Archive for the ‘Sports with Balls’ Category

The National League was getting the hint.   It was falling behind in the battle for the Sports Fan mind share.  The League has been in freefall years after being stymied by an anti-drug culture and a noisy congressional backlash to its once ballyhooed steroid era.   Many had suspected that the NL would change things up, perhaps even adopting the Designated Hitter like its American League rival.  Instead, the NL Rule Change Committee shocked the sports world yesterday when it announced that it would arm middle infielders with Tasers to help mitigate security concerns of idiot fans running the bases between innings, but as an added bonus, they could also use the devices to debilitate base runners trying to get from first to third on sharp liners to the outfield.

While his form is not bad. It is not good for the game of baseball to have all the Tasing done by unathletic looking security guards like this guy at Philadelphia's Citzen Bank Park.

“This is a first in sports.  We have combined the practical nature of fan safety, while creating excitement on the playing field.    We hope this brings back the excitement of baseball that we really haven’t had since we looked the other way why our guys used steroids,” stated Commissioner Bud Selig.  

And it was just in the nick of time for Selig, who will forever be known as the Commissioner that was really turning around the game until he allowed investigators and critics to pin him down on a new performance enhancing drug policy that he never wanted and that he knew would ruin baseball. 

“What we were able to do for the game in the late 90s and early 2000s can’t be denied,” Selig suggested.  “We let some of our more fundamentally sound – yet skinny – players like Bonds, McGuire and Sosa transform themselves into home run record destroying Goliaths.   That can’t be argued – we created a lot of buzz, and most people without the last name of Maris loved seeing it.  We think we will be able to create the same electricity with the new Taser rule.”  

The idea behind the Taser is simple.  When a ball is put into play, middle infielders at second and short can now either make a play on the ball with their glove or let the ball get by them, but zap a runner trying to advance to the next base.   Many in the sports world think it will be the most interesting innovation since TV producers created the imaginary yellow line that illuminates football’s First Down.  

It's a shame that Phillies Shortstop Jimmy Rollins has to get so much dirt on his uniform. Now that he can carry a Taser he will likely let this sharply hit grounder through to the outfield.

But, not everyone is impressed.   The move hasn’t come without its critics, like Hall of Fame Shortstop Ozzie Smith.  “When I played it was enough to be able to cover your position, scoop up grounders in all directions and put out the advancing runner.  It’s kind of a stake to the heart of the purity of the game,” said Smith.  

All of this comes in the wake of a recent spate of fans running onto the field between innings.  It is rumored, but cannot be confirmed yet, that some of the incidents may have involved fans drinking too much alcohol at the game.   If this is true  than the decision could not have come at a better time.  The idea of fans being so bored with baseball that they have to drink excessive amounts of beer at the ballpark can’t go unchecked.   Baseball once tried to mitigate the excessive fan drinking problem by charging twice the minimum wage for a 12 ounce beer.   Now the product on the field with the new Taser Rule could perhaps change the need for that excessive cost of beer.   This could be a win for everyone.

In 2009, a third woman, a very bright Latina, ascended to the Supreme Court.  A Madam Speaker pounds her gavel each day in Congress.  For the third time in the last four appointments, a lady runs the State Department.  Terrorism and health care are the glamour topics of the nightly news, and look, there are two women heading both of those positions.   A lady named Merkel has the job formerly held by Kaisers and Hitler, running Germany.   Thatcher, Meir, Gahndi, Aquino and Bhutto were each among the most influential leaders since WWII of their respective countries.    

Women once just captained corporations without Y chromosonal corporate cultures, like Avon and Xerox, now girls give out orders at ADM, Pepsi, and Kraft.   And of course in a category of influence all her own, there is Oprah.

Women can do most anything in this day and age that they set their mind too.      

Jay Cutler shown here with a Golden Arm - Not sure if this spiral was thrown in whisper or whoosh mode.   (A Tribune Photo)

Jay Cutler shown here with a Golden Arm - Not sure if this spiral was thrown in whisper or whoosh mode. (A Tribune Photo)

What should women not do in 2009?   Although, maybe we shouldn’t penalize all women for the foibles of one, it may have become blatantly clear:  Women shouldn’t be penning columns in the Chicago Tribune gushing over how Jay Cutler throws a football.  And that is exactly what Pulitzer Prize winning “Cultural Critic” columnist Julia Keller did recently:  


      Some say it’s a zip. Others call it a zing or a whoosh or a whisper. Still others claim it’s a whistle.

      A hum, anyone? Do we have a hum in the house?

      When Jay Cutler — or any brawny, big-armed quarterback — throws the ball, there’s a special sound. No two witnesses can quite agree on what to call it, although everybody agrees it’s amazing.

        That’s because an athlete such as Cutler has a magical arm. “A rare arm — very, very rare, a God-given gift,” said Bears general manager Jerry Angelo during training camp last week in Bourbonnais as Cutler’s tight spirals split the air with whip-crack speed.


Thank you Julia, I have your hum right here in my house.   Really, is this the pressing debate of the NFL preseason?   Is this what readers of the Tribune Sports page are rushing out to the curb to read about?   

Maybe the Tribune could put up a sports poll on its website and find out.     Was that a zip, zing, whoosh, whisper, whistle or hum?   …That’s not what I heard.   I heard more of a zap, a zang, a voop, a flip, and a boom.    …Oh crap, I must admit, I didn’t hear anything, but your words sound better than mine. 

This is a game where writers once used descriptors like groin pull and grid iron, zone blitz, red zone, sack and air attack.

And maybe that’s the point, your love affair with this man with the golden arm violates the secret man crushes that men are having for Jay Cutler and other dumb, arrogant jocks who rack up points each Sunday for our Fantasy teams.   How dare you talk about our boy’s tight spiral like that?

Now, I for one think Cutler himself is a clown, until he does something to prove that he is in fact not a clown.  He has at least as many temper tantrums on and off the field as a toddler wanting a cookie, no make it a cracker.

He comes to the Bears without a playoff appearance and the same amount of Pro Bowls as the most recent former Bronco QB the Bears picked up, Brian Griese.  And, you can’t quite compare his accomplishments yet to that other off-season Diva Watch Gunslinger Brett Farve who at least won a Super Bowl and danced in a closing movie credit with Stiller, Diaz and that guy that lived under Letterman’s stairs.      

This level of man crush being displayed daily for the latest Chicagoan That Hasn’t Done Anything rivals the level of man crush that Chris Matthews of the unwatchable Hardball (no relation to Small Ball Report) has for that other Chicagoan That Hasn’t Done Anything, as he gushes nightly for Obama.

Chicago fans should be wise to not get all excited just yet, but regardless of how well he plays on the field.   One would guess, that there won’t be much of a lively debate over whether his latest touchdown pass was more whooshy or whispery as it whip-cracked through the air.

Not only a Blogger, Michael Vick was also a good athlete.  In this picture he appears to be playing for rec team in the Atlanta area

Not only a Blogger, Michael Vick was also a good athlete. In this picture he appears to be playing for a YMCA rec team in the Atlanta area

Bowing to dog lover backlash, the Small Ball Report announced late yesterday that it will not pursue a contract to add former Dirty Bird Report satirist Michael Vick to its talented stable of writers.   The fast growing Internet website cited the likely imbroglio that it would receive from weird, crazy people who happen to love dirty, foul smelling, bad breath, flea bait, window-screen destroying dogs.   And worse, some of these people also love dogs that can’t even chase down a frisbee.

“Clearly we don’t condone his past behavior as a torturer of canines,” said Small Ball founder Anthony Liebrandt.   “But, at the same time we felt that he did deserve a second chance.”  

Liebrandt went on to state that his courtship of Vick as a writer in no way was due to the fact that his own dog had gotten him out of bed six different times to be let outside to drop lawn steaks the night before the annual Liebrandt Luau.

“Yes, it’s been stated before,” Liebrandt said. “I don’t really like my dog that much.   And I don’t like scooping up backyard poo.  That’s why I will mow 2-3 times a week.   It all just gets chopped up in the mower that way.   And, let me be clear.  In no way do I condone the sport of dog fighting… Especially when there is perfectly good Cock out there that can fight.”

Although he didn’t clarify the Cock statement further, it was assumed that Liebrandt was referring to the fighting of farm raised chickens with no feelings (unlike dogs), and not the Ultimate Fighting Championship series. 

It was a difficult decision for the Small Ball Report which had considered Vick’s unconventional Wildcat writing style to be hugely entertaining.   Never a strong writer with scholarly sentence structure, attribution, and flowery words, Vick really excelled when he was allowed to escape the pocket of grammatical and punctuational norms.

Like in the following excerpt from the 2006 Dirty Bird Report:

     Four Paws Ho bludgeons opponent in feature match at Bad Newz Kennel.

     By Michael Vick of the Dirty Bird Report

     “Yo-yo.  It wuz on like the Kong last night. What a show! as Four Paws Ho and Ernie Wet Ear went warlord at the Kennel.  My beautiful bitch ho Four Paws couldn’t be stopped and Ernie dint have much ghetto in him.   I told those gangster trainers they shoun’t have caged him with my HO.    My HOOOOO!  


Clearly a talented wordsmith, the question is what now for Vick.  “Obviously we support the fact that Michael Vick can again pursue his career blogging on the Internet,” Liebrandt said.  

But, Michael Vick will pose several issues to any Blog that might consider signing him, besides the negative publicity and the 19-month layoff from honing his formidable bantering and quip factory.  For starters, will internet Founder and Commissioner Al Gore fully reinstate the scrambling poetic dynamite to blog again.   And if that happens, will there be any interested parties lining up to give Vick a new company laptop and blogspot log in.   Jerry Jones who runs the openly gay How Bout Them ‘Boys Report is a man who has given chances in the past to controversial playmakerwrights like Terrell Owens and Adam “Pac Man” Jones.   

“Probably not this time because even though Pac Man was involved in an altercation that led to the shooting death of a human being, at least no dogs were harmed,” said Jones as he was being licked in the face by his shitzu.   

Some critics have also lambasted his range of literary skill. 

“We are not talking about a Liebrandtian level of intellect here,” said Jim Mora Jr. the former nighttime managing editor at the Dirty Bird Report.  “What we got when Vick was blogging for us was the usual stories about where to find the best dog muzzle, and pick or pan, how good was brother Marcus Vick’s bag of weed.”

“He just couldn’t give you the uplifting, cry a river of tears animal stories,” Mora Jr. continued.  “Stories like you would find on The Small Ball Report website about the heroic dolphin named Moko, and that ball-less Gelding horse named Mine That Bird.

And what of the considerable debts that Vick incurred?  When he was forced to vacate the lucrative Dirty Bird Report signing bonus his only choice was to abate that debt via bankruptcy.    And now, he must consider writing for the blogosphere league minimum salary of a measly $620,000 a year.   That is not a lot of money for someone of such endearing wit and wordmanship.

So with the Small Ball Report’s rebuke another big Internet name has passed up the one time 5 Star storyteller.   One person hasn’t lost confidence in Vick.   Frank Beamer, the legendary head of the Virginia Tech Hokies Writers Workshop perhaps said it best, “At the end of the day someone with Michael’s talent is going to be given a second chance.    He might start off writing Haikus under a different pen name, but he will break loose again.   Now, I’m not going let him dog sit my cocker spaniel, but the blog, that’s what he was born to do.”  

For more half-truths and outright lies visit The Small Ball Report at