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Nervous? Yes. Excited? A Little – Live-Blogging the Last Day of the MLB Season

September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

I thought we were done with this?

4:15pm

It’s the last day of the MLB season, and our beloved Red Sox are facing the prospect of missing the playoffs, despite a 9.5 wild card lead heading into September. Yes – we’re on the cusp of a monumental collapse. However, with a win over the hapless (and, let’s face it, annoying) Orioles and a Tampa Bay Rays loss, all will (sort of) be forgiven. However, even just a Sox win will force a one-game playoff tomorrow at Tropicana Field. It’s time to work this thing out together. As my buddy Lewy just texted me, “Strap in, it could be a wild ride tonight for the Sox.”

4:16pm

That last text was the first I’ve heard of Lewy in at least 10 months. He’s alive! We’re already winning.

4:16pm

Tim: Dude, you missed one hell of a Red Sox montage.

4:19pm

We’re picking this one up in the bottom of the 1st. John Lester is the Red Sox starter. 14-0 all-time against the Orioles. You would think this is making me feel better – it’s not.

(Note: I have a softball game at 8pm tonight, and I’m scheduled for a 7pm pick up. Needless to say, I’m rooting for a blowout. Let’s end this thing before I’m forced to walk away from the television. I’m begging you.

4:20pm

1-0 Yanks. Yes, NESN is featuring the NYY/TB score on the screen all night long. Yes, this will be annoying.

4:26pm

Lester works out of a 1st inning jam. Fastball and command look good, and the infield didn’t blow any easy plays. I’m feeling OK about this. Tim’s drinking. I’m trying to not look jealous.

4:29pm

Is that JD Drew hitting a solid single to right? It sure is! Sorry, dude – I don’t think a late-season cameo is going to make up for the worst contract year since … well… ever.

4:31

Nah – I don’t think a Fenway Park brick is in the budget this year. Sorry, Jimmy Fund.

4:37pm

Tim: That’s a funny looking home run!

Not sure what he’s talking about – nobody has a hit home run. Keep off the booze, kiddos.

4:39pm

Marco Scutaro makes a web gem bid, but Adam “Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones is easily safe at 1st. One on, one out, no score … yet. (Locates wood to knock on.)

4:41pm

Mark Reynolds doesn’t strike out! Instead, he grounds into a double play. 0-0 after two. And yes, I’m also making dinner. Can I interest anyone in a beef stew/ rice combo? Not so fast, Tim.

4:43

Tim: I’m going to buy triple ply toilet paper tomorrow. It’s going to be like riding on a cloud.

4:45

Mike Aviles starting at 3rd. Don Orsillo mentions he’s 1-for-9 on their most recent road trip. Hey, you gotta go with the hot hitters at the end of the year.

4:49

Sox strike first! Pedroia bats in the Immortal Mike Aviles with a single up the middle. 1-0 Sox. Dood’s a gamer.

Now we’ve got two on and nobody out … Papi sighting, folks.

Bahhh.. double play.

4:54

Teixeira just sent a “Tex Message” into the Tropicana Field seats for a Grand Salami! 5-0 Rays – let’s handle our biz, boys!

5:00pm

This dinner break was brought to you by Campbell’s Beef Stew and Success Rice in a Bag! Helping Bushkid eat … all week long!

5:05pm

Internet’s getting choppy folks – I’ll be back later with some thoughts. Fingers crossed.

90 minutes later …

Dude, are they really pulling the tarp out? …

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Categories: Uncategorized

Oh Yeah – the Week 3 Picks

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

First thing I thought of when I woke up at 7am this morning for no real reason? ‘My god – it’s Saturday and I haven’t released my NFL picks for the week! Is that rioting in the streets I hear?’

Patriots over Bills

This game will be fun to watch, and the final score will probably indicate that the game was a lot closer than it actually was. In other news, my fantasy receiving corps is already so depleted that I’m taking a flyer on Daniel David Nelson. You’re not gonna’ believe this, but I’m not doing so hot this year …

Panthers over Jaguars

Yes, I continue to jack photos from Facebook. Please don't sue me, NFL.

As a Packer fan, I’ll admit that Mr. Newton has me a little nervous last week, right down to the impressive garbage TD drive in the final minutes. I honestly thought he was going to suck – I clearly don’t want watch a ton of college football.

Bengals over 49ers

Dear Alex Smith,

You have Vernon Davis on your team. Start fucking using him.

Love,

Niners fans, VD fantasy owners and your Coach, Jim Harbuagh

Browns over Dolphins

I flip-flopped on this one a dozen times. The Browns don’t play all that well at home, and the Dolphins (allegedly) are a good road team, even though we have no evidence of that this year. Hmmm … I’ll stick with the Browns, but I’m not stoked about it.

Lions over Vikings

This will be the closes game the Lions have played so far this year, and I still say they win by double digits.

Saints over Texans

Feels like a fun shootout game, with the Saints winning by a score. Also, I just wanted to mention that managing Arian Foster on your fantasy team is a nightmare. I’ve had to wake up at like 8am each of the past two Sundays to figure out if he’s playing or not. And yes, my alarm is set for 7:45am tomorrow.

Eagles over Giants

The ghost of Desean Jackson returns, and I’m expecting big things out of number 10.

Titans over Broncos

With the Broncos injuries and Matt Hassleback opening up the offense, I guarantee truly believe that Chris Johnson is going off tomorrow.

Jets over Raiders

Another close game, but I trust the Jets’ D a whole lot more in the closing minutes than I do the Raiders. (See Raiders @ Bills, Sep. 18 for evidence.)

Chargers over Chiefs (Suicide pick)

Week 2, 2009. Bengals 31, Packers 24. That was the last time I got a suicide pick wrong. We’re in Ripken territory, folks. (Knocks on wood repeatedly)

Ravens over Rams

Brutal start for St. Louis continues. Then again, I could totally see Baltimore coming out flat again. We’ll see.

Packers over Bears

Who will have more sacks of Jay Cutler: Clay Matthews or Eric Walden?

Seahawks over Cardinals

The ‘Hawks use the 12th man and the return of Sidney Rice to notch their first win of the year.

Bucs over Falcons

Even after their win last week, it’s pretty clear that the Falcons aren’t the same team as last year. And after the Bucs comeback win against the Vikes on Sunday, it’s clear that they’re at least the team they were last year, if not better.

Steelers over Colts

Well, looks like my Sunday night is wide open if anyone wants to do anything.

Cowboys over Redskins

I’ve never had a punctured lung, but ‘punctured’ anything just sounds awful.

Last Week: 14-2 Season: 22-10

Categories: Uncategorized

“Whitney” – Yeah, this is happening.

September 23, 2011 2 comments

Yup - we're watching this. No, seriously.

8:25pm

Welp, judgement day is here – the pilot for “Whitney” begins in an hour. Yup – 60 minutes until all of our lives change forever. We – Tim, myself, Lydia and Gina . Yup, we pulled out all the stops for this one guys and gals. Get ready to laugh and cry, all at once, and join us for the magical journey that will be “Whitney – Episode 1.” Enjoy, kiddos.

8:45

“Oh my god – your inbox is literally filled with penises.” OK, that was Rob Lowe in Parks & Rec. Quote of the night so far – had to be done.

9:00

Megan B. just showed up. Best ratio we’ve had at this house, um, ever and we’re watching TV. For fuck’s sake.

9:30

Lydia: What time does the show shart?

9:31

Megan: Wait, we don’t like this, that’s the idea right?

9:31

Tim: She’s … just hot enough to put up with.

9:31

Everyone’s extremely bummed that there are laugh tracks. Also, they’re on their way to a wedding … and they’re not married. You can guess how this is going.

9:32

Whitney AND the bridesmaid are wearing yellow. Embarrassing!

9:32

Megan: I kind of like her outfit.

Well, then.

9:35

Gina: Why did they say that this is performed in front of a live studio audience at the beginning?

Lydia: Maybe it’s because they don’t want people to interrupt the laughter.

9:36

Blackface joke … impressively tasteless.

9:40

Tim: His joke was pretty funny. His buddy went home with a pregnant chick and he asked if it was a threesome. It was pretty funny.

9:41

We’re debating the difference between single and multi-camera sitcoms. We’re … still confused.

9:44

We’ve got three girls talking about mid-life crises. In the show – everyone here is enthralled. And in their mid-twenties.

9:45

We all just forgot what 5 is in King’s Cup. Our youth? Gone.

9:49

A Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman joke? What year is this? (It should be noted that this got the biggest laughs of the  night so far.)

9:50

Lydia explaining an earlier Beaver Pond story. I’ll let her tell you that one personally.

9:50

Whitney’s trying to role play as a sexy nurse. Publicly I’m shaking my head. Privately I think she’s pretty hot.

9:52

Sassy black woman in a sitcom? I don’t believe it.

9:53

Megan: Lydia, what the fuck?! You didn’t add juice, did you?

Lydia as bartender hasn’t worked out before, and it’s apparently not working out now.

9:53

Hey! That’s Malcolm in the Middle’s mom!

Timmy: That’s a good show. (Chugs drink.)

9:54

“Ms. Cummings?”

Ha. That made me laugh. Also, I’m 12.

9:54

Whitney proposes to her boyfriend: “I love you so much that I won’t marry you.” Boy, these guys are quirky! Am I right? (Crowd laughs hysterically.)

9:56

Me: Is that guy bringing anything to the table?

Lydia: I don’t know – he looks like 25 people that I know.

9:57

Megan: I know a nub when I see it.

This was good IN and OUT of context.

Also, this show may be done …

Hang on.

9:58

Whitney and the BF are trying to do it in a hospital bed – and they fall! Hillllarious….

10:00pm

Prime Suspect looks … even funnier. I don’t think this is what it’s going for.

Wilco Will Love You, Baby

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

“Take off your band-aid ’cause I don’t believe in touchdowns …” 

I’m not a music critic. I don’t pretend to be. I do, however, pretend to play the harmonica from time to time, and allegedly I can get pretty good after a couple of cocktails. (Granted, the witnesses are usually as drunk drunker than I am.) I’m the occasional karaoke singer, and I once (sort of) knew the chords to “Yellow Submarine.” Recently, my Spotify library has become the object of affection around my office and with my friends. (Elliot Smith and Faith Evans on the same playlist – who the fuck does this guy think he is?) You could say I’m knowledgeable when it comes to music – but I don’t actually know anything about it.

Which is why I’m not going to attempt to review the new Wilco CD. That would make me an asshole.

I was first introduced to Wilco a little over four years ago, which is about 14 years after their lead singer Jeff Tweedy’s first band, Uncle Tupelo, broke up and 13 years after their debut album, AM, was released;  I like to consider myself fashionably late when it comes to, um … life. I can’t say that I remember the first song I heard, and I would be lying if I said I had some immediate epiphany or emotional reaction to their music. In all likelihood, I probably thought to myself, “This is pretty good.” 

That being said, as more and more new (to me) Wilco songs invaded my iPod and, inevitably, my earbuds, pretty soon I started to take note of their specific tracks and, eventually, albums. It wasn’t the catchy tunes that caught my ear – Wilco’s songs, save for a few (“Shot in the Arm” and more recently “I’ll Fight”) are rarely arena-inspired crooners. Nope, it was the storytelling of Jeff Tweedy and his unique scratchy-whisper one moment, urgent yelling the next-style of singing that really drew me in. Well, that and my new girlfriend really liked them and, when it comes to new relationships, there’s always some homework to be done.

That being said, I’ve always veered toward classic American rock and folk music. After all, my old man is as big a Neil Young fan as anyone on the face of the planet (I say “as big” and not “the biggest” because I’ve ran into more than a few Cali kids that have father figures similarly obsessed with Mr. Young), and one of the first memories I have as a kid is sitting on the back porch listening to classic rock (WIZN, The Wizard Rocks!) as he quizzed me on who sang what.

“Quick, who does this one?”

“I don’t know … I’m five.”

“Wrong – Neil.”

Ever since then – and before I really had a chance – I’ve been a lyrics man. And as any Wilco fan knows, few musicians can make you laugh (and cry) quite like Jeff Tweedy.

Tweedy’s lyrics take me to highest highs and the most cavernous lows, frequently in the same song. My favorite Wilco songs help to recreate beautiful memories growing more faint by the day, all the while inspiring nostalgic-inducing smiles and the comforting and simple conclusion that “Everything has its plan, either way.”  The average Wilco song may not awaken this wide spectrum of deep inner-emotions in everyone, but given their passionate following and ever-increasing popularity, I know I’m not the only one that has (perhaps accidentally) put them on a pedestal with the likes of the best rock bands of all time.

My first live experience with Tweedy was about as unforgettable a concert that a music fan could ever hope to enjoy. Playing solo at a small club in my hometown of Burlington, Tweedy performed a collection of Woody Guthrie deep cuts, his own solo material and a few Wilco favorites. If not for Tweedy’s perfectly-tuned acoustic guitar and precise vocals, you could have heard a pin drop amidst  this sold out collection of hardcore fans hanging on his every word. No outside chatter, no pushing past the crowds mid-song to find a friend or grab a beer; this was as intimate a performance as your buddy busting out his old guitar at a campfire, minus the smoke and the marshmallows. Tweedy even cut his mic for the encore, singing “Sky Blue Sky” for stunned on-lookers in its truest form – just a dude with a guitar singing for a couple hundred of his best friends.

Shockingly, Tweedy as an electric rock frontman was even more endearing. Playing with his full band from the scenic pier of Portland, Maine, Tweedy busted out a humorous, confident persona I wasn’t aware of but was extremely proud to witness. For two-and-a-half hours, he once again had my full attention, and the result was one of the best live concerts I’ve ever seen. (Though the drunk guy behind me who unsuccessfully pushed for the band to play “Spiders” for 90 minutes straight might disagree.)

Yesterday, Wilco’s newest album, The Whole Love, became available on NPR for a free preview. After several listens, I can tell you that it’s really good. I can’t technically elaborate on why I think it’s good because, like I said, I’m not a music critic. (Even though I read a fuck-ton of Chuck Klosterman and have subscribed to Rolling Stone for years. It’s all about knowing your limitations, people.)

However, I can take a shot at explaining why I think it’s good. Because on this album and every album before it, Wilco and Tweedy, especially, take me back to a time when I felt good. Actually, more broadly specifically – Wilco’s music makes me feel; be it confident, afraid, nostalgic, idealistic, homesick, sad, uncertain, familiar, or love. When I listen to Wilco, I feel something.

Again, I’m no expert – but isn’t that exactly what music is supposed to do?

The “Whitney” Challenge, and Week 2 in the NFL

September 16, 2011 2 comments

When you straddle the American poverty line, eventually you start making some serious sacrifices. One of the first things to go when it became apparent I wouldn’t be, um, raking it in anytime soon was double ply toilet paper cable. Some people are appalled by my failure to pull in quality programming. Other’s judge (wrongfully) that I’m one of those anti-TV/establishment/deodorant types, though the fact that I haven’t gotten a haircut in three months certainly isn’t helping my cause. Then there’s the people that know my roommate and I, and are supremely aware that we’d rather drink a couple of beers midweek at a bar than pay for cable. I have causes, people, and this isn’t one of them.

That being said, I do like a little bit of programming now and then, and ever since my computer screen ate the fuckin’ curb (We’re now on week 2 and the crack’s slowly growing, chasing down the rest of my LCD like slow-moving lava attacking Anne Heche in the marginally-acclaimed 1997 movie Volcano.), I’ve been forced to seek out antenna TV rather than quench my appetite on Hulu and Netflix.

Now, after this stunning admission, I know you have a couple of questions for me: 1.) They still sell antennas? and 2.) What channels are you pulling in with that bad boy?

I didn't have the rights to any "Whitney" photos, so, here's one of me looking awesome in Vegas.

Well, I’m glad you asked! For starters, yes, they do still sell antennas, smartass. And for the record, the modern-day antenna pulls in HD; that’s right, Saturday afternoon baseball in HD – for free! And second, our roster of channels currently includes FOX, a Nick at Nite-type channel that only plays shows I’ve never heard of that appear to be from the 1970’s, several Telemundo channels that seem very dramatic but everything is essentially lost in translation, a Winter sports channel, a channel that repeats the 6 o’clock news seemingly 24 hours a day, and NBC. (Yeah, it’s not the ’86 Celtics of free channel line-ups, but it’s better than nothing.)

The last of these channels, NBC, has basically dominated the one night of the week I like to watch TV on a regular basis. And its got Sunday Night Football, so, to continue with the sports metaphors, this is essentially our franchise channel: Jeopardy, Parks and Rec, The Artist Formerly Known as the Office and Football Night in America. I can dig it.

However, given the amount of NBC I’ve taken to in the last couple of weeks, it’s been impossible to escape the potentially endless promos of one TV show that looks so mind-numbingly awful that my roommate and I have created a Fear Factor-inspired challenge in which we’ve vowed to watch every second of this particular sitcom, with a wager on the line for who will crack first.

Yup, I’m talking about Whitney.

Whitney is currently zero episodes into its infancy, and already she’s popping up in my dreams nightmares as one of the most stereotypically awful females this side of Harriette Winslow. Now, I’ve seen the star of this dud, Whitney Cumings, perform some impressive stand-up online. Hell, I even follow her on Twitter. But for fuck’s sake, this show looks bad.

The typical Whitney promo features Whitney giving pointers on how to annoy the living hell out of your man, with her boyfriend (played by Some Guy) practicing the same mildly-irritated face over and over. Essentially, these promos feed into those Bud Light commercials that place men slightly above farm animals in the pecking order, and women somewhere between TV and the fridge. (And far, FAR behind the NFL)

But hey, don’t take my word for it. See for yourself.

Yikes. Now, after you’ve stopped the bleeding in your eyes, you might say to me, “Hey man, her stand-up is hilarious – how bad can her show be?”

Yeah. No who else was a good stand-up? Dana Carvey. So was Eddie Murphy – seen any of his movies, lately?  Remember Norm Macdonald’s show? Yeah, me neither. Even Louis C.K. needed a mulligan after his his first try at TV. I’m not breaking new ground when I say that being a great comedian doesn’t guarantee a funny sitcom.

Now, all of that being said, I’m going to give Whitney a chance. Why? Because my options are limited. And because there’s a beer on the line.

Like I said, my roommate and I have made a wager on the over/under line for episodes before cancellation (5.5 – I took the under, Tim’s got the over). We’ll also be live-blogging our thoughts, observations and blood alcohol level when the show airs next Thursday, and we’re hoping to have a drinking game set up by episode 2. Cheers to being bored and clever  poor!

Thanks, Whitney, for being just hot enough to put up with and just annoying enough to secretly despise.

Now for something completely different, here are the week 2 NFL picks …

Bills over Raiders – This game will be surprisingly entertaining and should come down to the wire. Close games aren’t exactly either team’s strong suit, so I’ll go with the smartest dood on the field: Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Packers over Panthers – Cam Newton showed enough last week to make me mildly nervous about this one. Then I remembered that the Packers D is, well, not the Cardinals D. (Thank Christ – and Dom Capers – for that.)

Lions over Chiefs – Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in the history of picking games, I’d like to announce that the Detroit Lions are my suicide pick! (Wipes away tears)

Browns over Colts – As South Park once explained to me, sometimes the only choice you have is between a turd sandwich and a giant douche. I’ll take the turd sandwich by 10.

Bucs over Vikings – Really, Donovan McNabb? I was just drunk enough on Sunday morning afternoon not to notice the historically bad performance you were (not) enjoying just down the road.

Saints over Bears – Chi-City looked pretty feisty last weekend, I won’t lie. I still like N’Orleans, though.

Jets over Jaguars – Didn’t see a second of that Jags game last week, but allegedly they’re 1-0 so they must have won. The defense rests.

Steelers over Seahawks – Might be a good week to start the Steelers D in your fantasy league.

Ravens over Titans – Ed Reed interception over/under line is 1.5. (I’ll take the under.)

Redskins over Cardinals – Look at you, Sexy Rexy!

Cowboys over Niners – But I did have to think about it. (By the way Shane, if you’re reading this, I’m still calling the early games the 1 o’clock games a year later. This continues to be a problem.)

Broncos over Bengals – So much orange.

Texans over Dolphins – If the Pats’ wide receivers can go for 511 yards against the ‘Fins, I’d say Andre Johnson might have something to say about the outcome of this one.

Patriots over Chargers – If Tom Brady didn’t tell Pats fans to get sauced before the game, I’m sure they would have stuck to Diet Cokes all morning.

Eagles over Falcons – Desean always seems to step it up in primetime. Wait a second, didn’t Michael Vick play in Atlanta, or am I making that up?

Giants over Rams – St. Louis is the early favorite for the 2011 Most Disappointing Team Award.

Last Week: 8-8

Categories: Uncategorized

Don’t piss off the Chargers, and the Week 1 Picks

September 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Qualcomm Stadium - and the rest of San Diego - went dark on Thursday.

Someone great (either Muhatma Gandhi or Biggie Smalls – I can’t remember) once said, “Karma’s a bitch.” As a firm believer of you get what you give, I probably should have re-thought my semi-rant against the Chagers’ marketing office last week. However, as I walked giddily out of office around  3:40pm Pacific time on Thursday, this was not on my mind. Nope – I was practically skipping out of there, excited to watch the Super Bowl Champs begin their title defense against the Saints in the first NFL game of the year.

And then, IT happened.

Caught in the stairwell (thank God I never take the elevator) on my way out, the lights abruptly went dark, and I heard that collective zzzzzeewwwwwww sound identifying that – yes – the power in my office was gone. I think I may have even laughed at my “good fortune” considering that all my work from the day had been saved. I hopped in my car – the radio had gone dead – burshed aside the dead traffic lights down the block, and considered the power outage a local thing that wouldn’t last more than a few minutes. This wasn’t the first outage in Mira Mesa, and surely my apartment 10 miles away wouldn’t be effected. I drove home with touchdowns on the mind and the new Chili Peppers CD blaring. Yup, I was home free alright.

Wrong.

When I made it to my neighborhood, it became evident that the outage was bigger than I had first imagined. Traffic lights were dunzo, and cars were navigating the streets with a surprising amount of caution. I parked the Focus, walked into the apartment and naively asked my roommate (doing something in the dark bathroom with the door open  that I’m not obliged to write here – use your imagination), “ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!”

Then I tried turning on the TV for some good ole’ Kid Rock pre-game excitement – and … nothing. (I attempted to turn the lights on throughout this ordeal no less than 30 times – we are all Pavlov’s Dog in these situations, I swear.) Why I thought we still might have power was beyond me, but the nature of the situation began to set in. Less than an hour before kickoff, and all of San Diego was being blacked out. Take a guess at what four-letter word I screamed next.

After a good 20 minutes of moping (and harmonica-playing – yeah, I had the blues alright), I strapped on my green Rodgers authentic replica jersey, attempted to make some calls (phone towers were cut), and tried to decide what exactly my next move was.

Yup – we went to the liquor store.

After paying for a 6-pack in quarters and dimes (debit cards were useless), and with kickoff ensuing, my roommate came up with the brilliant idea of listening to the game in his car. FM stations were shot, but old-fashioned AM radio was still kicking. We drove around the block, searching and searching until – finally – we found it. I swear to you – no one has ever been more happy to hear Boomer Esiason’s voice as I was. Ever.

We listened as Aaron Rodgers through his first of many touchdowns (over under: 36.5?) to my main man Greg Jennings, and after I ran back to the apartment to grab two more brewskies from our now lukewarm fridge, I returned to hear Marcus Colston fumble the ball followed by a Jordy Nelson TD. Yup – we were cruising alright.

Then the battery went. Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Undaunted and problem-solving like a couple of BOSSES, we procured some jumper cables from a neighbor, got Tim’s car up and running again, then made the move to the bullpen and fired up the Focus. In the alley behind our house at this point, we were in full-on tailgate mode. Our luck began to change when Tim practically tripped over a $5 bill (yup – time for another 6-pack). Staying true to the original plan, our good buddies from around the corner (Shane and Suze) showed up to keep the festivities going, and it was starting to look like we had a party on our hands.

One bottle of gin, 12 Rolling Rocks,  two grilled burgers, some leftover chicken and zero electricity later, we listened intently as the Packers stuffed Mark Ingram at the goal line to seal the first win of the year. Undefeated never felt so good.

Three hours later, the power turned back on – and at this point we didn’t even want it. Too little, too late.

OK, so I got a little carried away there – back to my point about karma. There are few things more terrifying to a die-hard football fan than missing their team’s big game, let alone the home opener under the lights. And no, my unprovoked comments about the Chargers (the irony in their name versus the blackout situation should not go unnoticed) didn’t have anything to do with the blackout. But you have to admit – it’s pretty amusing that, less than a week after bitching about not being able to buy tickets to a football game, the Football Gods would summon a one-game punishment for my judgmental rant. As my Mom once told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it all.”

Well, that and “Shut your fucking mouth.”

So, it looks like I’ll only be able to see 15 games this year. And that’s OK; instead, I got a memorable evening with some great friends, a little perspective and – most importantly – a W.

I wish all football fans could be as lucky this weekend.

The Picks – Week 1

(Note: In the future, I’ll explain my picks for the week. But earlier this week, I broke my computer screen – karma again – and I can only see like 30% of what I’m typing. This is taxing on the eyes, and very depressing on the wallet. I’ll do better next time, I swear!)

Steelers over Ravens

Falcons over Bears

Browns over Bengals

Texans over Colts

Titans over Jaguars

Bills over Chiefs

Rams over Eagles

Bucs over Lions

Cardinals over Panthers

Chargers over Vikings

Niners over Seahawks

Giants over Redskins

Jets over Cowboys

Patriots over Dolphins (suicide pick – one a week, no team used more than twice)

Broncos over Raiders

Categories: Uncategorized

Blackouts, Champions and Greed

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

As a loyal Packers fan that has figured out the relatively-easy formula for figuring out the NFL schedule – or at least upcoming opponents and venues – I knew before I even moved to San Diego that the Packers would be playing in Mission Valley  in 2011. How did I know this? Because the Packers last played the Chargers in 2007, and their most recent trip to SD was in 2003. I knew they were scheduled to be in Qualcomm Stadium – and I knew I was going to be there.

Now, it’s hard to tell.

When the 2011- 12 season schedule was revealed, I circled November 6 – Green Bay @ San Diego – on the calendar. (I don’t own an actual calendar, so this was a hypothetical calendar, if you will. Just bare with me.) When the lockout came to a close in late-July, I got even more excited, knowing that the Packers really were going to be playing a mere five minutes from my house in just a few short months.

From there, I eagerly awaited single-game tickets to go on sale. And waited. And waited. Seriously, the Chargers single-game tickets seemed to be some of the last made available in the NFL, odd given that a team who failed to sell out three of their first four home games would continue to make SD football fans hang on their every move. Finally, it was announced that single-game tickets would be going on sale in mid-August. Bang biscuit!

Well, not so much. Much to my disappointment, the only game that would NOT be going on sale was the matchup set for Nov. 6; you guessed it, the Packers game was being held hostage.

OK, so technically tickets to this game were on sale, but if you wanted a piece of the green and gold magic, you had to purchase a separate ticket at full price for the upcoming Seahawks preseason game at the Q. And given that preseason tickets (unbelievably) cost the same as regular season tickets, there was no way I’d be ponying up $150 (times two if I wanted to bring a friend) for a football game. Seriously – I’m 24. What do we no about 24-year-olds? They don’t have any money. And they’re (mostly) stupid.

Anyways, the game against the Seahawks comes and goes (forgettably), so that very same night I log on to Chargers.com to see if Packers tickets have become available. Fully prepared to drop some serious coin, I jump right to the tickets page only to find that the Packers game was now part of a separate package with the 49ers preseason game. What the motherfuck?

Let! Me! In!

Given the limited bitching tools I have at my disposal, I took to Twitter, where I would clearly stand out amongst the millions. I sounded off with a pair of consecutive tweets aimed at @chargers – with no response, of course. I cooled off, figuring that the masses would wait out the preseason games and there would still be plenty of Packers tickets available.

So yesterday’s game against the Niners comes and goes (again, forgettably – there’s absolutely no need for four preseason games, other than, ya’ know, to make more money). Again, I log on to Chargers.com and, even though I got lit up with a pair of parking tickets and a car that wouldn’t start this weekend (tough stretch for Big Blue, but she’s running like a champ now that her loose wires have been tightened – and yes I mean that literally), I was still ready to buy, even if it meant a whole lot less fun the next few weeks months.

I get to Chargers.com – and what I found has me seriously questioning why this franchise even bothers around here. They’ve since attached the Packers game to both the Vikings and Chiefs games at the Q – two match-ups almost guaranteed not to sell out. Basically, they’re holding fans of the Super Bowl XLV Champs hostage in hopes that it will save them from another mess of local TV blackouts this upcoming season.

Essentially, the Chargers are banking on a Packers game two months into the season to save them from dipping attendance figures and costly blackouts. I’m not sure how they’re allowed to do this – I can’t remember ever being forced to buy tickets to one game, movie, or concert just so I could go to another similar event. It’s greedy, conniving, sad, pathetic and potentially a genius move by the Chargers. But it sure as hell doesn’t make it right.

I know, I’m coming off naive here – but after we listened tuned out a Summer of NFL owners bitching and moaning about how to divide their billions of dollars in profits, essentially holding fans hostage until they worked out some lame-ass deal only marginally different than the last one, I was hoping they’d throw fans a bone. Like, ya’ know, making their phenomenally high-priced tickets available to the average consumer. Nope – I was wrong.

To be fair, the Chargers were one of few NFL teams that actually lowered some ticket prices this season, and I mean, this situation isn’t life or death or anything. (And the recent floods in my home state of Vermont have definitely put a lot of this in perspective, which goes to show you I’ve still got some maturing to do when it comes to my priorities and, well, just about everything else.) But as a life-long Packers fan that flew 3,000 miles home last February to watch them win the Super Bowl with my old man, I think you could say I’m a loyal dude when it comes to the things I truly care about.

The Chargers, meanwhile, have been anything but loyal to their ever-dwindling fan base. This is a team that refuses to spend money when it’s on the cusp of greatness, and their zero NFL titles is proof that their vaunted player-development strategy is flawed. It’s no wonder why the city of San Diego refuses to build them a new stadium – why should tax-payers be on the hook for a team that doesn’t seem to feel mutual respect with the ones paying ALL of their salaries? Pretty soon, the San Diego Chargers will be the L.A. Chargers, and given the (extreme) lack of urgency shown by the people of San Diego to keep the Bolts in town, the relationship between the team and the city has c been bruised for quite some time.

So, it remains to be seen if I’ll be cheering on Rodgers, Matthews and Jennings from the stands or from the bar. As much as I’d love to support my team in person, at some point it’s just not worth it. I’ll just say this – the Packers would NEVER pull these kinds of tricks, and their fans love them for it.

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