Category Archives: SPROTZ

Running Out the Clock

One of my dreams (and by “dream” I mean a passing thought I had like 8 years ago) has always been to be a “sports guy.”  I tried to be a journalism major in college so I could go into sports broadcasting, but I realized it was a lot of work (and I would have to cover NASCAR), so I changed majors.

Well, 20 year old me, your time has come.  My good friend Joseph Craven and I are in the process of making a sports podcast called “Running Out the Clock.”  Craven has a blog post over at the GBOAT, so you can check it out there, or you can just click on one of these to listen to the previews here:

Preview #1

Preview #2 

I’m really excited to get to do this.  Recording the previews was a blast, so hopefully we’ll be able to provide entertaining and (somewhat…) informative content.

I’ll keep you posted on new episodes.

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The NBA Playoffs: Round 1

I am not a sportswriter.  In another life, I wouldn’t have quit my journalism classes and would have gone on to become the most famous sportswriter in the world, but I was scared to read news out loud on the radio so I changed majors.  So this probably isn’t going to be in depth or accurate or funny or anything…I just like to write about basketball.

I am looking forward to the year, probably 2015, when I can sit down and watch the NBA postseason in its entirety, free of worrying about finals.  Of course, this is the last NBA postseason I will be able to enjoy as a single guy, but…well that’s another discussion for another time.

But this week was the first week I got to sit down and really watch the NBA playoffs, and it has not disappointed at all.  During the first round, it looked like we were due for one of the more boring playoff rounds.  The matchups weren’t exactly marquee, but that doesn’t always happen in the first round of anything.  But you had:

Clippers vs. Grizzlies

Thunder vs. Rockets

Nuggets vs. Warriors

Lakers vs. Spurs

Heat vs. Bucks

Knicks vs. Celtics

Pacers vs. Hawks

Bulls vs. Nets

The Spurs swept the Lakers (which was awesome, because I knew adding Dwight Howard was going to be a train wreck because he is a 7 foot tall 3 year old who destroys teams) and the Heat swept the Bucks (also which was expected) but other than that we got some great series.  I will attempt to break them down in a few sentences (yes I’m fully aware I should have done this a week ago, but…I didn’t.  Sorry.)  Also, I’m ranking them by entertainment value, from least entertaining to most entertaining.

The West

Spurs vs. Lakers

As I said – Dwight Howard is a child and any team trying to build their franchise around him is making a huge mistake.  Pretty much everything about the Lakers is a train wreck right now, and I love that.  But the Spurs rolled on as the model of consistency.  Every time I look at the Spurs, I think “wow, I can’t wait for the year 2000!” And then I realize it’s 2013 and they’ve (seemingly) had the same players since then.

Thunder* vs. Rockets

I don’t know if Patrick Beverley’s play was “dirty” or not.  I don’t think it was, but since Beverley played at Arkansas, I don’t give him the benefit of the doubt and, while I wish no personal harm on the guy, I hope every University of Arkansas player ever has a terrible pro career.**  But that play totally changed the series, and in my opinion, the outcome of the NBA playoffs themselves.  OKC was pretty clearly the second best team in the NBA all year (although a case could be made for the Spurs) with Russ, and without him, they limped (see what I did there?) to a 4-2 series victory over the Rockets, who were fun to watch but really weren’t that good.  They were bad defensively and pretty much all year felt like “Hey, James Harden, go score 50 points and let’s see what happens.”  It sells tickets and generates buzz, but it wasn’t all that great.

Clippers vs. Grizzlies

I don’t like the Grizzlies, and I’m not crazy about the city of Memphis.***  I don’t really care that much about the Clippers either, although I do like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.  They’re fun to watch.  But they whine a lot, and it was fun to see the more smash mouth style of basketball go up against the more high-flying style the Clippers play.  This series really seemed to be in LA’s favor, but the Grizzlies reeled off 4 straight in impressive fashion.  And I’m glad that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have more time to make commercials, because the commercials they make are pretty funny.  So good job, LA.

Nuggets vs. Warriors

Steph Curry is the only thing that needs to be said.  Watching him shoot a basketball is simply perfection.  Gallinari being healthy makes this a different series, but since he’s not, we get to keep watching Steph Curry do his thing.

Prediction:

I’m calling Memphis over Golden State in the Western Conference Finals.  With a healthy Westbrook, it’d be OKC, but without Russ, I just don’t see it.  Also, a healthy David Lee might be enough to put Golden State over the top, but alas, it is not to be.  This is not to discredit Memphis in any way – you beat the teams you have to beat.  This is the playoffs in the greatest basketball league on earth.  Nothing is easy.

The East

I’ll be honest – I’m really not interested in any of these series, because the conclusion is already set.  I don’t think anyone can beat the Heat in 7 games.  But anyway:

Heat vs. Bucks

Didn’t watch a single second of this series.

Pacers vs. Hawks

Two evenly matched teams, pretty boring basketball honestly.  I haven’t watched a lot of either team lately, but it seems like the Hawks are pretty stale.  I like the Pacers’ future though.

Celtics vs. Knicks

Not really interesting to me either.  Clearly it’s the end of the current makeup of the Celtics (I can’t see them keeping things the same), but I just don’t care about the Knicks.  In the Round 2 Game 1 loss to the Pacers, Anthony missed as many shots as Lebron did in the entire first round.  So there’s that.

Bulls vs. Nets

I didn’t watch any of this series either.  The Bulls would be a heck of a lot more interesting if they had Derrick Rose, but right now, they’re playing with house money.  Good team, but really…they’re not going much father.  Also, the Nets suck.

Prediction:

Heat over Pacers, probably in 4 games.  That’s really all there is to say.

I’ll recap Round 2 when it’s over!

*I am a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder.  The thing about my professional loyalties, though, is that they are mostly based around players.  I would love to live in a pro sports city, or even a pro sports state, but I don’t.  So several years ago, one of my college roommates was a huge Texas fan, and he kept talking about this Durant guy.  So I started following him.  I watched him as much as I could in Seattle (I was also on the verge of moving to Seattle at the time), and knew Russell Westbrook from watching him at UCLA, so I just kept following them when they moved to OKC.

**My Ole Miss loyalties run deeper than any professional loyalties.  Go figure.

***I made derogatory remarks about the city of Memphis the other night on Twitter.  It was partially to get a rise out of some Memphis people, which it did, but I really don’t like the city.  It’s okay, and the FedEx Forum is a GREAT venue, but unless there’s a great show there, I don’t see much of a reason to go.  That may change after I get around to a few of the more off the beaten path BBQ joints, but…yeah.  Not crazy about Memphis.

How to be a Sports Fan: Lesson 3

This is a post I wrote for a friend’s blog that is also running today.  Check it out at The Greatest Blog of All Time.

I have been around sports for years.  I’m 28 now, and I remember waaaaaaay back when as a little kid playing T-Ball.  I don’t know when that was, but it was a long time ago.  I was never good at sports, but I have played, and probably more importantly, watched them for years.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of these years, it’s this:

In order to be a sports fan, you must overreact to everything.

This manifests itself in many different ways.  Fans do it, announcers do it, and talking heads do it.  And then after you overreact to everything, you have to get mad at ESPN for creating a culture in which we overreact to everything, essentially absolving yourself of any and all blame.

Make sense?  No?  Good.  Let’s look at it more specifically.

Fans Do It

This may be the easiest one to grasp.  Lose a game?  Fire the coach.  Win a game?  Sign him to a lifetime extension.  It’s really easy to do, and it honestly is a lot of fun.  It’s especially magnified in rivalry games.  A few years ago, my alma mater beat its in-state rival 45-0.  After the game, tons of fans (and I may or may not have been one of them) declared our rival program dead and poised to move up a tier in our conference and begin competing for conference championships.  Know what happened the next year?  We lost to our in-state rival, and the year after that (and the year following that) we lost to them again (making it 3 in a row) and went 3-9 and 2-10.  But you know what happened during that time period?  Our in-state rival won 3 rivalry games in a row and took over almost the exact same position we were in.  After a 31-3 beatdown last season, they had left us in the dust and weren’t ever looking back.  They were poised to compete for a conference championship.  Then…we beat them.

Another great example is recruiting.  I am admitting this as a full-blown recruiting addict.*  At times, recruiting overreaction borders on the creepy.  I read a message board post from a guy who had hired a sitter and was taking his wife out on a date to the bar that the recruits were visiting.  Maybe overreaction isn’t the right word for that, but it does deserve to be mentioned here.  On the flip side, when your rival school recruits well, overreaction gives you a great coping mechanism – they recruited well?  Well, they obviously bought the recruits cars or prostitutes or gave them hundreds of thousands of dollars.**

A third, and final, example, is Twitter.  Twitter is both the best thing in the world and the worst thing in the world.   There are many different ways you can go with this.  A recent example would be the Miami Heat’s win streak.  Miami won 27 games in a row, falling just short of the NBA’s all time record of 33 games in a row.  When the Chicago Bulls beat them, Twitter exploded.  The reality of the situation was that the Miami Heat, the best team in the NBA, won 27 games in a row and then lost to a really scrappy Bulls team who, despite some injuries, is a pretty good team.  If you read Twitter that night, though, Lebron James is the worst player in the world, the Heat suck, and the Bulls are great.  It’s really easy.

Announcers Do It

This one is more awesome.  All you have to do is watch any game Gus Johnson has ever called and you know this to be true.  And we LOVE Gus for it.

Craven and I spend a lot of time playing the NBA 2K series.  We’ll be playing, going back and forth, and one of us (usually Craven) will get a fast break and throw an alley-oop.  The announcers, though, will have a series something like this:

Announcer 1:  You know, last season, this team 16-10 at home.  They really need to…

*alley-oop thrown*

All the announces:  SOIEHGOWIEHFPIUWHEIUNWEOIWEOHEOIUFHWEOFHPWJEBV JDOIWEHFUIWBE IJBWDIUNWIUEB WUIEBF UWEBIUFBWE IUHG WOEIFOIWENCIUWEN CUIBWE UGWE IVE NEVER SEEN AN ALLEY OOP BEFORE

One of my favorite real-life examples of an announcer overreacting (an an example of clueless announcers) is in this video:

Now, overreacting is not always a bad thing.  Take this example, from this NBA season as well, of the Houston Rockets announcer:

This is a regular season NBA game in December, so it’s essentially meaningless.  BUT this announcer’s overreaction gave me one of my favorite sports phrases of all time.

Talking Heads Do It

So fans and announcers get a pass.  Fans often*** have invested much into their teams.  They attended school there, grew up going to games, whatever.  It runs deep.  Announcers are selling an experience, and they typically have the best seat in the house for the greatest moments.

But the talking heads (I’m looking at you, ESPN) are the worst, and they get no pass.  Every little thing is picked apart and analyzed and rash statements are made all the time.  I really don’t have to go back that far to find proof.  A couple of weeks ago, something bad happened to both Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant.  ESPN exploded.  And all of that happened before we got to the First Take cycle.****

Another example is how the analysts have talked about college basketball (and I’m guilty of this one too).  College basketball is being ruined, it’s losing viewership, and everything bad is happening.  Wait…what’s that?  This year’s NCAA tournament was the highest rated in years, and the national championship game was the most attended of all time, and it was a phenomenal game to boot?  You mean that maybe the sport isn’t ruined but these things just have a natural ebb and flow to them?

NO THE GAME SUCKS NOW COLLEGE BASKETBALL IS RUINED NO WAIT NOW IT’S SAVED FOREVER!!!!!!!!!

The problem is, and I’m cutting it short because it’s getting wordy at this point, ESPN does these things because we, the fans, watch it.  We vote in all the stupid polls they run, we contribute to the madness.  So, in theory, if we want it to stop, we should just stop.

But we don’t, because we love sports too much.

Which isn’t a bad thing.  But I have to end this – today’s round of NBA games just ended and I have to go Tweet about how this is the [insert best/worst here] playoffs in history and how the game is being destroyed.

*My recruiting addiction goes like this – I start to get the urge to read everything written about it around August.  I largely ignore it, just taking a look here or there once or twice a week.  By October, I am all in.  Come February, I am eating, drinking, and breathing recruiting (and college basketball), and the day after signing day, I collapse into a post-recruiting haze, swearing it off forever until August rolls back around, then the cycle repeats.  It’s vicious.  

**These are ridiculous assumptions unless you’re talking about Miami or Cam Newton.

***I say often because Alabama fans exist.  If you know any Alabama fans, they probably aren’t from Alabama, didn’t go to school there, and can’t name you a single Alabama football coach besides Bear Bryant and Nick Saban.  And if you told them “hey, Alabama has a pretty good softball team, too!” (which they do) they would look at you and say “ROLL TIDE what’s softball again? ROLL TIDE”

****First Take is the worst thing to ever happen to television.

I Will Survive

For the second Saturday in a row, I did it.

I survived.

I made it through a Saturday without either of the college sports I care so deeply about.

Summers tend to get long and boring (but really who can get bored 6 weeks from their wedding?), and I’ll hit withdrawal at some point when the weather gets really hot, but for now, I’ve made it two weeks.

I deserve a medal.

I am Marshall Henderson

Finally have Internet at the house – this post should have run 3/22.  

Even in the off chance you paid attention to MPSA basketball in the early 2000s, you missed my basketball career.  It was the definition of unnoticeable – while I was on the varsity squad, I averaged less than a minute a game, and got more minutes than other stats (with the exception of fouls – I once played only the fourth quarter of a game and almost fouled out).  My intramural career also began in high school as the coach of the illustrious Jacktown Smackdown dynasty.  It wasn’t really a dynasty, but we did win a championship our senior year, and it is to date the greatest accomplishment of my basketball career.

I didn’t play much because I wasn’t very good.  That’s easy enough to understand.  I was a Forward/Center and I was 6’2″ and weighed about 170 lbs.  So what that should tell you is that I was really, really slow and uncoordinated, because 6’2″ 170 is a good size for a guard.  But I was a center.  So there’s that.

I also had a terrible attitude.  To this day, I think one of the biggest blessings the Lord gave me was making me bad at sports.  I argued with refs, talked trash to other players, celebrated obnoxiously.  I threw a punch in a game and also threw a ball at another player (two separate games).  I got ejected from multiple intramural games at Ole Miss and even got banned from intramural basketball for a season (it was for arguing with a ref.  I didn’t hit anybody or anything).  When I think about every fight I ever got in throughout high school, it probably involved basketball in some way.  And people probably should have seen it coming – I got nicknamed “little Rodman” in church league basketball one year because all I did was rebound and have a bad attitude.

Simply put, I was a punk on the basketball court.  I loved the game, I loved my school, and I wasn’t afraid to let anyone know it.  My love for sports message boards even started then as I found a board that discussed Mississippi high school sports, and I would regularly mix it up with old guys I’d never met to defend my high school.

I quit playing basketball in any organized fashion for a while, until I got on a church league team in Madison three years ago.  I kept myself under control, but quit because I could feel that part of me coming back.  Basketball (and I guess in a sense competition in general) has that effect on me.

On the other hand, if you paid attention to sports at all this year, you know the name Marshall Henderson.  He’s the brash, gunslinging guard who happens to play for my alma mater.  He talks a lot, scores a lot, and occasionally does stupid stuff that pisses everyone off.  So basically he’s just like me except that he’s good at basketball.  Yeah, he has a rough past, but as far as anyone knows, during his time in Oxford he’s kept himself out of trouble.

He’s become a bit of a media circus.  A Tennessee 247 writer (which, to be clear on something, I have a hard time taking a lot of 247, Scout, and Rivals writers seriously, because too many of them – though not all – are nothing more than glorified cheerleaders) whined about him for a full day after he dropped 30 on them in Knoxville (the same writer remained noticeably silent when people commented on how personable Henderson was and how he always made a point to shake hands with the other team and coaches).  Gregg Doyel, also a hack, took up a campaign against him.  Some New York Times writer (don’t remember his name) included him in a piece that was pretty much just crying over kids having fun playing basketball.  Seriously, the guy complained about the FGCU players shaking hands with Reggie Miller after a game.

And let me be clear – the criticism isn’t entirely unwarranted.  Like I said, he’s brash.  He’s cocky.  And in an era, especially in sports, where nothing is good enough, of course he’s going to be blasted.  And I really do wish he’d tone some of it down – but if he sticks around in Oxford for another season, and stays out of real trouble, I can take the good with the bad.

All this is to say – I get why people don’t like it.  I get why opposing fans boo him and all that stuff.  But I also get why he does what he does.

I don’t know where I’m even really going with this.  I’m aware I probably wouldn’t like him if he didn’t play for Ole Miss.  Maybe that makes me a hypocrite.  But I also feel like criticizing a guy for getting a second chance (or third, or fourth…whatever) and handling talent and fame way better than I ever could also makes me a hypocrite.

Plus, we just won an SEC Tournament championship for the first time in my life, so that has to count for something.

The Great Debate – Jordan vs. James

Opening note – this post is a week late.  Last week was “Jordan Week,” which was a week long celebration of Michael Jordan’s career for his 50th birthday.  I, however, decided to write about how much I hate baseball.  Which also would have been topical during Jordan Week because the worthless sport of baseball kept MJ from winning a couple more championships.  Oh, missed opportunities.

I was born in 1985, which was one year after Michael Jordan began his professional basketball career.  I was six years old when he, and the Chicago Bulls, won their first NBA championship and began a three-peat.  I watched the Dream Team in 1992, and had a poster of them on my wall (which made meeting David Robinson in person last year one of the coolest moments of my life, but that’s for another time).  I was crushed when he announced he was leaving the Bulls to play professional baseball, but was ecstatic when he announced his return in 1995.  95-96, 96-97, and 97-98 were probably the highlight of my basketball fanhood.

Michael Jordan was my favorite basketball player during a period when sports heroes still meant something (to me, anyway).  Guys like Reggie White, John Elway, Ken Griffey Jr., and the combination of Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux (yeah, I used to like baseball) were up there on my list of sports heroes, but none compared to MJ.  I mean, Space Jam still is one of my favorite movies.  I’m serious.  A movie where Michael Jordan saves the cartoon world is still, to this day, one of my favorite movies.

I graduated high school in 2003.  My senior year, during basketball season, we were talking about this kid in Ohio named Lebron James that was surely going to go straight to the NBA from high school.  His games were on ESPN.  Regular season high school basketball games, on ESPN.  I don’t remember it that well, but I’m pretty sure that was ridiculous at the time.

Lebron has lived up to the hype.  He made a terrible team into a very good team, leading the awful Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA finals one year.  He’s had highlight after highlight, and has become the face of the NBA.  Not bad for a guy my age.

But Lebron James is one of the most hated athletes in professional sports.  Even before “The Decision,” people were down on the guy.  And, hey, I’m not here to defend him.  He doesn’t need it.  But haters gonna hate, and hate they did.  “The Decision” happened and hate for King James reached an all time high.  (“The Decision” – you know, that time Lebron announced he was “taking his talents to South Beach” and then gave like $6 million to charity?  What a jerk).

Then last season, he won an NBA championship, as well as his second Olympic gold medal, and it seemed like the hate died down some.  Then this year the guy took his game to a ridiculous level.  He is destroying people right now.

But I’m not here to debate who was better (yes, this is a misleading blog title, but so was my last one).  I’ve just been fascinated with the almost uncritical love for Jordan and the completely irrational hate for Lebron (unless you’re a Cavs fan.  But if you’re a Cavs fan, we all just feel sorry for you anyway).  Why is this?

One reason might be because the eras are just different.  In the 13 or so years since Jordan retired (and no, the Wizard years don’t count), the culture of sports has changed.  Seemingly every athlete has some major character flaw in there somewhere that was bad enough to make us question everyone.  And like I said – MJ was my hero when sports heroes were big deals.  I mean, seriously, he made Space Jam.  But we all do that.  Our generation’s stuff is always better than the next generation’s stuff.  Listen to your parents, or older siblings, talk about music, or TV, or movies.  And then look at the crap the next generation is mindlessly consuming (Twilight….seriously?).

Another reason, and I think the main reason, is the Internet has caused cynicism to grow and grow and grow.  Just think if Jordan had played in the Twitter era.  Imagine if Jordan’s flaws (and there were many) were as scrutinized as  much as Lebron’s.  Twitter and the blogosphere were, at one time, designed to have fun and keep up with people and news, but now it’s just devolved into being cynical about everything.  I know because I’m a part of it.  But that’s another post for another day.

The Jordan/James debate boils down to this – championships.  I don’t think that’s an entirely fair thing to solely base greatness on, but the OMG JORDAN WON SIX LEBRON HASN’T WON ANY ONLY WON ONE is the default answer to the argument every time.  And that part of the debate won’t be resolved until Lebron’s career ends.  Maybe he’ll get to six.  Maybe more.  Dude’s playing the best basketball of his life right now, and it’s hard to see anyone but himself slowing him down any time soon.

But regardless of who’s better, I’m glad to say I got to see two of the greatest basketball players in the history of the world play during my lifetime.

And that Michael Jordan saved Bugs Bunny and co.

Baseball Is Awesome

It’s February.  That means, for Mississippians, Spring is in the air.  Our week and a half of winter is over, and brisk morning temperatures are giving way to very pleasant afternoons.  We’ll get another cold snap or two, but we’re pretty much diving headfirst into Spring right now.  And Spring is probably my favorite season, so I’m excited.

Spring means many things, and from a sports fan perspective, it means a lot of good things.  Recruiting, spring football, and the greatest spectacle in all of sports:  MARCH MADNESS.  From a simply Mississippian perspective, it means the most beautiful weather you’ve ever seen anywhere and an excuse to be outside as much as possible.  Really, Mississippi springtime is an amazing time.  From mid-February until June (when I get married, btw), it’s just awesome to do stuff outside.

But this time of year isn’t perfect.  My Twitter feed has been blowing up with warnings of a coming disaster.  A disaster some people are actually excited about.

That disaster is baseball*.

College baseball, pro baseball, high school baseball…it’s terrible.

Yeah, I know it’s “America’s Pastime” or whatever.  And I live in Braves country (which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it is what it is), so things are pretty baseball crazy down here.  But I just can’t do it.

I grew up playing baseball and basketball (I didn’t even have football available to me until sixth grade, but I couldn’t play because I had a broken foot when the season started).  I loved both, but liked basketball more.  Baseball in the summer, basketball in the winter.  Baseball was just a part of being a Mississippi kid.

But I grew to hate baseball for a couple of reasons.  By eighth grade, I had become “that kid” – you know, the one who always unluckily finds himself getting hit with things?  I was going up against really, really good players (a couple of guys are in the minors, and one was a hometown super-hero who had a great football career at Mississippi State and bounced around the NFL for a few years).  But these really good players always happened to have their worst nights when they played my team.  I vividly remember playing the team who had the best pitcher in the league.  I think he was in ninth grade, but he was already getting some looks for college ball.  Whatever is considered “hard” for a ninth grade pitcher, he threw harder than that.  And the night we played him, he just so happened to be having control problems.  As I went up to bat, I remember my coach telling me to “just stay in there,” which we all know means “you’re about to get hit.”  And sure enough, I got drilled with a fastball on my left shoulder.  I was on the ground, writhing in pain, wondering “WHY?????” in my mind.

This same coach, who was a great guy, started trying to convince me to play baseball year-round.  Year-round?  For baseball?  No.  It would cut into basketball season and…just no.  “Fall Ball” is the single worst thing that has ever been invented.  I quit shortly thereafter, and except for one more rec league season with some friends in a different league, my baseball career was over.

Fast forward a few years to college.  I was neck deep in my relatively newfound love affair with all things Ole Miss, and as a freshman, I wandered over to Swayze Field at Ole Miss to catch a college baseball game.  For the next 2 and a half years, I was hooked.  I spent many a spring afternoon skipping class and watching baseball.  I spent many weekends camped out at Swayze, watching baseball and taking in the “scenery” (I mean, come on.  As a single college sophomore – to – senior on a campus that claims to “redshirt Miss Americas,” where else was I gonna go?)

But something bad happened.  I got emotionally invested in a sport I hated.  My roommates and I had a season where I think we only missed 2 regular season home games.  We went to regional games and Super Regional games.  But you know what happened?

Ole Miss happened.  WAOM (if you have to ask, you probably wouldn’t understand) moments happened more in baseball than any other sport, and old white dudes made excuse after excuse for why we weren’t getting it done.  And I found myself getting angrier and angrier over a sport I hated.

So I quit.  Two years ago, I quit caring about college baseball (I have never cared about pro baseball.  I collected cards as a kid, but I wasn’t really that interested in the game).

It makes this time of year so much more pleasant.  I couldn’t tell you the first thing about anything college baseball related for the last few years.  And just to put some perspective on that, I could tell you about the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (never played soccer).  I could tell you about the Masters (or golf).  Or Wimbledon (nope, never played tennis either).  I could tell you about Olympic swimming (did swim team for a year but quit when I realized doing a cannonball to start a race was not a good strategy).

Nope, I’m no longer emotionally invested, nor interested at all, in college baseball.  Or professional baseball.  Yeah, I’ll occasionally go to a minor league game (and a MLB game if I’m close enough), but for the promotions (seriously – hot dogs for $1?  Thirsty Thursdays?)  But I can’t tell you a single thing that’s happened in any one of the games (although there’s a pretty funny story about pictures of kittens being the cure for the pain and embarrassment of getting hit with a foul ball).

I don’t have any facts as to why I think baseball is terrible.  I know I think it’s boring (and that’s not even that big of a deal to me – I love watching the Spurs play), it’s a bad TV sport, there are way too many games, those games are too long, and MLB is more stacked against small market teams than any other sport.  “Baseball guys” are more and more out of touch with the sports world in general.  Even the World Series has picked up a feeling of “meh…” in the last few years.  I’m not even that bothered by steroids.

No, baseball just sucks.

Which actually makes baseball, because it’s exactly what I need to detox from 8-10 months of caring about sports, awesome.

*My disdain for baseball, for some reason, excludes the Little League World Series.  That is some good TV right there.

Confessions… (pt. I)

I need to confess something.

It won’t surprise anyone, because everyone has known for a while.  I just haven’t admitted it.

I try to deny it, explain it away, or rationalize it, but I can’t anymore.

I have to be honest with people.  With myself.

I am addicted to college football recruiting.

I’m probably the worst kind of college football recruiting addict, too, because I try to act like I’m better than other types of college football recruiting addicts.  I make fun of the guys who follow recruits on Twitter* (but I know all their handles so I just periodically check their accounts).  I laugh at the people who read through recruits’ comment section on Instagram (OK – that one is too weird for me).  I think it’s ridiculous that people, grown men, would go to a college bar where the recruits are hanging out to watch them interact with the town (but in reality, I’d at least drop by if I didn’t live 3 hours away).

Yep.  That’s me.  I try to act like I’m above it all, but I’m really not.

National Signing Day was this past Wednesday.  All day long, high school football players announced where they would be playing their college ball, and despite my best efforts, I watched the entire thing.  I was up at 6:30 in the morning to watch ESPNU as Robert Nkemdiche, the #1 player in the nation, and finally turned it off sometime after lunch when most of the good stuff was over and I had important stuff to do anyway.

Every year, after signing day, I tell myself “I’m done.”  My team never gets the guys we hoped we would get, and the other guys get all the big names.  But the crazy thing about this year is that we got the big names!  It was very exciting.

But, in all honesty, it’s probably the worst thing that could have happened to me.  I legitimately was burned out on it.  I had quit paying attention for a while.  But then, this year, just about everything went the way I had hoped.  It’s like when you’re sitting at a blackjack table, and you’ve had an awful run of luck, and then you win a hand and BOOM you’re hooked again.  Not winning, just hooked.

So I am writing this post to go ahead and confess it – I’m a recruiting junkie, and that’s probably not going to change any time soon.  I’m going to continue to read the message boards and continue to “not care” what recruits put on Twitter.  Next year, on the first Wednesday of February, I’ll wake up at 6 am and do it all over again.

My name is Chandler, and I am addicted to college football recruiting.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some rising seniors names to learn.

*Anyone, and I mean anyone, who is not in college who tweets at a high school football player is pathetic.