Posts Tagged ‘The Media

05
Nov
09

On the radio tonight with Kirk Fraser, director of Len Bias documentary

Tonight’s episode of Terp Talk should be a good one.  Terp Talk host Bruce Posner is welcoming Kirk Fraser, director of the “Without Bias” documentary, to the show. Fellow blogger Chris Stoner is going to be on as well, along with yours truly. Hope you tune in. Those not in the Baltimore area can listen here.

04
Nov
09

Without Bias: A Terp fan’s take

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As you know, the documentary Without Bias debuted on ESPN last night.

I’m going to resist the urge to write a bunch of flowery prose about “Everyone Knows Where They Were When They Heard Len Bias Was Dead,” “He Could Have Been Better Than Jordan,” etc. It feels a little superfluous at this point.  I’ll just say that it was sad, is sad, and will continue to be sad. I think what will always grab people is the timing, happening just two days after the draft.  It’s a little like if someone won the lottery, decided to celebrate by going skydiving, and died in the air before they could cash the ticket. It was a promising life snuffed out as it passed through the doorway to greatness. 

Okay, I said I would resist. I didn’t say I would be successful.

As for the movie, I thought it was pretty good, even if it generally lacked fresh insight. The reporting was comprehensive, and included a lot of familiar faces for D.C. dwellars — John Thompson, Michael Wilbon, Jim Vance, Steve Buckhantz and, of course, one Charles “Lefty” Driesell. After reading countless column inches on Bias over the years, it was interesting to see the story told in pictures. Here are some of the pictures that will stay with me for a while:

— The game footage. If he had played baseball, he would have been a “five tool” player. He was ferocious around the rim on both ends, his legs were industrial springs, he played tough defense, and he was a good teammate.  And finally, the jump shot, which I had forgotten about.  That thing was pure sugar.

— The stoicism of Bias’s mother

— The wrenching, almost convulsive weeping of Len’s brother Jay at Len’s funeral

— The reminder that Jay was murdered in a local mall parking lot just a couple years after Len’s passing

As for the film itself, there is some commentary about the harsh, knee-jerk drug sentencing policies that came into place after Bias’s death. Many of these policies, often referred to as Len Bias Laws, remain on the books. But other than that, the movie didn’t really offer any new perspectives. On the other hand, I’m not sure a new perspective is necessary. The story and its characters are all as compelling as ever, and that’s probably, and rightfully, the way it will always be.

03
Nov
09

Shell Games appearing on Terp Talk radio show

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That’s right, I’m gonna be a guest on the always-entertaining, always-informative Terp Talk!

It’ll air Thursday at 6 p.m.

If you live in the Baltimore area, the show airs on ESPN Radio 1300 AM. All others can listen live by clicking this hyperlink. I’m gonna make a fool out of myself! Wheeeeee!!!!!

02
Nov
09

Len Bias documentary tomorrow on ESPN

Like every other sports fan who was alive in 1986, Len Bias’s death is still a mile marker on my own personal sports landscape. More than 20 years later, his death and life still strike a chord. (See iconic image on the sidebar to your right.) Tomorrow night at 8, a new documentary called Without Bias will air on ESPN. It’s part of the network’s “30 for 30” film series.

Sports Guy and Boston Homer Bill Simmons, who masterminded the whole “30 for 30” concept, has previously lamented Bias’s death and What Could Have Been for the Celtics. It’s a good (or maybe bad) read for getting into the Bias mood.

“Without Bias” is directed by Kirk Fraser who, as I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, is the brains behind “Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown.” For truly, hers, too, was a life interrupted. (He also did “American Gangster,” which was a good movie.)

We’ll be back to share some reactions to the film Wednesday morning.

24
Oct
09

Maryland football team loses to Duke, hits rock bottom, sucks

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I want to congratulate the Maryand football team, with every sarcastic fiber in my being, for losing to Duke 17-13 today. That’s the same Duke team that hasn’t made a bowl game since 1994. The same Duke team that, between the 1999 season and this very game, has gone 19-101. Seriously.

Not to go over the cliff too much, but I think it’s safe to say we’re currently the worst-performing team in the ACC. 

There’s no single remedy for Maryland. We won the turnover battle 4-3 (yay, only three turnovers!) but couldn’t capitalize. Didn’t score a TD until late in the third quarter, and it was our only one. 67 total rush yards, 182 pass yards to Duke’s 23 and 371. At least we stopped their running game. Not that that was a “key to victory” or anything. It’s like saying we stopped a cat from barking.

Questionable coaching calls everywhere. Another too-little, too-late, stat-padding comeback attempt. The Terps actually ended this one themselves by coughing it up twice in the final five minutes. Torrey Smith caught a grand total of two balls for 13 yards. 38% third down conversion rate.  What else do you need to know? Thanks to good old ESPN360, I didn’t actually watch the game. But judging by the various updates and discussion boards, that is a good thing. Thanks, ESPN360! I never thought your evil would pay dividends.

Oh, were you thinking Duke is up this year? Bzzzzt. No they’re not. They’re still Duke. Duke sucks. Fu*k Duke. If they make a bowl game then I’m Shirley Chisholm.

As for Maryland, I’m just searching for a phrase right now. What’s the phrase I’m looking for…noodle dicks? No, that’s too mean. I wouldn’t want to call these guys noodle dicks in a forum that is at least technically public.  If I were to call them noodle dicks, which they are, that would be an insult to The Kids.  You gotta respect The Kids.  Especially the kind of kids that bench 250 and run 4.5 forties.

Oh, wait, I’ve got the phrase now.  Losers.

It’s nice down here with us losers, isn’t it?  Sometimes, they drop a bucket of fish heads on us.  That’s when we party!

At 2-6, the absolute best-case scenario is a 6-6, .500 finish. Raise your hand if you think they can do that. If you have your hand raised, please keep it up while I come around and collect your wallets. After all, I have a bridge I need to sell you. I’m going to assume you’re interested and just take your money. Your raised arms enhance the convenience of my doing so.

The best thing we can do is just move on as a people. Loitering only contaminates the crime scene. Let’s do the decent American thing and just pretend the rest of the season isn’t happening. Deal? Deal.

14
Oct
09

Darrius Heyward-Bey not exactly tearing up the record books

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Back in April, everyone agreed that the Raiders selecting former Terp wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey seventh overall was the swiftest move in the 2009 NFL draft.  For owner Al Davis, it was a legacy builder.  A masterstroke, even.  Dan Snyder chartered Big Boy I to fly out there and pick Al Davis’s brain.  And I don’t mean figuratively. 

The world was excited.  We watched and we waited.  With DHB, quarterback JaMarcus Russell, and pugnacious new head coach Tom Cable, Oakland had visions of glory.  Maybe .500?  Don’t jinx it, they cried!  It’s too sweet to even mention.

But now, oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Heyward-Bey is currently tied for 118th among NFL receivers with two receptions.  Just a few days ago, Chris Berman and Peter King — the Mount Rushmore of football journalism intelligentsia — both observed that DHB has fewer catches than he has names.  Oh, oh!   My goodness!   One teensy little problem, though.  His last name is hyphenated, making it one word.  That means his reception total is TIED with his name total.  So there.  Hey, guys, I’ve booked a third-grade-level grammar class for you.  My treat.

People might be quick to blame DHB because he was picked higher than people thought he should’ve been.  I guess he should have refused the money and the big-time spotlight, huh?   It’s not helping that DHB is saddled with another Al Davis masterstroke, JaMarcus Russell, who is just about the worst quarterback in the NFL (thank Gosh for Derek Anderson!).  He has thrown four interceptions and precisely one touchdown.  His completion percentage is 42 — good for worst in the league.  In technical terms, he couldn’t throw it into the ocean from a rowboat.   He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.  And let’s not even bring up the narrow side.

This is also not to mention the general suckitude of the entire Raiders organization.  Oh, and the pesky little fact that Cable may soon be facing felony assault charges.  But as always, time will tell where the blame lies for DHB’s stumble out of the gate.  After Al Davis ships him to Indy in two years for a seventh-round draft pick and two units of plasma, we’ll see who is right and who is wrong.

28
Sep
09

Vote for Shell Games!

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So Shell Games is up for a Mobbie Award…woo-hoo! It’s an award the Baltimore Sun gives each year to the best blogs in Maryland. Shell Games is in the Best Terps Blog category (duh).  We’re definitely the underdog, but we really want to win.  Reader votes determine it…so we’re asking for yours. If we’ve ever made you laugh, or even informed you in some way, we’d love to get your vote. And if not, perhaps I can appeal to your pity. That is not something I am above. Doesn’t a well-rounded person…like you…want to help out…a pathetic blogger…like me?  Come on.  The Terps stink right now.  I have so little.  And if I win, we’re all going to Sizzler!*  I’ll even make it rain on the sneeze guard.**  

To vote, click on the link above or the Mobbies widget to the right.  Thank you so very much.

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* — I may not be able to pay for you. Actually, maybe you could spot me, bro? I’ll get you back I swear.

** — May not rain dollars.

26
Sep
09

Another game on ESPN360, another game I’m not gonna watch

So for the third consecutive week, the Maryland game will be on ESPN360. As a review, unless you are willing and/or able to switch to an Internet provider (like Verizon) that purchased rights to ESPN360, you can’t watch the game live. Happy footnote to Verizon customers: you’re paying for ESPN360 whether you use it or not!

Smaller Internet providers want the FCC to ban this practice, claiming it’s unfair that ESPN strikes deals with the big guys for ESPN360, and then forces customers to switch carriers if they want to watch it. In the meantime, I’m never switching for ESPN360.  F that. Bunch of shameless blood-swillers.

To me, the argument that the Terps “aren’t good enough to be on TV” doesn’t hold up.  Since when did a team have to earn its way on to the television set?  Are fans of inferior teams less deserving of TV games, or do they forfeit the right to follow their lovable loser team in whatever manner they see fit? 

For now, I’ll just keep listening on the radio (106.7 in D.C. market) or watching the Sunday replay on good old Comcast SportsNet. ESPN could funnel games of local interest to the ABC affiliate, but noooo. So just keep it up. Put the whole season on 360.  See if I care.  Hell, extend it into basketball season.  Come on, ESPN.  Is that all you got?  EASIEST TIME I EVER DID!!!

23
Sep
09

Terp Football Fans: Should I show up to boo, or just burn my ticket?

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I’m glad someone woke up John Feinstein. He must have finally finished his latest tell-all book about the William and Mary soccer team.  Let me guess: it’s a place where sports still mean something.

Just a couple weeks after making some waves by claiming rightly that ACC football is irrelevant on the national stage, yesterday Feinstein noted the growing swarms of Boo Birds at Maryland and Redskin games. More fans seem to be eating their “Boo Berries,” if you get my drift.  They’ve got a case of the “Boos.”  Their teams “make them sick” to the point where they want to “lash out like Huns after a break-in at the meadery.”  If you take my meaning.  Because mead is an intoxicant.

Sometimes I hear a little too much talk radio in Feinstein’s columns, but he’s right. Terp fans are angry over what could be a dreadful season. And I’m not talking about the overreactionist “OMG SOMEONE NEEDS TO THROW ACID IN DEBIE YOWS FACE” contingent. A lot of the rank-and-file fans seem to be getting fed up, too, and they’re fighting back with their mouths and, more ominously, their wallets. Another Post story today notes that attendance is down at Byrd by nearly every measure: last Saturday’s MTSU game had the smallest crowd since 2002. Season ticket sales are declining. And that’s even before we bring up the luxury boxes.  These people, they just don’t know true poshness when they see it.  That’s REAL particle board, people!  That stuff doesn’t grow on trees.

Does the economy play a factor?  Surely.  But would the attendance dip be as bad if the team wasn’t also dipping like a bag of Scoops at an AA meeting?  (zing.)  No. Look at Michigan, one of the hardest-hit states economically. The Big House is packed every time.  Byrd could be, too.  The team doesn’t have to win the ACC every year — just be competitive.  Don’t embarrass your fans.  Is that too much to ask?  For instance, what about that Murfreesboro vacation I was planning?  You think I can still show my face there?  And I heard they just got a Mattress Discounters.

Bottom line:  we wouldn’t be having any of these conversations if the team was winning.  In many ways, sports is an easy business. 

(Non-topical final note:  If you think the Lions don’t have Sunday’s game circled on their calendar, you haven’t been watching the Skins. Booo, Snyder!)

20
Sep
09

Middle Tennessee Freaking State Freaking Owns Freaking Maryland

Look at this photo.  Look at it!

Look at this photo. Look at it!

They beat us in their house last year. Now they’ve beaten us in our house this year. All this talk about revenge game, and this and that, and this is what happens. Another year, another group of Blue Raiders jubilant at Maryland’s expense. Gah. I’m gagging. Need air. I need to breathe!

Okay. Get a hold of yourself, man. Whew. So I should probably mention that I didn’t actually watch the game, mainly because it will be a cold wet day in Hades before I cough up any money to the Evil Sports Programming Network for ESPN360.com. They could put the Super Bowl on there and I still wouldn’t pony up. Fuck them. That’s right. Fuck you, ESPN. Fuck ESPN360.com. And fuck this fucked up ACC TV deal. You want my wallet, you pry it out of my dead hand.

Whoa. Okay. Breathe. I’m a little angry. The morning after and I’m still upset. I may be misdirecting a bit but I’m still salty with ESPN for doing this. Anyway, a bunch of us were getting updates from a friend via cellphone, and it looked like we had it in the bag. That is, until Middle Tennessee State drove the length of Byrd Stadium in the final moments to kick a game-winning field goal. Read that sentence again. Guess what the key play was on the drive. Cameron Chism — Nolan Carroll’s replacement — was burned for 35 yards. What was a team strength — secondary — is now a glaring weakness. Jamari McCulloch can’t come back fast enough.

Other problems: Poor tackling. Missed field goals. Turnovers, including one by backup QB Jamarr Robinson, who played a whopping three snaps but somehow managed to lose a fumble. Again, the lines were porous. And in general, the offense and defense don’t seem to be, what’s the word, functioning.

Bright spots: 287 all-purpose yards from Torrey Smith. To be fair, Chism had two interceptions. Chris Turner had 288, 2 TDs, 1 INT, although he was sacked four times. Travis Baltz had a 40.6 punting average. Rock solid!

Bottom line: Two consecutive losses to Middle Tennessee State = unacceptable. Period. Ralph Friedgen has a lot of work to do. Everyone says his job is safe because the assumption is he’s going to fulfill his contract (this season then two more) and then fade into the sunset. Fine. But right now, there’s a playing-out-the-string feel to all of this that can’t continue. Fridge seemed angry after the game. Good. I think the team can round into form during the ACC season, but it’s not gonna happen automatically. Get to work, guys. This is humiliating.

(Photo credit: AP photo/Murfreesboro Daily News Journal)




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