Tuesday Teabag, May 21, 2013 – NBA Playoffs

The only thing amazing is that people are still watching

The only thing amazing is that people are still watching.

Did you happen to fall into a month long coma?  Well, The Machine’s here to say congrats on waking up…and don’t worry, if you’re an NBA fan, you didn’t miss much.  We’re just getting underway with the conference finals (as The Machine types this, Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals is underway and the Eastern Conference Finals begins tomorrow).  One question:  are you kidding me?

The NBA Playoffs have been going on for more than a month, and we’re not even in the finals yet.  Not only is the outcome completely predetermined (come on son, you know the Heat are going to win), but each series stretches out so long that you lose interest…not to mention that the product itself is quite painful to watch (how much ISO can one man take?).

But Machine, you may say, can’t that be because each round is a best of 7 series, and these games have been so competitive that they’ve gone the distance?  Good thought, we’d say, and then would point out this:  of the 12 playoff series so far, only one, Brooklyn/Chicago, went the distance.  If that game seems like it was played weeks ago, it’s because it was.

The first game of the playoffs was played on April 20 (was it intentional or a coincidence that the playoffs started on 4/20…NBA players smoke tons of weed, get it).  Think of everything that’s happened between now and then:  the Draft, the IRS Scandal, Titus Young got arrested 3times (there’s still plenty of time for a 4th before the playoffs are over). 

The Machine, way back on April 22nd, gave its expert advice on the playoffs.  Not to gloat, but our Heat/Spurs prediction looks pretty damn good.  We also gave some sage advice regarding the playoffs:  don’t watch it.  There is no reason for the NBA to stretch out each series (other than trying to maximize ad revenue by having games on weekends and prime time weeknights).  This conduct shouldn’t be rewarded. 

Here’s an example of the absurdity:  Knicks/Celtics Round 1.  Game 1 (at MSG) on Saturday.  Game 2 (still at MSG) on Tuesday.  Why do you need two full days off when there’s no travel?  Granted, there’s a lot of sight seeing to do in New York, but come on.  Those games should be played back-to-back.  It’s even more absurd for traveling.  Another example: Knicks/Pacers Round 2, Game 2 (at MSG) on Tuesday, Game 3 (in Indy) on Saturday.  Did they ride bikes from NYC to Indiana? 

But Machine, you may say, these are professional athletes and they play so hard that they need a lot of rest.  Whoop, Whoop, Whoop…hear that noise kids, it’s our Bullshit-dar, and it’s off the hook.  Playing basketball may be tough, but there’s no way basketball is more demanding than say…hockey.

Consider this, in the Bruins/Maple Leafs series (which went the distance and was an exciting series, btw, easily more compellig than any NBA series thus far) Games 5, 6, and 7 were played on Friday (in Boston), Sunday (in Toronto), and Monday (in Boston), respectively.  They played 3 games in four days, and traveled between each game.  There is no way you can (correctly) argue that basketball is more demanding than hockey.  Hockey is one of the most physically demanding sports there is, and these guys are playing on back to back nights with travel!

Perhaps what we’re most upset about is the quality of the play (as we type this, the Spurs take a 15 point halftime lead).  The Machine could possibly live with long, drawn out series if they were entertaining.  But this is anything but…despite the media’s attempt to make these games appear interesting.

Remember (way back) when Chicago beat Miami in Game 1?  Everyone jumped on the Bulls bandwagon, and suddenly everyone saw that holes in the Heat.  Anyone remember what happened the next 4 games…the Heat completely smoked the Bulls, winning Games 2-5 by an average of more than 17 points…including a 37 point beat down in Game 2.  Get ready for another double digit snooze fest as the Heat take on the Pacers.  Sorry Frank Vogel, the Heat are not just another team…they’re the 96’ Bulls reincarnate, and you’re about to find that out first hand.

There’s absolutely no reason why the NBA Playoffs is stretched out over two months, making it easily the longest postseason event in all of sports.  Christ, even baseball has a shorter playoff schedule.  Considering more people watch the Draft than the NBA Finals (the NFL is rumored to be moving the Draft to May right in the middle of the NBA playoffs) the NBA needs to change something or else risk further erosion from fan involvement.  The NBA needs to create more excitement and buzz for the playoffs.  Condensing the playing schedule is one way to do that.  Sure, it’s not going to help the quality of play, but at least it will be over quicker.

Considering falling back into another month long coma?  Go ahead; you already know what’s going to happen, and you’ll still wake up in time to catch the finals. 

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, May 14, 2013 – Sergio Garcia


Here we go again…

Apologies to Cliff Harris and Titus Young.  Their combined 6 arrests in the past 10 days is impressive, and normally would result in a teabag…but they’ll have to settle for an HMT this week.  Don’t worry fellas, The Machine’s pretty sure you’re not off our teabag radar just yet, although you might both be off the NFL’s radar. 

No, this week we focus on the gentlemen’s game and none other than Sergio Garcia.  When you look at the whole picture, Sergio’s got a pretty good thing going.  He’s a superstar on the PGA tour and European tour, makes a ton of cash, usually around the Top 10, and we’re guessing he doesn’t have trouble with the ladies.  And, off the course, he seems like a pretty cool guy.  For all those awesome things, there’s this little nugget:  he chokes under pressure and on the course he’s a spoiled, temperamental, diva who can’t get out of his own and will blame others for his shortcomings.  He clearly owns the title of “Best Player never to win a Major” and, from what happened on Sunday at Sawgrass, he ain’t giving that up anytime soon.

As I’m sure you’ve seen, Sergio was in the final pairing on Sunday, tied for the lead with Tiger Woods on the second to last hole at -13.  Tiger was on 18 and would finish his round at -13.  Things were looking good.  If Sergio could par the last two holes, he’d force a playoff with Woods…given the history between these two and what happened on Saturday (keep reading) pairing these two in a playoff would be epic.  If he could birdie 17 or 18, he’d win the tournament, and in the process go a long way towards shaking the choker label.  What happened next is unbelievable.

Tee shot on the par 3, 17…splash.  The crowd was stunned.  Not to worry, it’s a par 3.  If he can get up and down, take bogey 4, he could still birdie 18 and force a playoff.  However, Sergio went full Sergio.  Second tee shot…splash, into the water again.  An eerie silence fell over the crowd, nobody could believe what they were witnessing.  Sergio finally got his third tee shot on the green, then two putt for a 7, dropping him all the way back to -9, and ensuring another defeat on the big stage.

To make matters worse, he still had the 18th hole to play.  Could there be a bigger walk of shame?  His tee shot on 18?  Dead hook into the water…Sergio ended up with a double bogey 6. 

Consider this:  for the first 70 holes of the tournament, Sergio was -13.  For the last two, +6.  Tiger Woods would go on to win the tournament, his fourth of the year already, firmly re-establishing himself as golf’s greatest.  And this is where the story gets interesting.

In Saturday’s round, Tiger and Sergio were paired together.  Two superstars that obviously would draw the biggest crowd.  They also don’t like each other, a feud going back to the early 2000’s.  On the second hole, as Sergio was about to take his approach shot, commotion came from the crowd on the other side of the fairway as he was in the middle of his backswing.  He shanked the shot, bogeyed the hole, and immediately looked to his left to where Tiger was.  Tiger had pulled out his club [insert sex scandal joke here] which elicited a (roar if you’re Sergio, slight kerfuffle if you’re Tiger) from the crowd.  Seriously?  You guys cheer when he pulls out a 3 wood?  How pathetic are golf crowds?  Anyway, Tiger claims the marshal told him Sergio had already hit…we now know that to be false because the marshal said he never talked to Tiger.  So, either (a) Tiger assumed he had hit, (b) didn’t think about it because he could care less about Sergio, or (c) intentionally pulled out his club at the exact moment Sergio started his backswing, knowing that doing so would elicit a roar/slight kerfuffle from the crowd.  A and b seems the most plausible.

Either way, as soon as that happened, The Machine knew there was no way Sergio would win.  If you listened to his comments after the third round, whining about how Tiger ruined his round, you knew there was no chance he’d pull it together on Sunday.  Tiger had gotten into his head.  The collapse was inevitable.

And that’s the enigma of Sergio.  Wildly talented, successful, and popular, he’s won his share of tournaments, and is highly regarded as a great player.  This year, he’s played in 8 events, earned an impressive $1.3 million, but won none of them.  And that sums up Sergio’s career perfectly.  He’ll play well enough to finish in the Top 10, and may sneak out a win here or there.  However, when it’s crunch time at a big tournament, forget about it…The Machine and its 20+ handicap may as well be playing the final round.  He’s got the biggest case of the yips on the tour. 

He’s 33 now…no longer the carefree kid that burst on the tour stage a dozen plus years ago.  While there’s still time left to win a major (Jack won one at 46) he’s going to have to find some way to not go mental on Sunday.  Until that happens, he’s likely never to win a big one.  But he will forever have the distinction of the first golfer ever to win a teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, May 7, 2013 – Gary Washburn

It would've been a lot more historic if Gary wasn't such a d-bag.

It would’ve been a lot more historic if Gary wasn’t such a d-bag.

This week, our prestigious Teabag award goes to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.  (are we wrong to think that the Tuesday Teabag is slowing gaining steam as a legitimate sports award?).  Perhaps that was a dream The Machine had.  Or was that when we broke up with Kate Upton because she was too needy?  Anyway, let’s get right to it.

Don’t know who Gary Washburn is?  Don’t worry, he’s on minute 13 of his 15 minutes of fame.  Gary’s a sports writer for the Boston Globe, who, on Monday, came out and acknowledged that he didn’t vote for Lebron James to win the MVP award.  On its face no big deal, until you consider that, out of the 121 people that voted for the NBA MVP, 120 of them voted for Lebron.  Only our man Gary, who voted for Carmelo Anthony, thought that Lebron wasn’t MVP worthy.

Say what you want about Bron Bron…he selfishly took his talents to south beach, shunned his hometown, irretrievably sentenced the Cavs to a lifetime of horrible basketball (don’t worry Cleveland fans, you have the Browns to lift your spirits up…err, never mind), and destroyed NBA parity by starting the trend of “superteams” that will kill/are killing small market clubs.  All those things may be true, but so is this:  he is, by far, the most dominant player in the NBA.  The gap between Lebron and the next in line (Melo, Durant, Kobe) is huge, and that’s not a knock against those guys…it’s just a testament as to how complete of a player Lebron is. 

The rest of the sports world, at least the 120 that voted for MVP, knew this hands down.  Lebron would have (and should have) been the first player ever to unanimously win the MVP, except for Gary and his puzzling pick of Carmelo.  On Monday, Washburn wrote an article defending his decision to pick Melo.  This got our bullshit-dar buzzing, and, when The Machine’s Research Department actually read Washburn’s article, our bullshit-dar was off the charts.

First, did any of the other 120 voters have to write an article justifying their MVP decision?  Of course not.  Second, Washburn begins his article by noting that Lebron “unquestionably is the best player in the game” and is “on a Michael Jordan scale.” Huh?  Not to state the obvious, but if someone is unquestionably the best player in the game, shouldn’t that make them the MVP?  Well, according to Washburn, there’s a difference between the best player and the most valuable player, and Melo “meant more to his team.”  That reasoning is severely flawed.  The notion that the MVP award is something different than the best player is just stupid.  Of course the best player in the league is the most valuable.  Equally stupid is the quality of the team.  So because Lebron’s on a better team should devalue his accomplishments?  That would relegate the MVP award to the best player (sorry, most valuable player) on a mediocre team.  Steph Curry means more to Golden State than Lebron does to Miami (and more than Melo means to the Knicks) so why not Curry for MVP?  And what about Kobe?  With Kobe, the Lakers clawed their way back into the playoffs.  Without Kobe, the Lakers got obliterated by San Antonio in the first round. 

Third, Washburn goes out of his way to convince readers that there’s no Lebron conspiracy, stating eloquently that “this was no Lebron conspiracy”, as if saying it will help you to believe it.  And perhaps that’s what gets the Machine’s bullshit-day up the most. 

It’s not so much that Washburn voted for someone else, but who he voted for, that feeds into the conspiracy.  The Machine doesn’t generally subscribe to conspiracy theories (except that (a) the government “fluoridated” our water for purposes of mind control, (b) the feds want to take all our guns to secretly further Obama’s Muslim socialist agenda, and (c) Elvis and Tupac are alive and well, but are being held by the government until music is once again good) but this one’s got some legs to it. 

Think about it.  What better cover for a Boston sports writer than to vote for someone from New York?  As a general rule of life, Boston hates New York (feeling’s mutual pricks), so if a Boston writer voted for a New York athlete, it must be legit, right?  They must have objectively looked at every other option before being resigned to vote for a Knick.  By voting for Carmelo, Washburn gave himself an absolute cover.  He couldn’t be charged with being a homer, and he can deflect the Lebron conspiracy by saying he voted for his most hated rival.

But the Machine is calling bullshit.  Lebron Conspiracy theorists unite!  It all makes sense, just like the second gunman on the grassy knoll.  Boston (yes, the entire City) was pissed that Miami “stole” Ray Allen from them this year (disregard the fact that Ray chose to come to Miami and took less money to play for the Heat).  Still stinging from the loss of Ray, and watching their old Celtics get older, what better way to send the ultimate “FU” than by voting for anyone but Lebron, ensuring he’d be denied basketball immortality by becoming the first unanimous MVP.  And then top it all off with a self-serving cover your ass article that reeks of desperation.  The argument for Melo is so weak, and the myriad of compliments you bestow on Lebron indicate that you know that.

Usually, reasonable minds can differ, especially with sports.  But not this time…and while your article may fool some (read: everyone in Boston) you can’t fool The Machine.  We know a bitter sports fan when we see one. 

Enjoy your teabag.

Tuesday Teabag, April 30, 2013 – Tim Tebow

TebowIf The Machine’s ticket to Hell hasn’t already been punched, it sure is now.  How can you possibly Teabag Tim Tebow, you ask?  His character is beyond repute, his work ethic unquestionable, and his passion for life is infectious.  And he’s a huge fan of J.C.

While all those things may be true, ironically, Tim has yet to see the light.  For if he had, he would know this:  he’s not an NFL quarterback.  He’s not even a CFL, IFL, or Arena League quarterback.  Perhaps Arena League 2 (if that’s still around).  Perhaps.

As an acknowledgment of this fact, Tebow was cut by the Jets on Monday.  The pathetic, offensively inept, New York Jets.  The Jets had one of the worst offenses in the league last year, and he still wasn’t able to get a start, being passed over by Greg McElroy after Sanchez was benched (butfumble 2012 new word of the year, btw).  The only thing worse than the Jet’s offense last season is their front office management skills (Sanchez is getting $8.25 million guaranteed this year.  Enough said).  Tebow also went unclaimed on waivers…meaning none of the 31 other NFL teams thought he was worthy.

Tebow’s departure from New York is in sharp contrast to his arrival:  he came in riding a tidal wave of support and a cult-like following.  ESPN devoted every episode of Sportscenter chronicling his every move.  They set up permanent residency at Jets Training Camp.  The New York media was instantly smitten/disgusted with his Up with People demeanor.  He was the most popular backup quarterback ever.  Rex Ryan boasted that Tebow would be multiple ways, that he’d be the wildcat quarterback of wildcat quarterbacks (can we all agree now that the wildcat is dead?).  His final stats in New York:  6 of 8 for 39 yards, and 32 rushes for 102 yards.  No tds.  Solid in punt protecting. 

Now, not all of that is his fault.  He wasn’t utilized as much as people expected…certainly not as much as the Jets hyped he would be used.  But he shares the blame in getting cut.  The Jets tried to trade Tebow and there were some interested teams.  The catch:  they were interested in him playing tight end, not quarterback.  Tight end seems like a natural position for Tebow.  He’s big, athletic, and good on his feet…the modern day attributes of successful tight ends.  So why wasn’t he traded?  He refused to switch positions, insisting that he’s a quarterback.

What Tebow needs is a come to Jesus moment.  I’m sure J.C. is a fan of the NFL (who isn’t); he probably rocked a #15 Jets jersey on game days last year.  But even he knows what we all know: Tebow’s not an NFL quarterback, or rather, he’s not a good (or even mediocre) NFL quarterback.  The main problem is that he can’t throw the ball.  Do we even need to go any further?  Forget the one pass he made in the playoffs in Denver, or that he “led” the Broncos to the playoffs in 2011…we all know that was due, in very large part, to Denver’s defense and running game. 

That he won’t agree to change positions is troubling.  Either he (a) suffers from the worst case of lack of self-awareness of all-time; or (b) Merril Hoge is right; he’s as phony as a three dollar bill.  For all the talk of him being this selfless leader, a man who puts the glory of the team ahead of personal gain…it’s all bs.  The Machine can’t possibly believe (a) is right, so it must be (b).  His steadfast refusal to acknowledge the truth–that even he has shortcomings–cuts against his humble image and casts him as a stubborn, diva athlete who thinks he knows more than everyone.  He may be a wonderful athlete and a wonderful person, but that doesn’t free him from honest assessment of his game.  And all honest assessments agree that he’s not an NFL quarterback.

Where will he end up?  Who knows.  His ego and pride are too big to go to the CFL or Arena League and compete for a quarterback position (which he’d likely lose).  He’ll probably end up alongside fellow bible-beater Kurt Warner on his USA TV show.  He’ll also likely give speeches at various churches throughout the country, extolling the virtues of perseverance, determination, and hard work; ironic because, if he really listened to what he preaches, he’d be on an NFL roster right now as a tight end.  Look for a Tim Tebow/Kirk Cameron sermon coming to a mega-church near you.

Bottom line:  He may be pro-life, but he’s not pro-football.  Enjoy your teabag.