Thursday, May 31, 2012

Big Ben's Barracks: Ben crashes Kordell Stewart's retirement party

By Artistry

Former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart formally retired Wednesday, bringing closure to a saga that pretty much everyone thought ended like 10 years ago.

Who, exactly, was demanding this?
During the retirement press conference, Stewart spoke of how he hopes current QB Ben Roethlisberger will learn to embrace new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

“I think once they find a rhythm amongst each other," noted Slash, "I think things will be a little bit smoother."

Finding a rhythm amongst each other.
Stewart, his wife, and his son then took a walk to the cafeteria, where they sat down to reflect, share a meal, and enjoy a quiet moment together.  Then Ben Roethlisberger appeared.  A GTOG source happened to be in the vicinity and filed this verbatim transcript of the ensuing conversation.

Sit down with Ben and Kordell, after the jump...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bachelorette Episode 3 Recap: When Emily met Dolly

By Finesse

[Check out the Raw Emotion Podcast here]

Let's get right to it.

Monday night's The Bachelorette begins with Emily's mom bringing Little Ricki and Emily breakfast in bed.  As a friend of GTOG put it in a way that really set the tone for the episode, "I don't want to see her dumb ass mom and daughter."

Chris, the OK looking guy who Emily thinks is hotter than Brad Paisley making out with Kenny Chesney, gets the coveted climbing date, although in this instance it's much more of a, "here put this harness on and we will pull you up the side of a building" date.  Chris wears a modified v-neck with buttons to give him full control over the depth of the V depending on the situation.  He says what we are all thinking: "I think a building is definitely like love."

Another horrible country band with a singer named Luke Bryan takes the stage.  When did it become acceptable for country singers to look like this?

Artistry's raw notes on the Luke Bryan performance simply say, "drunk on you high on summertime."  That means nothing, yet it means everything.  Emily says she has never had a date like that.  We're pretty sure she's had that exact date at least 6 times, and as recently as last week.

Much more, including some of the best photo-shopping you'll ever see, after the jump...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Raw Emotion Podcast: Power Packed Raw Emotion Bachelorette Recap

Another night of strange men trying to convince Emily that they will protect her daughter forever and ever is over, and that means it's time for the Raw Emotion Podcast. We discuss fatherhood, Alessandro, JEF, and much more. It's the Raw Emotion Podcast.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

21 Years Ago Today: Where were you?

By Artistry

If you haven't revisited the Penguins' Dance of Champions and the Volcanic Eruption of Greatness that was the Cup-clinching 8-0 win over Minnesota in 1991, you should do that.  Mario was so overwhelming, yet so effortless.

Next, you should watch this video of the scene at Pittsburgh International Airport when the team arrived back in town.  I was at the airport that night.  Where else would I be?  But I'd never seen this video until today, and I just passed it along to Finesse.  "That's some real yinzer shit," he observed.  Indeed.  Happy Anniversary.

GTOG EXCLUSIVE: Ben Roethlisberger's graduation term paper: Seven in Tibet

By Artistry

Arguably the most cerebral quarterback ever to plan a golf trip to Ireland based on the theory that it will sharpen his mind in preparation for training camp, Ben Roethlisberger took a day off from practice this week to do "mental reps."  Memorizing new offensive coordinator Todd Haley's playbook has proven to be no easy task, even for recent college graduate Ben. 

"That one's a little harder than the Miami ones I was doing," Roethlisberger said earlier this month. "I joke and say that my final paper for Miami on Tibet was a lot easier than the Rosetta Stone we're doing now here."

Now, while most reporters might just let a comment like that go, that's not how we operate here at GTOG.  This seemingly flip, off-hand remark raises a number of serious questions.  Why did Ben choose Tibet as the playing field in his "Super Bowl of life?"  Exactly how much does Ben now know about Tibet?  And most importantly, WHERE IS THIS FINAL PAPER ON TIBET?  Well, thanks to our sources high up in the Miami of Ohio Center for Tibetan Studies ("MOCTS"), we've obtained a copy of one of the most important and celebrated documents of our time.  And by our time, I mean Ben's time.  And by that I mean Ben's time individually, and not in a collective sense at all.

All that said, you can read maybe the definitive work on a complex and ancient culture, thereby gaining some sense of the true difficulty of Todd Haley's playbook, after the jump...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why the Steelers treated Big Ben just fine this offseason

By Finesse

Since the Steelers' embarrassing loss to the Broncos on wild-card weekend, there have been some changes.  B.A., Ben's second in command, was forced to retire/fired. The fiery Todd Haley came in determined to introduce new plays instead of doing exactly what the Steelers had been doing under the guy they had just fired.  And Hines Ward and James Farrior were told, "Dayenu."  None of this has sat well with Big Ben, except for the Ward and Farrior departures creating a leadership vacuum that, you guessed it, Ben is eager to fill.

"Hold the line, Men! Hold the line!"
We agree with Dejan Kovacevic's column yesterday saying that it's time for Ben to stop talking about it and just get on board with Haley.  But we disagree that Ben was ever justified in being upset with how the Steelers "treated him" this offseason.  After the jump, let's break down the perceived slights that Kovacevic cites...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bachelorette Episode 2 Recap: Emily Bachelorettes on a Budget

By Finesse

[Listen to the Raw Emotion Podcast here]

Two hours into Bad Boys 2, after the movie should have ended twice, Martin Lawrence learns that his sister has just been taken hostage in Cuba.

And when Chris Harrison delivered the first date card last night in Charlotte, shit got even realer, or so declared one of the anonymous white guys who looks like Jose Canseco circa 1988.  The coveted first date goes to Ryan, who credits his pastor.

Not getting the first one-on-one date confuses and angers Kalon, the rich guy who lacks charm, wit, looks, manners, and the ability to comprehend the basic premise of a dating show but is otherwise a great catch.  You see, Kalon had sketched out the season in advance and submitted his plan to the producers.

Episode 1: Emily meets Kalon.
Episode 2: The End.

So much more, after the jump...

Monday, May 21, 2012

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Bachelorette Episode 2 Lacks Crucial Obstacle Overcomability

It was an emotionally charged night at GTOG HQ as Emily had to dispose of a couple more completely undeserving gentlemen. We talk Emily's attractiveness, the difference between Alejandro and Alessandro, how impressed we were with Charlie's obstacle overcomability, and so much more on this week's installment of the Raw Emotion Podcast. A must listen.

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There's Charlie, really soaking in the moment

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wait, who's the best player in the world?

By Artistry

We need to make sure we have this straight. Is it Anze Kopitar? No, no. I'm being told - hang on - I'm being told it's Ryan McDonagh. Well, whatever.

Just as an aside, Evgeni Malkin had another hat trick today at the World Championships in Helsinki. That's his second hat trick of the tournament and gives him 18 points in 9 games as Russia heads to the Finals.

Can I get an "Oy, oy, oy?" Can I get an "Ay, Ay, Ay?"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Introducing GTOG's First Annual No Words Essay Contest

By GTOG Staff

Whenever a real tragedy occurs, like a famous person dying, the outpouring of emotion on the internet is overwhelming.  There are so many thoughts and so many prayers.  But above all, there are triumphant declarations from people that there are "no words" to describe how they are feeling, followed immediately and universally by an explanation of why this person has no words.

But "No Words" is not confined just to the tragic...

There are No Words for the trivial...

There are No Words for things that don't make sense...

There are No Words for the cryptic...

And even famous people have No Words

What do all these No Words have in common?  Words.

It is in this timeless tradition of using words to have no words that we are launching our first ever reader contest.  That's right, it's the First Annual GTOG "No Words Essay Contest!"

The rules of the No Words Essay Contest after the jump...

Assessing the Pirates and the Rod Barajas Era

By Finesse

We're 26 games in to the Rod Barajas Era, so let's assess how great this signing has been.  For those who don't know, Barajas was the Pirates' big free agent acquisition last November, brought on board for his veteran moxie (he's 36), huge bat (career .236 average), and because someone had to be the catcher.

But if you're going to sit in your ivory tower and judge Barajas's season by his .188 batting average, 3 RBI in 80 at bats (THAT'S RIGHT I SAID 3 RBI IN 80 AT BATS!), 13 RBI pace for the whole season (THAT'S RIGHT I SAID 13 RBI PACE FOR THE WHOLE SEASON!), then I've got news for you.  You don't know jack about Rod Barajas.

No one commands a pitching staff like Rodrigo Richard Barajas.  No one.

Rod F'ing Barajas, bitch.
The Pirates' pitching staff has the 4th best team ERA in the entire league.  That is not a typo.  Many of you still don't think this proves the Barajas-Effect.  You'll point to the fact that last year the Pirates had the 8th best team ERA in the majors heading into the All-Star break, but the 27th best team ERA after the All-Star break (they finished the season 17th overall).  You expect a similar collapse this year.

You Barajas-deniers are forgetting that the Bucs played 8 different catchers last season.  This year, the Pirates have relied on only two catchers -- the rock solid Rod Barajas, and that guy Mike McKenry who hit some unreal game winning home run last June.

But before anyone gets all jazzed up about what McKenry brings to the table offensively, let's put the myth that he's in Barajas's's's league to bed.  The numbers don't lie: McKenry has two-thirds the amount of RBI as Barajas does this season. (2 divided by 3 = 2/3)

So be thankful that Rod Barajas is on the Pirates, but be mindful that Rod Barajas doesn't belong to the Pirates.  Because Rod Barajas belongs to no one.  Rod Barajas belongs to everyone.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

GTOG Bachelorette Recap: Kalon, JEF, Stevie and more

By Finesse

By the time that woman was done milking her abdominal injury in the final seconds of Dancing With the Stars and ABC finally decided to start The Bachelorette at 9:31pm eastern time last night, we were ready.  Ready to hear Emily declare that she was ready, ready to watch Emily ride horses for no reason, and ready to watch Little Ricki callously disregard her global responsibility and release balloons into the air.  We felt like dancing.

We've covered just about everything you need to know in our Raw Emotion Podcast and our exhaustive, critically acclaimed preview.  But here are 10 follow up thoughts from last night's premiere after the jump...

Monday, May 14, 2012

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Emily's Bachelorette journey begins; We discuss race and ostrich eggs

It's that time of year again. The Bachelorette is back and that means we're back with the Raw Emotion Podcast. It was quiet, cautious start to Emily's journey tonight but that doesn't mean that we aren't feeling. And feeling hard. We recap the premier, analyze Lerone's options for legal redress, and assess our predictions. It's the Raw Emotion Podcast.

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"That egg is a symbol of my love, and the basis for your future restraining order against me"

GTOG's Bachelorette Preview: Get your thumbs in your pockets because it's time to love

By Finesse

The Bachelorette starts tonight, so get your goddamn walls down.

For those who don't know Emily, here's her backstory in a nutshell.  She was engaged at 18 to a racecar driver named Ricky.  We'll call him Ricky Bobby.  Ricky perished in a plane crash on the way to a car race.  Emily was supposed to be on the plane, but didn't go because she felt sick.  Then she found out she was pregnant with Ricky Bobby's baby.  She birthed a daughter named Ricki.  We'll call her Little Ricki.  Tragic story, no words, thoughts-and-prayers, etc, etc...

This woman is ready to fall in love.
Anyway, she won The Bachelor on Brad Womack's second go-round, but that relationship fell apart (WHAT?!?!?) amid reports that Brad had a violent temper.  The word violent is ours.  Although we don't actually know he was violent.  Allegedly.  Whatever, he had a temper.  Also allegedly.  Now Emily is ready for her third crack at forever-and-ever love and we're declaring her ready.  And we're ready.  It's time to fall in love.

Let's meet the candidates after the jump...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Once again, the Capitals have arrived where they always do

By Finesse

Today is annually one of our favorite days of the year.  It's the Day After The Caps Got Eliminated Day!  It makes for good laughs, good cheer, and some good soaking in the tears that flood the streets of the capital.

Because the Caps struggled to make the playoffs, they entered the playoffs unburdened by expectations.  Then they eked out a win over the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion* Boston Bruins by doing everything in their power to keep the games tied and then hope to get a good bounce.  In Game 7, Joel Ward, he of the 4-year, $12 million contract and 6 goals in 82 games, took advantage of Mike Knuble's moxie and scored the winner.  The underdog Caps had become a feel good story.

Why it wasn't meant to be after the jump...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Flyers fall to Devils; The Best Former Best Player in the World goes home

By Finesse

Because the world we live in is just, the New Jersey Devils eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers last night in Philadelphia with a dominating and suffocating 4-1 victory.  Now we're as aware as anyone that the Flyers eliminated the Penguins this year and that their loss to the Devils doesn't change that.  But it doesn't mean it doesn't feel amazing.

The thing that made the end to this year's Pens' season so much more disappointing than usual was not just that the Pens didn't win the Cup, but that the Flyers were perceived to have taken some grand step forward into being the dominant team in the Eastern Conference for the next several years.  Rob Rossi was trying to be provocative on Twitter by questioning whether he'd rather have the Pens roster or the Flyers roster for the next 10 years but he succeeded only in being annoying.  The Jagr-Talbot moves were portrayed as psychological death blows.  And then Peter Laviolette went all Bruce Boudreau and started declaring that his star was the best player in the world.  How'd that work out, Pete?

The Best Former Best Player in the World
This should all serve as another reminder that premature coronations and premature burials are just that -- premature.  And crowning a guy who registered 14 points against what was a historically atrocious defensive and goal-tending performance by the Penguins as the new Big Man on Campus ... next time, let's actually wait until he accomplishes something, ok?

An exclusive photo gallery of The Best Former Best Player in the World's night in Philly (photos via after the jump...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Artistry!

By Finesse

Today is Artistry's birthday.  Arguably his biggest birthday yet.  Without getting into details, it's pretty huge.

Since we started this site less than two years ago, Artistry has changed jobs twice, raised one child from baby to toddler, raised a second child from infant to full-fledged baby, moved his family back to Pittsburgh, bought his first home, suffered through negotiations with contractors and architects about renovating the new house, and rented a house while the house he owns is being renovated.  All the while, he's maintained a not-so-secret love affair with GTOG, which peaked in August 2011 when Artistry called from the maternity ward just hours after the birth of his second child, Artistrette, to record a twenty minute raw emotion podcast about the finale of The Bachelorette.

That's not something an ordinary man would do, but Artistry is no ordinary man.

So please join me in wishing my friend Artistry a happy birthday by watching the below video of what is arguably his favorite Penguins game of all time. If he doesn't respond to your wishes with a thank you, don't take offense -- he's probably just on CapGeek looking about the Blackhawks salary cap issues.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Claude Giroux delivers the Best Headshot in the World

By Finesse

If we had to choose between the Flyers losing or world peace, we'd actually have to spend some time thinking about it.  That's how important world peace is to us.

In this spirit, we'd like to take this morning to weigh in on yet another flash point in the twice-daily string of headshot debates, which all follow the same predictable pattern: 1) headshot delivered; 2) immediate Twitter outrage; 3) sarcastic hashtags on Twitter about the TV announcers' reactions to the headshot; 4) watching the hit on Puck Daddy; 5) complaining about Shanahan's inconsistency; 6) next headshot delivered; 7) wash; 8) rinse; 9) repeat.

It's not that we don't care about headshots -- let's just ban them all already to save us the aggravation -- it's the comparative moralizing and faux outrage sparked by each hit that bores us.  James Neal headshots a Flyer? Philly fans call for his head.  Claude Giroux, The Best Player in the World, throws a tantrum on the ice, headshots Dainius Zubrus? He just grazed the head, right?  Pens fans are as guilty of this as anyone, so here's the bottom line: with some minor exceptions, everyone is the same.  Your best player will get hit in the head, and he will hit someone in the head.  Your dirtiest player will do the same.

Instead of recognizing this, many fans feign "objectivity" when analyzing these hits to support what we want to be true, i.e., that our star player is not just more talented than your star player, but also plays the game in a more dignified manner.  Or they get all Jay Bilas-y and overcompensate for their perceived biases by being overly harsh on the team that they are supposedly biased for.

Duke sucks.
Because we have no interest in that charade, and we recognize that all teams have employed, do employ, and will employ guys that deliver illegal checks, we usually sit on the sidelines and watch Against the Odds clips on YouTube (John Steigerwald apparently doesn't age) while others debate whether Raffi Torres deserved a 25-game suspension, how Matt Cooke should be put down, and whether Mario is a hypocrite or the world's worst hypocrite.  Except for today.

Our analysis of the Giroux-Zubrus hit after the jump...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Big Ben's Barracks: Roethlisberger attempts to lead Miami of Ohio graduates into battle

By Artistry

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took to the podium Sunday to address his fellow college graduates, as Miami of Ohio University administrators scrambled to tell him, in the most graceful way possible, that he had not been invited to speak.

"It is my honor today to lead this group of young men and women into the battle of life," Roethlisberger intoned after receiving his Bachelor of Science degree. "Inside each and every one of you, there is greatness. There is a Plax inside of you. There is a 'Tone inside of you. Somewhere inside of you, there is even a 'Tonio or a 'Twan. I can bring that greatness out of you, if you let me."

Mr. Roethlisberger then slowly scanned the crowd, pausing to make eye contact with scores of other graduates, and the Dean of Students then took the opportunity to pull him gently from the stage.

"You are not the valedictorian."
Roethlisberger, 30, has been taking classes the past several years since leaving Miami of Ohio, and by several, we mean 9.  The quarterback will now prepare for his golf trip to Scotland, where he will use his mind to dominate some of the most difficult courses in the world.

So cerebral.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Case Against Trading Sidney Crosby

By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)

Operating under the hits-generating premise that Mario Lemieux kidnapped Ray Shero and forced him to trade one of the Pens big-3 centers, Artistry made the case that the one who Shero should deal is Sidney Crosby.  Despite the hedging and caveats throughout his post, the mere mention of trading a guy like Crosby was very emotional for Artistry, culminating in text messages such as, "Having hard time doing Sid post even though I know it's right, so depressing" and "Staying at the same hotel as Delmon Young this weekend. So sorry I missed him" and "EW divulges Bachelorette contestants, good luck to Emily on her journey."

But I have a different opinion on what Ray Shero should do if taken hostage by Mario and forced to trade one of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or Jordan Staal.

He should say no.

As the saying I made up goes, "when the window is open you have to jump."  The saddest part about the premature end to this Pens' season is that it was an unforgivable waste of a roster that, blessed with temporarily good health, could have won the Stanley Cup.  The window was wide open and instead of jumping, the Pens started punching people and not killing penalties.

But if the window was open wide this season, guess when it's open even wider?  Next year.  All of the key pieces of the team are coming back except for Matt Niskanen (let's get him re-signed), Steve Sullivan (buh-bye) and Arron Asham (thanks for not much).  Crosby should benefit from a normal summer of rest and training, Geno's knee is only going to get stronger, Jordan Staal is still growing, and the early exit gives Fleury a few extra months to talk to a sports psychologist.  With upgrades to the defense (we'll get to that) and a non-meltdown by Fleury in the playoffs, the Pens team that scored 26 goals in 6 playoff games should be an even bigger threat to win the Cup next year.

And when an opportunity like that presents itself, you take it.  Ray Shero doesn't need to go-all in in 2013.  He needs to stay all-in.

Much more on the three centers and why we need to keep Sid, after the jump...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Case for Trading Sidney Crosby

By Artistry (follow me on Twitter)

[Click here for the case against trading Sidney Crosby]

The Penguins aren't trading Sidney Crosby.  Let's get that out of the way up front.  He's the face of the franchise and the league, the captain and savior of the team, the hero of a nation and an entire generation of Penguin fans, a Stanley Cup champion, and owner of the highest points-per-game scoring average in the NHL this season. Trade Sidney Crosby? That would take balls the size of Saskatchewan. And in a market with a home sellout streak of 250-some games, it would be very bad for business. People in Pittsburgh love Sidney Crosby. We love Sidney Crosby. He's part of the fabric of the city, and he elevates Pittsburgh to a higher place on the cultural relevance scale. Sidney Crosby's not going anywhere.

But is there a case to be made for doing what only a month ago was unthinkable? You bet there is. Imagine you're Ray Shero, and you're out for a morning jog. A limousine with tinted windows pulls up to the sidewalk. The back window recedes, smoothly, slowly, steadily. Like someone with 690 career goals has his finger on the button. And suddenly, there's 66, in all his splendor.

"Get in the car," he says.

You don't need to be told twice. And once inside, Mario and Ron Burkle explain to you that you have a new mandate: Blow up the Big Three center model before we get swallowed by big new Crosby and Staal contracts. Be bold. Even revolutionary. Leave business considerations out of it. Forget sentiment. No one is untouchable. NO ONE.

So, Ray. What do you do?

Making the case, plus some trade proposals after the jump...