Tag Archives: sports

A Salute to the Olympics, An Ode to Sports Movies

The 2016 Olympics kick off today in Brazil, and in true Idle Time form, we’re commemorating this epic contest of nations with a list of some of our favorite sports movies.

Our collective is delighted to have long-time friend and impeccable lifestyle blogger, Christine Amorose, collaborate on this particular list, as she has the most genuine love of sports movies of anyone I know. Before settling down to watch the opening ceremonies tonight, get a dose of locker room inspiration reminiscing over these classic sport tales!

C’est ChristineConfession: I love sports movies. Just love them. Give me a story with an underdog who overcomes adversity and comes out on top (wins state, brings home the gold, total knockout in the 11th round!) and I am hooked. The thing about sports movies is that they’re always feel-good stories. They give you something to root for: a person,a team, a town, a country.

I grew up playing sports and watching sports. To me, sports are mostly about community: playing on a team binds you to your teammates and cheering for a team instantly turns strangers into friends. Sports movies manage to bottle up this feeling and turn you into a fan, to make you part of the community who’s behind the protagonist.

Continue reading A Salute to the Olympics, An Ode to Sports Movies

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?

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.

Giants Spring Training 2012

This is my favorite time of year. Camp opens; batters get stiff backs and pitchers are throwing balls over the backstop. College teams cough up twenty-five runs to assemblages of similarly anonymous minor league pros. Comcast cameras swinging around Scottsdale invariably pick up footage of J.T. Snow everywhere because the man is everywhere and he’s either grinning ear-to-ear, or smiling right around his face. I love Spring Training.

Last year this time I was able to write up my Top 5 Postseason Moments from 2010. I was still riding the high from the championship season and was far more interested in looking back and reliving Orange October than looking forward to the new campaign. This year, however, I’ve been plenty pensive about what needs to sort out in the desert before the season opens on April 6. Here’s where my head is during Cactus League play, in ceremonious Top 5 fashion. Continue reading Giants Spring Training 2012

Bad Sports Fans, Shut Up.

I’m getting a little tired of dealing with this. I’ve been analyzing the phenomenon for years now, and have blamed everything from Jim Rome to the internet to fantasy sports (discovery: they’re all partly to blame). But, my friends, it’s time to be more vocal about it: stop tolerating bad sports fans. Facebook is full of them. You know who I’m talking about. The know-it-all ESPN addict who changes his profile picture to a Saints logo hours before the divisional playoff game (and then swiftly changes it back to his grinning mug seconds after The Catch III). The sorority girl whose first sports-related status update in years is “let’s go Packers!!!!!!” (with additional exclamation points) but follows it up with zero admission of an end to her suddenly adopted sports season. The violently curse-laden sports expert who loves nothing better than telling you that your team is going to lose, but whose own allegiances seem to revolve weekly dependent on likelihood of success.

You see them all over the internet, where it’s easy to talk shit or feign expertise. You know where you won’t see them? In the real world, where fans gather to root for favorite teams, or in local stadiums where hometown pride actually means something. It seems to hinge very simply on the difference between who you think is going to win and who you want to win.

Let’s make this clear: there are two types of people for whom the think can take precedence over the want. The first is the professional (or habitual) gambler. This person needs to rely on whatever sports knowledge he or she has gleaned from watching and following sports. This, however, isn’t fandom. The gambler would be the first to admit it. That think  turns into a want solely because of a placed bet, and not because of any kind of genuine interest in the teams or players involved. Continue reading Bad Sports Fans, Shut Up.

Not So Fast, 2010

In his second installment of This Used To Be My Playground, Uncle Isey comments on the growing pains experienced by the segue period into each new decade.  2010, despite its efforts to kickstart a new era (what’ll we end up calling this? The teens?  The tens?) will undoubtedly still bear many distinctive connections to the aughts. And when not locked in this identity crisis, wavering in our future reflections as the Year Without a Decade, it’ll likely be referenced in the history books for things like a Haitian disaster, Icelandic volcano, and a Mexican Gulf tarring.

Being ever the optimist, however, I have quickly pulled together a list of things for which 2010 will be remembered quite fondly, at least in my mind.  My Top 5 2010 Highlights.

5. Epic Awesomeness at The Movies

There are certain years that bear rather immediate associations with some of my favorite films.  1977, 1994, and 1998, along with whatever else was going on at the time, will always make me think of Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, and Shakespeare in Love. This year we were treated to not one, but two future classics: Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

Comic books, video games, and rock n’ roll. The only thing that could have made Pilgrim more endearing to me personally would have been folding in baseball and staging it in Sweden. And as much as I enjoyed Bryan Lee O’Malley’s original comics, this film is truly a rare feat: a movie that might actually be better than the source material.

Continue reading Not So Fast, 2010