Thursday, December 13, 2007

Witnessing my childhood crumble before my eyes

So the Mitchell Report came out today...and I have no idea what to say. First, maybe a little background is in order:

Some of my earliest and fondest memories of childhood involve the Yankees and my dad. It's not the typical "my dad took me to my first Yankees game when I was three and I've been a fan ever since" kind of story -- mostly because we have lived in Alabama ever since I reached the ripe old age of one-and-a-half. It's more like a "my dad is my dad and I've been a Yankees fan ever since birth." You could call it brainwashing, or you could call it devotion, but I'll always be a Yankees fan, no matter what happens. And, though I'm not really one for packratting all my things through the years, I still have my Yankees World Series Champs 1996 poster in my room back home. Complete with Andy Pettitte front and center. And at that point in my life, my dream was to be a pitcher for the Yankees. Sure, I would go on to wear out my shoulder from overuse, and yes, I would eventually grow to idolize Bernie Williams because I would switch to centerfield. [Tangent: Maybe Bernie and I have a deeper connection than I imagined after looking at his website. I play guitar...he plays guitar...he's tall, dark, and handsome...and I stunted my growth with asthma medicine at a young age. But I digress...] But I was always drawn to Andy's folksy attitude, his laid-back Texas drawl and his knack for coming up big in the biggest spots. So now fast forward to the present...

I'm sitting here more than a decade wiser from that magical '96 season, and my fond childhood memories are quickly deteriorating. Now the details might state that Pettitte didn't even consider using until well after that season -- and the following seasons in that great dynasty -- but that means nothing to me now. Pettitte's reputation will forever be tarnished by this, now much more a Western outlaw instead of the righteous Texas cowboy. And that, my friends, is the travesty of this situation. While I definitely can't agree with John Kruk's examination of the Report [paraphrased: "MLB should have kept the Report quiet and in-house so as to not damage the images of the players involved."], I realize that there are many more people who will hold my same opinion(s). Much like I mentioned earlier, I will always love Andy Pettitte -- Roger, I'm not surprised you were implicated in this, and, I'm sorry, but I don't hold you in the same personal esteem as your buddy, Andy -- whether he admits his use, denies it completely, or allows it to just blow over. But instead of being akin to one of heaven's angels, he'll probably have to be content as simply a man with more ability and talent than myself.

And let me revisit those comments of ol' Krukky for just a second. Quite frankly, they don't make any sense. You made your millions playing -- and are making millions broadcasting -- solely because the game of baseball is so constantly in the public eye. If the nation didn't care and didn't have a healthy stake in this whole ordeal, then your job would have been marginalized long ago. Simply put, no sport can capture the attention and ire of the whole nation quite like Major League Baseball -- excepting, of course, this -- and that is precisely the reason that the American public deserves to be informed to the fullest extent about what is going on. If the freaking Congress can get involved -- the same Congress that is supposed to represent the interests of, you guess it, the American public -- then I think this issue is big enough to keep that public involved. On the other hand, Bud Selig could have kept it quiet, could have called the named players into his office privately, and could have handled the whole situation without involving any outsiders. And then where would that leave the league? Still with a debilitating steroid scandal, but now also with a crooked commish who covers up embarrassing issues, a more suspicious public perception, and -- probably not avoidable even with the Report out in the open -- a vicious cloud hanging over each and every player, named or unnamed by some Report. So I guess, looking at every possibility, "keeping it quiet and in-house" would be the best option, right, John? Maybe you could stick to standing up in the batter's box. Or maybe to plugging your products on TV [listen closely...I don't think it's a joke]. But again, I digress...

Bringing it back full circle:
1) No, this does not tarnish the Yankees' reputation as a whole and, no, it does not invalidate their legitimate championships before Andy started using.
2) Yes, it tarnishes every single one of the named players' reputations, probably forever, regardless of what comes of this debacle.
3) I don't want to hear the "Oh, but they haven't been proven guilty, and since this is America, you should be innocent until proven guilty" argument. It doesn't matter when you're being tried in the courts of public opinion. You can be cleared of all charges but still be seen as scum by the public [see: "If the glove doesn't fit, you've got to acquit."].
4) We're still the Yankees. We still have A-Rod -- who, by the way, was NOT implicated in the Report, and we still have Joba, Phil, Ian, Melky, and Robby. So, Yanks' fans, don't worry, we'll be fine for years to come. Just grit your teeth and bear it for now, and we'll get through this together. At least we don't have to deal with Manny or Varitek everyday, right? Maybe next time he'll take the mask off like a man.

Check out this reaction to the Report from a guy who's feeling it as much as I am.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

UGA's Road to the National Championship

So it's been a while -- a very long while -- since I last wrote anything on this blog. And this post won't be a long update on where I've been all this time. It's just a simple plea to the college football gods: All I want this Christmas -- and I'd be damn thankful for it also -- is for these few things to happen over the next few weeks:

1. USC beats #6 Arizona St. -- UGA moves to #5
Done; I just finished watching the game. USC looked like USC used to, and Arizona St. looked exactly as I thought they would whenever I finally got around to seeing them play.
2. UConn beats #3 West Virginia
After the '06 Sugar Bowl I'll never count myself as a WVU supporter, and this game is no different.
3. #4 Missouri beats #2 Kansas...badly
Who are these teams anyway? The worse Missouri beats Kansas, the further KU falls in the polls, 'nuff said.
4. Kentucky beats Tennessee -- UGA goes to SEC Championship Game
This is the key to the whole scenario, and I haven't been this huge a Kentucky fan since...wait, I've never been a Kentucky fan. Sorry.
5. #7 UGA beats Ga. Tech
Just like last year...and the year before...and the year before...and the year before...okay, you get the point. The Dawgs must win convincingly to persuade the polls to drop Kansas behind us.

End of play for this week: UGA locks up a place in the SEC Championship against LSU; West Virginia, Kansas, and Arizona St. all fall behind the Dawgs in the BCS standings, leaving UGA at #4 (behind LSU, Missouri, and Ohio St.).

6. #4 UGA beats #1 LSU -- SEC CHAMPS!!!
I'll guarantee a victory in this one if we make it to the game (come on, Wildcats!) because there's no way LSU's now-porous run D can stop Knowshon and TBrown. Or just Knowshon.
7. Oklahoma beats #2 Missouri in Big 12 Championship
OU wins the Big 12 and life returns to normal...but only if USC can win the PAC-10 again, just like the whole past century.

End of play for this week: Ohio St. comes in at #1 in the BCS by default because they don't have any more games to play, and -- you guessed it -- that would be the Dawgs sitting pretty at #2 and poised for an incredible BCS Championship victory.

Now I know this might be a long shot, but the first step has already been completed right on schedule, so I don't see why the rest can't shake out. And there's seven steps necessary in this scenario, and seven is a lucky number...and Stafford's number...

We'll just have to sit back and see.
GO DAWGS! Sic 'em!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Midsummer Musings (aka Sports According to Eric)

I've realized recently that ESPN has become more soap opera than actual sports news source. Witness the coverage devoted not to David Beckham -- whom I will address later in this post -- but to his wife, former and forever Spice Girl Victoria (Posh Spice). While I am a huge fan of neither, I would much rather hear about David's mutinous left ankle than Posh's failed attempt at a reality show. Maybe it's just me...

While we're on the Beckham topic, I'll go ahead and introduce
Topic Numero Uno: the man himself, David Beckham. Why is it that when you Google his name to look for images, finding a shot of him actually playing la joga bonita is more difficult than finding a Falcon fan who still supports Mike Vick? When you are set to become the richest soccer player in the greatest country in the world, and there is scant photo evidence that you even attempt to play your sport, you need new priorities. He's turning into a male hybrid of Danica Patrick and Ana Kournikova. Except with a much more fragile body apparently. The list of Beckham injuries is endless. While Danica has to endure the heat, pressure, testosterone, and speed of Formula 1 racing, ol' Dave is brandishing his bottle of IcyHot to calm his aching ankle. Even Ana has to live with the memory of Enrique's bulging mole. What's the worst trial Davy's had to conquer recently? Maybe...which other Spice Girl he wishes he'd married now? Or how about which end of the bench to sit on? Or possibly even how one soccer/football player could possibly be worth $250 million dollars? On second thought, maybe he does need that IcyHot. And throw in some Aleve, Vicodin, and Morphine. And while we're at it, maybe a hearty pat on the back for putting up with any of the Spice Girls. Good luck, David; maybe you'll do more than wander around the field this next season.

Another issue that seems to be popular nowadays is the always lovable
Barry Bonds. Now, I've made the proceeding picture much larger than the previous ones because I want you to take a good look at it. It's like a time warp. Or those before-and-after pictures that clog up my TV every afternoon. Except it's more like watching the transformation of Popeye, but with different spinach. Don't get me wrong, I love a good long ball just as much as the next rabid baseball fan, but the experience is cheapened when it seems like the Incredible Hulk is taking the plate. If only Ken Griffey, Jr. hadn't been injured so often...or if Barry had stayed with the Pirates...or if Barry hadn't acted like such a jerk...or if he had morals...or if he would just retire. The greatest record in all of sports is about to fall to a man who looks like a comic book character. I hope commissioner Bud Selig has fun watching the culmination of his tenure.

And finally, the most disgusting story I've ever heard involving a sports star:
Michael Vick's dogfighting debacle. The only word I can use to describe this is revolting. It makes me want to throw up. The pictures of these events are sad and horrible. Sad in that there are actually people who pay money to watch these fights unfold. It's cowardly, horrific, and pathetic. The great Colin Cowherd summed up his opinions thusly, and I'm paraphrasing a bit: "Anybody who participates or enables the act of dog fighting is a bottom-feeder...scum." Couldn't have said it better myself. And as I watch this nightmare unfold, the only silver lining I can think of is that maybe -- just maybe -- DJ Shockley will actually step on the playing field for the Falcons. I'm tempted to find the irony between Vick's involvement with dogs and Shockley being a leader of the Dawgs. But that would be mean and inappropriate of me.

Last comments about sports in general and a few things in specific:
  1. I still wish I knew how to play cricket.
  2. I'll be content with ping pong though, because it's much more prevalent and has much less confusing rules.
  3. Watch out...! The Yankees are making a run on the Red Sox now. I miss the years when we didn't have to make a second-half push to win the division or the wild card. Here's to Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Phil Hughes, and all the rest of the Yankees past, present, and future: Let's return to the glory days, and win a damn championship soon!
  4. I just heard about this and wish I had time to write more. Tim Donaghy, an NBA referee has been accused of betting illegally on games that he officiated over the course of the past two seasons. Donaghy allegedly fixed his calls in those games to affect the point spread. Another sickening story, but not in the physical sense. This will scar the NBA for years to come if the allegations prove true because -- from here on out -- all losing playoff teams will wonder, and perhaps justifiably, whether the refs punked them out of a game/series/championship. Looks like Bud Selig has some company in the Commissioners-in-Tight-Situations Camp with David Stern. And maybe the players aren't the only ones you need to control, eh, Sterny?
  5. GO DAWGS! A tentative television has been released, and we are projected/confirmed with 4 CBS 3:30 games: Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and Auburn. Now all we have to do is prove that we're worth the electricity required to broadcast the games.
And so I will leave you and, in the process, take this post full circle. Check out this moment of zen from the quote machine herself, Victoria Beckham:
"It's just so hard to be this fabulous."
Until next time...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How To Be a Creepy Lurker 101

Welcome to Creepy Lurker class!

This post is officially dedicated to Adam Gobin and Jessica Jaret (pronounced Jah-ret, with the emphasis on the first syllable and with a thick Northern accent):

First off, let me define exactly what a "creepy lurker" is. A creepy lurker is any person who makes the people around him -- and it's usually a him, l
et's be honest -- feel the way Adam and Jessica feel in this picture. Basically, you are "that guy."

A lurker is that guy in the corner of all of your pictures who, even though you've never met him before, tries to act like he does. He's usually looking straight at the camera and making a gang sign. Or winking. Or licking his lips. Or leering seductively. He could even just be walking by the group at the time and be staring awkwardly into the lens.
You know who I'm talking about. Check your Facebook pictures for him. He's there. I'll guarantee it.

A creepy lurker c
ould also be someone who eavesdrops on other people's conversations and chimes in at opportune, awkward moments. Or you could compulsively poke people on Facebook, even if you're not even friends. Or you could be a feral cat that sits outside and waits for Jessica Jaret to walk by. Or you could have just said a semi-creepy comment at an inopportune moment. You don't even have to be an animate object. Like you could be the creepy car lurking behind Milly at Bennie's Red Barn in St. Simons last weekend.

And I know you're probably thinking, "Oh no! I've been in other people's pictures...I've thrown up gang signs...I've made creepy, awkward comments. Eric, harbinger of all that is true and right in this world, am I a creepy lurker?!" The answer
unfortunately, is an emphatic YES. But, as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings -- I've never been, but they sound interesting I guess...not really the place I want to be though -- admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. And yes, saying creepy lurker comments is addictive. I know, I was once an unabashed addict. But I am now a recovering addict, which means I just have a good excuse when I make a lurker comment.

If this post describes you, though, there is hope! Not this HOPE and not this Hope, but this hope. Which means that you, too, can become a recovering creepy lurker addict. All you need is a little willpower, self-control, luck, and chicken noodle soup. Well...maybe not the soup, but it couldn't hurt. Unless you're vegetarian or allergic or something. That would be no fun.

But I digress...

My last comment is a disclaimer: Don't be offended if someone calls you a creepy lurker. There are rare occasions when it is actually used as a term of endearment. In all other cases -- 99% of the time, I suspect -- it is used simply as a warning of sorts. A polite "You are weirding me out and it's not cute."
So if you hear that comment applied to you, don't be offended, just know that you are just like everyone else. Because everyone has their creepy lurker moments. I know I do. So if you ever "feel me creeping and you see me from your shadow" -- as Akon so eloquently said -- look behind and say hello. Call me a creeper. I'm right behind...

Until next time...

Quotes, quotes, quotes!

So recently I've become a fan of cool inspirational quotes. I know, you're thinking, "How lame is this guy? I read that first post and he sounded so awesome, but now I'm not so sure." Well, if that's what you're thinking, then I don't know how to assuage your concern. But, since this is my blog, I'm going to ramble about a few things that I like to talk about. So hold onto your hats, buckle your seatbelts, and enjoy the ride!

I left you last with a little one of my personal favorite quotes, so if you're too lazy to scroll up to the last post, I'll just restate it here:
"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things." - Denis Diderot
That's the quote that's at the bottom of the information cards that I handed out to most of my orientation groups, so if it looks familiar, then give a little shout and rep good ol' group 7! Denis Diderot was a French philosopher -- whatever your biases against the French, and I know that a lot of Americans have some -- put them aside for a little while. Diderot was a prominent thinker during the Enlightenment, so he might be a familiar name to other people who haven't read my information cards.

But that's neither here nor there...

The subject of this quote -- passion -- is one of my favorite topics. My basic philosophy in life lines up pretty much parallel with this quote in that I've realized that I will accomplish nothing if I am not passionate about what I'm doing. I spent the majority of my first year in college trying to make it mirror my senior year of high school. Not such a good idea...I got way too involved in way too many things, without realizing that I was stretching myself too thin. I overcommitted to a few organizations, and it came back to hurt me during my second year. When I finally realized that I didn't have the desire to commit my time to those clubs, I found that it was much more difficult to quit them than it should have been. Because I had gotten so heavily involved -- executive boards and committees -- during freshman year, I couldn't exactly just make a clean break and be done with it. The process was heartwrenching, and I definitely made more enemies than friends, but eventually I found that, because I was finally following my passion, I was much happier in the end.

So basically, after all my meandering comments, what I want to say is: find your passion and run toward it. Find what makes you "come alive" and go do that. If you've heard of the artist Michelangelo -- no, not the Ninja Turtle, but that would be awesome, too -- then you might recognize this quote. Again I will leave you with a profound quote, this time from the aforementioned artist -- and again from Orientation.
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark."
So go ahead and pursue your dreams, follow your passions, and make a name for yourself. Not being overly corny, but that's what we were all meant to do, SO DO IT!

Until next time...

Monday, July 16, 2007

So I have no idea what I'm really doing with this...

Welcome to the wonderful world of me. It's a world full of awkwardness, sarcasm, laughter, guitar, and overall awesomeness. I hope you enjoy it. If you don't, feel free to send the hatemail to Adam Gobin. He'll take care of you. And now...on with the show!

So I guess this would be my first ever official blog post. It feels kinda weird, as I've always been the sort of guy to sneers at bloggers and the blogosphere in general. And now here I am, beginning my very own blog. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

I have no idea what to actually say on this, except to give a little shoutout to the brilliant Morgan Cogswell who, without any knowledge on her part, has inspired me to create this blog. I was reading her blog -- which I discovered from the Facebook, first of all -- the creatively titled morgangster while waiting for the Orientation placement test results in the wonderfully air-conditioned but still atmospherically suffocating Clark Howell Hall. Yes, I do Facebook whenever given the opportunity. But that's enough rambling for now. My battery is dying, and I need to stop typing before I become too incoherent. If you've read this far I should give you some sort of prize for tolerating my verbosity, but for now, I just hope you don't feel like you've wasted these past two minutes of your life. Maybe the next few posts will be more interesting...

For now I'll leave you lovely readers with one of my favorite quotes...maybe I'll talk about it in my next post:
Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
Denis Diderot

Until next time...