Friday, February 1, 2008

Some wildly random musings

* Glad to see has finally grown up. I rediscovered it today, after pretty much giving up on the site. Part of my abandonment had to do with the offseason lull in pro cycling, which I don't follow terribly closely anyway. But mainly I avoided it because visiting the VeloNews website was an assault on the senses rivaled only by a casino or an old-time carnival -- cheesy ads blinking and flashing and screaming for your attention like slot machines or midway hawkers. Except that cycling, unlike track and field, doesn't have bearded ladies, as both carnivals and slot parlors do.
Maybe took some HGH.
* Speaking of HGH: Does The Plain Dealer's Bill Livingston need an injection of it for his brain, or what? (I promised this wouldn't be an all-cycling blog ...)
Today's Livingston column (buy the paper, please, but if you're too much of a cheapskate, here's a link) is preposterous -- the epitome of hypocrisy.
Livvy, like all sports scribes, can get comically self-righteous. He consistently (and correctly) lambastes the modern-day sports culture of self over team, the narcissistic pursuit of SportsCenter highlight appearances etc.
He (correctly) hailed the Indians last summer because it was a "team" of scrappy underdogs and underpaids. He (correctly) trashes Barry Bonds and other me-first jocks who dominate as individuals but can't put their teams over the top.
Yet what is his main criterium for dismissing the Patriots as one of the greatest football teams of all time? That the Patriots lack a ton of sure-fire future Hall of Famers. (In an ironic inconsistency, he then ticks off a handful of HOF-bound players on the team to decimate his own argument.)
Livingston contorts the history of 10 other Super Bowl teams to pretend they got there solely on the backs of one or two or three HOF'ers. Idiotic.
Even more idiotic: He ranks the 2004 Patriots ahead of this team. Using his own yardstick, that team sucked -- it had even fewer HOF players and standouts (exactly one, by my reckoning). And that team lost two games. What's the explanation -- did it play in "a different era"?
I am not a Pats fan. I barely care about football anymore since my own NFL career ended. I'm just sayin' let's have a little consistency here.
But we all know that he wrote the column just to stir up some shit -- Livvy himself acknowledged as much with his sophomoric wink at the end. What else is there to do amid the deadest two weeks on the sports calendar?
So why am I biting? Boredom. Same reason he wrote it, I guess.
* I have a column idea for Livingston: How about declaring openly that if NFL players were subject to the same testing for performance-enhancing drugs that pro cyclists are, the failure rate would approach 100%? The NFL is by far and away the biggest doper joke in all of sports (unless you consider bodybuilding and pro wrestling to be sports).
The circumstantial evidence against footballl is so overwhelming that it's almost irrefutable. In my own incredibly short lifetime, we've gone from a state where typical linemen weighed 275 and it was an item of conversation when Dan Dierdorf tipped the scales at 300 lbs., to one where the typical lineman weighs 340. (Yeah, these guys now wear a tire of blubber that wouldn't be tolerated in 1980, but even the ones with 15% body would make my bathroom scale read "TILT".)
But more to the point, linebackers and safeties are probably 30 lbs. heavier now on average, yet with lower body-fat percentages than their predecessors. They "eat better" and "train smarter," right? Suuuure ... I can't wait for Congress to start sending some subpoenas that way.
Livvy and the rest of the sports media turned blind eyes to it for 15 years in baseball, to the point where they were clearly complicit in the scandal. Now they're doing the same with football.
If you're anywhere near my age, you may remember these:
We all gaped when Glenallen Hill and Mark Whiten joined the Indians: Their chiseled 230-pound bodybuilder physiques dwarfed everyone on the field. They were just on the cutting edge, though: Within two years, the Indians' infield averaged about 215 lbs., and Omar was the only one who didn't top 200. Then, in 1997, Sandy Alomar reported for spring training sporting about 20 pounds of rippling new muscle -- from his "offseason conditioning." Ditto for Julio Franco, who should get an HGH endorsement.
Livvy et al. now state the obvious about baseball's beef explosion and cluck their tongues at MLB because club execs didn't stop the doper epidemic. Wasn't it only a few years ago that all the sportswriters were ganging up on that big liar Jose Canseco?
* I can't help it, but I laugh my ass off every time I see the billboards for The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland -- the ones with the smiley snowman with the big carrot nose: "You see a snowman. A hungry child sees dinner."
This attempt at emotional manipulation is so clumsy and over the top that it's hilarious. Who's their ad man -- Carl Hiaasen? Or Charles Dickens?
Obviously, my kids aren't hungry. Try getting them to eat carrots.
* Back to cycling: I'm looking for investors for my newest venture -- producing 2-inch headset bearings -- with ceramic balls to reduce the fatigue that accumulates from turning the handlebars. The universe of bike consumers gets more gullible by the day. Who wants to help me exploit it?



ds said...

This recent article on The Onion, called "Professional Sports is Very Interesting," is hilarious.

JimmyNick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JimmyNick said...

Very funny! The Onion is one of those sites that, every time I go there, I vow to return more often. It's full of funny stuff today. See also: