We’re getting real close to there being no hockey. Real close. I mean, if there’s no hockey, what do we tell our partners we’re watching at a friends place while we’re out drinking scotch and telling the Barnstormer interns how cool we are? Who will we make fun of if the Leafs aren’t on the ice sucking? The Marlies? The Raptors?
It has been a crazy busy week at the Barn, and we have some really exciting promotions, features, and contributors joining us in the next few weeks. Firs up, we’re really excited to have Laura Saba on the Round Bus! Laura Saba is a Montreal blogger who writes about sports, life, and her adventures on the internet at The Active Stick. She used to be a student journalist and wrote fiction and poetry on the side but now spends most of her time incoherently ranting about sports. She is also working on a collection of short stories that are dying to see the light of day (when she’s not busy being a terrible person on Twitter).
Now, let’s get on the damn Bus!
JT GOES JAY-Z AND BUYS SOME OF THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Laura — Justin Timberlake’s upcoming wedding is rumoured to be costing five million dollars. If I had that kind of money, I’d buy a stake in a basketball team, too. Only I’d choose one in Not Memphis.
Orti — Anyone who invests in an organization who at any time in their history saw Big Country Reeves as a number one draft pick is going to lose big.
Ibeas — If this eventually leads to a Marc Gasol cameo in the next Lonely Island video, I have no cause for complaint.
Seriouser though, I wish the Raptors could attract an owner who was a fan first and a business person second. Then management might occasionally care about winning.
Laura — I think the financial benefits to having a winning team are such that a business person first would also very much care about winning. No true business person would like to lose money or leave money on the table if they could sell out every game and sell mad merch. The reality is that you can be good at one kind of business, or brilliant at it, and still really suck at the sports business. Or you can be a terrible business person at everything and get lucky and inherit a team. Either way, I’d prefer a business person first and fan second.
Forbes — There’s probably a joke pre-embedded in here about the history of American popular music, and how Justin was just the latest in a string of white performers, dating back to Elvis, who owed their popularity to their knack for taking black music, taming it, and presenting it to their audiences as a safe alternative. So, like, then JT sees what Jay is up to and goes out and makes owning an NBA team popular among young white girls, maybe in the process moving the team to a bastion of hipsterdom like, I don’t know, Portland? Oh wait, Portland has a team. Anyway, that joke is lying in here somewhere, waiting to be made, but I’m not up for it because all I can think about is how effing amazing a song “Cry Me a River” is.
Spry — Justin Timberlake is everything I want to be. If I was 15, I’d have photos of him in my locker. I mean, I’d have photos of Kelley O’Hara too. IN my fantasies, I’d be JT, and I’d meet Kelley at the SNL after party.
I think this has gone from mildly funny to weird.
RAVENS PUNTER CHRIS KLUWE DEFENDS SAME SEX MARRIAGE
Ibeas — I absolutely loved Kluwe’s letter, and I’ll tell you why: because he was damn entertaining. He’s not going to change any minds that are already made up, but he will sway the minds of those who currently don’t have an opinion of their own. Snark will be our salvation, I swear it.
Laura — Chris Kluwe’s letter was one of the greatest examples of a verbal smackdown I have ever seen. Once he’s retired from football, he should go into some sort of freelance “Call Your Cable Company For You” kind of business. I’m not entirely sure I ever want to find out what a fromunda stain is, but it seems to be a new go-to insult. New internet catchphrases aside, I think the most remarkable thing about it was that he wasn’t just standing up for something he believed in, he was standing up for someone else who had stood up for the same thing. I’d generally expect an athlete to say “no comment on that” if asked about a fellow player’s comments making the news, but Kluwe went ahead and supported him without being asked.
Forbes — I have a lot of respect for Kluwe, and for Brendon Ayanbadejo, for saying the things they did. Football needs some progressive loudmouths to temper all the conservative ones that populate its locker rooms, boardrooms, and broadcast booths.
Spry — Chris Kluwe is my new favourite athlete. Patrick Burke’s You Can Play Project deserves a lot of credit/kudos, but there is a growing trend of tolerance…actually, I hate that word, can we get a new word, love maybe? There’s a growing trend of love in pro sports for homosexual athletes. I truly believe we’re getting close to having the first prominent gay athlete from one of the four major leagues. I just know it won’t be a Toronto Maple Leafs, because the Leafs suck.
Orti — I agree with Spry here on the ‘tolerance’ term. It’s patronizing and love is indeed the better word. Or maybe the word respect is appropriate too. I think Kluwe took equal offence to the idea of a person’s right to express their opinion being stifled by an organization as well as the historical shortsightedness of the person who made the suggestion in the first place. Laura’s right – it was a verbal smackdown and I have to admit I like this new trend of talking smack about important things. A smackdown political debate….I would watch that. I would watch the shit out of that. One more thing, homophobic football fans need to seriously consider the incongruity of their values vis-a-vis a sport which features tons of dudes cheering on other dudes in tight pants climbing over each other. That being said, here are 28 NFL players who also support gay rights.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS SHUT DOWN STEPHEN STRASBURG
Ibeas — After watching Brad “Arm-ageddon” Arnsberg destroy every promising young pitcher to come up through the Jays farm system, I can do nothing but applaud the National’s decision to sit their guy. They’re not just doing what’s best for their player, they’re doing what’s best for the organization in the long term.
Laura — This whole thing has been controversial from the start (will they? won’t they? should they? shouldn’t they?) and I think you’d be able to find fault with the decision if it had gone either way. I would tend to think this is the best decision for both Strasburg and the Nationals in the long term, but given that Strasburg’s surgeon first said he wasn’t involved in the decision, then “clarified” his comments and said he was in contact with the Nats as recently as mid-August, you have to wonder what’s going on. The Nats are still looking pretty good from a standings perspective, but that could change (trust me on this, I’m a Red Sox fan). And if you do make the post-season – how do you keep Stephen Strasburg out of it?
Forbes — Everyone seems to think that Mike Rizzo and the Nationals are crazy for doing this, though I think with an asset like Strasburg, caution is prudent (even though I’m usually against anything that Scott Boras thinks is a good idea). But know this: the Nats have a cushion right now, but if things get dire (look out for those Phillies, winners now of 7 in a row, and charging hard), Washington manager Davey Johnson will be pushing hard for his young pitcher’s reinstatement to the lineup. And facing a fans’ revolt, look for Rizzo to relent, spewing something like “desperate times…”
Orti — I think what bothers me most about this situation is that in North America a half litre of kefir, a highly active form of yogurt found predominantly in Eastern European countries, will run you about $4.99, but in Europe it can be found for 45 cents. Why is this so? How do you justify the disparity in price for this product? There’s simply no excuse for it.
Spry — I can understand them wanting to protect their investment. That I get. But what I don’t comprehend is NOT putting him on the postseason roster. Dude could pitch in relief, or even pinch hit. He was raking a .277 average before the Rizzo Plan shut him down. At .277 he could hit anywhere in the Jays lineup.
That being said, every game the Nationals win is a violent offense to my Expos heart.
ESPN RANKS LEAFS LAST OUT OF 122 SPORTS FRANCHISES, BRIAN BURKE GETS ANGRY
Orti — The New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Montreal Fucking Canadiens finished with less points than the Leafs. ESPN can suck it. I’ve seen better journalism from Fox and Burke was right when he said ESPN didn’t know their ass from their elbow when it came to hockey.
Spry — I’ve been 4am drunk at 7:30pm screaming for a Habs victory with Orti, so his anti-Canadiens sentiment is contrived nonsense. As a recovering townie, I know he has no choice but to feign an affection for the Leafs, but now that he’s heading up the Berlin offices, it’s time to let go. Fact is, the Leafs have an all too loyal fanbase and generate an obscene amount of profit, and haven’t won anything since 1967. Added up, that equals suck. Or, as ESPN puts it, 122.
Ibeas — As much as I hate the Leafs, I can think of at least a couple of franchises that have been just as bad, if not worse, over the past twenty years. If Jeremy Lin hadn’t happened, you better believe the Knicks would be sitting at the bottom of that list instead of the Buds.
Laura — There are so many things I hate about this. Among them: 1. Gratuitous shitting on the Leafs is so three, four, five years ago. 2. As many pointed out, it’s never a team with a tiny fanbase that gets honours like that. I hate nothing more than I hate trolling for pageviews. And I’m a blogger. 3. I’m an unconditional fan of Brian Burke for all he’s done for LGBT advocacy, but every time someone sticks a microphone in his face these days I want to punch people (mostly because they know if they need a quote on something that’s not important, they’ll get one and can make a story out of it). ESPN gave the Toronto Hockey Media a reason to stick a microphone in Brian Burke’s face. Unforgivable. 4. That poll had the Phoenix Coyotes rated as the top hockey franchise. 5. I am a Canadiens fan, and did not enjoy this. Which means they did it wrong.
Forbes — My Ottawa-bred bones take great glee in this.
Spry — What Forbes said.
MORE EXTENSIONS FOR YOUNG NHLERS (HALL, EBERLE, SEGUIN)
Ibeas — I haven’t followed hockey since Ovechkin was a rookie, so clearly I have no idea who these players are and can only assume we are talking hair extensions. In which case: Yes. You can always have more.
Laura — Now I’m picturing Taylor Hall with hair extensions. Is it just me or does Seguin’s contract make the other two look really bad? It’s not just me. Seguin’s contract makes the other two look really bad. Gotta love the stones on an owner who signs off on a contract like that the day before sitting down with the NHLPA, though.
Forbes — I think the owners feel like they’re playing with the house’s money here. Sign them to big contracts and then lock them out. Oh ho! Listen up, Bettman and Fehr: JUST FIX THIS.
Spry — This is why the owners are going to lockout the players Sunday morning. They are there own worst enemies. There’s no reason for these contracts. The players have no leverage. It makes absolutely no sense. The NHL management is by far the least competent of all mjor sports leagues. They have no understanding of their own CBA. It’s a byproduct of positions being filled by cronyism and an old boys club mentality. Call it, the Darryl Sutter Syndrome.
Orti — It looks like they’ll have lots of time to spend those signing bonuses while backpacking through South America when they should be playing hockey.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER JAMIE KUNTZ KICKED OFF HIS TEAM FOR KISSING HIS BOYFRIEND
Ibeas — I’m always less forgiving of the young for being bigots, probably because I feel they have less to fear from change. That’s why, although the coach is definitely an ass for kicking Kuntz off the team with a weaksauce excuse like “detrimental conduct”, I reserve special vitriol for his teammates, who defend their coach because Kuntz “lied to the team”. Really?
Orti — I’m with Ibeas here. His teammates are cowards. I hope this kid googles his name, stumbles on this article and wait..let’s just make this a google friendly search…JAMIE KUNTZ YOUR TEAMMATES ARE COWARDS. The great thing is – this North Dakota football team is forever going to be known and associated with a big fat gay kiss to an older man. So…enjoy that legacy North Dakota, you earned it.
Laura — “It’s totally not because he’s gay, you guys, it’s because he lied.” I’m just disgusted with everybody – the coach, the teammates, the school, and the 65-year-old boyfriend who yes, I’m going to say it, was old enough to know better. I agree with what Kuntz said, if he’d been caught with a woman, he would not have been dismissed from the team. I’m glad the team and school’s actions are being called out so much by so many people though.
Forbes — Oh, FFS.
Spry — I’m so fucking tired of these stories. Poor kid. I’m at a loss for words. Send in the Chris Kluwe Army!
THE LAST WORD
Spry — Kelley O’ Hara. I’m gonna work this bit until it gets me kicked off the Bus. Kelley, I’m free next weekend. Holla me back.
Forbes — I just spent some time down in the US of A, taking the temperature of things in America, overdosing on election campaign coverage, and drinking craft beers, and I want to make this announcement: If Mitt Romney wins I’m boycotting the Olympics forever.
Ibeas — I once dreamt that I was attending a school for “magic”, where every spell consisted of blasting someone in the face with LSD.
Orti — 45 cents for Kefir in Europe. Unheard of. Simply unheard of. Also…follow Jamie Kuntz on twitter @Jamie_Kuntz
Laura — Don’t ever look up Tommy John surgery. There are things we civilians just don’t need to know the details of.