January 20, 2006

Link-O-Rama

  • For anyone wondering, I lost 12 pounds during the first week of my weight-loss plan. Not bad, but it's still just throwing deck chairs off the Titanic.
  • In what is about as perfect a fit as you will ever find, Luis Rivas signed a minor-league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who are arguably the least successful franchise in modern sports history. At this point I'm so happy simply to be rid of Rivas that I haven't spent much time hoping he'll do horribly in the future. Plus, I've moved on to complaining about Tony Batista.
  • Speaking of Rivas, someone once asked me if I was ever worried about Rivas or someone in his family tracking me down for all of the nasty things I've written about him here. I said no, in part because I don't think I've really picked on Rivas as a person much, sticking more to his on-field flaws. Of course, I doubt that would keep Rivas or someone he knows from being upset if they ever happen to stumble across this site.

    I bring this up because all-time great point guard and all-time horrible general manager Isiah Thomas is apparently interested in beating up ESPN.com's Bill Simmons for the things Simmons has written about him. There are so many interesting aspects to the whole story that I couldn't possibly do it justice with a brief recap here, so instead I'll simply point you to Simmons' version, Part 1 and Part 2.

    My favorite part of the whole thing is that Thomas' threat toward Simmons came on Stephen A. Smith's radio show. First, I can't possibly imagine listening to such a show, in part because the blood from my ears would eventually drown me. Second, Smith responded to what Thomas said by acting as if he didn't know who Simmons is, which is hilarious considering Simmons is one of the best things to ever happen to ESPN and Smith is one of the worst.

  • Speaking of Smith, his execrable ESPN TV show, Quite Frankly, has been demoted to a late-night time slot, where it can annoy an even smaller audience. And yes, this is the same show that Scoop Jackson once said was "historic in the landscape of broadcast television" and "bigger than ESPN."
  • Speaking of Jackson (I think this Link-O-Rama sets a new record for "speaking of" openers), he now has some competition for his niche on ESPN.com.
  • Along with moving Quite Frankly, ESPN also announced that it is canceling ESPN Hollywood, a marginally sports-related show that is hosted by Mario Lopez of Saved by the Bell fame. I can't really comment on the quality of the show, having watched it a grand total of one time for less than two minutes, but it's cancellation does make me happy.

    Over the last few years ESPN has become less and less about actually covering sports, and more and more about self-promotion and annoying personalities. I'm glad to see some of that get scaled back, if for no other reason than it proved to be a horrible direction to go in. There's still an awful lot on ESPN and ESPN.com that is apparently fairly popular despite what seems to me like no redeeming qualities, but this is a start.

  • Whether you're a Celtics fan or a Wolves fan, when it comes to trade rumors involving Mark Blount and Michael Olowokandi sometimes the only thing you can do is photoshop their faces onto a movie poster and laugh. Looking good, Billy Ray! Feeling good, Louis!
  • Remember how Flip Saunders was the problem with the Wolves? Now he's coaching the team with the best record in the NBA, earning him the honor of coaching the Eastern Conference All-Stars next month, and the Wolves are on pace for a worse record than they had last year. Saunders should send Kevin McHale a thank-you note every day for the rest of time. Or maybe just get him tickets to the NBA Finals in Detroit.
  • ESPN.com's Mel Kiper came out with his first official mock draft earlier this week, with Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Vince Young going 1-2-3, in that order. He also has the Vikings taking Bush's runningmate at USC, LenDale White, with the 17th pick. White rushed for 1,302 yards on 197 carries this year (6.6 yards/carry), added 219 more yards on 14 catches (15.6 yards/catch), and scored a school-record 26 touchdowns.

    A lot of Minnesotans will no doubt be clamoring for the Vikings to take Laurence Maroney if he's available, but if there's a choice between the two running backs I think White is the obvious pick. Kiper has Maroney going 30th overall to the Colts, which could be a nice fit if Edgerrin James ends up leaving via free agency.

  • I'm not exactly sure how they would decide the winner of this tournament, but I'm fairly certain I'd pay to watch. I'm pulling for the sixth seed.
  • You've got to hand it to Daunte Culpepper -- despite a season-ending knee injury he is still able to provide a perfect example of why many fans think pro athletes are greedy jerks.
  • I know Paris Hilton is the lowest of low-hanging fruit, but I can't help myself. Here's what she reportedly said when asked about possibly posing for Playboy:
    They've asked me a million times. Hef has been after me since I was 17, and I got offered a lot of money. But I'll never do it. Because I'm Paris Hilton.

    This is amusing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that anyone with a computer, internet access, and a working knowledge of Google can find not only pictures of Hilton naked within about 30 seconds, but actual video of her performing an assortment of sex acts.

    Her response is essentially like if someone asked me about eating donuts and I said, "I'll never do it, because I'm Aaron Gleeman." On any given day, at any given time, there's probably a 50% chance that I'm eating a donut and she's being filmed naked somewhere.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Pitching Runs Created (by David Gassko)
    - Daily Graphing: Bronson Arroyo (by David Appelman)

    Pick of the Day (167-152, +$1,165):
    Memphis -2 (-110) over Philadelphia

    Saturday's Pick:
    Florida -1 (-110) over Tennessee

    Sunday's Picks:
    Pittsburgh +3.5 (-110) over Denver
    Carolina +4 (-110) over Seattle


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