Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Breakdown

Let me convey the overall message of what I've learned in the past four days of this year's NCAA Tournament in one word:

The state of being mentally ill, esp. severely.
Extremely foolish behavior.


I kicked off my personal madness-a-thon early Wednesday, filling out the first of many ill-fated brackets. As I feverously scribbled down 'gut feelings' and 'no-brainers' (Fuck you, Missouri) at my kitchen counter, I quickly came to the conclusion that this year's madness would be like none other and that I had a 0% chance of even coming close to winning any pool I entered. Nonetheless, I relayed each and every pick to my mother over the phone (I couldn't bring myself to do it the night before) to enter into another bracket at work, one that she would turn in for me, with complete and total confidence.

That, however, was nothing more than a facade.

As I raddled off who I expected to win in each pairing, I was overcome by my conscience. My voice was humbled into a whimper. My knees quivered under the weight of each choice.

St. Mary's or Purdue? Wichita State or VCU? How the fuck am I supposed to pick the winner of the USF-Temple game if USF hasn't even won their God damned play-in game yet?

Decisions, decisions. Each one so vital. Each one so confusing.

I settled with something I could live with, something much more conservative (1-2-1-1 Final Four) than usual. I mean USF can't possibly beat Temple on only one day of rest, right? There's a reason St. Mary's is a 7 seed, right? There's no way a school that rocks brown jerseys could possibly upset a team like Duke...right?

Wrong, Wrong, and Wrong. Although I started off strong (14-0), it was evident from the second set of Thursday's games that this year's field was wide open. A Kenny George-less UNC-Asheville, for all intensive purposes, defeated the Fab Melo-less Syracuse on the floor. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Matt 'Dead-Eye' Dickey shot like Dick Cheney and the zebras that were calling the game forgot to take their blinders off. If anything, the otherwise uneventful first day of action wound up being a precursor to the absolute insanity of Friday.

I took a hit with the final two games of Thursday, but that was to be expected. Never bet on UNLV if they aren't shaving points for you and never gamble on UCONN if their best players aren't in a contract year.


Either way, 14-2 is not a first round (second round my ass) score to scoff at. In fact, I was fucking elated. For a bracket that was completed in less than 10 minutes, minus the scrutinizing, I was prepared to rub the whole 'not losing a single Sweet 16 team on the first day' thing in the faces of everyone who did. Little did I know, the big dance had just started, and the entire Stomp the Yard cast was coming to serve my pasty ass all the way back to the stone age.

The second day started off fantastic, Creighton came through with a huge W over Alabama after trailing for most of the game and NC State pulled off their pseudo-upset. Then, as the day progressed, I began losing game after game. That trendy Cinderella Ohio with their badass jerseys beat Michigan. I can take it. Then, out of nowhere, Norfolk State continually matches and out-matches Missouri. As the clock winds down, a man is faced with the most troubling of all indecisions when it comes to March Madness: Who should I root for?

As a proud downstate Illinoisan, I absolutely despise Missouri University--what they stand for, what they do, how they always fail to deliver under any circumstance, etc, etc--and the only thing that I despise more than that are the fans in Illinois that root for them. Where's the pride in your home state at? Probably somewhere buried in your self esteem after losing to Norfolk State in the first round.

I'm not even going to get upset over that, actually, so thank you, Missouri.

Over the years, I've found that the question of who to root for often winds up tilted towards the underdog as soon as the clock runs down to about five minutes. Despite losing a Final Four team, I picked up jeers towards Missouri fans that will literally last a lifetime. It was a win-win situation, leaving me with no real qualms.

Then came the late set of Friday games, which, understandably, are very, very hazy. But I do know Lehigh beating Duke made me feel happy inside, as I only had Duke reaching the Sweet 16. But then Xavier beat Notre Dame, and Purdue beat St. Mary's, and USF beat Temple and I said fuck it to my bracket and fuck you to myself for making such conservative, piece of shit predictions.

The next morning I arose and the only thing more gloom and doom than my hangover was my bracket. I crumpled it up and threw it in the trash. I, like millions of others, had a Spring Breakdown. It's anyone's game now, and that's certifiable madness.

Chad Selliers

call me madness.

March really is madness. 

The basketball tournament speaks for itself, just ask Duke and Mizzou. Of the seven brackets I filled out, the one that is doing the best has Detroit playing NC State in the Sweet 16; madness. 

Off of the court my weekends have been full of celebrations. First there was Unofficial St. Patrick's day up at U of I. That trip involved Pakistani food, a shit ton of drinks, some amazing chicken fingers and falling from lofts. Out of everything that weekend brought, there are three words that will stick with me forever: "Call Me Maybe".  Call Me Maybe is one of the most girly/annoying songs in the world, but I can't turn it off. To be honest I'm listening to it as I'm typing. Thanks U of I. 

The real games started on Thursday without much drama. Syracuse should have lost to North Carolina Asheville if the refs didn't blow an obvious call at the end. Other than that there were no buzzer beaters and VCU and Colorado were the only lower seeds to win. That would change friday. While Mizzou should have played like they had something to prove, they played down to Norfolk St. I found myself rooting for Norfolk St as the game was winding down; not because I had them winning, (I had Mizzou in the final four in almost all my brackets) but because one of my best friends is a Mizzou fan and the thought of how angry he would be just made me laugh. We celebrated his 21st birthday that night, and he drank away his sorrows. 

I would soon find myself in his spot, taking pulls of Jameson as Notre Dame was knocked out of the tournament due to an awful lane violation call. This seems to be a recurring theme as Notre Dame is now 0-6 (football and basketball) on nights where they play while I am at a party. I picked Xavier in my money bracket simply because of this stat, it never fails. God just wants me to drink heavily. It's because I'm an Irish Catholic. 

At least Duke lost. Duke sucks. 

As far as Cinderella stories go, 11 seed North Carolina State and 13 seed Ohio are wearing the glass slippers this year.   

Do you see a lane violation? yea I don't either.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Game of the Century? No, not even game of the year.


The Alabama vs LSU game this past weekend was hyped up as one of the biggest games in college football history. A meeting between the number 1 and 2 teams in the country deserves such attention, and I'll admit that I was excited about it. Then the game started and I realized it was gonna be all about defense. I love college football, but nobody wants to watch the two best defenses dominate two very weak offenses. LSU only proved one thing to me in their 9-6 victory: they have a better kicker.

Neither LSU nor Alabama has a good quarterback. Alabama has the best running back in the country, but one man can only do so much against such a physical defense. LSU has better receivers, but without a quarterback that doesn't get you much. The defenses are about the same and are so much better than any others in the country. Jarrett Lee is the better game manager and does enough to not lose, but he threw an interception every other pass it seemed. Jordan Jefferson is more athletic and more explosive, but with that high reward also comes high risk. AJ McCarron is young and was just over matched, it didn't help not having a big time wide receiver to bail him out. I wouldn't want any of the three quarterbacks running my favorite team, but they are 9-0 and 8-1 so they're doing something right.

The best game of the day was probably Oklahoma St. and Kansas St. If you wanted the opposite of what you were seeing with LSU and 'Bama, then this was the game to watch. OK St. won 52-45 and the teams total offense combined more than doubled LSU and Alabama's. Kansas St. continues to shock me with their offense. Their quarterback can't throw the ball, but somehow they get by and are 7-2. Oklahoma St. is nearly unstoppable on offense but is unable to stop anybody on defense. An OKST vs LSU matchup would bring together the two most opposite teams. That could be the National Championship game with Oklahoma St moving up to number 2 in the BCS behind LSU, while Alabama fell to number 3.

Notre Dame v Michigan, Wisconsin v Michigan St, Stanford v USC were all better games than LSU v Bama. I understand they didn't mean as much to the landscape of football, with the rankings and all, but from start to finish the games can't even be compared.

Case Keenum is now the all time passing leader in college football history with 17,202 yds. Congratulations.

Penn St's former defensive coordinator is banging little kids, sick fuck. Read the grand jury report, its fucking disgusting. Dude needs to be locked up for life.

Notre Dame is wearing these against Maryland. They're, uh, different.

Roll Tide is overused. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Swear this Summer will be Summer CAMP, Bitch

By Chad Selliers

                Childish Gambino is the best thing you’ve never listened to.

                And by the best thing, I mean, THE BEST THING. Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino, is my favorite rapper, and chances are that 99% of the people reading this have never even heard of him. I realize this is a sports blog, but stick with me, you won’t regret it.

                In what has to be raps best kept secret lives an actor, a writer, a stand-up comedian and pretty much every other fucking thing you could ever dream of. He’s a sextape away from being a pornstar. He’s a football away from being an athlete. Do I sound crazy? Perhaps. But give Donald Glover something to do and he’ll most likely succeed at the task at hand.

                After releasing 3 studio albums and 2 mixtapes for free, Childish Gambino has signed with a label, and put out a commercial album, nearly a year in the making. CAMP is its title, and blowing my mind was its mission; and may I say, mission accomplished.

                After waiting months after the first whispers of the album, NPR Radio has leaked it tonight. I gave up writing my mid-term paper in order to listen to it, probably giving me an automatic F in my Middle-Eastern History class, but the 56 minutes and change of CAMP has literally redefined music for me, therefore, every second of those 56 minutes was the very definition of worth it.

                Maybe a middle-class suburban white boy from Southern Illinois isn’t the best critic of rap, but lyrically, Childish Gambino is untouched. After studying at NYU, he became a writer for 30-Rock, then, a stand-up comedian. His gifts in these two forms of entertainment combined with his incredibly unique rapping and singing voice gives him the venue to become a brilliant lyrical wordsmith, someone who seemingly plays around with lines like God with a pen and paper.

                Not swayed yet? Fucking go to NPR right this fucking instant. Download it when it comes out. Go to YouTube. I don’t gives a shit. Just listen to it, and if you have ear drums, an open mind and a decent taste in good musical talent, you will not be disappointed.

                This year I’ve listened to Watch the Throne, Finally Famous, Ambition, and pretty much every good rapper if they’ve put out a new album. (Notice I didn’t mention Lil’ Wayne, because he sucks, and Wiz Khalifa, because he sold out.)

                None of those hold a candle in a mid 1800’s Amish household to CAMP. And that's no overstatement.

                Let’s cover the bases. Lyrically? Phenomenal. The beats? Phenomenal. The production value? Phenomenal. This may be, scratch that, is the best album I’ve ever been fortunate enough to let sodomize my eardrums (in a good way). If it isn’t the rap album of the year, society is fucked. I suggest that you, your friends, your grandparents, your sister in-law, everyone you fucking know, listens to this with an open mind and open ears, because if you do that, there will be no way to possibly be disappointed.

                With lines so clever, so witty and so meaningful, and with an album so perfect, so overwhelming and so brilliant, there is absolutely no reason Childish Gambino shouldn’t blow up within the next year. His lyrics relate to everyone, every situation and it’s something you don’t and won’t ever get with any other rapper. Childish Gambino is the most unique rapper in the ‘game’, and I promise you that you will be thanking me once you hear CAMP.


Monday, October 31, 2011


This happened...

I wasn't actually at the game, but I was at a bar so I had plenty of fun. After everything the Cards had to deal with this season, I'm still not sure that win actually happened. Their best pitcher was out all season, their second best pitcher had a down year (Carp was 11-9 during the season), and the best hitter in the history of baseball had a the worst year of his career. The bullpen couldn't keep a lead for multiple stretches during the season and the Cards lost games they had in the bag. A highly criticized three team trade sent Colby Rasmus to Toronto, while the Cardinals got pitchers Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski, along with outfielder Corey Patterson.  

Everybody knows what happened next: 10.5 back, an improbable run into the playoffs, the huge upset of the Phillies in round 1, the dominance of the Brewers in round 2 and then a World Series title over the Rangers. That Rasmus trade turned out to be HUGE as all the pitchers played a role. 

Game 6 of the World Series was easily the greatest baseball game I have ever watched, and I think the momentum from that game carried the Cards in game 7. Texas had no chance in game 7, I know they scored 2 in the first inning, but that turned out to be a continuation of game 6 as David Freese's double in the home half tied it up. It was over after that. The Rangers' will to play was gone, a quick start and attempt to grab some momentum of their own was Freezed out. That was a terrible Freeze pun but I had to try.

Tony LaRussa retired this morning after winning his second World Series with the Cardinals and his third overall. I was never a huge fan of LaRussa, but I must admit he saw the game of baseball differently than anybody in the game. He was a mastermind of baseball and will be impossible to replace. He also passed out behind the wheel at a stop light and got a DUI, he's a legend in STL for multiple reasons.

Sunday, during the celebration for the Cardinals, St Louis realized their terrible football team had a home game as well. The Rams acknowledged the Cards before the game and then came out in what I think are the best uniforms in football. The throwback and Superbowl winning blue and yellow jerseys. The Rams seemingly had no chance against the Saints, who were coming off a 62-7 beat down of the Colts. 60 minutes and 52 total points later the Rams had their first win of the season: 31-21. Chris Long and rookie Robert Quinn dominated on defense. Stephen Jackson went wild for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

Denver played some left-handed guy they picked out of the stands at quarterback and got manhandled by the Lions. Miami almost won, almost. The Colts still suck and Peyton Manning has a great case for MVP this year. 

--Mark Roche

Sunday, October 30, 2011

News from the NBA Lockout: White People Don't Care

Chad Selliers

What happens when the greediest of owners get together with the greediest of athletes in order to talk out their differences? Nothing…Yet.

                In the suburbs, the NBA is cool until you outgrow the phase of lowering your basketball hoop to 7 feet in order to dunk on it. Basketball is cool until the white people living in the suburbs realize how poorly they compare to African-American’s.  After that, white people toss the game of basketball lackadaisically aside like an errant Mike Tisdale pass on a fast break.

                Now, the top basketball league in the entire world is threatening to Mike Tisdale the 2011/2012 season on the basis of something I frankly don’t care enough about to research. But I do know this: They both want that cheddar and the small-market teams are losing money at a faster pace than they ever have before. What could this possibly be attributed to? I’ve pondered my very existence to find out.

                If I were a betting man, which I’m not because it’s a sin (and I don’t have any money to bet), I’d have to believe that the fact that out of 30 teams in the NBA, only about 8 have been relevant for about…um…65 years.

                Luckily for myself and pretty much everyone I know, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t take a dead Red Auerbach to tell you that there is no defense played in the NBA. Since white people pride themselves on hard work, defense, layups and hustle, the NBA isn’t actually very appealing once your attention span grows to the level of an adult.

 Sure, it’s fun to watch LeBron James slice through the lane, take 8 steps and dunk over Brian Cardinal. And sure, it may be even more fun to tickle Nate Robinson in the locker room post game (if he lets you), but when it’s all said and done, if you really love the game of basketball, do you get anything out of it from a viewing perspective?

What do you get in the NBA that you don’t get it college? If you reverse that question you’ll find that in college, you get 52-49 snoozefests while at the same time getting to root for guys that get paid modestly in shoeboxes instead of $20mil checks. You get to experience March Madness, and by experience, I do mean lose money. But that’s all 10x more fun than watching your run of the mill 120-110 game in the NBA.

And if we’re completely honest, who really cares about any form of basketball until like February? Basketball is the bridge-gapper between football and baseball. It’s always been the third wheel in a primarily two wheeled American sports scene. The more I think about it, the happier I am their probably won’t be a NBA season this year. Of course, ESPN is going to glorify the coverage of the lockout, but do these already ridiculously overpaid players really need to keep the salary cap at $58mil rather than $45mil? Are they going to lose all of their money if, God forbid, they lose year 4 of their 6 year, $100mil contracts? As long as they don’t go around buying personal Boeings I think they’ll be fine.

I think that I speak for everyone when I say that I’m glad I won’t have to listen to LeBron cry about how he can’t shoot in the fourth quarter. In fact, I won’t have to watch or listen to the Heat at all! The only thing I’ll miss, aside from another Miami Heat implosion, is making fun of all of the Miami Heat bandwagoners.  

So what have we learned today?  In a world ruled by corruption and greed, the most corrupt group of owners and the greediest of all professional athletes are locked out and locked into a federal mediation room for the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t have it any other way.



Friday, October 28, 2011

The Best Fans In Baseball?

By Chad Selliers                         

   Considering the fact that I have a penis, albeit ludicrously small, I turn my TV onto ESPN at least once a day. Actually, ESPN accounts for about 75% of my non-Tivo’d viewing. Since today is like any other day, I turned on ESPN. More precisely, I turned it on FirstTake on ESPN2, as is my morning ritual. Simply expecting Skip Bayless to blow his load at the mere thought of Tim Tebow throwing an incomplete pass, I was subjected to something much, much more horrifying, something completely wrong in every sense of the word.

            I literally laid on my couch, in absolute astonishment, when Skip Bayless, Jay Crawford and the ever-so-thick *cough* chubby *cough* Dana Jacobsen proceeded to bash St. Louis Cardinals fans to the extent of Crawford stating, “I think the fans of St. Louis have lost their title as ‘Best Fans in Baseball’ after last night.” Skip Bayless, a self professed, “Die-hard Cardinals fan” as a youth agreed. Apparently, I’m saying apparently because I didn’t notice it but,‘drones’ of Cardinals fans headed to the exits like Nelson Cruz was Andrew Jackson and Cardinal Nation were headed down the trail of tears. After battling back from behind three times in one game, back to back home runs suddenly seemingly sealed (alliteration) the Cardinals fate in the seventh inning, jutting out to what appeared to be a robust lead on the heels of Rangers back-to-back home runs. Sure, it was late, it was cold and granted, all hope had appeared to be lost. Do I blame people for trying to catch the early, un-crowded, un-fullofhomelessblackpeople Metrolink back home? No.
                 Then, the cast of FirstTake went on to belittle St. Louis on the fact that there were “A bunch” (about 7% of the totality, according to my inside source, Wes Turner) of Rangers fans in attendance. Now, at any given home game, it’s impossible to completely sell out tickets exclusively to home fans. I’m no math genius, but we’ve sold out EVERY GAME, EVERY YEAR since I was born. That’s a shitload of tickets sold. About 3,000,000 per seasons worth, to be exact. And these cronies, these talking heads have the audacity to question OUR fanhood!? I've been sick with the flu for about a week, achy and groggy...But as soon as I heard that, the Irish blood in my body began boiling. I didn't feel sick in the tense of sickness, I felt sick after hearing what I heard. If I had been within a 30-mile radius of Bristol, CN, and had stumbled upon a stronghold of heavy artillery, it's needless to say what I would have done. 

                           There are a lot of front running Rangers fans with money. There are a lot of true Rangers fans with money. It’s a ten hour drive. I’m sure some people, hoping to see their favorite team win their first World Series in the history of forever, would certainly sacrifice a long drive and about $500 of their oil tycoon money to watch it in person. Personally, I saw only a sprinkling of blue in the entirety of a sea of red, which is a given in any World Series Game, regardless of the locale.
  Then, Skippy blamed the loss on Nelson Cruz’s unwillingness to charge through the cement wall in right field in order to save a game-tying triple in the 9th off the bat of local product, and the Cardinals relative yet stereotypical Mizzou-flunking Fratboy cokehead, David Freese, calling it a, "Buckner-esque mistake." (He seriously said that) I’d venture to guess that about 55% of major league right fielders would not have made that play either. Just because Cruz is possibly roided out of his mind doesn’t necessarily make him Iron Man. Fucking dick.

            This is all said on top of the Mike Napoli handjobs being given out by the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” Is he having the series of his life? Yes. Does throwing out Allen Craig twice on failed hit-and-run attempts make him half the defensive player Yadi is? No. In fact, I’m just going to throw this out there: Not only does Napoli lose control of balls multiple times per game, he’s also had to switch to a bigger catcher’s mitt, Christina Aguilera size to be exact, in order to limit the numbers of passed balls he gives up. On top of that, let’s be real. Even Nolan Ryan’s old, wrinkly, arthritic and liver-spotted body could have thrown out Craig at second base. From his knees.

            If you can’t tell, I am a strong believer in St. Louis being the home of not only one of the best teams in all of baseball, but also the best fans in all of baseball. Just a quick study I’ve done by myself over the course of this postseason completely confirms my position. When the Cardinals went to Philadelphia and played at Citizens Bank Park, the fans booed Albert Pujols, the best player in the game. When Philly came to Busch, no one booed for Halladay, Howard, or Pence. When the Cardinals went to Milwaukee and played at Miller Park, the fans booed Albert Pujols. When Milwaukee left a stain on St. Louis with their piss-flavored water of a beer, no one booed anyone aside from prima-donna and literally split-personalitied Nyjer Morgan. When the Cardinals went to Texas and played at The Ballpark in Arlington (gay name) the fans booed Albert Pujols. When the Rangers came to Busch, no one booed Hamilton or Cruz or Beltre. Why do they boo him? Because he’s the best player of our generation? Because he’s never hurt anything or anyone aside from the opposing teams pitching? That’s how I know we’re the best fans in baseball. Aside from a few playful jeers here or there, we show the utmost respect for opposing players and teams 81+ games out of the season, and despite how we perform on the field, we can always pride ourselves on that. Today, I saw over three quarters of the students and faculty at my desolate community college in Southern Illinois wearing either red or some sort of Cardinals paraphernalia. I test you to show me the same thing happening under the same circumstances 30 miles away from any other Major League Baseball team.

            None of this bullshitery should take away anything from Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. In what was a game of supreme strategical wizardry by both managers, it shouldn’t be dulled by blame, insults or any of that shit. Although I was not sober from about the fourth inning on, I could tell you that that was the best game of baseball I’ve ever seen played. I think that it shows exactly the amount of resolve in the St. Louis Cardinals’ DNA, and is a true metaphor for the entire 2011 season.

            In a game that literally went from one of the sloppiest World Series Games ever played, to arguably the best World Series Game that was ever played, nothing should overshadow the brilliance that was last night. Nothing should overshadow what was the defining moment, given a win in Game 7, of any Cardinals fan that was born post 1982. And for the best fans in baseball, that’s really saying something.