Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here's One for Me, and One for My Homie Tebow

Will he rise again? Kieran and Spen cope with the fact that Tim Tebow is no longer a Bronco as he was replaced by Peyton Manning (in a Broncos jersey, that still sounds weird).

Here's One for Me, and One for My Homie Tebow

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Potentially the Worst Bracket Ever





In this week's pod, brought to you from rainy (WTF!?) Northern California, Spen and Kieran create what may go down as the worst bracket in history. Now, we don't take all upsets, but we certainly have our fair share of Cinderella runs and a theory about the First Four that you cannot miss!

Potentially the Worst Bracket Ever

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Confessions of a LeBron-Hater



This confession comes with the bitterest of tastes in my mouth....

It also has been years in the making....

(sigh....)

(longer, prolonged sigh....)


Lebron is the best basketball player on the planet since MJ, he is BY FAR the best player in the league right now, (cut to Kobe fans loading their weapons...). This fact has been sitting in the back of my head for some time now, eventually I knew I would have to accept it, but my long-tenured hatred of LBJ and overwhelming pride in that hatred had kept me from admitting the truth. I must defend myself first by stating that I have been a LeBron hater since he entered the league, solely because of my affection for the Nuggets and Carmelo. They entered the league together and battled for the rookie of the year with LeBron (rightfully) edging out Melo. Ever since that season I have rooted against Lebron with a passion that is unrivaled towards any other player...even Manu Ginobli....and I freaking HATE that guy.

(additional time-buying sigh....)

That being said what LeBron has be doing this year is simply astounding and deserves praise. Just look at his stats: (27.7 pts / 6.7 ast / 8.4 reb), he's shooting 55.5% from the field (4.5% better than his career best), all while playing 37 minutes per game. Those stats alone are enough to amaze any basketball fan, but consider this: LeBron is THE REASON Miami has been playing defense at the level they have been playing this season, he is THE REASON players like Joel Anthony are able to start for a championship caliber team, he is THE REASON why Miami is the best team in the league and if you even think for a second that he isn't the MVP name one other player who affects the game more on both ends of the floor....(go ahead...I'm ignoring any of you currently saying Kevin Durant or Kobe, remember the MVP is Most valuable player, not the scoring title).

Before you say it, yes I understand that the Heat have Wade and Bosh, but LeBron is the heart and soul of that team on defense, he defends every position on the floor and is probably the best perimeter defender and the second best interior defender in the league behind Howard. And he has to be, watch any Miami game and you'll see it...they have the smallest front court in the league with Bosh and Anthony, Bosh is a finesse player who struggles against larger big men, and Anthony is only 6' 8". LeBron plays his ass off on every defensive possession, guarding his man, playing help D in the lane, stealing passes, there aren't 10 other guys in the league that play defense at 100%. So when the subject of his "clutch-gene" is brought up I take issue with it because the by the end of the game the guy is SPENT, he has just spent 40 minutes playing the role of defensive stopper against the other team's best wing player, help defender in the lane, playing point guard and creating offense, scoring almost 28 and snatching 8 rebounds, by the time the end of the 4th quarter hits, he's dead, he's the reason that his team is even in the game at that point! What has become obvious to me over this season is LeBron is the reason Miami can build leads and close leads throughout the game, he is their best offensive player, best defensive player, best rebounder, best distributor, best help defender and most efficient scoring option, and with all that being the case why is it necessary for him to also assume the role of closer? Dwayne Wade has a championship ring, he has a Finals MVP trophy, he has the ability to shut games down that LeBron has yet to display at this point in his career, so its obvious to me that Wade should be taking the ball and the responsibility and saying to LeBron, "you got us this far, I'll finish it". LeBron is like an ace starting pitcher who can consistently take you 8 innings deep into a game, who also hits .300 with 100 RBIs, if he also is saddled with the responsibility of closing games then his situation goes right back to what it was in Cleveland, a transcendent player with pieces that cant get it done. At some point Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh need to step up their game in crunch time and take the weight off of James.

That being said....I remain a hater.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peyton Manning Destination Odds and NHL Playoff Preview

In this week's podcast, NHL & Altitude Sports insider Andy Steinberg joins Spen and Kieran to discuss where Peyton Manning may be headed, the justification for the Yankees economic model and we throw Corey Hart under the bus, again.

Peyton Manning Destination Odds and NHL Playoff Preview

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Twittervision

Why Twitter is the new TV remote control

If you listened to Bill Simmons' discussion with Mark Cuban at this year's Sloan Conference, you will understand that Cuban is a big proponent of community-driven events. By community, in this sense, I mean the people with whom you share the event experience with as it is happening live. I'll relate all this to sports, the premier event-industry, but the same principles can be applied to anything else happening live: the Academy Awards, American Idol or a political debate.

Whether you're a fan at a game cheering along with complete strangers, a student watching the gamecast of an MLB game over the shoulder of the kid in front of you, or you are chilling on your couch with the game on the big screen and a live Twitter stream in your hand; all forms of keeping tabs on a game are communal. This is why I have a big peeve about some people's insistence on recording a live game to watch later. I understand that people are busy, like to skip commercials and want the same entertainment value spoiler free, but there is something inherently wrong about this to me. The interaction with Twitter, texting friends while the game is going on, and the overall sense that everybody is watching is lost when a game is taken in after the fact. This is the same reason that while I have decided to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan, I still lack any emotional attachment to the team because it is so difficult to wake up early and take in a game and I have no one to share it with.

My parents often tell me that they are going to get rid of cable. "It's $80 per month! Everything we watch on TV is available on Netflix," they say. To which I reply, "What about sports?" Ah yes, the convenience of subscribing to the MLB online game plan, grabbing a laptop, selecting a game and waiting for it to buffer before hopefully catching the important part... way easier than pressing "665" on the remote and seeing the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the 9th. My point is that live sports are the driving force to keeping TV live. I suggest reading Cuban's blog post on how the TV business is getting stronger (and the misconception that online video is killing traditional TV).

Now to the point of this blog post: the Twittervision revelation. Remember the days before all TV's had to be attached to boxes? You know, where you had the cable that could directly plug into the back of your TV and actually used the remote that your TV came with? I mean, it was only a couple years ago... I could go through every channel in a matter of minutes to see what was on. Press "channel up" and boom, next channel. None of this guide stuff, none of this digital buffering. Just straight up flying through the channels. Then the cable company decided to "convenience" us with the cable box. Sure, it's great to be able to search through 1,000 channels in the matter of 25 minutes, but with all that information, how can we figure out what to watch!? Let's see, do I want to watch Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn or Pawn Queens?? Here's where the Twitter machine comes in. Twitter offers the answer to the age old question, "What's on tonight?" If your Twitter following is properly catered to your personal interests, one scan of the timeline is all the information you need. If your favorite baseball team is getting crushed but you see that MLB Network is showing a slugfest, you pop on over to MLB Network to catch the thrill. If Jeremy Lin is throwing down, again, and you're sick of watching Point Break for the 15th time (but we all know, it is impossible to get sick of Point Break), voila! Twitter tells you to switch over. But there are always dead nights on the Twitter. This usually happens on a Tuesday, because we all know, Tuesday nights suck. Fear not, a dead Twitter means you are in the clear to watch your favorite reruns of The Hills, and you won't be subjected to the scrutiny to missing something important.

You see, Twitter and television are the perfect complements to each other! Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or messaging me on Twitter @Spen_CR

Monday, March 5, 2012

5 Reasons To Experience Spring Training in Scottsdale, AZ

Sit in the outfield law at Colorado Rockies' Salt River FIelds at Talking Stick. When you're there, try frowning. I'm serious. It's impossible. (baseball-fever.com)

You wake up, crawl out of bed and take a look out your window. What do you see? Six inches of cold, wet snow and your ugly neighbor taking out the trash. You think to yourself “This sucks. It was like 70 degrees yesterday!” March in Colorado can be a bit of a dick, but fear not, I have the cure to baseball cabin fever: Scottsdale, AZ. I first experienced it last year while in Phoenix, and it was awesome. Here before you lie 5 reasons why Scottsdale/Phoenix is the cure for your literal hangover from drowning your baseball sorrows with alcohol and watching highlights of last year on the internet.

1. The weather: No time of year is uglier than late winter in Front Range, Colorado. The temperature is 55 and windy as hell, so it feels like 35. Scottsdale this time of year is 73 without a cloud in the sky. Your near transparent skin will turn a strange shade darker, its called a “tan”. Weird huh? Pack your flip-flops and sunglasses.

2. Scottsdale is the epicenter of Spring Training Mecca: No other sport allows fans from all teams this side of the Mississippi to congregate in one area to watch them practice and play. Unlike the dumb east coast Grapefruit League, all Cactus League teams play in the same general Phoenix metro area. Scottsdale is the nice part of town. Here, you’ll find hardcore fans proudly repping their hood via jerseys and hats. These people know their stuff too. They aren’t the ignorant assholes who ask you, “What ever happened to Larry Walker? That guy was sick.” These are stats-loving, baseball 24/7 minded people who don’t mess around. Simply walk 10 minutes to your teams stadium to enjoy a game. Then follow them as they go on a two day road trip… all just blocks away from your hotel.

3. All the fun without emotional baggage: Just like meaningless sex, you get to watch your favorite team play where the score means absolutely nothing. You don’t get angry at the umpire if he makes an awful call. You don’t get mad at the other team’s fans. Your life isn’t over if your closer blows a 5 run lead. None of it matters! The sun is out, the beer is flowing, and everyone is smiling. I’m not kidding, literally everyone is happy. You remind yourself that this is just a game, at least until Opening Day, then it becomes life and death again.

You're still smiling, aren't you? (Denver Post)

4. ASU is right around the corner: Wanna chill with students from the public university with the highest (85%) acceptance rate in the nation?Leggo. ASU is one of the biggest party schools in America and winter/spring time is like their summer. They too have sat inside all day, not waiting for summer, but for winter. That means they’re all trying to get their partying in before its 120 degrees (what they claim to be a “dry heat”) outside. Why not join in after a game?

5. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is unreal: The Rockies/D-Backs new training facility is the best in baseball. If your really crazy, you can go hang out hours before the game or even days when there is no game and watch your favorite players take BP, field grounders, or perform bullpen sessions. The best part about the stadium is the grass lawn outfield seating. The grass feels like a cool, green carpet. The best part of the lawn is that during BP, you can literally sprint after home run balls to catch because there are no seats to dodge, just little kids who think they can catch a ball over you. And once you get that ball you look at the kid with the oversized glove and say, “I earned this ball, theres no way in hell I’m giving it to you.” And you don’t. Ever. Never give game balls to little kids. Thats communism.

So there you have it; 5 reasons why you can’t call yourself a fan if you don’t check out Spring Training, Cactus League style. Enjoy the sun, get stoked, cause in less than a month it’s back for real, the Dark Ages will be over!

Notes: Average Spring Temperature in Scottsdale, AZ: 77 degrees (www.scottsdalecvb.com).

Arizona State University ranked no. 3 party school in the nation in 2011 according to Playboy behind Penn State and CU Boulder.