Saturday, September 27, 2008

Deep Thoughts on the De Bate

Branching out for a bit to talk politics. I know everyone else is doing the same, but I doubt you'll read the same stuff on other sites. I'm out of the box like that.

For those who might have been watching the Rays attempt to clinch, tonight was the presidential foreign policy debate. Because I take an interest in foreign affairs, I made sure not to miss this debate. The others, eh, depends on what else I am doing that night.

- First, there is an inherent problem with the foreign policy debate. Foreign policy is the arena of the elite, the educated, or those with a direct stake in foreign actions (i.e. the military, Dept of State, etc). I'm willing to wager that most of these people are also astute politically and have probably made up their minds on who they are going to vote for. Doubtful there are many undecided voters in these groups. So all the foreign policy debate does is articulate what each candidate is planning to do and solidify the opinions of their support.

- Second, anyone who thinks the conflict against Muslim extremism will be over during the next president's four or possibly eight years is a fool. Extremism can be contained, but it takes generations for it to die out, if it ever does. Case in point, Wahhabi extremists have been around since the mid-17th century and our own Klu Klux Klan has been around for nearly 150 years. To borrow a SportsCenter catchphrase, "You can't stop them, you can only hope to contain them."

- Third, I cannot buy Iran as an catalyst for a new Holocaust, even if they did have the bomb. I know there is traditional dislike and rhetoric spoken by Iranian leaders against Israel, but I don't think Iran would ever attempt to physically "wipe Israel off the map". Believing in the Iranian boogeyman is to assume that if the US threated the absolute destruction of Iran in the case of an attack, that Iran would still attack Israel anyway. This would only be logical if you assume the Iranian government is on a suicide mission and that it would sacrifice it's own regime existance for the sake of one attack. Although the ground troops might not have much else going for them (assuming their would be ground troops - I doubt they would see the light of day), those in charge probably like being in charge and don't want to lose it all in exchange for one missile hitting Tel Aviv.

- Fourth, the fact that Sen. Barack Obama correctly pronounces the name of foreign nations is big for me. It is not pronounced "I-ran", it is pronounced "e-ron". I learned that the first day of Middle East History 101. Not that pronounciation should influence a vote, but I think it shows not only intelligence, but also respect.

- Fifth, the campaign to bring the troops back from Iraq concerns me. Currently, the US economy is in the crapper. If we bring all our deployed military members home as well as all the contractors and government workers currently in Iraq, we will need immediate job growth to compensate for the flood of job seekers. Without a real world military mission, we might see less re-enlistment amongst our current ranks. Being in the military will be boring and lack purpose. So where would these former military members work?

What about the government civilians and contractors in Iraq? If you brought them home, where will they work? What if the government claims those contracts or positions are no longer necessary and cuts the funding? That would lead to even more unemployed Americans. And we don't need that.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let P4 throw out the first pitch

Quite a few bloggers are talking about who should throw out the pitch in the first postseason game in Tampa Bay Rays history. According to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, the Rays have yet to make a decision. Throughout the blogosphere, the suggestions have ranged from George Steinbrenner to Hulk Hogan to Eva Longoria to Dick Vitale. All viable candidates, sure, but in this case I have to agree with Boswell:

The Art and Joy of a Good Heckle

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I love a good event. Music, sports, poetry reading, cook-outs, comedy shows, it doesn't matter. If I can go and have a good time, I'm all for it.

With that in mind, the icing on the cake for many events is great crowd participation. There is a great community feeling when you share an event with thousands or even dozens of other people. Of course, no crowd is complete and no crowd participation can be called a success without the traditional heckler. And so, without further ado, I present the best heckling job I have ever been part of:



Best of all, there were no hurt feelings, no negative vibes*, and the Afro-Squad was even invited out to the local wings and beer joint for some post event revelry. Good times all around.

(Exception: one of the wrestlers decided to "attack" me after losing his match and proceeded to sit on top of me. Ugh, the humanity.)

For more, see the Southern Championship Wrestling website. They were great hosts and didn't kick us out, which was a good thing.

Oh yeah, and check out The Afro-Squad site and vote for me for Pimp of the Year. I'm only 20 votes behind and voting closes somewhere around Halloween, I think. Consider it practice for November.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A short social study of recent Black FSU quarterbacks

This post is a spin-off of DWil's post, Death of the Black QB (like they wrote something new) ..., over at Sports on My Mind. I suggest you read that before you read this.

DWil's thesis is that Black quarterbacks who are better athletes are done a disservice by coaches and scouts who make them run and do not teach them the finer art of quarterbacking. These quarterbacks are not taught the necessary skills to succeed in the NFL - to stay in the pocket, check off receivers, and only run when absolutely necessary. According to DWil, too many Black quarterbacks are told by their coaches to run for the sake of winning and, in turn, sacrifice their development. Once they get into the pros (if they get into the pros), these athletes are unequipped to play quarterback at the NFL level and are often told to change positions to take advantage of their athletic ability. Then, by doing what it takes to make a team, these former quarterback stars fall behind in football knowledge and often fail to live up to their potential.

In his post, DWil mentions the college success of former Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward and discusses possible future FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel. DWil compares the scrambling style of Ward to the possible in-the-pocket quarterbacking style of Manuel and concludes that Manuel should have a better chance of professional football success due to his size and style of play.

Unfortunately, sandwiched between Ward and Manuel has been a litany of Black Seminole quarterbacks who may give credence to DWil's theory. These quarterbacks have not only had to battle their own potential, but also have been forced to compete against a White quarterback with less athletic ability but a more stereotypical quarterback style.

Since 2000, Black FSU quarterbacks have included Adrian McPherson, Fabian Walker, Anquan Boldin, Xavier Lee, and current quarterback D'Vontrey Richardson. While the failures of some of these quarterbacks were their own doing and others did eventually find success, I am going to discuss how all but Walker fit into DWil's model.*

* Walker's tenure at FSU was brief, 2000-2002. He barely played and struggled academically before transferring to Valdosta State.

Adrian McPherson (FSU QB 2001-2003) - Thought to possibly be the second coming of Charlie Ward, McPherson was the Florida High School Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football before coming to Florida State. Unfortunately, his high school success did not translate at the college level. Instead of focusing entirely on football, McPherson attempted both sports upon entry at FSU. After abandoning basketball, he was then pitted against former FSU quarterback Chris Rix. McPherson's unpolished skills were apparent as he frequently struggled on the field, culminating in a game he was suspected of throwing for bets. McPherson's career at FSU would also not be helped by a run-in with the law concerning check fraud.

Anquan Boldin (FSU QB 2002 Sugar Bowl) - Boldin enrolled at Florida State in 1999. A quarterback in high school, he was moved to wide receiver to take advantage of his superior athletic skills. Unlike many athletes, Boldin was successful in the position change, eventually drafted, and has made two Pro Bowls as a wide receiver with the Arizona Cardinals.

Xavier Lee (FSU QB 2004-2007) - Continuing the trend of high school super-stars signing with Florida State, Lee set Florida high school records as a dual running and passing threat prior to arriving at Florida State. On the heels of his success, Lee was considered a five-star prospect according to Rivals.com. Once at Florida State, however, successes were few and far between for Lee. In a quarterback controversy reminiscent of McPherson-Rix, Lee was pitted against less-athletic, more fundamentally sound Drew Wetherford. Although his athleticism was apparent on nearly every play, rumors started of Lee's inability to comprehend the playbook and deliver the most simplest of passes. It may be impossible to tell, but perhaps Lee never learned how to be an effective quarterback. Perhaps coaches along the way told Lee to run as soon as possible and take advantage of his legs as a weapon on the field. Lee eventually left FSU and signed with the Baltimore Ravens as a tight end, a position he dabbled in during his high school years. According to Wikipedia, he is now playing for the Southern New Hampshire Beavers.

D'Vontrey Richardson (FSU QB 2007-Present) - Another high school dual threat, Richardson is being used by Bobby Bowden and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher as a possible running quarterback threat and alternate to starter Christian Ponder, a more traditional, "in-the-pocket", White quarterback.

If the pattern of the last eight years continues at Florida State and DWil's thesis holds true, Richardson will not succeed. He may have limited college success, but his pro chances will be squandered by a system that teaches him to run at the first sign of trouble. Like DWil, I am eager to watch the coming of E.J. Manuel, not only for his potential ability to lead FSU back to the promise land, but also because he may spell the end of an era of unsuccessful Black quarterbacks at Florida State.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A scientific categorization of the inhabitants of Tropicana Field

Greetings, my name is Jordi Scrubbings and I am not a scientist, I am just attempting to write like one.

In the last year I have been witness to a new type of species dwelling in the area of St. Petersburg, Florida. Although many deny their existence or claim they do not reveal themselves often enough for believability, I have seen them too often to think that they are not real. Through dozens of visits to the area and tireless observation, I have decided to take on the responsibility of document this new phenomenon for scientific prosperity.

The sun bears down on Tropicana Field, yet inside the 18-year old establishment the temperature is a cool, constant 72 degrees. A baseball field lay in the middle of the building and although some would say that is where the action is, my observations tell a far different story. It is in the stands surrounding the baseball field where these new, exciting, boisterous, charasmatic creatures dwell.

From my perch in the upper deck I can see most of the stadium. The only area outside my view is a small area beneath me, an area marked by announce booths and luxury boxes - hardly the subjects of study. More often than not I am surrounded by the beasts. They consume me and smother me with sounds of cowbells and voices. Led by a fuzzy whatchamacallit named Raymond, they call themselves "Rays' Fans" and have outshouted or drowned out every invading voice in Tropicana Field this year.


First, allow me to introduce "Cowbellicus Loudicus Fanicus". A staple at Tropicana Field, Cowbellicus has perhaps the loudest cowbell in the habitat. Combined with his flamboyant looks and optimistic demeanor, Cowbellicus Loudicus Fanicus is unmistakable. Despite the somewhat aggressive nature seen in the above picture, Cowbellicus Loudicus Fanicus is not considered dangerous. As long as you wear earplugs.


This species here is "Confidenticus Fanicus". New to Tropicana Field, Confidenticus Fanicus has faith were faith did not exist before. He cheers when things go right, and curses the visiting team when things go wrong. Although most Confidenticus Fanicus are fun-loving creatures, some do try to provoke alien species with derogatory chants and comments. When visitors to Confidenticus Fanicus's habitat attempt to respond, Fanicus usually replies with the phrase "Look at the standings."


Here you see a few examples of "Hotchickitus Rays Fanicus". Although Hotchickitus inhabited Tropicana Field before 2008, never before has the species been seen in such large numbers.


Here you can see "Exciticus Young Fanicus". The most new of new species to Tropicana Field, Exciticus Young Fanicus carries with it the hopes and dreams of a new generation. A generation that did not have to suffer through the Vince Namoli-era or have their eyes burnt watching Dewon Brazelton. This is the future.


Finally, last but not least, "Jordicus Scrubbicus", seen here with mohawk.

This study inspired by Deadspin.com.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pitchback potification

For some reason about five minutes ago I started thinking about my childhood baseball career and specifically the many "pitchbacks" I went through. I don't know why these thoughts came into my head. They just popped in there. Kinda like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters. Anyway, for those who were not aspiring left-handed junk-ballers, let me explain what a pitchback was. It was a curved net, about four feet tall and about 2.5 feet wide, that would force a thrown ball back to the thrower (see picture).

(For more childhood memories regarding the pitchback, and a few more pictures, check out this blog: (Sidearm Delivery: Disappointing Childhood Toys: The Pitchback.)

Although I never had the problems the writer from Sidearm Delivery had, I did go through at least four pitchbacks while between the ages of 9 to 13. To tell the truth, I don't remember why they broke, probably from overuse. Hopefully from overuse. I do remember however my friends and I trying to carry a pitchback all over town, from neighborhood to neighborhood, wherever we could find a spot to play ball. Imagine the sight of a bunch of kids, pre-teens I guess is what we would be called now, riding their bikes through the suburbia of Central Florida, with one lugging a large net over his back. That was us.

As Sidearm Delivery kinda hints at, pitchbacks weren't very good for baseballs, which is probably why he hated his so much. But it was killer for "Tennis Ball Baseball", the game of choice in the 'burbs, where cars and houses often defined the parameters of the field of play. Why we never went to an actual baseball field is beyond me. If I remember right, I think the real fields were too far away. A whopping five miles or so, tops. But that's a long way when someone has to carry a pitchback.

To this day, I wonder if any big leaguers ever started with a pitchback. Most kids I knew that were really good (besides me, of course) had dads who built them batting cages, or in one case, one kid's dad was Minnesota Twins trainer. A bit of a slight advantage when you are being taught your curve ball from Burt Blyleven. Yeah, that's fair.

Another big problem with the pitchback was it didn't really help. It didn't teach you how to throw fast, it didn't teach you how to field, and it sure didn't teach you how to hit. It didn't even come with a book on how to throw different pitches. I guess the one thing the pitchback did was teach me good control, but being able to move the ball in and out on hitters isn't really appreciated in Little League and other pre-high school levels.

So this my ode to the pitchback, an essential part of my young baseball dreams. Dreams that would have been so much cooler had they come true.

Pitchback, back pitch
I wish you could have made me rich.
But you were only metal and net,
Not a great teaching bet.
Looking back I needed a coach
Someone who could make the most
Of this tall skinny lefty with a rubber arm
but a fastball that could do no harm.

Oh pitchback, how you failed me
I could have been a Met, a Marlin, or even a Yankee
Instead my career amounted to zip
And I am stuck writing about you on The Serious Tip.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Serious Tip Turns 2: A Reflection

Two years ago, a friend of mine asked me to blog what's on my mind, so I started this blog that I'm still writing, the wise words were wisdom, meant to enlighten.

Wow. I must say I impressed myself with that Run D.M.C. "Down with the King" paraphrase. Maybe I have a future as a songwriter.

In all honesty, that was the only pop culture reference to "two years ago" that I could think of. I didn't want to start with the cliched "Four score minus 78 years ago". But I digress ...

Anyway, The Serious Tip is officially two years old today. And, as many people who peruse the Internet know, two years is a long time for a blog. So instead of sharing what would be a completely biased The Serious Tip's Best of Year Two, I wanted to talk a little bit about how I started blogging. Think of this as one of those sitcom flashback episodes.

A long time ago (I think it was sometime near August 2006), in a land not so far away (depending on where you live), I was listening to ESPN Radio. Now I'm not an avid sports radio listener, but I was driving and needed some variety. So I tuned in to the local ESPN Radio channel. On the air at the time was a show featuring Doug Gottlieb and some other guy, not sure who, but it's not important (maybe an avid ESPN Radio listener can fill in the details there). After discussing the news of the day, Gottlieb began to describe his daily routine, how he learned his news and how he figured out what was going to drive his topics of the day. During his description, he mentioned Deadspin.com. Always curious about new websites, I scribbled "Deadspin.com" on a receipt I had crumpled in a cup holder. Little did I know I was about to totally change my sports-viewing experience.

Like seemingly thousands of other sports fans, I found Deadspin.com in late 2006. Also like thousands upon thousands of other sports fans, I read some of the blogs Deadspin.com linked to and thought, "That looks fun. I wonder if I can do that?". Then one day Deadspin.com linked to Jenn Sterger's blog. No offense to Jenn (who I have met a few times and who seems nice, even if I maybe the only blogger who has wanted to but haven't had the chance to interview her), but after reading her blog, I knew I could blog. Not that I thought I was a better writer than Jenn, but all her blog was was her thoughts on sports. Well, I had thoughts on sports too, so I figured I should be able to pull off this blogging thing. And so it began.

My first post: Day One: Growin' All Up In The Ghetto

Way back when I first started, I had no idea where I wanted to go with The Serious Tip. With a name like The Serious Tip, I knew I could go anywhere. Should I write only about sports? What about some of my other interests, like music or politics? And if I was going to write about sports, should I keep it team-centric and just write about the Mets, Noles, Knicks, or the (then Devil) Rays? I was lost. So I did what I think most bloggers do: write other bloggers.

The best advice I received about blogging came not from Will Leitch or The Big Lead or any other the other major sports blog writers, but from Chip Wesley of Thunder Matt's Saloon. In a response to my email query, Chip gave me a few great pointers:

- Blaze your own trail: "Instead of rehashing the same stuff the other sites are doing (and doing a better job at it as well), we try to blaze our own trail. And if we lose some people with a salute to Freddie Mercury, so be it."

- Provide original content: "So many people start up a blog where 75% of their content becomes nothing but quotes from other people's sites or movie clips from YouTube."

- Keep the site fresh: "So many blogs will post content regularly for a few months and then just stop for weeks at a time without posting anything."

So that's about what I have tried to do. Of course, when I first started I forwarded quite a bit to Deadspin.com and The Big Lead.com to try and get a link and maybe even reel in a few re-occuring readers. But I quickly learned unless I geared my site for their readers, asking for a link was only at best good for a temporary spike in the numbers. Loyal readers to a small independent blog that talks about everything could only come through reaching out.

From reaching out via comments and emails, I like to think I've developed quite a few "Friends of The Serious Tip". For them I'd like to say "thanks". Their constant feedback, encouragement, and ideas have kept me going. And of course as I've gone on, several bloggers have even asked me to contribute on their blog, either through cameo or regular appearance. To me, that is the ultimate compliment and many thanks goes to these bloggers as well.

Sadly, as I mentioned before, blogs don't last forever. During two-year life of The Serious Tip, I've seen several great bloggers quit or go on indefinite hiatus (The Cav, Jack Cobra, among others). It is the sad reality of blogging. Like life, it moves on, and leaves dust of us all.

However, as many of you might know (at least those who read loyally, or at least on occasion), I've been recently working with a few sites of whom I have been long-time friends with: the aforementioned Thunder Matt's Saloon and The Afro-Squad (by the way, go vote for me for Afro-Squad Pimp of the Year). And be on the look-out for collaborations with several other bloggers in the upcoming weeks and months.

So even though The Serious Tip isn't the most successful blog in the world (yet), I'm still enjoying this. Blogging has given me an outlet to say what I want and write how I want. In conclusion, I'd like to paraphrase Joe Dirt in a quick interview with myself:

Me: So was the last two years a complete waste?

Myself and I: No one's really put it like that, but I don't think so. I've had good times, met cool people, cruised around, cranked some tunes. And blogged the best I could.

Hope you've enjoyed it.


Here's to loyal readers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What song is that, can you please tell me?

Last year, I attended a focus group meeting for (then Devil) Rays fans at Tropicana Field and I voiced my opinion on one particular issue: I wanted to know what song was playing as each individual player stepped to the plate. I suggested that it would be a good idea if this information was broadcast somewhere on the scoreboard. As this year has progressed, and as I have gone to approximately 20 home games at Tropicana Field, I have again wondered the same thing I thought about last year: what songs were playing?

Although I have noticed a few titles and some singer/band info being displayed, especially during the last few weeks, thanks to the MLB Entertainment website (via DRays Bay), I finally have my answers.

A few notes on the Rays at-bat music info:

- The page lists Evan Longoria's music as Pantera's "I'm Broken". While that was his music after the all-star break, he began the season with Tantric's "Down and Out".

- Of all the songs in English, the one I can least understand is Willy Aybar's entrance music, T-Pain and Flo Rida's "Low". I think the song goes something like "the belly-saggin' jeans and Reebok-twirling shoes" and then "she got low, low, low, low, low". The rest I have no idea. This song makes me feel old. I saw kids no older than eight singing along to it, while I stood there baffled.

- I'm pretty sure Edwin Jackson's music is not "Track 12" by Unknown. I don't think a musical artist would go by the name "Unknown". Then again, maybe they do and I am just old.

- Also in the category of "people who changed songs during the season", I think Troy Percival began the season coming in to Audioslave's "Chocise" before settling on Godsmack. Usually Godsmack oozes confidence and bad-assness, but not when Percival takes the mound. I've never been more nervous during "Keep Away".

- I know B.J. Upton has come up to the plate to more than just Lil Wayne's "Lollipop", but I have no clue what his other songs were.

- How cool is it that two Rays come to the plate to Pantera, both the aforementioned Longoria and Eric Hinske, who after his first at-bat comes to the plate to "Walk"? Both "Walk" and "I'm Broken" sound kick-ass echoing through the stadium. I also think the PA guys crank those songs up a little louder than they do some of the rap songs. But maybe I am just biased.

- Hinske's opening tunes also remind me of an opportunity lost. Why didn't anyone form a group in the stands called "Hinske's Headbangers"?

- Speaking of fan groups, and time is not yet lost on this one, what about the "Longo-holics" for fans of Longoria? Count me in as the first Longoholic. I might have to start making t-shirts.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Epitome of Ignorance and Closed-Mindedness

Maybe before this year I didn't pay attention. Maybe my time in the Army and my time at a liberal university taught me to tune it out. Maybe, like Siddhartha Gautama, I was shielded from it. Maybe I just thought if I ignored it, it would eventually go away. This year, however, has definitely opened my eyes to the awful sights of bigotry, racism, and cultural intolerance.

Living in the South, incidents such as a Georgia man's Obama "Curious George" t-shirts or a Tampa, Florida man's obnoxious display of an enemy flag on American soil have sadly portrayed people at their worst. Maybe it is the idea of a possible Black president, or maybe it is the media's heightened sensitivity, but never before have I seen such frequent displays of dislike in such a short time.

Joining this group of heinous and despicable examples of intolerance is a recent letter to the editor of the Florida Today newspaper. This letter is so preposterous, so off-the-wall, so near-laughable, I have to post it here in its entirety, taking it apart, of course, FireJoeMorgan-style.

Keep Foreign Players Out Of Pro Sports

by R. Lehr (Merritt Island, FL)

Professional baseball was for years America’s favorite pastime, today it appears to be anything but American.


First statement and Mr. Lehr is already flat-out wrong. According to USAToday.com, the percentage of foreign-born baseball players at the start the 2008 season was only 28%, down from 29% in 2007, and down even more from a record-setting 29.2% in 2005. That means over 70% of Major Leaguers were born in America. Maybe players such as Alex Rodriguez (born in New York City) and Kurt Suzuki (born in Hawaii) scare Mr. Lehr.

I attended a couple of preseason games this year, and one thing stood out. Players appear to be mostly foreign. We have seen companies outsourcing our jobs and technology to foreign countries and people are rightfully upset, yet they don’t seem to care that we are importing foreigners to play professional sports.

Wait, he went to a couple of pre-season games? Pre-season? Like from mid-February to April? And he is just writing about this now? It must not be bothering him that much if it took him nearly six months to write about it.

And let's compare the anger between losing a job to outsourcing and watching a foreign-born athlete play. That makes absolutely no sense. Subject A is your livelihood and the ability to put food on your dinner table, and Subject B is the object of your recreational enjoyment. So why baseball Mr. Lehr, why not pick on those horrible foreign-born actresses like Salma Hayek or Catherine Zeta Jones?

Baseball is the worst, followed by the PGA and LPGA. Basketball, soccer and hockey are bad as well. Consider that every foreigner given a roster position prevents an American athlete from fulfilling his or her dream to play professional sports.

So just over 1/4 is the worst foreign-born ratio in sports? I love the fact that Mr. Lehr doesn't bother giving numbers. I guess I am supposed to believe him that foreign-born players are taking over. But what if I don't? Let's look at three of his subjects and see if he is correct, shall we?

MLB: 28%

PGA (assuming he is talking about the Professional Golfers of America, and the PGA of Great Britian and Ireland, because those would be all foreigners, at least from an American perspective): 29.1%

So baseball is not the worst.

And finally, the NBA: 17.6%

The horror.

Some will say that it would affect the quality of the game and that they are recruiting the best of the best. I say hogwash.

No one says hogwash anymore. But then again, we are dealing with the highly incorrect ramblings of Mr. Lehr. Maybe here Mr. Lehr has a point. Maybe if MLB were to invest in urban areas more instead of Latin America, maybe they would find more American-born players. Ok, but that's baseball. I dare Mr. Lehr to find an American male over 7 feet tall who could have competed with Hakeem Olajuwan or could currently go shot-for-shot with Yao Ming. If the average person in another country is taller than the average American, wouldn't make sense to "recruit" those people to play a game where height is an advantage? Not according to Mr. Lehr.

I am tired of paying high-ticket prices to support Japanese, Korean or Caribbean baseball players or a Russian hockey player or a Chinese basketball player.

Let's see, what's more costly to a team: teaching a Caribbean youngster to play baseball, signing him for $5,000, sending him to the minors for peanuts, having him arrive in the majors with a rookie salary OR signing a highly regarded American college player, submitting to a greedy agent, and dishing out millions in signing bonuses and other costly clauses. Now which do you think costs the organization more? Which do you think translates into higher ticket prices? If Mr. Lehr thinks his tickets are expensive now, they would skyrocket if MLB closed their Latin American pipelines. And wait, I thought he only attended a couple of pre-season games? How much did that cost him? 40 bucks, tops?

And does anyone else think he is specifically picking on Yao Ming?

Americans should support our own athletes and support the teams that support and value American athletes.

We do. In the Olympics. Which are now over. Now we go back to being tolerant and inclusive.

Wake up sports fans! Let the teams know you want to see young American men and women playing our professional sports not imported players.

Oh, maybe I was sleeping. Maybe that's how the horrible, despicable, God-forsaken 28% of my cherished sports league fell into the terrible clutches of non-American infidels.

And I love the term "imported players". Like they come shipped in a box.

Here is the bottom line: any team that fails to scout and sign talent from around the world is doing itself and its fans a grave injustice. And any fan that listens or even worse agrees with the words of Mr. R. Lehr from Merritt Island, Florida is just as ignorant, intolerant, bigoted, biased, racist, closed-minded, and asinine as he is.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Yet another off-topic: The Ramen Noodle Museum

I promise something on sports this week, but this is too good to pass up.

As a college freshman, broke and carefree, my diet usually consisted of Cap'n'Crunch in the morning, Pop Tarts for lunch, and some brand of cheap beer and even cheaper fast food for dinner. On those rare days that I couldn't afford to buy food from the local Taco Bell or Burger King, I hit up my pantry's supply of Ramen Noodles.

Now thanks to Japundit.com (via Global Voices Online), I have learned the birthplace of my delectable freshman dish. My new mecca: The Ramen Noodle Museum.

Unfortunately, the website is in Japanese, so I have no idea what it says. According to Japundit's description however,

"At the museum, you can see different varieties of Cup Ramen from around the world, like broccoli ramen from Germany or curry flavored noodles from India, which are made without the soup base so that the noodles can be eaten with the hands, as is the custom in that country. Cup Ramen in all Western countries have noodles that are shorter than in Japan, to make them easier to eat with a fork.

The museum sports a virtual reality room showing what happens as ramen is made, from the viewpoint of the raman itself, and afterwards you can mosey up to the Instant Ramen Bar and order some ramen with custom toppings that you can specify."


I'm sold. Eating Ramen Noodles in Osaka would be like drinking Olde English in England, eating pizza at the Leaning Tower, or chowing down on French Toast in France.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Musing about politics

I know I have been all over the map with my topics lately; I'll get back to writing about sports sometime soon. Anyway, with the election season in full effect, there are a few things on my mind I wanted to put into words.

1) A few weeks ago BBC News and several other news outlets reported that White people of European descent will no longer be the majority in America by the year 2042. What effect will this have on the Republican party? As America becomes more multi-ethnic, will the Republican Party - stereotypically known as the party for White males - be able to adapt? If they don't, what will happen when they are mathematically eliminated before an election begins? Evolution is normal in political parties, but I think the Republican Party has to start planning for change now if it wants to be relevant in 50 years. That could be difficult for a party that touts itself as traditional and conservative.

2) On a related note, don't be surprised if the Democratic Party breaks apart and a new party emerges when a minority group decides the party line isn't best for them. We almost saw a splinter faction this year, but the solidarity of the GOP is forcing Democrats to vote as one bloc. If the GOP ceases to be relevant, the Democratic Party might not be able to hold the monopoly on their many diverse voices. It should be interesting.

3) A lot was made last week about Gov. Palin's pregnant daughter. What bothered me most was the young girl's boyfriend was immediately labeled Miss Palin's "husband-to-be". There is a verse in one of the songs of socially conscious hip-hop group The Coup in which Boots Riley raps:

I heard a lot of bad things about teenage mothers
From those who don't really give a fuck about life
She said "It ain't so much that they startin' out younger"
"It's just they supposed to be more like a wife"
Meanin' you ain't shit without a man to guide you
If ya mama tried to feed you that she lied too


The Bristol Palin controversy seemed eerily familiar to the family-first stance Dan Quayle took against Murphy Brown. Oddly, not much of the mainstream media is making that connection (this blog comes up first in a Google search). Maybe they are scared. Whatever the reason, in a land where a man without a solid nuclear "mother and father" family unit is running for president, does it really matter that a child is raised with a husband and wife in an average house with a mini-van and a white picket fence, as long as the child is raised with good morals and ideals and is hopefully a productive member of society?

4) I enjoy talking politics with a few people at my work. Sometimes, however, they baffle me. The other day, for example, one of my co-workers, a staunch conservative, said he liked watching Fox News because it "reaffirmed his views".

That is the exact reason NOT to watch.

I always try to keep an open mind, whether in discussions or in the media I absorb. My personal library is a smorgasbord of various philosophies, opinions, and mantras from Islam to Christianity to Buddhism to 1960s-era Black Nationalism to theories on warfare to books on the beatnik and hippie movements. How can someone understand the points of view of others if they only stay in their lane? Even if someone lives by one view, they should at least understand the mindset of other views. Anything less is ignorant.

5) Last but not least, fellow blogger MC Bias, a longtime friend of The Serious Tip, has a really good post on the dearth of conservative views in the sports blogosphere. He is definitely right. Although sports and politics don't mix too often, when they do the opinions tend to lean to the left. Although I commented that perhaps the reason was merely due to demographic and technological adoption (John McCain doesn't use email, remember?), perhaps it is also because sports is usually more progressive than most of society. This is especially true socially (Jackie Robinson came long before the Civil Rights Movement) and economically (isn't revenue sharing basically socialist?).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Off-Topic: Vote for me for Afro-Squad Pimp of the Year

2008 has been labelled a year of change. A year we throw away the faulty ways of the past, those misguided notions of ill-advised and confused leaders. Leaders who did not know or understand the feeling and will of the people.

In this year of hope we must shed the misdirection that has mired us in the dismal situations we now find ourselves in. We must take the high road, the road less traveled, and the road to prosperity.

For too long the Afro-Squad Pimp of the Year has been won by candidates without your best interest in mind. These winners have been only out for themselves or their supporters. They refused to see the best interests of everyone, no matter what side of the aisle, side of the fence, or side of the Force.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that this year's other candidates don't care, it's just that they don't understand that pimpin' ain't easy. Pimping doesn't come from osmosis. It takes hard work and a system that fosters and allows for success. The necessary skills of pimping aren't acquired through a corner, a feather hat, or a fancy mask, despite the beliefs of my opponents. They still believe in a broken mantra. They have clung to an antiquated system that doesn't understand you, your situations, or your hopes. Those other candidates think you should support yourself, even if you don't have a cane to lean on. They think you should find your own transportation, even if your Cadillac has been repossessed.

The other nine individuals in the running for Pimp of the Year might show you their smiling faces, their skills at kissing hands and shaking babies, or their aptitude for being in front of the camera. But don't believe their false promises and don't believe the hype. Only one candidate will keep your best interests in mind.

People, in this year of hope, change, and the future, we can no longer tolerate the misdirections of the past. You need a candidate that can form a better Afro-Squad Nation, an Afro-Squad Nation under one voice, with one heart, one soul, and one effort. An Afro-Squad Nation that stands up to The Man and finally puts him in his place. A candidate that will make The Man work for The People, not the other way around. I am that candidate. That is why I am asking for your vote.

Vote Jordi Scrubbings for Afro-Squad Pimp of the Year.

(I am Jordi Scrubbings and I support this message.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sean Combs is not only talentless, but clueless and ignorant as well

I normally don't go off on people on this blog. Actually, I try not to go off on people anywhere. But a recent youtube clip by Sean "Puff Daddy, P-Diddy, Diddy, etc" Combs rubbed me completely the wrong way.

First, check out the video:




This has to be a joke, right? Seriously, in a time where people are losing their jobs, banks are foreclosing on where people lay their heads, and people can't afford to drive their cars to work no less eat, Sean Combs has the audacity to ask people from oil producing countries to send him oil so he can fly his private jet?

Out of touch, insensitive, pretentious, self-absorbed, elitist, ignorant ...

I wouldn't even expect Paris Hilton to say something this dumb. I think even she is smarter and more conscious of the world around her. Sean Combs makes celebrities look dumb, and that's hard to do.

Please tell me this is a joke.

I could write all night on this, but I am not going to. It's late, and I need to go to sleep. Hopefully, you can see why this video concerns me more than any of Governor Palin's daughter's bedrockin' activities.

Lastly, people of oil-producing nations, even if you have a barrel to spare locked away in your backyard or in your basement, please don't send it to Puff Daddy. He hasn't done shit since Biggie died.

Before I go, a question: who has ridden the coattails of dead man further: Puffy or Courtney Love? Discuss.

(H/T to Global Voice Online. More here.)

Better than Nudie Magazine Day

What could be better than issues of "Drunk Chicks", "Women Over 80", and "She-Male Fiesta"?

Why, only two of the greatest releases of the week: Afro-Squad Magazine and my latest from Thunder Matt's Saloon!

First, this month's issue of Afro-Squad Magazine not only features a link to my fine site (which as a regular reader, I am assuming you have already read), but also links to interviews with models, wrestlers, and adult magazine superstars. And there are this year's nominees for "2009 Pimp of the Year" (I'm leaning towards either Zombie Pimp or wrestler Afa Anoai, Jr.).

Go check it out. It definitely gets the Jordi Stamp of Approval.

Afro-Squad Magazine

Next, over at Thunder Matt's Saloon, I posted my first solo blog, a story of love, loneliness, commitment, struggle, and a 19th century second baseman who was pretty crappy, even for his day. But he had a cool name.

The Tale of Joe Quest

Of course since I wrote this, it definitely gets my seal of approval as well. Go check it out.

These links brought to you by Balls Deep Weiners (not affiliated in any way with Drew Magary's Balls Deep column).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Confessions of a Confused Heart

Dear Diary,

I know we haven't talked in a while, but honestly I don't know what to say. Things are as bad as they have ever been. If not worse.

I have never been so confused and torn on who to be with.

It seems like both my local interest and my long distance love are planning to be with me this fall. Last year, I couldn't buy affection. It seemed my long distance love screwed up in every way possible to destroy our plans for a happy fall season. I don't blame her though, she got nervous. It happens.

Now I am nervous thinking about what I am going to do. What if they both end up at the same place at the same time this fall? Do I even show my face?

The worse part of the situation is that I wasn't supposed to fall like this. Me and my local interest were supposed to be gradually closer as she improved herself. We were supposed to remain friends. This situation was supposed to happen much more slowly. Now I am blindsided by her success. She is everything I want, right around the corner. I find myself openly rooting for her, much to the dismay of people who know my affection to my long distance love. When they ask me where my loyalty really lay, I usually walk away in shame.

Meanwhile, I can't help but feel bad for my long distance love. If she knew how little attention I pay her, she would probably throw me to the curb. Knowing her, she would try to be the best out of spite. Now she is constantly grinding, trying to make it to the top. And she is doing an amazing job of it. I heard recently she is battling it out with one of her peers for the chance to be with me this fall. She is impressing everyone she comes in contact with. How much she credits me I am not sure, but I know she doesn't want a repeat of last year.

I guess I'll do the only thing I can, and that's to wait it out. I still have about a month until my worst fears can come true. Although I am not wishing for the heart break of last fall, I don't want to see my two loves battling each otehr tooth and nail over me.

That would be the worst fall ever.