Video Killed the Baseball Star?

Mike Trout: Major League Baseball and the Infinite Starless

By David Hauser

Who is baseball’s biggest star (or even biggest stars)?  This would be a silly question to ask in basketball and football.  To an enthusiastic baseball fan though this probably sounds like a simple question: the names Kemp, Verlander, Pujols, Jeter, Votto, Hamilton, Fielder, Trout roll off the tongue with the ease and efficiency of an effortless Joe Mauer crack of the bat.  But I offer this follow up question, would your mom or your girlfriend or wife be able to pick even one of these guys out of a visual lineup upon hearing these names?

Consider it the “metric of mom,” an advanced scientific measure developed by an overtime working, coffee induced, crack team at Cal Tech…or maybe not very empirical at all.  Science notwithstanding, it is an excellent place to start when talking about transcendent figures in culture.  Is someone so big that they defy age and gender in their gravitas?[1]

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Eli Manning: I think it is fair to say they are known by grandmothers, much less mothers.  LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard: yes, yes, and yes in passing the mom metric.  We could probably even safely toss Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Drew Brees, and maybe even Aaron Rodgers into this category after their triumphant past few years.  However, I cannot come up with a single baseball player that I could say with 100% confidence that my mom would be able to identify by name or face (the closest I can surmise would be Evan Longoria, but only because he was cruel to Bree about her new husband and his practicing of cutting edge new exercise methods such as pole dancing).

Here is a simple truth: Kris Humphries has better name recognition than Albert Pujols by moms and wives/girlfriends.  Maybe this is not even particularly surprising considering Humphries is more well-known for his 72-day stint as reality-TV husband of Kim Kardashian, than for his impressive efficiency for collecting rebounds on the hardwood.  However I would go one step further and say that Humphries is an overall larger superstar amongst all ages and across both genders than Albert Pujols (the most productive power hitter in Major League Baseball over the last decade, a man who is fair to mention in the same breath as Ruth, Aaron, and Mays as one of the greatest ever to play the game).  And I have proof. Continue reading

Late July. NFL Training Camp Hype. Ryan Kalil.

July 25, 2012 Charlotte Observer, Ryan Kalil Issues his guarantee for a Panthers Super Bowl this year

By David Hauser

Heck, I’m not even laughing, I’m just impressed.

Impressed first, that a young guy is so well versed in his franchise’s roots, especially considering that Kalil is a Cali kid with no ties whatsoever to the greater Smoky Mountain region.  How does he know so much about such a young and mostly anonymous NFL franchise, a team that he grew up literally 5,000 miles away from?  A lot of professional athletes get tagged with the mercenary label: there to get a pay check, fame, and a bunch of twitter followers…and barely know what city they are playing for.  Not Kalil, you can almost feel the retro-active pain he feels for his club’s “Dom Caper Years,” when all that Panther Nation[1] had to root for was possessing the league’s most unheralded fantasy QB in Steve Beuerlein[2] and rooting for one of the greatest names to ever bless the field of sport in tailback Tshimanga (pronounced Tim-monga) Biakabutuka. Continue reading

Newsroom Poised to Anchor HBO 2.0 with Unabashed Enthusiasm

By David Hauser

Once upon a time, HBO aired The Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, and critically acclaimed but short-lived (and too expensive) Carnivale.  This would be an incredible decade for any network, but almost forgotten 10 years past, this programming was all aired in the same run (2001-2007). HBO was the catalyst for the golden age of television we currently live in with this string of plot laden and character thick hits.  But then HBO lost its way.  And the competition caught up.

In the summer of 2005, Six Feet Under came to a close and over the next two years each of these HBO created mega hits all expired as well.  Viewers primed to expect nothing but excellence from the premium cable content provider saddled up to their new feigned HD screens as HBO re-loaded for it’s next big run.  Instead HBO served up Hung, How to Make It in America, Treme, and the list of duds rolled on.  This while other networks like AMC, Showtime, and Fx jumped into the “thinking TV game” with the likes of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Dexter, and Louie.  HBO even got beat at its own game by an arcane, clunky, good ole’ fashioned broadcast network when ABC struck gold with Lost. Continue reading

Mad Men: Season 5 Comes to a Close

By Adam Gavin

In arguably the best season in the show’s six year run, Mad Men Season 5 came to a close last night.  The finale felt like it feel a bit flat, almost digging for a cheap cliffhanger when it needn’t to.  However, with no major story lines left agape it feels like Matthew Weiner & Co. have the freedom to take the show in unexpected and fascinating new directions once again starting next season.  Here’s a meme paying homage to Roger Sterling in all of his Season 6 glory.

$2 Billion Ballpark Hot Dog

By David Hauser

Economists question the wisdom of paying $2 Billions for the L.A. Dodgers

Is there something in the Dodger Dogs we do not know about….perhaps uncut diamonds?

It would only be appropriate of Frank McCourt to bring Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson’s ownership group to the Dodgers’ team store after they’re done at the concessions and comp them all a a few Dodger jackets….preferably the one’s made of fleece.

The Employed Ones: Free Agency Culture of the NFL vs. NBA

By David Hauser

Jobs.  Ask any politician a question this political season and he or she will inevitably find a way to bring the conversation back to jobs.  Politicians may be underhanded and smarmy, but they still remain a better metric than even twitter for assessing the most salient issue of the day (as of course, they must be on the cutting edge of what best to pander to).  Since the worldwide economic collapse in the Autumn of 2008, we have seen American state governors wage war against unions, politicians get tagged with the vaunted “socialist” label, endless political arguments about whether cutting taxes or increasing government spending is a sounder methodology for creating jobs, the rise of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, and I can only guess the term “job creation” will be plastered and super-glued to our nation’s collective forehead over the next eight months as Barack Obama and (seemingly) Mitt Romney vie for the White House this November.  The operative word in this endless political theater is: labor.

As writer and pop-philosopher king Chuck Klosterman pointed out last year, every major sports and cultural story of 2011 revolved around labor.  Two of the three most popular American sports leagues had labor disputes over the same three to fourth month period.  Charlie Sheen fought his highly publicized dispute with CBS all because of labor.  Hell, even the lowly Detroit Pistons tried to organize a strike against their own coach last year by not attending practice as their unfortunate season wound to a close.  In what must be perceived as some kind of socio-cultural clash of class and wealth, this country is in the midst of a major financial distribution transition and without coincidence the sports world mirrors the broader American culture in coming to grips with this issue.

For the third year in a row, the NBA’s on court brilliance has been hijacked by the labor narrative.  Dwight Howard’s “Indecision 2012” significantly overshadowed the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament.  NFL fans, who were not afforded the fast-paced rush of a traditional free agent signing period last year due to the NFL’s aforementioned labor dispute, are treating this year’s free agency period as some kind of sacrosanct religious experience (with the likes of Mario Williams, Peyton Manning, and Tim Tebow on the move).

More than ever, sports fans are wholeheartedly consumed by free agency player movement.  Through some form of fragmented sublimation of our country’s unemployment crisis, it remains easier to analyze and critique the labor relations of our athletes and celebrities than internalize and personalize our own fears about the rapidly shifting wealth and labor landscape in America. Continue reading

Diaries of a Law Student Sports Fan

By David Berlin

There’s a scene in the HBO comedy The Life and Times of Tim where someone turns on the lights in a strip club, and all of a sudden the beautiful sexy girls are revealed to be overweight, with C-section scars, cigarette burns, and loads of bad makeup.

That’s kind of how I feel about this year’s NCAA Tournament. Last year, Penn State miraculously won the Big Ten Tournament, went on to the NCAA Tournament, and I was drunk with enthusiasm. This year, I’ve got nobody to root for and the tournament just seems nasty. All I’m seeing are scandals, one year rent-a-players, and porous 2 seeds.

But that’s the thing about attending a school like Penn State – it’s perennially good at football but only good at basketball once in a while. I was just talking to my friend who went to Syracuse for undergrad and he was saying how great it is to see his team in the Sweet 16 again. If ‘Cuse gets to the Final Four, he’s got an excuse to meet up with all his college buddies. I’m jealous.  There are only so many times a man can yell “WE ARE PENN STATE” in the mirror with no other fellow Nittany Lion fans around to join in. Continue reading

NFL’s New “Williams Wall”

By David Hauser

For the past half decade the Vikings defense has been a nightmare matchup for Offensive Coordiantors to scheme for because of the impenetrable defensive line Minnesota assembled.  The Vikings’ Pat Williams and Kevin Williams formed what NFL diehards coined “The Williams Wall.”  This pair led a defense that did not allow a 100 yard rusher for virtually three straight seasons (allowing opponents only 68.5 rushing yards per game over this stretch).  However, Pat Williams aged and left the team in 2010.  Kevin Williams remains with the Vikings, but the Williams Wall has come down.

There is a new “Williams Wall” in the NFL these days.  With the signing of “Super Mario” Williams, the Buffalo Bills are paring arguably the most complete defensive end in football with their already stout interior defensive lineman.  Most notably, All-Pro defensive tackle Kyle Williams will line up next to Mario Williams on the d-line for the 2012 Buffalo Bills this fall.  This new Williams Wall, along with standout Alabama second year defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, form the most fearsome defensive wall seen in the NFL in some time.  This new “Williams Wall” gives the hungry fans of Western New York something of a proud foundation to once again stand upon.

Super Mario Bros: Buffalo Bills Defensive Line Edition

By David Hauser

Big day for Headie Sports!  Mario Willaims (@bbwolf90) is now using a Headie Sports created twitter avatar!  It appears late yesterday afternoon a Bills fan tweeted the new Bills Defensive End the “Super Mario Bros: Buffalo Bills Free Agency Edition” artwork from this website.  Mario Williams is now sporting only the headiest of twitter avatars that I’ve seen throughout the twittersphere.

Per the request of Bills fans over at Buffalo Rumblings, here is a similar version of the Super Mario Bros. pic with Kyle Williams to represent the tremendous defensive line advantage the Bills will have moving forward (let’s also not forget #3 overall pick from the 2011 NFL Draft, Marcell Dareus either).  It would now appear the Bills are no longer pursuing Manningham, after locking up the real Super Mario for $100 million over 6 years.

According to Buddy Nix in an appearance on Pro Football now with Mike Florio this past Friday, it appears the Bills will be seeking a WR with a bigger frame and 4.4-4.5 speed in the NFL draft, perhaps as early as the 2nd round.

As the weekend following the signing carries on, the #SuperMarioParty continues on in Western New York!  Reports from Buffalonians suggest there was not much work productivity this past Thursday, as fans followed along with the huge signing at work.  Additionally, fans started up a spirited and random car horn honking campaign all the way home throughout 5 o’clock traffic on I-90 thru Buffalo to celebrate the monumental Super Mario signing.

Luke Russert continues to operate in his late father’s stead as defacto leader of the #BillsMafia.  Using his national communication platform, Russert tweeted back and forth with ESPN Chris Mortenson as Bills fans waited for the word as to whether or not Mario was indeed signing with the Bills.  In the moments following the successful Super Mario signing, Mortenson responded to Russert who tweeted “Yeah baby!!! Mario in #Buffalo!!” with “I can see your Dad smiling and pumping his fist right now.”