Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sports Update for a Sports Website

It's a slow time for Northwestern football news. If you are really desperate, you can follow Coach Fitz on Twitter, although it doesn't give me the Coach Fitz news I really need such as him getting fired up about an optimal oat to water ratio in a bowl of instant oatmeal or whether or not he chest-bumps his barber after another successful crew cut.

Coach Fitz successfully comes in under the
140-character limit

In other NU football news, The Bears signed linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. While this is potentially good news for the Bears' linebacker depth, Tinoisamoa will probably get the starting nod over NU alumn Nick Roach who will compete with Hunter Hillenmeyer for a roster spot. Meanwhile, Tyrell Sutton, John Gill, and Eric Peterman are all competing to secure roster spots for NFL teams.

Peterman tries on a Bears helmet while Sutton dons the hated green
and gold


The Cubs are just starting to crawl out of a disastrous eight-game slide where the entire team has been beset by injuries and the complete inability to hit. Fortunately, the Cubs have responded not with complacency or quiet determination, but demonstrative tantrums and the occasionally brouhaha with umpires. Milton Bradley has been, as expected, a clubhouse leader in arguing balls and strikes and getting ejected and suspended. In this article, Bradley claims that the umpires have it out for him, summing the umps' dastardly plan up as "let's try to ruin Milton Bradley." By dipping into the third person when describing a league-wide umpire vendetta, Bradley has gained BYCTOM Most Favored Cub status. The pitching staff, however, has gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to mixing it up with umpires and punching inanimate objects.

The stage was already set for the Cubs' Memorial Day Massacre with the MLB-wide mandated wearing of red hats and the fact that this actually happened:

The presence of Mr. T ensured the prediction
of pain for the Cubs and their gatorade

Mr. T actually joined the broadcast booth for the bottom of the seventh inning (MLB.TV users are not only encouraged but divinely mandated to watch the broadcast available here) during which Mr. T rambled on about being a Dean's List scholar at Prairie View A&M, growled at the Pirates, displayed a surprising amount of expertise on the Cubs' disabled list, shockingly declined to use the phrase "I pity the fool" for upwards of ten minutes, and, most surprisingly, laughed, a hoarse throaty chuckle reminiscent of Muttley from "Wacky Races" and a completely unexpected development from a man who spent his entire career, choosing only to express the emotion "I ain't gettin' on no plane, sucka."

Mr. T displays his range

Earlier in the game, Ryan Dempster erupted after lasting only 4 innings and giving up six earned runs and promptly pummeled the Gatorade dispenser with his left non-pitching hand in a savvy veteran move. In the fifth, Ted Lilly came sprinting out of the dugout like Mel Gibson going over the top at the end of Gallipoli in order to protest Bob Davidson's strike zone, needing to be restrained by two Cubs coaches. This was perhaps most surprising because Lilly usually has the placid composure and painted-on eyebrows of a bored action figure.

Firebrand Theodore Roosevelt Lilly in action

The Cubs ended up losing 10-8 to the Pirates, cementing an eight game losing streak. In response, the Trib wonders: is it time for Lou Piniella to do something drastic? The article recalls his great dirt and hat kicking exhibition from 2007. There are few things in baseball more satisfying than a Lou Piniella ejection largely because of his build resembling a spindly man that is inexplicably carrying a fetal hippopotamus to term, and the sight of a manager getting in an umps' face is always hilarious because he tends to jerk his head in a way that normal people never do, giving the effect of the slightly sped-up footage of old newsreels.


On Wednesday, a wild pitch from Carlos Zambrano got away from Geovany Soto. Zambrano rushed to cover the plate and seemed to get Nyjer Morgan speeding in from third apparently on the way to check his birth certificate and confirm that he's actually named "Nyjer Morgan." Then, fireworks. You have all probably seen the video by now, but here's the blow-by-blow as part of a BYCTOM official Zambrano meltdown recap:

Zambrano immediately rushes over to the ump to protest the call in a dignified manner by standing less than three inches from the ump's face and showering him with a mixture of spittle, sunflower seed casings, and miscellaneous eyebrow detritus. The umpire takes in the tirade for upwards of seven seconds and then, after making some sort of barely perceptible incidental contact, tosses Zambrano with the "you're outta here" gesture. Zambrano whirls around. "No YOU'RE out of here," yells Zambrano who then throws the ump out; this gesture is unsuccessful, largely because of a little-known baseball rule that rampaging players cannot under any circumstances eject umpires from games. If Zambrano was a detective, he would have at this point turned in his badge and service revolver in order to get to the bottom of the case by playing by his own rules because he'll be damned if lets another killer slip through the system because his unorthodox and violent investigative techniques caused the case to get thrown out of court. Piniella gets between the ump and Zambrano, who is visibly restrained by Lou's superhuman belly, a force so powerful that he occasionally lends it out to third world nations in order to quell corruption riots. Zambrano picks up the ball and hurls it towards the bleachers, displaying his warning track power, and then stalks over towards the dugout, escorted by an embarrassed Larry Rothschild who has the look of someone either escorting a screaming child or an agitated senile relative from a place of business. Zambrano rips off his glove and spikes it into the ground before alighting into the dugout. Immediately upon entering the dugout steps, he grabs a bat, which means that at some point before entering the dugout, probably just after throwing his glove but possibly from the very minute he got tossed from the game, Zambrano had made the premeditated decision to whale on the Gatorade dispenser in the a display of berserker rage. He hits the machine a couple of times then appears to either stumble or be carried by his angry momentum down a series of stairs towards the clubhouse. Undaunted, he regains his footing and finishes the dispenser off, as Rothschild half-heartedly attempts to stop him while cautiously deciding to not get in between a bat-wielding Zambrano and a gatorade-dispensing product. Zambrano exits.

This is not the first time Zambrano's temper has flared, which is why instead of the insipid and uninspired "Big Z" nickname (he's big and his last name starts with Z, how appropriate), he should be known as "El Bombástico" or at the very least, "El Toro," which is apparently what he calls himself in calmer moments. The Trib's Paul Sullivan, their Cubs beat writer, prepared a surprisingly amusing Five Greatest Big Z Explosions, including him throwing at the contemptible Cardinal Jim Edmonds twice ("This is not a baby's game. This is a man's game," yells Zambrano while wearing his pajama-like baseball uniform), destroying water coolers by hoisting them over his head and throwing them like Donkey Kong as his teammates adopt the blank stares into the distance favored by figures on Soviet socialist-realist posters, and memorably beating up catcher Michael Barrett in the dugout and in the clubhouse. I had actually forgotten about the Michael Barrett incident, but Barrett had the distinction of having a Forrest Gump-like presence in Major League face punching incidents over his career.
Michael Barrett's career makes me really disappointed that I used up a Kumite joke
in the last post


The movie Bloodsport starring Jean-Claude van Damme, that bearded guy from Revenge of the Nerds, and that enormous Chinese guy with pecs the size of dinner plates (Bolo Yeong, who evidently has played characters named Thunder, Moon, and Ice) is both likely to be on Spike TV sometime within the next 3 hours and based on the supposed true story of Frank Dux (as was The Quest, another Kumite movie starring Van Damme that was basically the same as Bloodsport, except that Van Damme for some reason spent the beginning of the movie as some sort of French clown) .

Bloodsport: practically a documentary

Dux claimed that he entered the Kumite, a secret no-holds-barred fighting tournament sometime in the late 1970s and won it. He is a controversial figure in the martial arts world, claiming to be a Kumite champ, an expert in ninjitsu, and a CIA operative.

Frank Dux, self-proclaimed superspy
and Van Damme muse, phrases that often
appear on my personal resumé.

Since the 1980s, however, a number of publications have questioned the veracity of his claims, setting off a long chain of questions about his age, military record, and ability to break through bulletproof glass with his bare hands. One of the most bizarre accusations came from the L.A. Times, which alleged that he had purchased his Kumite trophy from a trophy shop in Southern California. The allegations go back and forth between Dux and his detractors; Dux is evidently not shy about suing people or writing interminable rebuttals to websites questioning or supporting his claims and the amount of nonsense generated by a shady character like Dux, and the martial arts enthusiast/soldier of fortune types that go after him is grimly tiresome enough to take the fun out of a guy living out some sort of Ninja Gaiden fantasy. All that matters is that hopefully, somewhere there is a secret underground fighting tournament where people shake money, and some guy adopts a monkey fighting style, and Chong Li has secreted some secret powder in his shorts that allows him to blind an opponent but does absolutely no harm to his sweaty genitals.

And if somewhere there is a Kumite involving gatorade dispensers, the CIA needs to get on the Cubs' bullpen phone immediately.

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