Archive for November, 2011

In this episode of Chicago, A Drinking Town With A Sports Problem’s podcast, producer Raul Parra joins Moe Rubio and Andy Welebir in the asylum as they discuss the Jay Cutler injury, a special guest pipes in on Mike McQueary, the Bandwagon fan debate, we answer some fan questions, Justin Verlander as the MVP, some other baseball awards, the 4-3 vs. the 3-4, Moe busts out some classic baseball seasons, they gloss over the Dale Sveum coaching hire, and Raul Parra tells the saddest baseball story ever.

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Ndamukong Suh was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  for two games earlier today for a complete and utter lack of self control. Suh has long had the reputation of a player that borders on the dirty, he’s called a throw-back and has received either praise for it, or he has been labeled a dirty player because of it.

For a few weeks I was on the fence with Suh. As I’ve stated previously I’m pretty stupid when i watch football, and Suh tickles the core of my brain with his play. The “Neanderthal Gene,” as it’s called sometimes, enjoys Suh when he’s launching quarterbacks with the intent to maim.

This transgression, however, is just stupid. This is throwing an interception in the endzone stupid. It’s a terrible mental mistake that a young team in the hunt for a playoff spot simply can’t afford. Suh has long bordered on the barbaric. Toeing that line can get tricky sometimes, and you need to be careful to not step outside of the lines.

Suh plays in the No Fun League, they’ll come after you for unsportsmanlike conduct. They will fine you for late hits. They will suspend you for taking a cheap shot at a defenseless player. And the NFL does not appreciate it when you try to dress it up with saying “I was trying to regain my balance.” I would respect Suh a bit more even with the stomp if he had just owned up for it, instead of hiding behind a poor excuse.

The Detroit Lions are fighting for a playoff spot, and they need their talented interior lineman to control the middle for them to increase their chances. Taking two weeks off so you can kick someone in the stomach isn’t tough or intimidating. It’s selfish. The Packers went on to blow out the Lions after Suh was kicked out of the game, and that is probably an omen of things to come.

Lions fans may say that Goodell is being unfair. They may feel that if they don’t make the playoffs that they have a right to bitch about it, and that they may have an excuse for failing to advance to the post season yet again.

They don’t. If the Lions lose the next two games, or even go 1-1 and fall short of the playoffs, the blame lays at the stomping feet of Ndamukong Suh. Suh has to be aware of the repercussions of his actions. Mental mistakes are inexcusable on the football field, especially when they keep you out of two key games heading down the stretch.

Emergency Top 5

Posted: November 26, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Basketball, NBA, Top 5
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This is usually supposed to be a weekly column, and it’s Andy’s turn, but being the biggest buckethead on the show and considering that I’m not a “real” Blackhawks fan yet, and that the NBA lockout just ended, I had to throw this together.

Moe’s Top 5 Basketball Related Youtube Videos

5. Stacey King Finds Stewie

It was before Stacey King hit his stride. It was a time before Derrick Rose, when Bulls basketball wasn’t terrible, but it was a rough watch. Stacey King finds Stewie, and Noc just absolutely posterizes him. Two things, I love Stacey, and a part of me misses Noc.

4. Stacey King’s Top 10 Calls of Derrick Rose

Talent recognizing talent man. These are a pretty good synopsis of what watching a Bulls game is like now. All the catch phrases that spawned a sound board, the pure basketball joy that radiates from Stacey King is outstanding. I love listening to him and I wonder what it was like to sit next to him on the bench during the early 90’s run of Bulls excellence.

3. Derrick Rose, The Unicorn

This started as a meme, I forget who the original outlet was, but a blog called Derrick Rose a unicorn and it all took off from there. This is in the Steve Porter vein of Sports Remixes and all that, and it might be a little weird, but I love it.

2. Jordan tells LeBron What’s Up

This is a mash up of two pretty good commercials that come together to become excellent. It’s a great response to the LeBron “What Should I Do” ad that was out there after he joined the Heat. That and MJ in commercials is always awesome.

1. The 1996 Double Dip

A few things, yes this is two videos, and yes I cheated. This is from that 1995-1996 72 win season, and the intro to the game sums up the emotion perfectly. I remember watching this in my living room after having to see the Sonics celebrate a game 5 victory like they won the whole damn thing, confetti and all. Never bet against Michael Jordan. Ever.

Of Ex-Boxers, Crazy Dedicated Fans and Black Wednesdays.

Posted: November 25, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Uncategorized

The following story is mainly true, except for the parts that I made up/embellished. Only those who were actually there know the whole truth, and perhaps if you would like to find out, you should tag along next time. Unless you don’t, then you shouldn’t. 

It always starts innocently enough, so I’ll spare you that small detail. Simply know that we three gentlemen decided that after a fairly good recording session we should go and partake of the drinking holiday known as “Black Wednesday.”

“A few drinks,” one said. Knowing the company one should never be fooled about what a few drinks actually means. What it is to have a few drinks is to open Pandora’s box itself and delve into a dark downward spiral that quickly gets out of control thanks to circumstances not completely related to the alcohol consumption.

Surprisingly, the crew weren’t the source of trouble, but more on that later.

Off we went to a favorite spot, Cigars and Stripes. That in it of itself should have been a dark omen of things to come, and perhaps the movie playing on the projector should have alerted us to the danger lurking around the corner. I’ve never heard of “Thankskilling,” but by the looks of it I don’t ever want to hear of it again. It seems damn awful.

It was open mic night. Again, another sign that we should turn and run as fast as we could, but we stayed for the beer.

Walking back through the entangled mess of bad decisions is a dangerous road to take. I find that our real cue to leave was shortly after we befriended an old boxer, a tomato can more like it. His claims are believable, and perhaps in retrospect they are to be believable, but at the time we only cared about the rounds he was buying.

He said his name was Mike. He trained with Andrew Golota. After a few rounds of pints it became firmly clear that the man was not all up there, and with open mic night come all the worst comics in the Berwyn area. I couldn’t do it, but I’m sure some of you reading this (all 5 of you) could come out and do a better job. A man came up to me and the other Mexican in the room to ask permission to tell Hispanic jokes.

Thus the night continued.

Our biggest fan came out to meet us. We were all surprised that he hadn’t already stalked us down previously and trapped us in a Misery type setting. An agreeable chap that seems to be a bit of an instigator completed the foursome and we were busy sipping our complimentary beverages.

Perhaps the boxer had too many, perhaps he hadn’t had enough to forget the ghosts of boxing past, but as soon as a comic appeared on stage, he began the heckling. A long drawn out process began as a twiggy hipster look alike comic tried in vain to calm the beast. An effort by the bar’s owner to assuage the man also failed and one by one the crew excused themselves and retired to the rear room.

I was one of the last to go, my cue to leave being a text message simply stating “come out back, leave the fatman.”

I complied and all four were re-united. We decided to go to another bar, further down the road on Ogden, and before any of us knew it we were acting a fool. I’m sure there are images somewhere that we would never want to see the light of day, and being the photographer, I’ll ensure that they won’t.

It was after that we disbanded, and we invited our biggest fan to join our next podcast. There was a hipster bar after that and a whole lot of Busch, but the evening was pretty subdued.

If you become our next biggest fan, you can join in, and perhaps you shouldn’t, if you can’t hang that is.

My top 5 is a weekly feature that takes a peek into the mind of Andrew Welebir and Mauricio Rubio.

My top 5 favorite boxing rounds.

I’m part of a dying breed, a real Boxing fan. Here are my favorite rounds of all time.

5. Barrera vs. Morales I, rd. 5, February 19, 2000.

Coming from a Mexican-American family, I tend to gravitate towards Mexican fighters. This trilogy is amongst my favorite boxing trilogies of all time. It pitted two warriors against each other, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. Round 5 has an interesting ebb and flow to it as Morales and Barrera go back and forth with momentum. Morales ended up winning the split decision

4. Ali vs. Frazier I, rd. 15, March 8, 1971.

AKA The Fight of the Century. Perhaps my favorite knockout of all time, mainly because of the look of surprise on Ali’s face. Frazier was Ali’s equal, the first guy to knock him down. He executed a great defensive strategy and used it as great offense against the faster Ali. The background for this fight has been discussed Ad nauseam, but it was a great fight. The technical aspects of this round aren’t as pretty as the others, but considering the legend of Ali and my love for Frazier, this makes the list.

3. Luis Castillo vs. Diego Corrales I, rd. 10, May 7, 2005.

Corrales is done at this point. He’s spitting out the mouth piece, his eye is swollen shut, Castillo is on his way to an elusive 10-6 round, Corrales needs a knockout to win. After going down for the second time, he digs deep and finds it, launching a furious assault that earns a stoppage. This is what I watch when I need some motivation.

2. Hagler vs. Hearns I, rd. 1, April 15, 1985.

Otherwise known as the war, this is considered by many as the best round of boxing in history. It’s certainly the most memorable start to a fight I can think of. There isn’t much to say besides that this ended with a bloody Hagler knocking Hearns out.

1. Gatti vs. Ward I, rd. 9, May 18, 2002.

My favorite sports moment. This is the most inspirational video I’ve ever seen. In all honesty this trilogy is the second greatest in boxing history, behind Ali vs. Frazier. Ward won the fight, but both fighters won a lot of respect by boxing fans the world over.

If I recall the coaching search that followed a listless Dick Jauron season correctly, the Bears were rumored to be going after two romantic names in the coaching bloodstream, Romeo Crennel and Lovie Smith.

I remember having a small feeling of disappointment as I felt the Bill Belicheck coaching tree would produce some good talent.

This is why I’m a football moron sometimes. Especially back then when I believed in the whole run the ball and blitz mentality.

Lovie Smith endeared him to Chicago football fans by stating that beating Green Bay was a season goal. Proving that football love is absolutely fleeting, it seems that most Bears fans are so completely tired of Lovie Smith that they will find any reason to show his incompetence.

Bears fans want Smith gone, and for awhile I was one of them. I was tired of the unemotional coach that is such a stark contrast to Chicago coaching’s patron saint, Ditka.

5 years after a Super Bowl appearance Smith has a chance to prove that he belongs in the pantheon of great football coaches, and he’s going to have to do it with an aging defense and back up quarterback, Caleb Hanie.

The Bears have lost their starting QB, Jay Cutler. He’s an oft maligned player who despite getting up from brutal hits and violent collisions frequently has his toughness questioned. Stupidly.

His broken thumb will keep him sidelined for a significant amount of time. It’s legitimate, please don’t question this.

And that leaves Lovie Smith with a young quarterback with questionable talent throwing to a pack of sub-par receivers. This all sounds so familiar.

While the Bears do sit pretty at 7-3, they are still chasing the Detroit Lions and will likely need at least 3 wins to sneak into the playoffs. It’s more than likely that 4 wins will be needed.

If Lovie Smith finishes this season with 11 wins, there can be little doubt that he belongs in the conversation of great coaches in the modern day. Consider what he has already done without having the benefit of a franchise quarterback. He has navigated his teams to multiple division championships, he’s been to two NFC championship games, and he’s made it to a Super Bowl. All of this is with having Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton as his quarterbacks for the bulk of the time.

Given that the Bears have a somewhat soft schedule heading down the stretch and that inexplicably opposing punters keep testing Devin Hester, it’s not out of the question that the Bears manage to win 3 or even 4 games.

If that happens, you meatballs are in trouble.

I hate myself as a football fan. Absolutely loathe myself. I’m smarter than what I turn into on Sundays. I become a screaming idiot, hungry for the next concussion inducing car crash to occur on a frozen field in the snow. I root for kickers to have their comparatively smaller bodies crunched in between 600+ pounds of anger and athleticism in a cathartic experience of schadenfreude.

On Sundays I become a caricature of a football fan. I become base, simplistic, primal. I yearn for the running back to carry defenders with him into the endzone. I lust after dangerous collisions which are surely cutting short of the players that I care so little about.

My initial reaction to the Jay Cutler NFC Championship injury, “What a pussy.”

I become a moron.

Such is life as a football fan. I think we all toe that line, we all become something that we would never show in any other context (at least I hope not).

No matter how stupid I become during football games however, I will never be stupid enough to recognize Tim Tebow as a good quarterback.

If you want a true over the top account of the Tebow love, follow Skip Bayless. Re-watch the NFL Network’s post game coverage of last night’s Jets-Broncos game. Understand that the most polarizing figure in modern sports is almost a pure media creation.

Even I am contributing to the continued over-coverage of a quarterback with minimal passing skills and a whole lotta faith behind him.

But this is the situation that we as football fans find ourselves in. He’s here, he’s not going away for awhile, and we’re going to have to find a way to deal with him.

I should appreciate a player like Tebow more, considering I grew up in Chicago watching the parade of talentless Bears quarterbacks make a mockery of the position. Tim Tebow should be a player I root for. He’s basic, primal, instinctive and he tries really really hard.

I hate him as a quarterback. I hate the 3 second hitch in his throw, the stupid jump throw he executes every once in a while. I hate that the Jets decided to blitz on that last play, allowing Tebow to waltz into the endzone virtually untouched and perhaps solidifying his “legend” amongst his rabid fans. I hate that the memory of having drive after drive starting in Jets territory and failing will be wiped by a touchdown trot.

People will forget that the Jets had no business being in this game, that a real quarterback would’ve closed the door on them in the second quarter given the same opportunities Tebow enjoyed.

He’s an assault on my football sensibilities. His fans defend him as though he is a reflection of themselves. There’s no room to sit back and just watch Tim Tebow. Defenders call him an MVP candidate, detractors (like myself) wish him failure at every turn.

It’s agonizing to watch, especially when his victories are taken out of context. Especially when people conveniently forget what happens to “Tebow Bowl” when faced up against a good offense and a defense that can sit back in zone coverage and wait, like the Lions did.

I find that you’re either rooting for the canonization of Saint Tebow, or the absolute evisceration of Jesus’ quarterback. All the religious overtones are there and ripe for the picking. As I’ve asserted before, I don’t mind players thanking God, I have no issue with any religion. What I do take issue with is a player forcing himself into the forefront and pushing his beliefs down my throat, especially when that player is not good at his position.

He’s here though, and he’s not going away anytime soon. Well, unless the Bears absolutely destroy him in two weeks. I would be satisfied with that.

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In this week’s episode, Andy and Moe can’t figure out who should take the lead, we talk some Penn State Football issues, Andy makes a Blackhawks prediction, Moe’s boxing heart is broken by Andy’s favorite Joe Frazier memory, we have our very first contest, and Moe is sad about the NBA.

Let’s take a moment

Posted: November 12, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Baseball, MLB
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And step back from the Penn State Story and all it’s sordid details. Let’s instead focus on the Miami Marlins and their bid to become a baseball superpower in one offseason.

As it turns out, the outfit from south beach has decided to make offers to Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Albert Pujols. Given that the Marlins have a substantial amount of young talent on the team and a crazy manager that no one in Chicago is quite ready to let go of yet, it would appear that the Marlins are tired of recycling superstar talent and are hellbent on outspending all of MLB to win this year.

Our Audio Technician Raul Parra called it. He Steve Stone’d it as soon as Ozzie was traded to the Marlins. The last time the Marlins did anything like this was in 1997 when they assembled a team loaded with all star talent and promptly unloaded them after winning a ring.

I like the offers to Jo-Jo Reyes and redneck Tommy John, but the Pujols deal will always be something that I’m wary of. Consider that he is coming off his worse season as a pro, he is likely in his decline phase, and will likely demand an 8 year deal at the minimum and I can see the Pujols contract hamstringing an organization for a long time.

Pujols at his peak was a pure monster, he was the rare slugger in that he was a hitter with power, rather than a power hitter. In 2006, for example, he hit 49 HR’s and only struck out 50 times.

That’s more than impressive, that’s damn near inhuman in the modern day of baseball.

There are significant signs that he is in his decline phase however, as his walk rate was significantly slashed, his ISO (isolated power) avg. number dipped to an all time low for him, and I believe he was simply hitting the ball with authority less often, as indicated by his all time low in BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), and a high GB% (groundball percentage).

I wouldn’t give him the outlandish deal he is looking for. Cubs fans have dealt with the Fonzi contract, and White Sox fans will have to deal with the remaining Adam Dunn years, but this is likely to be different than both of those. For one, Pujols is playing in a position that is abundant with power talent. When you break down 1B players you have Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Cabrera, just to name a few.

1B is clearly a position that is not lacking in the power hitting department.

You’re also likely to get more John Olerud-like performance out of Pujols rather than Ruth-like. It seems that given the numbers above, Pujols is sacrificing power to save contact.

This isn’t the 90’s anymore, there aren’t likely to be any secondary career peaks after 30 for these players. I respect the Marlins for going after it, but I don’t like the idea of giving Pujols a boatload of cash.

Episode 001

Posted: November 10, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Baseball, MLB, Podcast
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We’re talking Baseball in a retrospective of Tony LaRussa, refelcting on the World Series, Talking some Theo! and stupid Jeff Manto.