At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Cracks in Fort Schembechler
This week we got a couple of very short glimpses into the otherwise locked-down existence of Michigan football. Normally under the current regime, we don't hear or see much of anything between the end of Spring ball and the beginning of fall practice unless a player is hit by a meteor (i.e. "suffered some off-season setbacks"), gets arrested ("has some learning to do"), or gets frozen in carbonite ("has struggled to get in game shape"). So when you get six seconds of live-action footage, YOU TAKE IT.
Enter: Devin Gardner's Vine account.
THINGS WE LEARNED:
- Fitz still has two legs. Those legs can support the weight of a human being as that human being does various physical activities. MEDICAL SCIENCE: HOW DOES IT WORK?
- Fitz has some dance moves. I have no idea what kind of moves, mind you... but they are moves nonetheless.
- Jeremy Gallon hates shirts
- Gallon's cloaking device still works, and is so now effective that the coaches have insisted that he carry a bell around with him so he can't sneak up on people anymore.
THINGS WE LEARNED:
- If you hang around on State Street long enough, Blake Countess and Devin Gardner will entertain you.
- Countess can do a standing back-handspring back-tuck.
- When Countess does a standing back-handspring back-tuck, I try to spot him through the computer screen so he won’t get hurt.
- Most urgently, the only logical explanation for this video is that the surgeons must have botched Blake Countess's surgery. It's kinda like Rookie of the Year, except instead of gaining a wicked fastball, Countess has lost the ability to backpedal. The only way he can move backwards is through some combination of back handsprings and back tucks. And sure, that might work on short and intermediate routes, but what of the deep ball? Even if he gets back there, he'll be too dizzy to make a play on the ball. No, no, no, this is all wrong.
[Side note: Countess is not the first Michigan football player with some gymnastics skillz. Brandon Graham was once a guest judge for the UofM Women's Gymnastics team's intra-squad scrimmage, and as part of that event he put together a video of himself doing some legitimate tumbling. If anyone has this video, you are needed at the Youtube. Also, it confirms Bo's lesser-known mantra that Those Who Do Gymnastics Will Be Really Good Defensive Players]
[ED: Ace has located additional backflip footage of Kenny Demens and Brandon Graham from Mock Rock 2009, starting at 2:00
Sparty Gonna No.
A list of things that people believe will make them more successful than a football scholarship to Michigan State University:
1. A football scholarship to the University of Michigan (obvs)
2. A football scholarship to Northwestern University
3. A music career with dese skillz:
(Heads up: video contains explicit lyrics and imagery, and really bad rap):
Mark Hollis did say yesterday that they're trying to make the Big Ten more hip, but then MSU admitted they dropped him weeks ago when the first blunt hit the YouTubes. Which is probably correct but doesn't make MSU's receiver recruiting any less hilarious.
Some Stuff the Other People Already Posted
I post once per week, and Brian posts daily, so sometimes he gets to the good stuff first. Now, I could put in the effort to go find other stuff. But I am exceedingly lazy, so we’ll all just pretend that he didn’t already post this stuff, and we will laugh at it anew. Good? Good.
With this week’s announcement of Marvin Robinson’s transfer, Michigan lost the quintessential OMG Shirtless player. M-Rob was the patriarch of the movement [Tyrece Butler is its godfather], and his loss will be deeply felt. But when Angry Michigan OMG Shirtless Hating God closes a door, He opens a window into some crazy stuff. Behold what AMOMGSHG has given us:
Maybe this is a response to the Abercrombie and Fitch CEO saying he didn’t want… uh… larger people wearing their clothing. Maybe they just honestly forgot to wear shirts that day. But I like to think that they were assuring the apprehensive Michigan faithful that the shirtless tradition would continue, albeit in a much more MANBALL fashion.
This also has the makings of a great ‘positive self-image’ campaign:
It doesn’t matter if you’re a little pasty white. Or if you’re carrying a few extra pounds around the midsection. Or if you don’t have what would be considered a “neck” by traditional standards. Or if you make questionable fashion and facial hair choices. As long as you can pancake a sumbitch or two, you are beautiful.
[One side note: Brian referred to this incident as “AmBearcrombie and Bearfitch.” I humbly submit “ManBearCrombie” as an alternate nickname. ]
Elsewhere in wonderfully poachable Twitter-related news, Greg Mattison sat in a truck.
[After the jump]
Ouch. My Retinae.
You probably heard that Jason Collins came out of the closet on Monday, making him the first active athlete in one of the four major sports to do so. And as you would expect, the announcement sparked a mix of debate, encouragement, and less-than-flattering comments from all corners of the sports world.
Fortunately, after several hours of often heated discussion, the sporting world was brought back together in unison. Gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, black, white, hispanic, Asian, Native American, and any Panera you-pick-two of the above, we all spoke loudly in one voice that NO NO NO DO NOT WANT:
I’m not a smart man, and my knowledge of genetics, sociology, and biology are woefully inadequate. Debates about the origins of sexual orientation are best left to people wiser than I. But I know this: the words “Tim Brando Sex Tape” are not going to do anything for Team Heterosexuality. Every time someone tries to play the “the gays are ruining everything” card, someone will throw in a copy of Brando Does the SEC, and the conversation ends with everyone rubbing guacamole in his or her eyes to dull the pain.
Oh, but it gets worse. Dick Vitale, probably inspired by Brando’s positive body self-image, jumped in with HIS two cents about interpersonal relations vis a vis Martha Stewart. And I ain’t sayin’ he’s a gold-digger… but he ain’t messin’ with no broke domestic solutions specialists.
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) May 1, 2013
“Oh yeah. That’s awesome baby…”
It could be worse, though. I know of at least one announcer who has lots of time on his hands these days, and may be looking for a new project:
And then Marv Albert gets involved, and then the very fabric of society tears asunder as the masses try desperately to flee. Do you see what you’ve done, Jason Collins?
BONUS: Early Jose Canseco Update
Just when you thought this whole cluster had reached its merciful conclusion, things jumped the crazy shark, which in this case might be a euphemism for some sort of random and terrifying sex act:
I don’t know if he’s serious. And neither do you. But let’s agree to NO ONE CALL HIS BLUFF.
The NCAA announced yesterday that colleges are no longer allowed to paint hashtags on the field. This is obviously a watershed moment in college sports, and one that will lead inexorably to the resolution of all the other minor problems facing college athletics like amateurism and concussions and whatnot. Asked to explain the hashtag ban, national coordinator for college football officials Rogers Redding explained that it was all about integrity:
"If they have stuff on the sidelines, or on the walls that go around the stadium, it's OK," Redding said. "The idea is just to preserve the integrity of the field and not open it up to other kinds of advertising."
Yep. You read that.
The integrity of the field.
This was said with a straight face.
Hashtags would ruin these pristine natural playing surfaces, man. As a Michigan fan, I’m totally cool with never seeing a hashtag on a field again. But why the NCAA thinks this needs to be a rule is beyond me. I mean, have you SEEN some of the football and basketball uniforms Adidas and Nike have trotted out in the last couple of years? And you think a pound sign is going to make a difference?
Also, because of some confusion, the NCAA felt the need to clarify that they are not banning the existence of hashtags as a metaphysical matter:
So good news, Twitter users. You can continue to use hashtags without the NCAA busting in, urinating on your laptop and/or smartphone, and issuing you a Notice of Allegations. But you get the feeling that they considered banning hashtags (along with gifs, blogs, and NCAA related water cooler conversation), but decided against it. They are, after all, benevolent overlords.
Not Sure if Serious, or if Terrible Evaluator of Talent
Every year when the draft winds down, fans hold onto hope that their favorite college player will be plucked in the last few picks. Some go so far as to tweet NFL teams asking them to take their favorite players, as if real teams actually use the “show of hands” method of drafting.* I suppose it’s a harmless thing to do; it’s like the audience at the Price is Right shouting that they think the Cream of Wheat is more expensive than the Ziploc bags. They’re probably wrong, but damnit that’s half the fun of being in the audience.
But when some random guy suggested that the Colts draft Robert Marve as Mr. Irrelevant last week, the Colts shouted back that, Cream of Wheat? Are you stupid or something?
It’s rare, and somewhat refreshing, to see a team react this honestly to a fan. The easiest thing in the world would have been to either ignore it, or to respond with a non-committal “we’ll see what happens, so stay tuned.” But instead, we got “Robert Marve? Seriously? The guy who has torn his ACL like twelve times? Seriously? I mean, his numbers aren’t terrible… but have you watched him play football? You want us to intentionally choose him for our professional football franchise? Hell, no one wanted Tyler Bray or Collin Klein or Matt Scott, and those guys are 50 times less terrible than Robert Marve.”
Or at least they would have said that. Damn 140 character limit.
*Some have suggested the Raiders draft by show of hands, but they technically use a Modified Show-of-Hands/Blindfolded-Lemur-Throwing-Darts-at-a-Draft-Board system. So it’s not quite the same thing.
Who is Canada’s Version of Barbara Streisand?
If you’ve ever been on the Internet (and if you’re reading this, that’s you), you’ve been accused of something horrific by an anonymous commenter on some random message board. The same goes if you have ever done anything that was discussed on the internet. In fact, if you have ever done anything that involved things and/or stuff, you have been accused of being somewhere on the spectrum of pickpocket to Serbian war criminal. I’ve personally been accused of a string of penguin molestations for which I TOTALLY HAVE AN ALIBI. But we all know two things about these rumors when we see them: that these rumors are almost certainly false (especially those that are penguin-related), and that the targets have absolutely no recourse.
Recently fired Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, however, cares not for your rules. He is suing eighteen anonymous internet message board users for defamation. Among the named defendants are “poonerman,” “sir psycho sexy,” “KaBoomin8,” “Loob,” and “mowerman.” Burke is alleging that these guys and gals (but guys, because we’re talking Canadian hockey message board users here) spread rumors that he was fired by the Leafs because he fathered a child out of wedlock. His motivation here is pretty straight-forward:
“That’s kind of the point,” [Burke’s attorney Peter] Gall told the Star. “A lot of people think that they can with impunity say whatever outrageous things on the Internet and nobody’s ever going to be able to find them or hold them accountable. Brian is going to hold them accountable.”
Brian Burke is going to police the internet for us. Pack it up, mods, there’s a 57-year-old former hockey exec on the job.
I’m not well-versed in Canadian libel law, but this seems to me to be a ridiculous suit. For one thing, he’s gotta demonstrate damages, which he probably can’t do because he was fired BEFORE this stuff went public. In other words, he has to prove that some people out there would be like, “well, I didn’t think this guy was fired for fathering an illegitimate child, but now that LOOB has said so, I totally believe it.” He also wants an injunction prohibiting the defendants from making further defamatory statements, which… good luck with that.
The bigger problem, though, is that Brian Burke has obviously never heard of the Streisand Effect, whereby the act of trying to squash things that happen on the internet typically make them a much bigger deal than they otherwise would have been. Before the suit, this was confined to a series of 18 posts on a Wordpress blog. And now?
I’ll give you three guesses at the rumored name of the alleged mother of Burke’s love-child. Way to put the kibosh on those rumors, champ.
Additional Sloopy Sighting
A friend of mine texted me this picture from West Michigan yesterday:
Someone must know this confused soul. Find him. I wish to interview him. I know there is much we can learn from each other, if we can negotiate a truce. Can there be a peace between us?
Regularly Scheduled Canseco Update
Maybe he can parlay the Brando fame into an invite to the White House. We’ve got our fingers crossed for you, man.
PSA: For those of you who didn’t kickstart the Basketball/Hockey HTTV because you didn’t want an ebook, this is your friendly reminder that the magic number has been reached. The print version of the publication will be a thing. There is still time to adjust your Kickstarter to pre-purchase a copy, which will be delivered to your place of residence. CONSUME.
This is Getting Ridiculous. Or Awesome. I Can’t Tell.
On the heels of the You’re A Baller phenomenon, things in the recruiting world just keep getting weirder. Take Florida for example. SB Nation has a rundown of some of the more… interesting? yeah, let’s go with interesting… recruiting-related photoshopped pictures they have shared on social media in recent weeks. Among my favorites:
Gatorade may have been slightly less successful had it been originally marketed as Gator Grind Juice
I’ve never seen Harry Potter, so I can’t make a proper joke
Harry Potter? Your best argument is literally “come to Florida because an imaginary guy at in imaginary school was good at an imaginary sport.” [Ed-S: This begs the question: what else can be made cool by adding a halo-Harry Potter to it?]
In fact, based on recent trends, I think I know who the perfect creator of recruiting materials would be: me, at six years old, narrating a battle between my toys:
If you’re a recruit, TELL ME you wouldn’t be all over this letter.
And If You Don't Like It You Can GET OUT
The NFL draft kicks off this Thursday evening, and a very small battle is brewing. Over the last couple of years, a combination of ESPN’s coverage and social media have let the air out of the balloon of drama with a distinct flatulent noise. For the last few drafts, we knew whose name Roger Goodell would call before he called it, because (a) ESPN had a live shot of Large Guy in an awesome suit with a terrible tie talking on a cell phone, (b) Chris Berman would start dropping terrible puns involving Large Guy, and (c) everyone in the NFL Twitterverse would dutifully report LARGE GUY TO ________________. A minute or two later, Goodell wandered up to the stage and announced to the couple of hundred remaining people in the world who DIDN’T know: the people at Radio City Music Hall who didn’t have smart phones.
Wait for it…
This year, ESPN and the NFL Network have announced that they will try to bring some drama back to the proceedings by not tipping off any picks before they are announced. From ESPN’s perspective, that’s probably a smart move, because by tipping their hand they were essentially scooping themselves. The same, however, cannot be said for outside forces, such as CBS’s Jason La Canfora, who has announced that whateva, whateva, I do what I want:
I will be trying to get the information out as quickly and accurately as possible. What event is made more for Twitter than the NFL draft? If the teams have the information; if the guys in the production truck have the information; if the commissioner has the information; why wouldn’t passionate football fans want it as well?
His proposed solution? If you don’t want the information, don’t follow him on Twitter. In fact, just stay off Twitter altogether. Others have echoed this idea:
I’m not sure about this one. On the one hand, I get it. Being a reporter means reporting what you get. These guys’ job descriptions don’t include “maintain dramatic tension.” They report what they know when they know it. And some people may not want an advanced peek, but some probably DO, and people who don’t can just not look. On the other hand, you can’t just say, “unfollow me and you’ll be fine.” That’s not how it works. If it was, Mike Valenti wouldn’t show up on my feed every day. If even ONE person I follow decides to retweet you, that’s the ballgame.
Here’s the question, though: is “you can always stay off Twitter” a legitimate defense? Can you put an entire social media platform essentially off-limits to people who want to use it? After all, there are a number of people (myself included) who would like to both watch the draft and simultaneously read the little factoids and nuggets of info that the internet provides. Besides, you aren’t “breaking stories” here. Your ‘insider info’ is going to become public in like 60 seconds. It’s like if you were watching a game, and you were one of like a dozen people in the world who wasn’t on a 30-second delay.
What say you?
Don’t Strain Yourselves, Fellas
The much-ballyhooed college football playoff enters existence in a couple of years, and we are all SO excited. Instead of only TWO teams competing for a national title, we now get FOUR teams. That’s twice as many teams! 100% more teams! BIG SUCCESS! Of course it’s gonna take until 2015 to roll out, but whatever.
This week, though they held the big roll-out of the shiny new name. And of course they named the college football playoff the College Football Playoff. It reminds me of when the Big Ten Was all, “HEY, CHECK OUT THE NEW LOGO” and this was the new logo:
And sure, it took them months to roll out a name that was just a description of the, but it’s not easy to choose a logo. Wait, what’s that you say? They didn’t pick? They’re crowdsourcing it? Let’s see what our options are:
Yippee, amirite? On the bright side, though, I think they may have found an exception to the “don’t let people vote on things via social media unless you want Texas A&M to win by billions” rule. That exception is that you can let people vote on things about which no one anywhere gives the slightest crap. It also helps if their options for the thing about which they don’t give the slightest crap are all terrible. Who is going to hack this one so that the gazelle horn logo wins? No one is sending bots out in support of any of these. [Ed-S: WRONG! Vote Golden Vagina!!] [ED-BiSB: On second viewing, and after consulting six-year-old me from earlier in this article, Seth is correct. ]
They also have a countdown clock that is currently at 615 days. Just thought I’d mention that.
I Do Not Think This Says What You Think It Says
After last week’s odd Sparty Sloopy license plate, eagle-eyed reader @dcesiel sent me this picture of an ill-conceived combination of a Sparty plate and a Sparty phrase:
[He also pointed out that he took this picture about an hour before kickoff for the Nebraska game in a lot that was pretty close to Spartan Stadium. We aren’t the only ones struggling with home attendance apparently, though I’m not sure that’s the yardstick by which we need to be measuring things.]
Weekly Jose Canseco Updateupdate
Jose is back at the easel. All is right with the world.
The difference between a dragon and a dragondragon? The Adidas stripes on the dragondragon’s neck.
I apologize in advance, but I’m not feeling very funny this week. Some weeks the world just feels really heavy, and it’s tough to pick yourself up, let alone to be amusing for others. Some weeks you just want to sit very still, as if the bad things of the world will quietly move along. You can only hear so much about bombings and fertilizer factory explosions and ricin and shootouts and sinkholes and flooding before you want to just shut the world out just so you don’t have to deal with it anymore.
Martin Richard was 8 years old. Come on. If that alone doesn’t put a damper on your Universe, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Since Monday’s horrors, people have tried to articulate what, other than the obvious, made Boston affect us on such a deep and personal level. In my mind, it is because this tragedy invaded something we foolishly believed to be beyond the reach of such evil. Sports often serve as a welcome escape from the “real world” with all its highs and lows. We prefer the fiction we create that our favorite teams and pursuits are really life-and-death matters. We feel like at the end of the day, there is a floor to how much we can lose. I love Michigan sports, but no matter how devastating a loss might seem (PITCH THE BALL TO STEVE BREASTON), I know that at the end of the day my child is healthy, I have a home and a job, and my dogs will still be happy to see me. We have a presumption of the ‘worst thing that can happen’ in the athletic arena.
So when the “real world” seeps into our cozy little athletic realm, it strikes a special chord with sports fans. I think the reason people reacted so viscerally to Kevin Ware’s injury wasn’t because it was such a devastating long-term injury (he’ll be back playing by next season). It was because it was such a graphic injury that it reminded us that while we like to imagine our athletic world as a comfy bubble that separates us from the dangers of our everyday lives, that bubble is and has always been a fleeting figment of our imaginations.
The Boston Marathon bombings were terrible in so many ways, beyond the obvious horror, fear, death and devastation. This one struck close to home for many people because the Boston Marathon lies at the intersection of our sports world, our national psyche, and our own lives. They attacked a major sporting event. They attacked an iconic American event. And they reminded us all that there, but for the grace of God goes any of us. My wife is running a half-marathon in Indianapolis in a couple of weeks, and if you don’t think Boston will be on my mind, you’re crazy.
Boston itself will be fine. I mean…
Yeah. I’m not worried about Boston. I’m a little bit worried about us. I feel like as much as we need to face our problems, trying to do so every day gets to be too much. We need a few hours every week where our biggest worry is the ability to pick up that A-gap blitz. The horror of Boston reminds us that in the grand scheme of things sports really aren’t that important, but they also remind us why we need sports in the first place.
I guess what I’m saying is that after stuff like this, don’t judge people for jumping back into what they know. After all, there is no wrong way to cope.
Okay, strike what I said. THIS IS THE WRONG WAY TO COPE:
This was the afternoon of the bombing. He’s talking about a number of people who have lost limbs. Would it be nice if the Boston Marathon gave the victims an exemption to run the race? Sure. Would it be nice if they bought everyone a pony? Of course. But Jeebus, man.
On a related note, this may be my last Darren Rovell update. We had a disagreement over my assertion that his request that people tweet him pictures of the Boston bombing was (in the words I would have used had I known he was going to block me anyway) un-f*cking-believably opportunistic and voyeuristic and vulturific and dongish. He responded by deleting our conversation, and becoming the second person to block me. So if anything Rovell-related needs to be featured in this here column, someone let me know.
Worst Ace Ever
You know how I said Rovell was the second person (that I know of) to block me? I’m sure that you, as one who hates unresolved plot points, were saying to yourself, “I must know who the other one was.” Wonder no more. It was, of course, Ace Williams. You all undoubtedly remember Williams as the guy who broke the story that John Navarre was Keyser Soze, and that Michigan Basketball was secretly the Monstars in Space Jam. But I’ve got some bad news for everyone: Ace is no more.
This is what used to be Ace Williams’s feed. His history is Ace’s history. But alas, as is fitting of this Week in Which We Can’t Have Nice Things, this wealth of Michigan knowledge has departed for… something? The icing on the cake is that Ace’s old account, @ChatSportsACE, has already been taken over by a parody account (“Parody Ace Williams”).
Before he left, though, Ace fired off one last hilariously fabricated story (redacted above), the details of which will not be repeated here because it is hilariously fabricated. His “story” has also been parroted by his former employer’s Twitter account, which I will also not link because see above. But for those who are wondering, “BiSB, how can I tell if one of these stories is fake?” It can be hard to tell, but here’s a protip: no one tweets specifics about an “exclusive” story and then waits more than three days to publish the actual story. If you have a scoop, you don’t say, “hey, CBS Sports/ESPN/ABC Sports/Deadspin/MGoBlog, there’s a really awesome story out there. Here’s exactly where to look. I only hope you don’t publish your story before I finish writing mine four days from now.”
Fortunately, no one will ever, EVER mistake Ace Williams for Ace Anbender.
Never Saw THAT Coming
I’m sure you all remember Mike Rice, the disgraced former Rutgers coach who was fired because we’re all a bunch of wusses. Also because he whipped basketballs at players’ heads and called them f*ggots. But mostly the wuss thing. In any case, Mike Rice is back where he belongs: yelling at kids.
Sometimes in history a bold visionary will look at two things that don’t belong together, put them together, and become a genius. Sour cream and onion chips, for example, sound like a terrible idea, but are pretty tasty. Likewise, combining Mike Rice, coaching, and 12-year-old girls may SOUND like a terrible idea… yeah its actually an even worse idea than it would appear.
This came from @bryan_starke, and I can’t make much sense of it.
The disconcerting possibility is that the Spartans and Buckeyes are combining forces, but I don’t know. If anyone can explain this I will sleep much better.
Jose Canseco UpdaOMG OMG OMG
Oh. Oh my. Jose Canseco did a Reddit AMA. I REPEAT: Jose Canseco did a Reddit AMA.
WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE CLICK THE LINK: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1clw9o/i_am_jose_canseco_famed_steroid_user_and_former/
I’m sure by now you have all seen Brian’s startling admission from this weekend:
I know, right? But it gets even more disconcerting:
Welcome to the world of Lemme Tweet That For You, a site that allows anyone to spoof a tweet from the the Twitter user of his choice. And as you can tell, it looks pretty convincing. Apparently the site has been around for about a year, but has recently been rediscovered and has become a thing. It can’t send tweets to a user’s followers (in other words, I can’t make Heiko’s love of Twilight appear to his followers as if it came from him), but this could still cause plenty of problems for athletes. You can envision someone saying, “hey, check out this screenshot of this since-deleted tweet." And since people often delete their stupid tweets, it might seem plausible.
Or, for more advanced trolling, you can envision some fan saying to a particularly volatile college athlete, “hey, did you see what this dude tweeted about you?” The athlete then responds in kind, and before long the two are going at it, with each thinking the other started it. It’s basically the plot of The Sum of All Fears (the Tom Clancy novel, not the Ben Affleck movie that is okay as a standalone but completely ignores the entire Jack Ryan back-story).
Now all we need is a particularly volatile college athlete…
O HAI Marshall Henderson
I’m sure by now you’re all familiar with Marshall Henderson. He’s the Ole Miss junior who combines the shooting conscience of Allen Iverson, the people skills of Genghis Khan, and the personal aesthetic of Joe Dirt. He started out the NCAA tournament with a statement of questionable taste.
[after the jump]