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More Shameless Literary Self-Promotion

2 May

 Once again, there’s nothing more off-putting than the shameless self-promotion that permeates American society like a besotted rug three days after a keg party. That being said, the Hangover would like to announce that its editor, Albert Waitt, has a new short story currently being published by Stymie, A Journal of Sport and Literature.  The piece is available (free of charge–woo hoo!!) on the magazine’s web site:   http://www.stymiemag.com/2011/05/new-fiction-hard-enough.html

Even at less than 500 words, Mr. Waitt’s story, “Hard Enough,” could be thought of as a subversive companion to the phenomenal ”Friday Night Lights” television series.  As usual,  any resemblance to actual people, places, or events is purely coincidental.

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The Hangover’s 2009 Person of the Year: Tiger Woods

30 Dec

Tiger Woods had a remarkable 2009.  He won 6 of the 17 PGA tournaments he entered, finished 2nd three times, and earned over $10.5 million in prize money.   Forbes estimates that he also made $100 million in endorsements.    In addition, Tiger managed to bed a host of smoking hot party girls and wanna-be celebrities.   If not for the fact that Tiger was married with two small children, his 2009 would have been a year for the ages.  Instead, all this remarkable success was overshadowed by his wife taking a golf club to both him and his Cadillac Escalade. 

So why does the Hangover name an apparent moral degenerate as its person of the year?  For the simple fact that in 2009 Tiger’s actions benefitted all married American men.   No matter what faults we may have, at least we’re (presumably) not Tiger Woods, out banging skanky chicks while our devoted, unsuspecting wives  remained home caring for our innocent children.   No other action (short of bringing home an STD) could anger the average American woman more than that.  Tiger has made the rest of us look good.  Really good.

For example, 

You give your wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas.  Your wife thinks: He may be an idiot, but at least he’s not Tiger Woods.”

You lose your job.  Your wife thinks:  “Well, he may be an unemployed lout, but at least he’s not Tiger Woods.”

You blow the rent money on an impossible five team parlay that busts on the Colts’  loss to the Jets.  Your wife thinks:  “He may be a degenerate gambler, but at least he’s not Tiger Woods.”

Your wife catches you checking out her sister.  Your wife thinks:   “He’s on the  couch for a week, but at least he’s not Tiger Woods.”

You get drunk and crash your car into a tree.  Your wife thinks:  “He’s a drunken idiot, but at least I didn’t have to go out in this cold and beat him with a golf club.   He’s no Tiger Woods.” 

Whatever the rest of us may do this year that our wives may deem ignorant, idiotic, or nearly unforgivable, it won’t seem as horrible to them as what Tiger Woods did in 2009.   Tiger has made the rest of us appear better than we actually are.  Thank you, Tiger Woods–the Hangover’s 2009 Person of the Year. 

Tiger’s 2009 in Pictures:

Bud Selig: Baseball Hero

13 Feb

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has come out with this definitive statement on the Alex Rodriguez steroid scandal:  A-Rod   has “shamed the game.”   The reverberations of Bud’s comments will shake the foundation of the sport to its performance-enhanced roots.  What shortstop pocketing millions of dollars could live with himself knowing that if he shoots himself in the ass with  HGH he’ll cast a shadow over the game?

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt was recently suspended for saying that Selig was “someone who looks like a computer programmer, substitute teacher or government worker” and that Selig’s 18.5 million dollar salary caused Van Pelt to choke on his own vomit.  Van Pelt continued by stating that Selig was a “pimp for real. He probably has a chalice with ‘B-U-D’ spelled out in jewels and diamonds. You drink from a chalice if you’re a pimp.”   Van Pelt couldn’t have been more wrong.  Pimps have girls and hookers and whores.  Bud only supervised drug users.  He just didn’t realize it.   And no one can blame him for that:  He was a car dealer, not McNulty from The Wire.   

There was no way Bud could have known that drugs had infiltrated his sport.  He was not yet commissioner and wasn’t in Fenway when 30,000 Sox fans chanted “STER-OIDS” at Jose Canseco in the 1990 playoffs.   Apparently, the average drunken Bostonain realized something that neither baseball executives  nor sportswriters could figure out.  But the well-above-average intelligence of Northeasterners should not reflect poorly on Bud. 

Of course, there were the proportionally increasing size of players and home run totals.   Starting in 1999, the record for number of homers  passed 61 (established in 1961) with Mark Mcgwire’s 65, eventually landing on Barry Bond’s 73 in 2001.   During that time McGwire went from ” big guy” to “muscle bound freak,” and a once-normal Bonds turned into the Incredible Hulk with a Volkswagen Bug for a head.   One can surmise that Bud was busy investigating if baseballs had become too tightly wound and why there were so many bad pitchers, the most likely explanations for all the long balls. 

Ultimately, however, Bud can take credit for exposing the performance enhancing drug problem in the sport.  If not for Selig’s complete ignorance of the issue, Jose Canseco’s memoir, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, would have never had the impact it did.  Upon the book’s release, Congress felt compelled to step in and address the problem, with Bud doing his best impression of Captain Binghamtom in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  No, Bud didn’t come off as knowing anything or having a clue, but by the nature of his exemplary ineptness, he brought about the machinations that have begun to clean up the sport.  

Now when Bud talks, baseball listens.  Right after it stops laughing.

Capt. Wallace B. Binghamton and Bud Selig

Two American Heroes: Capt. Wallace B. Binghamton and Bud Selig

Kurt Warner Misses Jesus at Super Bowl

2 Feb

After the NFC Championship game, Kurt Warner thanked Jesus for his performance and the Arizona Cardinals’ win. In yesterday’s Super Bowl, Warner was nearly great, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns.  But he also gakked up a game-changing interception for a Steeler TD at the end of the first half and then fumbled in the closing seconds when heaving a Hail Mary to god-like wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald could have provided victory.  In post-game remarks, Kurt did not thank Jesus for this lesson in humility.

The question remains, why would Jesus abandon one of his biggest supporters in his time of need?  Perhaps Jesus was worn out from nefariously influencing NBC executives into banning PETA’s harmless “Vegetarians Have Better Sex” commercial.   While NBC’s shows are populated with hot actresses (the awesome Friday Night Lights anyone?), apparently they are not allowed on-screen with broccoli, asparagus, and pumpkins.  Irregardless, the Hangover hopes that the meat-eating, having-lousy-sex citizens of Pittsburgh are enjoying themselves.   

As for the rest of us, time to start ordering salads:

Teixeira, the next Mattingly, Signs with Yankees

23 Dec

Finally, Mark Teixeira ended his career as a news-making free agent and signed with the New York Yankees for $180 million over eight years.  Of course, he’d probably have signed with Satan for $181, but fortunately the Dark Lord doesn’t have a team.   Teixeira can now wear his pinstripes with pride.  He’s getting well paid for the privilege.  One can only guess where he will ultimately fit in the great tradition of  Yankee first basemen.  

Certainly, he will not match Lou Gerhig.  But then who could?  Teixeira will  be better than the Giambino or Tino Martinez, no disrespect to Martinez, who actually captured rings with the Bronx Bombers.  The Hangover finds an eerie paralell with Texeira and Yankee great Don Mattingly.   At first glance, this comparison should make Yankee fans happy.  Like Tex, Mattingly was an excellent fielder who could hit the hell out of the ball.  But Mattingly never tasted post-season champagne, the Yankees losing the one playoff series that he was involved in (despite his hitting .417).  Teixeira hit well  in his one playoff series, too, batting .467. His fearsome spraying of singles didn’t do much for his Angels, however, as they got their ass kicked by the Red Sox. 

The great Yankee teams of the ’90’s were exactly that, teams, with the main cogs coming up through the Yankee system (Jeter, Posada, Rivera, etc..,).  If buying your way to the Championship worked, the Yankees would have won last year, or the year before that, or the year before that, and so on.  You get the point.

Let’s not overlook the karma factor, either.  The Yankees still have the greatest choker in modern baseball history, A-Rod.  Maybe the pressure comes with a little more force when you’re cashing in at 20 million-plus and your name isn’t Manny Ramirez.   Good luck to Teixeira, who,  if he feels like it, can drown future post-season failures with Thomas Jefferson’s bottles of Lafite-Rothschild.  Like Mattingly, Teixeira’s Octobers will also end short of the bubbly.

And before the Red Sox and their fans start whining about the big spending ways of the Yankees, all they have to do is think of the Nationals or the Pirates or the Brewers.  To those teams, the Red Sox might as well be the Yankees.  

In the end, the Red Sox will be okay.  They’ve still got two World Series MVP’s left, each making about half of what Teixeira and A-Rod bring home.  Funny how that works.

Handicapping the Presidential Race

15 Sep

With 50 days to go before the election, the race for President remains hotly contested–and close.  Sure, you could bury yourself in MSNBC, CNN, and Fox for a non-stop slew of reporting on likely scenarios and probabilities of victory.  But there are analysts out there much sharper than the political pundits.  They’re the guys running the sports books.  Yes, ironically, you can actually gamble on the Presidential Election.

For those of you faint-at-heart or honest or sheltered, a sportsbook is a place that establishes odds and takes bets on various sporting contests.  It’s a big business, estimated at over $200 billion dollars annually across the planet, with the Super Bowl accounting for $7 billion in just one day.  The analysis that goes into establishing odds is no less intense (while probably being done more scrupulously) than what takes place on Wall Street.

A survey of three major online sports books reveals that Obama is a clear favorite:

Sportsbook.com:  Obama -150, McCain -110  (To win $100, one must bet $150 on Obama or $110 on McCain.)

BetUs.com:  Obama -130, McCain -110.     (To win $100, one must bet $130 on Obama or $110 on McCain.)

Bodog.com:  Obama -145, McCain +105  (To win $100, one must bet $145 on Obama and a $100 bet on McCain will bring in $105).

Odds are established so that an equal number of dollars are wagered on each side.  The sports book makes their money off of the vigorish–the gap between the two propositions.  The higher wager cost on Obama tells us that more people (their dollars, anyway) are betting on him to win.  By raising those odds, the bookmakers are hoping to slow down the action on that proposition, while encouraging people to go to McCain for a better payout. 

What the bookmakers are analysing here are the betting habits of Americans, not how economic issues may play out in Ohio or Sarah Palin’s cleavage will effect the voters of Florida.   They are revealing that “more people likely to gamble on a Presidential Election” think Obama will win.  Whether these “degenerates” are betting with their hearts or have spent the past three months sifting through historical voting data and current opinion polls cannot be known.  The Hangover just hopes that they are right.  My money–and yours, if you’re in the bottom 95% of income earners in America–is riding on it.

Red Sox Nation at Rest: All-Star Break ’08

14 Jul

The Hangover’s musings on the ’08 baseball season.

  • There should be no panic-worry-complaining from  Sox nation.  The team plays hard every night.  The lineup is good and the pitching is there.  Exciting young players are coming up through the system and contributing.  But it’s the pitching that means the Sox will be in the mix in October. Oh yeah, and they won the Series again last year.  Anyone bitching about this year’s model should be given 1950’s style shock therapy.
  • Give Jason Varitek a break.  He’s not a young man anymore but he’s being played like one.  He’s hitting .218 and throwing out less than 20% of base runner’s attempting to steal.  Hey, he’s 36–and he’s not Carlton Fisk (a freak of nature who played effectively into his 40’s).  The Sox will figure out that they need to cut his workload and give him two out of every five days off.  When they do, his numbers will rise.
  • Is there a Heidi Watney fan club?  If there is, The Hangover would like to join.  The Red Sox Insider report with Heidi and Amalie Benjamin is the no-doubt highlight of the NESN pre-game show.  In fact, The Hangover would  be glad to join the Amalie Benjamin fan club, too. 
  • Occasionally, the Hangover listens to a game on the radio.  While Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien do a good job describing the action, they can be tedious.  

          > When Castiglione is doing the play-by-play, every Sox out is imparted with the “I just found out    my mother-in-law is coming for the weekend” voice.  The “my dog just got hit by a car” tone pops up for bases loaded failures and the final out of the game.  Relax, Joe.  A loss isn’t the end of the world.

           > O’Brien, on the other hand, seems to know what’s going on in every player and manager’s head.  He’s constantly stating, “There’s nothing that Terry Francona wants more than…” or “Dustin Pedroia would really like to…”  Hey, stick to the action.  The Amazing Kreskin should have retired with Johnny Carson.

            >  Dale Arnold, on his nights, is fine.  He gives the details and describes the game without the pathetic tones or a know-it-all attitude.  And he can be humorous while doing so.  A real bonus, considering.

  • Give Hank Steinbrenner some credit.  It was a no-brainer to turn Joba Chamberlain into a starter.  He’s big, strong, and has more than two good pitches.  By the end of the year, he’ll be the Yankees #1 starter.  And if the owner has to stick his nose in to get things done, hey, it’s his team.
  • We all know about how the Sox need to extract every dollar from their ballpark and broadcasts so that they can compete with the dreaded, rich Yankees.  But enough with the sponsorships and marketing.  How long will it be before Remy and Orsillo are discussing the Papelbon “Fed Ex” fastball for strike three?  Or the Wakefield “Isotoner” knuckleball?  Can the “Jiffy Lube” slider be far off?  This will be a certain boon for Wendy’s who can sponsor every single, double, and triple.
  • The Hangover closes this post by taking a look at the American League all-star infield.  On the left, there are the Yankees Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.  On the right, the Sox Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.  Let’s go over the stats:

Jeter and A-Fraud:  Combined Production:  .296, 24 HR, 95 RBI; Combined Salaries:  49.6 Million dollars.

Pedroia and Youkilis:  Combined Production:  .314, 24 HR, 110 RBI; Combined Salaries:  3.45 Million dollars.

Yikes.  At 7% of the cost, the Sox pair exceeds the production of the Yankees starters.  And we all know what happens to A-Fraud in October. 

When evaluating players, one must consider the all-important (and Hangover original) RPY (Rings per Year) stat.  Jeter and A-Fraud have a combined 27 years in the league with 4 Series victories between them for a RPY  of .148.   Pedroia and Youkilis have a combined 5 years in the league with three Series victories between them for a RPY of .600, an enormous edge for the Sox pair.  This Saxony Stat of the Season is brought to you by Saxony Imports of Kennebunkport, Maine, the place to shop in Kennebunkport, located just over the bridge in Dock Square. 

(Sorry, but expanding revenue streams works for the Sox, and The Hangover must compete with the dreaded, rich ESPN.com, MSNBC.com, The Onion, etc..,.  )