Tuesday, October 16, 2012

GTOG Weekend Review: Vick's Dog, Nats' Collapse, and New NHL Proposal

What a weekend.  An Austrian guy jumped out of a hot air balloon in space and landed in New Mexico.  Alex Rodriguez struck out 9 times in 5 at-bats.  And the Steelers have continued efforts to go down as one of the most unlikable collections of individuals in team history (more on that later this week).

But there is no bigger story than the news that Mike Vick is a dog owner again, as he inadvertently revealed on Twitter in a photo showing a box of milk bones.  It's unclear where he got this new pet, but our sources tell us that it's from a shelter caddy-corner to the TGIFriday's that just hired Josh Hamilton as a bartender.

(photo via USAToday)
Having gotten that out of the way, let's get to the rest of what was an enormously busy weekend....

- The Washington Nationals' epic collapse from a 6-0 lead to a 9-7 loss over the course of 6 innings was nothing short of spectacular.  I don't say that because of the glee felt seeing another Washington-area team get crushed after prematurely celebrating a championship they hadn't yet won, but because it was an incredibly fascinating sporting event.  I almost forgot it was baseball.

- As funny as the ending of that game was, the amazing season the Nats had and the incredible atmosphere at Nats Park after the Jayson Werth home-run in Game 4 makes it that much sadder that the Pirates are no closer to giving the city of Pittsburgh a similar experience than they were 20 years ago.

Pirate fever! Catch it!
- After an NFL Sunday which proved that we might be in the midst of the first season ever with no good teams, here's where the especially not-good Steelers sit: a half game out of the top wild card spot behind the following teams:

New York Jets (pending collapse)
Buffalo Bills (???)
Miami Dolphins (Les Brown's girlfriend > Ryan Tennehill's wife)
Cincinnati Bengals (Ike Taylor asked for a temporary restraining order this morning to enjoin the butchering he will receive from A.J. Green this week)
San Diego Chargers (Rivers will never beat Roethlisberger in a big game)

Here's the point.  We're as down on the Steelers as anyone and remain convinced that this team is not good.  But fortunately (or unfortunately), they also may not be quite bad enough to avoid the following scenario: finish 9-7, upset Denver in the wildcard game, and then lose by 21 to Baltimore in the second round of the playoffs.

- Last week Andrew Luck was a futuristic Aaron Rodgers with a dusting of Ben Roethlisberger on top and RGIII was concussed.  This week Luck had a QB rating of 40 while RGIII looked like the second coming of the first coming of Michael Vick.  We're six weeks in to these guys' careers.  Let's solve this already.

Make up your mind.
- Our thoughts and prayers are with the Yankees and the remaining $180 million worth of players on their roster.

- For filing in the "THERE IS SIMPLY NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT A 38 YEAR OLD MAN WITH SUPER-HUMAN STRENGTH TEARING HIS TRICEPS IS RELATED TO STEROIDS" cabinet, Ray Lewis out for the season.  I say this genuinely -- I like Ray Lewis.  He makes everything more interesting.

- Word has just broken that the NHL, in a copycat move of the proposal suggested on our podcast, has offered the players' union a 50/50 split of hockey related revenue. I'm sure there are details to work out, but 50/50 is good enough for Tom Brady and LeBron James.  Let's hope it's good enough for Craig Adams.

- Finally, Deadspin broke the story that the NHL owners have been using notoriously effective yet despised pollster Frank Luntz to help craft the league's image during the lockout.  This tactic was portrayed as "bullshit" and some comments on the story were, uh, pointed.  (Example: "Dear Frank Luntz: Get your dirty, slimy, scheming, blood-soaked hands off my damn hockey season. That is all.")

Maybe not blood-soaked, but definitely a douche.
We can call it bullshit all we want, but Frank Luntz isn't hired to do this because it doesn't work.  He's hired because it will work, at least to some degree.  Much of the backlash will be exaggerated because a lot of people have extreme feelings about Luntz's politics, but this is neither an unexpected move by the NHL nor is it something that the NHLPA wouldn't do.  In fact, as Dave Molinari reported this morning, "officials of the NHLPA have been encouraging members to burnish the group's image with displays of community involvement, specifically by practicing, or at least skating, with members of youth hockey teams."  This is definitely a less sinister-seeming tactic than backroom message testing, but it's a means to the same end: making you think they're the good guys, even if they're not.

Check that.  Playing with kids is definitely a more savvy strategy.  It's a shame the owners didn't think of that first.


  1. Re the last part, I think it's also worth noting that practicing with youth teams is free (or pretty cheap if they're paying for the ice time and gear?). Hiring Luntz is, I assume, very expensive. Interesting choice when they're also trying to paint themselves as losing so much money. Not just more sinister, but pretty disingenuous. So, double win for the players on this front.

    (Have costs for both already been dissected all over the place? For now I'm not reading most stories about these "developments" because SHUT UP, I DON'T CARE ANYMORE, JUST ALERT ME WHEN IT'S DONE. You guys are an exception. What an honor.)

  2. I struck out with nine girls in five nights prior to meeting Finesse's mother!