Category Archives: sports

Flashback Friday … to Thursday night

Zach Miller (left) tells Derek Hagan he’s the man.

As predicted, my Arizona State Sun Devils rolled over Temple Thursday night 63-16. I guess that’s why you schedule Temple for your first game of the season.

What was supposed to be ASU’s weakness — the rushing game — turned into a major surprise. The Devils racked up 300 yards on the ground as a team. And found a star in the making: True freshman Keegan Herring, a local boy from Peoria, Ariz., carried 12 times for 134 yards, setting an ASU running back record for a debut. (Previously Woody Green with 117 yards vs. Houston in 1971.) Granted, it was Temple, but still …

Keegan Herring goes off for 134 yards on Thursday.
Next week gets absurdly tougher: No. 5 Louisiana State. The game is scheduled to be played in Baton Rouge, but it could be moved to Tempe because of the Katrina aftermath. Obviously, it’s hard to get pumped up for this game — or any game, for that matter — given what’s happening in the South. For everyone’s sake, this game should probably be moved. I can’t imagine LSU officials hosting a football game in the midst of victims seeking refuge in their city.

White lines … not the ones on the field

This was too good to not share: Todd Shell, head coach of the Rattlers, our local Arena Football League team, and a two-time Super Bowl winner with the 49ers in the 1980s, was found with cocaine, according to this story. Shell was “shirtless and sweating profusely when an officer found him pacing around his Land Cruiser about 1 a.m.” on early Tuesday.

Wait, it gets better. He then told an officer he kept looking north. When officers asked why, Shell told them he was alone but said a “guy wearing camouflage is in the tree.” Cocaine? I’m thinking LSD, maybe.

After first denying the cocaine belonged to him, Shell fessed up to having an “eight ball.” Then he said he’d used cocaine ONLY three times. What can he say? The AFL is a pressure cooker.

In other news, you will be seeing posts very soon from my friend Royce; we’ll call him a contributing editor. His tastes are eclectic and he also was at the recent Sufjan Stevens show in Tempe, so I know about 99.6 percent of you will approve. (On that note, he was teased ruthlessly by a co-worker for wearing his Illinoise shirt to work the day after the show.) I do reckon Royce is cooking up something mighty special for his debut.

And I officially prostituted myself out to MySpace. Go here and make me your friend. Please. There’s even a little picture there, in case you wondered what the underside of my chin looks like.

Eight days to kickoff

Chris at Gorilla vs. Bear made his obligatory Michigan football post, so I feel it only necessary to hype up my Sun Devils of Arizona State. The Devils are ranked No. 20 in the preseason AP poll after finishing last season 9-3, including an, ahem, uplifting win in the Vitalis Sun Bowl.

The Devils lose Pac-10 record-breaking quarterback Andrew Walter (now with the Raiders), but I have high hopes for Sam Keller, the Sun Bowl MVP in his first collegiate start. WR Derek Hagan (below) is set to become the school’s all-time leading receiver and he’s a preseason Playboy All-American (hey, I read it for the articles!). The ‘D’ is stellar; yes, there is SOME defense in the Pac-10.

The schedule has its hurdles: AT Louisiana State on Sept. 10; home vs. USC on Oct. 1 (Trojans embarrassed us last year 45-7). The good news is we miss Cal on the schedule, and we open with the laughably easy Temple on Sept. 1. But I swear, if U. of Arizona beats us again this year …

The Pharcyde | Devil Music
INXS | Devil Inside

All-Time Quarterback / caption contest

All our chatter on the Blogger Fantasy Football League got me thinking about the gridiron. Naturally, I turned first to All-Time Quarterback, also known as Ben Gibbard, who recorded these lo-fi tracks in 1999 as an aside to his duties in Death Cab For Cutie.

I’ve owned this album for quite some time but never really warmed up to it. Maybe I’m expecting something too similar to Death Cab. The tracks have a campy quality about them: sparse acoustic guitars strummed over inexpensive Casio keyboards. Rules Broken, which I do like quite a bit, uses one of those canned keyboard beats (“samba” or “waltz”) for the primary rhythm, which is clever and yet oh-so indie.

I have trouble telling whether this was all genuine or just some sort of vanity project, something the hip kids knew about long ago but will dismiss once the O.C. gang finds out about it. If you missed it last week, Fluxblog had a thoughtful take on Gibbard and his songwriting talents (or lack thereof?).

All-Time Quarterback | Rules Broken
All-Time Quarterback | Plans Get Complex
All-Time Quarterback | Sock Hop


This picture (below) pretty much sums up the Bears’ luck for the past two seasons. Rex Grossman, incumbent starter, is out for three to four months because of a broken left ankle he suffered in a preseason game; last year, he at least made it until the third week of the season. Regardless, the Jeff Blake Era has begun.

For now, I’m challenging your creative wit for a clever caption of this most terrible photo. Leave it in the comment section. The winner, as judged by me, will receive a copy of sourceVictoria’s self-titled EP (and maybe even a T-shirt). You’ve heard about sourceVictoria recently on this site here and at Gorilla vs. Bear. Just thought I’d have some fun at the expense of the Bears’ fragile quarterbacking situation. Contest will run through the weekend.

Mark Grace and the F-bomb

The Cubs and Cardinals are on ESPN right now, so I’m in a baseball mood. For those of you that didn’t hear the news last week, Mark Grace, a Diamondbacks color analyst and one of my favorite former Cubs players, let the F-bomb slip on-air about four times during what he thought was a private conversation with a producer during a D-Backs/Marlins game. A faulty “talk-back” button was blamed for the, uh, malfunction.

Gracie basically takes a few shots at D-Backs catcher Chris Snyder, unknowingly airing it to regional Fox viewers. Can’t Stop the Bleeding, a fine sports blog, has an MP3, including play-by-play man Thom Brennaman’s apology. Hilarious. (So far, I’ve seen no comments from Snyder.)

Also, baseball fans should make Yard Work a daily read. I won’t do it justice trying to explain its contents. Just read it.

Super Bowl Shuffle

It’s almost August, which means NFL teams are reporting to training camp, which means it’s never too early to start thinking about the Super Bowl. It’s like spring training, when every team thinks they have a shot. Only I’m a Bears fan and I KNOW they don’t stand a chance.

Ah, but memories. We can always milk the 1985 domination. Payton, McMahon, the Fridge. What about those linebackers? Singletary, Wilson, Marshall. Then there’s Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent. That team should have turned into a dynasty. Alas …

Yes, I’ve digitized my 12-inch vinyl of the Super Bowl Shuffle, which was in vogue long before the Ickey Shuffle. I could never decide whose verse I liked the most, but what I really could never figure out is how backup QB Steve Fuller ever got on the song.

Anyway, be sure to check out the pure cheesiness of the “Extended Vocal Mix.”

Well, without further ado, we present the Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew:

Vocal Mix
Extended Vocal Mix

Never enough Derrek Lee

No music (for now), but I gotta update Cubs news. Derrek Lee goes yard twice (they were chanting “MVP, MVP” … IN CINCINNATI). He’s the first in majors to reach 30 home runs. Seriously, Triple Crown … I’m getting pumped (see the Triple Crown tracker on your right).

Then, shortly after the 9-4 win, Cubs deal Jason Dubois (in Triple-A Iowa) to Indians for Jody Gerut. Not sure how I feel about this one. Cubs need left-handed power, but I’m thinking they gave up on Dubois too soon. But they are only 4 1/2 games out of the wild-card chase. I’m just not sure Jody Gerut is the guy to push them over the top. (Peter, thoughts?) Meanwhile, Todd Walker is at .309 thanks to an 11-game hitting streak.

It should be noted that since I took off my Cubs “Believe” bracelet out of frustration, Cubs have won seven of past eight. Oh, I believe.

Three the hard way

The second half of the baseball season begins tomorrow. Seeing as how the Cubs are 12 1/2 games out of the division lead, all I have to look forward to is Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee’s still-legit chance at the Triple Crown (last won in 1967 by Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox.

Heading into the second half, Lee is at .378 (No. 1 in NL), 27 HRs (tie for No. 1) and 72 RBIs (No. 2).

These two are for him:

Dilated Peoples
Triple Optics — Live Funky Precedent Mix

Beastie Boys
Triple Trouble

Home run rant

I know I said this would be (mostly) about music. But I love baseball and I’d be remiss to pass up a chance to say just how lame the Home Run Derby — er, Century 21 Home Run Derby — was on Monday night. Never mind that I picked the Rangers’ Mark Teixeira in a low-stakes office pool and he flamed out with two — TWO! — home runs in the first round.

Granted, the HR Derby was never to be taken too seriously. But my gripe is with the new format, in which each player was selected to represent his home country — a not-so-coincidental decision by Commissioner Bud Selig that happened in conjunction with MLB announcing the World Baseball Classic tournament. So, instead of four traditional sluggers from the National League and four from the American League, MLB brings you Hee-Seop Choi (Korea) and Jason Bay (Canada, eh). Couldn’t you just feel the excitement??

Worse, was ESPN abetting this farce. Take, for instance, the introductions at the start of the show. Player highlights and stats were flashed as some tragic band (Alter Bridge … who?) was boring the crowd. Teixeira, representing the United States, was shown and his season HR total flashed on the screen: 25 HOME RUNS THIS SEASON (impressive, so why only two in the first round, Mark?) Then it gets to Ivan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico), who has six — SIX!! — HRs this year. To cover up that fact, ESPN simply flashed his career HR total. Which looks better: 256 or 6? Any other year, it would be a travesty, a sham, a mockery — a traveshamockery! — to let someone with six home runs be involved in something called the Home Run Derby.

Canada’s Bay (16 HRs, respectable) proved how ridiculous this new format was, when he went up there — apparently with a hockey stick — and didn’t register a single dinger. Not a one. Nice. Bobby Abreu (Venezuela) might have saved the whole night with his 24 HRs in the first round.

Instead of simply seeing the best power hitters in the game — regardless of country of birth — launch batting-practice lobs some 500 feet into the bleachers, the whole event turned into this flag-waving, our-country-is-better-than-yours joke. Tonight’s All-Star Game better not end in a tie.