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Archive for August, 2011

Is Attending an NFL Game Worth it?

I’ve only attended two NFL games in my life.

The first game in 2005 I remember vividly: a cold, rainy day in Oakland as the Raiders took a beating from the then Jake Plummer led Broncos.  I was sitting in the upper deck with some family members, wearing an all-black hoodie over the only Raiders shirt I owned.

The second game I attended was in 2008 in San Francisco. The 49ers were playing the Philadelphia Eagles, a team who eventually lost in the NFC title game to Arizona. As expected, the 49ers got killed by a score of 40-26. Once again I was joined by some family members, sitting in the upper deck.

What do these two experiences have in common?

Disappointment.

The game in Oakland was my first NFL experience, and it couldn’t have been less satisfying. Even at a young age I knew the stadium was terrible. Sitting in the upper deck was an adventure, as there were at least three fights I remember seeing (that’s just the ones I remember). It was raining, cold and I spilt my soda on myself. The Raiders were my favorite team, and watching them lose in an embarrassing fashion didn’t help the cause. Having family around was great, and I definitely thanked them for bringing me, but in terms of fun, there wasn’t much of it.

The game in San Francisco was much of the same. The home team was losing, the stadium (and area around it) wasn’t pleasant and I still didn’t feel like I was having very much fun. And this was coming from a kid who was excited beyond belief on going in the first place. Like my Oakland experience I was once again sitting in the uppers of the upper deck, and once again seeing multiple fights breaking out. One I remember vividly of a Raiders fan, wearing a Randy Moss jersey, getting into with a 49ers fan. Drinks were tossed, punches were thrown and security came and took them out.

The perfect family experience!

This past weekend following the annual Raiders vs. 49ers pre-season game, reports of numerous brawls and two gunshot victims surfaced. Should we be shocked? No. But it does beg the question:

Are attending NFL games worth it?

It’s no coincidence I haven’t been to an NFL game since 2008 and only been to two in my life.

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE football: I’m a huge Raiders fan and keep up to speed with the entire league, I watch NFL Network on the daily, watch NFL Red Zone religiously on Sundays, own three fantasy teams, listen to multiple NFL podcasts, read multiple NFL blogs and have a season pass to the FX show The League. So why don’t I go to games?

For one, going to games are going to be a grip on the wallet. I have a job that pays fairly well, but I’m still just a college student. Between paying for dates that lead nowhere and Microsoft Office, NFL games don’t really fit in my paying schedule. It’s not the tickets themselves that are bad (I can find tickets for the Raiders vs.  Jets game for less than $40), it’s the extraneous costs the kill you. The gas money to drive to the stadium, food, drinks and possibly merchandise are just some of the costs. I’m not even mentioning parking and all the tailgating materials. Even if you buy the cheapest seat (let’s say $40), you add parking, food, drinks and gas, you’re dropping at least a couple bills. For a college student just hoping to survive, going to NFL game isn’t really in the cards.

Second reason why I don’t go to games: HDTV. The addition of HDTV to virtually every TV now is really incredible. Experiencing an NFL game is just (and even more) enjoyable watching on my couch than it is to attend. You can’t say that about other sports. Baseball is way better when at the park (AT&T Park helps), basketball is awesome up close and even though I don’t really like hockey, actually going to games is really exciting. I’m lucky enough to have a 50-inch HDTV plasma with a 7.1 compatible Harmon Kardon surround sound system. In other words: my shit KNOCKS. So you add the pleasure of every NFL game in HD, replays you wouldn’t normally get, great angles, great sound, cheap food and drinks and the luxury of my own home and you get a guaranteed great time.

The last and most important reason why I don’t go to games: the experience itself. While money and a plasma TV are both materialistic incentives for me to stick around, the actual experience I have going to a game lacks any enjoyment for me. Making the effort to see a mediocre team (Raiders) or a terrible team (49ers) doesn’t turn me on. Making the effort to see these teams at awful stadiums really doesn’t turn me on either. It’s sad that in an area so synonymous with successful corporations and beauty lay two of the worst stadiums in sports. Add these together and you get less than what you pay for. There’s no fun to be had.

My dad went to the 49ers vs. Saints game last season, a Monday night game, primetime, lower bowl center section seats, all free of charge. It was his first game since 2008 and I remember asking him when he got back if he had a great time, he replied: “I wouldn’t do that again.” Really? Free seats from a client to the biggest game of the year and he wouldn’t do it again? His reasoning: too many drunk idiots, fights, the area (Hunter’s Point) and lack of replays in the stadium. For a big 49ers fan like my dad to say that really struck me. If you can’t have a great time under those conditions, how can you at all?

When deciding to attend games I’m under the idea of “you go big or you go home.” I paid for me and my little brother’s seats to the Bulls vs. Warriors game last year, row 11 sideline club, VERY expensive seats. I paid for Cavaliers vs. Warriors a few seasons ago, corner section row 5, VERY expensive seats. I’ve paid for Dodgers vs. Giants seats, AAA level club seats. I’ve paid for Red Sox vs. Giants seats, 2nd level club as well. Why would a tight college student pay for the seats? I knew I was going to have a great time. I knew the experience was going to be a fun one. I can’t say that when going to an NFL game.

Of course this only applies to a 19 year old college student and not the majority of the people attending NFL games. There will always be people willing to fork over money to see their team, there will always be people willing to pay for the food and drinks, there will always be people willing to forgo the drunks and there will always be people who consider the experience to be well worth the money. But for the guy who is given the choice of O.CO or Candlestick Park, the guy who is given the choice of going to the game or sitting at his house watching comfortably, the guy who doesn’t have to have drunk idiots ruin the experience and the guy who is just trying to get through college with a decent amount of cashola, attending an NFL game just isn’t worth it.

—Jordan


2009 Draft Rewind: DHB vs. Crabtree

Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”

— Joe Theismann

Good call Joe. You certainly proved your own point.

The term genius can apply to numerous minds in the NFL: Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, the Rooney family, Peyton Manning, a young Al Davis and Bill Walsh to name a few. Still, the term genius is a very loose term and a subjective one at that.

Sadly, the two Bay Area franchises are far from anything “genius” at their current state(s).

After numerous failed free agency periods, disappointing drafts and coaching carousals that would make the Minnesota Timberwolves jealous, both franchises are in a state of flux. The Raiders mainly for being still owned by Al Davis and the Niners for still riding the Alex Smith train to nowhere.

There were numerous moves that contributed to both team’s current situations. One of the biggest moves that will forever link the two franchises is the 2009 draft.

The Raiders were coming off Jamarcus Russell’s first full season as the starter. They just drafted Darren McFadden…and then quickly lost him to injury. Their WR corps consisted of Ronald Curry, Javon Walker and Ashley Lelie (I couldn’t make that up). They’re offensive line corps was atrocious. DeAngelo Hall, just signing a 7 year, $70 million deal with $24 million guaranteed, was cut 8 games into the season. The infamous “projector room” was the highlight of Lane Kiffin’s firing just 4 games in. They hired a Cable guy who was later found hosting women in his hotel rooms on road games.  And did I mention Jamarcus Russell started fifteen games? They finished with a 5-11 record.

The 49ers were coming off an Alex Smith-less season. After being diagnosed with a broken bone in training camp Smith was placed on injured reserve and thus paved the way for a J.T. O’Sullivan/Shaun Hill platoon at the QB position. Their WR corps consisted of recently signed Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson and the always reliable Arnaz Battle (Still one of the coolest names in sports history by the way). Nate Clements was in the 2nd year of his 8 year, $80 million deal ($22 million of that guaranteed). Mike Martz was in the first (and only) year of his “My Offense is Way Too Complicated for Any QB on the Roster but I’ll Try It Anyway” system. The Mike Nolan era came to a re-sounding end and Mr. Pants on the Ground became interim coach. The Vernon Davis benching, halftime strip show and infamous “I WANT WINNERS!” speech soon followed. The team finished with a 7-9 record.

Whew. Those were the good ol’ days huh? Where to begin? Both teams had so many holes to fill the kids at Camp Green Lake were jealous (If anyone gets that reference they will forever hold a place in my heart by the way). Both needed talent wherever they could get it, but the biggest area of need was on the offensive side of the ball. Both needing talent at the skilled positions, there was one player on everyone’s radar.

Michael Crabtree was arguably the best offensive player in the country while at Texas Tech. Originally slated as the #1 overall pick, Crabtree was 2X First Team All American, 2X winner of the Biletnikoff Award and 2X winner of the Paul Warfield Trophy. In other words, he was easily the best receiver in the country and arguably the best offensive talent in college football. Crabtree was a perfect fit for most teams in the league, let alone the lowly Raiders and 49ers. The Raiders had to dodge 6 picks and the 49ers had to dodge 9. Both seemed like longshots to grab the prize at the time.

 

 

The first six picks went by…and Crabtree was still on the board. “YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” was the word every Raiders fan said after the Bengals choice of Andre Smith. That “YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” quickly turned into a “WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  The Raiders, instead of choosing the premier offensive talent in the country, chose 2008 All ACC Honorable Mention and Biletnikoff Award watch list member Darrius Heyward Bay.  We knew Al Davis liked speed but even that pick shocked the world. The only man on the face of the Earth who predicted the pick was Mike Mayock of NFL Network. I remember reading that exact mock draft and saying “No way…I never even heard of that guy.” Mike Mayock will forever have my respect from now on because of it.

Two more picks came and went and the offensive prize of the draft was still on the board. After picking Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis in 2 of the 3 previous drafts it seemed the 49ers found another gem. This time it fell right on their lap. The “Faithful” couldn’t be happier and the “Nation” couldn’t be more depressed. For each Raiders fan having nightmares of the Heyward Bay pick there was a 49er fan dreaming of what would come with Crabtree.

It’s been two full seasons since that draft and what first seemed like a lob-sided victory for the 49ers has since become a little more interesting of a debate.

DHB:


Receiving

Year

Age

Tm

Pos

No.

G

GS

Rec

Yds

Y/R

TD

Lng

R/G

Y/G

2009

22

OAK WR

12

11

11

9

124

13.8

1

24

0.8

11.3

2010

23

OAK WR

85

15

14

26

366

14.1

1

69

1.7

24.4

Career

26

25

35

490

14.0

2

69

1.3

18.8

Crabtree:

Receiving

Year

Age

Tm

Pos

No.

G

GS

Rec

Yds

Y/R

TD

Lng

R/G

Y/G

2009

22

SFO WR

15

11

11

48

625

13.0

2

50

4.4

56.8

2010

23

SFO WR

15

16

15

55

741

13.5

6

60

3.4

46.3

Career

27

26

103

1366

13.3

8

60

3.8

50.6

“Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”

                                                             — Jay-Z

The Crabtree era didn’t get off to a promising start with the receiver holding out the first 5 games of the season due to contract negotiations. The words “Crabtree” and “prima donna” seem to go hand in hand these days. Crabtree still has yet to compete in a full training camp or pre-season through his three year career. His rookie season he was holding out, his second year due to an undisclosed injury and this year due to a foot injury.

Both have missed games due to injury, both expected to rejuvenate hindered offenses and both have been disappointing through their young careers.

Is it entirely their fault? No. Both receivers have had suspect QB situations: Heyward Bay had Russell, Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski and now Jason Campbell throwing him the ball. Crabtree had Shaun Hill and Alex Smith chucking him wobblers. Both had very questionable offensive lines to fight through. Both had to ride the coaching carousels their franchises put them through. Both had dis-concerning front offices to play for.

So who won the battle of the 2009 draft: the Raiders or the 49ers?

The question still stands, but the answer so far is Crabtree. Heyward Bay has yet to show any signs of becoming a quality wide receiver. His suspect hands in college have shown in the pro’s and even though he was the 7th overall pick in 2009, late round choices such as Louis Murphy and Jacoby Ford have already passed him on the depth chart. Zach Miller has left the team, but that doesn’t mean more balls will go DHB’s way. The Raiders quickly signed former New York Giant TE Kevin Boss and is a very formidable replacement and catching option to Miller.  Miller is still the better player, but I foresee at least a few TD’s for Boss this coming season.

Heyward Bay still has the speed, but as every person that watches the NFL except Al Davis knows: speed alone doesn’t equal quality. Davis has gotten lucky in the past with speedsters such as Jacoby Ford and Stanford Routt (and soon Denarius Moore), but for the most part Davis’ logic of “speed first, talent later” has flopped. DHB just doesn’t seem to be in sync with any QB he has had. At some point you know if a player is good or not, if he makes plays. Has Heyward Bay made any plays through his two seasons? Has he shown any signs of earning the position in which he was drafted in? No and no.

Crabtree’s situation at QB hasn’t been much better. Shaun Hill and Alex Smith aren’t really the barn burners you see yourself catching touchdowns from when you imagine yourself in the NFL. But what makes Crabtree better than DHB at this point is his signs of actually becoming a quality NFL player. Crabtree doesn’t have 4.2 speed, but he has good hands, can run tight routes and can make QB’s (lackluster ones at that) look pretty good at times. No one can question Crabtree’s talent, but it’s his dedication and work ethic that can be.

Many see Crabtree as a quasi-T.O, a great talent that comes with a bunch of baggage.  T.O. also is a top 10 WR and future Hall of Famer, so comparing stats would be pointless at this point. But you can’t deny Crabtree’s “Me first” mentality at this point in his career, very much like a Terrell Owens had.  The 49ers hope Crabtree can turn into half the player T.O. was. There still is time, and whether Crabtree turns into that player on the 49ers is another question, but the talent is there. The same can’t be said for Heyward Bay.

I don’t see Heyward Bay becoming a quality receiver in the NFL. Sure he has talent, but so does every player in the NFL. Does he have as much talent as his cross-Bay counterpart? No way. Whereas Crabtree’s ceiling is numerous Pro Bowl’s and 1,000 yard seasons, Heyward Bay’s ceiling is a quality #2 option and 500 yard seasons. That could change of course, DHB could turn into the second coming of Santonio Holmes and Crabtree can turn into another Charles Rogers. But for now, Crabtree is clearly the better player, clearly has the brighter future and clearly was the better pick in 2009.

—Jordan


The Circus is in Town: Lowell and Grant Cohn

I’m an open minded person.

If you throw me in a new situation, I’ll do my best to adapt to that situation for the better.

For example, my college roommate freshman year would go days without showering…literally. As a guy who can’t go more than half a day without showering, suddenly living with a person who showers once every 72 hours (on average) was the worst possible trait my roommate could possibly have. Even though I brought it up multiple times to his face, he wouldn’t budge. “Shit…this is going to be a long year” were the exact words I thought during orientation.

But heck, he was an alright guy; he let me use his XBOX, get songs off his iTunes and let me borrow some hangers. He ended up being one of my best friends I’ve had during my current college experience.  It was still a long year, especially in dorm 312 at San Jose State. Let’s just say my roommate wasn’t helping me with the whole female aspect of college either. If he was in my room, girls probably weren’t. Once again, I adapted and had to kick him to the curb if I needed some time with that special someone…the few there were at least.

Why am I explaining my freshman year struggles?

Well, as an open minded person, I had to adapt. I had to adjust from a potentially horrible year to make it somewhat manageable.

This brings me to Lowell and Grant Cohn. Lowell Cohn and his newfound journalist by default son Grant are the two worst journalists in the Bay Area, and two of the worst I’ve ever read, heard or watched in my entire sports viewing life.

I tried to adapt, I gave them chances, probably more than I should have. But they finally hit a breaking point with me this year. Once I started Fogtown Sports, I knew it wasn’t going to be long until I had to express my thoughts on these clowns that call themselves journalists. Where to begin?

Let’s start with Grant, a high off Purp looking douchebag who looked like he just got done shopping in the ladies department at Macy’s. Wait, probably too classy for him, maybe the women’s department at Target. That’s better. Either way it’s not the person you want representing a respected local newspaper and sports station.

How did he get his job? He probably will tell you he had some writing experience in high school, passed his English classes with flying colors and has been around the business his whole life. The reality? He’s a below average writer whose dad hooked him up with a job once Grant couldn’t get hired at the local Togo’s.  He knows it, his dad knows it, members of the media know it and more importantly, the people reading his crap know it.

Ask any knowledgeable sports fan about his posts and they’ll give you the same answer: terrible writer who clearly got his job because his dad sucked up to his employers for him. Thankfully he hasn’t made his way to the TV side of Comcast; lord knows what circus act two Cohn’s would make on the same camera. Let’s hope Grant never sniffs a camera during his “career” at CSN.

The most troubling thing about Grant’s employment? In a time when jobs are so scarce, especially in the field of journalism, for this guy to have a job and take the spot from an actual journalist is abysmal. With so few jobs out there, for Grant to cheat his way into the position he has is shameful on the part of the Press Democrat and Comcast. They should know better. You have journalists left and right being demoted, transferred or fired from their previous jobs struggling to find their next one. Yet fools like Grant Cohn have jobs? Give me a break.

Now to Bozo the Clown…whoops…I mean Lowell Cohn.

“Lowell Cohn has been covering Bay Area sports for more than 30 years and he’s never run out of things to say.”

You got that right.

That detailed, clear, concise sentence is all that lay in the “About Me” section of Lowell Cohn’s terrible blog called “The Cohn Zohn.” But hey, if my blog consisted of paragraph long posts than I wouldn’t have much in the “About Me” section either.

Seriously though, does “The Cohn Zohn” even count as a blog? I know it’s just an extension of his columns, but still. The whole purpose of a blog, especially one you’re getting paid for, is to extend your thoughts on the internet, giving readers a place to give their thoughts and extend your words to the world. For Lowell Cohn? Well, he extends his thoughts on his flight from Kona, Jennifer Lopez, Sexsmiths, walking his dog and numerous details of his fishing trip. Riveting stuff.

Not a bad gig huh? Write a sports column every other day, comped flights and hotels to sporting events and blog about his vacation and J-Lo. If you want to blog about your vacation, J-Lo or fishing, do it on a personal blog, Tumblr or even Twitter. That’s assuming Lowell knows how to use social media that is. Maybe it’s the Press Democrat’s fault by letting him blog on whatever he wants. But if I was a sports journalist, I don’t think people would give a rat’s ass on how I caught a bass fish, especially knowing I’m getting paid to write about that. I’m insulted he’s earning his paycheck like that.

Lowell responded to these claims in a recent post last month:

“Because this is my blog and, in a way, it’s a personal journal, I sometimes refer to other parts of my life. I can’t help it. I can’t be just one thing even if you feel most comfortable with my being just one thing.”

Well Lowell, because your blog is in the sports section of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s website, because your banner has sports equipment in it, because your tagline is “Lowell Cohn’s pertinent and impertinent take on sports” and because YOU’RE AN EMPLOYED SPORTS JOURNALIST, I’d wonder why readers would question your posts on NON-sports topics. Shocking isn’t it? Readers complaining about non-sports posts on a sports blog. I can get away with it because I’m not getting paid for my words, not yet anyway. You’re getting paid to write sports…WRITE ABOUT SPORTS. Even though you’re a hack, at least have the decency to do what your job description entails. If you want to be more than “one thing” use your Twitter for once or make a personal, non-paid blog for yourself. You can write all you want about fishing, your son’s C average or your last failed dentist appointment, don’t worry, I won’t be reading.

His blog is also a place for his son to receive some free publicity. Every other post consists of links to Grant’s blogs, either on Comcast or the Press Democrat websites. Lowell often gives his .02 cents on Grant’s posts too. Which, if you read between the lines say “Don’t be so hard on my unskilled, lack of talent ridden son. He’s trying his hardest!”

The biggest problem with Lowell Cohn? His brash style. It flows through his writing and is even worse on the TV side. His writing consists of mostly shorter sentences with quick thoughts and jabs. He’ll throw in the occasional longer sentence but the thoughts often seem too brash for his own good. You’re not on ESPN where you get paid more for being harsher (Calling Colin Cowherd or Skip Bayless), no need to act like you’re some big shot. No need to act as if your words are the only words people care about; in fact they’re far from it.

On the TV side Lowell comes off as a grumpy, sullen old man who forgot to take his Vicodin that morning. His shtick gets old fast. He tries so hard to be different, to be more than the prototypical “one thing.” He comes off as a guy who doesn’t want to cover sports, but rather covers them because he has to. I’ve never shared a press box with Lowell Cohn, but I can imagine him now: his glasses on, his 2003 Compaq in front of him, his AOL email open, his cup of black coffee on his side and his ego on his fingertips.

Lowell’s ego has gotten him in trouble in the past. Besides pissing people off on a daily basis through his blog, columns and CSN, two previous instances come to mind where he pissed off the wrong people.

Lowell Cohn’s brash and often abusive style was never more apparent than during a 49ers weekly press conference two years ago. In the heat of the Mike Singletary era, Cohn rips Singletary and questions his coaching style and the respect his players have for him. Not the way to treat a Hall of Fame linebacker. Believe it or not, Singletary is a great football mind. Coaching is another story, but no one can question his knowledge of the game. Singletary gives the biggest middle finger to Lowell without actually giving it. I enjoyed that video, a refreshing rip on someone that deserved one. Even if it is two years old.

Video of Singletary/Cohn rippage can be found herehttp://www.csnbayarea.com/pages/landing?blockID=88656

The second instance of Cohn’s ego getting the best of him was in 2010 when associating steroid users to murderers:

“”It’s not like a defense lawyer walks into court and says, ‘Thousands of murderers get away with their crimes, so you should let my client, who wiped out an entire family, go free in the interest of fair play.’ That would be absurd.”

Nice one Bozo. Associating the murdering of families to millionaire athletes who use steroids. Another terrible argument used in that classic Lowell Cohn style we all know and love. I consider this to be AT LEAST a suspendable offense. Comparing those two things is like getting mad during a baseball game and calling the pitcher an illegal alien (“Can’t tell me no lies and keep your hands to yourself…). I didn’t hear him speak these words, but I don’t need to. I know how it would have looked: foolish.

Lowell and Grant Cohn should not be employed by any respectable news outlet. Grant for being a terrible writer and not properly earning his job. Lowell for being the weird, old married guy in the corner of the strip club doing nothing, just sitting and freaking everyone out. I’ve talked to tons of people who read and watch Bay Area sports. ZERO like anything related to these two fools. Whether it’s Grant’s free job at the Press Democrat and Comcast or his dad’s annoying and obnoxious style, these two shouldn’t be anywhere near a laptop or a camera. With so many great writers in the Bay Area, it’s a shame the Cohn’s share the same title is those real journalists. Lowell and Grant Cohn sharing the same title as a Ray Ratto, Tim Kawakami or Mark Purdy? Are you kidding me?

Hey Lowell, go back to the retirement home where you belong.

Hey Grant, my little brother’s elementary school needs a writer for their weekly newsletter, go where you belong.

No one will miss you.

—Jordan


The Bruno Saga: An “Alien’s” Perspective

Anyone who has heard me speak, has read anything I have written or knows my interests know what my dream job is. Whether it’s writing, radio or television, any career in the field of sports would be a dream come true. As a person who constantly reads blogs and websites, listens to radio shows and has every sports channel on my DVR as one of my favorites, I hear and see mostly everything.

With social networking, moments of “Oh Shit!” and “Did you see that?” are caught instantaneously, Tweeted about seconds later and are up on YouTube within minutes. That’s the world we live in. Whether celebrities, athletes or journalists like it is another question, but what isn’t in question is this: no one is safe.

You don’t have to be a celebrity or athlete to be caught up in the moment either. From personal experience and hearing stories from friends, if it’s on the internet at any moment for any amount of time, people will find it, remember it and use it against you.  This brings me to the man of the hour: Mr. “Tell Me No Lies and Keep Your Hands to Yourself”…Tony Bruno.

On Friday, Bruno, an avid fan of anything Philadelphia and nationally syndicated radio host, took to Twitter to release his frustration on a brawl that erupted during the Giants and Phillies game that night; specifically Giants reliever Ramon Ramirez.

@TonyBrunoShow: gutless #!@%*# Giants. Bochy is a coward for having his illegal alien pitcher hit a guy since mighty Frisco boys …”

Despicable.

Bruno has been in the business for more than two decades, he should know better. Bruno is a constant user of social media sites (uploading pictures on Facebook and Tweeting every day), he should know better. Some of Bruno’s most frequent callers on KNBR are Hispanic, including the infamous Carlos, he should know better. Bruno is considered one of the best in the business, previously referred to as “fabulous” by his longtime friend and former KNBR cohort Gary Radnich, he should know better.

As a person of Mexican descent and a person also with the last name Ramirez, I was bothered by his comments. I don’t want to kill him or burn his house down, but his comments struck a nerve, especially for someone who is trying to get into the business he has been so successful in for two decades.

Bruno immediately deleted the Tweet, quickly followed it with an apology and has since written a much longer apology on his Facebook page. It doesn’t matter. In his apology he states, “I still stand by my comments that Bruce Bochy is a coward, as are all managers who order pitchers to throw at guys just because their pitchers can’t get a guy out.”

Okay?

You stand behind your comments, but not the one that got you in trouble?

In a much lengthier apology posted late Saturday night, Bruno speaks as to why his response to the brawl was much larger than the two teams, but more about the unwritten rules of the game, “What I posted was reaction to something that goes beyond Giants-Phillies rivalry baseball. My position on “unwritten rules” of baseball has been consistent.”

He continues: “The fact that 2 or 3 people who want to destroy my life are fanning the flames of true hate by spreading this all over the world wide web just disappoints me as someone who prides himself on being a man who embraces all races, religions and opinions.”

Big fucking whoop.

Bruno, what you said was wrong, insulting, racist and frankly shameful for a man living in the age of the internet and a man who has dedicated his life to journalistic integrity.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it surely won’t be the last. Former KNBR host Larry Kreuger said something similar on his radio show in 2005, calling some Giants “brain-dead Caribbean players.” He was soon fired. Everyone’s favorite commentator Rush Limbaugh while working an ESPN Sunday Night Football telecast (I don’t know why either), said this when describing then Eagles QB Donovan McNabb:

“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve.”

There’s the Rush we know!

Did KNBR have a time machine? Did they go all Marty McFly and see this whole Bruno incident coming? Either way, it works out perfectly for the Bay Area sports powerhouse. Many listeners were shocked to hear Bruno was quickly removed from his and Radnich’s bit, self-referred to as “The Best Half Hour on Radio.” Now? Well, people who were turned off by the move better keep their feelings under their breath.

I listen to KNBR every day. I was actually a big fan of “The Best Half Hour on Radio” even though it was far from it (I put this title on anything Howard Stern or Playboy Radio). I listened to his podcast and even enjoyed his random appearance in the Madden football games.

Now?

I’ll have a hard time becoming a fan again.

When using social media, especially when being in a position of power, you must be smarter (See Anthony Weiner or Rashard Mendenhall). In Bruno’s case, he thought about what he was going to say, typed it, thought about it again then clicked “Tweet.”  It wasn’t radio where he was in a constant flow of talk and accidently let something out a la Kreuger. I consider Bruno’s case much worse than Kreuger’s simply because it’s much easier to let something slip while talking than to type and click.

Bruno immediately lost credibility, numerous fans and will from now on be considered a racist. Whether fair or unfair that’s how the world goes. In today’s world all it takes is one incident, one accident caught on camera or posted on Facebook or Twitter to completely tarnish everything you have worked for. Everyone makes mistakes, but for a man so deep in the realm of the business to do what he did will forever put a black eye on his career. He lost a fan Saturday night, and whether that fan comes back is still up in the air. Either way, Tony will never be looked at in the same light.

Very bad knowledge Tony.

—Jordan


Lebron’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Career

A throwback piece I wrote earlier this year and also one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. First posted on my previous blog, this piece compares the careers of Kanye West and Lebron James, with a little help from Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. This was written well before the Heat lost to the Mavericks in the NBA Finals, well before Lebron was crucified for his 4th quarter performances (or lack thereof) and well before Mark Cuban spent roughly $110 thousand in drinks at a local Miami club. Enjoy.

“Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem/Or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams” – Kanye West

Lebron James. Kanye West. Both carry outstanding talents in their respective careers. Both have been claimed at one point to be the very best at their positions. Both with ego’s big enough to satisfy the entire cast of Jersey Shore…twice. Both have experienced incredible success. But both have made terrible public decisions that have hindered their otherwise limitless potential.

It began with Kanye blurting out the now infamous words: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a Hurricane Katrina telethon. Some years later, Kanye stormed the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Video of the Year. Although I had no problem with Kanye storming the stage in defense of Beyonce, the public crucified him for ruining the so-called “moment” for Taylor Swift (Who is one of the most overrated artists in music today, but that’s for another time). People in the industry have always supported Kanye West’s talents as a gifted producer and talented rapper. But the incident with Taylor Swift has tarnished Kanye’s potential success with the common music listener.

Lebron James has actually had a much tamer career compared to that of Kanye’s. Lebron, unlike Kanye, has really only made one mistake throughout his whole career. Granted, one, huge, giant, immense, Big Momma’s House sized mistake (seriously, another Big Momma’s House movie? Really?). “The Decision” was seen as a public offering portraying Lebron as some figure he really wasn’t. He’s a basketball star. That’s it. He’s not the President. He can’t hold his own press conference to announce to announce a decision he made. He disrespected his former organization, his former teammates, and his former city and has (for the meantime) ruined his title as the “King.” No one can question his talents, but they way he decided to display where he will play basketball was a joke.

Although both have recently gone through the darkest stages of their careers, it’s now safe to say they are back at the top of their games. Lebron, still loathed by most of the NBA and its fans, has put up huge numbers in Miami (It does help playing with Wade and Bosh) and has brought the Heat on the precipice of something huge. In November, Kanye West released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, his first album since the VMA incident. It has received national praise and if released before the Grammy deadline date would surely be nominated for numerous awards. Kanye has also been hard at work with Jay-Z on a duel album entitled Watch the Throne, which drops sometime in March. [edit: now releasing August 8]

After listening through My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy back and through multiple times (41 to be exact), this masterpiece can be seen as a perfect embodiment of the career of Lebron James. In a very symbolic way, each track is a specific stage in the up and down career of the “King.” Both being good friends, it should come as no surprise that both these integral symbols in pop culture today are very much one in the same. Here, with the help of Kanye West, is the career of “King” James:

Dark Fantasy. The career of any athlete begins with one goal: to become world champion. After declaring for the draft out of high school, it was soon after that we knew Lebron would become a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a franchise synonymous with mediocrity. A perfect entrance: playing for his hometown team with the entire city behind him. Although living his dream of playing in the NBA, his new goal, winning an NBA Championship, is now a dark fantasy. It’s the K2 of challenges: become an immediate superstar with the weight of a franchise and city behind you. Although being blessed with the greatest combination of physique, speed and instincts in the history of the league, his dark fantasy soon begins.

Gorgeous. It didn’t take Lebron long to become the face of the NBA. He soon caught the attention of the world with his fantastic play for a franchise not known for hoisting world class talents. He quickly became a global icon. Signing with Nike, designing shoes, starring in commercials, putting up great numbers and showing the league what he’s made of, Lebron took the NBA and sports world by storm. Lebron became a gorgeous figure, both on and off the court. He became a global phenomenon. His appeal to every type of NBA fan; from young to old, white to black, East to West; made Lebron the most sought after sports figure in American society to date. His soon developed relationships with Jay-Z and Kanye West became public, and it was clear, this kid is here to stay.

Power. As Lebron took the league by storm, it soon became apparent that he had the “power”. The league soon became the Lebron show. Yes, there was Kobe, there was Shaq, there was Carmelo, there was Dwyane Wade, there was Andris Biedrins (just making sure your paying attention)…but even though the league was full of stars, we are a society of the newest and freshest. Why does Apple make new iPhones every year? Society craves the latest and greatest. Lebron fit the bill. New, fresh, hot, entertaining; Lebron carried all the traits of the iPhone 4 (without the reception problems). Whatever Lebron did, the kids wanted to do. Whatever he worse, listened to, watched; the kids wanted to be Lebron. He had all the power in the world, and like Lebron driving in the paint, he couldn’t be stopped.

All of the Lights. As Lebron grew and matured as a player, so did his team. The Cavs quickly became relevant again and the playoffs (“Playoffs!!!!?????”) became a reality. The lights became brighter as Lebron became greater. Any rookie can come in the league and put up great stats, but they have to take their game to the upper echelon, the playoffs, to truly become a legend. The ball was in Lebron’s court now. High flying dunks and acrobatic plays can only take you so far (Ahem…Vince Carter). All of the lights were now on Lebron. With every playoff series came the same thought: If he never wins a title, he’ll never become a legend. This questioning began early in his career, and has continued on to this day. All of the lights were very much bright, and to this day, the lights still are on.

Monster. There has been one performance that has stood out in Lebron’s pursuit of greatness: Game 5 against the Detroit Pistons in the 2007 Playoffs. The term “monster” could have been applied to Lebron earlier in his career, but greatness in the playoffs overshadows the regular season any day. Facing a stout Pistons defense (sounds funny nowadays huh?); Lebron scored his then (and current) playoff high 48 points. Great game right? How about one of the greatest playoff performances ever? If the 48 points weren’t enough, King James carried his team by scoring his team’s final 25; which included the end of the 4th quarter, OT and 2OT. Every great player has his “moment,” the moment where he officially arrives. The moment where we say: “This guy could become great”. On that night, we could say Lebron arrived, and he was a monster in every way imaginable.

So Appalled. Although Cleveland became a perennial playoff team since his drafting, Lebron was unable to bring a title to his hometown team. It soon became obvious that there was a good chance that Lebron could leave the Cavs after the 09/10 season. The idea of Lebron leaving Cleveland was non-existent to Cavs fans though: “Could he really leave his hometown team?” “No way…he’s OUR guy!” The ship seemed to have sailed once the Cavs were trounced by Boston in the playoffs that year. Lebron’s body language, the way his team played during the series and his un-willingness to harness his crown was clearly displayed. We saw it coming. The end was near for Lebron in Cleveland. “The Decision” only heightened the anger of Cavs fans, and they more than anyone were so appalled at what they were seeing, and what would soon come.

Devil In A New Dress. It took Lebron just one sentence to change the entire sporting landscape. As an outside observer, most weren’t surprised by his decision to leave Cleveland. For Cleveland fans, well, it didn’t take long for their newfound hatred to the so called “King” to be displayed publicly. Videos of shocked Cleveland fans at local bars and the burning of his jerseys were uploaded on YouTube in the hundreds. For Miami fans, it was the greatest day of their lives. Lebron, Wade AND Bosh? Impossible to fathom early in the off-season. “The Decision” might as well been named “The Public Crucifixion of Cleveland.” Although most agreed that Lebron was good as gone, it was his public display of arrogance and egotism that caught the world off guard. Why hold this public offering at all when a simple press conference or phone call would have sufficed? Why hold it at a Boys & Girls Club in Connecticut of all places? His ego got the best of him. He thought he was bigger than what he really was. What did the world think of Lebron when he made his decision? Well, just a devil in a new dress. 

Runaway. Lebron was one of the most universally loved figures in all of sports before “The Decision”. He was used to being the good guy, the one people rooted for, the one people paid extra to see, the new Michael Jordan, the new face of the NBA. He was in no way prepared to become the runaway of the league. It became clear soon after “The Decision” that Lebron would no longer be so universally loved, but rather a symbol of arrogance and stupidity. In his first game as a member of the Miami Heat, Lebron was rewarded with a barrage of boo’s that he had never heard before in his life. He was now alone. Even though he shared the spotlight with two other superstars (Yes, I consider Bosh a superstar), the Heat became “The Lebron Show”. Has he embraced the role of the villain? “I enjoy it,” LeBron said, “I’m very comfortable. I’ve kind of accepted this villain role everyone has placed on me. I’m OK with it. I accept it.” We’ll see Lebron, we shall see.

Hell Of A Life. What became one of the most historic off-seasons in NBA history quickly came to an end with the Lebron decision. The hype was over. The decision was made, and the world had to live with it. It was now time to talk ball. What seemed liked minutes after Lebron made his decision; NBA pundits began claiming them as the best team ever, a dynasty, an 80 win team and basically writing off the rest of the NBA. Why not? The Heat acquired two superstars to join their already spectacular superstar of their own. Lebron, Wade, Bosh: the new super team in the NBA. Three of the most talented players in the league joining forces? Unheard of. With all the cap limitations and luxury tax rules how was this possible? Well, they have three superstars and nine serviceable players, that’s how. Never has so much individual been constructed onto one team; a truly historic event in the history of the NBA happened. Lebron joined forces with his two friends in South Beach and they were about to live a hell of a life. 

Blame Game. “Who’s fault” are the first words uttered by Kanye West in the song. Whose fault was it? How could this super team happen? Who do we blame for this madness? Well, we could blame the Cavs. They failed to acquire the right players to compliment Lebron and push them to championship level. Dan Gilbert’s obsession with J.J. Hickson restricted them from acquiring a talent like Amare Stoudemire and instead acquired players like Antawn Jamison, Ben Wallace, Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. We could blame the sheer desperation of numerous teams in the NBA. The Knicks, Heat, Bulls (just to name a few) all tried to clear as much cap space as possible in their pursuit of the “King”. The Knicks, the most successful in clearing up space, failed to lure Lebron, but they got a nice consolation prize in the aforementioned Amare. Finally, we could blame Pat Riley. The legendary former coach and NBA executive was the mastermind behind this plan. He lured Lebron and Bosh. What he said to them is unknown, but to lure two superstars to his team was remarkable. A simple decision soon became a blame game.

Lost In The World. Soon after “The Decision” the Heat held a ridiculous welcoming party for their new superstars. They were now entirely enthralled in their new “Us Against The World” mentality. They werelost in their own world. They thought they could coast by the regular season, coast through the playoffs and coast to a NBA championship. “Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven!” Yeah, Lebron seemed pretty confident in his new team to say the least. They found out soon enough, in their first regular season game, that you have to beat the best to become the best. Boston held the Heat to a mere nine points, yes, that’s not a typo, NINE points in their first quarter of play. Boston embarrassed the lost and confused Heat as they mopped the floor with the quickly crowned super team. This was a clear shot in the arm as the Heat soon found out that talent alone can’t win titles. They were lost in their own world, and only they can get themselves out of it.

Who Will Survive In America. The road to the NBA championship is a long and grinding journey. There will be successes, there will be failures. There will be winning streaks, there will be losing streaks. There will be injuries, there will be grittiness. There will be disappointment, there will be surprises. Only the strongest survive. The team with the greatest amount of unity, harmony and chemistry complimented by a great basketball philosophy will win the championship. Who will survive? We still don’t know. What we do know is the similarities between the two biggest egos in pop culture today. A sir King James and one Kanye Omari West. Don’t let their arrogance get in the way of their greatness. If you already respect the greatness, keep doing so. If you can’t stand them, well, keep on hating, because honestly, they could care less. They adopt this hatred with open arms, and the more you hate the better. Keep on hating, and they’ll keep doing their thing.

—Jordan


Lift Off

Your voice of Fogtown Sports.

As I’m listening to “Otis” for the 83th time (really, the 83rd time on my iTunes), the first single off Kanye West and Jay-Z’s future classic album Watch the Throne, I write to tell you…WELCOME!

Fogtown Sports is a long overdue project dedicated to my views on the world of sports, music, movies and whatever the hell I feel like talking about.  Although this will primarily be a sports blog, there will be times when my thoughts on subjects outside the realm of sports will need to be in writing. In those cases, you’ll see them on Fogtown.

For example, you’ll see an extensive and detailed review of Watch the Throne after I’ve locked myself up in my room for 30 hours straight with my Beats by Dre headphones on. I’m sure you’ll be treated to my top movies of the summer once the season is over, and don’t be surprised if you see an article in the world of pop culture, because there isn’t NEARLY enough of that around already.

Who am I you ask? My name is Jordan Ramirez. I’m a 19 year old aspiring sports journalist who has lived in the Bay Area his whole life. I attended Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose and currently attend the sports powerhouse that is San Jose State University (Home of the Budget Cuts…err…Spartans…). I’m the oldest of five children, clearly the best looking one and the only one who has successfully been on national TV (That story later). I currently write for WarriorsWorld.net, the best Warriors site on the internet. Seriously, If you like the Warriors, a great layout, skilled writers, great interviews and an overall dope time on the net, hit up WarriorsWorld.

My favorite artist in the world is Kanye West. People who follow me on Twitter (@JRAM_91) know already how much I admire his work and have times been told to “#pause” from Kanye (You know who you are). If you don’t know my obsession with Kanye…you will. I even visit and write for a Kanye fan site (kanyetothe.com). He’s the most innovative, genius, creative, interesting, perplexing person in the music industry today. For these reasons and more I find a great connection to his music. Not to say I don’t listen to other genres and artists, but the conversation starts and ends with Kanye.

Besides Kanye West my favorite artists (in no particular order) are Michael Jackson, Prince, Kid Cudi, Jay-Z, Frank Sinatra, 2Pac, Drake, Gang Starr, Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne, Usher, Eminem, Alicia Keys, Marvin Gaye, Big Sean, Common, Rihanna, Frank Ocean, Pusha T, Chris Brown, John Legend, Katy Perry (Haters come at me!), Justin Timberlake, Sade, T.I. and The Weeknd. If you have any or all of these artists on your iPod, we’re in for a good time.

The favorite movies question usually follows music, so here it goes: Good Will Hunting, Pulp Fiction, Old School, The Dark Knight, Harold & Kumar (NPH FTW), Goodfellas, Space Jam, Lord of the Rings, The Other Guys, The Departed, Happy Gilmore and The Hangover. In interest of full disclosure, the hands down worst movie I’ve ever seen was Disaster Movie. Seriously, any movie that ends with “Movie” probably isn’t a good bet for an Oscar. Even though my fiancé to be Kim Kardashian had a small role, it wasn’t enough to save the debacle that was this sad, pitiful hour and a half. How Hollywood approves of these movies is beyond me…but I digress.

My sports background you ask? I’ve always been able to play sports on some sort of competitive level. Heck, some kids even called me “Peja” in middle school because of my three point shot on the court (True story). But interestingly enough, basketball isn’t my favorite sport, golf is. I started playing golf when I was seven, kept with it, competed on local and national levels and was once on national TV because of it. OK, here’s that story: I competed in Golf Channel’s Drive, Chip & Putt Competition when I was 9. This was a national skills competition that tested all aspects of the game (Think of combining all the events during NBA All Star Weekend and you pretty much get the gist of it). I swept the local competition, won 1st place and earned a spot in nationals. I flew to Oregon a month later, and during the long drive facet of the competition they filmed me, asked me who my favorite golfer was (Tiger Woods) and saw my gorgeous, flawless swing on The Golf Channel later that week when they aired it on national TV. It was the greatest 20 seconds The Golf Channel has ever aired. If you haven’t caught on yet of my sarcasm by the way, please do. I use it a lot. The trophy still sits in my trophy case in my room and to this day the most cherished, proud moment of my golf career. **Holds for applause and utter disbelief of this incredible, soon to be made movie storyline**

I hope this blog keeps you entertained, confused, frustrated, happy, disgusted, sad, remorseful, pity or any feeling for that matter. That’s my goal. Whether it’s sports, movies, music, pop culture or whatever, if you’re reading this, I hope you feel and appreciate what I’ve put down on paper for you (well…not physically paper…no one uses that anymore really…newspapers aren’t even using those anymore…). What makes this blog different from others: it’s not limited to any topic, I have no slant or angle and I keep bring a certain personality to my writing. It’s different. It’s fun. And it’s for you.  I’ll primarily be talking about sports in the Bay Area, but that doesn’t mean I won’t extend my thoughts on why Lebron is still the best player in the world or why Tiger Woods will still break Jack’s record. Nothing is off limits.

Ever since I was young I thought to myself “How cool would that be? Getting paid to travel around and watch sports, then write about it. That’s my dream job.” This is the beginning of that dream job. I hope you can join me. Let’s have some fun.

Finally, huge props to Diebolt Designs for helping me out on the banner and layout of the site, he brought my vision for the site to reality. See his stuff at dieboltdesigns.wordpress.com.

— Jordan