Category Archives: Cheap Seats

Idle Time views on sports fandom, typically ascertained from comfy couches and nosebleed stadium sections.

Steph Curry’s Historic Unanimity

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors took home his second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player award the other night, and, this time, the vote was unanimous. This was the first time in NBA history, as a matter of fact, that an MVP award has been awarded by unanimous vote. This season Steph has shattered his own ridiculous three-point record while leading his team to a 73-9 record, the best single-season mark in NBA history. The Warriors push ever closer to their second straight trip to the NBA Finals, and their humble lead-by-example point guard continues to mystify opponents with impossible shots and an unmatched desire to win. Hell yes, he’s the unanimous choice.

But, because this is sports, much like Harden’s ridiculous whining a year ago after finishing second to Curry, a celebrated occurrence like this unanimous decision allows former stars to say ridiculous shit in attempts at garnering some remember-me attention. Sorry, T-Mac. Open your eyes. If anyone doesn’t think Curry has deserved either of these two MVPs, he or she simply isn’t watching basketball.

No matter how deserving or appropriate, unanimous decisions tend to stir up controversy. Maybe it’s the Don’t Tell Me What To Think mentality that reacts against being told that everyone agrees on a particular decision. So, to properly ensconce Steph’s achievement in history, let’s take a look at five other great – albeit sometimes controversial – unanimous decisions.

On February 4, 1789, George Washington was elected the first President of the United States, and he did so by unanimous vote. All 69 Electors voted for the insanely popular war hero, and our country was treated to the start of a celebrated political career. Controversial? Not really. In fact, in the very next presidential election, Washington again won by unanimous vote, this time with all 132 electoral votes, despite pissing people off with a whiskey tax a year earlier. He stands as the only president to have ever been elected unanimously and (not going out on a limb here, especially as we shake our heads in horror at the clusterfuck that has become the 2016 election process), that is a distinction that will never be equaled.  Continue reading Steph Curry’s Historic Unanimity

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Jackie Robinson Day

The newest Ken Burns documentary is a two-part biography of Jackie Robinson, premiering tomorrow night on PBS. Despite his inclusion in Burns’s Baseball, Robinson’s impact breaking the color barrier in American professional sports extends even beyond the scope of what that eleven-part epic can accomplish.

Jackie_Robinson_Day_LogoWhile much of April belongs to Opening Week festivities, and all the pomp and circumstance that attends the return to Major League ballparks all around the country, we’ll also soon be reminded of the anniversary of Robinson’s historic debut at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Since 2004, April 15 has been celebrated as Jackie Robinson Day throughout baseball, and it’s the only time that Robinson’s number 42 can be worn by an MLB player. And, in fact, every player will be wearing 42. Sure, it might be confusing if you’re keeping score, but the significance far outweighs any statistical record-keeping challenges. Continue reading Jackie Robinson Day

March Madness and Your New Favorite Team

We’re almost through with March, which means you’ve probably already been asked plenty of times if your bracket has been busted. Mine has; THANKS MICHIGAN STATE. However, even though I won’t be winning any cash money or sweet prizes this year, I have something even better to hold on to, at least for the moment. My Gonzaga Bulldogs are still in the race.

I graduated from Gonzaga in 2012, and as any Zag will tell you, college basketball is a way of life. It is Gonzaga’s eighteenth straight season making it to the NCAA March Madness Tournament. 18 years! While we’ve never won the championship, or even made it to the Final Four, Gonzaga has been a model of consistency when it comes to putting together a quality team. We don’t rebuild, we reload. Continue reading March Madness and Your New Favorite Team

What’s the Big Flippin’ Deal?

mlbWhen Major League Baseball’s Spring Training rolls around every year, it reminds me that there are basically two kinds of people in this country: those who roll their eyes and think baseball season is never-ending; and those who wish baseball season lasted all year long. Count me among the latter. The offseason always seems interminable. The sights and sounds of baseball in the spring, as a harbinger of glorious summer days and brisk fall evenings at the ballpark, fill me with sheer joy.

Bryce Harper on the cover of The Mag, March 28 issue
Bryce Harper on the cover of The Mag, March 28 issue

Aside from the typical news briefing of rookie prospects, troublesome injuries, rotation depth, and early playoff prognosticating, what’s going on in baseball this March?

Well, an American team, the Tampa Bay Rays, played an exhibition game in Cuba yesterday, so that was cool. Hopefully it will serve as another step in improving relations between our countries, as well as garner attention for the economic and political situation that still suffocates the Cuban people. The Pittsburgh Pirates are planning on breaking out the old pillbox hats in some throwback games this year. Those were cute. And the reigning MVP of the National League, Bryce Harper, continues to voice his opinions on what many consider to be the stale, outdated unwritten rules of baseball. Continue reading What’s the Big Flippin’ Deal?

J.J. Barea May or May Not Earn You a Free Burrito

IMG_5415In a curious update, the latest version of Yahoo’s Fantasy Sports app promises: “Free burritos for all the peoples when J.J. Barea throws down his first NBA dunk.” Naturally, I immediately scoured the app for more information. I also looked into J.J.’s perplexing inability to ever dunk a basketball in an NBA game.

According to basketball-reference.com, J.J. Barea, current backup point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, has now played in 680 NBA games in his career, without ever recording a single made dunk. Continue reading J.J. Barea May or May Not Earn You a Free Burrito

SPORTS! – February

Our monthly sports primer featuring everything you didn’t know you needed to know about sports! February’s edition features Super Bowl prop betting, “Y” Cubans, and a ridiculous goal.

nflNational Football League
– MMDG and MDDG

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and chances are, whether you’re interested in the pageantry, the commercials, or maybe even the actual sporting event, you’re going to be tuning in at some point. And if you live in the Bay Area, like many of us, you have been blown away by the sheer volume of money and commerce associated with this championship game.

imagesAnd that’s just the tip of the iceberg. One news source cites an estimated $4.2 billion dollars to be spent on Super Bowl bets this year. When you think about the amount of money that changes hands in the name of the National Football League on this day alone, the chaos and grandeur of Super Bowl City and the Super Bowl Experience starts to make a little more sense.

So get in on the action.

Even if you’re not betting on the actual outcome of the game, Super Bowl parties around the country are typically staging grounds for a near limitless stable of prop bets, ranging from the interesting to the ridiculous. A proposition, or “prop” bet, is a sidebet dealing with an event, in this case the Super Bowl, that has no actual bearing on the outcome. And they’re incredibly popular. In fact, Forbes reports that the money wagered on prop bets now surpasses the money wagered on the actual game.

Bet on what color of Gatorade will be doused on the winning coach. Which animal will show up in a commercial first — cat, horse, or dog. How many times a broadcaster will reference a particular topic. The length of the National Anthem. The list goes on and on. SBNation has a list of all the “official” prop bets seeing action on online gambling sites. Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit has comments on some of the crazier options, all of which are living room nickel-bet friendly.

Don’t stop there with the gambling and hijinks. Next-level Super Sunday entertainment is taking form in Prop Pets.

Every mid-level manager and his boring family are joking about the length of the national anthem or how many times Peyton will say “Nebraska” or something; smirking like they came up with the joke themselves. Don’t stoop to that level without vaulting into a higher plane of enjoyment.  Prop Pets – where you try and avoid hitting your prop bet,  thereby becoming the pet for everyone to order around.

It’s really a win-win for the whole living room crew. The pet has to run for beers, prepare snack plates, and answer the door when the pizza guy arrives. [BTW – there are several new app-based services that will combine these and deliver booze to your door.] It’s  a win for the loser as well because sometimes you just need alone time with your snack table.

Yeah, you might be a Bronco fan or think Cam is awesome and want to watch, but make lemonade, my friend and dig into that smorgasbord while you have exclusive access. No more awkward chip-dipping hesitation while you and another guy dive for the same bowl. And if you’re granted the go-ahead there’s the inevitable quick scrape out of gratitude. No one wants a quick scrape. Each person has subconsciously determined the maximum loading of every brand of chip and have a consistent goal of maxing that out every time. You can only break the chains of pet-dom if another prop bet is hit and you can hand over the collar, so try and space them out.

Give it a whirl, experiment with different collars, take pics. And treat your pets with respect. Keep the doggie bowl filled with imported beer, and praise him when he’s been a good boy. Gooooooo………. Not-Patriots!!!

Continue reading SPORTS! – February

Every Win Counts

2016-01-16 19.46.37The best of both worlds: they say you don’t get to have your cake and eat it, too. But sometimes, rarely (or in this case, four times an NBA season), I get to do both. And very rarely, yet appropriately, does it happen on my birthday. Well, that’s exactly what happened on January 16th, when I turned twenty-nine while attending my first game at the Staples Center with my good friend, Kevin Hayes, watching our Sacramento Kings play my LA Clippers.

Now, I admit I’m a Clippers (Blake Griffin) fan, but with my friend visiting and Blake being injured, it felt right to join Kev in Kings colors. With my favorite teams competing head-to head, I’m usually happy no matter the outcome, but this season is huge for the Kings. With the addition of Rajon Rondo, Marco Bellinelli and Willie Cauley-Stein, plus outstanding performances by Omri Casspi, and the league’s best big, Demarcus Cousins, the Kings have a shot at the 8th seed for our first playoff appearance in ten years (yeah, that’s cause to celebrate!) Granted, it means besting either Portland or Houston (which will be tough), but if the Warriors’ rise has taught us anything it’s that you have to believe. For playoff consideration, every Kings win counts. Continue reading Every Win Counts

SPORTS! – January 2016

Comics, film, and music are all good and fun, but few things make us excessively fist-pump, scream obscenities at our inanimate television sets, or give us as much blinding pride as our favorite sports teams. These monthly editions of SPORTS! will give quick, digestible downloads of what is going on in the world of sports. Here we will cover the goings on in four major professional leagues: the NFL, MLB, NBA, and BPL. 

nflNational Football League
– MH

As a diehard Sacramento Kings fan, I’ve personally gone through just about all stages of grief as they pertain to relocating a professional sports team. Luckily for me and the rest of the Kings fanbase, the team was saved at the last minute by new investors willing to keep the team in Sacramento. It was one of the hardest times as a sports fan I’ve ever experienced, having been convinced multiple times the team I grew up cheering for would be moving to Seattle. That’s why I’ve been feel a sharp tinge of pain recently for the good people of St.Louis, MO who just recently had their Rams football team relocate to Los Angeles. And it’s not just the Rams. On Tuesday, the NFL voted 30-2 to relocate both the Rams AND the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles. The two teams are expected to share a new stadium in Inglewood which is expected to be completed in 2019 and where the two teams will play in the interim has yet to be decided. The point of contention here is that Rams owner Stan Kroenke really did nothing to work with the city of St.Louis to keep the team there and his extremely public disdain for the city and the team’s fanbase has greatly infected the relocation story.

In more light-hearted yet no less disturbing news, throughout the 2015-2016 season, there have been a bevy of videos from various Buffalo Bills fans documenting the absurd goings-on at Bills tailgates. There are so many videos in fact, that sports news site Deadspin has a dedicated archive file for these stories called “Billspin.” It is extremely hilarious and extremely NSFW. If you’re ever planning on attending a Buffalo Bills game in the future, you’ve officially been warned.

Continue reading SPORTS! – January 2016

Melky Cabrera – A Fan’s Take

Prior to Wednesday’s news, I had spent the better part of two months admitting to anyone and everyone that I was wrong about Melky Cabrera. Coming into the 2012 season, I was far more ready to embrace Angel Pagan and an everyday Nate Schierholtz than a guy whose last tour of the National League was an abysmal turn with the Braves in 2010. Then came the hits, and the Melkmen, and the hits, and All-Star Game, and the team records, the hits and the Pennant Race.

When I heard the news, I skipped right over shock and depression and barreled directly into rage. In small part for making me feel like an idiot: I had been apologizing for my preseason Melky doubts almost as much as I was demanding Brandon Belt playing time. Most of the rage, however, stems from the fact that, as a Giants fan, I felt that our community had finally worked its way free from the specter of the steroids era. The 2010 World Series team erased past postseason failures along with past performance-enhancing scandals. The 756 plaque in right-center field is about as subdued as it gets for an organization that typically loves to throw a party.

I’ve heard the experts speak for years about how the guidelines and repercussions may not be strict enough. I saw last year’s NL MVP Ryan Braun become the first to successfully overturn a fifty-game suspension. Earlier this season we lost Mota to a second offense. I understand that PED abuse hasn’t gone away. But when it happens to the Giants, when it happens to a guy at the center of a playoff-caliber team, I knew we would have to deal with people like this guy who thinks that the Giants should forfeit position in the standings.

And this is where the real rage comes from.

Yes, Melky won the All Star Game MVP, and it’s an embarrassing image, now, to see him hoisting that trophy. But it wasn’t Melky, but a triple off the bat of another Giant, Pablo Sandoval, that broke the game open. And it wasn’t Melky, but Matt Cain, who stifled the bats of that vaunted AL lineup. And it isn’t Melky, but Buster Posey, the hottest hitter in the game since the All Star break, who is at the center of our pennant hopes down the stretch.

The East Coast Bias is a real thing, ladies and gentlemen, and these caustic reactions demanding All Star Game reversals and team penalties are further proof. Maybe Ryan Braun just had a better lawyer. Or he makes a better poster boy for American baseball. He won the MVP, beating out a more deserving (as much as I hate to admit it) west coast player, and somehow dodged a deluge of bad press. A notable new Giant gets caught, and writers want to invoke Serie A rules and send the entire squad to triple-A.

The most notable example of the aforementioned writer’s ignorance is when he suggests that the Giants’ pursuit of Hunter Pence could have been driven by the fact that the front office knew that Melky was taking testosterone and were arming themselves in case of a suspension. First of all, why would an organization that has made such strides to emerge from the Game of Shadows go right back to the thinnest ice on the pond?

Secondly, if you’re going to write on baseball, pay attention to baseball. All of it. Even the teams that start games when Ohioans are putting on their pajamas. The Giants pursued Hunter Pence last year before Melky was even an offseason possibility. Coming into this season, there was nothing solid about the Giants’ outfield, and it had remained a key point of trade pursuit since April. Did you really think Pagan, Blanco, and Schierholtz were foregone conclusions? Do you read any west coast press? What about statistics: other than Cabrera, which Giants outfielders were doing so well that trading for Pence seemed superfluous? Ever look at the standings, or what other west coast teams are doing in a pennant race? The Dodgers had just traded for Hanley Ramirez, and were rumored to be in the market for Pence before settling for Victorino. To think that these were not the primary factors in the deadline deal that brought Pence to the Bay is asinine.

I get it: guys like this get paid to piss people off. He even designates a section on his blog called “Hate Mail” to archive irate responses from readers (most of whom, I’ll admit, sound like morons). He stimulates discussion with controversy. And just to be sure he’s not simply trying to make a reasoned argument, but would rather have internet commentators react with frothing mouths, he serves up a statement like, Giants: “Steroid Central.” Disregard the fact that, since 2005, when MLB’s new policies on PED suspensions kicked in, the Rays, Mariners, and Mets have all had as many 50-game suspensions as the Giants (a whopping three apiece). Forget the Braun debacle. Ignore Clemens, Sosa, Giambi, and Palmeiro, and all the other high-profile Mitchell Report targets. I wonder if this, or any other writer with a similar agenda, has even been to AT&T Park and witnessed a crowd of fans in love with their team, savvy about baseball, and now, collectively disappointed and enraged by Melky Cabrera. Steroid Central? How dare you.

It’s always been tough being a Giants fan. It was tough on me as a kid when the A’s were the dominant team in the Bay Area. In the 90’s when we never cleared that playoff hump. During the Bonds era where everything was shrouded in suspicion and 2002 when it felt like we were the villains defeated in a Hollywood ending. Hard still in the internet era when more and more Californians ignore geography and history and adopt “favorite” teams all around the country; in 2010 we were the underdog cinematic heroes, but it hurt me a little to see so many locals buy into the east coast media promises of Phillies or Rangers dominance.

Damn you, Melky Cabrera, for making it hard all over again.

But it won’t make me stop loving this team, loving September baseball, or defending this town and its fanbase as the best in baseball. Now, let’s take care of the Padres this weekend. East coast writers, continue to glance over boxscores in the morning. We have no need of you.

The Most Perfect of Wednesdays

128 years of Giants baseball, and it hadn’t ever happened. Until tonight.

In more than a century of Major League Baseball, more than 300,000 starting pitchers have taken the mound. Only 21 had ever pitched a perfect game. Until tonight.

On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, Matt Cain became the 22nd player in MLB history to record a perfect game.

When the ball left Chris Snyder’s bat in the top of the 6th, the bar where I was watching the game let out a collective groan. That turned into a rolling cheer when Melky Cabrera leaped to catch the ball at the wall.

An inning later Jordan Schafer laced one to right-center that looked ticketed for a double. Gregor Blanco made the greatest catch of his career. And everyone in the bar remained on his or her feet until that final out.

I love Matt Cain. I love this team. Go Giants.