Saturday, December 16, 2006

December 18 Sports Illustrated in Review: Wonderlic, Schmonderlic
Titan Vince Young is on the cover this week. Somehow, I don't think they're going to get into the whole Wonderlic thing, and how the vast majority of sports media latched onto the story of Young only getting a 6 on the Wonderlic test, which clearly meant that he would suck as a pro., which just got bought by Wikipedia, had an assessment of Young that was fairly typical -- "Vince Young is dumb as a brick, and isn't ready to start in the NFL yet, so I seriously hope they are pursuing Kerry Collins, because if they don't, they could be pushed by Houston for third place." Kerry Collins, ha, good one. Had anybody asked me, I would have said not to put too much faith in a test with as dumb a name as "Wonderlic." It's a good fish name, though.

We proceed:

Leading Off - Cool shot of the Bird's Nest, which is a stadium being built in China for the 2008 Summer Games. Astonishingly, it was built by eight guys, who are shown walking home after a rough day at work. Another shot of bodybuilders from the Asian Games, short guys with greased up muscles. If that's your thing, I guess.

Letters - Not much here, this Ohio State/Michigan stuff will never end. Next week we'll get the Sportsman of the Year protests.

Air and Space - Steve Rushin talks about how great the NBA League Pass is. He's right, it is great. I used to have it, but it contributed to excessive couch-surfing, and I need to save up my chits for baseball. Rushin likes that you get the regional commercials, and I agree with him, those are a hoot. I also like that you get to get a look at what kind of fast food people in other regions are wolfing down. The local announcers are cool, too. They've also got a channel that shows up to eight games on the screen at one time. Excellent. I hope they do that with the baseball package.

Scorecard - They love AI in Philly, but everyone knows he's got to go. Damn, he was great in the 2001 NBA Finals. Maurice Taylor appears to enjoy the ganja. Or something. But probably weed. Josh Hamilton, repeated MLB substance abuse policy violater, has been signed by the Reds. I'm drafting him for my fantasy team. So bid him up. Pacman Jones bought his own car back at a policy auction. What a character. Another arrested Bengal. Terrell Owens has a big birthday party for himself. That's something I don't really get, these rich people throwing really huge and expensive parties for themselves, and then publicizing them. Look at me! Macy Gray, who sang Happy Birthday to Owens, is the gratuitous babe shot. Only not so much. Without my glasses on, she looks like Hendrix.

The Year in Sports Media - Here they recap stuff that already happened. Like Emmett Smith winning that dancing show. That happened, what, a month ago? Thanks for the memories. We Are Marshall should be good, though Matthew McConaughey seems kind of goofy in the clips. Rocky's back. I think the new Rocky just opened this weekend, and the Marshall movie isn't even out yet. So between that and Emmett Smith's dancing, they're really recapping things this year that just happened, or haven't even happened yet. Short memories, I guess. They talk about books, most of which were featured in SI, or published by SI. I need to read that Clemente book, though. I can't read anymore about Monday Night Football, sorry. Eric Byrnes, they say, has a promising TV career. Just what we need. They talk about how bad Dave O'Brien was doing World Cup. I just realize that he was the Nats radio announcer in 2006. He was pretty good at that, actually.

Fantasy Plus - The more I read this column, the more I realize that you'd do just as well flipping a coin. Seriously. They review some lessons that we should have learned this year. Drew Brees, Steve Smith and Javon Walker were all great pick-ups, as they rebounded well from injuries. In my league, I had Brees (maybe I mentioned this before) and Walker. My early picks were busts, though -- James, Lewis, Hasselbeck. I suck. How could I have passed on those guys, though. They say if I were smart, I would have dumped James in September. Well, that would have worked if I was in a league of morons. Speaking of Hasselbeck, they say to start him. Which turned out not so great. Artose Pinner has no fantasy value, they say, so he should have a good game. Don't start Vince Young, they say. Or Santana Moss. They say to sit Kellen Winslow, that's my pick for bad SI advice of the week.

Let's talk Fantasy Basketball. Look out for Andrea Bargnani, set aside your rule about not having guys named Andrea. He's good. Pau Gasol is coming back. Gilbert Arenas plays better at home.

Finally a feature. Vince Young is on the cover, but they only give him three pages, one of which is a photo. He's no Tony Romo. Vince isn't exactly loquacious, I guess, he doesn't have much to say. He does what it takes to win, he says. Can't argue with that. His mom's happy. Sure thing. That's it, not exactly an in-depth profile by Jeffri Chadiha, who got his name smack dab in the middle of the cover for this weak effort.

Greg Oden's playing, and he's as good as they thought. He had a nice game against Cincinnati today, actually. Grant Wahl is able to bring out some of Oden's personality, and he seems like a good guy. He thinks it's funny that people think he's 40. He likes being in college, cooking on his George Foreman grill. Whenever he goes pro, probably next draft, he'll be number one. Sonny Vaccaro of Reebok says that he'll get the biggest shoe contract ever for a big man. That's great, I always want to see how these guys fit into the shoe contract puzzle.

Yay, baseball. Tom Verducci reviews the free agent insanity. I'm with him on this. Here are the two deals that I really don't get. The Royals give Gil Meche $55 million over 5 years. What? If you're the Royals, and you finally spend some bucks, why Meche? And why would anyone even want to go to the Royals? But that's still not as bad as the $20 million over 3 years that the Cubs are giving Jason Marquis. What the hell? Marquis played for the Cardinals, the Cardinals won the World Series. But without Marquis. Not because he was hurt, but because he had pitched so poorly that he wasn't on their post-season roster. They didn't even want to keep him around in the bullpen. Why? Because he's no good.

If you're wondering why things got so crazy with baseball free agents, Verducci tells us it's "being driven by record crowds..., growth in revenues from traditional and new media, revenue sharing and labor stability." XM Radio and international business, too.

Karl Taro Greenfield has a big old article on Tiki Barber. He's definitely going to retire, and he's going to become a media giant. Look for him on Good Morning America, or 20/20. Evidently he's lost his passion for the game and is ready for the next chapter in his life. Greenfield talks about how Tiki and his twin brother Rhonde's mom worked her ass off to make life good for her boys, and to expose them to a big slice of life. Good for her, I hope she's reaping the benefits now. Tiki says that Matt Lauer is his hero, which kind of gives us an idea of what kind of newsman he's going to be. That's unfortunate. Greenfield gets about halfway through the article before he uses the word "articulate" to describe Tiki. It'll be interesting to watch Tiki, though I figure it's still 50-50 that he'll end up playing next year. We all know how these things go.

This Week in Sports Inside starts out with a picture of John Wooden. Man, he's old. All these years, and he still hasn't cracked a smile. Darrren Collison may lead UCLA to an NCAA championship. I remember their last championship, which was also the peak of my gambling career. Good times. How did Wichita State get so good?

Julian Peterson predicts that his Seahawks will win the Super Bowl. How about beat the 49ers first, Julian? Falcons owner Arthur Blank expects his team to do better than just make the play-offs. Jim Mora's job is pretty safe, though, they say. Unless there are complications from foot in mouth disease. What's with these Moras? It looks like the Falcons are going to lose tonight (though I'm watching the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship, which is cool). Should be a nice Christmas for the Mora family.

Rick Reilly goes to the Word Series of Video Games, and finds out that dorks with names like XiT Woundz and LiL Poison are making bucks playing video games, and think they're pretty hot stuff. Not really that interesting, Rick.

Overall Grade- Eh, not so great. I'm glad they covered baseball. Their heart didn't really seem to be into the Vince Young thing. I think Jeffri Chadiha just couldn't get fired up about a guy that got a 6 on the Wonderlic. Nothing really new about Tiki Barber. The Greg Oden article was good, I'm glad I read that. Nothing great, though. Overall Grade - C.

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