Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Bachelorette Episode 2 Recap: Just, Like, Have Faith in the Process

By Artistry and Finesse

Every season of The Bachelorette has a second episode, and every second episode is the same.  It starts with a magical one-on-one date with the first Gentleman, leaving our Bachelorette feeling "exactly where she is supposed to be."  Ben F. went so far as to call this initial date "huge."  We couldn't agree more.  That is followed by a large group date, involving anywhere from 10-15 of the Gentlemen, only 2 or 3 of whom are real contenders.  The group date is designed to showcase "personalities," so, naturally, the Gentlemen are forced to do something they don't want to do and that you want to fast forward through.  Meanwhile, back at the Mansion, the four or five Gentlemen who have not yet had "one-on-one time" with the Bachelorette wonder what it all means...does she not like me?  Or does she like me so so much?  Who is staying awake to watch West tonight?**  Will I ever get to meet the Bachelorette?

Winning Formula
The name that shows up on the second one-on-one Date Card is guaranteed to get the Rose and likely a kiss, or, in the case of Ashley, she will press her mouth against yours and blow air into your esophagus.  By the time the Rose Ceremony comes along, there is terrible angst settling in amongst the Gentlemen who have yet to meet the Bachelorette because they feel so strongly that if given the chance to introduce themselves to her, there would be a "connection."  The Bachelorette, especially a veteran of "the process" like Ashley, can immediately sniff out this insecurity and will undoubtedly seek to reassure these Gentlemen that she is so happy to have met them and wants them to "just, like, have faith in the process."  Those who have the faith in the process will get to participate in the process for a few more weeks, while those whose names you have never heard will not receive the Rose and will disclose during their final interview something to the effect of, "I haven't had a girlfriend in nine years."

How sure are we that we have this formula down? We managed a compelling 13 minute Raw Emotion podcast on Monday night, and Artistry hadn't even watched the show yet.  Now that we're both up to speed, here's what else we can tell you:

What we can tell you, after the jump...

Monday, May 30, 2011

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: The Bachelorette Episode 2

In a stunning development, we discuss our raw emotions from Episode 2 of The Bachelorette with one of us having not even seen the episode.  Needless to say, there is a lot of disappointment, a lot of grief, and a lot of self-examination.

[Subscribe on iTunes]
If you read GTOG, then you knew this was coming.

Today in That's a Mario Lemieux Goal: Poor Donnie Beaupre

Happy Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

RHONY Episode 8 Recap: Snakes on a Plane

By Sheer Elegance, GTOG Special Guest Blogger

Did you know that “Ya Habibi” means darling in Arabic? Damn it, LuAnn is gonna make “darling” happen. She is very present in this episode, as Morocco is her trip and gift to the ladies. The markets, the dessert, the spices, it's her pleasure. The Brunettes go first on the first class flight. Blondes will come the next day.

The riad, or private house where they are staying, is gorgeous. Brad Pitt apparently just left. Kelly loves the luminousness or luminosity (real words?) of the yellow light but ends up with the red room.

Blondes on the plane. Ramona is nervous. She needs her nice bedding and her Pinot. She doesn’t know what to expect from Morocco so she’s called ahead with many demands, including hangers. Alex is so excited to have two seats to herself. It’s interesting how Alex is very much on her own this season, while in previous seasons Simon and she were one. Viewers really did not like Simon and Bravo has taken note. I think he made her more interesting.

Makes Everything More Interesting
Sonja is also anxious about Morrocco. I mean, she has many friends with fabulous houses there, but she’s still not sure if where they are staying will have a bathtub.

Apparently Ramona doesn’t like dust or poverty. Alex has the decency to be embarrassed by the way Sonja and Ramona are acting towards their driver and the staff at the riad, who stand at attention upon their arrival.

More adventures in Morocco, after the jump...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Net Mouth Scramble: Sid Check-Up; Comrie and Kovy Check Out; Bruins Checkmate

By Artistry

Greetings on this perfectly lovely start to the Memorial Day weekend. Things are really looking up. For starters, Ray Shero said Friday that we should know sometime this week whether or not it's OK to get excited about next season and confirmed that he hasn't completely lost his mind. Also, phase 1 of my plan to get Shawntel - AKA the Comely Mortician, AKA the Smoking Hot Undertaker - to date Finesse is underway. I'll explain.

- Shelly Anderson reports today that Sidney Crosby will soon be re-evaluated by concussion specialist Michael Collins and - this is where GTOG encourages you to address the higher power of your choice and cash in whatever chips you think you can in order to help make this happen - hopefully will get clearance to begin an offseason workout program.  Everybody is still saying they expect a full recovery in time for the start of the season.

This is What a Full Recovery Looks Like
- Shero confirmed that we won't see Mike Comrie or Alexei Kovalev next year and neither provided nor was asked to provide any further explanation. I think we get it. Talks with Craig Adams have reached an impasse, apparently, but look for that deal to get done almost immediately after the league formally announces that the salary cap is going up in 2011-12.

- In case you missed Friday's spectacular Game 7 in Boston, Nathan Horton got the game's only goal in maybe the most exciting 1-0 game in memory.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out that we told you last June that Florida GM Dale Tallon was crazy to ship Horton and Colin Campbell's son to the Bruins for Dennis Wideman and two draft picks. That's almost Milbury-esque.

- There was some talk on Versus last night about what a nightmare matchup Zdeno Chara will be for the Sedin twins. On the contrary, the guess here is that the Sedin twins are going to make Chara's head spin. Vancouver in 6.

- The Cup Finals don't begin for like 5 more days. No hurry. It's only May 28.

- Finally, we're trying to get Shawntel Newton from last season of the Bachelor to join us for a Bachelorette Raw Emotion podcast.  Once we get her on the line, I'm sure it won't take long for Finesse to convince her he can guard and protect her heart. I tweeted Shawntel on Friday, and though she hasn't completely let down her walls, she did give us a retweet. Let's keep the pressure on. Tweet @Shawntel_Newton and let her know you'd like to hear from her on the @gtogblog podcast.

Come on a Journey With GTOG

Friday, May 27, 2011

Today in That's a Mario Lemieux Goal: When Steiggy Sounded Like a 12-Year-Old

From Lemieux's first game against Gretzky's Oilers.

Today in Ron Cook Poetry: Question America? OK. Question the Rooneys? Way Out of Line.

By Artistry

It takes a lot to get Ron Cook's ire up.  Rashard Mendenhall suggesting the tragedy of 9/11 may have been orchestrated by the United States government and Osama Bin Laden may have had nothing to do with it?  Didn't bother Ron Cook.  Freedom of speech, remember?  It's that freedom of speech thing, again, he probably thought to himself, several times, in paragraph form.  Heck, we've been openly mocking him for a year, and Ron Cook hasn't made a peep in response.  But when James Harrison this week tweeted criticism of NFL owners who voted to codify punishment for dangerous hits?  Ron Cook was apoplectic.  He hasn't been this worked up since the Koreans invaded Oakmont Country Club.  James Harrison, you just made enemies with the wrong asker of rhetorical questions.  With that, we bring you Friday's installment of "Today in Ron Cook Poetry":

Rashard Mendenhall...
That's OK.
We live in America.
James Harrison...
That's unacceptable.
Forget freedom of speech in this case.

I have no problem with Mendenhall's tweet.
I have a big problem with Harrison's.

Like the Steelers are the only defense that hits hard?
Calling Goodell and the others "idiots" is going to help that situation?

Is it just me or is that contradictory?
Like he was going to walk away from his $51.75 million contract?
That $51.75 million contract, remember?

Would Tackle For Free

Wake Up With GTOG: This is How You Close

By Finesse

Herm Edwards is on ESPN2 right now screaming about "closing."  Everyone else is talking about how Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade are "closers."  And no matter who it is talking about "closing," he is clicking the "c" sound in the word to the point where you need to change the channel.

LeBron, Wade, and Dirk are fantastic players.  Each of them probably is already among the top-20 guys ever, and depending on their performance in the Finals, each could end up in the top 10.  In fact, LeBron may not have a ceiling.

But with all due respect to those three, there is only one true closer.  And in case you forgot what MJ was capable of, just watch the following video from the 6:45 mark forward.  It's ruthlessly efficient execution of the highest order.

The last 41 seconds of the game is like watching Michaelangelo put the finishing touches on the David.  The only difference being that Michaelangelo probably didn't celebrate by taking a private jet to Cabo to play blackjack at an underground casino.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today in That's a Mario Lemieux Goal: "He Can Beat Anybody 1-on-1"

And beating Darren Veitch was like taking a shower in the morning for Lemieux.

RHONY Episode 7 Recap: Thug in a Cocktail Dress

By Sheer Elegance, GTOG Special Guest Blogger

Now we know where this wretched season is leading: to “Exotic, sophisticated, Morocco.” Of course it is. LuAnn has been reading tourism brochures again. Whoever came up with this fakakta idea clearly saw the Sex and the City movie and liked it. Somehow. I’m dubious, but we shall see. I’m only excited about the upcoming trip because we get to see Ramona convulsing on the bed crying like a three year old in an upcoming episode, and that looks pretty promising.

Looking Intensely Forward to Morocco
But this ep is mostly about LuAnn. She is everywhere – bossing and darlinging and pushing Morocco. Has lunch with a sweaty Sonja – fresh from the gym. Fresh from a roll in the hay is more like it -- and LuAnn tells her so like your awkward uncle would. Everyone’s in Italy for truffle season, Sonja says. She is so random.
A toaster oven sighting, bullying, and plastic surgery, after the jump...

Wake Up With GTOG: Some Random Stories

By Finesse

So much going on.

- Tampa forced a Game 7 against Boston with an exciting 5-4 victory last night.  We have found ourselves overwhelmingly rooting for Tampa, and even for Martin St. Louis, who has been a consistent killer of the Pens but has emerged as our tiny little hero.  Usually we hate teams that eliminate the Pens, but Tampa handled it well, was a better team, and was relatively un-annoying, because the only thing they did that bothered us -- Ryan Malone taking penalties -- actually should have been to the Pens' advantage.

- Scott McCreery won American Idol.  That's likely the last time we will be writing about Scott McCreery.  At what point is that show going to realize what is happening and split into Blue State Idol and Red State Idol?  Not saying that one is better than the other, but there are trends developing.

- Sike, we actually have one more thing to say about McCreery.  We love his fashion sense.  A tuxedo jacket, a hemp necklace with a cross on it, a skin-tight undershirt from Express Men, a belt from Cracker Barrel, and the Wranglers from the Brett Favre commercials.  Artistry is wearing the same thing to work today.

- Not that we sit around wondering "what-if" all day, but Artistry and I are currently in a debate about whether to put the asterisk before or after the team name for whichever team wins the Eastern Conference.  What looks better?  *Boston Bruins or Boston Bruins*

- The Dallas Mavericks eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder last night to win the Western Conference and advance to the NBA Finals.  If they should end up playing Miami, it gives Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki a shot at redemption for blowing a 2-0 lead in the 2006 Finals to the Heat in what many feel was a referee aided comeback for Dwyane Wade and the Heat.  Was the officiating bad?  Probably.  But because of it, the first ticky-tack call in favor of the Heat raises a realistic possibility of the first live head explosion ever aired by ESPN.  We can't say we aren't excited.

- In the least surprising story of the day, another ex-Ohio St. football player said he sold his football rings for cash.  Snore.  Cue the chorus of, "we have to pay these players!" While paying college athletes may make sense on some levels, it could actually cause even more problems.  Are you going to pay the 80th man the same as the star quarterback?  How is that any more fair than paying neither?  And if you are going to pay different players different amounts, then won't players just go to the highest bidding team?  Aren't they already getting paid with a scholarship?  What about Title IX?  How can a school like Indiana - which has laughable attendance at football games - compete against a money-making machine like Ohio St. if, in addition to the on-field advantages OSU has, they can also pay more?  [Oh wait, you don't care?  Ok, nevermind.]

- Pirate fever:

- And finally, follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Steelers Continue Proud Tradition of Defiant Tweets

By Artistry

NFL owners voted unanimously this week to codify punishments for flagrant hits, something being referred to in certain quarters as the "Steelers rule," and it didn't take the players long to respond. Via tweet, naturally.  From the always eloquent James Harrison:

"I'm absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots."

And from the Steelers' other Pro Bowl outside linebacker, LaMarr Woodley:

"Thoughts on 'the steelers rule'??? lol im sorry that im not sorry we hit 2 hard."

LOL'ing at Joe Flacco
This is what happens to winners, guys.  People try to tear you down.  I'm just surprised at the lack of support for the sentiments of Harrison and Woodley among their teammates in the Twitterverse.  What could they be up to?  Let's see what's on the minds of some other Steelers today.  You know, just to check in.

R_Mendenhall: "If you have a "closed mind", how can anything get in?"

mvp86hinesward"OMG! I can't believe it! First I want to say THANK YOU to all my fans and Steeler Nation, Bulldog Nation, and...http://fb.me/WgSP22u2"

AntonioBrown84"Didn't know u had to wear polo at the gulf range?! Gulf etiquette polo and cache shorts shm where dey do that at?"

Not a Big Gulfer
Ike_SwagginU"S/O to all my followers haters ain't gotta like but makem respectya SWAGGIN"

RMundy29: "Time? RT : RT : Hangover 2 Tonight??!!"

SSylvester55" ahhhh brah you Betta fo wild them thangs Is hella fun... I had em in Hawaii goin Ham lol"

Indeed.  I think I speak for all of GTOG Nation when I say, thank you, Twitter.

We'll Watch Just About Anything ... But Not This

By Finesse

We are willing to watch just about anything, and then dissect it like a presidential election so you don't have to.   But we also have standards and even a little bit of pride.

And that's why you can count GTOG out of the running to be your primary source of news on Shawn Marion's new show, "The Ladies of My Life," which has "been in the works" for over a year.  It appears that Marion will be put in a house with his mother and sisters and then .... what?  Hilarity ensues?  As Shawn describes, "It's going to deal with me and how I have mostly all ladies in my life.  I'm single-mother raised and I have all sisters and I have a single-mother foundation, so it's about all that."

We know it's about all that, but actually have no idea what all that is about.  Hence, we won't be watching.  Instead, I'll concentrate on filming my reality show pilot, "People That I Know."  It's hard to describe, but I was quoted yesterday as saying, "It's going to deal with me, and some people that I know.  I've met these people, I know them, and most of them know me.  So it's pretty much about that."

People That Shawn Marion Knows.

Happy Anniversary

By Artistry

20 years ago today, I woke up with a gigantic poster of a mulleted Mario Lemieux hanging over my bed, and I gave it a tap for luck before bounding down the stairs.  Of that, I'm sure.  The next 10 hours or so are a complete blank.  But then I remember everything - down to the precise motion of Lemieux's fist pump after his first period goal - about Game 6 of the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.  And the aftermath, what happened that night, is as clear to me as 5 minutes ago.  Clearer.  Doing a Superfly Snuka celebratory leap from the top of a couch onto my friends.  The trip down the parkway on the way to the airport to greet the team.  Trying, before being thwarted by police, to force a Pens jersey over the statue of the late Mayor Richard Caliguiri.  They should have let us do that.  It was a good time.  It was the dance...of champions. 

News of Hines Ward winning "Dancing With the Stars" may be more timely, but any reminiscence about that day in 1991 will always be the lead story.  GTOG.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bachelorette Recap: You're Welcome, Las Vegas

By GTOG Staff

It began, like every new season of ABC's Bachelorette, with an inspirational montage.  But this time around, it wouldn't be enough to tell the story of a young lady who somehow missed out on earlier opportunities but is now "ready for love."  Nor would it suffice to explain that the star of the show had previously erected walls around her heart, but with the help of a therapist and long jogs on the beach, she is finally "open to love."  Because this time, the producers faced a much taller task.  They needed to get viewers on board with the idea that we can "tolerate Ashley."  Could they pull it off? 

Let's break this montage down.  First, a flashback to South Africa, where Brad Womack decides, hey, this Lady is shrill, cloying, and insecure - annoying on an almost cosmic scale, like a supernova - followed by a thrust forward to present day for a dramatic introduction to the New Ashley: now brunette, fake-tanned, possibly packing new boobs (are we right, ladies?), and dressed like an extra from Step Up 3D.  "I'm so happy with who I've become," she says.  Then, she floats to center stage in an empty theater.  She is naked, stripped of the burdens, anxieties, and, hopefully, the entire personality of her past.  Also, she is literally semi-nude.  No sooner do we see her writhing around on the ground in spandex shorts than we are transported to what appears to be an aerobics class.  Suddenly, bam, she's doing dental work.  She's a sexy dancer and a dentist.  By the time they wrap this thing up with Ashley breathing deeply on a mountaintop, we're sufficiently worn down.  That montage was like anesthesia.  We've lost feeling in our extremities.  We may never embrace her as a worthy successor to Ali, but we just got carried on board for Ashley's Journey, and you know what?  We're not looking back.  Let's bring in the Gentlemen.

After the jump, a brief evaluation of this season's contestants, followed by the official GTOG odds of each Gentleman making it through to the season finale...

Someday, GTOG Will be Justin Bieber's Obsession

By Artistry

From the website for Justin Bieber's SOMEDAY:

"SOMEDAY by Justin Bieber is more than just a fragrance: it’s energy with a state-of-mind that inspires. It is a personal gift straight from his heart, giving fans a chance to get one step closer to Justin. It’s a fragrance he can’t get enough of and can’t stay away from, making those who wear it irresistible.”

GTOG will be first in line when SOMEDAY hits stores on June 20th. We will then proceed to spray it all over our Twitter account.

Will Soon Follow GTOG on Twitter
Thanks to Kaki for the tip.

Monday, May 23, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Nothing Brings Out Raw Emotion Like the Bachelorette

When something big happens, something truly big, there is only one way to capture the pure, raw, unfiltered emotion -- stay up later than you should and record a podcast. It's a new feature here at GTOG called the Raw Emotion Podcast, and there is no better time to record one than after what we just witnessed -- the season premiere of the Bachelorette.  Who is the favorite?  What just happened?  Should we be reimbursed from some sort of Victims' Compensation Fund by ABC?  We answer these questions, and more.

Today in That's a Mario Lemieux Goal: "I'm Out of Words"

If you'll recall, Penguins coach Pierre Creamer allegedly did not have a clue that the Penguins needed to win this game in order to qualify for the playoffs. Mario did.

The Bachelorette: 10 Things To Watch in Season 7

By GTOG Staff

It doesn't get any bigger than this. Tonight at 8 p.m. EST, Ashley the 26-year-old dentist begins her journey through a maze of 30 similar looking white men to find "the One," who will make her feel, make her believe, and make her fake laugh on camera. It's an extraordinary journey, full of plot twists and turns, some of which are real. They call it "The Bachelorette." We call it our "Wheelhouse."

Ready to, like, find love.
As a public service to our biggest fans, as well as those who will be taking the plunge into this season with us for the first time, here are 10 things to look for this season.

10. Gentlemen who came for the right reasons, but stay for the wrong reasons. Look, Ashley deserves love just as much as the next reality show contestant, but we hold our Bachelorettes to a very high standard. Ashley is cute, perky, perky, and cute, but she can also kill a romantic mood (see Window, God's) like no one since Kasey serenaded Ali by singing about a helicopter. Watch for at least a dozen potential suitors to shift quickly from "here to find love" to "hey, free booze" mode after their initial encounter with the golden-tanned dentist.

9. An exit strategy. For the same reason, is it not also conceivable that at least some of the 30 Gentlemen will be looking to jump ship shortly after the limo pulls up the shiny brick driveway? Not only possible, but likely. But extracting one's self from the Bachelorette (so to speak) is about as complex as removing a malignant brain tumor -- it takes practice, finesse, skill, and a little bit of luck. Here are three excuses we see some of the Gentlemen using:

  1. "I'm more into my roommate."
  2. "In Touch Weekly just found out that I'm texting other women."
  3. "I came here with my walls up, and now it's too late."

The top 8, after the jump...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Apoca-Noodle Now: Texas Legislature Comes Up Huge

By Artistry

We're well on our way to the end of the world, with approximately 207 million people expected to be plucked from the earth on Saturday in advance of various natural calamities, culminating with the rest of us going downtown.  As in, way downtown, bang

Fortunately, the damned among us should in the interim be able to enjoy some hand-fishing - otherwise known as "noodling" - down in Texas.  You heard right.  No more $500 fine for snatching a large catfish out of a crick with your bare hands.  GTOG is grateful to the brave state senators who voted Thursday to permit licensed fisher-folk to noodle freely. Anyone swept away during tomorrow's rapture misses out.
Texas Noodling Legalization Bill
Now Who's Rapturous?

Today in Ron Cook Poetry: Ron Cook's Masterpiece

By Artistry

The four-word email from Finesse came this morning as I was sitting in traffic: "Unreal Cook this AM."  I immediately pulled up today's column on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, read it in about 20 seconds, because that's how long it takes, and issued a quick response:  "Oh my God."  For the uninitiated, GTOG has a long history of documenting Ron Cook's work.  The Post Gazette columnist has asked a lot of rhetorical questions over the years, and he's answered those questions with a lot of one word responses, then he's asked the questions again to make sure you, and he, got it the first time, thereby covering a lot of column inches by essentially talking to himself.  And, because it seemed the obvious thing to do, we've turned his columns into poetry.  But today?  Today, Cook took things to another level.  It's like he's been reading the blog and just decided, listen, you haven't seen anything yet.  Let me repeat: anything yet.  I mean, really.  Here's Today in Ron Cook Poetry.

The lockout of their players?
The fight over more than $9 billion in annual revenues?
The threat of no professional football in the fall?
It's all for you.
Sure, they will.
Does Goodell really think the fans are idiots?
Listen, I have nothing against greed.
I don't think anyone does.
It's the American way, right?
We'd all take more if we could get it.
I mean, are we stupid?
But couldn't Goodell at least be honest about it?
I wish somebody had.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
What the heck?
Let me repeat: Please.
Again, are you with me?
What the heck?
Now tell me the truth.
Aren't you glad the owners have your back?

I Mean, What the Heck?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thrashers Moving To Winnipeg is Not Cause to Celebrate

By Finesse

The Canadian Globe & Mail is reporting that a deal is done to move the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg to become, presumably, the Winnipeg Jets.  There are other conflicting reports saying that it isn't a done deal (you can Google them).  Canadians will undoubtedly rejoice, and people in Montreal may flip police cars this weekend, not because the Jets are coming back, but just because.  Many NHL fans in the US will also rejoice, as the league and its fans have never really embraced the idea of NHL teams in the sunbelt.  This could be the first step in correcting what many believe is a big error by the NHL.

But there will be at least one place where there will be no rejoicing, and that's GTOG.  You can argue, and probably persuade us, that the NHL should never have expanded/relocated to many of the markets that it is currently in -- Phoenix, Atlanta, and Miami to name a few.  But once the league makes that decision, and once a team opens up shop in a new city, something good happens.  New people are exposed to hockey.  New fans are created.  Kids, who otherwise would have never been exposed to the game, start signing up for ice hockey leagues.  People who are transplants from other cities start watching.

You can make fun of markets like Atlanta for hockey, and we often do.  But we never would root for those teams to be relocated, because, if memory serves us correctly, Pittsburgh was on the chopping block not too long ago.  And, if you're being honest with yourself, the only reason the Pens are still in Pittsburgh is because the team tanked a bunch of games in 1984 so they could draft Mario.  Otherwise?  Don't even want to think about it.

You can justify the NHL's desire to have a team in Winnipeg, and, if you have to pick from an existing team, the Thrashers are as good of a choice as anyone.  We're happy for Winnipeg, just the same way we felt bad for them in 1996.

But do yourself a favor and don't "blame" Thrashers' fans.  It's not the fault of the Atlanta fans who did go to the games, who did buy the hideous jerseys, and who did watch the team on TV.  That's who GTOG feels bad for.

A final thought to put things in perspective.  There is no doubt that the Thrashers' attendance was a problem; after all, they only averaged 13,469 per game this season.  But if that makes Atlanta an awful hockey market, what does that make Pittsburgh, where the 2003-04 Pens averaged 11,877?

If the move happens, congratulations to Winnipeg.

But our thoughts are in Atlanta.


Today in That's a Mario Lemieux Goal

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Bachelorette Says: "Tune in and You're Going to Die"

By Artistry

For months, we had our walls up with respect to the new season of ABC's Bachelorette.  There were two primary reasons for this.  First, our initial experience with Ashley the Dentist left us cold.  On her final date with Brad - you remember, at God's Window in South Africa - she orchestrated maybe the single most awkward encounter of the whole freaking journey, driving a dejected Brad to shout, inexplicably, "Happy to be here!" at passing wildlife, and later dismiss her with a stern, "I'm confident in my decision."  She just totally sabotaged the thing.  How do you pull something like that at God's Window?  Tough for us to forgive.  Second, no way this season tops the fairy tale of Ali and Roberto, right?

Hold the helicopter.  Ashley recently held a press conference to promote Monday's premiere, and - in the name of all that is holy and pure - suffice to say we're back on board.  For one thing, Ashley reveals that ABC has assembled nothing short of "the best guys [the show] has ever had."  You heard right.  Even better than that guy Kasey with the tattoo.  She continues, "They [ABC] really know how to get a variety of men."

Sort of like P. Diddy's "White Party," but also kind of different.

GTOG is overwhelmed. This is like being thrown into a Brazilian rain forest and asked to choose the single most exquisite flower.  How can we not put our whole hearts into watching this Lady at Monday's rose ceremony?  It's a moot question, because now we have no choice.  Our walls just got decimated.

What is our newly brunette, newly tanned, and still totally vacuous Bachelorette looking for come Monday?  She puts it better than we ever could:  "I want someone who makes me feel."  Strap yourselves in.  It's going to be quite a journey.

Coach Sheshevsky Loses Top Recruit Because Duke Can't Spell

By Finesse

Sometimes, attention to detail matters.  Long ago, an intern at a big company sent out a mass email that was supposed to have an attachment.  Like we've all done, he forgot the attachment.  He sent a second email two minutes later with the file attached, and wrote "Sorry for the incontinence."

Apology accepted?

Anyway, a top basketball recruit from North Carolina has apparently decided to attend UNC over Duke, at least in part because Duke consistently misspelled his name in letters they sent him.  The recruit, P.J. Hairston, complained that Duke routinely called him P.J. Harrison.  Via Fox Sports via some newspaper in North Carolina:
"The thing about Duke was, every time they sent me a letter, they wouldn’t spell my name right,” Hairston said. “They would have ‘T.J. Harrison’ or something like that. And I’m like, ‘OK. How can I go here? You can’t even spell my name right.’ It’s only two letters and HAIR and STON. I’m trying to figure out how that’s so hard.”
The lesson: it's impossible to overestimate people's incontinence.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is Ray Shero Really Saying About Jaromir Jagr???

By Finesse

When he isn't getting scooped at his own paper by the Pirates beat reporter about the status of Crosby's concussion, Dave Molinari may actually be doing some work.  Well, he probably isn't but his name is attached to this snippet from the PG website in which Ray Shero is quoted as saying about the potential for a Jagr return to Pittsburgh:
"We have not discussed it internally, put it that way."
Ray, you may be a smart guy, but you can't pull a fast one on GTOG.  Let's break down his quote.

- Who is "we"?  Maybe Shero was standing with his Blackberry and was just saying that he has not discussed Jagr with his Blackberry.  That leaves open the possibility that others within the Penguins' organization have discussed it.

- Which leads to the next question: what is "it"?  Because we don't know the question, maybe Shero was asked, "what do think about Ovechkin having 0 points in 5 games at the World Championships?"  On second thought, that couldn't have been the question because "they" definitely laughed about "that."

- Ok, so he hasn't discussed it "internally."  As far as GTOG is concerned, that is a blatant admission that he has been talking about it externally.  And if they talk about it externally, it's as good as a signed contract.

So what does this all mean?  Welcome home, Jags.

Even Kenny Powers is jealous
And we'd be remiss if we didn't post video of the 20th anniversary of Mario's near criminal humiliation of Shawn Chambers and John Casey.  Oh my heavens, what a goal.

Hines Ward Caught in Glass Case of Emotion

By Artistry

This clip has it all.

Hines is not thinking about the lockout, bless his shiny bald head.

As Sex Scandals Rock the Political World, Pittsburgh Opens a TGI Friday's that Serves Breakfast

By Finesse

If, like all of us have at some point in our lives, you've ever found yourself wandering aimlessly around the eastern edge of downtown Pittsburgh on a weekday morning wondering why there is no place to buy a sodium, mushroom, and cholesterol omelet, your hardship is finally scheduled to be relieved on May 31.  The Penguins are opening a TGI Friday's next to the Consol Energy Center that will become, remarkably, just the second such Friday's to be open for breakfast in the area.

If images of potato sticks, brownish-orange colored oranges, and sausage patties, the color of which colorologists are still debating, doesn't excite you, then you are at the wrong website.   But if it does excite you, then you probably don't need GTOG to tell you what this means.  It's huge.  And we know only one way to celebrate.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pasi Nurminen Parties

By Artistry

It's rare to win an IIHF world championship. But it's truly unique when, after what must have been an epic celebration on the way home to Finland, the goalie coach staggers off the airplane, does a face plant, and dents the championship trophy with his head.

Our hats off to you, sir.

Maybe Pittsburgh: Jagr's Long Goodbye

By Artistry

Decades from now, when Jaromir Jagr is old and infirm, a reporter from the Edmonton Journal will surely visit the aging legend with the wispy soul-patch and surprisingly vibrant silver mullet in his Kladno rest home, and the reporter will ask him, any chance of you packing up your walker with the tennis balls on the legs and taking that thing on the road to Pittsburgh? 

Here's the latest on Jags from Sunday's Journal (via Emptynetters):

“You never know. Maybe it will be still fun to go back to NHL,” Jagr said mere minutes after collecting a bronze medal at the IIHF world hockey championship when the Czechs beat Russia 7-4 on Sunday. “Maybe Pittsburgh. I don’t know. Maybe Montreal. Maybe New York. Pittsburgh, I played there for a long time. Mario is the owner. It’s better to play with great centres like (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin, (then) this game is a little bit easier and I’m not young anymore. I would like to score some goals, empty-netters with those guys and it’s a lot easier.” - Jaromir Jagr

Whatever, dude. I'm not letting my walls down on this one. You won't hurt me again.

Meanwhile, Ron Cook, always with the impeccable timing, offered his initial take this morning on the possibility that Jagr ends up with the Penguins, possibly unaware that the guys that work one cubicle over - Dejan Kovacevic and even Hall-of-Fame Dave Molinari - have been all over this for weeks. In other news, the Post Gazette reports, athletes and social media can be a combustible combination. Really? GTOG hadn't noticed.

Wake Up With GTOG: Tampa doesn't suck, but the Pirates might

By Finesse

Sometimes we get it wrong here at GTOG, though when we do, we find ways to point out that we were actually right.  For example, we famously pronounced that "Tampa Sucks" but, in the same article, stated emphatically that Tampa was no less than a 50-50 shot to eliminate the Pens.  Well, turns out we were right -- Tampa doesn't suck.

They handled the Bruins on Saturday in the same fashion that they escaped the Pens and manhandled the Caps -- by burying their chances, getting solid goaltending, and playing extremely well with the lead.  The popular talking point about the Lightning is that they play the trap once they get up on you, but it's a far different feeling than it was playing against the trap of the Devils back in the days when Martin Brodeur's sister in-law was only his sister in-law.  Against the Devils, they were happy to get up 1-0, and then win 1-0.  With Tampa, they get up 1-0 (or 3-0 in the case of Saturday), and then make it extremely difficult for you to score, while still possessing the quick strike ability to build on their lead. Needless to say, that's a potent recipe for success in the post-season.

Unlimited pics on the internet of Tampa celebrating
We unfortunately did not use the opportunity of our most recent podcast to go on the record with our predictions for the NHL Conference Finals (which we formulated in our minds before the respective Game 1's, we promise).

Finesse: Tampa in 6; Vancouver in 7.
Artistry (with analysis!!): I'll stick with my San Jose prediction, even though it doesn't look good this morning. The Lightning are the hottest team in the league right now. You're welcome, Tampa Bay. Boston has always been overrated. Would love to see Boston/SJ Jose for the Thornton storyline, but it won't happen.  Tampa in 6, San Jose in 7.

- In these cynical times, what would you think if I told you that a major league baseball player hit 16, 15, 15, and 13 home runs from 2006-2009 respectively, and then hit 54 home runs in 2010 and is on pace to hit 81 home runs in 2011?  Hmmm.  If you were the player involved, you'd attribute this remarkable increase in productivity to the other team throwing you strikes, which is like a marathoner saying he is breaking marathon records because they keep organizing marathons.  Throwing strikes is what the other team is supposed to do, so excuse us, Jose Bautista, if we sense there might be other factors.  We're not sayin', but we're just sayin'.

Got strikes in Pittsburgh, too...
- How 'bout those Buccos?!  They went from 18-17 to 18-22 before you even had time to figure out how to pronounce Kevin Correia's name.

- Everyone wants to know our take on the Derek Boogaard death, which is odd because we wonder how we are supposed to have an opinion on something when absolutely no facts have been released.  There is no need to rush to judgment, opinion, or speculation when a 28-year old passes away.  We'll sit tight on this for now.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

RHONY Episode 6 Recap: Ramona to the Core

By Sheer Elegance, GTOG Special Guest Blogger

Other (funnier, speedier) reviewers of this show have noted the duality of the Housewives: the light and fun women who flit around New York in a harmless way, and their darker doppelgangers, who aim to destroy and undermine each other. We open this episode with Fun Housewives: supermodel Ramona with fans whirring at a photo shoot. She’s modeling for her skin care line of Pinot Grigio soaked faith-based statement jewelry and has brought in a one-named celeb photographer, her fellow lush Sonja for tips on how to keep her eyes “soft,” and her funny assistant, who tells her she looks like a “Young Pamela Anderson.” Is that a good thing? So that’s a fun scene. Hair blown out and make up applied. Self-aware jokes about being stiff on camera. Poses. Airbrushing. Housewives bein’ housewives.

Next we head to Cindy’s giant white apartment in the West Village sky, where girls with long straight hair and jeggings hang out taking care of Cindy’s important stuff, including her little babies’ jeggings (they do exist and are wicked cute). Jill comes over to be fun and go yenta to yenta. Cindy sits on the table and they pretend to eat carbs. Cindy admits that some of these girls with the hair wake up with her children at night, which I’m sure most parents would kill for if they could afford it, but she still complains about getting woken up from the comfort of her cozy giant feather bed because she hears the girls with the hair taking care of her babies. OK! Not super sympathetic Cindy, but I do admire your honesty.

Read on after the jump...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GTOG Podcast: The Jagr Rumors, the NBA Playoffs, Idiots on Twitter, Ashley the Dentist, and so much more

It's time for another rapid-fire GTOG podcast, where we cover a vast and unrelated range of topics, from the potential for a Jaromir Jagr return to Pittsburgh, professional athletes on Twitter, the Bachelorette, the NBA Playoffs, and even Justin Bieber and Chris Brown. A huge podcast. Thanks for listening, tell your friends, and subscribe on iTunes.

He's Still Got It

By Artistry

Everyone is talking today about Jaromir Jagr and a potential rapprochement with the Penguins and the city of Pittsburgh.  [Ed. note: you only get to use a word like rapprochement if you have a moniker like "Artistry."]  In case you missed it, here's what Jagr did to the American team Wednesday at the ice hockey World Championships.

What a player. Will we see him on Sid's line in October? No. Sure, he would drastically improve the power play. Jagr creates odd-man opportunities when he takes a shower in the morning.  But it's too unlikely. He's not a fit for the current system, and if he were to take a shift or two off in some game against Columbus in November, I think Dan Bylsma's head would explode. Still, isn't it fun to dream?

Net Mouth Scramble: 20 Years Since Lemieux Buried It; CTE (Continuing Twitter Education); and Someone Tell the Pirates it's Only May

By Artistry

20 years ago today, Mario Lemieux snatched a puck along the boards of the Civic Arena and in one fluid motion fired it dead into the center of the Boston Bruins' empty net, sealing the Penguins' first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Nobody in the stands during that game will ever forget it.  The crowd was unlike anything you'd see in Pittsburgh now, because remember, trips to the playoffs, let alone the Finals, were fairly unusual back then.  People were going crazy.  The play on the ice was equally intense, in a different way than you see today.  It was somehow more raw.  Ulfie destroyed Cam Neely.  Dave Poulin and Bob Sweeney did everything short of straddling Mario's shoulders to try to slow him down, but Lemieux kept stripping the puck off Don Sweeney and picking corners on Andy Moog.  Guys were going back and forth in the media - first Kevin Stevens guaranteed a win, then Mike Milbury called Badger Bob Johnson a "professor of goon-ism," and everybody on each team pretty much openly professed hatred for the other side - and we knew we were witnessing something epic.  It was the start of the Golden Age of hockey in Pittsburgh.

Something else is worth noting as we reminisce about that day and how the league has changed. You hear a lot of talk now about how players don't respect each other the way they once did, and you might wonder what that even means. What does respect look like?  Well, the Penguins and Bruin hated each other.  But watch this handshake line video from May 11, 1991, and think about how different these rituals look today. 

I'm pretty sure Chris Nilan asked Kevin Stevens to be the godfather to his first child.

- It's also amazing to see the young Jaromir Jagr in that video, just beginning then to cultivate the mullet to end all mullets, and consider that today we're talking about a homecoming. He misses us, and we miss him. Jags, we did like you when you were younger. Come home.

- Someone just mentioned to me that the Pirates are playing .500 ball. Talk to me in August.

- If you haven't been watching this Sharks/Wings series, you need to tune in for Game 7. Incredible hockey. Say what you will about Detroit, and we do, they are pretty irrepressible.

- And now for today in GTOGCTE (Get To Our Game Continuing Twitter Education).  Rule #1 of GTOGCTE:  If you play professional sports, don't tweet.  We've been over this many times.  If you are a professional athlete, there is a presumption that you are not aware that if you type something on Twitter, other people can read it.  Even if this presumption does not apply to you, there is a reasonable likelihood that you will tweet something stupid, embarrassing, and/or offensive.  So don't do it.  Hey, keep a diary instead.  Rule #2 of GTOGCTE?  Don't tweet.  If you are unable or unwilling to follow Rules #1 and #2, we advise you to limit your tweets either to shoutouts to your boys or information regarding your whereabouts, using as many exclamation points as you like (See Ovechkin, Alex). 

But athletes aren't the only ones who can benefit from GTOGCTE.  Today we want to offer some instruction to the media.  The PPG ran a story today on Pirates prospect Tony Sanchez, a AA prospect who the paper identifies as perhaps "the latest athlete in the midst of a Twitter controversy." It seems Tony tweeted that the umpires blew the game in Monday's battle between Harrisburg and Altoona.  Stop the presses.  PPG, we'll keep this one simple.  Rule #3 of GTOGCTE:  It's not a Twitter controversy if no one cares.

Monday, May 9, 2011

RHONY Episode 5 Recap: A Threat is A Horse Head in Your Bed or Working in Union Restaurant. Either Way.

By Sheer Elegance, GTOG Special Guest Blogger

This is an episode where not much action happens, just a lot of meetings at restaurants and homes where various groups of housewives anticipate other upcoming meetings at restaurants and homes. Factions have formed, and the Housewives are trying to overcome the Great Toaster Oven Party Scandal, the Great Quogue debacle, and several more long ranging tribal wars that have developed over the past few seasons.

Jill is back from Australia, after a much needed Public Relations Vacation. She is really tan. She and Bawby had the most amazing time. It was a fresh start, she says, staying away from gossip and bad energy. She gives really cheesy little souvenir koalas to LuAnn, Sonja, and Kelly, who have all gathered for lunch to catch Jill up on the Quogue incident. LuAnn tells her about the cigars and Howie and Carol and Ramona’s bad judgment at Cindy’s birthday party. Jill says she doesn’t want to get involved in gossip and drama on the testimonial and then immediately starts dissing Ramona to the other ladies. Ramona leaves dead bodies all over town, she says. So much for staying out of it Jillsy!

Kelly faces down Ramona, and more, after the jump...

A Few NBA Observations

By Finesse

In an effort to be a comprehensive, one-stop-shop for all the news you need and even some you don't want, here are five observations on the NBA.

5. Dirk Nowitzki is really good.

4. Andrew Bynum is not.  Putting aside his flagrant foul at the end of the Lakers' meltdown, he is one of those players who is immensely overrated because he is on a good team that is always on TV; hence, he gets talked about 50 times more than players on less popular teams who are just as good.  This is why Alfonso Soriano makes $18 million per year (salary approximate).

3. NBA refs get a bad rap. Putting aside the betting scandals and the fixed games, reffing an NBA game is very difficult.  First, the players are all 6 inches taller than football players, but close to equal in strength.  How are you supposed to know how much contact affects them?  Second, and something that compounds the first problem, these guys flop like fish on dry land.  Paul Pierce survived a real-life stabbing, but pretends that he gets assassinated at least 3-4 times per game.  I think that deep down, NBA players are jealous that their counterparts in football (and hockey, I guess) get so much more credit for being tough and physical so the NBA guys start posing like they are on SEAL Team 6 when they are held on an inbounds pass.

2. Chris Bosh is a joke.  It's another case of GTOG Told-You-So.  Bosh pretends that he is in Wade and Lebron's league, but he isn't in the same hemisphere.  We told you this in March when we called him expensive dead weight.  On Saturday in Boston, he had 6 points and 5 rebounds more than I did.

Makes more money than Lebron.
1. Stop with the complaints about small market teams.  This goes for the NHL too -- everyone seems to lament the possibility of a low-rated finals if two non-popular teams get there.  In the NHL, it could be Tampa against San Jose or Nashville.  In the NBA, it could be Atlanta against Memphis (must see TV!).  Sure, the ratings for those matchups would be abysmal, but long-term, getting a small, non-traditional market to the finals is good for the leagues.  It helps to build that franchise in the local market, sells tickets, builds its brand, makes it a destination for free agents, etc.  A league where teams in all markets have a chance, and where the local interest and ratings in the smaller market teams is strong, is a good league.  A league where that isn't the case is baseball.  So while you won't watch a lot of a Hawks-Grizzlies or Lightning-Predators finals, it isn't an apocalyptic scenario for the leagues.  Short-term pain, long-term gain.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Did Ron Cook just call GTOG "gutless, really"?

By Finesse

If there is one person who stirs up the emotions of GTOG, it's Ali Fedotowski.

If there's a second, it's the Post-Gazette's own, Ron Cook.  By now you're probably familiar with our Ron Cook Poetry - that simple exercise where we take all the random one-line rhetorical questions in his columns and arrange them in order to form the type of genius that could only have been created if Edgar Allen Poe had a love child with Emily Dickinson.  For example, here's today's poem, titled "The Point Is It's May":
You might regret it later.
Nor should he.
But since when did life become fair and just?
The last time I checked, this is America.
They are gutless, really.
But for a lot of others?
Not so much.
Funny how that works, isn't it?
The point is it's May.
Brilliance.  What?  Really, brilliance.

But let's drill further, which is something no other Cook column has ever required.  He writes:
I also respect Mendenhall for having the nerve to put his name on his beliefs. This Internet age would be such a better time if there were more people like him in that regard and fewer of the people who need the strength from anonymity to spout off their hurtful thoughts and opinions. They wouldn't be nearly so courageous without that anonymity. They are gutless, really.
With immense and unwarranted hubris, we ask: is he talking about GTOG?  We do write with anonymity (sort of), but we don't spout "hurtful thoughts and opinions."  Straight facts, homey.  In the .001% chance that he was talking about GTOG, we respond as follows:  Last time I checked, this is America.  And if anyone should be writing anonymously, it's Cook.

I know this column is all over the place.  But, the point is it's May.


Channel Hopping with GTOG: Men's Volleyball, Governor Johnson, and Impact!

By Finesse

With no Penguins to root for and no Caps or Flyers to root against, it was a slow night for GTOG.  I got an initial glimmer of hope when I saw a headline on the D.C. Sports Bog that Chris Cooley had responded to Willie Parker's comments about the Redskins partying too hard, but rather than make a fool out of himself like we've come to expect, Cooley's remarks were quite benign.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Tipped off by a friend of the blog that there were some unreal celebrations going on in a volleyball match on ESPN2, GTOG went channel hopping.  (All times approximate).

9:42pm Men's Volleyball on ESPN2: It was the National Semifinal between #3 seed Ohio St. and #2 seed Penn State, live from Rec Hall at PSU where I once got an A in Walking class.  If you're ever in the mood to watch super skinny super tall guys engage in a group hug every 15 seconds, but your internet is down, ESPN2 is the place for you.  There seemed to be no discernable difference between the two teams other than Ohio St. having one 5'4" guy running along the back of the out of bounds line and occasionally being allowed to play the ball.  Apparently each side gets three timeouts during each set, allowing the coaches to diagram the next group hug.

Photo probably taken at practice.
The volleyballers appear to be great athletes but what's the future?  Professional volleyball?  Is that a thing?  Assuming it isn't, their next stop is as your uncomfortably tall coworkers at your Big 4 accounting firm.

9:50pm The Republican "Presidential" Debate on Fox News: We aren't a political blog, but we are an entertainment site, so we can't turn down the opportunity to watch FOUR moderators moderate four virtual strangers and Ron Paul in a "Presidential" debate.  Here's what we learned:
- Rick Santorum: Just like when he was a Senator from Pennsylvania, his facial expression and body language screams, "I'm wearing a dirty diaper that needs changed."
- Tim Pawlenty: He isn't running for President of the United States, he's running for the Reagan of the United Reagan.
- Ron Paul: He couldn't possibly be more exasperated and incredulous about government, but won big points by advocating legalization of prostitution.  Would this mean that the John School that our boy Andray Blatche had to go to in 2007 would be shut down? (Do yourself a favor and click on that link)
- "Governor Johnson": Someone named "Governor Johnson" calls himself a "free market guy."  Unfortunately for him, the free market has no idea who he is.
Governor Johnson?
- Herman Cain: His actual closing remarks, transcribed verbatim (emphasis added): "Fellow PATRIOTS!  In this exceptional nation, the United States of America, we need real economic growth, a real energy independence plan, real [look down] national security CLARITY.  And we're only going to get it with real leadership, not more POSITIONSHIP.   [pause] God bless you.  [Softly] And yes, God is blessing America."
10:00pm The NBA on ____?  Of course in the middle of the second round of the playoffs there would be no NBA game on a Thursday night, the number one TV night of the week!  How silly of me to expect otherwise.  The worst thing a league can do is kill its own momentum by having too much time between games, a practice better known as college football.

10:10pm Vancouver at Nashville on Versus:  Just in time for the Verizon Intermission Report!  Here's a rough screenplay of what transpired:
- Bill Patrick: "Verizon.  Verizon Verizon.  Keith?"
- Keith Jones: "That's right, Bill."
[show prepackaged and rehearsed clip from prior period]
- Keith Jones: "And there you see right there."
[show statistic supporting prior clip]
- Jeremy Roenick: "iefkdnfriookvd;eo"
- Bill Patrick: "Verizon.  Pizza Hut."
[Ovechtrick commercial]
10:15pm "15 Unforgettable Hollywood Tragedies" on E!:  The story was about Lane Garrison, a former Prison Break "star" who was involved in a drunk driving accident that killed a passenger in the car he was driving.  No comment on that, but seeing him did make me regret that we didn't have this blog when Prison Break was actually a show on TV.  We would have had a weekly segment called, "What did Michael Scofield just whisper?"

"Linc. I'm going to get you out of here"
10:20pm Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN:  Coming to you live from Ground Zero.  Like the boy who cried wolf, CNN is the network that called BREAKING NEWS.  I haven't turned to CNN in the past 6 years and not seen the bright yellow BREAKING NEWS banner.  Tonight's BREAKING NEWS?  "Follow Anderson on Twitter."

10:30pm TNA Wrestling Impact! on Spike TV.  I have no idea what TNA stands for, but the only way you could surprise me is if you told me that the N did not stand for Nitro.  Hulk Hogan is still wrestling, and so apparently is every large chested woman south of the Mason-Dixon line.  Can you be a serious human being and watch a show with an exclamation point in the title?

10:35pm Baseball Tonight on ESPN.  Bedtime.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hines Ward held at gunpoint by LAPD

By Finesse

TMZ may be the best news organization in the world.  They have reported that early this morning, Hines Ward removed from a Honda Civic at gunpoint (along with an unidentified "female driver") and cuffed in what appears to be a misunderstanding about a stolen car.  Apparently, Ward is very understanding of the situation, but nonetheless is planning on filing a grievance with the police commissioner to complain that he was only a 3rd round pick.

The TMZ report:
Pittsburgh Steelers superstar Hines Ward was removed from a vehicle at gunpoint by LAPD officers and placed in handcuffs this morning in L.A. -- but he was NOT arrested ... TMZ has learned.

The "Dancing with the Stars" contestant was a passenger in a Honda Civic around 2 AM ... when LAPD officers flipped on their lights and sirens and pulled the car over.

Law enforcement sources tell us cops had run the license plate and noticed the car had been reported stolen. We're told police drew their weapons ... and ordered both Hines and the female driver out of the car and placed them both in handcuffs.

The female driver then explained ... SHE was the person who reported the car stolen in the first place after an incident involving a valet. But she got her car back ... and forgot to tell cops to call off the alert.

We're told the officers verified her story -- and eventually let both Hines and the driver leave without further incident. Law enforcement sources tell us Hines was VERY cooperative and understanding about the situation.