Friendship and PEDs: An Unfocused Look at the Past Week in the World

What are you gonna do, BROTHER?

It’s like a Week in Review, except it’s on Saturday. My apologies for the sleepless hours that I have caused you as you await my presence. To read Robbie’s far more insightful take on the week, click here. It gets bonus points for being on time.

Yes, in contrast to popular belief, I am alive and well, fellow Casualtists.

On Friday, I became the Terrell Owens of sports blogging when I tore apart the foundation of Sports Casualties by not publishing my weekly immediate nostalgia in a timely manner.

I know what you are thinking. “Oh Bryan, I bet you were too busy out doing great humanitarian deeds.”

While I would love to come to you with stories of visiting children’s hospitals or feeding the homeless or helping restore a Third World county (and by Third World country, I mean Philadelphia), I cannot honestly give such a story. Instead, I spent my Friday at the Country Throwdown Tour at the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa. If you’re looking for a more apt description, think Vans Warped Tour with boots, Jack Daniels and Copenhagen.

I would give a more in-depth analysis of the event, but my mom gave me the “You know possible employers might be reading this site” speech the other day. Let’s just say that I spent the day in a land of Confederate flag bikini tops, twangy music and no deficiency of good times. I also may or may not have met a girl who was wearing a camouflage hat that read “Hardcore Carnivore.” In other words, in was a great day.

But enough about Redneck Warped Tour. Let’s do this.

On Thursday, the Boston Celtics continued their somewhat surprising playoff run by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers to eliminate the Cavs from the playoffs and officially begin the era of LeBron James hysteria. When asked about what he thought the next step for King James would be, Kevin Garnett yelled “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE,” further cementing the common theory that Garnett possesses a three word vocabulary.

I personally think that James will surprise everybody and make the jump to a town just waiting for a star to embrace. Yes, the Erie BayHawks are a possible option, and with a new television deal with Versus, the NBA D-League could surely use a famous face.

Insert King.

It is the playoff time of year for basketball which also means that it is the time of year when the NHL makes it blatantly obvious that their product is far superior. On Wednesday, I watched the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins face off in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.

By all accounts, it wasn’t anywhere close to being a classic game. The Canadiens won rather easily 5-2 and there was seldom a doubt that they would win the game. However, there was an electricity about the action that kept me invested in the action. The crowd was wild, the hits were hard and the skating intense. The NHL’s playoffs are seriously some of the best action in sports. I’m sorry, NBA, but I’ve never been hooked into watching the entirety of a 30-point game because I felt like your players were giving it their all. Hockey wins the Spring to Summer playoff run.

Tiger Woods removed himself from The Players Championship on Sunday because of a neck injury. Reports have since surfaced that Woods has a bulging disk in his upper back that may require surgery. The highlight of this is of course the fact that we get to hear reporters stumble over the words as they try to not let “bulging disk” sound inappropriate over the next couple of months.

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing won the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year award again on Wednesday when a revote was held after he had been stripped of the title for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. The revote sparked a media uproar as some questioned why Cushing could be rewarded for anything after testing positive. It also sparked an uproar from World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon when he saw pictures of Cushing and pondered why he’s not in sports entertainment.

Former teammates, roommates and besties, Scott Kazmir and Bossman Junior Upton had an awkward moment when they faced off for the first time as opponents on Tuesday night. During the obligatory pre-pitch stare down, Upton and Kazmir both began smiling and had to step out to compose themselves.

Awww

“I was trying to look the other way, look up in the stands and focus on something else,” said Kazmir. Always a good approach when facing a batter. The two would later go on to stay up extra late, order pizza and have a raging pillow fight.

Speaking of Upton, a commercial aired this week that left me looking into the Rays’ marketing schemes a little bit. Today, the Rays are on Fox’s nationally televised game of the week. In order to get people in the stands and not look like fools in front of America, the Rays are holding a post game Nelly concert.

Now concerts are not unusual for the Rays. They hold claim to the largest season-long concert series in the majors. However, every time that concert happens to be a rapper, Upton gets the title of promoter. LL Cool J, MC Hammer, Nelly: B.J., B.J., B.J. 

It’s not the same with the rock or country groups. Evan Longoria doesn’t get stuck hyping every pop rock band that comes to The Trop. Nobody makes Wade Davis or Jeff Niemann plug every single country band that helps the Rays jack up attendance to the 30,000 mark.

So mix it up, Rays. Poor Bossman Junior doesn’t need to be your official hip hop spokesperson. Jason Bartlett walks up to Young Jeezy and has steps shaved into the side of his head, have him do one or two. Imagine that, a white guy that likes Nelly!

Come see Nelly! I mean, the Rays.

The New York Jets reported this week that they are in significant danger of having some home games blacked out on television this fall due to attendance issues. It sounds like they need some good old-fashioned promotional ideas. Mark Sanchez $1 hot dog Sundays, Rex Ryan foam finger day, discounts for Twitter followers of Santonio Holmes. You’re welcome.

Today is the running of that horse race that isn’t named the Kentucky Derby. One thing is certain, and that’s that the people who run the other horse race that’s not named the Kentucky Derby will be pulling hard for Super Saver to retain the relevance of their event.

AND NOW…(drum roll) 

WHY I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK: The Never-Ending Saga 

In no specific order, and with no real explanation, this is my weekly look at some of the things that kept me distracted while I was trying to write. 

Rojo Johnson: Future Houston Astros bullpen great.

Extreme writer’s block.

Tweet of the Week 

Because too much television makes you fat and undesirable, but too much Twitter just makes you unproductive and socially awkward. Follow SC on Twitter, the awesomeness of your life depends on it. 

Today, I use Tweet of the Week to share some semi-breaking, semi-surprising news. Pat Burrell has just been designated for assignment by my Tampa Bay Rays. In his place, Hank Blalock has been called up from Triple-A. Pat has been quite a target since he arrived in St. Petersburg. He took up a huge chunk of salary on a small market team, and hadn’t been very productive. The following is the take on the transaction that was retweeted and responded to by @RaysIndex.

@RaysIndex only if your team’s fate involves sucking RT @poochmagee: #Rays DFA Burrell. There’s an open roster spot on my beer league team. Fate?

Cold.

Enjoy what is left of your weekend.

-Bryan

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