28 May 2008

State Farm Really Wants An American To Win Their Ortiz Contest

You’d think all eyes would be on the Yankees as they finish up their final season at Yankee Stadium and host the All-Star Game in July. But instead, a rival Red Sox will be in the spotlight. State Farm’s Call Your Shot Promotion is set to occur during the home run derby on July 14th, and David Ortiz will try to imitate Babe Ruth and hit a dinger at a pre-determined spot, chosen by a lucky fan.

Ortiz as Ruth? You might see where some Yankee fans are seeing red. Canadians might be a little angry too. While the contest to choose Ortiz’s home run spot is open to those in the US and Canada, it seems pretty clear that State Farm wants an American to win.
Just like anyone else no purchase is necessary for Canadians. But you’d better be good at math. A closer look at the fine print, please. “If a resident of Canada is a potential winner,” the terms say, “to win he/she must correctly answer, unaided, a mathematical skill question administered by telephone.” (It's hard to see so read it here)

Uh, yeah. While I don’t spend much time reading the terms and conditions of contests, this just seems a little weird. You can’t use a calculator, clearly. And what type of “mathematical skill” level is unknown. So study up, Canadians. If you want to win, you’d better be quick on the draw.

So, does State Farm, the event’s sponsor, not operate in Canada? That could be it. Nope. State Who knows the real rationale. I get that Canada just has one MLB team these days, but this just see what this is all about.

20 May 2008

Let's Just Say Diego Maradona Really Wants To Meet Julia Roberts

Diego Maradona has had a wild ride, hasn't he? The latest twist in the soccer star's life brings him to the Cannes Film Festival, where he's supporting a documentary about himself. Maradona by Kusturica documents his journey from nothing to the most famous footballer in the world, his fall from grace via drugs and his subsequent redemption in recent years.

But leave it to Maradona. He's not too interesting in talking about his movie. Rather, he's using his film festival platform to try and meet Julia Roberts. And Maradona wants to meet her pretty badly, too.

"I would do anything to see her coming along here, along the Croisette," he said, through a translator. "I'd like to be able to walk along behind her and I'd be able to cut off my hand for that, even the hand with which I scored against England."

"I'd be able to cut off my hand if I could see Julia Roberts," he said.

Which hand, though? The hand of god? Let's just say that Maradona had better keep wishing. People making comments like that are probably not the kind of people typically allowed to meet Julia Roberts. Start with a please next time.

Glen Davis’ Manscaping Tips For The World

Big men in the NBA are evaluated on a number of things, with height, wingspan, and soft hands almost always part of the equation. It seems that Celtics power forward Glen Davis has taken the hands part to heart. Big Baby wants his to be as soft as, well, a baby’s. Davis, already a nominee for most bizarre player page photo award has added ACE Nail Care spokesman to his tool-set. In fact, he’s just the “man-size” spokesman they were looking for.

Nowadays, Big Baby, who got his name for his size and sensitivity during his elementary years in Louisiana, has a daily regimen of moisturizing, brushing and
buffing himself into top form. Those habits include liberal use of Lubriderm
lotion to keep his hands soft. He gets manicures twice a month, and favors - without apology - a clear top coat.
Davis is clearly more than just a basketball player. Heck, if this basketball thing doesn’t work out he might have other options. Reality TV fashion judge, perhaps? He’s got style, and already seems to have the made-for-tv sound-bytes that a judge would need.

“When you knock down a nail,” he said. “Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”

So maybe he should stick to hoops as long as he can. Those soft hands - - you really need them, don’t you. Glen Davis has them literally and figuratively, I guess. Upon hearing this Kwame Brown went searching for some moisturizer, hoping to find the key to the seemingly impossible quest to find “soft hands” that has defined his eight-year NBA career.

19 May 2008

You Can Call This Game Wee-Play

Finally! There’s now a replacement for the always awkward game of “sword-fight!” And it comes all the way from Belgium.

Two friends from Brussels have come up with the ultimate combination of video game and bar game. Want to slalom down the slopes? Are you feeling a need to kill aliens? You can do both now while relieving yourself at a urinal!

The 'Place to Pee' booth is designed for two users at a time and offers two games -- blowing up aliens in outer space or skiing down a virtual slope. Gamers hit their target by aiming at sensors positioned on either side of the urinal.
Fear not ladies, this game isn’t exclusionary. The game’s designers created a specially designed paper cone allowing women to participate as well. That sounds messy, doesn’t it?

Whether or not ‘Place to Pee’ takes off, creators Werner Dupont and Bart Geraets see this as a proud moment for the people of Belgium.
"This thing had to be invented by Belgian people and that's what we are," they said.
Clearly.

A "Professional" Athlete

For what seems likes the past year or so, sports enthusiasts have been inundated with newspaper headlines, SportsCenter intros and talk radio lead-ins detailing the latest athlete arrest or indictment. Domestic violence incidences, drug/alcohol abuse and illegal supplement intake are just a few examples of the transgressions perpetrated by a cast of professional athletes. In the age of video and Internet, a number of athletes and coaches (yes, you Tony La Russa)have even had videos of their interactions with police posted to the Web, for all to peruse.

Yet, tucked away in the dark recesses of May 11, 2008 New York Times Sports section was an article about the Lakers big-man, Pau Gasol. The article began:

"Pau Gasol, the Lakers center, was explaining the other day why he is highly motivated to finish off the Utah Jazz in the second round of the N.B.A. playoffs. 'I’m supposed to go to the opera next week,' he said.

Gasol was invited to a performance of Tosca by a fellow Spaniard, Plácido Domingo, the general director of the Los Angeles Opera. He has never met Domingo nor been introduced to
opera.

'I’m looking forward to it,' said Gasol, who has changed the culture of the Lakers since coming from Memphis in a Feb. 1 trade."
And so begins this beautifully written article by Karen Crouse, who managed to actually have an athlete divulge something meaningful and illuminating about himself for audiences to indulge. Gasol comes across as a thoughtful, selfless, "glue-man," who has propelled the Lakers to the conference finals in part because of who he is as a person. One remarkable anecdote relayed by Crouse was Gasol's relationship with Eduardo Schell, a reporter from Marca, a daily sports newspaper based in Madrid. Before interviewing Gasol, the two men embraced. A journalist and an American athlete hugging-it out before a Q and A? Perhaps someone should tell Kellen Winslow outrageous bursts of machismo are not always needed for a thought on the day's contest.

But perhaps most remarkable was Gasol's untrammelled curiosity for things new and foreign. Tickets to the opera? Sure, why not? A new rock band promoted by the Lakers' vice-president for public relations? “I didn’t know anything about either of them, but I enjoyed it a lot,” Gasol said Thursday after practice. “I enjoy good music and art and culture, so it was a pleasure and an honor to be sitting there.”

At the end of the interview, Gasol thanked Crouse for her time. In an age where athletes have issues conducting interviews in their native tongue, Gasol comes across as a breathe of fresh-air. Successful professional athletes, like Gasool and former Phillies outfielder, Doug Glanville, who understand that there is more to life than just the pursuit of sport, should receive more accolades and attention. Sports should lead the way in distancing itself from the old newspaper adage: "When it bleeds, it leads" by covering athletes as gracious and multi-dimensional as Laker Pau Gasol.

This Minor League Giveaway Is Truly P.O.D.

One thing that Minor League Baseball has really mastered is the art of the creative and news-making giveaway. The Grand Prairie AirHogs are no different, offering a slew of fun stuff over the course of this season. But there’s one giveaway that is notable amongst all the rest. This prize isn’t really for you, but rather your future children and grandchildren. And you won’t be too eager to claim it, either.

See, on June 3rd the team will hand out a funeral to one lucky fan. On “All Hogs Go To Heaven” night one lucky fan will get an all-inclusive funeral experience. Valued at $10,000, a casket, headstone, service, and burial plot will all be part of the package. Don’t worry - - there’s no rush to die.

The sales manager of the cemetery participating in the promotion said the award's expiration date is the same as the winner's.

"If you're 20 and you get it and you live to be 90, of course we'll still honor it," Oak Grove Memorial Gardens sales manager Ron Alexander told The Dallas Morning News.
So congrats to the future lucky AirHogs fan. They’ll surely be a winner, but they’ll also have lots of strange thoughts after winning. This might just be one prize I’d rather not win.

18 May 2008

Dwyane Wade Crushes My Mother's Day Gift From Last Week

I know that last Sunday was Mother's Day, and by all means I thought I did a pretty good job - my mom seemed pretty happy. But that was last Sunday. Just a week later, my Mother's Day gift is looking a bit shabby. Thanks a lot, Dwyane Wade. He just bought his mom a church.

Having gone from prisoner and drug addict to clean and sober, Dwyane's mom Jolinda is a success story. And having turned around her life, she tried to help others, starting a ministry. And now she's got her own - - Temple of Praise.

"I respect my mother so much, from the life that she used to live and to see her today in the life that she lives. I'm so proud of her,'' Dwyane Wade told The Associated Press before the service. "Everybody thinks I'm the miraculous story in the family. I think she is. I think what I've done means I've been very blessed, but she's been more than blessed. She's been anointed.''
I know Dwyane was a week late with the gift, but I think we can forgive him. In a society that often does the opposite he's treated his mother with love and respect. And he's given her a gift that can be returned over and over.

So Dwyane's gone out and done a good thing...kudos to him. At this point the only real question left is was Star Jones with him?

08 May 2008

This Guy Holds on Tight, Keeps Baby and the Ball

Here’s a thought-starter for you: you’re sitting in the stands at a baseball game holding your baby. A ball comes flying at you. Do you:

a. Drop the baby and go after the ball

b. Protect the baby and get out of the way

c. Stay your ground, hold the baby and catch the ball

If you said anything other than b you’re a bum. But that’s just what this Dodger fan did during Wednesday’s game. And since he managed to pull it off, kudos to him. But what wife had to say to him after seeing the clip on Sportscenter? I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall for that one!

Want To Play In The English Premier League? Then You'd Better Learn English!

If you thought all it took was excellent soccer skills to play in the English Premier League you were right. Until now, that is. Starting in October, new rules stipulate that in order to play in the league you’ve got to be able to play, and you’ve got to be able to speak English.

The new restrictions form part of the Government’s points-based immigration system which is being introduced this year to ensure that only those with skills the country needs are allowed in. The rules stipulate that skilled workers, including football players and managers, from non-EU states must be able to speak and understand English before being allowed into the country.
The rules would have prevented 20,000 people from taking jobs in the UK in 2007, as well as a handful of the most exciting soccer stars in the world. Could you imagine the Premier League without stars Carlos Tevez, Ji-Sung Park, and Denilson? I didn’t think so. But be forewarned, things could get ugly.
Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, said “Our new points system means that British jobseekers get the first crack of the whip and that only the skilled migrants we actually need will be able to come.”
And of course, that refers to soccer players as well. So before long the English Premier League will be full of just that – Englishmen. And expect no mercy from the government. Byrne, for one, is unsympathetic.
He added: “Footballers earn enough money to pay for professional tuition.”
It’s hard to argue with that one.

05 May 2008

Hey Kobe, Happy Now?

Oh, what a difference a year makes. And what a difference less than a year makes. On May 28th of last year Kobe Bryant began what seemed to be his self-destruction when he demanded that Jerry West come back to the team in some capacity. And then he called out Andrew Bynum and Jerry Buss, and then he asked for a trade.

And then he just played. What happened? Kobe led his team to the first seed in the playoffs, and now what seems to be his first MVP award. So, do you still want to be traded now, Kobe?

04 May 2008

MLB Is Really Excited About The New Indiana Jones Movie

Well, it seems that hat MLB is pretty darn excited about the latest Indiana Jones movie. How excited? They've put a subtle reminder on their team schedules. It's clearly a promotional deal (remember when they tried putting Spider-Man 2 bases on the field?), and at least it's not overwhelming...yet.

This may happen before long, but if I were the folks at Paramount I'd be wanting to get a little more bang for my buck than this. Why isn't there a link to click on over Indy's photo? And shouldn't there be an option to buy tickets to the movie, just like there is to buy for any of the Dodger games surrounding the release date? There aren't even any Indy ads anywhere else on the site. What kind of media buy is this?

Of course, for all I know, every MLB broadcase from now until May 22nd will be bombarded with Indy messaging. But for now, it's kind of just blah.

01 May 2008

Only In A Strange World Can Jose Canseco Become A Sci-Fi Writer

Lets just say that Jose Canseco is making the most out of his retirement. Hes been on reality shows and even a best-selling author (thats right - - Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big made it to number three on the USA Today bestseller list). And hes at it again, having used his throwing people under the bus skills writing skills once again with the release of Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball. Before his big-time book signing at the Costco in Van Nuys, CA Canseco sat down for an interview with LAist, and it featured the following gem buried towards the end:

Last question, what's next for you?
Next thing would be some more reality TV, a reality TV show involving martial arts. I am working with producers to get my movie made, the story of my life. And I am working on a third book which will be fiction.

Fiction, really?
Yeah it's going to be about baseball and cloning. It's a very dark dark sci-fi story.

Please, please let this happen. Baseball and cloning...an amazing idea. Perhaps the protagonist and antagonist can be the same guy, just different clones! They can call it Canseco v. Canseco, a baseball sci-fi cloning love story, perhaps? And Im just wondering where that would leave Ozzie.