Love in the Time of Hepatitis: Jose Canseco Goes on a “CelebriDate”

November 18, 2011

He’s 47, twice divorced, and he ratted out his oldest and closest friends for money in an embarrassing tell-all book. Interested yet, ladies?

It’s Jose Canseco, who recently tried his luck on the show “CelebriDate” on HDNet, the channel brought to you by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and terrible congressional laws against a la carte cable television.

According to leading scholars in the field of evolutionary linguistics, the word “CelebriDate” is of Latin origin, and is derived from the words “celebrity” and “date.”

Once learning of this, Canseco donned his best “Affliction” T-shirt and set out to find true love.  With the help of Roger Lodge, baseball’s favorite media whore was introduced to another kind of whore: the regular kind.

His choices included a fetish model, a Latin American TV host, and a former Playmate turned actress and fitness expert. Sounds promising right?

If you watched the episode, you had the privilege of delving deep into the six-time major league all-star’s soul. You learned of his disdain for grudges and hair extensions. In fact, half the show is spent talking about how Canseco doesn’t like hair extensions. Who knew?

And in the end, Canseco bucked conventional wisdom by picking the girl with the biggest boobs.

Okay so maybe that’s not a big surprise. But apparently he made the right choice, because as we later found out, he wasn’t really the other girl’s type.

Which is too bad really, because she seemed like a real sweetheart.

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Michael Grubb is a (semi) regular contributor to Team JSF. When he’s not out sailing on his 50-foot yacht, he can be reached at:

@GrubbHub
GrubbHub.net
grubbhub@gmail.com

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Banks Shines Bright in Big Ten Network Debut

November 4, 2011

Former NFL and Michigan State quarterback Tony Banks turned up on the Big Ten Network as a post-game analyst recently, and made a rather inauspicious debut – in part due to his choice of wardrobe.

The good news is that, in addition to functioning as a garment, Banks’ suit could also be melted down into a commemorative coin collection and bought on QVC for three easy payments of $19.95.

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself: How could a grown man that made millions of dollars during a 9-year NFL career wear such a ridiculous outfit on national cable television? And you’d be right.

My curiosity runs a bit deeper however, to the origin of the suit itself. Such a bold fashion statement makes me wonder…where did the designer’s inspiration come from?

Then it hit me:

Although more subtle in color – fluorescent gold as opposed to a deep red – Banks’ suit was undoubtedly inspired by the late Captain Kangaroo.

Unfortunately, the suit went on to cause major distractions during the telecast, at times reflecting the bright studio lights and blinding fellow BTN analyst Howard Griffith during his monologue on Indiana’s poor kickoff coverage.

With tensions rising due to the suit’s luminescence, the show would later turn ugly. Griffith, who was clearly not amused by Banks’ attire, at one point chastised Banks on air for “coming in here looking like a damn fool.”

Banks tried to diffuse the situation, responding to Griffith’s attack by saying, “Hey, at least I didn’t wear the belt that it came with.”

In any event, one would think that if the former Spartan Banks were going to model his clothing after a recurring Captain Kangaroo character, it would have been Mr. Green Jeans.

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Michael Grubb is a (semi) regular contributor to Team JSF. When he’s not out sailing on his 50-foot yacht, he can be reached at:

@GrubbHub
GrubbHub.net
grubbhub@gmail.com


Nerds Become Anxious As Big Ten Network Summer Programming Draws to a Close

August 19, 2011

You might think everyone is excited about the upcoming college football season. But you’d be wrong. For nerds of the Big Ten Network , the end of summer is also the end of Big Ten Network summer programming.

This means no more countless replays of Vaughn Dunbar’s 39-carry, 147-yard performance over Kentucky in 1991, no more shows about the 10 best left-handed basketball duos from 1974-1977, no more profiles on Purdue alum Orville Redenbacher.

But come on, you say. Nobody watches this stuff, right? Once again, you’d be wrong. Between the months of May and August, Nielsen data shows the Big Ten Network attracts an average daily household rating of somewhere between zero and greater than zero. This means someone out there is watching this stuff.

Sketch artists have come up with a digital composite of what a typical Big Ten Network nerd might look like:

Face-painting is a given. The spiked shoulder pads – an obvious homage to the famed wrestling tag team known as the “Road Warriors” – are a nice touch. The monkey-shaped logo on the shoulder pads, I have no idea.

I do know that to this person, the idea of waiting until next May to watch the same profile on Red Grange causes severe stress and anxiety.

In fact, as we draw closer to the season, the Big Ten Network’s programming changes are already underway. Football team preview shows have already begun to replace things like marching band auditions.  Want to know what the Ohio State Buckeyes chances are this year? Better not blink, it’s only airing 17 times this weekend.

Soon, a few actual live football games will be televised. This will replace things like replays of spring scrimmages. Yes, I said scrimmages, which are essentially practice. Yes, Allen Iverson, we are talking about practice.

You must understand though, to a Big Ten Network nerd, practice counts as real programming, and you better believe scores of nerds are tuning in to watch college-aged men stand around in tight pants and take scheduled water breaks.

But soon, for nerds everywhere, it will all come to an end, and once again Iowa quarterback Chuck Hartlieb’s school-record 558-yard passing performance against Indiana in 1988 will be a thing of the past. At least until next May.


Top 7: NFL Defenders-Turned-Movie-Star-Performances

August 12, 2011

A tragic blow befell both the sports and entertainment worlds last week, when Bubba Smith died at the not-so-old age of 66. Smith starred at Michigan State and later in the NFL, where he played nine seasons, was named to two Pro Bowls, and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Colts.

Despite all his accolades on the gridiron, Smith was perhaps best-known as Cadet (and later Sergeant) Moses Hightower, a role he played in the original 1984 hit movie Police Academy, all the way through Police Academy 6: City Under Seige. He had the good sense to steer clear of part seven, 1994’s straight-to-video Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. Truly, if there is any silver lining with his passing, it could be that it’s by far the best assurance we have that there will never be a Police Academy 8.

As the world’s foremost expert on the Police Academy movie franchise, I can confidently say that Smith as the gentle giant florist-turned-hard-nosed-cop has to be one of the greatest acting performance ever turned in by an NFL defensive player. But where exactly does the Hightower character rank among all big screen performances by NFL defenders? For that, we resurrect an old friend, the Joe Sports Fan Top 7.

7. Howie Long – Kelly – Broken Arrow
When the character you’re playing doesn’t have a last name, that’s not a good sign. The only thing more square than Long’s haircut is his acting. Although deserving of every barb ever directed at him by Terry Bradshaw on Fox’s NFL Sunday, the death of his character in Broken Arrow did give birth to the Howie Scream, making it more memorable than Firestorm (1998), and thus making our list.

6. Bill Romanowski, Lawrence Taylor, and About 90 Other NFL Players – Prison Convicts – Any Given Sunday (1999)
Bill Romanowski and Lawrence Taylor playing football players that had significant run-ins with the law – that’s like Britney Spears playing a young woman driving cross country from the Deep South to Los Angeles to become a singer. And yet somehow, Romanowski is the only one of the three that’s avoided going to jail in real life. Go figure.

5. Brian Bosworth – Joe Huff / John Stone – Stone Cold (1991)
The best way to describe the movie Stone Cold would be as a poor man’s Road House. Now that you’ve been properly enticed, give it a look. Nobody else did. The contract “The Boz” signed as a rookie with the Seattle Seahawks brought in more money than this stinker. However, this movie did feature 92 minutes of Bosworth’s signature frosted mullet and enough male shirtlessness to make Chuck Norris blush. On this basis alone, this film clearly earns its merits.

4. Alex Karras – Mongo – Blazing Saddles (1974)
Sure, you know him as George Papadopoulos, the loving father of a tiny yet fully-grown man afflicted with a terrible genetic disorder, but Karras makes this list because of those three little words that everyone longs to hear: “Telegram for Mongo.”

3. Terry Crews – President Camacho – Idiocracy (2006)
Crews plays Dwayne Elizondo Camacho, 5-time Ultimate Smackdown champion, porn superstar, and president of the United States. He presided over the House of Representin’. He learned that water didn’t always come from the toilet. Crews actually turns in a really funny performance, and the movie is hilarious.

 

2. Dick Butkus – Hamburger: The Motion Picture (1986)
Glory Busterburgerlujah! Ah, one of the many advantages of growing up with HBO and absent parents has to be seeing this movie about 127 times as a child.  Somehow, former University of Illinois and Chicago Bears all-time great Dick Butkus, the man to whom all other linebackers will forever be compared, manages to raise his legacy to new heights with his stirring, heartfelt portrayal of Drill Sergeant Ben Drootin, who’s constantly cracking down the misfit students at Buster Burger University trying to earn their bachelor’s degrees in burgerology, or something like that. As an important side note: This movie contains more clever puns on gherkins and eating out than any other in history.

 

1. Bubba Smith – Sergeant Moses Hightower – Police Academy (Parts 1 Through 6)
It should come as no surprise that the dynamic role of Moses Hightower, played by the late Bubba Smith, tops our list. We watched as he blossomed from a mild-mannered florist into a one-man crime fighting force. We rooted for him as he overcame his own personal demons, like never having learned to drive a car.  We saw him stand up and fight for the rights of minorities, like he did for the patrons of the Blue Oyster Bar on numerous occasions. We watched as he grew into a more prominent leadership role, starting in Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach following the departure of Carey Mahoney. But most of all, we learned that there was no shortage of objects he could throw a really, really long way – be it a football, a set of matched luggage, what have you.

Honorable Mentions:

Lyle Alzado – Bronk Stinson – Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)
Any reason to bring up Ernest Goes to Camp is a good one. End of discussion.

Jim Brown – Fireball – The Running Man (1987), Slammer – I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988)
Okay, so Jim Brown was not a defender. Who cares? This is Joe Sports Fan, not U.S. News & World Report. I’m sure he made a tackle or two after an interception during his career. I refuse to leave the man that played Fireball off this list completely.


Adam Dunn and the Race for .178

August 4, 2011

With baseball’s dog days of August squarely upon us, history is in the making. And people are starting to stand up and take notice.

Less than two months are left in baseball’s 2011 edition, and Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Dunn has a chance to break the all-time modern day record for lowest batting average in a season for a player with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title, a mark set by former Detroit Tigers outfielder Rob Deer, who hit a putrid .179 in 1991.

Yes, the record many thought would never be broken is now suddenly within reach. If you ask Dunn though, all the hype and media attention surrounding “The Race for .178” is a bit premature.

“It’s too early to start talking about (the record) just yet,” Dunn said. “I don’t want to jinx it. My goal all along was to get to September and hopefully my batting average would be no higher than .170. If that happens, then I’ll start to feel like I’ve got a legitimate shot.”

Dunn enters today’s play hitting just .166. However, with two hits in his last six at bats, his average has risen four points in the last two games.

“Sometimes that’s just how it goes,” said Dunn. “You try to get out there, take it one day at a time and put some really horrible at bats together. Sometimes the ball just finds a hole. It’s probably dumb luck more than anything, really.”

To his credit, Deer, the reigning Lowest Batting Average King – who also had a career average of .220 in 11 major league seasons – has been supportive of Dunn’s quest, even lending him advice at times.

“It was more difficult than you’d think, finding a way to not get hits day after day,” Deer said recently in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. “For me, it was often easier if I just struck out. If you actually make contact, there’s always the off chance you could hit it somewhere a fielder isn’t standing.”

Deer struck out a phenomenal 175 times during his epic season in 448 at bats, a 39 percent clip. Dunn has been even more productive in that department, thus far whiffing 138 times in just 316 at bats, not making contact with the ball nearly 44 percent of the time.

As expected, the White Sox organization and fans are 100 percent committed to Dunn and his shot at history, even if it’s to the detriment of the rest of the team.

“We plan to keep Dunn in the lineup every day, no matter how many games it costs us,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. “Of course Adam won’t come out and say it, but we know how much this record means to him. Plus, the guys really get up for this. Everybody wants to be a part of history.”

“The fans have been great, really supportive,” added Dunn. “Every time I make another out, they get really loud and start yelling things. You can tell they’re fired up about it.”

Unfortunately, whenever a prestigious batting record has a chance of being broken, the subject of performance-enhancing drugs rises to the forefront.

Recently, an Associated Press reporter noticed some suspicious-looking bottles on top of Dunn’s locker. When questioned about this, Dunn said, “Yeah, I’ve been drowning my sorrows with a 12-pack of Schlitz every night. That seems to do the trick.”

For his historic efforts, Dunn will make $12 million this year, and is signed through 2014, when he tops out at $15 million.


NBA Scrambles to Replace Player Photos During Lockout

July 22, 2011

The NBA lockout arrived seemingly without warning, leaving webmasters of NBA.com and NBA team websites having to scramble to replace content for entire sites, thanks to a stipulation within the expired collective bargaining agreement that requires images and videos of players to be removed from all NBA-owned digital properties.

However, there’s a lot of grey area in these rules, and according to the report, “different teams have different interpretations of this particular stipulation.”

Unfortunately, webmasters are an inherently lazy group of people, and if given the option to take a shortcut, they often will.

This has resulted in some shoddy patchwork to replace photos containing the likenesses of NBA players, as in the case of this pregame workout photo taken from the Detroit Pistons website.

The webmaster has obviously swapped out the active NBA players in this photo with the Harlem Globetrotters from Scooby Doo, thinking no one would notice. And they’d have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for…well, you know.

Here’s another example. Look closely at this photo supposedly taken from this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest.

This one’s a little more tricky. If you focus your eyes on the scoreboard at the top in the background, you’ll notice that it has “Beavers” listed as the home team. Everyone knows there are no “Beavers” in the NBA. An obvious forgery.

Hey, Dallas Mavericks fans, did you enjoy your team’s improbable and inspirational run to the title? Well, I hope you took your own pictures of the downtown parade and championship celebration.

That‘s right, because they’ve all been replaced on the Mavs’ site with pictures of the winning screen from Double Dribble.

I don’t even know how to explain this one.

All I know is if the purpose of swapping out photos was to avoid a lawsuit, this one is not going to help.

Some photos have also been replaced by images of WNBA players, which has not caused as much of a stir because no one has been able to tell the difference from the old images.

The WNBA images are usable though. The league has been free from labor strife since 2003, when a last-minute collective bargaining agreement was reached that included perks like free deodorant and hair brushes following practices and games.


Artest Name Change Raises Eyebrows, Q Score

July 15, 2011

It’s not part of his stand-up comedy act. And as far as we can tell, it’s not an homage to World B. Free. But it’s definitely for real. Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest has petitioned to have his name legally changed to Metta World Peace.

While not as disastrous of a name change as say, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf for example, given Artest’s checkered past, it’s sure to cause some confusion among NBA fans.

Now you might hear announcers say things like, “A sucker punch by World Peace, and Peace has been ejected from the game!” On the road, he’ll probably be showered by opposing fans with taunts like, “Hey World Peace, you suck!”

After all, isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Artest…I mean Peace…the infamous Malice at the Palace?  Imagine if this had been the headline resulting from that night:

And it wasn’t too long ago that Artest wanted to be called by a different name, after his floundering record label, which at first glance seems to conflict with his current choice.

Tru Warier…or World Peace? Well Ron, which is it? I guess I should just be happy it isn’t “Whirled Peaz” or something to that effect.

The best thing about this whole name-changing situation for Artest is that it yields the kind of publicity and awareness that can launch an acting career. Playing for the Lakers, Artest is already on Hollywood’s doorstep. If he ever wanted to make the transition from NBA goon to big screen star, now is the time. And I think I’ve got the perfect debut role for him:

Okay, so it’s no “Kazaam” starring Shaquille O’Neal, but it’s still pretty good.