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Archive for the ‘Chicago Sports’ Category

The Zeros Never Lie

In Chicago Sports, Notre Dame on December 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm
Was the lecture on Mammon not in the curriculum?

Notre Dame continues to amaze with their altruistic vision of money grubbing fraud.  Seriously, if Notre Dame was my secret santa, they would gift wrap a piece of dog poo, attempt to convince me that the gift is actually something other than dog poo, then claim offense for any suggestion that they would ever gift wrap dog poo.

In my opinion, college universities with major football and basketball programs have clouded the line between themselves and their professional brethren.  The money made by the 6 major equity conferences (Atlantic Coast/ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern/SEC) and the independent Notre Dame have tainted college sports into basically creating an alternative professional sports league.

The worst offender is the University of Notre Dame.  The Catholic university with the motto “Life, Sweetness, and Hope” should add greed, arrogance, and being disingenuous.  The football team has an exclusive contract with NBC for an estimated $9 million per year through 2015.  Back in 2005, Notre Dame signed a 10 year / $60 million apparel contract with Adidas.  It has a $5.5 billion endowment, but still rose tuition 4.4% during a recession.  It now costs an undergraduate student $48,845 (including room and board) to attend Notre Dame, and that doesn’t include the additional $230 to attend the 8 home games.

I feel the university has really gone downhill since the George O’Leary debacle of 2001, where Notre Dame hired the Georgia Tech coach without fully checking his inaccurate resume, which included falsifying his academic credentials and attending a non-existent school.  Subsequently, they hire Tyrone Willingham, whose firing 3 years later represented the first time in school history that a coach was fired before their initial contract expired.  Next was Charlie Weis.  After posting a 5-2 record in his first half of his first year, Notre Dame officials extended his contract to 10-years, which was to be worth a reported $30–40 million through 2015.  The extension was a horrible deal as Weis was fired this year.  No wonder tuition is going up, they have to pay Charlie Weis for the next 6 years to do nothing.

Obviously, the Willingham and Weis hires were bad calls.  Oddly enough, both Willingham and Weis had books written about them touting a “return/rise to glory.”:

I was surprised to find these listed under non-fiction.  I guess these books are slightly less presumptuous than the Tribune book “This is The Year” touting the Cubs 2008 season just before losing to the Dodgers in the playoffs.  Seriously, we need a special place in the Dewey Decimal System for books that jump the gun, which would be right next to books on Global Warming.

Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick hired Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly to be the next head football coach at Notre Dame.  Kelly just won the Big East conference with an undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats squad (which in another example of NCAA fraud will not be given an opportunity to play for a national championship) and whose team will play in the Sugar Bowl against Florida on January 1st.  Notre Dame’s ego was on full display as they hired Kelly on December 11th thereby preventing him from coaching his undefeated squad in their bowl game.  Hey ND, way to think about Cincinnati’s students.  Even the NFL prevents interviews for any coaches or assistant coaches with teams still in the playoffs.  But then again, this is Notre Dame, who unapologetically writes their own rules.  Couldn’t Notre Dame have waited one month before beginning their coaching search?  Couldn’t they come to a verbal agreement and announce the hiring after the bowl game?  Couldn’t the NCAA write a rule preventing interviews between the regular and bowl season?  This situation is completely set up to the advantage of the money makers, in this example the university and coaches.

Did Kelly express remorse?

“Transition is very difficult…Those situations are extremely emotional. I handled myself in a way that was up front and honest. I’m forever grateful for the players at the University of Cincinnati, for what they gave me. They gave me this opportunity at Notre Dame.”

What a jackass.  Transition is difficult…but not difficult enough when you get millions.  Glad you feel you were up front and honest even though your old players don’t agree.  Way to pat yourself on the back.  You get to go off and make millions.  Players have to commit to the university, get paid nothing, and have no head coach for their bowl game.

For a more realistic perspective, ask Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard how he feels:

“I heard everything I needed to know: ‘I accepted the Notre Dame job.’  He went for the money. I’m fairly disgusted with the situation, that they let it last this long.  I don’t like it…I feel there was a little lying in the thing. I feel like he’d known this the whole time. Everybody knows Notre Dame’s got the money. I kind of had a gut feeling he was going to stay just because he told me he was going to be here…Just blindsided by the fact that it’s a business.  People lose sight of that. At the end of the day, NCAA football is a business. People have got to make business decisions.”

During a news conference announcing the Weis firing, Swarbrick patronized Weis by discussing his national championship…in academics:

“You know, Charlie did win a National Championship; he won a National Championship when his football program finished first in graduation success rate this year, and that is an important contribution and one which we value very highly.”

Weis’ players were not just good classroom performers but the best performers in the country as he won a National Championship…in academics.  Apparently, winning an academic national championship is still not good enough to keep a job.  Imagine if the opposite were true.  Could anyone imagine Notre Dame firing Weis after winning a National Championship in football but only graduating 1/3 of the team (à la Bob Huggins)?  I guess if you are looking for excellence, its more economically feasible to have it on the field then in the classroom.

So much for high standards.  Notre Dame likes to publicize its standards when financially to their advantage.  They put a contract renewal with Taco Bell on hold due to their lack of disclosure regarding labor standards.  While Adidas has the same problems (which came under fire at Michigan and Wisconsin back in 2007), there is no talk about ending that contract.  The difference here is the Taco Bell’s contract is for hundreds of thousands of dollars, while the Adidas deal is worth millions.

Notre Dame has transitioned into exactly what they professed they would never be…just like everyone else.  They are no different from Alabama, Oklahoma, or USC.  Well, slightly different.  They still can’t win games.

It’s gotten so bad that even Jesus doesn’t want to coach there.

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This Week in Chicago Sports Envy (11/29/09): College Football Edition

In Chicago Sports on November 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Given that Notre Dame is about to fire their 3rd head football coach since 2000 and Illinois is stuck in the Big 10 cellar, The Chicago Tribune needs to find a successful football story and their new favorite team is the Northwestern Wildcats.  In the November 23rd Chicago Tribune, reporter Teddy Greenstein examines the factors that will drive the bowl committee’s team selection of Wisconsin or Northwestern.  In my opinion, the bowl committee will choose teams based on the following 2 factors:  (a) teams providing a good matchup and (b) teams that will bring in the most money.  Teddy’s analysis looks at these 2 criteria and a host of other absurd critera:

Wisconsin advantages over Northwestern:

  • Better overall record, assuming the Badgers beat Hawaii (9-3 vs. 8-4). (Legit point)
  • Much larger fan base. (Absolutely legit point)
  • A stronger “name.” (Another legit point)
  • Many would view the Badgers as a better matchup against an SEC opponent such as LSU or Tennessee. (This may be true, but Northwestern may pose an interesting matchup as well)
  • A possible Top 25 ranking, though the Badgers fell out this week after their loss to Northwestern. (Another legit point)

Northwestern advantages over Wisconsin:

  • Head-to-head victory. (OK, this one is legit)
  • Wisconsin’s Florida bowl fatigue: The Badgers have played in Florida bowls the last five years. (And this is a problem, how???  The Badgers and their fans travel well and, except for last year’s trouncing by Florida State, the games have been exciting with Wisconsin winning 2 of the 5 contests)
  • Wisconsin’s season-ending trip to Hawaii will pull some traveling fans away from its bowl game. (Again, huh?  The bowl game is in Florida, not the China.  And, the games are over one month apart.  I don’t think the fans will be too worn out for a drive to Tampa.  Wisconsin fans will travel anywhere there is beer).
  • The Wildcats have momentum after winning three straight. (Legit point)
  • Northwestern has not played in a Florida bowl since the 1997 Citrus — and never has played in Tampa. (Does anyone really think the bowl committee really cares about the last time Northwestern played in Florida?  However, lets take Teddy’s point and examine that 1997 Citrus bowl, in which Tennessee beat Northwestern 41 – 21, and was leading 21-0 after the first quarter.  It was the 2nd biggest bowl thumping I have ever seen except for the 2000 Alamo bowl, where Northwestern lost to Nebraska 66 – 17).

How does one measure envy…the length at which one is willing to make stuff up.

Cubs Fans Are Acting Like Pagans

In Chicago Sports, Cubs on April 23, 2009 at 9:00 am
Jo-Bu can get you to the World Series

Jo-Bu can get you to the World Series

What in the name of Steve Bartman is wrong with the Chicago Cubs and their fans?  Over the past couple years, there has been a disturbing trend of Cubs management, players, and fans dabbling in the occult that would disturb any radical voodo-priest.

We start with out 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez, who’s glorified cockfighting past may actually be masking a sacrifice to some voodoo diety to help lift his October hitting slump.

Mike Vick and I love to party

Mike Vick and I love to party

Next, before the Cubs home opener, some Cubs fans left a goat’s head outside Wrigley Field.  Now, normally I would write this off as some idiot that is really into baseball and owns their own butcher shop.  However, this is not the first time a Cubs fan has left a dead animal on Harry Carey’s statue.  Cubs fans have now gone from simply annoying to barbaric.  Seriously, is the 7th inning “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” going to be replaced with Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” complete with flying bats?

By the way, I’ll bet a fan smuggled that cat into the stadium and onto the field Tuesday night.  I could see a Cubs fan rationale (which of course makes no sense) that releasing the cat on the field will break the curse of Ron Santo’s black cat at Shea.  You can throw that thought process away given that the idiot groundskeeper grabbed the poor cat by the tail.

cattail1

Let go of my tail you brute...

or you'll get more of this!!!

...or you'll get more of this!!!

Finally, the Cubs brass upset a priest by lying about a playoff blessing.  Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney spoke at the Cubs Convention (aka Pagan Winter Festival) about Rev. James L. Greanias, a Greek Orthodox priest that blessed Wrigley Field to help remove a curse before Game 1 of last year’s playoffs.  A fan asked Kenney about the priest, who responded that the priest approached him to conduct the blessing and that it was “one of the dumbest things” he had done.

First of all, when examining the Cubs playoff performance over the past few years, I sincerely doubt this was one the dumbest things he has ever done (i.e. Alfonso Soriano and his glove for $14 million, having Fukudome on the roster, etc).

Second, Kenny said, An e-mail comes in, and this was a huge Cubs fan who wants to get tickets to the game and has a cell phone with a Cubs ring tone on it, and I said, ‘Let him go.”  The article states that Rev. Greanias recalled the situation differently:

Kenney told me he wanted a Greek Orthodox priest because [William] Sianis was Greek,” said Greanias, referring to the tavern owner who placed a hex on the Cubs during the 1945 World Series. “The last thing on my mind was calling the Cubs to ask them to bless the field. In fact, I thought it was a joke at first.”

Does anyone actually believe that a priest from Valparaiso would actually email the Cubs President and offer to bless Wrigley Field in exchange for tickets?  And that the Cubs President would actually read this email (I’m sure he only gets a few daily emails from fans and he reads them all) and respond to it?

Also, someone actually paid for a Cubs ring tone?  Are you kidding me?

Finally, even if one disagrees with who is telling the truth, the fact remains that the Cubs President believed enough in the curse (or at least didn’t believe enough in his team’s chances to win) to allow a Priest to bless Wrigley Field.  In return, the Cubs were swept by the Dodgers in embarrassing fashion.

If only the Cubs and their fans actually spent more energy on winning…

PS:  I may be in trouble.  This post may upset my My Mother-In-Law.

I Can’t Win Because You Are Playing…

In Bears, Chicago Sports, Haugh, Tribune on February 24, 2009 at 9:19 am

David Haugh’s column from the February 12th Tribune is titled “Favre keeps finding ways to hurt Bears” with the subheading “Retirement from Jets, temporary or not, puts another team in the hunt for a QB.”  He writes:

Without Favre, none of the three quarterbacks on the Jets’ roster— Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge—has played a full season. Expect the front office to be aggressive in pursuing a starter for new coach Rex Ryan.

Ah Ha, so that is why the Bears had not had a decent quarterback since Sid Luckman.  All the other teams needed quarterbacks too, and the competition is so great that the Bears get stuck with guys like Henry Burris.  Given many of their quarterbacks’ performances, they might have well have started Roland Burress.

Wow, the Jets are in a market for a QB.  So what!!!  This is such an odd phenomenon!!!

Haugh continues:

Whereas No. 4 retiring a year ago was a highlight of the Bears’ off-season, Favre’s decision does more harm than good now by making any potential answer at quarterback a little harder to sign or draft.

The first sentence says it all.  For the entire 2008 off-season, the Bears highlight was Favre’s retirement.  None of the draft picks or free agent pickups were as worthwhile compared to my opponent’s quarterback’s retirement.  Is it just me, or is Haugh positioning the Bears as the whining little brother of the big bad older brother Packers.

I hate to break this to Bears fans, but the Bears had ample opportunities to sign a number of decent quarterbacks.  They always find ways to mess it up.  It’s only February and David Haugh is already making excuses.

This Week in Chicago Sports Envy (2/1/2009)

In Chicago Sports, Haugh on February 1, 2009 at 11:02 pm

It is rough living in Chicago.  The Bulls are god-awful, the Bears didn’t make the playoffs, the Cubs humiliate themselves for over 100 years, and the White Sox are pretty good but nobody is watching.  The Blackhawks are pretty good, but they are watched as closely as Arena Football.  Illinois, Northwestern and DePaul have always taken a back seat to the adoptive Chicago team Notre Dame, who are now 3-6 in the Big East.  All in all, things arn’t going so well.

But, let’s take a look at the Chicago Tribune who tries again to raise our spirits by connecting other successful sports players and teams to Chicago.

Sunday January 18th pages 4 and 5, Trib pseudo-expert (on what I’m not sure) Dan Pompei headlines “Cardinals chirping under Graves, Former Bears executive crafting talent-laden winner in Arizona.”  On the next page, David Haugh headlines “His Style All Chicago, ’85 Bears devotee Zbikowski meshes well with Ravens’ hard-nosed D.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-18-tommy-zbikowskijan18,0,4472965.story

Both of these headlines indirectly tell us how pathetic Chicago’s sports teams have become.  I am lowered to talking about a former Bears executive with the Arizona Cardinals and a special teams player on the Baltimore Ravens that happens to be from Arlington Heights.  Haugh writes, “But you can’t take Chicago out of the boy.”  Wow, I hope not, because if you did the Trib’s sports section would go from 8 pages of somewhat readable crap to 2 pages of complete dog poo.

Seriously, why doesn’t the Trib simply forgo sports stories and instead print recipies from their favorite athletes.  Aramis Ramirez’s hot and spicy chicken wings (aka the losing chickens from his own coop down in the Dominican), Lance Briggs’ knock your socks off and crash your Lamborghini martini, or Charlie Weis quadruple cheeseburger with bacon and a blommin onion between two pieces of pound cake…with a Diet Coke.

In the same paper, Haugh has Julius Peppers playing for Chicago.  Seriously, is David’s only job at the Tribune to identify players that Bears should sign?  He’s already got Boldin and Warner in Chicago, now Peppers on defense.

All columnists write in code.  They tell what you don’t want to hear in-between their well crafted sentences.  From what I’m reading,  Chicago sports fans must be bored.

This Week in Chicago Sports Envy (1/27/09)

In Chicago Sports, Haugh, Morrissey, Tribune on January 28, 2009 at 9:36 pm

The plight of Chicago sports is evident in their own sports pages. Instead of touting the outstanding achievements of Chicago based sports teams, they instead decide to report on a flimsy connection of successful players on other teams. This week’s installment features Anquan Boldin.

The January 28th Sports section of the Chicago Tribune featured 2 front page articles on 2 not-necessarily free agents that play for another team (Boldin and Kurt Warner) but the Tribune columnists want to see play for the Bears. While Warner is a free agent after the Super Bowl, Boldin has 2 years left on his contract. The Trib needs to keep Boldin and Warner in the headlines since they have already planted the seed that both are going to play for the Bears next year.

Rick Morrissey writes about Anquan Boldin’s flare up with his offensive coordinator Todd Haley during the NFC championship (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-28-morrissey-super-bowl-anqu.ar0jan28,0,2764350.column). At least Morrissey didn’t go so far as to speculate that Boldin would play for the Bears some day. We’ll leave that to Tribune columnist David Haugh, who wrote on January 26th (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-27-super-boldinjan27,0,4391244.column ) “What does Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin think of Bears fans spending their off-season longing for a trade from Arizona to Chicago so he can end the team’s search for a No. 1 wide receiver?.”

Does David Haugh hear rumblings from GM Jerry Angelo, Coach Lovie Smith, or even a Bears player? Any unnamed sources? Of course not…he simply wandered to the nearest Hooters and overheard the Bears fans’ “longing.”