Archive for June, 2007

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Robbing redneck kids of their college fund.

June 22, 2007

In normal sports, supporting your team in pretty straight forward. You buy their shirts, hats, beer cozies, and underwear. The chances of any of that changing save a move to a different city is slim to none. The only time this occurred in recent memory was when the Oilers moved to Tennessee for a year or two until they changed to the Titans.

Things are different in NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently announced a team changed, and it’s still not clear if he will be switching numbers and/or sponsors. This is a little more important that you’d think (or care to think).

Little E’s pull in the $500 million NASCAR merchandise industry is around 30%, or $150 million. And that’s when 90% of fans already own a bunch of his crap. Now, with a new team and number, the industry could experience quite a surge.

Imagine if you will, you favorite football team switched everything about their team: the logo, the name, and the colors. Let’s say the Steelers suddenly became the 49ers one day. Now, you have a ton of useless Steeler stuff. You can’t wear it and be nostalgic, because you’ll be supporting the team now playing in San Francisco!

So now there’s going to be a ton of support out there for Johnny Noname driving the number 8 Budweiser car. People will need to replace flags, window stickers, their babies’ onsie, everything. And NASCAR will be laughing all the way to the bank, assuming they don’t already do that every Sunday.

Kids Baseball Movie Countdown from 1993 to 1994 – #3 Rookie of the Year

June 13, 2007

#3 Rookie of the Year

I already know what you are thinking: How in the heck is this great cinematic event #3 in this awesome countdown? I’ll tell you why, because you haven’t seen the movie in 10 years. With the wonderfulness of free HBO, I have had the pleasure of viewing this movie again and, while still good, definitely not the greatness you remember from your youth. Great flick though, obviously.

Starring:

Thomas Ian Nicholas – Does anyone recognize this guy? That’s right, love-lorn Kevin from American Pie. Even 11 years after being the most famous kid in the world, he was still able to nab Tara Reid (though not too difficult these days). Kinda did absolutely nothing between movies, though.

Gary Busey – Just hilarious, all around. Best role besides Black Sheep.

Daniel Stern – You may remember him as the non-Pesci burglar in Home Alone. You probably don’t remember him from Bushwacked.

John Candy – Radio Announcer. I rarely ever don’t laugh when he talks.

The following is listed verbatim from IMDB.com:

Barry Bonds Three Big Whiffers
Bobby Bonilla Three Big Whiffers
Pedro Guerrero Three Big Whiffers

As a Pirate fan, I can’t tell you how happy I am about this.

Plot Summary

Henry Rowengartner sucks at baseball, breaks his arm trying to impress a girl (who hasn’t?), arm heals tight and he can now throw 100 mph. In one of my favorite scenes from any baseball movie, he catches a homerun at a Cubs game and throws the ball from the outfield to home plate. Obviously, the Cubs suck so bad, they need him on the actual team. No need to worry about that whole age restriction thing. He gets Gary Busey as a role model (no joke needed) and the rest is history.

Of course, like all other main characters in kids sports movies, his mom is single and falls in love with his mentor. In the end, he loses his speed and the team wins the World Series without him. Hooray!

Shaky Premises:

No one goes to the Cubs’ games. Even when the Cubs suck, they still sell out. It’s like taking crazy pills.

Henry bats once… during the entire season.

The previous premise is truly baffling when it seems like he pitches ALL THE TIME.

Apprently there is one road trip during the season.

Kids can rebuild an engine.

Kids can use a motorboat with no license or supervision.

Best lines:

Doctor: Funky, buttloving…!

George: Did he say “funky buttloving?”
Martinella: I’m looking for Henry Rulenfurter.
Henry: Pitcher’s got a big butt! Pitcher’s got a big butt!
Final Thoughts:

The golden movie at the time, it has lost some of its luster. It’s definitely more of a kids movie than the top two. It pretty accurately describes every kids’ dream (at least at the time, when baseball was enjoyed by kids).
Worth another look, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s not the same movie as when you were nine.

Kids Baseball Movie Countdown from 1993 to 1994 – #4 Angels in the Outfield

June 8, 2007
With the long sports desert known as summer time upon us, we here at the North End Zone need to fill the space with something. We have devised a plan to make everyone long for “the good ol’ days”. Yes, we mean the Golden Age of kids baseball movies: 1993 – 1994. So this series of posts will countdown the top 4 kids baseball movies to come out during this time.
#4 Angels in the Outfield
Starring:

Danny Glover – Played George Knox, the manager. I’m sure Disney would love to associate with Danny now that he’s buddy-buddy with one Hugo Chavez.

Tony Danza – Played the pitcher in possibly his best movie role ever, aside from his part in The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon.

Christopher Lloyd – Played the part of Al, the boss angel. His hat said AL, which I think actually stood for “American League”. I don’t think his name is Al at all… liar.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Played Roger. Of course, we all know him from his 10 Things I Hate About You fame, when he hooked up with Alex Mack.

Also, Adrien Brody and Matthew McConaughey play small roles in the movie. I think this movie takes the cake over Two for the Money.

Plot summary:

Roger’s dad makes the statement that he will love his son when the Angels win the pennant. Roger takes this as fact. He then prays that the Angels do win so he can be with his dad and his sweet motorcycle.

Actual angels then come down, as they have no little kids to save in world anywhere, and help the baseball Angels play better. In the end, the actual angels abandon the baseball Angels, and the baseball Angels win the big game on their own while the entire crowd flaps like eagles or something.

(Yes, I too find it weird that I should capitalize Angels for the baseball team and not for actual angels.)

Shaky Premises:

Angels could actually help Tony Danza throw a baseball 100 mph.
People in California would actually show up to regular season baseball games.

Anyone would climb a tree to watch the ’94 Angels.

Best Lines:

Photographer: It looks like a prison photo.

JP: It could happen!
George Knox: You can’t go through life thinking everyone you need will one day let you down. If you do, a very bad thing will happen. You’ll end up just like me. (was he talking as George Knox or as Danny Glover?)

Final Thoughts:

Overall, great kids movie. I’m not sure how the Angels went from the arm flapping thing to a Rally Monkey, but whatever. They won the series.

I’ve always wondered if my dad could fake abandon me and say he’ll come back when the Pirates win the pennant. Although, I’m not sure if angels would believe me, and I’m not even sure if they could even help at all.

Philadelphia: More than just Rocky and Will Smith?

June 7, 2007

The question was posed to me by a young man (who some say is the Sean Glennon of Fantasy Baseball) “With AI gone now, who’s the best sports athlete/player in Philly?” It is an intriguing question with plenty of candidates. Well, first let’s consider the teams and possible candidates from each.

In order of my favorite teams:

  • Phillies: Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels
  • Eagles: Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb
  • Sixers: Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller
  • Villanova: Scottie Reynolds

Phillies

Now, as I watch my Phillies down 0-2 in the bottom of the 6th at Shea Stadium (0-1 to LoDuca with 2 outs), I see a lot of athletes that have a combination of speed, power, and hand eye-coordination. From youngster Michael Bourn, touted as the fasted player in the Phillies organization to 3rd deck-hitting Ryan Howard. From the heart of Aaron Rowand running through walls for his team to the gun that is illegally being mistaken as Shane Victorino’s arm. But 3 get the top nominations for best Phillie athlete.

Chase Utley is at the top. He has a rare combination of power and speed. He can hit 30-40 homers a season and probably swipe 20 bags as well. And very few players play as hard as he does. Many fans feel he embodies the heart of Philly with his daily approach and style of play.

Jimmy Rollins also gets a nomination for his similar power/speed combination. What can’t be overlooked is the fact that Jimmy has been playing in the Majors since 2000, when he was 22 years old. He also sits with the most NL Allstar appearances for the current Phillies but could be tied when Utley is voted in and he is not. And there is the fact he just hit a 3 run homer to take a lead in the game that influences the decision.

Cole Hamels is the Phillies ace, and how can you be an ace and not be in the running for top player/athlete. Hamels has been in tops for majors in both Wins and K’s all season, and is sitting at the top of the early list for NL Cy Young. Cole also deserves an Allstar appearence this year as well. And what’s best, he hits very well for a pitcher.

Eagles

Next comes the Eagles. E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! Plenty of candidates exist here as well. From the Freak, Jevon Kearse and his fearless pass rush to Jeremiah Trotter and his balls to the wall, attack the gap play. “The Kid” Shawn Andrews holding down a fierce OL to newly arrived QB heir Kevin Kolb, who established a very good college resume at Houston.

But the list starts, and possibly ends, with Brian Westbrook. Very few running backs in the league can juke, speed, catch, and generally make you look like an idiot like BW can. He was snubbed with Pro Bowl votes (Tiki you should have given it up since you didn’t deserve it) and will be the focal point of a more balanced Eagles offense.

Of course, there is the leader on the other side of the ball, B-Dawk. He hits like a hammer and literally flies after defenders (see the NY Giants game). And he’s been as reliable as any FS in the NFL for many years.

And then there is the franchise QB. McNabb has his injury issues, yes, but he also has his skills. He is a master of the West Coast offense. He can avoid defenders for unusual amounts of time allowing his receivers plenty of time to get open. He has a Cannon to launch the football down field as well. If only he could stay healthy!

Other

Like I said, I know nothing of Hockey and since we don’t have a player like Sid the Kid to get my interested, things will probably remain that way. And Basketball has fewer options. For the Sixers, the only two real candidates are Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller. Iguodala (the rightful 2006 NBA Dunk Champion) has high-soaring, eye-popping moves that are truely athletic. He also has a good jump shot and can handle well for a forward. Miller on the other hand is a true general. He know how to guide the team and single-handedly is responsible for the Sixers dropping at least 8 spots in the NBA Draft (he improved our team too much after we got rid of Iverson.) An honorable mention for basketball goes to Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds, per a fellow Blogger of the North End Zone. A young player who improved over the season, he holds the single game scoring record for a Villanova freshman.

So who is the top athlete? I leave that up to you to decide. But Philly has some great players that can capture the fateful fans attentions and imaginations. Oh, and don’t forget, we hold claim to 70 year old Rocky Balboa who can still kick ass in the ring against players 1/3 his age!

– TheVTRocketScientist –