Friday, June 27, 2008

The Sports Goodbye

Given that Deadspin has been responsible for approximately 99.9% of Metroville's cross-posts, it's safe to assume that a majority of those who have found their way to this website are well aware that Deadspin founder Will Leitch is today bidding farewell to the virtual house that he built and moving on to--if not necessarily greener--less-specifically-internet-based pastures.

Naturally, my primary interest in this matter is in how it will affect me...and I fear that the outlook is bleak. Will Leitch started Deadspin in a humble desire to reclaim the national discourse on popular athletics from the long-winded jaws of allegedly professional journalists and give it back to the fans, to whom sports has always truly belonged. There exist countless pieces of publicly available evidence proving that Leitch has succeeded in his goal (the popularity of his most recent book, the rambling outbursts of bitter old men, his stupefying policy of allowing just about any jerk with an internet connection--including those who are fans of teams that did not originate in St. Louis--an open forum on his website, just to name a few), but I am privy to a comparatively minor effect that speaks volumes: No matter how more popular or more influential Deadspin became during the 18 months of Metroville's existence to date, Will Leitch never thought twice about sharing the viewpoints of a bush league hobbyist-blogger--who would often go a month without adding a new post--on his own prime piece of virtual real estate...and there are many other small-timers on the internet that have benefited from that same generosity. Deadspin was built in 2005 for the average sports fan; the very fact that as many people who are reading these words have even heard of this half-assed Blogspot offering stands as proof that, three years later--an infinity in internet time--on Deadspin, the fan still reigns supreme.

For as infrequently as I tend to my meager website, I can say with complete confidence that, were it not for the indirect encouragement I received each time Leitch linked to one of my posts, I'd be operating Metroville with about a fifth of the enthusiasm that I am currently; there's a good chance I might have even given it up entirely. Though you might not be able to tell it from my totally unbiased sports reporting, my wheelhouse is entertainment: that was the field I intended to favor when I started Metroville. To date, that cold bastard Mark Lisanti (RIP) and his Defamer cohorts have not linked to a single story I sent them. However, Defamer was responsible for turning me on to Deadspin, which in turn slowly but surely led me to abandon Bill Simmons as it opened my eyes to the fact that there were fans of sports teams other than those from the Boston area who could write funny things online. The rest is internet history.

As is Will Leitch.

As am I, most likely, as far as the general public is concerned...unless whoever takes the reins at Deadspin is as kindhearted and agreeable as his predecessor. If Kissing Suzy Kolber's Big Daddy Drew gets the keys to the castle, I'm most certainly toast--that foulmouthed Boston-hater has never done a single good thing for me in my life.

Regardless of what the future may hold for Deadspin, everyone who writes for it and the thousands more who read it can surely agree on one thing: It will be a lesser place for lacking its creator.

Cheers to you, Will, and best of luck in all your future endeavors. Were I a run-of-the-mill jackass Red Sox fan, I'd probably close with some backhanded non-compliment "thanking" you and your St. Louis Cardinals for the Sox' World Series victory in 2004. But you've always been better to me than that, so I will do the same in turn...

Let's both thank the New York Yankees for collapsing so spectacularly in the 2004 American League Division Series that nobody even remembers who the Red Sox played in the World Series.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Judging by his group's appearance on "The Daily Show" on Wednesday, Chris Martin could maybe stand to lose a few armbands from his wardrobe.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sad Woooords

Remember when "comedy" and "stupidity" weren't mutually inclusive terms?

Yeah, me neither. Fortunately, there are books available to enlighten those of us too young to have witnessed George Carlin's prime as to why the man's death on Sunday represents as significant a cultural loss as everyone is saying it does.

Not interested in reading? You're probably a Dane Cook fan, then, and were therefore a lost cause to begin with.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Curt Schilling's Career Maybe Over...or at Least Career with Red Sox, Probably...or Maybe Neither...or Probably Both...

Curt Schilling revealed Friday morning in a radio interview kindly described by the Boston Globe as "lengthy" that he will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Monday that could turn out to be career-ending surgery, or at least Red Sox-career-ending surgery.

But something is definitely happening with Curt Schilling...and until it is determined exactly what that something is, he will likely not stop talking about it. And then, afterwards, he will more than likely continue to talk about it. Perhaps forever.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Family Film: With a Vengeance

As an obligatory fan of Minutemen--a Disney Channel offering targeted at nine-year-olds--about which I should not still be posting five months after its premiere, I'd be lying if I said I weren't somewhat impressed by an amateur trailer that makes the movie look like Die Hard 5.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mark Wahlberg Bites Three Hands that Feed Him Clean Off, Wipes Ass with Each

While promoting his widely mocked performance in the latest nail in M. Night Shyamalan's career's coffin , the Artist Formerly Known As Marky Mark took the opportunity to backhand George Clooney--the costar of one of Mark Wahlberg's only two good movies who subsequently ushered the undeserving actor into two other major motion pictures (Rock Star and The Perfect Storm)--Brad Pitt--the costar of Wahlberg's best chance for a desperately-needed third good movie--and Matt Damon--the overlooked costar of the film that garnered the one time underpants model a freaking Academy Award nomination--all in one fell swoop by enthusiastically criticizing the Ocean's Eleven franchise--which starred George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon (in the role originally offered to Mark Wahlberg)--to the exclamation point-addicted Zoo Today:

ZOO: "Is it true you turned down the chance to be in the Ocean's films?"

LEADER OF THE FUNKY BUNCH: "Yeah - and it was well worth it!... People tell George Clooney it's great, but we all know it sucked... [Making other movies] was better than sitting with Brad and George, telling the press how great everybody is!"

I completely agree with Wahlberg's implied assessment that none of the three Ocean's films comes close to approaching high art; however, the first and third installments are near-perfect examples of well-polished, mindless entertainment, while Ocean's Twelve--albeit the worst of the bunch and a pretty crappy movie in its own right--stands head and shoulders above any product released between 2000 and 2007 that featured the man who once compelled the world to c'mon c'mon and feel feel his vibrations (with the arguable exception of I Heart Huckabees).

Even though Wahlberg--who had at one time decided that the best way to capitalize on the success of Boogie Nights was to star in a movie with Antonio Sabato Jr.--pointedly added in the Zoo interview that he "do[es] love" Clooney, Pitt and Damon, one is made to wonder if that trio now loves He Who Wasn't Talented Enough To Join New Kids On The Block in turn...or at least as much as they do the boats, motorcycles and sex they received as a result of participating in the Ocean's Eleven franchise.

[Photo courtesy Defamer via whoever they got it from.]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Farewell, Lil' Russ

There were already precious few television news personalities who gave the impression that they cared more about the news than they did about simply being on television; with the sudden passing of NBC News' Washington bureau chief and "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert on Friday, that number has gotten even smaller.

Fox News Is About as Racist as Saddam Hussein Wasn't Responsible for 9/11

OMG can you believe it's been two days since Fox News referred to Michelle Obama as "Obama's baby mama" and the liberal media is still talking about it?

If the left-wing conspiracy had its way, people wouldn't have forgotten about Fox News anchor E.D. Hill describing an innocuous gesture exchanged between Barack and Michelle Obama as "a terrorist fist jab" (which is so last week) or Fox News contributor Liz Trotta openly wishing for Barack Obama's assassination (which is, um, last month! LOL) by now.

I swear, it's almost like an outspoken majority in the United States is finally starting to realize Fox News is run by an ultra-conservative with strong ties to the Bush administration or something and that administration came to power by illegitimate means then led the country into a war based on a lie or something and that pointless war led to the deaths of thousands of Americans or something.

WTVR! Heidi Montag says she's voting for John McCain so I'm totally doing that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Four Quarters to Save the World

Late in the first quarter of Thursday's Celtics-Lakers game, which I was watching on TV, I spotted a friend of mine in his highly enviable courtside seat.

"Well," I thought to myself, "even though I wasn't rubbing elbows with Larry David on Tuesday night, I'm still glad I was in attendance at that relatively competitive Celtics loss rather than at this potentially historic blowout."

Now, three quarters later, I am as desperate as ever to get my hands on a 1985 DeLorean so I can go back in time and trade tickets with that friend.

The game did indeed prove to be a historic one...but with respect to something far more significant than the Lakers' finals-record 21-point lead after the first quarter. To quote the Associated Press (via on the matter:

"No team had ever overcome more than a 15-point deficit in the first quarter, and although the league doesn't have a record for the largest rally in a finals game, the Celtics staged one that will forever be remembered in the annals of Celtics-Lakers lore."

A lesser man might be driving towards downtown Los Angeles as I write this to run around the Staples Center while dressed as a leprechaun--and that lesser man is me!

...Or at least it could be me, were it not for the facts that (1) my leprechaun costume is at the dry cleaners and (2) I've been drinking, which makes it difficult for me to multitask.

UPDATE: Elias Sports Bureau cites the Celtics' achievement as the biggest NBA Finals rally since 1971.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How the NBA Finals Almost Drove Me to Attack a Differently-Abled Person

As an unabashed fan of the professional sports teams from an area outside my current city of residence, I'm no stranger to the outspoken disdain that comes with attending local sporting events (being a Boston sports fan, I've even grown accustomed to trendy-within-the-last-four-years hatred expressed via the internet). I've been taunted by chants of "VIAGRA!" (re: former Red Sox backup Carlos Baerga--get it?) at Dodger Stadium, hit in the head with garbage at Qualcomm Stadium, challenged to fights at Network Associates Coliseum, threatened to be thrown over a railing at Petco Park, assaulted in the parking lot of Angel Stadium, and scolded by the late, great Principal Vernon at the Staples Center...just to name a few such run-ins. (My one visit to Yankee Stadium surprisingly went without incident, perhaps because I was in the company of a clearly-demarcated Yankees fan.) Not one of these times--whether my team was winning or losing or had won or had lost--did I incite the provocation beyond being dressed in the opposition's colors, nor did I respond to it beyond what was minimally necessary for self-preservation.

So how is it that, following the Celtics' loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night, during which I was in attendance, I ended up in an argument with my wife because I wanted to punch a guy in wheelchair?

Her case was fairly cut-and-dry: "He's in a wheelchair and you're not, jackass!" Mine was a bit more complicated, going well past the fact that the guy in the wheelchair totally started it.

My wife--who is a semi-reluctant (except with regard to Jacoby Ellsbury) Boston sports fan through marriage--and I attended the game with another couple, both of whom are die-hard Lakers fans. Due to the fact that we hadn't all gotten our tickets at the exact same time, our friends and we ended up sitting a few sections apart from each other. Before we parted ways upon entering the Staples Center, I remarked to the male half of our friend-couple that--despite the fact that I was proudly decked out in Celtics green--I had a feeling that the Lakers were going to win the game. My friend appreciated my peaceful objectivity...which would prove to be lost on the other 19,000 or so people in attendance.

It's commonplace for a fan of a visiting team at a major sporting event to feel like he's wearing a target on his back--I've been both a victim of and a witness to this phenomenon on numerous occasions--but the people surrounding my wife and I might as well have been reading from a script:

"Somebody stab Paul Pierce!"

"Look at that guy--he was too scared to clap for that Garnett dunk!
[meaning me, after I'd applauded at length] You scared, buddy? YEAH, you're scared!"

"Kobe nailed that jumper like he was raping a white girl!"

...and so on. My wife initiated several attempts to confront the most vocal gentlemen directly behind us, all of which I nipped in the bud--bless her heart, the girl still doesn't understand that guys don't hit the female who mouths off to them but the male standing next to her--until the first half mercifully came to an end.

We reconvened with our friends during halftime, pleasantly discussing the events of the game to that point as we stood in line for concessions. Eventually, I wandered off alone in search of condiments for my Skyscraper Dog.

This Sisyphean trek led me to encounter horde after horde of confrontational Lakers fans emboldened by their team's lead and by alcohol, all of whom I responded to with little more than a congenial grin and a hopeful shrug. By the time I reached the conclusion that there was no relish to be found within miles of the Staples Center, I was still shrugging...though I was much less congenial.

After I had given up on my hunt for satisfactory hot dog accoutrements and was at my wit's end in my attempt to locate my wife, I tried to slide past a pack of drunken, purple-and-gold-adorned lunatics--alas, without success. My pathetically condiment-starved footlong and I were cornered, inundated with chants of "Boston sucks!", "Lakers rule!", and several incoherent references to "Black Mamba" and "Paul Pierce's knee" (as well as--if I've not mistaken--someone's slip about his father not loving him enough and that's why he is the way he is now).

No sooner did I escape that ruckus than I ran right into my wife, who was engaged in a conversation with another friend-couple of ours (not the same as the one we came with)--both of whom were dressed head-to-toe in Lakers gear. Silently struggling to bury my small-minded inclination to go into a Lakers-fan-hating rage, I smiled and congratulated the couple on their second-quarter appearance on the JumboTron. They went their way, my wife and I went ours...and all was right with the world.

Then the third quarter started, my wife went back to our seats...and I ended up stuck in line behind a group of goldenrod-clad Lakers fans who would not get out of my face while all I was trying to do was get a beer for the second half.

What began as an accidental blockade by a couple of drunk guys quickly turned into a Lakers-fan team effort, as any time I moved from one line to another--and ultimately from one entire concession window to another--one or two or three of the people who were already in front of me followed suit, staying in front of me. This ridiculous charade was exacerbated by the fact that the the Celtics--as we all watched on the monitors--took control of the real game happening just inside. My team had their first solid lead, which only further motivated the rival team's fans to keep me from seeing it in person. Eventually, the last of my drunken defenders got his own beer and gave up the goose; I got back to my seat with about five minutes left in the third quarter.

Knowing that nothing good would come from explaining to my wife what had taken me so long, I didn't. My lack of training Inside the Actors Studio, however, tipped her off to the fact that things had turned sour for me; this inadvertent revelation was worsened by the fact that things on the court turned very sour for the Celtics not long after the start of the fourth quarter.

Slimy-headed Sasha Vujacic kept draining three-pointers like they were the mythical cure for slimy-headedness, and I realized well before the game was actually over that the game was over. I mentioned as much to my wife, and she gave me the option of leaving. This being my first-ever attendance at an NBA Finals game--never mind a Celtics-Lakers finals game--I declined the offer. As a true Celtics fan and a married-into-it Celtics fan who--purely out of love--was trying to ignore the fact that her husband was going to a bad place, we stayed for the duration.

In hindsight, that was probably a mistake. And that's on me.

The inevitable became the official: the Lakers defeated the Celtics. As my wife and I side-stepped our way towards the nearest aisle, one of the fine gentlemen who'd been seated behind us shouted out a confrontational, beer-drenched "See ya!"; my only response was to raise one hand showing two fingers and another showing one finger--representing the series score--and, without having turned around, I followed my wife down the stairwell.

The conversation in the stairwell went as such:

ME: See that, baby? I was the bigger person.

WIFE: Good for you. (Pause) Why are you taking your shirt off?

ME (removing the unbuttoned outer shirt from a "BEAT L.A." t-shirt): No reason.

...and we headed outside the Staples Center.

Did I take my outer shirt off to invite trouble? Maybe. (Or, as my wife would say, "Yes".) But one reason I definitely took it off was to let everyone know that, even though my team had lost the game, I stand by them to the bitter end.

My wife and I hadn't gotten ten steps outside the arena when a man in a wheelchair--being pushed by one woman (presumably his wife or daughter or granddaughter) with another woman (presumably his wife or daughter or granddaughter) walking at his side--seeing my t-shirt, stopped, put on the brakes, stared me in the face, and pointed.

"HA HA HA HA HA!" he said.

I stopped dead in my tracks. "Excuse me?" I said, as the man released the brakes and let the women push him along.

"Let's go," my wife said.

"Two games to one!" I shouted.

The man kept laughing as he was rolled away.

"Can you not count?" I shouted louder, starting after him.

"Jesus Christ!" my wife said, grabbing hold of me. "He's in a wheelchair!"

Realizing that I had been about to engage in a fight with a guy in a wheelchair, I turned away, heading with my wife along the sidewalk. But I couldn't let it go.

"Who the fuck does he think he is? Can say whatever he wants and get away with it just 'cause he's in a wheelchair?" I stopped walking. "I should go after him."

"He's in a wheelchair," my wife strongly reiterated.

"And if he weren't, I'd be fighting him right now. In fact...for me not to fight him just because he's in a wheelchair is to treat him as a second-class citizen. That asshole has a Constitutional right to be fought with by me."

"He's in a wheelchair!"

"You're in a wheelchair!"

"It's a basketball game!"

"You're a basketball game!"

"Neither one of the last two things you said are true!"

"Whatever!" I said, pivoting to ninja-strike the guy in the wheelchair.

My wife and I were across the street; the guy in the wheelchair was long gone.

"Let's go home," said my wife.

"You're go home."

My wife shook her head. Tail between my legs, I followed her towards the entrance to the parking structure.

Before my wife and I reached our vehicle, I was challenged to two more fights by two different Lakers fans, neither of whom was in a wheelchair, the second of whom opened with the taunt: "E-li Man-ning!" I really wanted to fight that second guy, given my feelings about Eli Manning...but my wife, aggressively restraining me at this point, wouldn't let me. She dragged me all the way to the car.

Driving home, my wife demanded to know what in the hell would possess me to consider fighting a guy in a wheelchair simply because the basketball team he likes beat the basketball team that I like.

I told her it was more complicated than that: He laughed at me.

She told me it was much less complicated than that: He laughed at my t-shirt.

Like every sports fan, I am a fool.

Go Celtics.

*(to preempt the "Boston fans are racist" retort) this remark was made by a Lakers fan whiter than the offspring of Whitey Ford and the Michelin Man.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

There Can Only Be Zero Excuses for Not Dressing Them in Regular Shirts

I'm as excited as the next guy that the Celtics and the Lakers are once again facing off in the NBA Finals after 21 years (I'm especially excited that the Celtics gained a 2-0 series lead on Sunday). I'm excited that Larry Bird and Magic Johnson--the two players who, to anyone from my generation, define the Boston-L.A. rivalry--are on board the promotional train. But somehow, these two exciting events have coalesced to form something I'm very much not excited about:

Overweight middle-aged men in tank tops.

What gives, NBA? Were you afraid that people might not recognize Bird and Magic out of the uniforms that they haven't worn in about two decades? If so, your plan backfired. My initial reaction upon seeing the above commercial was: "Put a shirt on, Dad"...followed by: "You, too, my dad's black friend."

(...followed by: "Hey, my dad has a black friend! The times, they are a-changin'!")

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Missed It by That Much

ABC News broke the story on Wednesday that, following Barack Obama's preemptive rescue of the planet on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is going to end her presidential campaign...maybe by Friday.

It's good that she's not dragging this out, or anything.

UPDATE: As the futuristically self-adjusting ABC News story [Ed. note: It's like it's run by robots!] already indicates, Saturday will be the day of the official concession announcement. You just had to overlap it with Obama's kegger, didn't you, Hillary?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Democratic Party Makes Its 'O' Face

Barack Obama has won the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

This makes me so hopeful and excited, I don't even have anything snarky to say.

Oh, wait--yes, I do...

Hillary: Shut up, concede, and start trying to be the vice-presidential candidate.*

*(Although that's never going to happen because you--what with your transparent phoniness combined with your attention-starved train wreck of a husband--are now more brutally divisive than a samurai sword through Glad Wrap.)