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I’m not saying that everything Adidas does is wrong. The way they handle Lionel Messi is fantastic. His logo and his signature collection are simple, classic and well designed. The Adidas Skateboarding division also does things right. Their recent skate vid filmed in Tokyo is a great example.

I’m also not saying that other athletic brands are perfect. Nike’s use of the University of Oregon as a testing ground for design has its obvious successes and failures. Under Armour has done very well for themselves and seemed to strike gold with Bryce Harper, Cam Newton and Buster Posey. But, some of their products are more than iffy. As for Reebok, they’re struggling so much that Adidas had to move John Wall to Reebok and they’re focusing almost all of their performance efforts on CrossFit.

I’m picking on Adidas because they’re supposed to be number 2. They are supposed to try harder in the classic Avis sense by going the extra mile that #1 won’t. They’re not supposed to be inconsistent and look like they’re trying too hard.

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Several weeks ago, Louisville beat Michigan in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. It was one of the most exciting, highly competitive basketball games ever played. It was also a showcase of everything right and wrong with Adidas Basketball. Michigan used to be the shining star of Nike’s college basketball roster. The Fab Five brought uniform cuts that were street-ready, classic shoes and a style that was more marketable than Duke and North Carolina combined. Not only did Adidas pick up the Michigan sponsorship, they kept their uniforms classy. Even their hyper-color Adidas uniforms weren’t bad.

Then there was the champions at Louisville celebrating in those awkward-looking shirt jerseys and shorts with a somewhat camo print on them: the adiZero Short Sleeve Uniform System. Yup, Adidas actually calls it a “system” and it’s as good of a place to start than any.

 

adiZero Short Sleeve Uniform System

Adidas, the Golden State Warriors and select Adidas schools have already taken a lot of negative press and fan backlash for this attempted fashion trend. I still can’t believe it actually happened though.

Someone at Adidas actually stood up in a meeting and said, “You know what NBA players should be wearing? Skin tight t-shirts and baggy shorts!”

Then! Someone else stood up and responded, “Yes! But let’s make them look even more different by putting pinstripes on the shorts but not the shirt. For college teams, the shorts can have a camo print that we will only put on the sleeves to make it look like the players are wearing shirts under the jerseys we’re trying to replace.”

Then, everyone else in the room had to approve it.

Then, the Warriors and colleges had to be sold the idea. It all seems stupid unless a ton of money was involved.

This jersey system is supposed to be 26% lighter than the regular one without sleeves. Does it increase performance? Did it help Louisville or the Golden State Warriors win games? Probably not. But, it did give Adidas another jersey to sell to fans (for $110!!) and more space for the NBA to put corporate ads on jerseys when they finally choose to go that route.

Adidas didn’t just subject the Warriors and Cardinals to their short sleeve experiment. The reward for the top high school ballers in the country selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game was to wear ugly versions of the jersey system. Of this group of All Americans who end up going pro, I wonder how many will sign with other shoe companies based on this branded embarrassment.

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On Tuesday night, the Lakers took a break at halftime during a game with playoff implications to honor Shaquille O’Neal and retire his jersey. It was a nice ceremony. He gave a typical Shaq speech and added a little bit of emotion. Everything was great, as it should be. Except for one tiny little mistake. The jersey that went into the rafters at the Staples Center wasn’t like all the others. And no, it wasn’t the modern purple stripes along the side or the white numbers. It had a v-neck. The Lakers put O’Neal’s name and number on the front of the jersey:

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After the press pointed it out, the Lakers released a statement that basically wrote the situation off as a tiny error and an honest mistake. I totally agree with the tiny mistake part. Honest…not so much. Only one thought passed through my mind the moment I saw the jersey error.

This was the result of a plan orchestrated by Kobe Bryant!

Granted, I am a fan of conspiracy theories. I find them entertaining. But there’s no way I’m the only one who thinks this was a subtle, yet deliberate and public stab at Shaq. I mean, think about it.

 

EXHIBIT A – KOBE’S KNOWN FEUD WITH SHAQ
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Kobe and Shaq won three-straight titles together. There was some obvious chemistry on the court. But as it was later revealed, there was some obvious tension. They’re both great players and leaders but they couldn’t decide which one was Jordan and which one was Pippen. Their feud even played out in the media with numerous reports about Kobe thinking Shaq was lazy and out of shape. Shaq even went as far as blaming his failed marriage on Kobe and saying he would kill him. Those aren’t issues that simply go away with time.

Kobe is also in the middle of an impressive run. He’s playing below his age and through an injury to put a team on the verge of not making the playoffs on his back. At this point, every game for Lakers is huge. There’s no way Kobe was in love with the idea of pausing during an important game to pay tribute to a player he helped lead to titles.

 

EXHIBIT B – KOBE NEEDS TO KEEP DWIGHT HAPPY
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When it happened, the Lakers getting Dwight Howard was a big deal. Whether history remembers it as such or diminishes it to a footnote remains to be seen. Kobe’s not getting any younger though. So, if he wants that 6th ring to pull even with Jordan, he needs Dwight to be healthy and happy. Unfortunately for Kobe, Howard is half baby, half nutjob. He always finds something he can blow out of proportion and cry about. If it’s safe to assume Kobe wasn’t happy about honoring Shaq in front of the town he owns, there’s no way Dwight was happy about taking a break to honor the “Original Superman.” This is Dwight’s introduction to Los Angeles and he’s just starting to feel better and play accordingly. It would make a lot of sense for Kobe to make a gesture that would slight his former partner and make his current one happy.

 

EXHIBIT C – THEY GOT THE FRAMED JERSEY RIGHT
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OK, let’s pretend for a second that Exhibit C doesn’t exist. The Lakers have more championship banners and retired jerseys than almost any other team in any other sport. This isn’t a new ceremony for them. They take pride in their history and often rub everyone else’s face it. There’s no way everyone in the Laker organization who took part in the planning of Shaq’s jersey requirement took a look at the concepts, comps and proofs of that rafter jersey and approved it. They’re not that stupid or careless.

But, Exhibit C does exist. The jersey that they framed and gave to Shaq to take home, the one that would be harder and more publicly embarrassing to fix, was 100% accurate. How could the Lakers get one right and not the other without doing it on purpose?

Kobe and the Lakers intentionally making a tiny error on the Shaq jersey in the rafters but not the framed one:

  • Gives a point to Kobe in their feud
  • Makes Dwight a little happier by taking a little bit out of the jersey reveal moment
  • Sends Shaq home happy
  • Provides the Lakers with an easy PR explanation
  • Creates a prank that is easily fixed before the end of the week

Your honor, I rest my case. The mastermind, as always, was Kobe Bean Bryant.

Click here to read this article on UpperReserved.com

Athletes on fields, courts, pitches, tracks, rings and rinks, are not equal. Some are faster. Others are stronger. A few are simply better than everyone else. This is how sports work. Without inequality, there is no competition.

But the second the whistle blows or the final buzzer sounds, the sport ends and the unequally gifted are no longer athletes. They’re people. Just like everyone else in the world, born with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well as certain fundamental rights including the right to privacy, the right to procreate and the right to marriage.

It’s this last right, the one to marry, that’s found its way to the top of our minds again with battle over California’s Proposition 8 finally making it to our nation’s Supreme Court.

In 2008, I honestly didn’t give Proposition 8 the attention it deserved. I immediately dismissed Prop 8, assuming it had the same chance of winning as one of those poor souls Don King paraded in front of Mike Tyson in the 80s that would be obliterated before you had a chance to grab some popcorn. It had everything stacked against it:

  • Common sense
  • The Constitution
  • The separation of church and state
  • The state, California, stereotyped as too liberal and accepting of others

Unfortunately, I forgot that I lived in the bubble within a bubble known as San Francisco and a vast majority of California (at least geographically) didn’t care about any of those things. Prop 8 did the unthinkable and unreasonable and won. It wasn’t a Don King lackey at all. It was Buster Douglas in Tokyo.

And yet, even in victory, Proposition 8 didn’t make sense.

Shortly after Prop 8’s passing, the Cornell educated Keith Olbermann, who became famous on ESPN’s SportsCenter and Fox Sports, delivered a special comment on MSNBC’s Countdown that summed it up perfectly.

 

What is it to you?

It’s an important question for all of us to consider.

The ability to grant the right for any human being to marry another human being of their choice is in the Supreme Court’s hands now. And while the highest and fairest court in the world overturning an unethical constitutional amendment that takes a fundamental right away from a certain group of people seems like a forgone conclusion, the unthinkable has happened before. We need to get this one right. Even if it’s on a personal level.

So the next time you’re at a stadium or sports bar, take a good look at the players and the people around you. Not at the city on their jerseys, the logos on their hats or the color of their skin. Look at their faces. Look into their eyes. See them for what they are at their core. Human beings.

The people around you come from all walks of life. The odds are, a good amount of them are even homosexual. But despite petty differences, you all found yourselves in the same place, at the same moment, to share a common love of sport. Shouldn’t all these human beings also have the right to express and share love through legal marriage? Even after the right to marry is granted to every one of us, these two questions will remain important when we consider how we treat and respect others:

What is equality to you?

What is love to you?

Click here to read this article on UpperReserved.com

Watching March Madness at work is like eating at McDonald’s or masturbating. Everyone does it, but you still don’t want to get caught in the act. That’s why NCAA.com’s boss button is worth talking about more than their ability to show us every game live on the Internet.

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The boss button sits just to the right of the March Madness logo in the website header. It’s visible but not in the way of your live game, box scores or advanced stats.

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And with just a simple click, the boss button turns your computer screen from a Vegas sportsbook-worthy tournament viewing machine into a generic business environment. But what makes this year’s boss button experience special is it’s not just static productivity charts or Excel spreadsheets. This Outlook-inspired email application is actually interactive.

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You can open and close emails, click through various inbox folders and explore the entertaining content provided by the NCAA. There’s funny notes from HR about the personal use of office supplies. There’s cartoons from the CMO about buying smart phones. There’s even expense report denials from the finance department. So as the games resume Thursday, take some time during blowouts and halftimes to explore this fake work world and appreciate that the boss button has probably saved more than a few jobs over the years.

For all that you’ve done for sports fans, we at Upper Reserved salute and thank you boss button!

*As a bonus for those of you that enjoy not working at work after March, here’s a link to a browser add-on that puts a boss button on Firefox.

Click here to read this article on UpperReserved.com >

The origins of baseball aren’t easily identifiable. Don’t believe me? Check the Internet. But, regardless of where the sport got its beginnings, it’s our sport. We’ve been calling it our “national pastime” since 1856 (another gem from the Internet). And while the best baseball is still played here, the best players aren’t coming from here. Apparently, neither are the best fans.

Sunday was the first semi-final game in the 3rd World Baseball Classic and the United States has yet to make a finals. Japan had won the first two world titles beating Cuba in 2006 and South Korea in 2009. So Japan was the favorite coming in, despite not having a single Major Leaguer on the roster. They faced the heavily stacked Puerto Rican team that just eliminated the United States team.

Overall, the game was great. Well pitched for the most part except for a few key walks drawn by Puerto Rico. Neither team tried to do too much at the plate. Great contact hitting and small ball (except for Japan’s crucial base running error). But, the best part about the WBC was the atmosphere. The Japanese fans turned out in massive numbers and made American baseball fans look like Opera supporters. The Puerto Rican fans showed an equal amount of pride and even more pure joy after winning. From the way to game is played to how it’s watched, it’s clear that we can learn a lot about baseball from the rest of the world.

 

BRING YOUR GLOVE AND YOUR INSTRUMENT
There was a least one vuvuzela for every 5 sections and it felt right. Wasn’t nearly as annoying as it was during the last World Cup. The Japanese crowd also brought the trumpet into play. They used it to lead cheers and songs. They used it to fill TV breaks and pitching changes. It was brilliant. Here’s a video I recorded at the game. It sucks. So, close your eyes and listen to the cheers and trumpets.

 

LETS PUT ADS ON BACKSIDE OF PLAYERS’ HEADS
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Maybe I wasn’t paying close attention on TV. But, I never noticed that WBC players have ads on them. They’re on the backside of the helmets away from the TV. That may be a good argument for getting additional revenue from sponsors and a bad argument for advertisers to spend a lot of money on something people may not notice. But if it drops the cost of a hot dog and beer below $20 I’m all about it. Speaking of prices…

 

ONLY AMERICANS ARE DUMB ENOUGH TO PAY FOR UNNECESSARY LUXURIES

I’ve never seen AT&T Park like this before. Bleachers, packed. Upper deck, packed. Lower deck, pack. Club level, empty.

emptyclublevelWhich, makes total sense. When you’re waving flags, showing the camera your painted face, banging your thunder sticks, singing songs, banging cow bells, jumping up and down, playing bongo drums, and screaming your lungs out no matter how good your team’s doing, who cares about a full mahogany bar behind your section? Forget the wide selection of exotic food. Peanuts and Cracker Jacks are just fine.

 

GET THE FORCE WITH THE SHORTEST THROW

Fundamentals are what Japan’s known for. But on more than one occasion a ground ball was hit to Japan’s 3rd baseman, Matsuda with a runner on first with two outs and every time, he made the force at 2nd. It looked weird and wrong. Kinda like a left-handed shortstop. It went against everything we’re taught. But is it wrong? Is it more efficient? Is it smarter?

 

RESPECT YOUR FANS

The Japanese team could’ve played better. They gave up a lot of walks. They struck out with men in scoring position. But, when they lost, they didn’t sulk into the dugout and hide in shame. They recognized that they had a lot of fans in the park, most of whom paid good money to travel across the world to see them play. So they thanked them. While the Puerto Rican players were celebrating like they won the World Series, the Japanese team lined up along 3rd base line and bowed to their supporters. Classy.

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PUT MORE FUN FACTS IN PROGRAMS

I used to love programs when I was a kid. Now, they’re just overpriced books with little to no information in them. The WBC had some interesting tidbits. For example, did you know:

  • Barry Larkin is the manager of the Brasil team and Yan Gomes (who the hell is Yan Gomes?) became the first Brazilian to play Major League Baseball in 2012
  • No Chinese born player has ever made it to the bigs
  • The Chinese logo was stolen from Jose Cuervo
  • Esteban Bellan was the first Cuban to play Major League Baseball, in 1871!
  • Bert Blyleven is from the Nederlands (Holy shit, right?)
  • The “Top Major Leaguer” from Canada is Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, which must be a fake name.
  • Bobby Mathews is credited with being the first American major leaguer

 

PEOPLE ARE TIRED FROM ACTUALLY CHEERING, LET THEM GO HOME

In the World Baseball Classic, if the score is tied after the 13th inning, each team begins the inning with a runner on 1st and 2nd. Someone actually figured out how to create a sudden death setup in baseball. Pretty interesting. And I’m all for it. What I am curious about is, who are the runners on 1st & 2nd? The next two players scheduled to hit? The last two to get out? Players of the manager’s choice?

Some other random observations from the World Baseball Classic:

  • Konami is a title sponsor. Guess Metal Gear Solid is huge around the world or they still got Castlevania money
  • No foreign food was offered at the concession stands. Even the Warriors brought out chicken curry for Bollywood Night
  • Baseball fans are the only tourists who come to San Francisco prepared for cold weather
  • No matter when your country got knocked out of the WBC, it’s OK to wear their hat
  • It’s actually OK to wear USA gear. I usually think it’s overly patriotic. Especially at Olympics. This felt right though

All in all, the main takeaway is that the rest of the world is having more fun with baseball than we are. It’s time we rediscovered the sport our nation fell in love with and start singing, dancing, playing instruments, painting our faces, waving flags and enjoying ourselves.

View this article on UpperReserved >

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at some of the best ads from the Super Bowl. This week, we’re going to look at athletes starring in commercials. But these aren’t classic ads like almost anything Jordan did for Nike, Glavine & Maddox proving Cy Young winners can have a sense of humor, Deion Sanders doing his best Road Runner impression, or Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott in a fake ad within a real ad. We are going to look at how most athletes get a little side money—the local ad. Great for being bad, weird or hilarious, these are better watched than described. Enjoy.

 

AUTO DEALERSHIPS

Larry Bird for Rodman Car Dealer

 

Ray Lewis, LaVar Arrington, Brendan Haywood & Clinton Portis for Eastern Motors

 

Jason Campbell & Chief Zee for Eastern Motors

 

Mario Lemieux for Colussy Chevrolet

 

Michael Vick for Woodbury Nissan

 

Pittsburgh Penguins for A&L Motor Sales
Embedding was disabled. Click on the image to see the spot.

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John Elway for Elway Dealers

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View this article on CinematicMethod >

My little brother and I shared a room growing up. And in that room, our dad hung a poster depicting his favorite books as a child.

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As far back as I can remember a replica of Barbara Remington’s 1969 painting depicting the “Lord of the Rings” from “The Hobbit” to “The Return of the King” was on our wall. We stared at it every day. Way before fanboys were camping outside of theaters. Long before Air New Zealand was using the franchise to teach in-flight safety. We were basically being brainwashed over the course of our childhoods by our father to read those books.

Unfortunately, I hate reading. “The Hobbit” somehow made it onto an assigned reading list in school and I opted for the Cliff Notes. So, I got the gist of the story. Or, I should say I got enough to pass the quiz.

I never read the other books in the series. I knew the entire story. Come on, our dad wouldn’t hang a poster (which goes for about $900 on eBay now) in our room for years without telling us what it was. I just didn’t have the patience to read the books. And my response for anyone who asked me about it was always, “I”m waiting for the movie.”

I kept my word. I saw each of the first three Peter Jackson movies in theaters. Sometimes twice. I even sat down when my dad would come into town (he had, unsurprisingly, moved to New Zealand) and watch the brutally long extended DVD versions. Yup, the same man who hung that poster in our room and moved to New Zealand also loved the 4.5 hour versions of those movies. Shocking. Admittedly, I did too. Everything came full circle when I watched them. That poster came to life. It was incredible achievement for Jackson.

But with success came greed. Even Middle-Earth couldn’t avoid that. The excitement of hearing that Jackson was making a movie for “The Hobbit” was quickly followed by the horror that he was going to make it a trilogy.

What?!

The shortest book in the series. A trilogy?!

So in order to see “The Hobbit” adapted for film I was going to have to sit through over 9 hours of CGed environments that I wouldn’t see the final minute of until 2014? Pardon my language, but, fuck that. Not me. You may get the fanboys and my dad Mr. Peter Jackson, but you won’t get me.

Actually, in addition to my personal boycott, I told everyone I know not to see it in theaters. My social influence may not be of Justin Bieber proportion, but I think I made a dent in Jackson and Warner Brothers’ pockets. That, and I think a lot of people feel the same way I do.

“The Hobbit” opened in more theaters than any other “Lord of the Rings” film. 4,045 to be exact. For comparison, “The Return of the King” opened in 3,703 theaters. However. Despite the extra available seats, “The Hobbit”, so far, is the lowest grossing film. Take that Jackson!

Here’s a nice little chart from the good people at BoxOfficeMojo.com

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As you can see, the numbers adjusted for ticket price increases are even more staggering.

This makes me unreasonably happy. Jackson and WB took one of the greatest stories of all time and made three great movies. They built up a huge following and made J. R. R. Tolkien more famous than ever. And then they tried to abuse that following for even more profit.

I hope this downward trend continues through the next two movies. I hope movie going audiences lose patience with the filler content needed to turn “The Hobbit” into a trilogy. And most of all, I hope Jackson, WB and the rest of Hollywood start thinking long-term. It’s much better to make a great film that will be remembered for all of time instead going for big money and visual effect and sound Oscars.

As for me, I’ll be watching the entire Hobbit series on Netflix in late 2014 or 2015. I hope it’s decent.

View this article on UpperReserved >

Sunday’s game was amazing. A true game of halves, the Ravens and 49ers did not disappoint. As a native San Franciscan I’m disappointed with the result, but the Harbowl lived up to expectations and the Niners had the ball at the end with a chance to score. As for the ads, they weren’t as good as previous years. There were some standouts though.

 

The Cream of the Crop

1) Audi – “Prom”

Audi and their agency Venables Bell & Partners have dropped some classics during the big game. This one didn’t disappoint. I saw this one before the game on YouTube and thought it told a great story, showed off a sexy car and didn’t rely on babies, animals, old people doing young people stuff or crowd-sourced BS no one remembers a week later. I saw it again on Sunday in a crowded, noisy bar and it still held up.

2) Allstate – “Apple”

Mayhem, played by Dean Winters is one of the best advertising characters ever created. Done by Leo Burnett in Chicago, this Super Bowl ad was as good as Dennis on 30 Rock. The ref strike joke was perfect and proved that some advertising people actually do watch football.

3) Tide – “Miracle Stain”

This is one of the few ads that I didn’t see before the game. As a Niner fan, I didn’t like the ending. But this spot had something for everyone. It’s another ad that held up with no sound and was still great on YouTube the morning after.

4) Hyundai Santa Fe – “Team”

Kids aren’t as cheap of a joke as babies are. Plus, this ad is football themed, funny, well-produced, a clean 30 seconds, holds up with no sound and equally hilarious every time you see it.

 

The Ones That Needed To Be Heard

5) Samsung – “The Next Big Thing”

The teaser for this spot wasn’t bad, nor great. It was just sorta there. Actually, it really didn’t need to exist at all. But, this ad is hilariously genius. Very well written, casted and acted. I only have it knocked to #4 because it really only works on YouTube at the office and house parties. It doesn’t pass the loud bar test. Still gotta give Samsung credit for making fun of most of the bad ads we’re mentioning later and the actors for poking fun at themselves.

6) Oreo – “Whisper Fight”

I had no idea what this spot was about on Sunday. Watched it with audio clarity on Monday and laughed. The play between quiet whispers and extreme action is great. Oreo also gets bonus points for the best ad posted during the power outage.

 

Missed the Mark

The Overly American
Nothing against farmers or soldiers, but Jeep’s “America Will Be Home Again” and Ram’s “Farmers” try too hard. Everything that felt authentic with Chrysler’s “Imported From Detroit” from a few years back feels forced with these two. While well-produced with good intentions, both of these spots should’ve been half as long.

The Fake PR Machines
Mercedes-Benz’s teaser with Kate Upton was called too sexy. VW’s ad (which somehow came before what should’ve been the teaser) was called racist. Seriously?! This is Kate Upton we’re talking about. And VW was way to quick with their focus group and accent consulting stories. Before the Super Bowl I thought both companies planted these stories. Which is sad because they soured the game day spots for me.

VW’s teaser (that somehow everyone saw after the “racist” one) with salty YouTube stars deserves props for bringing in Jimmy Cliff! Likewise, MB deserves credit for casting William Dafoe in their ad. But after seeing these, I’d be surprised if those PR stories were planted.

 

The Cheap Jokes

Kia – “Space Babies”, everything Doritos, Taco Bell – “Viva Young”, Budweiser’s “Brotherhood”, GoDaddy’s “Perfect Match” and Wonderful Pistachios – “Psy” relied too heavily on babies, animals, borrowed interest from viral video stars and old people doing young stuff. Meh to all.

 

The Forgettable

I think I remember M&M’s having something decent and one of the 58+ NFL Evolution spots being interesting besides the Deion Sanders one and the original timeline one in the campaign. Can’t really member though. Everything else either sucked or isn’t worth linking to. Although, keep in mind this is all coming from a “creative” in the advertising world who has never produced a Super Bowl spot. Someday though. Someday…

View this article on UpperReserved >

I first met her when I was four years old. It was love at first sight.

My family was at a neighborhood party. As much as I craved the delicious treats on the table, the cheers and screams kept drawing me toward the television. There she was. Simply stunning. She looked amazing that evening dressed classically in red and gold. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her as she moved around with poise and grace. The image of her high legs is something that I’ll never forget. Then, I saw her with an elegant ring on her finger. That did it. I fell head over heals for her.

She knew it too. Oh how she spoiled me in the beginning of our relationship.

She had a flair for the dramatic. She never let me forget that she was special, or that there was no one better than her. In fact, no one else was even close. With her goods always on display, it was hard to argue with her.

But then came the daddy issues and the drama.

She wasn’t as glamorous as she used to be. She got a little arrogant. But boy, did she still have her moments of greatness.

Through all the ups and downs, the moments we almost had it all, my love for her never faltered.

Then, almost out of nowhere, our world began to crumble. She wasn’t happy. The home we shared wasn’t enough for her anymore. She wanted more.

I admit, it wasn’t a palace. But memories were created there that will last forever.

The rumors got worse. Even if she got a fancy new home, she wanted to leave me.

Rumors continued to fly. She was exploring other options.
It was all anyone could talk about.
It had to be true.
But I had to hear it from her.
I wanted to her to admit it was over and she was leaving.

Then she finally spoke.
She didn’t address the rumors. Instead, she told me what to do.

She asked me to be faithful to her.

I was heartbroken. I felt lied to.
She got caught cheating. But instead of coming clean and admitting it, she just asked me to be OK with it.

And I had to be. I mean, what choice did I have?

No matter how bad she was treating me, I loved her with all my heart.
No matter how much I wanted to be mad at her, I kept coming back.

She’s building her dream home now.
A bigger, better one.
It’s the home she’s always wanted and deserved.
Don’t get me wrong. I am happy for her.
I just wish she wasn’t doing everything she can to rub it in my face.
Constantly reminding me that my love wasn’t good enough.

That brings us to where our relationship stands today.
Despite all of her amazing accomplishments, this Sunday might be the most important day of her life. She’s got a new look. The family drama is still there. And honestly, I wish her the best.

In fact, I’ll be rooting for her.
I grew up with her.
I loved her my entire life.
No matter what happens this weekend, even after she moves into her new home, I will continue to love her.

View this article on UpperReserved >

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) decided as a group to not elect anyone into The National Baseball Hall of Fame this year. For those who aren’t familiar with the voting process, each writer can vote for as little as zero, or as many as ten eligible candidates. The candidates who receive a vote on 75% of the ballots are elected to membership in the Hall. Seems simple right? This year was anything but.

Supporters of the PED accused argued that these great players belong in the Hall because it’s a history museum and they deserve to be remembered.

Those willing to reduce them to historical footnotes argued that artifacts from their career-defining moments are already in the Hall and they shouldn’t be elected because they didn’t meet the integrity, sportsmanship and character requirements.

So what the real argument seems to be is whether the players in question deserve a plaque with their mug on it or not.

Now, I haven’t been a baseball writer for over 10 years (a necessary requirement to be part of the BBWAA). Hell, I’m not even a baseball writer. But even I know that this plaque issue could’ve been handled much better. Here’s how my ballot would’ve looked.

WRITE-IN VOTE – PETE ROSE

Every other time I’m in Vegas, I see Pete sitting in the mall. If you’ve never been, watch the ESPN short on him above or a clip from his TLC reality show, “Hits and Mrs.” He says it himself, “Life is hard.” And there aren’t too many people who know that more than him.

By today’s standards, his crime seems on par with chewing gum in Singapore. According to the Dowd Report, “no evidence was discovered that Rose bet against the Reds.” So what’s the big deal? Couldn’t he have just served a secret suspension like Michael Jordan? People in baseball gamble all the time. Don’t general managers gamble that draft picks will end up being worth more than their rookie contracts? Don’t owners gamble that their teams will bring in more money than it costs to pay them? Don’t television stations gamble that they’ll generate more advertising revenue than what they pay for the rights to broadcast the games? Seems to me like everyone in baseball is taking risks for financial gain.

Ty Cobb might’ve taken another man’s life and was a Django Unchained-level racist, but he’s in the Hall. That makes Rose a better candidate both on baseball and character standards. Pete Rose recorded 4,256 hits. THAT’S INSANE. I’m talkin’ Gary Busey insane. If the average baseball player is good enough to get 600 at bats a year and hits a moderate .275, it would take him 18 to 19 seasons to reach 3,000 hits. Rose has 1,256 more than that. To give you a specific example, if you added Ichiro’s Japanese stats to his MLB ones, he’d have 3,884 career hits. That’s how good Rose was.

Even if you’re an anti-PED freak, Rose’s punishment has to seem harsh right now. There’s no proof he gambled against the Reds or fixed a game to win a bet. The man deserves to stand in Cooperstown, New York in front of a plaque with his face on it and deliver a speech to the baseball world that could be summed up in three words: fuck you all.

 

VOTE #1 – BARRY BONDS
Yes, Bonds hit more home runs in a season and career than anyone else before him. But that’s not why I’d vote for him. You could make it your life’s work to find someone with a legitimate argument against him being one of the five best all-around players to ever play the game and die a failure. Bonds has 7 MVP awards, 8 gold gloves and 14 all-star appearances. He was the ultimate 5-tool player.

It’s beyond a reasonable doubt that the only reason he didn’t get his name checked on 100% of the ballots is the PED issue. But, consider this. At the end of the 1998 season, Bonds had 3 MVP awards, 411 home runs and 445 stolen bases. He was a living legend and on pace to pass his godfather as the greatest of all time. Sorry fat ass. However, in 1998, Bonds was ignored. Every single baseball writer was covering the home run chase between McGwire and Sosa. Think about that for a second, the same writers who ignored Bonds’ accomplishments to cover two men (who they were 99.999% sure were on steroids) are now keeping him out of the Hall because of PEDs. If anything, you could reasonably argue that Bonds took PEDs to level the field, prove to these hypocrite writers that there were more talented players in the league and get the nation’s attention where it should’ve been.

In a league where thousands were suspected of using, Bonds was the best.

In 2001 Bonds came to the plate 664 times, walked 177 of those opportunities, had an on-base % of .515 and still managed to hit 73 HRs.
In 2002 Bonds had 612 appearances at the plate, walked 198 times, had a .582 OBP and hit 46 home runs.
In 2003 – 550 PAs, 148 walks, .529 OBP and 45 HRs.
In 2004 – 617 PAs, 232 walks, .609 OBP and 45 HRs.

From 1990 to 2004, no one was better than Bonds. Steroids or not, no one in history was a more feared hitter. He had an incredible eye at the plate, was extremely disciplined and had a perfect compact swing that allowed him pull base hits against shifted infields. Like Rose, Bonds earned the right to give an asshole speech that we’ll all have to pay attention to like we’re in school listening to the greatest that ever did it.


VOTE #2 – ROGER CLEMENS

What’s a guy gotta do to make it into the Hall of Fame? Win 7 Cy Young Awards? Maybe win 354 games? (Jack Morris had 254 wins, zero Cy Youngs and got on 67.7% of the ballots). Clemens also struck out 4,672 batters. He knocked 20 of those out in a game. Twice. There are only two pitchers with more strikeouts: Randy Johnson (4875) and Nolan Ryan (5714). Nolan Ryan’s a robot. Randy Johnson’s so tall he released the ball halfway to home and is a known jacket and garage door murder. Clemens was a master.

Sure, he’s a PED case. But what’s a pitcher to do? Utility players were on them. Middle relievers were on them. He was getting old. Like Bonds, he was mind-blowingly good before PEDs and he was one of the best in the PED era. Give the guy a plaque so he can add it to his weight set and bench press it when he’s 64-years-old.


VOTE #3 – CRAIG BIGGIO

I didn’t get this omission. Biggio was 20th all-time with 3,060 hits. His body took 285 hits. He also took 1,401 career walks and parlayed that into a career .363 OBP. Most impressive of all, he not only played his entire career with a single team, that team was the Houston Astros! The man even took two pay cuts to stay in that God-forsaken place. Someone please give Craig a HOF plaque, a 3-liter bottle of Coke and a NASA shirt.


VOTE #4 – MIKE PIAZZA

It’s 1988. Some guy named Rick’s on the radio and you’re Mike Piazza waiting for your named to be called in the MLB Amateur Draft. You’re a rockstar at Phoenixville Area High School. But for some reason, you end up waiting through more rounds than home runs hit by Roger Marris in 1961 before you hear your name called. Most players would give up and take the entry-level management job at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Not Piazza though. He went on to become the best hitting catcher ever and a 12-time All-Star. He had a career .308 batting average and even stole a whopping 17 bases. Not only that, he had volcanic back acne and was pretty funny dude.


VOTE #5 – CURT SHILLING

216 wins. 3.46 career ERA. 3,116 strikeouts. 11-2 record & 2.23 ERA in the postseason. 3 World Series championships with 3 different teams. 1 bloody sock. 1 failed video game company. Give the guy a plaque. He’s great with PED quotes and general quotes for that matter.

 

 

VOTE #6 – JACK MORRIS

Jack Morris didn’t have a great statistical career. He got 254 wins with a career 3.9 ERA and 2478 strikeouts. He never even won the Cy Young Award. But what he did do was remain stupid consistent throughout his career, even winning 20 games in a season 3 times. Morris is best known though for tossing a 1-0 shutout in Game 7 to win the 1984 World Series.

Morris is also a nostalgia vote for me. When I was a young kid and just getting into baseball, I started collecting baseball cards. I didn’t get to watch a lot of games on TV and there was no SportsCenter because we didn’t have cable. But I heard people talking. And Morris’ name kept coming up. So, when I opened a bubble gum pack and found a Jack Morris, I knew it was something. And every player I knew was something back then is now in the Hall, except Jack. So you get my vote.

Sosa, Bagwell, Raines, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, McGwire, Mattingly, etc…they can all wait. And Dale Murphy, if by some random miracle or Google search, you end up reading this, I’m sorry. I know this was your last shot but I only remember you because of the rare 1989 Upper Deck reverse negative baseball card I wanted. I didn’t even know you had 2 MVP seasons.