Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hola from Los Angeles!

That means "The Angels" in Spanish.  You're welcome.  I've written from LA many, many, many times and I got to say, it's still a weird place.  The people all wear weird hats and everyone has sunglasses and fancy shoes and their clothes look weird.  The hotel bar has like, The Big Bang Theory on instead of the Monday Night Football game, most of the cars cost more than my house, and there's more movie billboards than you could shake a stick at and they're all bigger than my house.  Then when I first got here we went for a light breakfast and I ordered two eggs (over easy) and bacon (NOT extra crispy) and when they brought it out they brought it out with a ramekin of ketchup.  Ketchup.  Why on earth would I need ketchup for that meal?  It's probably some proto-hipster thing that is just on the coast right now and will make its way to the midwest in a year or two.  Weird place, but not in that charming way Portland is weird.

-  I'm not sure how long I'll be with you tonight, it's been a long day.  I had to get up at 5am to head to the airport, followed by a 3.5 hour flight into LAX.  Got to the hotel at 10 (12 your time) and of course my room wasn't ready, which I expected, but they said they'd rush it so I could get in the room before I had to head over to the HQ for meetings because I'm a high roller like that.  After my breakfast which should have been ketchup free I got up to the room for an entire 15 minutes.  Then came 4 hours of meetings.  We did get a 2 hour break after that but I used a good chunk of it walking to the grocery store to get booze for the room (actually grabbed a bottle of wine to go with the beer because I'm classy that way) which was about 6 blocks away in 95 degree heat (and what the fuck LA?  You're supposed to be good for three things:  making movies and tv shows, awesome sushi, and being 80 degrees everyday).

Then came dinner at Pink Taco which was fabulous.  Endless pitchers of margaritas, family style food consisting of some weird avocado salad, some kind of excellent chicken skewers, corn tamales, cheese quesadillas, pork burritos, carne asada tacos, churros, and topped off with a shot of some very good tequila.  I'm still not sure why I did that shot but whatevs.  Also pretty solid cleavage on the waitress.  All in all an A+ meal.  So anyway it's 9:18 out here which means it's 11:18 back there which means I'm sitting at about an 18 hour day right now.  I'll try to cram in a bit more, but only because I love you.

-  College basketball magazines are starting to come out, and of course I didn't wait for the good one (Athlon) or the decent one (Lindy's) but instead grabbed the first one that was available from the Sporting News.  Big mistake.  First thing I did was flip to the Gophers, and what do I find:

And it just gets worse.  Well actually not worse because that's impossible but just bad.  The team previews are terribly written and don't go into any kind of depth.  Then they have this thing where they give you the "difference maker" for each team which is a good idea, but then they name the team's best player nearly every time.  Sure, sometimes it makes sense as Andre Hollins (Austin's bro) and Branden Dawson for MSU are probably their team's best player and both probably will make a huge difference to their team's success depending on how they play.

But for Penn State they have D.J. Newbill.  For Nebraksa is Terran Petteway.  Indiana is Yogi Ferrell.  I mean, you pretty much know what you're going to get here.  The difference maker should be somebody like Ross Travis for PSU (if he can learn to give them another scorer), Tai Webster for Nebraska (they need someone to become a good point guard to make another leap forward), and basically anyone else for Indiana since Ferrell is the only known quantity.  Seriously this probably is really whiny but it just feels like they made no real effort.  And before you say anything I'm allowed to make very little effort since I'm just a poor crappy blogger living in his mom's basement.

-  Also, and I know this kills you since I've called the college basketball champ both of the last two years, but I don't have a call yet.  I was all over the SMU train, and loaded up on them at 33-1 to win the whole thing, and then that son of a bitch Emmanuel Mudiay decides to go play over seas.  What a jerk.  SMU was set up perfectly:  tons of returning talent from a good but not great team, good experience, returning starters in the front and back court, and getting a big time scorer transfer in Justin Martin.  With Mudiay they were getting that big time talent who could put them over the top and carry the team when needed.  But now he's gone and SMU is just another team hoping to make the Sweet 16.

-  I know you've all been waiting to hear what I have to say about the whole Adrian Peterson situation.  Here it is:  just kidding.  Seriously I didn't start this blog a million years ago to talk about icky things that are actually controversial and you have to have real feelings about.  I started it to talk about who sucks and who is awesome.  So that's what I'm going to do instead.

The one guy who has really popped for me this NFL season so far is Le'Veon Bell.  There is no doubt in my mind he's the next great running back in the league.  He's like a new version of LeSean McCoy.  He's got that same elusiveness and quickness with the ball, good speed, and can catch which makes him that much better.  If you're in a fantasy keeper league, go get him.  Do it now.

Also awesome is Gio Bernard (just a step below Bell), Darren Sproles (just thriving in that role), Frank Gore (does this guy ever age?), Carlos Hyde (just biding his time), Matt Ryan (he's back), Philip Rivers (just keeps humming along), Derek Carr (going to be a good one), Calvin Johnson (duh), Dez Bryant (also duh), Andrew Hawkins (haven't actually seen him since he's on the Browns but I hear good things), Brandon Marshall (still unstoppable), Steve Smith (Flacco has complete radar lock), Markus Wheaton (could be a star in a year or two), and Julian Edelman (he's boring, but he's being Wes Welker and doing it quite well).

The people who suck are Matt Cassell (duh, #freeteddy), Brian Quick (no, he's not a thing), James Jones (just no), DeAndre Hopkins (if Andre Johnson would just stop we could see what we have here), all Tennessee WRs (who knows who is good there from week to week?), Dwayne Bowe (it's over), all New York Giants (that offense is so gross), DeMarco Murray (hot start won't last), Chris Ivory (no idea how he has so many yards), Zac Stacy (going to lose that job by week 8), Bernard Pierce (what a terrible back-up plan), Bishop Sankey (when you can't beat out an old Shonn Greene oof), Steven Jackson (just waiting for one of those two donkeys to grab the reins), Tony Romo (should be better for the 20th year in a row), Ryan Tannehill (perhaps that leap isn't coming), Josh McCown (if you didn't see this coming you're stupid), and Jason Witten (is he suddenly too old?)

-  So how about that Big Ten football?  Oof.  If you're the kind of person who follows college football you already know this, but it's been a brutal year for the Big Ten football player guys.  Just this weekend alone Maryland lost to West Virginia, Indiana lost to Bowling Green, Iowa lost to Iowa State, your Gophers got rolled by TCU in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the 23-point margin, and Illinois got crushed by Washington.  The week prior Purdue got beat by Central Michigan, Northwestern was dropped by Northern Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State were non-competitive against Notre Dame and Oregon, and Ohio State got dropped by Virginia Tech.  I'm not a big college football guy, but I know the Big Ten has a terrible reputation in relation to the other major conferences lately, and this ain't helping.

-  I was going to do that fun thing where I look at the NBDL draft this year and laugh at who all got drafted, but it turns out the draft hasn't happened yet.  So instead I looked back and the 2013 draft and I think it's getting worse or something because I've barely heard of any of these guys and I pay way too much attention to college basketball.  Out of the 17 first round picks (what kind of league has 17 teams?) I could only tell you about 8 of the guys without cheating - James Johnson (wake), Quincy Douby (rutgers but hasn't he been out of school for like 5 years? What are the rules of this draft?), Pierre Jackson (baylor), C.J. Aiken (st joe), DeAndre Liggins (kentucky), William Buford (osu), Bo Spencer (nebraska), and Dario Hunt (nevada, not as good as his name sounds).  The second round is even worse.  Ryan Evans (wisconsin) got drafted (not joking), plus two guys with busted knees (Reggie Jackson, miami and Abdul Gaddy, washington who should have been the next circus ball captain), and a guy who couldn't crack the lineup at Arizona in four years (Kevin Parrom) plus a whole mess of guys I've never heard of.

I swear this thing used to be more fun and full of guys where you'd say "yeah, I could see him cracking an NBA rotation."  Now it's a bunch of guys I've barely heard of with no shot and guys like Salim Stoudamire and Ricky Davis (yes that Ricky Davis) are getting drafted and yes I'm serious.  And suddenly it goes from 17 picks per round to 8 picks in the 7th and then 4 picks in the 8th.  This draft makes as much sense as ketchup with eggs and bacon and it's making me cranky and tired.  I'm leaving.

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