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No longer looking up.

By Kyle Bauer

Out of the blue. That is a good way to describe team USA’s run to the gold medal game on multiple ways. 

No, I’m not going to make this some overplayed fluff about how this stunning series of events is going to ‘uplift the country in a time of need’ because it wont. This is hockey, and we live in a country that for some reason, cares more about figure skating than the game, the country north of us lives through.

For me this is big though. I thought the USA had the potential to surprise some people, I have been saying that all along. By that I meant maybe bronze. Never did I figure it would culminate to this point. That is part of what makes this great. Unlike some, I consider USA hockey a home team. A team that I will root as hard for as the Red Wings in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Tomorrow is game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in a sense, and thankfully Maxime Talbot just wasnt quite good enough to make team Canada. 

Whether I should or shouldnt, well I shouldnt, but I do live through the Tigers, Red Wings and every four years USA hockey. In a year that has seen the Lions continue their anemic ways, the Pistons reaching new lows in my lifetime, and the Red Wings staring up to missing the playoffs for the first time since I was two, USA hockey is saving me. Call that pathetic but that is the way I roll. 

For the United States, that many people might not care, especially in the grand scheme of things. What I look at in the big picture perspective is if these occurences inspire say 60 kids from various parts of this country to start watching and playing the game, then they fall in love with it the same way I did. If some 10 year old kid from Kentucky, watches the game rooting hard for the country he was socialized to root for, more than the team, he watches Patrick Kane score an awe-inspiring goal. He then goes to Wal-Mart and recognizes Kane on the cover on NHL 2010 with that stupid mouthguard hanging out. Recalling cheering for USA hockey in the olympics, he buys the game with his mothers credit card, giving her a nasty overage charge with 22% interest, but finding a different kind of interest in a game that was previously foreign to him.

My point wading through all this cheese is that USA being in this game, with new stars like Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kessler, Paul Stastny and Ryan Miller can only add intrigue and help grow the great game, that I so painfully watch be neglected at an astonishing level.

This may be “Canada’s game” ask a Canadian and they’ll tell you that, then you can punch their arrogant ass, but the US is coming up fast. This was a team that was not expected to compete for another four years. They weren’t supposed to beat Canada, let alone play them close. With the big win in the World Juniors, and the continuing presence of Hockey East, the CCHA, USHL and american players getting a fair shot in the CHL, USA hockey is an awoken giant. The program fell stagnant in the first half of the decade. A new breed of quick, powerful, creative, exciting american hockey player has ascended, and letting Canada know that they have company, not on the horizon but here, now.

While popularity of the game in this country is still in the sewer, it is slowly climbing back to the surface. Increased television ratings for stars like the afore-mentioned Kane, Parise and Miller and then Crosby, Ovechkin and Datsyuk are a positive sign. People in Detroit may hate Crosby but he is gaining viewers for the NHL and no one should hate that. This is the most exciting hockey has been since the height of its popularity in the late 80’s through the mid-90’s. If USA wins tomorrow, there may be actually a base for that win to build on in regards to growing the game, unlike the stale team that had a shot at gold in 2002 during a stale era for hockey.

The USA can win tomorrow by doing all the little things right. An early goal, a strong forecheck, getting in Canada’s shooting lanes, holding their line and owning the front of the net. But if they win, I believe they will be doing a big thing for my competitive psyche and a little thing for gaining respect as a sport in this country. At this point even a little thing is big to the USA hockey program.

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My Super Sunday. A diary of thoughts from Kyle Bauer.

By Kyle Bauer

Yesterday was a fantastic day for sport.  True there was Ovechkin showing up Crosby and I guess the Superbowl, but what I’m referring to is the celebrity sports challenges.

Yesterday was the Chris Paul Bowling Tournament, which featured Lamarr Woodley, Hines Ward, Jack DelRio, Ludacris and of course Paul himself. I didnt watch much of this but from what I did see it was the most horribly awkward event. Watching Ludacris being interviewed by bowling announcers was so off.  Of course they tried to drop some ‘SLANG’ on Luda and he wasnt having it. On top of that, they asked him the origins of his name. Is that hard to figure? Couldnt he just want to be called Ludacris for the sake of being called Ludacris? I wish he would had answered that.

The juxtaposition of NFL players and pro bowlers is always fun. Pro bowlers are by far the dorkiest bunch of schmucks on television. They all wear those stupid sponsored shirts, try to be ‘edgy’ (like Pete Weber) but at the end of the day, we know what pro bowlers are and that is a group of out of shape hacks who have mastered a hobbiest skill. To see their pressure and discomfort of trying to mingle with NFL and NBA players was near nerve racking.

www.hornetshype.com has the best coverage of this event.

Then there was litany of celebrity skiing and….uh poker playing….events on ABC following the Magic vs. Celtics game. I can’t tell you much about this because I can find no fallow up coverage online and I only watched like 10 minutes of it because I was busy getting ready for the party.

From what I did see, it was produced in the classic celebrity athletics event fashion. Similar to the Steve Garvey charity classics that I lol’d over so often on episodes of Cheap Seats (miss u Randy & Jay), there was an awful narration of the events by a guy who sounded similar to Buzz Brainard from This Week in Baseball, but sounded just different enough to where I knew it wasnt him. The delivery was slow and forced as he described Kathy Bates cross-country skiing, which I guess this was appropriate because obviously Kathy Bates doing is anything is slow and forced.

Then the cheap plugs began. Instead of running a commercial for the airline that transported celebrities the likes of Joe Pantoliano to Aspen and Calgary, they actually took about two minutes of the show, talking about how great the airline is and showing footage of the celebrities on the plane. Rather shameless but understandable.

I checked out when suddenly Alec Baldwin was playing poker. This left me confused on how they jumped from skiing to poker, so I shut it off in anger.

Despite my displeasure with something that had the potential to be beautifully cheesy, I still found more entertainment out of that than the Orlando-Boston game.

A couple other things that bothered me about yesterday was the predictable grandstanding by non-football fans using social websites to declare how they are better than you because they are not watching the Superbowl. Well….uh ok…..good the Superbowl doesn’t need your viewership anyways, they’re going to be fine.

There are multiple factions of people who carry on about this. In 2004 it was Livejournal. In 2005 and ’06 it was Myspace and over the past three years it has been these groups of people who have used Facebook to annoy me.

The first group that bitches about the Superbowl is the wannabe counter-culture revolutionary, who believes that the Superbowl is the worlds biggest display of capitalism, greed, corruption and american excess. Hmmmm, theyre actually right. But what gets me about their stance is that they are so passionate about it. By posting a Facebook status about how you hate the Superbowl and anyone who watches it is an idiot, what are you accomplishing? Listen, I know you need another cheap thrill to go along with you trying to ruin your families Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas every year, and I know you’re different, but you and your cynical, brat-ass status updates are going to do nothing except display what a douche you are to your 326 friends. You’re not going to stop the Superbowl, your drum circle is not going to stop the Superbowl, if anything the Superbowl will one day stop you. And when you’re 36 and trying to make friends at the office, you’ll find yourself at a party pretending that you know the slightest about football while bandwagoning for some team and social acceptance.

The second group doesn’t bother me too much because I find genuine innocence behind their stance and that is women. If they want to watch the Puppy Bowl and post about how they are watching Puppy Bowl, that is fine with me. I am not going to lie, I have watched a little bit of the Puppy Bowl in the past, finding hilarious and adorable. To me the Puppy Bowl bears equivalence to the Superbowl in these peoples minds, so I do not have a problem with that. It’s honest passion, not trying to be different for the sake of being different and garner attention to yourself like the kids in the first group.

The third group irks me more than the first because of how hypocritical they are and that is soccer snob. This group will post about how they are not watching the Superbowl because they watch “real futbol”. Now I respect soccer and watch it when I can and I have said many times before, the ideal of soccer actually being called football makes a ton more sense than american football. That does not mean you need to turn up your nose and get on your soapbox about stupid american culture and the fanfare behind the event that is the Superbowl and how you’re proudly watching Inter Milan play Palermo to a 0-0 tie. I call their stance hypocritical because they pretend they’re above the riff-raff of NFL hype. Well soccer fan, you definitely are not. Remember that while you bitch about the Superbowl somehow getting in the way of your day-to-day life, the fucking World Cup is on the horizon and that is like six Superbowls rolled into one. Also there is the EURO which is like three Superbowls rolled into one. Then there is also the EUFA title match which doubles the ratings of the Superbowl. When these events occur, I watch, but if I didnt, I wouldn’t go on Facebook and declare that I am not watching a boring soccer game and anyone who watches is wasting their time, and then wait for the hate mail to pile in with a grin on my face. Worldwide, soccer dwarfs the NFL in ratings and also riots, to quote my co-host Neal Ruhl “that’s a fact.” So soccer fan should just calm the fuck down while they wrap on their celebratory scarves and rock some jersey with a corporation plastered all over it.

Those are the three groups who always put a crimp in my Superbowl Sunday, but ultimately it is all good. Another NFL season has passed and now I can wait until next year when I can bitch about more unwarranted hype, have to hear about another Favre return and the Lions will continue to hit new depths of futility.

Good riddance to all of this.

Stretch and yawn. Yawn and stretch.

By Kyle Bauer

Here we are. Finally the NFL season is about to end or rather….YAY IT’S SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!!!!

While I hate the NFL and only cover it on necessity, I have respect for the spectacle that is the Superbowl. When you think of it, there is a definitive beauty in that one game decides it all. No series needed here. The brutal nature of football sets up for ultimate drama.

The game is a celebration, a holiday. Unless the pending lockout of 2011 tanks the league, I can only see the Superbowl getting bigger, to the point where this will become a national holiday. It would sound ridiculous and bum a lot of pretentious people out but bottom line is that at least 90 million people will be watching this game in this country alone. With the Superbowl, people feel the need to party and be as indulgent as if it were New Years Eve. I don’t have the exact numbers but I’m going to make a guess and say a lot of people will be calling in tomorrow.

I plan on going to a Superbowl party where I am going to take it easy, but in all the prep for that, I dont really have time to create the post I should create for this momentous occasion. Seriously, today has almost a Christmas vibe to it. This game will validate the hype of the event that is the Superbowl in itself. The actual matchup seems to be simmering. Really, I dont understand why.

With all insistence, I keep having to warn people that this game will be close. Because of the Saints needing overtime against Minnesota despite getting five turnovers, many folks believe that the Colts will win easily. I think Peyton Manning might also have something to do with it. Maybe.

My argument for the Saints making it interesting, is found in the way so many pundits are putting them down. New Orleans forces turnovers. They will get pressure on Manning today, the proverbial brick wall in front of him will be crumbled. I am predicting multiple sacks for the Saints, the complete dissolution of the Colts running game and the formidable secondary, lead by the greatest safety of all time, Darren Sharper, will force a rare big interception.

New Orleans running game has become grossly undersold. The Saints have been getting into the end zone with Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush through the playoffs. Drew Bress, who has not looked sharp in recent weeks he will be protected by the trio of running backs and an injured Dwight Freeney.

Ultimately, Peyton Manning’s ability to spread the ball around and the ascention of Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, will be too much. My point is that while the Colts are going to win, this is going to be a damn good Superbowl. I can understand why people are predicting ‘PAIN’ for the Saints, especially when I have criticized New Orleans majority of the season, but I believe people are simply underestimating their running game and defense.

Colts- 31

Saints-28

 

Who am I actually rooting for though? Of course it’s the Colts. Sure, the city of New Orleans could use this fun lil band-aid but dammit, they already had a parade. Considering that they got alllllll dressed up in drag and danced around like they already won something is enough for me to suggest that karma is going to bite them in the same effect that it helped them get here. Am I suggesting a jinx? Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuure!

Tack onto that is the other faction of Saints fans. You know damn well who I am talking about. Our good friends in the Bayou swamps (I’m assuming) who will be blasting off televisions everywhere if the Saints win tonight.

This is dangerous. If the Saints win, rednecks will destroy their televisions and possibly create a destructive force almost as powerful as Katrina. They will put themselves into further debt having to buy new televisions, radios and most likely trucks. The celebratory muddin’ will be so fierce that even the biggest of tires may not stand a chance. Costco’s, Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club’s will continue to get bigger and bigger from this trickle down effect causing many smaller companies and chains to go out of business. The global-economy crisis will grow, the margin between rich and poor will swell. Credit Card companies will be salivating.

Another business that will profit will be Aarons. No, not Rent-A-Center, they’re not the official rental center of NASCAR, Aarons is. They are sitting back in the shadows, waiting for Cletus to yell “WHO DAT!” and fire off his .45 into his TV and come in and rent a new 60 inch behemoth. No deposit needed. No credit needed. No interest until 2011. No problem.

 

 Has the Aarons Lucky Dog made your dreams come true today?

I have been fallowing the Saints for a good couple months now. Here it ends.

Previous Saints coverage-

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http://wp.me/pGn7Z-9C

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http://wp.me/pGn7Z-6N

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http://wp.me/pGn7Z-6f

Sports have become over-whelmingly viral in the recent weeks.

By Kyle Bauer

I suppose it is a beautiful thing. Although in a sense, it is keeping me from reporting any hard sports news or giving an actual take.

Like right now. I could post about Pete Carroll killing his career to go to Seattle, and then Lane Kiffin going Lane Kiffin on Tennessee in taking the USC position.

Naw. Responsibility shirked. Why?

THIS IS WHY!

I love rednecks. Well from a distance. I have attended many NASCAR races, I have witnessed rednecks first hand. Even in those instances, I have kept a distance of at least 30 feet, for they cannot be trusted. When the actual race occurs and I have to sit among them, I keep a copy of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” with me to stay immune from becoming one of them. If you ask why I’m going to NASCAR races to begin with, well I…..

digress.

They provide hilarious viral material. Of course we have people of Wal-Mart which is taking the world by storm. There is also SkoalRebel who bares resemblance to  Big SlaveDaddy or VolDaddy or whatever he’s called in both look, lung capacity and candor.

I will give more credit to BigVolDaddy for calling Lane Kiffin a “crotch rocket” at 1:14 and then the even more appropriate “crotch rider” at 1:17. Well at least he decided to be a crotch rider early.

Let’s watch the horror of Saints fan shooting up a TV again.

WHO DAT?! WHO DAT?! WHO DAT DER DON TEAM DAT LOST TREE INA ROW?!!!

I have never been more proud to be born and raised in Michigan.

BigVolDaddy video courtesy of Deadspin