crazy colored glasses

Friday, February 23, 2007

Not Friends... Who cares

I'm usually way excited about the start of Spring Training. It generally marks for me the start of lots of hours spent in front of the TV watching the Yankees. Unfortunately the start of Spring Training 07 for the Yankees has already turned into a circus.

There was the first day pitchers and catchers reported where the news made a big deal about Mariano Rivera saying he needed to be respected or else he was walking at the end of the year. It was his way of announcing "Hey, I need to get paid". No Yankee deserves it more than him, but this was far from front page news. The Yankees and Mariano went through this in 04 when Mariano's contract was about to expire then. They renegotiated in March and he entered the new season with a big contract. The same will obviously happen with him again this season. There should be no worries.

This week brought the shocker that Alex Rodriguez announced that he and Derek Jeter are not close friends anymore. Was anyone surprised by that... no. Yet every local paper treated it as front page news. Followed by press conferences by each player and Joe Torre. Enough. Its obvious to everyone they arent great friends and havent been for some time. Does it matter. No.

The Yankees found themselves in a similar situation in the late 70's with Thurman Munson (the heart and soul of the team) and Reggie Jackson (the high priced free agent) hated each others guts. The parallels between both teams are amazing. Yet that team still found a way to win back to back world series.

Now would everything be better if they were both friends, of course. Can they win with the two of them being less than blood brothers... again of course. I enter this season the same as I've entered the last 11 seasons, thinking the Yankees can win the World Series. Stay tuned for a futre post where I make full baseball predictions, as well as the Final 4.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Wade Phillips???

I wanted to be really down on the signing of Wade Phillips as coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Yet the more I read the more it sounded like he was right for the team. They also have their own future coach in waiting in Jason Garrett.

I dont know, I just thought the Cowboys would go with a splashier name that would have been able to get the respect of some of these modern big egoed athletes. As soon as the Cowboys started their coaching search, one name kept coming to my mind. Mike Singletary. I thought he did a great job with bothe Ravens and the 49ers the last few seasons. Also having played the game at a very high level and made the Hall of Fame would be pluses. He knows how to deal with the pressure, and he knows what it takes to be a winner on this level. When I heard the Boys were interviewing I was imediately excited.

I thought theyd hire him, he'd turn the defense around, and be able to get TO to play hard for him. I'm not trying to be racial at all, but TO has never had an African-American head coach. Let alone a head coach who was a star player in the NFL in a big city, who has won a superbowl, and is now in the Hall. I dont think I'm crazy for thinking TO wouldve played hard for him. I thought it made too much sense.

So, the Cowboys turn around and do what. Hire Wade Phillips. A recycled old school coach. I dont know if he can relate to the young modern player. He seemed to do great things with a young Chargers defense the last couple of years, so maybe he can turn the defense around. I'm holding out hope that he can be good coach. The team has all the weapons in place and are primed for a long post season run. I only hope they made the right decision for head coach.


Impact Freshman... Noooo, I didnt see that coming

The talking heads on ESPN and the writers on Sports Illustrated are driving me crazy. Everyone keeps talking and writing about how this is the year of the impact Freshman in College Basketball. Hello, this isnt a surprise. I called this when the NBA first made the announcement that they would no longer allow high-schoolers to ump directly to the NBA. Of course the NCAA was going to see a spike in talented freshman. Had Kevin Durant and Greg Oden been allowed to go straight to the NBA they would have been the first and second picks taken, but because of the new rules they had to college for a year.

In fact the NCAA is trying to amend the NBA rule and make these kids stay in school for two years. The greedy athletic directors know they could have a much better product on their hands if they force these kids to stay in school a little longer. It should make recuiting a little more interesting in the coming years. Especially because if you offer a high school superstar a scholarship and he leaves after one season that scholarship is now lost to you for four years.

So yes, there has been a spike in the number of impact freshman this year in college basketball. I'm just saying it's no surprise because of the new rules and landscape in the NBA. If you didnt see that coming, you just werent paying attention.


Another List... My favorite Characters on TV

I know, I usually start these posts out by saying I need to post more often... blah, blah, blah. It never happens. Especially lately. Life always seems to get in the way. New job, raising scrappy, dealing with family. I'm not making excuses, just stating facts.

Anyway, I was reading an article in Wizard as well as having watched lots of TV over the last 2 months, and decided I wanted to write about my favorite television characters. Saying watch a lot of TV is a bit of an over-statement. I watch a lot of sports on TV. Not very many shows, just a few choice shows, and mostly sports. Here it is:

10. Barbara Gordon/Batgirl - The Batman
Young, spunky, and full of energy. This teen sidekick, that in "The Batman" came before Robin has given this show a shot in the arm. Her constant bickering with Robin, as well as good natured know-it-all attitude to the Batman have helped amp up both the fun, and drama of this show. I know this show irks those sticklers for continuity, but I applaud this show in trying to intorduce the large Batman cast to a new generation of viewers.

As an aside, when Barbara Gordon was first being introduced last year, she had an episode where her hair was pulled back, and she was wearing long, loose shorts and converse type shoes, and the one constant feature on her face where her big green eyes. This reminded me more than a little of my love. I'm sure all those things helped her make my list.

The animation style is slick and different for a DC animated venture. I really think Jeff Matsuda has nailed the tone exactly. Plus the show has only gotten better in recent episodes. The Mr. Freeze episode where they went 20 years in the future was like a geekasm. You got to see a much bigger, thicker Dark Knight, ala Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns (which Mr. Freeze actually mutters in the episode), an older, more confident Dick Grayson who is now Nightwing, and a crippled Barbara Gordon as Oracle. I must say I sat at the edge of my seat for the entire episode.

9. Pam Beasley - The Office
Now, I'm sure I'll get into why she's one of my favorite characters on TV later, when her partner in crime makes an appearance on this list. I thought long and hard over her, because no character on TV frustrates me more. She is an absolute sweetheart, who just needs to be honest with herself. Watching her week after week have obvious chemistry and feelings for the man who at first was not her fiance, then not her boyfriend, then someone elses boyfriend has driven me up the wall... but more than anything its the main reason I watch the Office. I want to reach into the TV, shake her and say "Tell him how you feel". I mean I must also give her character kudos for deciding not to get marrried and breaking off the engagement. It takes a lot of guts and gall to do something like that. Especially with no assurances. But thats what she did, not for anyone else but herself, and it was the right move. If only she'd be true to herself and just say what America wants to hear. I know NBC is doing the right thing by keeping them apart, but I want to explode every week. In my eyes there are no two people on television who should be together more.

8. Chris Berman - NFL Countdown, Sportscenter, etc.
He is the voice of ESPN. The fist person I think of when I think of the channel that i devote so much of my life to. Plus he's on the list for one specific reason. I don't know how many of you sit through the highlights parts of Monday Night Football's halftime show, but this is Chris Berman's time to shine. While he's doing the highlights and someone jukes another player he shouts out "Woop" (not doing it justice, but those of you who know what I'm talking about, will know). That more than his silly nicknames for players or other catch phrases bring me the most enjoyment during my football highlights.

7. Superman(boy) - Legion Of Superheroes
Right before The Batman on Saturday mornings is the Legion of Superheroes. Plus what would one of my list be without a mention of Superman. This show has something for everyone. From the little guest appearances that us geek boys love, to a child friendly design, so kids who had been watching the Teen Titans (which I loved) can jump right in. Although, i must admit, Superman is the engine that drives the Legion ship. He's the character every kid would instantly recognize. Having him in his teen age and not properly knowing his powers puts him at the same awkward age as some of the kids who are watching. Week after week seeing him develop friendship and new enemies while learning how to act as a teammate while also feeling more like an outcast than he normally feels is great drama that you dont usually find on Saturday morning television.

This show is yet another testament as to why I think DC gets it. The animation and design are geared towards children, but the story-telling while for kids is deeply layered for adults as well. Us fan-boys also get to shout out when the obscure Legion members have cameos. This weekend alone, Element Lad, Star Boy, Colossal Boy and the Substitute Legion of Superheroes where each in the episode. DC has created another show that is both for adults and children. Therefore keeping us fanboys happy while expoing a new generation of potential readers to characters who have been around since before I was born.

6. Betty Suarez - Ugly Betty
Its the classic fish out of water story, with a twist I could relate to. Betty is a hispanic who lives in one of the outer boroughs, who works for a major fashion magazine. Wait... is this Betty's story or mine. Betty (along with Pam Beasley) is one of the sweetest characters on TV. She's gotten her boss, the magazine and her family out of more jams than I could begin to get into. The show is refreshing in the way it points out Betty's differences, while not pulling any punches as to what people are saying about her appearance to her face and behind her back. But Betty is more than a poncho, braces and a thick pair of glasses. She is smart, dedicated and confident. While always making time for her family. Some things in the show are way over the top, but what they have done is capture the tone of the catty fashion industry. While I know most industries have their fare share of cattiness, the fashion industry goes way beyond that. People have to fit into certain body types, wear certain clothes, and have a certain type of attitude or they just dont fit in. Betty as a character though is helping to tear down some of those stereotypes at Mode. The people there while still catty and backstabbing now seem to look out for each other more. It seems Ms. Suarez is doing more than a good job.

5. Paula Abdul - American Idol
I know, I know... just like Chris Berman she's not a real character, shes a real person, but seriously... she is the reason i tune into American Idol. Her weekly crying while she proclaims "You move me" or her seal impression as she gives numerous contestants a standing ovation and flails her arms around wildly trying to clap. Or just her nonsensical attempts at being witty or funny. Also, as the season goes on, her face physically starts to resemble Zira from the Planet of the Apes more and more. She's a complete trainwreck... and I love it.

4. Tony Soprano - The Soprano's
I've always felt that Tony Soprano was the best written character on television. I defend him and this constantly. Someone always seems to be disappointed or wants to complain about this show. I think I finally undesratnd it though. Some people watch this show for the organized crime aspect. Some for the Dr. Melfi - Tony therapy sessions. Some for Tony's home and family life. So no matter what, every week someone is disappointed. Me personally, I'm rarely if ever disappointed in this show, and thats all because of Tony. Tony is the show. It all revolves around him. We've never seen a tough guy mafioso expose him as emotionally as Tony does. Thats the brilliance of Tony Soprano and the way James Gandolfini plays him. He can be a tough guy one minute, bashing Ralphie's head in. The next he could be in his therapists office crying about Jackie Jr. No where else does a character like this exist.

3. Jack Bauer - 24
Now I must say I haven't been a huge fan of this season on 24. It's all been a bit much for me. Ever since in the Season Premiere, Keifer rewound to his Lost Boys days and bit another man in the neck. After that its been a series of wtf moments every week. We are now supposed to believe Jack's Dad (that'll do pig, that'll do) has been behind so much of what is going on for years. I think where the show suffers the most is with the new President Palmer. In seasons past we've had either smart (I wish David Palmer would really run for President) or truly evil Presidents. With Wayne I just dont feel the same way. In fact I dont feel anything for or about him. He's just so blah. Keifer has been Keifer though. He still speaks in low hushed tones, he tells Bill to"set up a perimeter", tells Chloe "i need that information now". Jack Bauer has been Jack Bauer. Slightly over the top but still the best roller-coaster ride on television.

2. Hiro Nakamura - Heroes
I love this show. It's my favortie new show of the season, and my favorite drama on television. I am an admitted comic geek, so having a smartly written and crisply acted show about real-world heroes is a dream come true. And while I love all the characters, Hiro clearly stands out. If i discovered I had powers I think I'd react the Hiro did. On this show you have people who have reacted very differntly to their powers. Some want to hide them, others are scared, more are trying to control them. Hiro on the other hand wants to be a hero. He wants to do anything possible to save the world. He has accepted his powers and the responsibility that comes with them with a sort of zeal and youthful exuberance that is very refreshing. The tone of the show is sometimes dark and serious, so having a character like Hiro who can cut the tension by adding some levity and quoting lines from comics is very helpful, as well as being a shout out to us geeks who watch the show weekly.

1. Jim Halpert - The Office
Let me start off by saying I just started watching The Office after seeing last year's season finale and really connnecting with the storyline Jim was going through. I then ordered Seasons One and Two online. After watching those I connected wih Jim even more. The goofy practical joker at work who is surprisingly good at his job that falls in love with the girl who is in engaged. Yeah, crazy.

Watching them over those seasons drove me crazy. But not more than this season has. I thought theyd be together by now... giving America as NBC puts it in their promos... what we want. Wrong. Jim is still dating Karen who knows he has feelings for Pam, and Pam just got back together with Roy. I want to scream at my TV every week and just tell them to get together already. They both have feelings for each other, and should just be honest with one another. But I know thats not always so easy. So many other people are involved, so many other feelings to deal with.

I can't wait for the episode (one day) when Pam pulls Jim aside and tells him that she loves him and wants to be with him. Until then I'll wait patiently by my TV every Thursday watching my favorite show. Watching Jim have feelings for Pam from afar... hoping, hoping that one day soon they get to be together.

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