Tag Archives: Features

Six Radical Ways Baseball Can Be Improved Right Now

Baseball has spent much of the past decade looking for ways to speed up games, increase attendance, and attract a younger viewership. They’ve implemented changes like limiting mound visits, installing pitch clocks, and utilizing instant replay. But with each little change, few of the desired outcomes have been achieved. Games haven’t sped up all that much, attendance is about the same, and younger viewers are still gravitating towards other sports, like basketball and soccer.

So what’s baseball to do? They need help, and they need it fast. That’s why we’re here with some new ideas that will rock the boat and disrupt an entire industry. Some of these ideas are really stupid and mostly just serve as vehicles for throwaway jokes that the world would otherwise never read. But within the inanity there may be a gem or two. And before you ask, yes, alcohol was involved when this was written.

1. An expanded strike zone for pitchers who throw under 90 MPH

It seems like every big league pitcher throws his fastball 95-plus these days. Sure, velocity is fun to watch, but is it really fair to those guys who rely on finesse and savvy to get by? No, it is not.

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The Changing Narrative of A Loathed, Loved, and Enabled Steve Sarkisian

sarkA disease. A medical condition. A weakness. A flaw. An addiction.

Alcoholism is labeled in a number of different ways, which might be why it’s so hard for us to determine how we feel about it. It makes us sad, confused, angry, frustrated, hurt. Sometimes, amidst the laughter and jubilation of the atmosphere in which it is cultivated, we don’t even know we’re staring an alcohol problem straight in the eye. So as it cooks and bubbles and rises to the surface like hot magma inside a rumbling volcano, we pretend it’s not even there, that it’s not a thing.

We joke about it, we chuckle at every one of our friends we deem a borderline alcoholic, and we keep the party going until that climactic moment when we simply cannot rage any longer. And then, suddenly, it’s not fun anymore.

This is where we find Steve Sarkisian.

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An Ode to the Emasculated

8777fb02b809e7b4_74583673.xxlargeI’ve seen you before. Once upon a time, in a previous life, I was that guy working a middling retail job on the weekends. I was the 21-year-old in a suit standing with my hands clasped at the waist pretending to give a shit about the seasonal sale going on around me, when in reality all I wanted was to be at a football game with my friends. I was that guy who stared you down and silently searched for any semblance of life, any hint of vigor, all while wordlessly pleading with you to GET OUT NOW.

I would have killed to be in your shoes back then. Weekends to myself, the freedom to do whatever I pleased, the ability to park my ass on a couch for eight straight hours and watch grown men beat the living piss out of each other, one quarter at a time. I wanted your life. Until I saw your face. Until I looked in your eyes.

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The Stupidity of Recruiting

Recruiting in college athletics is stupid. It brings out the worst in everybody. It exposes coaches as slimeballs, fans as batshit crazy whiners, and the high school prey as immature, entitled punks.

A short while ago, Doug Pacey of the Tacoma News-Tribune wrote this article on fans’ “nastiness” during the recruiting process. The piece could not have been more precise in explaining the ever-narrowing gap between fans and prospective college athletes, a divide that has been lessened with the rise of the internet age.

While college recruiting has always been a sleazy industry, hardcore fanatics have only really been brought into the fold over the past decade, as sites like Rivals.com and Scout.com (host to our very own Dawgman.com) have made prep athletics — and all which that entails; namely, recruiting — their primary focus. At the same time, social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have given fans direct access to the recruits themselves, a caustic union akin to mixing Tim McGraw and Nelly (every time I hear Over and Over, I’m quite positive a child in a third-world country is stricken with malaria).

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Twitter: Our Drug of Choice

I love Twitter. Which is also why I hate it so much. It’s like cocaine for media whores. Every time you think you can go a day, an hour, a minute without it, you start scratching your neck funny and you’re back on the rock before you know it. It’s absolutely dangerous.

There are any number of things I loathe about Twitter. Not so much the things we all know about already — like the fact that many athletes are uneducated morons, for one — but rather the things that have come to dictate our social behaviors as a result of 140-character status updates.

Take, for example, the fact that Twitter gives us a false sense of surrounding at all times. Think about it. If you’re alone or even feel for a second that you could be alone (ex. party wallflower syndrome), you can grab your phone and peruse your Twitter feed. You can tune out from the real world and tune into a universe that accepts you for the two or three sentences you, or others like you, might be able to cram into a text box. That’s a powerful distraction, one that rivals drugs and alcohol in its ability to divert the discomfort of a situation.

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Because It’s Christmas

When I was in middle school, I suffered the misfortune of enduring a horizontal growth spurt, rather than a vertical one. My grandma called it “a phase,” which was fairly accurate, except the “phase” ended up lasting four years. During that time, there was no denying that I was what one might call husky. Or, to put it more bluntly, chubby. So chubby, in fact, that I claimed former University of Connecticut point guard Khalid El-Amin — who was also quite rotund — as my favorite basketball player.

The association with El-Amin only paid dividends one time in my entire life. I was in seventh grade, sitting in Spanish class working on some sort of group project, when the girl I had a huge crush on asked me if I knew the name of UConn’s portly little superstar. I looked around first to make sure she wasn’t talking to someone else, then picked my jaw up off the ground and managed to stutter, “Uh, you mean, uh, Khalid El-Amin?”

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The Ruling on the Field is Confirmed: Pac-12 Officials Suck

It’s almost not fair. Why should we have to make concessions for them? They are the ones who suck. They are the incompetent ne’er-do-wells who can’t do their jobs. They are the malcontents who draw our ire. And yet like a giant traipsing among a crowd of midgets, we’re the ones constantly tiptoeing around their shortcomings. Where’s the justice in that?

For every ill-advised whistle, every hastily-thrown flag, every muddled attempt at an explanation, every boo-inducing, venom-inciting, vein-popping, mind-boggling, dumb-shit-effing-mother-crapping-what-the-hell-was-that-are-you-KIDDING-ME?! call they make, we acquiesce. It’s a manic, unhealthy experience having to deal with these morons. We flip out at their utter asininity one moment, then are forced to bring ourselves back down to earth seconds later when the game resumes. Every time they screw up, we’re left reluctantly rolling over in the wake of their ineptitude.

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All The Reasons No One Cares About The NBA Lockout

The NBA is in the middle of a lockout and you don’t care. No one can blame you for that. In fact, I’d like to go ahead and reinforce your decision to remain apathetic.

Why don’t we care about the lockout? It seems like we should, right? Wrong. There are just so many reasons why we shouldn’t. And I’m here to give you all of them.

In no particular order, here we go.

There are no heroes

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The Perfect Bust

Life is imperfect. In every way, shape, and form, there is nothing ideal about what we do every day.

We make mistakes, we err, we’re judged by our flaws, and we overcome adversity that serves to remind us that we are only human. In the end, we reach an equally imperfect outcome and, ironically, are remembered in death for all the good we’ve done. We celebrate life only once its ended. While we’re breathing, however, we disregard such achievement, striving instead to find perfection.

Perfection. It is something that does not exist. Knowing full well we’ll never find it, we search for it anyway. All the while we remain blissfully ignorant to what it really is that we’re searching for.

Perfection is impossible. We demand the impossible from one another. We look for the impossible in our spare time. We do everything we can to become the best versions of ourselves, never thinking for a minute that the best versions of ourselves might not be that hard to attain. We’re never satisfied. We’re rarely pacified. We can’t accept failure. We reject disappointment. We are, in a word, foolish.

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The Transcendence of a Life

When I was a kid, my parents had an Apple IIE computer that I messed with every day. Black screen with green tube graphics. It was goofy, to say the least.

Between games of Swashbuckler, Word Munchers, and Sticky Bear, I somehow learned to write on that thing. I would type anything and everything: nonsense, stories, I even made greeting cards with Print Shop (seriously). For lack of anything better to do, I kept myself occupied with that computer. I didn’t have video games. So this my outlet when it was raining outside and no one wanted to play.

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What Are You Proud Of?

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Today, it just happened to come from my job. Weird, I know.

One week ago, my boss asked everyone in our company to come up with three things we do well at work. It was a simple task, but as the week wore on, those three things kept looming in the distance. Coming up with a trio of positives should not have been this difficult. Yet somehow, it was.

I’m not a bad worker. Not by any means. But I’d never actually sat down and thought about what I was proud of, related to work or otherwise. Fact is, we never take time to acknowledge those things that give us a great deal of pride. We’re so consumed by negativity in our everyday lives that we rarely focus on the good. We’re conditioned to believe that perfection is our goal and we can only improve. And yet there’s so much we have to celebrate, to be thankful for, to enjoy.

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The Unfathomable Ineptitude of Your Common Official

I hate refs. Hate them. I have never felt more passionate disdain for a certain species — and refs are arguably the lowest species on the face of the earth, just below amoebas — than that of which I feel for those devils in stripes.

My god. Did you see what they did to the Husky football team on Saturday? Did you see that? That was the true definition of injustice. Granted, there were other things the Huskies could have done to ensure victory — like play a little defense and cleanly field kickoffs, for starters — but there is absolutely no denying that the referees impacted the outcome of Nebraska’s victory over Washington.

Credit the Cornhuskers for taking advantage of afforded opportunities. Every time your opponent gets dicked by poor officiating, it’s up to you to capitalize on the moment. The refs opened the door for Big Red, and Big Red responded by walking right in.

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A Dissertation on Stadium Trough Etiquette

It started with a simple thought when I was in the bathroom. I’ve found that most simple thoughts originate there. The bathroom has never inspired great debate, analytical dissemination, or even philosophical discussion. The bathroom, as it turns out, is perfect for simple thoughts.

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The Reality of Fantasy

“4 those sincerely concerned, I’m doing ok & plan 2 B back by opening day. 4 those worried abt your fantasy team, u ppl are sick” -Arian Foster (via Twitter, @ArianFoster)

Fantasy football is like planking, Justin Bieber, and the Dougie all rolled into one. It is the biggest thing on the planet, and if you don’t believe me, just check the numbers.

It’s estimated that roughly 19 million people partake in fantasy football each year. Nineteen million! Try and put that number in perspective. If you’re having trouble grasping the sheer magnitude of this many human beings doing any one thing, consider this: if fantasy football were its own country, it would be the 60th-largest country in the world, bigger than such nations as the Netherlands, Greece, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, and the list goes on. And God only knows how wealthy a nation of fantasy footballers could possibly be.

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A Divine Intervention

I was rolling down Interstate 405 the other day when I came upon a crappy sedan plodding along the highway at about 50 miles per hour. Forced to spend a miserable ten seconds or so behind the Casey Kotchman of automobiles, I noticed that this slow-moving bastard had an Obama sticker on his bumper.

Now, I’ll be honest, I like Obama. He seems like a cool guy. I’m not really big on politics, but I can tell that he’d be a good dude to hoop and drink with. That sort of thing goes a long way in my book. He’s a guy’s guy, basically. And being a guy’s guy myself, I appreciate that.

At this precise moment, however, I was experiencing frustration. Frustration brought on by the operator of this clunker compact car. Frustration instigated by someone who happened to be advertising the current President of the United States of America.

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