Category Archives: Entertainment

Don’t Get Caught Watching the Paint Dry

The 27 months of NBA playoffs are upon us. The twelve year journey to anoint the 2014 NBA Champion started a week ago and I guess it has been entertaining. I haven’t watched a single minute and unless the Spurs make the Finals, I most likely won’t.

What I did watch, however, was a bunch of basketball movies and clips to prepare for this week’s post. Based on the success of my Fantasy Dream Amazeballs All-Hollywood Baseball Team I have put together a hoops’ movie team in honor of the NBA Playoffs. The criteria will be the same. There will be no real players, so that eliminates pretty much the entire cast of Like Mike (thank god) except Bow Wow and Morris Chestnut. Nor will Michael Jordan from Space Jam or Leonardo DiCRAPio’s Jim Carroll from Basketball Diaries be considered for the starting line-up. Earl “The Goat” Manigault is also ineligible, despite the movie rumored being a nearly fictional account of his life. Just like last time, likenesses and characters based on real players are perfectly acceptable. Real players playing fictional characters are also welcome. So, sit back and enjoy your Sunday with the:

THE ALL-TIME FICTIONAL HOOPIDITY DOOPITY ALLY OOPITY BASKETBALL MOVIE TEAM

We goin to Sizzler!
We goin to Sizzler!

Point Guard: You would think Wesley Snipes is the greatest athlete of all time! He had TWO characters in consideration for the baseball roster and now makes his case for basketball. Sidney Deane (White Man Can’t Jump) was flashy and loud talking but he had some mad skills to hold his own against anyone. His passing ability was uncanny. Deane’s counterpart, Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson, White Man Can’t Jump) has a deadly three pointer, but he may be too old to contribute to this team. Can he still drive to the hoop and lead this team? Well, if Harrelson can’t cut it as Billy Hoyle, maybe he can as Monix (Semi Pro). Monix was the aged, knee-less, veteran who came in and helped turn around the Flint Tropics dream season. Sure, Calvin Cambridge’s (Lil Bow Wow, Like Mike) entire playing ability was dependent on MJ’s magic shoes, but wasn’t everybody’s back then? Lola Bunny (herself, Space Jam) was bound for WNBA stardom. Despite the MonStars cheap shots and over powering size and demeanor, Lola never backed down and took it right to them.

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Starter: I’m going with Lola here. The other guys in this category are good, but they are either hustlers or destined for a bench role. Plus, Lola showed no fear against monsters for crying out loud. That’s who I want manning … er, womanning … er, wasckily wabbiting my team.

Shooting Guard: This category is over flowing with stars. Jesus Shuttleworth (Ray Allen, He Got Game) immediately comes to mind. He is raw, but man can he shoot. He has a jump shot that is strikingly similar to NBA star Ray Allen’s, which I still think is the prettiest natural shot of our generation. Clarence “Coffee Black” Brown (Andre 3000 Benjamin, Semi-Pro) not only gets a look due to his overwhelming basketball skills, but he has the heart of a champion willing to sacrifice everything to play for a loser. The lovable Air Bud (Buddy, Air Bud) gets some love because he’s so damn cute. Plus, like Ed the chimp on my baseball roster… he’s a freaking animal! Tell me you wouldn’t pay some serious duckets to watch a dog break some ankles and drop some dimes. Lewis Scott (Damon WayansCeltic Pride) was so good Daniel Stern and Dan Aykroyd had to kidnap him.

Starter: No question it is Shuttleworth. As we learned in Big Lebowski, nobody f’s with da Jesus!

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Small Forward: Another position full of elite athletes and superstars. Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox, Teen Wolf) is a mixed bag. If he shows up as Scott Howard, this team is screwed. But if he shows up as The Wolf… look out! Howard turns from a 5-foot, seventh man off the bench type of player to a guy who can dunk like MJ by simply adding some fur. Jimmy Chitwood (Maris Valainis, Hoosiers) is the game changing character based on Bobby Plump. The downside to Chitwood is all that he can do is shoot. As much as he brought to that amazing run, if he goes ice cold, his team is in trouble. Moses Guthrie (Julius “Dr. J” Erving, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh) saved a whole damn city. If you haven’t seen this cult classic go watch it. It is a terribly fun movie about a failing basketball team formed around their star player’s zodiac sign, Pisces (hence the fish), to win basketball games. Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown, Finding Forrester) is one of the more unheralded basketball movie stars due to his youth and raw talent. He was heavily recruited by private schools across New York and showed he’s got serious skills on the floor and in the classroom. Butch McRae (Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Blue Chips) had it all: ball handling skills, a nice shot, and a beautiful house for his mother.

DrJAintHavingIt Starter: I’m going Guthrie. He’s Dr. J and that means two things: awesome dunks and an even more awesome ‘fro!

Power Forward/ Center: I’m clumping these two positions together, because let’s face it, that’s how it works these days. Tim Duncan may be the best power forward to ever play the game, but he still has to match-up at center sometimes. I want my big men to have that same ability.

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Somehow, the dreadful Flint Tropics send their third candidate to roster consideration in the PF/C category. Team owner, leader, and all around entertainer Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell, Semi Pro) has more dance moves than basketball skills, but he can still ball. Neon Boudeaux (Shaquille O’Neal, Blue Chips) is just as much a beast on the floor as the man who played him. You need a monster dunk or complete domination inside the paint? You simply call on this Neon blue-chip prospect. He may have earned a Razzie Nomination for his acting, but we are judging on ball skills here. One of the many degrees of Kevin Bacon gets the final nod. Saleh (Charles Gitong Maina, The Air Up There) was not only the savior of Jimmy Dolan’s career, but he saved his own tribe with the game winning shot against the evil mining company.

628x471Starters: Neon and Saleh. Talk about Towers of Power. These guys could rival Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Neon, with more natural skills, will probably slide into the four while Saleh will man the center position. Besides, any player that you can mistake for the cartoon MonStar Pound from Space Jam is ok in my books.

The Bench:

Monix gets the nod to back things up at the point guard position. Sure, he’s older than Harrelson’s Hoyle, but all Hoyle has is a sweet shot and that was mainly when he was left wide open. Monix still has the heart to cut to the hole even if he can barely walk. Chitwood makes the squad because as a situational player there will be very few better. Down by three with just seconds left? Run the picket fence and get Jimmy open… just don’t get caught watching the paint dry! Jamal Wallace makes the team as a reserve because of his raw ability to swing from the two to the three and his basketball and regular IQ reign supreme to just about everyone else on the court. Moon merits a roster spot on notoriety alone. If we need a quick promotion, Moon is the man.  Scott Howard gets the call, but he is only allowed to play when donned in fur. I want The Wolf. The last guy to round out the bench is someone that wasn’t nominated for a starting role, but he stepped up when the Beavers needed him most. Chubby (Mark Holton, Teen Wolf) turned from zero to hero when he simply crushed the Dragons. How he fit into those 80s shorty short uniforms is amazing in itself.

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Head Coach: Edwina “Eddie” Franklin (Whoopi Goldberg) certainly deserves some consideration because she turned around a dismal New York Knicks team after being the female Spike Lee. However, she won’t coach my team simply because I despise the Knicks and rather see them stay in the basement. In fact, I could watch a two hour movie about how bad the Knicks are, but that movie would be called 2013-14 season. The man I want at the helm has a shaky past and an unprecedented way of handling his offense. He found the best ways to utilize each and everyone of his players, even if it was getting Ollie in there for a few under handed free throws. No one was better at motivational speeches and when the team needed a fire lit under it’s ass, he’d go off the deep end and get ejected. Norman Dale (Gene HackmanHoosiers) is my guy. He will lead this team to glory.

Did I get it right? Sound off and let me know if I gave the wrong players a start or if I left someone off entirely. Until then, check back in 7.5 million hours when we finally name the 2014 NBA Champion!

You’re Killing Me, Smalls!

It’s hard to believe that another winter has come and gone. Opening Day (the American one, not the Australian one that put Kershaw on the DL) is here and the boys of summer are ready to get back it. 30 baseball teams will take the field over the next few days to get their 2014 season rolling.

What if there were a 31st team? What if there was an All Star line-up of all the characters from baseball movies and T.V. shows clumped into one mega-team? It would be an insult to call this a Dream Team, but that is what we are talking about here. There needs to be some guidelines though. I can’t take players from movies or shows that are actual players. That eliminates Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, the entire Chicago Black Sox and a bevy of others. Characters based on actual players (like the ladies in A League of Their Own) or a likeness of an actual player (like the ghosts in Field of Dreams), however, is allowed. With these rules in place, my prep work began. I had to dig deep. Some of these movies I haven’t seen in a while. Some are outright terrible, but they all deserved consideration. After much deliberation I narrowed it down to a few players at each slot. Here’s a look at a position by position breakdown of the one week training camp (and by training camp, I really mean me sitting in front of my Smart TV and watching classic clips on YouTube to remind myself how great some of these characters were) held to see who made the cut.

The Fantasy Dream Amazeballs All-Hollywood Team 

Hope the got a whole chicken...
Hope they got a whole chicken…

Catcher:  Aside from the outfield, this was the closest position battle. There were quite a few players to choose from, but four took it down to the wire. Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis, A League of Their Own) definitely deserves consideration. She was the heart and soul of the Rockford Peaches and was hands down the best player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Crash Davis (Kevin Costner, Bull Durham) also enters the debate. His downside is that he is a career minor leaguer. His upside is his willingness to be demoted to help tutor the future of baseball.  Hamilton “Ham” Porter (Patrick Renna, The Sandlot) is not only a great catcher, but he is a historian, a comedian, and one of the best s’mores chefs in the land. What can’t you say about Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger, Major League)? He came out of retirement to lead a team of nobodies to the playoffs and win the heart of Rene Russo.

WINNER: Taylor. His experience, baseball sense, and ability to leg out a bunt with no knees make him the leader of this squad.

First base: There haven’t been many great fictional first basemen through the years. Stan Ross (Bernie Mac, Mr. 3000) was a superstar for the Milwaukee Brewers, except it took him until the end of his selfish career to understand what being a team player really meant. And he NEVER GOT HIS 3000th HIT! Let’s face it. Bertram Grover Weeks (Grant GeltThe Sandlot) was a junkie. He introduced the whole team to that Chew and disappeared in the ’60s on some drug bender and was never seen again. That doesn’t help much with team chemistry, and what players that use drugs ever pan out as All Stars? Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck, Mr. Baseball) didn’t know when to hang it up and had to end his career in Japan. That doesn’t sound like someone I want anchoring my first stop around the bases.

WINNER: You think I would choose any of these bums? Hell no. My first baseman is Toby Whitewood (David Stambaugh, the original Bad News Bears). He really was the most unheralded star of Chico’s Bail Bonds as Kelly Leak always stole his thunder and pulled a beauty of a hidden ball trick in the field at the Astrodome.

Second base: This came down to a two man… er, player competition. Tommy “Repeat” Timmons (Shane Obedzinski, The Sandlot) is the third member from The Sandlot team to make the list. Tommy was better at constructing things than he ever was at baseball. Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh, A League of Their Own) is a hard hitting, hard to look at basher. But if we were picking on pure looks, Tom Selleck and that legendary mustache would already be on the team.

WINNER: Hooch. Let’s spice it up and give this team some variety. On the plus side, she shouldn’t be a distraction in the clubhouse.

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Short stopI allowed Gus (Rob Schneider, The Benchwarmers) a very quick tryout, but in the end, no matter how much he changed, he was a liar and a one-time bully, and I’m not looking to run a Miami Dolphins locker room with my squad. That means this was a simple one-man battle.

WINNER: Tanner Boyle (Chris Barnes, the original Bad News Bears) This is the second Chico’s Bail Bonds alum to crack this squad, so it tells you a little something about Buttermaker’s bunch. Boyle was a little sloppy, but who on the Bears wasn’t? He was the spark plug though and the toughness this team needs.

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Third base:  Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell, League of Their Own) was a brash, overly confident vixen of a baseball player, but she had guts and could play the hot corner pretty well. Ed (Ed) was a freaking monkey, and do you think I would pass on giving a monkey a try-out at third base? Do you know what kind of revenue a third base-monkey would generate? Especially if he smoked cigarettes? Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen, Major League) was a snide and snooty little brat, but we’re talking baseball skills here.

WINNER: Dorn. When he isn’t ole-ing the ball and worrying about his contract amenities, he can straight up field. We also know he is clutch at the plate delivering timely hits at the end of that one-game playoff series with the Yankees. He also delivers a hell of a sucker punch.

OutfieldThis was hands down the toughest position battle. Roy Hobbs (Robert RedfordThe Natural) didn’t even need to show up for try-outs. If he wants to play and his side is all healed up, he starts on my team, no questions asked. That sliced the competition down to just two slots. I was able to remove Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes, The Fan) from the conversation because I’m not allowing one actor to occupy the last two spots in the outfield. That means Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes, Major League) is in the mix. The guy flat out flies on the base paths, plus he has the Richard Sherman ego on top of it. Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley, the original Bad News Bears) has a leg up on the competition because he smokes cigarettes and drives his motorcycle right onto the field and, well, I’m afraid of telling him no. Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez (Mike Vitar, The Sandlot), more lovingly known as Benny the Jet, is borderline. First of all, did he ever play one single position in the entire movie? Secondly, aside from his speed, he has a marginal skill set. The Ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta, Field of Dreams) was invited to try-outs because technically, he isn’t a real player. And even the specter of Shoeless Joe hits a hell of a lot better than some living ball players (paging Mr. Uggla). Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert, Major League) is a hulking beast of a man. He needs to still get a better grasp of that curve ball, Jobu.

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WINNERS: Hobbs, Leak, and Hayes. He may run like Mays but he hits like the leadoff guy I want in my line-up. He will man center field while Leak, who shifted from third to outfield in Breaking in Training, will man left. With Hayes’ swagger and Leak’s bad boy attitude, teams will fear us. Having Hobbs patrol right quietly will install fear by silence.

I’m keeping Cerrano as my DH, though, and I am also keeping Benny the Jet as my utility guy, so here is the batting order:

CF — Willie Mays Hayes

SS — Tanner Boyle

3B — Roger Dorn

RF — Roy Hobbs

DH — Pedro Cerrano

LF — Kelly Leak

C — Jake Taylor

2B — Marla Hooch

1B — Toby Whitewood

Pinch hitter/runner: Benny the Jet Rodriguez

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My offense is stacked, but wait until you get a load of the pitching. As far as I was concerned, there wasn’t any competition when it came to the starting rotation, the middle reliever, the set-up man, and closer. So, without further ado, here is your staff:

The Ace — Amanda Whurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal, Bad News BearsShe’s sneaky and sly and has quite a mouth on her, but she can flat out throw and hold her own with the big boys.

Chet Steadman (Gary Busey, Rookie of the Year) The Rocket is a crafty veteran who happens to be played by one of the funniest living specimens on the planet. There was no way I was leaving Busey off this team.

Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner, For the Love of the Game). Costner lost out on Crash Davis, but he gets the nod on the mound. I wanted to leave him off entirely because the S.O.B. no-hit the Yankees but he’s too good to deny.

Eddie Harris (Chelcie Ross, Major League). If he can’t get it done with that old rubber arm of his, then he has an arsenal of Crisco, Bardol, and snot hidden away to sneak one by any batter.

This spot was a toss up. Both were youngsters and both had promising futures. It came down to Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins, Bull Durham) or Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas, Rookie of the Year). It was a really tough choice, but it came down to the fact that Nuke winds up with Susan Sarandon and Rowengartner got to have pretend sex with Tara Reid. I choose Tara Reid… I mean, Rowengartner to round out the staff.

The bullpen is the most fun part of this team. There will be a lot of money spent on fine wine, hookers, and bail when the three of them go out to celebrate. Sam “Mayday” Malone (Ted Danson, Cheers) is the unquestioned elder spokesman of the bullpen. He cleaned up his act, so he should be a calming influence on his other two compadres. Kenny Powers (Danny McBride, Eastbound and Down) may just be an average American with extraordinary hair, he may be a bit of a xenophobe (or patriot depending on who’s definition you use), but he will blow anyone away with his stuff. The closer is Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen, Major League). This is a no brainer. Not only does he hit triple digits on the radar, he’s one of the most memorable sports characters on this list. He’s the Wild Thing baby, and we all know that’s winning.

Now, who in their right mind would want to manage this bunch of A and B-List, ego-driven celebs? I wanted to go with Lou Brown (James Gammon, Major League) for the job he did creating that peal away stripper. Ultimately, Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own) gets the job because he uttered one of the most famous lines in baseball movie history: “There’s no crying in baseball.”

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There you have it, folks. It may very well be the greatest roster ever established. Until next time, enjoy your Final Four and happy opening week of baseball.

Happy Freakin New Year from the Hall of Fame

Hey there, sports fans. My name is Wayne, and I am a sportsaholic. With Chris Christie closing bridges, a united healthcare plan no one understands, religion starting wars all over the world, and Miley Cyrus reigning as the queen of pop culture, I don’t see much of a reason to follow much else. That being said, I feel like the perfect time to start a blog, especially one centered around sports rants, is the beginning of a brand new year. It isn’t because this is something I have procrastinated about for two years (which I have) and made some sort of resolution to start. And no, it is not because this is the time to start anew. It’s simply because in January, the biggest hypocrisy in all of professional sports occurs: the voting for the newest inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Oh, dear reader, where do I start? Well, before I tear apart what has transpired, how about I say congratulations to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox. All six are very deserving of the honor and I truly believe they are all first ballot guys. If you were to ask me who the three best managers of my lifetime were, those three take the honor. Plus, are you going to tell a guy named The Big Hurt he doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall? I’m not.

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One of my big problems with this years votes is Greg Maddux. I’m 38 years old. I had the pleasure of watching Greg Maddux’s entire career and remembering it. Growing up in the New York City area, as a Yankee fan, I rather enjoyed watching him take on the Mets, often ruining any fantasy their fans had of being competitive. Mr. Maddux received 97.2% of the votes, and I have a huge problem with this.

There is absolutely no excuse for why Greg Maddux did NOT receive 100% of the votes. I would love the opportunity to sit down with the 16 people who didn’t vote for him and find out why. After they gave me some outdated explanation, I would take their votes from them… And then slap them in the face with the ballots.

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From around 1992 to 2000, if Maddux was pitching against your team, you pretty much chalked it up a loss. Take away his pitching for just a second. From 1990 to 2002, he won 13 straight Gold Gloves. After an “off year” in 2003, he came back to win the award 5 more consecutive years from 2004 to 2008. That means from the ages of 38 to 42, well past his prime in a sport that has 20 year olds sprouting up yearly, he was still the best fielding pitcher in the game. He had 5 career home runs and made us all aware that chicks do indeed love the long ball. He was also an 8 time All Star, but let me say something about All Star appearances. I hold no credence to All Star game selections except for pitchers. Fans vote in the offensive starters with as much, if not slightly more, credibility than the BBWAA, and I had to endure watching the likes of Cal Ripken and Ozzie Smith well beyond their time. However, managers pick their pitchers, and when an opposing manager picks you, well, that is just respect.

In case you forgot how glorious the commercial was, check out Chicks Dig the Long Ball here.

Now, let’s look at that pitching. Any avid baseball fan knows Greg Maddux won 4 Cy Young Awards. But it wasn’t just that he won those 4 awards, it was how he did it. Let’s just look closely at 2 of the seasons he won the award. In 1994, he posted a ridiculous 1.56 ERA and came back in 1995 with a 1.63 ERA. In both of those said seasons, he lead the league with 10 complete games and 3 shutouts (talk about consistency). He finished in the top 5 in THE MVP voting in both the ’94 and ’95 campaigns. He was a one man wrecking crew and arguably the MOST dominant pitcher of his era, yet 16 people felt he wasn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer. And all I can do is ask why?

 

It’s pretty simple, actually. There is absolutely no criteria to be in the Hall of Fame. For SEVENTEEN straight years, Maddux finished with 15 or more wins and in only one of those campaigns (1990’s 15-15 campaign) was he not well above .500. He has 355 career wins. That’s eighth all time, folks. EIGHTH! Do you know how many pitchers have thrown a baseball? And even though The Professor was all about finesse, he still finished with 3,371 strikeouts, which puts him at tenth all time. (Incidentally, many thanks to baseball-reference.com for all of this information!) Throw in an unreal 3.16 ERA over a 23 year career and we are looking at one of the all time greatest pitchers to ever throw a baseball. And again, 16 people apparently disagree.

One of the problems today’s inductees are facing is the whole Steroid Era, and how certain writers will not vote for anyone who played during the era under the unfair assumption that everyone abused the drug. Of course, the Steroid Era is kind of shaky on its official start date. In June of 1991, then commissioner Fay Vincent issued a statement making steroids officially illegal in clubhouses. Is that the official start? Or was it in 1992, when Curtis Wenzlaff was busted for allegedly supplying the likes of The Bash Brothers with steroids? No, I think most consider the real start of the Steroid Era the post 1994 strike, when not just anabolic steroids but new supplements were being used. Well, if that’s the case, Maddux already had 3 of his 4 Cy Young Awards sitting in his trophy cabinet, so I’m not ok with that rationale.

Other writers have admitted they simply won’t vote for players because they feel that no one should be a first ballot inductee. Excuse me? That’s a blatant bias, and people with any bias should not be on a panel deciding someone’s fate. I was a high school teacher for a few years. I couldn’t just sit there and grade my students based on assumptions or biases. There were scoring rubrics I had to make that set certain standards, elements, and points each student had to hit in order to gain an A, and not only did I create it, I presented it to the students so they understood what their goal was. The Baseball Hall of Fame voting process has none of this. If it did, Maddux hit EVERY standard and stat he needed to, as he is top ten in two huge stats. On top of the numbers, he has the awards, the championship, he was never linked to steroids, he was liked by his peers, the fans seemed to think he was a stand up guy, and as I pointed out earlier, thanks to the longball, chicks dug him.

Maybe you feel like you wasted your time reading this, because at the end of the day, Greg Maddux is now in the Hall of Fame. But 16 people feel he shouldn’t be. And Craig Biggio, one of 28 people with 3,000 hits in the history of the game, isn’t. And nobody is really sure why.

I need to cool off. Until next time folks. Hopefully The NBA won’t have another Nickname Night by then.