Archive for category Sports

I remember the 2002 World Series

Living in Western New York watching the Angels only World Series win was a lonely experience in 2002. Everyone in the state was counting down days when Mets and Yankees pitchers and catchers reported.

So when Bengie Molina’s double tied it up my neighbors probably thought someone stubbed a big toe in my house.  It was easily the biggest double I’d ever seen. . .until Garret Anderson’s 3 run double down the line a few innings later.

Thanks to YouTube for giving us all a way to watch this game over and over. 2011 was a tough year for Angels fans. But we’ll always have 2002, YouTube and next season!

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Laker dissenters: Shhhh.

All season I’ve endured all the dissent and whining about how the Lakers are done.  How Kobe is no longer the man. With LeBron still choking at the end of every big game, I have one thing to say:  Shhhhhh.

The banners still hang at the Fabulous Forum.  And Kobe is still the best player on the planet.  If you need proof that the Lakers as a whole have some athleticism.  Click this and Ray Allen, get in my poster.

On a pass from the center Pau Gasol while Big Baby wonders "When do we eat?"

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Passion: What a biker can teach you

“The Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one thing when a person died. Did he have passion?”

That’s a line from the John Cusack movie “Serendipity.” It’s likely not true, but it should be. It should be the only question we ask during life let alone after it.

In our crib-to-cubicle world we give status to those who pursue and achieve wealth, instead of passion, happiness and health. We tend to question those who would do foolish things for the sake of a moment of joy. It was 17 degrees Fahrenheit in New York City yesterday. Most people would think it stupid to leave the house to take their daughter to piano practice and utterly insane to go look at motorcycles you can’t even take for a ride.

Smiling ear to ear off U.S. 1 in California last year.

But these are bikers. Motorcycle riders. Whatever you want to call us, you can’t call us passionless. We’ll talk your ears off about our bikes and the adventures we had on them. (Remind me to tell you about the time a hawk landed on my leg when I was riding a rented Harley.) People who don’t ride scratch themselves bloody wondering why anyone would risk life and limb to do 65 miles per hour with five gallons of fuel between their knees and a battery two inches under their ass. I will never run in the house with a knife, but damn it will I ride.

I ride because there’s something Zen in finding calmness from the raw and visceral experience of going fast through the landscape that taking a walk or a ride on a mountain bike can’t give you. Nothing synchronizes the heart, mind and breath like the potential of being maimed. It’s that sense of danger that makes me focus and find peace in that tiny little space behind the handle bars. I can get to that calm and joy with the twist of the throttle – air space usually reserved for only the highest order monks and yoga master.

In that space, it doesn’t matter that I’m not rich and still spend most of my days in a cubicle.  Because, under my helmet you’d see I am happy.

Jose Mallabo

Carbon version of the Diavel is $20,000 of hotness.

Best in show from the New York IMS in descending order:

  1. Ducati Diavel. Nothing on the floor looked like it. But why would you stick this in the corner of the booth?
  2. Harley Davidson V-Rod Muscle. American brute force.
  3. BMW R1200R. Hottest do-everything sport standard anywhere.
  4. Kawasaki Ninja 1000. Even the 50-year-old cruiser guys thought it was cool.
  5. Victory High Ball. Spokes, white walls and Victory style may make this the only true cruiser I would buy.

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There are only two kinds of people

For a while I was brainwashed into believing that there were multiple kinds of people.  As I’ve bumped along in this current life, I’ve come to see the light and now accept that like Chuck Klosterman says, there are only 2 kinds of people.

Those who know what this is …

The venerable four seam fastball

… and those who do not.

The people who can, on their death bed, identify not just this grip but the time and place to throw it during a baseball game aren’t just my kind of people — they are God’s kind of people.  I know that because God is Nolan Ryan.  For it’s that level of attention to art and science that I think makes life worth living.  If you can sit 200 yards away in the bleachers watching a ballgame and call the correct pitch that the pitcher should throw in a specific situation, you deserve a place in eternity.  And, in my man cave (if I had one).

My only goal for the second half of my life — that I’ll simply call “when I’m a legitimate old fart” — is to toss one of these bad boys over the home plate at Angels Stadium.  It’s a simple yet lofty goal as the only old farts allowed to stand on the hill are either in the Oval Office or former ball players trying to rehabilitate their public image.

I could care less about a white Mercedes or house on some body of water that’s too far away from emergency services to be ideal for old folks.  But to hear the pop of a mitt at a big league park from a pitch I’ve tossed — bring that shit to me, man. Then bury me under the mound.

The people who do not understand what this is or why generations of fans like me cut out of work in April to see a 1:05 p.m. game are probably the same folks playing with their BlackBerry or iPhone while sitting behind home plate.  Too bad that screen is there to protect you.  Maybe you can go to the Genius Bar and look for an app that makes a sinker sink and 4-seam fastball rise.

I love baseball.

Jose Mallabo

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I have 2 words for Tiger

Simply. Boring.

I kept my mouth and blog shut when he was beating on his Escalade and TV shows were running sound bites of him leaving voice mails to one of his concubines.  Yes, I said concubine. Look it up. During his faux press conference I may have uttered the word “staged” and “ridiculous” forty three hundred times in the post mortem of that unfortunate event (not sure really what to call that other than an event).  But, somewhere there has to be a publicist or PR person hanging from a rope for selling that fiasco into the Tiger camp.

Now that it seems he’s back to playing golf, I can’t keep my keyboard shut.  Off with the gloves and on with the truth.  The capital T truth is that Tiger is a formulaic cliche anymore. As boring as watching soap disintegrate under the drip of a shower head.

See if you can fill in just about any sports star gone bad into this timeline below without changing the formula (I’ll even help you with these names — Andre Agassi, Magic Johnson, Mark McGwire, Kobe Bryant and for you older farts Steve Howe).

1) Prodigal sports talent takes pro level by storm

2) Young pro becomes larger than life celebrity on and off the field

3) Star starts lifting weights (Magic did this after he contracted HIV)

4) Fall from grace caused by drug abuse or one too many visits to the concubine farm

Tiger, I’m bored with you dude.  Do something interesting like try a new sport.  While MJ underestimated what it takes to play on the diamond, at least he wasn’t boring.  Until then, I’m yawning at you and am starting to miss John Daly.  He at least had a personality and had the balls to be himself 24/7.  Light up that smoke John and swing at it like you wanna hurt its soul!

– Jose Mallabo

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Bad Ass Pinoy.

This little Pinoy will kick your ass.  Manny Pacquiao. Go ahead, call him “Asian” or “Chinese” then duck.

pacquiao

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70 percent of Californians say Angels, duh

According to this ESPN poll (about 15 minutes ago), 70 percent of Californians believe the Angels will beat the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.  The same poll says 72 percent of New Yorkers believe the Yankees will win the game.

Other than the obvious bias by the denizens of these two respective states, the last two games between these teams have been just that close.  Over the course of 24 innings played in Games 2 and 3, the teams have the exact same number of total runs scored: 8.  The exact same number of hits: 21.  The Angels have been charged with 3 errors, while the Yankees have 2 — though Mariano’s errant throw to third base could have easily counted as error number 3.  His greatness probably helped the official scorer from hanging that on him.  Fair enough.  Mariano is the Michael Jordan of closers, minus being an arrogant turd.

haloshat

Brought the ragged, cotton hat to Anaheim. The wool 1973 lid is 0-2 this series.

On the way to the airport to catch Game 4 in Anaheim today, I hedged against it but couldn’t fight the urge to turn on the so called ‘national’ sports radio channels.  Caller after caller with the Tony Bagodonuts attitude called to lament how Girardi’s decision to pull Aceves cost the Yankees the game.  The Angels let up four solo homers and only four other hits to the $200+ million Hall of Fame lineup.   (Kendry Morales earned $1.15 million this year and hit .306 with 34 homers vs. Mark Texiera’s $20.6 million salary and .292 with 39 homers.)  On offense, the Angels rang up 13 loud hits to all parts of the field against every pitcher the Yankees put on the hill.  Rewind the hits from Mathis, Kendrick, Abreu and Guerrero and you’ll see frozen ropes. And, all the fans can hang on is Girardi’s situational decision to bring Aceves in. Were you watching the entire game?

There’s a saying that I think applies here about seeing the forest through the trees.  Keep obsessing about that move.  Non-Yankees fans enjoy listening to the pathology of denial that perhaps there’s something else at a more fundamental level that could be wrong.

If the Yankee organization is scratching its head today about Girardi’s decision I’d be stunned into fasting for a decade.  (Girardi isn’t Torre, but the dude won 103 games.  103 games, yo! ) It’s the 12 previous hits that led up to that moment that the Yankee brass (and fans) should be thinking about.  Those weren’t toss-the-bat-out and hope it lands where Damon isn’t types of hits.  Those were dead red line drives and bombs — where the Angels were doing anything but guessing.

The entire Yankee rotation and bullpen has been seen at this point — and that’s on Girardi.  So, there are no surprises in that pen unless Joba curves the brim of his cap and throws left handed.  That — is what I’d be worried about  if I was a Yankees fan — middle and long relief.  Buster Olney (the true Go Sox/Yanks partial analyst of ESPN) said the Yankees bullpen was “taxed a little” in Game 3.

AhemBuster.  If by “taxed” you were referring to scenes from Pulp Fiction involving Ving Rhames’ character in a basement, then I agree.  The Yankees bullpen was taxed, alright. Otherwise, the forest through the trees are that the Angels dropped some lumber on the dream team and caught enough breaks to win a game.  That’s baseball.  Talent mitigated by the luck of a bouncing leather ball.

– Jose Mallabo

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Don’t throw poo at Franco Columbo

If the top of his skull were to lift open like the hood of a car and his brain could jump out onto the table, it’d look like Franco Columbo. The guy was that smart. Not that overly-geeky-look-at-my-five-degrees book smart. But real world, real business smart that was both impressive and intimidating for a marketing type like me. And you know he had those five college degrees somewhere.

Never throw anything at this man.

Franco Columbo. Never throw anything at this man.

For some reason, when I’m in a conversation with someone like that I start to reach. I reach for the big, big words I learned in graduate school. It’s kind of like when you’re at a high-brow party and you want to reach for that Louis Vuitton wallet to pay the valet to prove you didn’t just rent that nice sedan. Just like that.

So he’s asking me all these questions about my approach to PR. He’s intuitive. Calm. Urbane. And, unbelievably eloquent. I can only hope he’ll say something I can build off of so I can ride the coattails of his James Bondness.

I’m listening. Still listening.

But all I can feel myself doing is pining to use my go-to $20 word: fecund. I have no idea why of all the words I jotted down in those two painful years of reading absurdly scholarly dissertations fecund is the one that is always at my hip. It’s my Colt .45 at the ready to show that I too can flex like Franco.

Maybe it’s because it’s a short, yet esoteric word that most people think they know the meaning of, but don’t. It’s probably more that it kind of sounds like fecal or fecal matter. As I type this I realize that that’s it. It’s now clear to me that when cornered in a test of wits and vocabulary my instinct is to go primal like a chimp.

I reach back and want to throw poo. Excellent.

Thankfully, instead of trotting out fecund, he says something about customer behavior as it relates to communications and I am suddenly distracted from my base need to be Curious George. The conversation stays focused on PR strategies and his business model.

As the interview wrapped up, I kept thinking how of all the meetings I had with this company this was the test. If I could get through this one and make him somewhat believe I had a brain stem, I might have a shot at this job. Still, I kept looking for some kind of flaw in this guy. He stood up and I realized that at 5’ 7” I could post him up on the low post if I absolutely needed to.

Now, only if a pick up game of hoops would break out. I’d prove my fecundity.

– Jose Mallabo

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You meet the safest drivers on a Kawasaki

As I got cut off on the freeway today, I muttered to myself “probably a Celtics fan.”

 

You see, in one of my all-time favorite books ‘Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs,’ Chuck Klosterman made an epic and never-before-heard-of argument that the ‘80s rivalry between the Lakers and the Celtics represents everything in life and the world.

 

He didn’t just argue that there were two kinds of people on the planet. Chuck goes off. He says that the rivalry explains race relations, religion, politics, math and even the metaphor of Man vs. Beast. I’ve been a Lakers fan since Jim Brewer was lacing them up with Jamaal Wilkes. I get it.

 

As I pulled into my garage, there it was. Chuck’s holy grail of modern media based satire sitting on the shelves next to my Kawasaki. I flipped to the Lakers chapter. His first quasi-sociological test is this question:

 

“What kind of car should I drive?” 

If you’re a Laker Person, buy a two-door car, preferably something made in America. I’d go with a Camaro IROC or possibly a Ford Probe. These are fast, domestic vehicles, just as the “showtime” automaton was a sleek, streamlined machine that came from the streets of Michigan (which is where Magic was raised). Meanwhile, Celtic People are four-door sedan owners. I lean toward the Chrysler LeBaron and the Chevy Cavalier, the veritable D.J. and Ainge of the automotive universe.

 

I swear. He wrote that. And, as I re-read it, I still think he’s more right than wrong.

 

If I could build a case to Chuck to update his thinking, I’d say that there is another way of looking at the denizens of the world: two wheel drivers and four wheel drivers. Now that I’ve been riding a motorcycle for more than a year, the world is far clearer to me. Those who voluntarily risk their lives by balancing themselves on 100 horsepower rockets in rush hour traffic are the most careful, most defensive drivers on the planet. In all my years of driving a car, I’ve never once been cut off by a motorcyclist. But the minivan swoop into my lane or up my tail pipe is a regular activity.

Chuck Klosterman striking a pose for Spin

Chuck Klosterman striking a pose for Spin

Short of making every drivers license test include a motorcycle safety course (which would teach all motor vehicle drivers the life and death proposition of getting behind a wheel or straddling a bike), I’m wondering why we can’t simply turn those oversized shoulders into motorcycle only lanes?

With the international push to be green, can’t people see that even the least fuel efficient motorcycle gets more than 30 mpg? My Kawasaki gets 45 mpg and would be my daily driver if it weren’t for that Chrysler Town & Country lurking to cut me off at freeway speeds because junior is late for a play date.

It’s a given that riding a bike 70 mph is dangerous. So is cutting a bagel, but most of us don’t get tackled by a car while spreading cream cheese. And if it does happen to you you might want to think twice about eating breakfast on the median. While Chuck is right that the Lakers – Celtics rivalry explains humanity, driving or riding with the fear of death explains how people go about their days.

Riders know. For the most part, bikes don’t kill people. Crashing does.

– Jose Mallabo

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