Archive for the sports Category

Another Writing Endeavor: Sports Crab

Posted in misc.blurbs, sports with tags , , , , , on Thursday, 2010 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

So I’m part of a team launching a new Baltimore-based sports parody site called Sports Crab. Please visit the site and share the link on Facebook, etc. So far I’ve written spoof stories about Brett Favre, Bono Saving the Orioles, Vinny Cerrato wanting JaMarcus Russell, and Pacman Jones being himself. But if you poke around you’ll find my stuff. Make sure to click the DIGG and/or HypeItUp buttons at the bottom of each story to help the site attract more readers.

Please Support My NFL Column

Posted in misc.blurbs, sports with tags , , , on Wednesday, 2010 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

I’ve been sporadically slowblogging here the last few months. I have some other writing endeavors elsewhere online, but I hope to revive this blog a bit as well.

In the mean time, please support my NFL column over at RealFootball365 by going HERE and then clicking ARTICLES. Check back often, as I usually write about 2 columns per week.

If you dig it, please pass along the above link, or a link to this page. Post/share on Facebook, Twitter and wherever else you share webthings.

Thanks!

Too Bad HBO Hard Knocks Already Committed to the Jets

Posted in sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Monday, 2010 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

They should really send a second-unit crew of HBO’s NFL Hard Knocks out to Oakland for some Must-See reality TV. Interesting report out of the Bay Area: Raiders head coach Tom Cable claims that the conference call that he held with owner Al Davis and newly acquired QB Jason Campbell did not touch on the subject of who would start. Cable says there will be a competition among Campbell, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Frye, and Kyle Boller, and JaMarcus Russell.

Wow, look at that list of QB’s one more time. It’s like the Warm-Body All-Stars. Four QB’s cast off by the Redskins, Bucanneers, Browns, Rams (and Ravens), and a former #1 overall pick by the Raiders who’s pushing 300 pounds and pushing Ryan Leaf for biggest bust ever.

Well, at least they’ll benefit from throwing to Darrius Heyward-Bey! Wait….

The Ultimate Super Bowl Book

Posted in books, sports with tags , , , , , on Thursday, 2010 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

If Bob McGinn hadn’t titled his new book The Ultimate Super Bowl Book, everyone would have called it that anyway.

This fantastic new book is not only a great resource full of facts and stats, it’s also very well written. It isn’t just a bunch of dates and results: it goes beyond those basics we all know and delves deep into each game and how and why it was actually won on the field.

There aren’t any glossy photos or filler in The Ultimate Super Bowl Book. McGinn doesn’t just rehash the most famous moments of only the best games. He retells the story of each and every Super Bowl through his own reviews of the game films and the fascinating interviews with the players, coaches, and assistant coaches involved in the game.

Throughout the book, McGinn also mixes in several interesting Top 10 lists as sidebars. Another great aspect of the book is the fact that he lists the entire coaching staff for each team. We all know and remember the head coaches, but seeing and recognizing countless names among the coordinators and assistants is a useful football history lesson beyond the considerable information found in the text.

It’s incredible to hear the key players and coaches recount not only the big memorable moments but also the underlying strategies and perhaps unseen plays that swung the game one way or the other. Oftentimes they sound as if the game had just been won (or lost) last week and not years or decades ago.

McGinn, a longtime sportswriter for the Green Bay Press-Gazeett and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been a finalist for the Mccann Award for excellence in pro football writing and was selected as one of America’s Top 20 Sportswriters by Men’s Journal. His expert storytelling and game recaps make this even better than just an exhaustive Super Bowl reference book, though it serves as that too.

I can’t recommend The Ultimate Super Bowl Book highly enough, especially at just around $14 at Amazon. Also available direct from the publisher, MVP Books.

They Should Make the Day After the Super Bowl a Holiday

Posted in casual fridays, misc.blurbs, sports with tags , , on Monday, 2010 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

It’s so obvious, I’m glad I thought of it. I need to figure out a way to make money off this idea, but I’d settle for just getting the day off.

Here’s the deal: they have Washington’s Birthday or I guess now they sorta combined him with Lincoln or something and made it “Presidents Day.” Third Monday in February I think it is. And the Super Bowl that used to be played in late January, now increasingly falls out on the first few days of February. Not a huge deal, but that puts a bit further from Martin Luther King Day, and it has become a “February” event in our minds. “January football” now means Playoffs and “if you wanna be playing in February” is now a direct reference to making it to the Super Bowl.

So, you see where I’m going with this right? Presidents Day is kinda pointless anyway, right? It’s just some random Monday off. It’s not like we plan family visits or anything. And it usually isn’t really on Washington’s actual birthday, so why not move it back couple weeks and make it the first Monday in February? Like it matters. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25.

But wait…. that’s not all. I’m not proposing the day after Super Bowl be Presidents Day just for the partying factor and being able to stay up late for the game (hey, a new generation of kids/fans/consumers need to be raised, how can they watch the big game if they got school in the morning?). And it’s not to avoid calling in sick, AKA hungover.

This is actually an economic stimulus package that I implore President Obama, enthusiastic sports fan that he is, to embrace and pursue. Presidents Day is usually filled with ridiculous sales on cars and mattresses (two items that are ALWAYS on sale). They drum up these silly commercials with cartoons of Lincoln and Washington to tell us to shop for stuff. Why? Most of us just do laundry that day and wonder what might be open or closed, since it’s not really a holiday but it is. So no one shops. Wasted holiday.

So, once you move it the day after the Super Bowl, Presidents Day will be right after the day/night famous for not just football, but the fact that 10’s of millions of Americans of all demographics gather around their TV’s to WATCH THE COMMERCIALS. Personally I’m all about the game. But a LOT of people come right out and say they are “excited” for the “commercials.”

What an opportunity! Wouldn’t it be awesome if, the day after the Super Bowl, hordes of Americans were off work and school, and heading out to buy the cars and colas and countless other crappy items they saw advertised the night before!

This makes too much sense. And while it might not happen, I think it’s more likely than the NFL moving the game to Saturday. But, until then, just keep callin in sick.

Read Me Elsewhere On The Innerwebs

Posted in misc.blurbs, music, sports, Uncategorized on Sunday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Sorry I haven’t been updating this blog much lately. Not sure who I’m apologizing to, or why. Anyway, I’m doing album reviews now for Music Emissions, which is a pretty cool site you should check out. That link takes you to my profile where you can see all my reviews.

I’m also writing occasional football columns for RealFootball365.

So check me out and pass my links along to all your e-friends and post links on Facebook and where ever else you share/recommend relatively pointless digital entertainment.

Ricky’s Got Some Splainin to Do

Posted in misc.blurbs, sports with tags , on Wednesday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

So now after all the hype, talented Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio is not coming to the NBA for 2 more years.

“Going to Minnesota would have just complicated my life a lot. It was a risk and I didn’t see it so clearly,” Rubio said. “My priority was the NBA and it was impossible for the Minnesota Timberwolves to pay my buyout clause, so I wanted to stay home.”

Really? The idea that getting drafted by a not-so-great NBA team, perhaps in a small market, would be a “risk” that would “complicate life” (along with the fact that teams can only contribute $500,000 to the multi-million dollar buyout clause to free Rubio from his current contract) was ALL well known months before the draft. So why enter the draft?

I don’t really have a problem with him staying in Europe; it will probably end up helping his game and his maturity. It just seems odd that he just kinda woke up at the end of the Summer and suddenly realized all this stuff that was pretty obvious at the beginning of the Spring.

Biting off more than he can chew: trying to eat a basketball is a risk that would complicate Ricky Rubios life.

Biting off more than he can chew: trying to eat a basketball is a risk that would complicate Ricky Rubio's life.

How I Became a Steelers Fan

Posted in misc.blurbs, sports on Tuesday, 2009 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Y’know, it’s weird. You’re born in a certain geographic area and you are bound to certain sports teams. I guess you’re really not, but it feels like you are. Or you should be. And so it was that I was born in Washington, DC, and raised in nearby suburban Maryland. A Redskins fan.

And yet, here I am, Super Bowl week, with my basement covered in black and gold. Getting geared up cuz Pittsburgh’s goin to the Super Bowl.

How did I get here?

Well, I lived in northern West Virginia for 10 years and that’s Steeler Country. Of course there were plenty of times that I resisted and hated the Steelers, if only because The League forced me to watch them because of where I lived at the time. But I noticed something. They were a tough, resilient bunch. On and off the field. The fans endured and the team pressed on under solid ownership and very few coaching changes.

I didn’t live through it, but I lived near the Mike Tomszak and Neil O’Donnell and Bubby Brister and Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddux eras. The Chin. The Bus. Hines Ward. I remember when they lost to San Diego in the AFC Championship in the mid-90s. Sure at the time I probably laughed and mocked them for not making it to the big game. Just as I did when they lost that Super Bowl to the Cowboys on those O’Donnell interceptions. But I wasn’t a Steeler fan then. Not yet.

So after all those years of living nearby, I moved away to Baltimore, only to do so with and then marry a crazy Steeler fan. So the Steelers became my Team-inlaw. We grew close. They drafted Ben Roethlisberger. They somehow won that crazy playoff game against the Colts. The Chin. The Bus. Hines Ward. And that season, during that playoff run, I could feel it. I felt it.

The next season I went to three games, two on the road in my black and gold. We lost all three.

Then we had a son. We decided to raise him a Steeler fan. Even though he’s living in Ravensville, not far from Redskins country. But… and you’ll roll your eyes and think this is just politically correct, but the Washington pro football franchise has a racist nickname and have a turned a culture into a mascot. So all those lamps and hampers and onesies and kids replica jerseys we’re gonna buy for our kid? They wont be supporting the racist Washington football franchise.

One of my best friends is a Cowboys fan. We have some fun Dallas-Washington banter and wagers. Some solid sports-rivalry-style hatred there. But much like me, he’s starting to feel like his team represents everything that he hates about modern professional sports. So since he lives in Baltimore, and was a Colts fan as a little kid, he’s pledging his allegiance to the purple of the Ravens. And much like I accept my Washington football franchise blood, he’s still a Dallas Cowboys fan…

And as the Washington-Dallas games have lost the luster they had in the 70s and 80s, the Steelers-Ravens rivalry has snuck up to become the best and hardest hitting in the league. Right up to this year’s game with a Super Bowl berth on the line.

So this Super Sunday I’ll be cheering in hopes for a 2nd ring since I’ve been a Steeler fan. Tomlin. Big Ben. Hines Ward. So call me a bandwagoneer if you must. But so far Steeler Nation has welcomed me aboard that bandwagon. This is how I became a Steeler fan.

Oh yea, and Troy Polamalu.

BTS: Bowl Tournament Series College Playoff System

Posted in sports on Monday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

It looks like we’re heading for another clusterfuck at the top of the College Football polls, with several worthy 1-loss teams, one undefeated team at the top, plus a couple of other undefeated teams from smaller conferences hovering around the #6–9 slots (Utah and Boise State), plus another small (You’re Not Worthy of Playing In The Cool Big-Conference Clique) conference team in undefeated Ball State sitting back at around #15. So since most proposed college-football-playoff talk (from President Obama on down to Joe The Sportsfan) centers on an 8-team plan (that could still manage to leave off 1 or 2 undefeated teams in favor of “better” teams from The Big Popular Conferences, I proudly present The Bowl Tournament Series (BTS) Playoffs:

Take the 15 traditional (oldest) bowls. Go ahead a slap a sponsor name on each one if that’s what has to be done to keep The Powers That Be happy about The Money, but keep the old name as part of it. Those 15 are the BTS. The rest of the Johnny-Come-Lately.com bowls that no one cares about could still exist in a non-tournament setup, so the 6-5 and 7-4 schools can experience a bowl and get a little money. Those bowls can be played whenever, filling in the December calendar with a couple getting played before/after the Final Four double header on January 1. But the BTS would consist of the following traditional bowls; note that you get a few in Florida, California, AZ, Texas, Lousiana, even one in Memphis.

HOLIDAY BOWL AT SAN DIEGO CA
LIBERTY BOWL AT MEMPHIS TN
ALAMO BOWL AT SAN ANTONIO TX
COPPER BOWL AT TEMPE AZ
INDEPENDENCE BOWL AT SHREVEPORT LA
SUN BOWL AT EL PASO TX
TANGERINE (now Capital One) BOWL AT ORLANDO FL
COTTON BOWL AT DALLAS TX
GATOR BOWL AT JACKSONVILLE FL
PEACH (now Chick-Fila) BOWL AT ORLANDO FL
ROSE BOWL AT PASADENA CA
SUGAR BOWL AT NEW ORLEANS LA
FIESTA BOWL AT GLENDALE AZ
ORANGE BOWL AT MIAMI FL

BTS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT SITE TBD (maybe just rotate it around nice weather cities with big stadiums like the Super Bowl or whatever)

Perhaps you’d alternate/rotate the 4 Big (currently BCS) Bowls so that one year Fiesta and Orange would be the final four, another year it could be Sugar and Rose.

Then you take the Top 16 teams, which would likely have to be determined by something similar to voter polls and computers like the BCS, but maybe tweaked yet again… but either way, 2007’s final standings would have produced these matchups last year:

1. Ohio State 11-1 vs. 16. Tennessee 9-4

3. Virginia Tech 11-2 vs. 14. Boston College 10-3

5. Georgia 10-2 vs. 12. Florida 9-3

7. USC 10-2 vs. 10. Hawaii 12-0

8. Kansas 11-1 vs. 9. West Virginia 10-2

6. Missouri 11-2 vs. 11. Arizona State 10-2

4. Oklahoma 11-2 vs. 13. Illinois 9-3

2. LSU 11-2 vs. 15. Clemson 9-3

Some matchups are better than others. Some are rematches. But that doesn’t matter, maybe put in rules for seeding to avoid first-round rematches, or not. Also, try to get the regular season more even: either have all conferences play a champ game, or none. Maybe have everyone play only 11-12 games, not 13. For instance, in 2007 Ohio State was done Nov 17, but WVU had 2 different bye weeks and played through 12/1. So make it all uniform: everyone plays only 11 or 12 games, including Conference Championship games for all conferences, or none in any conference. As long as it’s all the same.

Based on this year’s calendar:

Sat. Dec 13 first round
Sat. Dec 20 second round
Jan. 1 Final Four double-header
Mon. Jan. 5 Championship Game

(Another option could be Dec, 20, 27, Jan 1, then Jan.12. This might have to change depending on how the calendar looks each year.)

I mean, if they can have 30 or so bowls played throughout December (and weekly Wednesday and Thursday night games all season) and not “interfere with academics or exams,” I’m sure they can do this. Only 8 teams would play more than one playoff game anyway….

As far as the money/payouts attached to the bowls: for the non-playoff crappy bowls, they can stay the same. For the playoffs, perhaps all the interest and increased ad revenue as well as the original payout amounts could go into one large pool and each team gets awarded a certain amount for reaching the playoffs but losing first round, winning one, two, three games, and one final large payout for the winner. So the Big Conference BCS Bowl Big Boy Money could still stay relatively in tact. If a Hawaii or a Boise St isn’t worthy, then they’ll lose in the first round anyway, right?

Attendance is a major hurdle. Even if you reward the 1-8 seeds with a first-round home game, it would be hard to make that congruent with these being the “traditional bowls.” And it would be hard to sell first (or second) round tickets for neutral sites on short notice.

Of course, making this only 8 teams (which most people seem to suggest anyway) would help alleviate some of the scheduling and attendance issues.

I know, I’m a genius. Use the Comments feature below to let me know how much you agree.

Divisional Fantasy Football: My Awesome Idea

Posted in misc.blurbs, sports on Monday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

So after winning my league Super Bowl following the 2006 season, I quit playing Fantasy Football these last two seasons. Honestly, I must say I have NOT missed it. It’s nice to enjoy football for what it is, and not end up screaming at the TV and ruining a Sunday over something stupid like “Damn, why did they throw it to Marvin Harrison? I started Reggie Wayne!!!” That said, I’m still an idea man… and i’ve got a great idea to breathe new life into Fantasy Football for anyone getting bored or looking for a new twist: Divisional Fantasy Football.

Each of the 8 players gets one NFL Division and can field his team from any players in that division. So the guy with the NFC East could start Eli Manning at QB, Clinton Portis and Brian Westbrook at RB’s, Santana Moss and T.O. at WR’s, Jason Whitten at TE and then choose an NFC East kicker and defense depending on matchups.

It would sort of take the fun out of the draft, since there’d only be one round, but the guy with the first pick still has to strategize… does he take the AFC West so he has L.T., or take the AFC South just to get Peyton Manning? And of course you’d still have week to week strategy of who to start/play.

Besides semi-killing the draft element, another stumbling block is the bye week. Usually the NFL schedule has most or all teams from one division on a bye at the same time. If one division does NOT have several teams on bye the same week, then that team would have an advantage. BUT, what if you had an active/inactive roster, so you could keep most of your top players active, but still leave plenty of “free agents” for other divisions to use one-time only when their division is on bye? Maybe you’d have to leave X number of QB’s available…. Maybe each week you could move players to/from inactive list.

So I have the NFC east, and they’re all on bye except Dallas. Maybe I start the best of the Dallas players and then fill in with the unprotected QB’s and other players from the other divisions. Maybe force everyone to leave 1-2 QB’s from their division on the inactive list so the talent pool was decent….

Not sure if this format would work in head-to-head style of play, or more suitable to a “rotisserie” format where you don’t play against anyone, just accumulate points each week. Maybe it could be done either way.

Not sure how this idea could make money. Unless you could have a website where people could play for $10 and just spread the word around until it’s really popular. Not sure if you could copyright the concept so you could cash in if ESPN and CBSsportsline wanted to start offering this. Probably not, who knows. But consider this date/time-stamped blog entry as my official claim on the idea; feel free to contact me with big-money offers.

Olympic Logo Looks Like Cigarettes

Posted in misc.blurbs, sports on Wednesday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Why does the Olympic logo look just like a pack of cigarettes?? You see it on the polo shirts of TV commentators and everywhere else. It’s like a subliminal Marlboro add or something. Maybe it’s for population control? I don’t know… You think Michael Phelps would have all those Gold Medals and a DVD if he smoked cigarettes?

Art Monk Finally Gets Call to Hall

Posted in sports on Saturday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank


For years I’d felt that one of the great sports injustices was the exclusion of Washington Redskins WR Art Monk from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I’d even sent emails to the voters about it. Seriously. So this year I’m thrilled that Monk was finally voted in.

And in a strange twist of cruel irony… I wont be able to watch the festivities Saturday evening because I’ll be at the wedding of my good friend. A Cowboys fan….

Anyway, congratulations to Art Monk. Here’s a copy of the email I sent to HOF voters:

I’m writing in reference to Art Monk and his Hall of Fame candidacy. With all the coverage that goes to the likes of Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson (and Michael Irvin’s induction for that matter), this would be an appropriate year to enlighten the younger generation on a class act like Art Monk. Of course, he also has HOF-worthy stats, including 3 Super Bowl rings (with 3 different QB’s).

I know you can access the necessary stats of Monk compared to current HOF WR’s, but I’ve included them at the bottom of this email for your convenience. Please check them out, and remember that Monk played in a run-oriented attack that also threw to TE’s and always had other dangerous WR’s.

Last year, I sent emails to most of you, and only heard back from Woody Paige (who supports Monk) and he said maybe all the letters turn the voters off. Huh? Perhaps the volume of letters speaks to the injustice of Monk’s exclusion from the Hall. What else can we do? And, allegedly (according to Peter King’s interview on ESPN Radio regarding Irvin’s numerous drug offenses), the voters only consider what happened on the field, so I can’t imagine that us letter-writing fans have been keeping Monk out of the Hall.

I’ve also heard the argument that most opposing Defensive Coordinators were more concerned with stopping Gary Clark and/or Ricky Sanders. Well, based on that Redskins team’s success, apparently they were keying on the wrong guy.

While I have included Monk’s stats below, I know a lot of folks say “It’s not all about the numbers.” Since it’s more than just numbers…. what is it? Carrying yourself with class? Check. Being a team player? Check. Winning? Check. Championships? Check.

Art Monk’s name on the ballot? CHECK.

940 catches
12721 yards
13.5 avg per catch
68 touchdowns.

3 Pro Bowls. 3 Super Bowls.

Playoffs/SuperBowls:
69 catches, 1062 yards, 7 TD’s

Comparing Art Monk to Hall of Fame wide receivers
Name / Rec / Yds / TDs
Art Monk / 940/ 12,721/ 68
Charlie Joiner / 750 / 12,146/ 65
Don Maynard /633 / 11,834 /88
Raymond Berry /631/ 9,275 /68
Fred Biletnikoff /589 / 8,964/ 76
Lance Alworth / 542/ 10,266/ 85
Tommy McDonald/495 / 8,410/ 84
Don Hutson / 488 / 7,991 / 99
Paul Warfield / 427 / 8,565/ 85
Tom Fears /400 /5,397 /38

Thank you for your time and consideration

Ron Artest to the Houston Rockets

Posted in sports on Wednesday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

I actually like this move. I know, there’s a decent chance this guy could spontaneously combust or melt down or whatever. But there’s also a chance that he’s still a great player who finally gets it and maybe isn’t as crazy as he used to be. It’s very possible. He likes Rockets coach Rick Adelman, Houston is a major market that Artest might enjoy living in as much or more than Sacramento. And, oh by the way, the Rockets have Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming and some nice roll players. I say even with a couple short injury stretches for McGrady and/or Yao, this team will contend for the top seed in the Western Conference.

Getting ready to chase a title together?

Mock Bill Simmons column I sent to him in 2006

Posted in essays, sports on Tuesday, 2008 by Todd.Levinson.Frank

Note: This is my take on the writing of columnist Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy on ESPN.com. They say immitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I wrote this in his style in 2006 and sent it in hopes he might use part of it. He did not.

Like most of your fans, I’ve always wanted to write you a funny email and see it published on the Worldwide Leader Dot Com. I’ve thought of some good stuff, none of which I can remember now of course, but like Bruno Kirby’s character in “Good Morning Vietnam,” I KNOW IN MY HEART THAT I’M FUNNY.

I’m also jealous. See, I’m a writer and a sports fan, and let’s face it: you’ve got a great job. Meanwhile, I drive 65 miles each way to work as a Technical Writer. In fact, not only is the material boring, I don’t actually write anything. I’m an editor. A glorified proofreader. But that’s cool. I’ve been unemployed, so I’m okay with this gig. But I’m thinking you probably pull down some decent coin to basically do what most of us do with our buddies in emails and bars. Which in turn means you can afford NBA League Pass, NFL Ticket, AND TiVo.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say your job was easy. But it’s gotta be relatively fun and extremely profitable. That said, I started wondering what I needed to do get a similar gig. I need a big break. Every now and again I’ve noticed espn.com giving some college kid a column or something. I always get all jealous about that kinda stuff. Of course, when I was in college at WVU I was too busy seeing if you could stick 4 large rolling papers together and successfully roll a smokeable monster joint to ever bother sending my clips to national sports media. (You can.)

But it’s never too late. Sure, I’ll turn 36 this summer, but I’m not a running back. It’s never too late. (By the way, I had one of those horrible “god I’m old” realizations last year when I realized that I’m actually older than Jerome Bettis.)

Did you hear about that college kid who’s just a writer looking to get his big break, so he declared for the NBA Draft as a PR stunt? Pretty funny stuff, and he landed himself a column on SI.com! Turns out this guy is my friend’s cousin! Damn, I’m SO close!

So, instead of sending you 3 emails every week in hopes that you someday publish one little paragraph of mine… I figured, in the spirit of you imitating Paul McGuire or Hubie Brown in print, I’d do my Bill Simmons impression and write some long-ass rambling column to prove to your bosses that I’ve still got Tremendous Upside Potential as a columnist. After all, while most of your readers seem pretty damn funny, they all just bite your style and make up some new Face or reference some crappy reality TV show that I couldn’t care less about… they’re really no different than internet versions of The Clones.

Let’s see…. What would be a good Simmonsian theme for my column? I know! I’ll keep a running diary while I watch an NBA playoff game.

8:18pm. okay, so I’m watching game 5 of the Cavs/Pistons series. No, ‘scuse me, I’m being a WITNESS, and I realize that Dick Stockton and Reggie Miller are referring to Sideshow Bob as VED-a-jao. Okay… I was already pissed that other announcers seemed to be calling him vuh-RAY-jhad (or jhan) when it seems the last syllable should rhyme with Yao. But I’m not Brazilian or whatever he is, so I figure they must know what’s up. But now Stockton’s breaking out VED-a-jao. I’m glad the end rhymes with Yao, but now they’ve changed where the emphasis goes.

8:22pm. Poor Reggie Miller is starting to say VET-a-jhan and bastardizing both versions. Can’t we institute a Yao/Ichiro rule on this guy and just call him Anderson?

8:26pm. Dude, I’m not trying to be mean, I actually like Cheryl Miller and think she does a decent job. But does her hair ever NOT look hideous? And I’m not just talking about the braids or the bob or a particular cut or style…. I mean any and all of them. Every time I see her I think, “god, her hair looks horrible!” then the word horrible reminds me of Bill Walton saying “HORRIBLE pass.” Let’s just move on.

8:31pm. So I’m watching, listening, and thinking about how I’m gonna ask you about this Verajao pronunciation stuff… and thinking about what you said about the double-secret Moving-Picks-Are-Okay rule… and just then, they call a moving pick! On VEDajhad! That’s when I knew it was my destiny to write this email/column to you.

Alright, screw this fake running diary thing. By the time I finish this, Game 5 will be history. I need something a bit more timeless, yet keeping within the imitation/flattery theme…. But with an original twist. Hmm… I’ve got it: I’ll keep a running diary of a typical boring day at a desk job so you can see how the rest of us live. See, we’re not able to stay up late watching Western Conference playoff games, and we cant go to Clippers games or fly to Boston and go to Red Sox games with your dad. We’re working stiffs. We sit here reading your column while trying to tune out the mindless banter of office hags and look like we’re doing actual work. (Right now I have The Costanza Face going, you know, the one where George works for the Yankees and since he doesn’t know what his job is, he perfects the art of looking confused or mad so people think he’s working.)

Actually, I’ll tweak this idea and make it more of a running diary of my typical work day AND a running diary of me reading one of your columns. (I think I’ve used the phrase “running diary” so much that it’s subliminally reminding me of “diarrhea.”)

Friday 2:16pm. Sweet! A new mailbag column was just posted. Thank god, I’ve nothing else to do this afternoon.

2:23. I know only the really funny questions get printed, but I do have questions I’d like to ask you…. I haven’t bothered to search your archives for this, but where do you really stand on the whole NBA Conspiracy Theory stuff? Do you think “They” make sure certain series go 7 games, or certain teams move on? I’m torn, on the one hand, it’s stupid to think they do. But then I saw that Lakers/Kings series a few years ago….. What say you?

2:26. I hope you’re right that LeBron goes crazy and eliminates the Pistons tonight. Oh, and I love a Springsteen reference.

2:27. Vice President of Common Sense. Great idea. I have nothing to add here, so let me ask you, where do the Wizards’ narrow losses to Cleveland in the first round rank on your Stomach Punch scale or whatever that’s called? I know, nobody cares about the Wizards, but I’m a life-long Bullets fan. Don’t laugh, they’ve won a title more recently than the Knicks! Anyway, LeBron absolutely walked on that one game winner. Reminded me of one of your reader’s emails that said that series would come down to officiating and Wizards fans would end up sick about all the calls going LeBron’s way. Actually, he got called for a few charges, but in one game he ran over Jared Jeffries like he was Bo plowing thru Boz and after whistling Bron-Bron for the charge, they had a conference and realized it was #23 and switched the call to a block on Jeffries. (And what’s up with Jeffries’ head? He’s weird looking.)
But I can’t complain. The Wizlets let LeBron go baseline for that other game winner, and Gilbert Arenas missed those freethrows. Oh well. Sadly enough, it’s a victory for a team like Washington to get all that TV exposure by playing in LeBron’s first playoff series. This is the same team that got rid of Chris Webber in his prime, a young Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace… ugh, even Juwan Howard looked solid once he left town. I’m cringing at the thought of Kwame Brown turning into Jermaine O’Neal sometime soon.

2:31. I’m over-hearing these office hags talk about American Idol and something about Nick and Jessica hiring Jennifer Anniston’s lawyer or whatever. Please kill me.

2:36. Okay, that email from the guy from the “University of Riker’s Island” is just wrong.

2:39. Good point about annoying fake Boston accents. But what’s really annoying about Chris Berman (and for the most part I like him) is his obsession with saying “the frozen tundra,” “New York football Giants,” and “GEEEE-men” every single time he has the opportunity. I mean the frozen tundra in the Jon Facenda voice was funny the first 29832 times. But now it’s like he can’t not do it. Give it a rest, Boom.

2:41. I’m about to skip the next paragraph, cuz at first it looks like one of those Reality TV paragraphs, but then I realize you live near Ganz! I do a pretty good Nick Nolte impression, and after “listen convict, I don’t like you and you don’t like me,” the next best line to say is “We gotta get GANZ.”

2:44. There’s this one lady at my office who talks all the time. Never shuts up. This week she brought in a fundraiser for her kid. You know, one of those “pizza-making kit” fundraisers. Forget that. I looked at the stuff, it’s like $17 for one pizza and I gotta make it myself? If I’m gonna spend $17, I’ll get 2 good pizzas fresh and hot that someone makes for me and brings to my house thanks.

I’d pay $34 if she’d just shut the f*#$ up for a few hours a day.

2:46. Well it wouldn’t be a Bill Simmons column without silly typos like “there are actual emails from actual readers,” instead of “these.” And “we’re at the point now where are save these emails…” instead of “we are saving” or “we save.” You said Kobe was lingering beyond the arc “giving the ball up every time it swing around to him.” I have been meaning to write to you and your bosses about this stuff, but I never documented the various offenses… but now you’ve handed all these to me IN ONE COLUMN. Even one of your readers chipped in with “…understand we we MUST boo Johnny Damon.” We we? Freakin spell check can pick that up! Inexcusable. I’m sitting here at my desk job chronicling this stuff while The Worldwide Leader doesn’t have a proofreader? Really?

Dammit! I had no intention of making this segment so long, but the Damon email also included “the guys we used to love plays for…” instead of guys play or guy plays. I was gonna let that one go, but then the next email has “guy with [a] silly hair cut… ask me the score” instead of asks. (oh, and “when your bombed” instead of “when you’re bombed.”) I mean, the a in brackets proves that someone is allegedly cleaning up the reader emails, so don’t hide behind the fact that a few of these errors are in readers emails. Another reader email gets cleaned up by putting [Jr.] after Mel Kiper, as if we would have thought they were referring to his dad. Yet, no one noticed that the Bug looked happier than a third base coach ready to congratulate someone who just HOT, not hit, a walkoff homer. Weak.

3:03. Great. You just beat me to the Stockton/Verajao jokes….

The Following Wednesday: I knew it would take me a week to write and send this. More typos on ESPN.com today. If the Worldwide Leader can’t be bothered to proofread their articles, then I’m not gonna bother to list them for you.

Watched Game 1 of the Pistons/Heat series last night. Is it me or does Flip Saunders look like a deaf guy with a facial tick?

Okay, you’re Bill Simmons, you’ve got a good sense of humor and you’re number 1 in the lig in making fun of Doc Rivers. You’re excellent in transition and you know you can get your Hubie Brown imitation off anytime you want. But you’ve got to work how he says “lig” for “league” into your game plan.

Yup, these are your readers…

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