Thursday, January 27, 2011

SPORTS POP: Where sports, music, culture & humor collide...


It’s interesting that the Ravens used the phrase, “We like Cam under fire” when rationalizing why they decided to bring Cam Cameron back as the team’s offensive coordinator. “Under fire” for me means performing in the red zone, closing out desperate teams in the second half of games and in clutch situations against challenging opponents. In those categories Cameron has regularly come up empty.

Why should we believe that because he’s on a short leash he’ll be a more effective coordinator? If anything, should the offense struggle early in 2011, vocal vets like Derrick Mason, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin might incite a mutiny of sorts for what amounts to a lame duck offensive coordinator.

Ozzie Newsome may have given us all a serious clue about the future of Houshmandzadeh when he mentioned WR James Hardy during the state of the Ravens address last Thursday. Hardy who was signed to a future/reserve contract a couple of weeks ago is recovering from an ACL injury suffered during the back end of his rookie campaign. There was little down side and probable upside in a player Ozzie described as, “a guy that has the opportunity to become a good player in this league.”

Given Houshmandzadeh’s marginal productivity, inability to deliver in the clutch, potential diva issues and the price he’s likely to demand, the former Bengal and Seahawk is likely to add Raven to that “former” list.

Donte Stallworth is genuinely appreciative of the opportunity the Ravens gave him this past season. He worked diligently with Joe Flacco in the offseason and performed well during OTA’s and training camp. It’s a bit of a mystery why the Ravens didn’t really give him much of an opportunity in 2010. Could it be that the team used Stallworth’s good nature and team first ways against him and greased the squeaky wheel wearing No. 84?

The buzz from the Ravens inner circle is that the team will add speed to the receiver position next season yet they failed to employ the speed they already had in Stallworth. You have to wonder if Cameron either didn’t trust Stallworth or he just couldn’t figure out how to use him save for the ill advised reverses every other game.

John Harbaugh will soon be receiving a contract extension. His initial four year deal at roughly $10 million in total is set to expire after the 2011 season. Organizations typically don’t like coaches having a future with the team to guide their club as a lame duck coach. It can lead to problems when asserting authority and influence.

From what we hear the Ravens are using Mike Tomlin’s contract at $4 million per season as the benchmark for Harbaugh’s new deal. Relatively speaking that might be a bit rich for the Ravens’ head coach. Tomlin has one ring to his credit and is going for another next Sunday.

Ray Lewis’ “Ultimate Spray”, the body splash that packs a punch of IGF-1, a banned substance by the NFL. Some may wonder why this potentially monster story has been swept under the proverbial rug. Uh, think law suit maybe?

I did look into this a bit, a story first reported by PostGame.com who claim to have records of text messages from Ray Lewis instructing the supplier of Ultimate Spray to deliver the product to him. It didn’t take me long to conclude that it’s a “non-story.” Here’s what someone with business ties to Ray Lewis shared with me and it satisfied and put to bed my curiosity…

“Just because a player is linked to something or even acknowledges receiving a shipment of something, doesn’t mean they use it. These guys are absolutely besieged by various vendors saying their mouth guards will make them faster, their drinks hydrate better, their bracelets or necklaces will improve their balance, etc….they have SO much free crap in their homes that they will never, ever use. Saying 'sure, send it to me' is a much shorter conversation than “no thanks, I’m not really interested.” The former allows the athlete to bypass the lengthy sales pitch and get on with their day."

AROUND THE NFL...Jay Cutler has had a rap for being a “me-first” kind of player dating back to his days at Vanderbilt. He then engaged in a clash of egos in Denver with former Broncos’ skipper Josh McDaniels that ultimately sent him to The Windy City. And after a very poor season in 2009 during which Cutler tossed 26 interceptions and finished with a 76.8 passer rating (not exactly what the Bears bargained for after giving up two No. 1 picks) things were on the uptick as the Bears hosted the NFC Conference Championship just last Sunday. (Granted they got there on a weak schedule and by beating a losing team in the Divisional Round)

But Cutler reverted back to his 2009 ways and was 6 of 14 for 80 yards with an interception before being removed from the championship game against the Packers. Cutler stood and then he sat and then he stood stoically on the sidelines and offered no input to replacements Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie. Now Bears fans aren’t happy, nor should they be! Next year they’ll be saddled with a first place schedule AND the sobering reality that Cutler is not a “ready for prime time” player.

Antonio Cromartie is many things and among them is a poster child for desperate NFL players…

Cromartie is a guy who is looking for that next big pay day. Ask any player around the league and he’ll tell you that the second contract in the career of an NFL player is where it’s at.

Cromartie obviously wants his and feels that the NFL labor issues may be siphoning his livelihood.

"So to tell you the truth they need to get their damn minds together and get this [expletive] done. Stop bitching about money. Money ain't nothing. Money can be here and gone. Us players, we want to go out and play football. It's something we've been doing and we love it and enjoy it. It's our livelihood."

Livelihood: “noun”, a means of supporting one's existence, esp. financially or vocationally.

Nah, livelihood has nothing to do with money now, does it?

Child please!

Let’s call this what it is – a man with financial obligations, and LOTS of them. Anyone remember Cromartie trying to recall the name of all his children? Several of which are three years of age (and they aren’t twins, triplets or quadruplets)?



Like many of his peers Antonio Cromartie has financial obligations – a ton of them and if they aren’t already they’ll soon be singing with Robert Palmer as they feeeeeel the heat.

More Cromartie…

"... I mean, you've got our head union reps acting like a [expletive]. And they've got their guys acting like them [expletive], so they just need to get their [expletive] together and get it done."

Tic-toc-tic-doo-doo-doo doo… The clock is ticking towards the March 3 deadline for an owner’s lockout and on the biological clocks of the players who on average play less than four years. (Think Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny). Count on the players growing increasingly anxious during a lock out and they’ll plead with NFLPA’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to settle.

And the owners know it.

On Tuesday night HBO aired its first installment in 2011 of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. Great job by the reliable production team! This edition included a feature on Troy Aikman and another focusing on retired NFL players who have lost their way.

It’s a sobering stat but a reality nonetheless – 60% of retired NFL players are unemployed, insolvent, homeless or all of the above within 5 years of their retirement. That is shocking to say the least given their access to wealth.






While DeMaurice Smith is busy trying to carve out his own legacy and placing his fingerprints upon the NFL’s labor issues, maybe he should think about his retired constituents and implementing ways of rapidly reducing this insanely grotesque statistic.

POP CULTURE...Remember the Taco Bell Chihuahua? Me too but the friendly little pup has been absent as of late and now we may know why.

An Alabama law firm recently filed a $5 million class action law suit against the fast food chain claiming that they aren’t above board with their advertising. The “beef” states that Taco Bell promotes “seasoned ground beef” in their food yet they actually deliver meat fillers instead. The end result, again according to the suit, is that the chain fails to meet the minimum requirements of “beef” as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

No truth to the rumor that the Chihuahua was spurned by promoters of Burger King.

Whether it’s Taco Bell or Burger King, neither is considered to be a go to restaurant for folks looking to manage their waistline and fulfill their New Year’s resolutions.

But those committed to their resolutions might be interested in these svelte friendly fitness trends:

1. Zumba is a latin inspired dance fitness workout that has easy to follow exercise steps.
2. Boot Camp (and we aren’t talking shoes ladies) is a workout that combines intensity with the persuasive powers of peer pressure.
3. Small group training – think a slightly cozier version of Boot
4. Many clubs have shifted their focus to influencing lifestyles in the form of Wellness programs. Get well, get fit, and forget the cheese steak subs.
5. Suspension training: Nope, no trapeze or bunji chords are involved…this requires suckers…er, participants to use their own weight as resistance instead of testosterone laced equipment.

Suspension may have helped Jimmy Buffett earlier today when he fell off a stage at the end of a concert in Sydney, Australia and was knocked unconscious according to sources. The Parrot Head King has been released from St. Vincent's Hospital in inner Sydney and is said to be in good spirits and lucky to have recovered so quickly from the fall.

Witnesses attending the show described hearing a "crack" as Buffett's head hit the floor following an encore performance of his song "Lovely Cruise."



So what happened? Did he step on a pop top and now has nothing to show but a brand new head bruise?

The hospital's emergency department director Gordian Fulde, who attended the concert, told Seven Network television that, “[Buffett] just didn't see the drop in front of the stage," Fulde said.

Really?

Expect roadies to surround the stage with sponge cakes from this point forward.

DO YOU KNOW FAB? In The Beatles’ Across The Universe the refrain "Jai Guru Deva Um" is a mantra intended to lull the mind into a higher consciousness. The words are in Sanskrit, and they mean "I give thanks to Guru Dev," who was the teacher of The Maharishi. The "Um" at the end is the drawn out "oooohm" used in meditation to relate to the natural vibration of the universe.

This might not change your world but it could help you sleep better most nights…



NOW THAT’S FUNNY!...One Sunday afternoon, a guy walks into a bar with his pet dog. The bartender said, "Sorry, pal. No pets allowed." The man replied, "This is a special dog. Turn on the Jets game and you'll see." The bartender, anxious to see what will happen, turned on the game. The guy said, "Watch. Whenever the Jets score, my dog does flips." The Jets keep scoring field goals and the dog keeps flipping and jumping. "Wow! That's one hell of a dog you got there. What happens when the Jets score a touchdown?" asked the bartender. The man replied, "I don't know. I've only had him for seven years."

Here are some of the things you can expect at this weekend’s Orioles Fanfest (courtesy of a friend who wishes to remain anonymous):

CATCH THE GREEK
Fall to your knees to play Catch the Greek. This fun filled game for all ages consists of running around on your knees while looking into the eyes of Peter Angelos as he attempts to hide behind mounds of Baklava.

FIRST BASE POWER HITTER / DON'T BLINK
Enter the world of what it takes to be an O’s power hitter. Relive first sacker Garret Atkins one Home Run from the 2010 season... (this exhibit is free to enter)

WANNA BE AN ITALIAN BASEBALL MANAGER?
Join former Managers Joe Altobelli, Lee Mazzilli, Sam Perlozzo and Juan Samuel as they reveal the skills needed to be a great manager in the Major Leagues. A very informative seminar! When they are finished you will be asked to guess which one of them is really not Italian. If you guess correctly you will be given a vowel of your choice to put on the end of your name, officially making you Italian.

SPIT AT THE UMP
Learn the art of spitting without getting caught. You will review the Roberto Alomar video while Leron McClain of the Ravens points out the flaws in Robby’s technique.

THE NICK FLACCO MIRROR MAZE
A Truly amazing transformation before your very eyes. What appears to be Joe Flacco & Nick Markakis standing side by side turns out to be one person whose name is Nick Flacco. Proclaimed The 4th Boringist Wonder of the World, one can only imagine the gripping interviews; entertaining commercials; celebratory dances & fire in the eye determination exhibited when both these super stars are combined into one piece of “living” flesh.

THE ALBERT BELL MEMORIAL ROOM
Enter into a gallery of Albert's most memorable moments on the Golf Course post MLB. Marvel at his lifestyle shown on videos from his favorite vacation getaways, while collecting $60,000,000 from The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos.

HOW TO PICK UP YOUR PAYCHECK
Never seen before video of Mike Flannigan and Terry Crowley sneaking into the Orioles Front Office and grabbing their checks, forging Angelos' signature before he realizes they are still on the payroll.

KATY PERRY & YOU / Dream Week
Live the Dream !!! Pitch a no hitter for the home team, putting your face on the front page of your local newspaper, enabling you to hook up with Katy Perry for a romantic weekend at the Starlite Motel in Middle River. This "DREAM COME TRUE" can be yours if you can name what years during the last 13 seasons the Orioles made it to the post season.

ORIOLE ARCADE
Join in the fun in an arcade atmosphere with games specifically designed for the O’s Faithful. . . Try your luck at some of these exciting games of chance:

· “Throw Me a Homer” – try to throw the ball out of the ballpark from home plate.

· “Look Mom No Backstop “ – sit behind home plate during batting practice without the protective screen and see how many balls you can dodge.

· “Moving on Up” – begin your adventure in the last row of the upper deck and work your way down to the box seats without getting caught by the ushers.

· “$100 Happy Meal “ - try your luck at feeding a family of 4 with a $100 bill…

LOMBARDI'S LUSHY LIBATION OF THE WEEK

1 ½ oz SKYY Vodka
1 ½ oz sweet and sour mix
1 ½ oz cherry liqueur

Shake well with cracked ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

I'M IN A KEY WEST STATE OF MIND…Did you know that Happy hour beings at 9am at the Schooner Wharf Bar where you can grow old disgracefully? …There are about 25,000 people that live in Key West and about 25 million more who want to…Key West is the only city in the continental United States that never gets frost…The highway that ends in Key West, U.S Highway One, is 2,209 miles long and runs from Fort Kent in Maine…And in the category of “No Sh*t”, Key West has more bars per capita than any other place in the USA.

DISCO ROLLER FRISBEE PUNK ROCKERS…We live in a wireless world right? So I’m sure the thought has crossed your mind (or it will one day), “Why can’t I enjoy my music without wires?”

It’s kept you awake at night, right?

Well insomniac no more!

Bowers & Wilkins officially announced recently its next generation iPhone/iPod speaker dock with AirPlay support. Known as the Zeppelin Air (no relation to Jimmy Page), this audio hardware boasts Apple’s AirPlay technology, allowing users to stream music wirelessly from their Mac or PC running iTunes or directly from their favorite cool gadgets such as iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Joan Crawford is resting comfortably knowing there are no wires.



HOT WOMEN IN SPORTS…This week’s choice is Amanda Beard (feature picture at top of page). Here’s the 411 on Amanda from Wikipedia:

Amanda Ray Beard (born October 29, 1981 in Newport Beach, California), is an American Olympic-level swimmer and model. Beard participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics, 2000 Summer Olympics, 2004 Summer Olympics, and 2008 Summer Olympics, capturing a total of seven medals, the most recent in the 2004 games. She held the world number one ranking of 200 meter breaststrokers in 2003. In U.S. competition, Beard won three 200 meter breaststroke, three 100 meter breaststroke, and two 200 meter individual medley US National titles.

This week we posted the following video on our Facebook fan page Ravens 247 (and yes you should “like” us immediately) and asked our “likers” (how weird?) to caption the vid.

You Tube Video of the Week: Mendenhall Humps Big Ben



The winner suggested, “Get a Room!”

We agree…

GO PACKERS!!!

2 comments :

Jerry B said...

Man, this is the "Blog" from.....hell! Waaaay too much to comment on here! However, re: the Ravens: with 21 coaches on Harbaugh's staff, is it any wonder there are communication problems?!

Phil from Frostburg said...

TL,

[Off topic cuz not sure how to email you]
"Phil from Frostburg" here. I heard you on The Fan tonight (Sat) and could not believe my ears. Did you say you're going to analyzing the Ravens drafting history with an eye toward perceived problems in rounds 2-4? I can't believe it. I've been asserting the same thing for two years now!! You know I must be the one that got you thinking about this. You're going to analyze this 10 levels beyond what I've done. I don't even care if your conclusions continue to disagree with me. All I ask for is some form of credit that I put the thought in your head, like "My loyal reader Phil from Frostburg has been annoying the heck out of me about this, so here goes. I'll analyze the Ravens draft history soup-to-nuts." Really, anything would be fine. But you know I deserve some kind of credit credit. It's the right thing to do, and I know you're an honorable person.

BTW, I never ever listen to the The Fan on weekends, but some crap song came on another station, I switched, and there you were. God is at work here.

Best Regards,

"Phil from Frostburg"