sports with that 2004 ALCS win, followed by the World Series title. We stared down the Yankees in their own territory (October) and beat them. Now we want to finish the job by excommunicating them from October entirely. We don’t even want them in the playoffs. I don’t want to see Jorge Posada’s ugly little rat face, or Jeter’s silly little fist pumps, or Jason Giambi’s beady little ‘roid addled eyes. I don’t want to see old clips of Reggie Jackson and his porn star shades hitting bombs in the 1970s. I don’t want to hear Ronan Tynan singing God Bless America in the seventh inning. For once – ONCE – I want to see October come and go without a single shot of Yankee Stadium.

And this is why I’m freaking out. I never counted the Yankees out. Even when we enjoyed that 15 game lead over them a few months back, I wasn’t totally convinced we’d never heard from them again. But then, a few weeks ago, when we still had 10 games up, I gotta admit, a little voice in the back of my head told me to relax, and I almost believed it. I started to think we could keep them out of it this year. And now they’re stepping on our heels and if it gets any worse, they may keep us out!

This isn’t how it was supposed to be. Just a few weeks ago, it all looked so much better. Appearances, apparently, are deceiving.

Clinton Portis is awesome

This picture works on so many levels, I won't even try to explain why I think this guy is hilarious. For those who don't know, Mr. Portis plays for the Washington Redskins, and wears a different costume to his weekly press conferences. This persona is known as "Coach Janky Spanky."

Santa, please bring me a plush cheeseburger for Christmas!


To the Pink Hat Nation blog. This web page is tentatively dedicated to sports, entertainment and other random silliness that we choose to share with the general public and blogosphere.

Christening stuff is fun.