Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why Always Mario?

Why I love Mario Balotelli:

An athlete that is always in the center of controversy, my beautiful Mario Balotelli, needs someone to defend him and I would love the challenge to do so.
Manny Ramirez, LeBron James, Mark Sanchez and MARIO BALOTELLI. All of these athletes are scrutinized, for good reason, but as I have defended LeBron I feel it is my duty to do the same for Mario. I have sat and watched Fox Soccer to no end (as background noise, physically viewing or just hoping to see the wrap up from the games on the weekend) and I have had to listen to their analyst do nothing but complain about Mario and his mannerisms. Sure, he does deserve some of the negative coverage, I mean it’s pretty inevitable when he kicks, slams and punches the pitch, but regardless doesn’t every soccer player do the same at some point?
The moment of Mario's career that will always stick in everyone's mind, soccer fan or not, is the "why always me" moment. Whether you are a soccer fan or not the video blew up after their 6-1 WIN OVER MANCHESTER UNITED. If you don't recall the video is below. After this super Mario truly hit the international scene, and with a bang. It has all snowballed since then with off field altercations with the law, woman and school children (funny story look it up so I'm not pinning him as a pedophile).
Mario possesses some of the greatest talent, in my naïve view, of any other soccer player in the world (except for Messi), especially at the age of 22. He has been playing professionally since he was 16-years old (signed with Inter Milan), you can see that he truly is a prodigy. I firmly believe his age has a lot to do with the mistakes he has made on and off the pitch, just like LeBron James when he made “The Decision.” Both of their mistakes got blown into massive proportions in large part because of their fame and standing in the sporting world. But, it’s those mistakes that make me love him more, because he isn’t afraid to take the brunt for “Mario, being Mario,” and just, smile. His mistake show that even “super heroes” are humans and in all seriousness, haven’t we all made mistakes at one point in our life? Hell, I did horribly freshman year of college but you didn’t see that in the news, I know totally different beasts, but you get the point.
I believe a fellow British City fan said it best regarding the Balotelli saga. He stated the media tries to make something out of nothing with Mario and City (but I’ll leave the City stuff alone, for now). No matter the action occurring in the game, if Balotelli is on the pitch the camera is constantly on him, for good reason he is such a handsome devil! When he is shown arguing with Mancini, refs or teammates, the broadcasters waste no time in assuming the worse, when this stuff happens all the time in sports, especially when you get taken off. Nolan Ryan would stare at the pitching coach when he came to take him out of the game, and he is a Hall of Famer.

They say a picture says 1000 words and nothing would better describe the moment in the 2012 Euro Cup competition when Balotelli, playing for the Italian international team, scored a pivotal goal against Germany. After scoring, Balotelli ran over to the crowd, where his adopted mother Silvia was sitting and gave her a big hug. In that moment, you could tell that deep inside, the controversial character, that Mario Balotelli was a softy.
Finally, I strongly believe that Balotelli, like many other athletes in his position are misunderstood. His actions may say differently because he is young and stupid. But, with Roberto Mancini as his father figure, I have faith that in a year or two he’ll have a LeBron like realization.
Why always him? Because without him we’d be stuck talking about Luis Suarez, and who wants to talk about that “ugly mug.”

Side note to this defense: I am currently in the midst of writing a letter of interest to Balotelli’s agent in regard to being Mario’s autobiography writer. Hell, it’s worth a shot right?

Friday, November 11, 2011

PSU scandal and how I feel

As I was angrily watching Sportscenter this morning, I realized “I should write a blog about how I feel about this whole Penn State scandal.” So, I’ve decided to dissect it in pieces! Here goes nothing:

Joe Pa

Let’s say (hypothetically, of course) he was still a great coach, many victories, won a national championship, and was still seen as a God on campus, BUT was 40 years younger. Would people still feel bad for him? NO WAY, especially judging by the lack of sympathy that was shown for Jim Tressel (and I am a huge OSU hater). Granted the situations are A LOT different, definitely even worse for Paterno. Why should I feel bad for him when all he did was tell the AD about what he was told by then, graduate assistant, Mike McQueary had told him, what he’d seen. Do more; I’ll say it again; do more, you should know better than that as a then 74 year old man. Don’t wait for someone else to do something, take matters in your own hands. Everyone should get over the fact that he is old and realize he still has responsibilities as a human being!

23-page indictment

So, as any curious person should do, I read the leaked 23-page grand jury indictment of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, and all I have to say is I am disgusted! Not only with him, but everyone who was involved, you all are all at fault here. If you feel bad for what has happened with Joe Paterno, your mind will change after reading this. I know that seems harsh because there was more than just him who knew about this, but he still should have done A LOT more than he did. But, again it is more than Paterno, all of the people who knew something, no matter how little they knew, should be ashamed of them selves for letting it just slip through the cracks and remain untouched for years.

Best analysis I’ve heard

Now, I usually don’t give radio show callers credit, but when I was watching “The Herd” on ESPN news this morning a person had a great analysis. He said, as a person who knew what Sandusky had done (McQueary, Paterno, AD, President, etc.) how could you look at the man and say, “Hey, how are you this morning?” or “Hey, good to see you!” That to me is despicable, I could never look at someone the same after knowing the vial things he had done.

ESPN, being ESPN

Back to my introduction. Watching ESPN last night I see the rundown say “Penn State healing.” YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Healing? From what losing their coach of 46 years? That’s not a loss that needs healing, legend or not, coaches are a dime a dozen these days and if they’re lucky they might be able to grab Urban Meyer. My friend said it the best “the students aren’t the one’s who need healing, it is the victims of these crimes that will need to heal.” Seeing that last night really got me going, obviously. Deaths are tragedies, firings are not, granted it is unfortunate, it is something people will look back on be like “really? We needed to heal from that?”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Notre Dame Fightless Irish

It’s early September and that means one thing, college football season is underway! To start out I would like to point out the Hokies are 1-0, after putting up an impressive win over Appalachian State 66-13.
With that being said, let me move on to the point of this post, and that is the recent failures of the beloved Notre Dame fighting Irish.
First, a little background on my college football fan hood. Growing up in a family full of Notre Dame fans (typically of most Catholic families), I started the early years of my life cheering for them. But, that all changed when my brother decided to choose Virginia Tech as the college he was going to attend. After attending my first Hokies football game, my mindset changed to, “Notre Dame who?”
Ever since that faithful day, Notre Dame football has never been the same. Coincidence or not, I like to believe that my hatred for them led to their turmoil, but my sports knowledge knows better. The Irish have steadily been declining since the early 2000s and the most recent failure put the cherry on top of my successful first week of college football.
For those who are unaware, Notre Dame lost on Saturday 23-20 to the University of South Florida, in a lightning delayed game. But, it wasn’t the lightning that sparked headlines; it was the tirade coach and scumbag Brian Kelly threw on the sideline every time a mistake was made. Here is a link to an article that has the video of Kelly yelling embedded in it.
Now, as a “practicing,” Catholic I am offended by the language used…. I am totally kidding, but there are plenty of people in the Notre Dame community, who will feel that exact way. Kelly has recently apologized for his actions and made a promise to be calmer on the sidelines. We’ll just see how that holds up when Tommy Rees throws an INT in the red zone. “God Speed,” Brian (OH ZING!).
My question I ask you is: when will Notre Dame stop receiving such national attention?  I thought last year we were figuring it out when I didn’t see them in the top 25. But, leave it up to the BCS to go right back to tradition to fill their rankings. So here is my letter to them; Dear BCS: Lou Hotlzsssssss (in his words) is no longer there, they are no longer competing at a top level, they play NO ONE but, when they do they lose, and I reiterate what I hinted at; they suck!
            This weekend, TRADITION SQUARES OFF AGAINST TRADITION (give me a break!), when The Irish travel to Ann Arbor to play Michigan in the first ever night game in the “Big House.” Let me start by saying, what a waste of a site for College Gameday, and sorry to all the fans of each team who read this, but this is far from a premier match-up, especially when Alabama is playing Penn State in the same weekend. But, I’m just happy that everyone will get to see (if they don’t already watch NBC every Saturday), Notre Dame lose another game and start their “come back” season 0-2. So, I say
            Oh, and GO HOKIES!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dare I say: Sportscenter, over-rated?

            Over the last two years, dating back to the Favre fiasco, I have been re-thinking my love for ESPN’s Sportscenter.
            When I was a kid watching Sportscenter during the summer was my dream come true. I’d wake up at like 11 a.m. come down stairs and watch Sportscenter, over, and over, and over again until my parents yelled at me to turn the T.V. off because it was “rotting my brain.”
This summer I can hardly watch 20 minutes of it! Now I only watch it to see whose playing well on my fantasy baseball team or to catch up on the Yankees highlights that I missed. But, still that has little interest to me because I watch the actual games. I know I am not the only one who feels this way, but I know we are few and far between.
As I said earlier, I lost interest a little over a year ago when the whole “what will Favre do next,” segments. By the third day of this “coverage,” I finally decided to be done with Sportscenter.
But it’s not only the Favre stuff that “grinded my gears,” it went from being a show about highlights, game recaps and information that was useful to sports fans. Now it is filled with constant NFL lockout coverage, which as much as it matters to us, has really gotten old. Listen, I don’t need Adam Schefter (who is a PR nightmare when it comes to his “insider” information) telling me about the same information everyday. GIVE IT A REST, wait like a week or so for something important to happen, then the public will stop going in and out with enthusiasm for the likelihood of an NFL season.
It’s not only the over coverage of events that gets me, it also comes to the analyst “talent,” they have now. I could care less if Antonio Pierce won a Super Bowl or not, that is moot when it comes to his abilities to articulate what he knows about the sport. And now they have Curt Schilling for baseball?!?! Who are you kidding with these hires? It’s like ESPN wants their Public Relations staff to work extra hard year round! This man has been nothing but trouble since he retired. Again, he was a great pitcher throughout his career, which does not mean he is a good analyst; he doesn’t even have a good relationship with the media! look at the conflict with the media section. 
Does anyone remember the show they had called “Dream Job,” I loved that show; they actually took time to see who was the best ONE candidate to be on-air talent. My question to them now would be this: When did their on-air talent process go from: quality over quantity to quantity over quality? Because if that’s the case, they really need to go back to the old way.
Now, I’m not saying I hate everything ESPN; I love their sports coverage, providing me with sports from baseball to soccer, at any level. But, Sportscenter is getting on my last nerve, there needs to be some kind of readjustment to the set-up of it, like it back when Chris Berman and Bob Ley were the two of the 5 or 6 anchors they had on staff, finding fun ways to recap sports.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Long Time, No Blog?

Sorry I have been away for awhile, not like I have a plethora of followers but it has still been WAY to long. Let me just give you an overview of what has been going on since the last post: hmmmm

1. Kemba did Kemba in the NCAA tournament. They ended up going 14-0 in the tournaments they competed in this year (Maui Invitational, Big East Tournament and NCAA tournament), not to mention they won 5 games in 5 days in the tenacious Big East tournament.

2. Butler, again made a run that ended in a runner-up and pat on the back. But what was ever more exciting was the emergence of VCU. Now being a Hokie I was mad when they made it over us, but what they did was certainly incredible. This was just like the run fellow CAA member George Mason made in 2008, making it to the final four.

3. I have to say this now BASEBALL SEASON STARTED! My favorite sport (just because it was the only one I was good at) season started and it started March 31st, and just how I wanted it too. Yankees took 2 out of 3 from the Detroit Tigers, but just the fact it started to me is a win.

4. NHL and NBA playoffs started sadly the Knicks have been eliminated *tear* and that was the end of my affiliation with the playoffs for either sport. But I still am following both 1. to see LeBron shut the critics up (I know I'm probably alone in that feeling), and 2. waiting to see the Flyers lose in the NHL playoffs. Sadly, my roommates beloved Sabres couldn't pull it off but hopefully my other most hated city can do it. Come on Bruins!!

5. Tiger made a run at a "comeback" during the Masters, although he failed the bigger headlines were Rory McIlroy's disastrous final round 80 or Charl (really you couldn't add the es?) Schwartzel shooting a 66 to polish off his charge to the top of the leader board in the final round comeback.

6. And last, and definitely least the NFL lockout has been lifted and the draft has just begun. Surprisingly, Cam Newton was selected as the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. I am just as  shocked as I was to see him go first. Not only do the Panthers have Jimmy Clausen (First Round draft pick from last year) but ever since the NFL combine he has become very cocky (or in his eyes confident) and lost me as a fan. Hopefully this pick doesn't workout for them! On another note I am anxiously awaiting to see where Hokies: Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams, Darren Evans and Roc Carmichael go in the next three days.

With the summer coming up my blog entry's will become more frequent because I will have less academic work that will hold me down from writing them!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Real American Hero

I know everyone is probably sick of hearing about the NBA trade rumors, and Melo to the Knicks, but I am not! I love Melo always have, ever since I saw him JAM on people at the Prime Time Shootout. But there is one key component to the trade that EVERYONE is missing, except for us always stingy media professionals/ amateur like myself!
That key element was point guard Cauncey Billups, the Knicks needed him, and he will fill that role admirably, but what people don’t know is what Billups lost coming to New York, his family. Now I don’t mean loss as in; his wife divorced him, he no longer has a house or any of that, what I mean is he lost the ability to see his wife and three daughters. It’s a rarity in sports to see an athlete so distraught over leaving his family back in his hometown.
Billups grew up in the Denver area, and played his college basketball at Colorado University, but when he made it to the NBA he traveled a lot playing for: Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Minnesota, Detroit, and up until recently the Denver Nuggets. When the Nugget acquired him, it was like a dream come true for him. He told his daughters that there will be no more of this switching schools, moving into different houses, and making new friends, this was their home for good. Obviously, he figured this would be the last place he’d play and retire where it all started for him, a true Hollywood story. That storybook ending is over, sadly.
Which leads me to why I am writing this entry; I read an article this morning about the pain Billups had felt since Tuesday night. It’s something that between the coverage of where Melo would end up (Knicks or Nets), how will the team gel together, how will Melo will perform his first time in the Garden as a Knick was: how does Chauncey Billups feel? The answer; horrible, and from reading the article Melo’s wife and kid being there through the whole day and night didn’t help.
But it is really refreshing to see professional athletes, who are under scrutiny wherever they go show real human emotion over his family. In a time where adultery, rape (accused and convicted), allegations against college’s for recruitment (Tennesse, Uconn, Auburn) to name a few. So when I read this article I immediately was choked up to see that athlete’s do have human emotions! (Which is obvious, but rarely seen).
After their first game ended in a 114-108 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Chauncey was back to him old self, smiling and laughing. Saying, "Just to get out there on the floor it's good, it's our safe haven and it's where we let everything else go in the world. For the fans to embrace me and Carmelo the way they did, it just felt good." A total 180-degree turn from early that day. But this was great to hear from Chaunce (being a fan since he joined the Nuggets), even though no matter how unhappy he would be, he would still do his job, and that was to be the floor general for the new look Knicks. 
I would like to personally thank him for being a true family man, because in a country where 50% of first weddings end in divorce, we need people in the spot light 24/7 to set an example for the rest of the country. Thank you Chauncey, keep loving your wife, and kids because they’re the real miracle in life!

Monday, February 14, 2011

ESFN: Game of the Week

I’m going to bring something new to the ESFN blog and add a game of the week each week (obviously), that I believe could be a surprising match up. Hopefully I start with a bang (fingers crossed).
Bare with me on this but my inaugural game of the week is Michigan State vs. * #1 team Ohio State. Now I know what your saying, with all that is going wrong with Michigan State this year, the game will be a blow out. But never, ever count out a Tom Izzo team, his passion will not let him give up on his team.
Not only that, he still has a team filled with lots of talent to win with, there is no reason they should be losing this many games. With seven upper classman returning, including last year’s top scorer Kalin Lucas (14.8 PPG this year), and two of the other four top scorers (Durrell Summers 11.3, and Draymond Green 9.9). There is no way they can’t be successful right? Wrong! To be successful they will need better play from all of their role players. But I believe there is still hope and this is just the game that can spark them to a streak that guides them right to the NCAA tournament (which they are on the bubble for anyway)
Now on to the buckeyes, coming off their first loss of the season, it will be interesting to see how a senior dominated squad responds to a loss. I am very interested to see how Aaron Craft (freshman) will play, after under performing when the game was on the line. I am certain this was a shot to his confidence, so his performance is very important to the team’s success. This is the beginning of a tough stretch that will really test the team chemistry, with a very tough Purdue team, on the road in hostile Mackey Arena.
Knowing Thad Matta he will not let his team falter after one loss, but Izzo is the same way, making this matchup an even better one. The matchups (player vs. player) that I’m really looking forward to seeing is how Derrick Nix will defend the young and talented Jared Sullinger. Nix a sophomore is a wide body in the pain (6’9’’, 270 lbs) should have no problem matching up with Sullinger in size, but the separation in talent may be the deciding factor. This is when freshman Keith Appling and Junior Delvon Roe will fill in, if Nix gets into foul trouble.
The second matchup I’m looking forward to is a battle of seasoned veterans taking one another on. Kalin Lucas vs. David Lighty is what I’m talking about, it will be tough for each to get baskets, but they will score. The first one to become frustrated with their lack of scoring will be the one’s who team will lose the game. This will prove how important these two players are to their team’s success.
In a final word, my prediction, it will be a good game, and my confidence in a Mike Izzo coached team is being tested a lot this year, and I will continue to be disappointed. In a home game, Ohio State will win; quite handedly 75-68 is my prediction. The offense of Ohio State will be too much for Sparty to handle in the end, especially when they will find it hard to answer and trade baskets, let alone separate themselves from the Buckeyes.