Crunch Time In The Bayou

22 Jan

Kim K. She'll be behind Reggie Bush. And then later, he'll be behind her.

High Noon At The Superdome.
Or Battle Of The Gunslingers.
Or any other ESPN-like sobriquet. I feel like Colin Cowherd right now (and kudos to him for having a media career with a name like that. The only people cool enough to get away with a name like Colin are drunken Irishmen and Barbasian cricketers).

There are two games this weekend, but while both have points to recommend them, its the NFC Championship game between the Vikings and the Saints that has story lines that transcend the NFL.

40 year old Brett Favre vs reborn gunslinger 30 year old Drew Brees.

Running backs Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush both trying to live up to frustratingly unrealised potential.

A team that mortgaged its soul for a shot at the SuperBowl(see BrettFavre/Vikings above) vs a team that have NEVER been there.

Prince vs Kim Kardashian for celebrity mascot.

PS: Carl Jrs? EXCELLENT. Their ‘Six Dollar Burger’ (which costs $4 – don’t ask) is a slice of beetroot away from perfection.

And finally something about how a trip to the Superbowl will finally ‘heal’ New Orleans after Katrina.
I have no idea how that one is supposed to work – I can’t imagine too many residents of the 9th Ward were season ticket holders – but the American media have been repeating it ad-nauseum since 2006 so it must be true right? Right?
Its like ‘Ínvictus’ : sport heals all wounds and makes cities/countries feel better about/ignore being poor and decrepit.

Sport is very good like that apparently.

It’s dizzying. I have no idea who to root for in this.
I will feel bad for whomever loses.
That’s pretty rare in this game.

There is no point reiterating here the Brett Favre story. Do I think he’s a vacillating, me-first dick? Yes. Did I find the below endearing somehow? Yes. Yes I did.

[Damn! YouTube took the clip down. Ok, Imagine Brett Favre doing a VERY bad version of the American Idol viral hit ‘Pants On The Ground’ in a charged up Vikings locker room as a payoff on a bet with an injured receiver. You have no idea what I’m talking about do you? Ok, carry on]

But now that I’m older than the oldest QB playing in the NFL (the real gut check time – passing captain of the ABs in your late 30’s), I don’t care about any of the off field stuff. I just want to watch him chuck it 50 yards on a rope.
Can he still do that?
Hell, yes.

Last week he threw a touchdown to hot receiver Sidney Rice that was the equivalent of landing a football nose down on a beer coaster that was doing 30 miles an hour away from you.

Rice never broke stride and the ball LANDED IN HIS LEFT HAND.
Zinzan’s famous over-the-head omelette flip, Randy Johnson killing a seagull with a fastball, and LeBron’s full court baskets notwithstanding, it was one of the most amazing throws I have ever seen.
For that he can behave as much like the high school jock who just won’t leave school as long as he likes.


Picking a winner here is very tough. If both teams play to their full potential this is actually a low scoring, brutal game. On that basis its the Vikings.
But if New Orleans can hold its nerve, and Bush plays as he did last week behind that awesome offensive line, the Saints take it.
But I’ll stick with the Vikings by 7, if for no other reason than having BF in the SB will make television ratings history.


Not that this game is chopped liver, but when the most entertaining person on one side is the coach (the fantastic Rex Ryan) that’s not good.
If NY wins this, then yes there is a Santa Claus.
A Santa Claus dressed in a XXXXXXL green hoodie and fresh from the Bada Bing.

Satin Dolls in Lodi NJ, the actual Bada Bing.

With their excellent defense and strong running game they will give the Colts fits initially, but it will only take Manning & Co 5 good minutes at any time in the game to beat the Jets.
Bookies always give points: in this one I’ll give turnovers. Indy can fumble or be intercepted up to 5 times and they will still win.
Its been a terrific, amazing ride for Sexy Rexy and the Sanchize, but it ends here.

Unless it doesn’t.

3 more hours then back to the babes, Mark.

– Mark Tierney



15 Jan

I’m still reeling from the Pete Carroll to the Seattle Seahawks news (they will now win the Super Bowl in 2013-14, mark my words), and the airwaves here are pretty much a 24/7 Lane Kiffen-comes-to-save-USC blizzard, so its on to the games folks.

One quick pitstop to admire Mr Kiffen’s wife:

Move over Elin Nordegren - There's a new blonde in town


So it turns out that the greatest QB of this generation may actually be Kurt Warner. Manning will one day rise to rule them all, but even he pales against the singular greatness of an on-fire Warner. If he gets that extra 10th of a second to make the throw then you are totally fucked. He says he can feel it before a game, that he knows when its going to happen. Perhaps his total God-focus means he is able to stay calm no matter the situation. Who cares what it is. When it happens you are watching someone play the position as well as it can possibly be played. If that happens again, New Orleans are out, and we start talking about Cardinals coach Ken Wisenhunt as the genius he may well be (Won a SB with the Steelers as an assistant, takes joke franchise to 1 SB so far).

It's hot wife week here at the Skinny


The Colts took the end of the season off which supposedly spells doom for them. Bullshit. Unless the Ravens woke up their offense this week I think Manning and Co crushes them.


Too close to call. Two QBs having good-to-great seasons, two excellent running games, two excellent defenses (Dallas actually have the edge there). Playing inside Minnesota’s dome, so the action will be fast. Both teams have a LOT to play for: for Favre this about legacy, for Romo this is about credibility. If Romo plays well in this game, and Dallas wins, he is a made man in the league, and all past sins will be forgiven. Obviously if Favre wins then he is only one more game away from doing a Kurt Warner and taking two different teams to a Super Bowl. The flipside of this is that both are capable of imploding. I say neither does and this is a shootout. I honestly don’t know what would make me happier – the sight of Wade Phillips’ fat rolls quivering with happiness at his most significant playoff win or the distant sound of yet more rending of garments from Wisconsin. (PS: Ok Green Bay you were totally screwed over at the end of last week’s game, but you WILL be back with Aaron Rodgers around).


The most aggressive running game meets a deadly passing attack. Gargantuan Jets coach Rex Ryan is one of the most entertaining things about the NFL right now, so long may this run continue. And while San Diego have the fading Ladanian Tomlinson and the firecracker Darren Sproles they will ride QB Phillip Rivers’ rifle arm. If SD can cope with the Jets punishing ground game they will take it. The Jets have completely overachieved via skill and a TON of luck. If it ends here, that’s a great season. If it continues, look for one of the most exuberant, funniest press conferences in history to follow.
Also, there’s this:

Its for the kids I guess. Please god when will this 80’s revival end?
Uh, actually, you can leave those legwarmers on….

– Mark Tierney

The Playoff Payoff

8 Jan

Roll Tide!!

As I write they are firing up the hot dog roasters, the pyrotechnics and smoke-machines, two sets of Southern cheerleaders are pulling their tight white pants just so, and 90,000+ rednecks loose in the LA sunshine are ready to make animal noises as the sports hype orgasm that is the BCS Championship Game kicks off in Pasedena.

Alabama’s Crimson Tide face the Texas Longhorns, both teams undefeated on the season, both storied football schools, both with alumni who weigh an average of 400 pounds. The game itself will rate through the roof, far bigger than the NBA Finals or most World Series games.

I've run this pic before. And yet it never gets old....Hang 'Em 'Horns!

Yet its a Championship in name only. Division 1 College Football (or FBS) is the only significant league in the world not to have a playoff system for its championship. Instead, the participants are decided by computers running algorithms mixed with good old fashioned human guesswork, spiced with a soupcon of good ‘ol boy corruption.
This year Texas required the addition of an extra second to be put back on the clock at the end of the game so they could defeat the titanic Nebraska defense in the Big 12 Championship game. That crap’s fine in the NBA which has always flirted with turning into the Globetrotters/Generals with Lakers-Celtics/Anybody Else, but this instance was so flagrant and egregious in a sport not usually so cackhanded if I was Nebraka’s defensive phenom (and likely No 1 pick in the NFL Draft)  Ndamukong Suh I would have strangled somebody to death live on air.

What's scarier? Ndamukong Suh crushing you, or spelling his name without cut and paste?

MY PICK AS THEY KICK OFF: Alabama by 13.
To quote Ms Bullock on ‘Bama coach Nick Saban in The Blind Side – ‘I find that man very handsome’.

In their defense, the NCAA and the university Presidents claim that having playoffs would demean the regular season (and probably make them less money). And after watching the appalling turdfest that was last week’s NFL games, the last of the regular season, they have a point.

Apart from the Jets, no-one really gave full effort, several significant players sustained injuries that will rule them out of the playoffs and about 200,000 fans were ripped off for the price of their tickets as they watched football played at half speed by guys just waiting to get cut in the offseason. In an even more bizarre quirk three of the matchups from last week will be repeated this week in the 1st round of the playoffs.

Indianapolis had even pulled a Mick McCarthy and pulled all its starters the week before at the brink of an undefeated season to ‘rest’ them for the postseason. And without any relegation issues either (the genius of the EPL) you have to be some kind of fan to be sitting in the stands in -10C weather watching the Buffalo Bills wrap up yet another losing, pointless season. Or some kind of idiot.

Right, some kind of idiot it is then.

However, does any of this matter? Hell no. Playoffs are the GREATEST INVENTION ON EARTH. And single game playoffs are the ne plus ultra of the concept. None of this Game 5/7 bullshit. One and DONE. The potential for upset is far greater, the deep run of a Cinderella much more feasible (see ARIZONA last year). There is nothing better, whether you love the NFL or the Champions League or the World Cup of anything.

So listen Div 1 College Football: I love your open play, your colourful uniforms, your barely legal cheerleaders and your academic cheating, handgun, sexual assault and ‘donated’ Escalade scandals, but god do I hate that you don’t have a playoff.

one more for the Tide..


This is a replay of the abomination played only last Sunday. In that game the Bengals were barely present and gifted the Jets a playoff game. That’s all the gifts they will get. Cincinnati will pound Mark Sanchez into hamburger and win easily.


Another replay, and this game actually has real edge. The Cowboys looked good last week but the Eagles may have been playing possum. And this game is really up to them. Eagles play well they win. Eagles play poorly, they lose. Unless Romo implodes (could happen) they are just passengers and this one is in the hands of Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb. All of Philly just shivered, and not in a good way.


The highlight of the weekend. Can a Baltimore with a still powerful but aging defense and an inconsistent offense take down a staggering champion on its home turf? Last week the Patriots lost their talismanic receiver Wes Welker and Brady is suffering a bad rib injury, yet you still believe that somehow, some way, they will find a way to win. That’s the aura of success. I really hope they still have one last run in them.


Yet ANOTHER replay from last week and again only one team showed up then. This will be VERY different. I think the Green Bay Packers take this on the road, unless Kurt Warner plays out of his skin. Which could happen. But who doesn’t want the Vikings to meet the Packers with the year on the line? Not me. So get on with it Green Bay. Mama needs new shoes.

PLUS!! When is someone going to do a rugby one of these?

– Mark Tierney

BEWARE! Tiger free zone!

5 Dec

Sweet Home Alabama

That’s obviously a lie, because there is currently no other news, sports or otherwise in this country.

I’m pretty sure during the screaming 24-7 HOLLYWOOD ACCESS EXTRA! TMZ FOX LA coverage I may have passed out and woken up in a parallel universe where the sex life of a short balding ethnic guy is somehow an event on par with the assassination of a President, and/or the SEC championship game (more on that later).

This being LA my ‘talking bullshit with the boys at the pub’ happens at 7.30 in the morning in a Coffee Bean in Century City. So this morning our group spent 30 minutes ACTING OUT ALL THE POSSIBLE TIGER/ELIN SCENARIOS. By the end of our latte’s we’d written 3/4’s of the Lifetime movie. You’ve probably done the same just without the McKee script rules.

This is nuts.

Man got road beef.

Man is rich, famous.

This is news?

He is also bald (he keeps that baseball cap nailed to his head for a reason), completely uncharismatic in person and is the best in the world at a useless skill masquerading as a sport.

Golf was invented by the Scots folks. The people that gave us Curling.

Its maintained by people who like living in gated communities and think beige chinos are chic. Who make moves on each other’s wives like it was 1974, yet act hurt and surprised if wifey is banging her trainer while they are at the 19th hole cracking dirty jokes with a waitress younger than their daughter. The ONLY positive about this whole thing is we will eventually get to see entire issues of PLAYBOY/MAXIM/HUSTLER devoted to his greatest ‘strokes’.

And finally, where was our boy Steve Williams in all this?

Elin has an identical TWIN. You bag that duo Tiger and I'll finally be impressed.



The Patriots are running out of gas on their dynasty, and no-one really wants to admit it. Tom may never be the 2007 Tom again, and there are just too many holes on defense now for the Pats to hold anybody. We are watching a heavyweight in decline, and that’s just fine. They gave us a great decade.
Miami need to show some fire through a whole game. They are really well coached, but just seem to lack that little spark that would lift them into the elite. For Miami, next year’s draft will be VERY important. Still, they can scare anybody right now, and this will be a tough, wily game. It kills me to say it, but I think Miami take it.


This game is all about Titans running back Chris Johnson and Indy’s defense. Peyton and his boys will take care of scoring for Indy, but its up to the Indy defense to stop Johnson’s power and Vince Young’s luck. It’s so great to see the Vincester play well, and scare people. 9 wins in a row as a starting QB in this league is no fluke. However, if his streak falls here (and probably Tennessee’s playoff hopes with it) no-one will chastise him for it. Indianapolis are a good team led by the greatest football player playing right now.


If you haven’t watched all of ‘The Wire’ yet I refuse to speak to you.


Yes, I’m easily amused.



The Eagles are doing their standard end of season run, and Atlanta are stuck in 2nd gear. Anyone remember Michael Vick? He looks good holding that clipboard. There will be Atlanta fans who will cheer him for still breathing, but he will play little to no part in a decisive Philly win.


Oh I’m going to enjoy this. I’m going to enjoy every minute of this cosmic level beatdown. I loath the current Redskins on so many levels. Feast on them Mr Brees. Eat them alive.


We still love you Matt Leinart, oh king of the Cali hot tub. You’re about 1/100th as talented as your opponent Brett Favre, but hey, you’ve still got some rope with me. If this NFL thing doesn’t work out Adrien Grenier is always looking for a wingman.


ALABAMA v FLORIDA, SEC Championship Game, Atlanta

You want a football slugfest? This is a football slugfest.

Two teams loaded with talent take each other on for HUGE personal stakes, and a spot in the BCS Championship Game.

For ‘Bama this is a return to the promised land for a program steeped in history and with some of the most enthusiastic boosters in College Football. And its almost complete redemption for Nick Saban, a college football god who took LSU to the Championship in ’03 and building the team that won in ’07 before almost destroying his reputation during a stint in the NFL. As Colin Cowherd put it this morning, they run an offense straight out of 1968, but it sure works.

For the Gator’s Tim Tebow this is a crucial step on his path to actual deification.

Tim kicking back after 5 hours of bible class

The cult of personality that surrounds this guy would be nauseating if he wasn’t as good on and off the field as advertised.
In terms of media/fan/coach fawning (Florida’s Urban Meyer broke down crying talking about Tebow this week) Tebow-mania has no real parallels. It is all-encompassing. Even Snoop Dog praised him on national TV today.
Should Florida NOT win this game the legend would take a mighty hit.
These guys will probably forgive him though.

– Mark Tierney

Goodnight, and thanks for all the Turkeys!

26 Nov

Mathhew Stafford is a total stud. A football stud.

Welcome to the best week in the NFL.

What? You saying most of the games are pretty ordinary? Why yes, yes they are.

This week is the best week of the NFL because thanks to some disease spreading Puritans, and the marketing genius of the woman who wrote ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ the US of A spends the next 5 days watching football and packing their colons. Thank God (or Sarah Josepha Buell) for Thanksgiving.

In true American style, Thanksgiving is really just a non-denominational marketing exercise that kicks off the longest sustained burst of consumer spending in the world, but it also gives us 3 NFL games Thursday, a bunch of rivalry games in College Football Saturday, more NFL Sunday, and possibly the Game Of The NFL Season Monday night. It’s a pigskin and pig fat orgy of HD TV with a side of sweet potatoes. And mac and cheese. And hey, who ate the last of the leftovers? I was saving those.



Watching the Lions the last few years on Thanksgiving has mostly sucked as badly as they have. No longer sir. Last Sunday they completed an epic victory against Cleveland with a QB (Mr Stafford above) throwing a game winning TD with his other shoulder completely dislocated. I don’t know if you’ve ever dislocated anything (let alone a shoulder) but DAMN that hurts. Its not quite up there with Wayne Shelford’s torn open scrotum, but its certainly above Curt Shilling’s bloody sock in the ‘playing hurt’ stakes. That was enough to get me in.  I am now a fully fledged Stafford/Lions fan, even if its the corpse of Daunte Culpepper under center this week. This new feistiness will not help them against a pretty decent Packer team, but it will at least make it worth watching.


In a tale of two QBs, this is the journeyman vs the megastar, and weirdly, fantastically, wonderfully its a fair fight. New Oakland QB Bruce Gradkowski (!) has transformed the Raiders offense via the simple trick of being able to play the position at least as well as a decent high-school prospect. It is a measure of how stupendously awful Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell has been that just bringing in a random human off the street at his position has improved his team 1000%. On the other side Tony Romo and the Dallas offense look confused by the concept of scoring. Genuinely befuddled. Dallas is at home, so should pull it out, but I will be screaming my support of Oakland the whole way (wipes turkey spittle off the furniture).


Only exciting because we get to make fun of how terrible Denver has become with Kyle Orton off the field. Its the night game, so I’ll be asleep for most of it, along with Denver’s defense. Still, three watchable games on a Thursday. Can’t argue with that.



The Vikings season now has the look of a steady march to glory, while Chicago is looking at nothing but misery the rest of the way. Lovie Smith is a good coach, but this isn’t working out for anybody over there. And they just wrote a fat contract extension for Jay (yet to actually do ANYTHING) Cutler, who may be the reincarnation of the great unlamented Jeff George (ridiculously powerful arm yet no ability to read the field, pouts and whines like a 10 year old). This will not end well for the Bears.


Last week Kurt Warner took himself out of the game having suffered a knock to the head. He was widely praised for this in the current concussion sensitive climate. I think he had a different motive: I think it was a deliberate ploy to show how utterly awful Matt Leinart is as a pro quarterback. The Cards were ahead and stayed that way, but OH MY GOD Leinart was awful. Kurt Warner could not have demonstrated how much this team needs him more thoroughly had he taken this joke of a franchise to a Superbowl. Oh right, he did that already. He’s a wily one that Warner.
On the other side, Leinart’s old college nemesis Vince Young is now being praised for a new ‘maturity’ in his attitude. Amazing how a few close wins ‘matures’ somebody.


For my many sins (MANY I TELL YOU) I now watch a lot of these games with a die-hard U of Miami fan. He even has a National Championship ring he earned there to validate his love for everything ‘U’. Which means catching any Ravens game brings a steady diet of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed shoutouts from him. Over a 3 hour span this can, um, what’s the word I’m looking for here, suck. It drives me absolutely nuts. And when Ray Ray is doing his chicken dance over the prone form of Big Ben this week (which will happen several times) I may commit a homicide. I’m just giving you advance warning in case you read it in the papers come Monday.



Here we go. I am as pumped for this as I will be for Paquiao/Mayweather (Mayweather TKO).
Undefeated New Orleans at home to the evil genius from New England. There are very VERY few coaches with the mana to withstand the 4th and 2 debacle of the Patriots/Indy game with their reputation almost completely intact. For Bill Belichick and the Patriots that unfortunate gamble may as well have happened 30 years ago. They are back to being the steadily threatening NFL presence they have been for the last 8 years. If New Orleans really ARE for real, then beating the Pats will go a long way to justifying the dreams of that fanbase. This feels somewhat like a knife fight for leadership in the tribe of the NFL, with the young and virile Saints against the veteran and grizzled Pats. There will be points, and dazzling plays, and it will be close. I say New Orleans triumph only because it will mean so much more to them and the crowd will be with them every minute. The Pats know that this battle may occur again in the New Year, with even more at stake.


"do you have those notes from psy? I totally slept through that class"

LA is in a frenzy this week, as UCLA play USC Saturday.
Sports radio has been running great pieces on the various bets around town. My favourite: say if a UCLA fan loses he has to answer every phone call for a year with ‘Hi, this is X. USC is the best.’ That would never get old for me.
Its also one of the first years in a while that its going to be a close game. I say USC still wins, but let me just point this out: on the sidelines of this one, there are no losers.

'gimme an S!'


– Mark Tierney

Giant Killing N’Awlins

16 Oct

New Orleans is a great place.

Beads, Mardi Gras, Coeds, Seafood!

Beads, Mardi Gras, Coeds, Seafood!

Now, I haven’t been there since Katrina hit, but I’m pretty sure the bits that count (bars, titty bars, blues bars, irish bars, cajun bars, um, bar bars) are still there. They probably still have too much crap blues (is there actually anything worse? Even bad country music is more tolerable) and not enough good blues, and sadly definitely not enough people who talk like John Candy in ‘JFK’.

They also have the Saints. For a while there, as their stadium was turned into an open toilet and their city was ringed by FEMA trailers full of asbestos it looked like they may have been San Antonio or LA bound. But for various reasons (not a few of them political from the US Government and the NFL) they have stayed, and after a period of total voodoo madness  (see photo below) the Saints have become one of the most entertaining and winning teams in the league.

Mike Ditka & Ricky Williams make the case for Civil Union

Mike Ditka & Ricky Williams make the case for Civil Union in Louisiana

There are two main reasons for that: coach Sean Payton, and QB Drew Brees, who both arrived in 2006 and changed football in the bayou immediately.

'yeah? And what are you wearing underneath that?'

'yeah Bill? And what are you wearing underneath that?'

Payton was a small jobbing QB who played pro American football in the UK (!) before he became one of the smartest position coaches in the league under the close patronage of Bill Parcells who hired him in NY and in Dallas.
While QBs are usually the smartest guys on a team (not you JaMarcus Russell! Sit down and go back to sleep!) they have a spotty history as coaches (see Zorn, Jim – Washington Redskins). After the dark forgettable days of the Ditka and Jim Haslett eras, New Orleans finally had a decent man at the helm.

Then San Diego & Miami made the colossal mistake of thinking Drew Brees wasn’t still an elite quarterback. The Chargers went with Phillip Rivers who they had drafted and were already paying a ton of money to, and Miami chose to trade for Daunte Culpepper over Brees. Rivers is very good, but not quite in Bress’ class, and Daunte was almost completely terrible from the minute he put on a Dolphins uniform.
Meanwhile Brees, a considerate classy guy with superb QB skills quietly went about shredding every NFL defense he could get in front of. And becoming a very (VERY) passionate Saint.

In 2008 he came within 30 yards of besting Dan Marino’s yards in a season record (take that Miami!) and in the first two games this year threw for 9 TDs. He’s cooled off since, but the Saints haven’t.

They are undefeated, and this week meet the NY Giants, who are also undefeated. While the Giants are a VERY good team, I think this is the moment the Saints finally put themselves into the absolute top rank of NFL teams this season.

Go Saints.

Oh yeah, Kardashian boyfriend Reggie Bush is also a Saint. Sadly he is a better tabloid celeb than a running back at this point.

Oh yeah, Kardashian boyfriend Reggie Bush is also a Saint. Sadly he is a better tabloid celeb than a running back at this point.



Wow this is going to be a terrible game. People are already putting bets on which teams will go winless this year with Kansas City looking good for the title just vacated by the Detroit Lions (who broke their winless stretch against Washington two weeks ago). The Redskins are just plain bad. So that’s the Caps (terrible) the Wizards (terrible) the Nationals (something worse than terrible) and now the Redskins. Washington DC, sports capital of the USA!


The Bengals are back to being good, so let’s see if they can put away a team they should beat easily. I never know what to make of the Texans. They are maddeningly inconsistent and devoid of charisma. This is a team from Texas people! TEXAS. A team like this from Jacksonville or Seattle, sure. But you Texans are not worthy of the name.


The Jets get back to winning with this. TO is claiming that he is ‘committed’ to staying in Buffalo. He’s ‘committed’ alright.

– Mark Tierney

Freeway Baseball Baby – BRING IT ON

15 Oct
October - baseball playoffs and sexy Halloween costumes

October - baseball playoffs and sexy Halloween costumes

LA is on fire right now.

No, not in the usual way its on fire.

That happens too often for anyone to get excited about it (unless you’re trying to hide from the flames in your hot tub) but LA is EL FUEGO for the Dodgers and Angels right now, two teams separated by about 40 miles of the 5 freeway. The Angels are actually in the city of Anaheim of course, but three years ago became the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, so essentially Orange County was annexed for marketing purposes. Imagine Hamilton’s Super 14 team calling itself  The Auckland Chiefs of Waikato and you get the idea.

No matter. New York and New Jersey have been pulling this crap for years, so why not LA?

We’ve reached the part of the baseball post-season that starts to mean something, and LA’s teams find themselves facing the current World Champs (the bland but effective Philadelphia Phillies) and history’s World Champs, the Yankees. All four teams are terrific, and all have distinctly different personalities.

This is all about LA, so let’s break them down as if they were celebrities:


The Dodgers are BENJAMIN BRATT

benjamin_bratt21Like Mr Bratt the Dodgers are mostly Hispanic, look good on paper, usually play the second banana to better stars/teams, and nobody’s taken them seriously for about a decade.
Like Mr Bratt they are a team looking to be relevant again, and its taken the steadying influence (and enormous good luck) of Joe Torre, the legendary Yankee manager enjoying his retirement in the sun (see video below) to bring the best out of a very talented team. How talented? You often forget now that Manny Ramirez is on the team. That’s a good thing.

LOOK FOR: Andre Ethier.


A young guy hopefully turning into a superstar. As Mr Bratt was supposed to do.



See how straight he looks? Tall, cleancut, a throwback to the good old days? Well its all a facade. He’s a lying, cheating sonofabitch that will stab you in the back and so are the Phillies.
They are a very bland team made up of excellent players very well managed. Even when they won the World Series last year Philadelphia (the city) barely took any notice of them. Philly is a town that likes to think of itself as aggressive, loud, and senselessly violent, and the Phillies are none of those in public. Just merely efficiently excellent, especially their ridiculous pitching staff. Where LA’s big bopper is the charismatically crazy Manny, Ryan Howard is so warm and nice he probably spends his evenings giving lost puppies warm baths. Does this mean he can’t crush a baseball? No.

Fresh from the Animal Shelter, he sends one 520 feet

Fresh from the Animal Shelter, he sends one 520 feet

LOOK FOR: Pitcher Cole Hamels. In baseball parlance he’s got filthy stuff. So has his wife Heidi Strobel.


Mrs Hamels is the one on the you care.

WINNER: C’mon. I have to root for the Dodgers. In 7.



First thing: I have never seen as many hot women over 30 at a baseball game as I have seen at Angels games. Whole freaking rows of hot blond mommas. So there’s that. And then, there’s the tragedy angle. Rookie Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in a traffic accident after winning a game early in the season. His image now hangs in the outfield, and the team memorialise him constantly. So they have the ‘ghost watching over them’ thing going too. That, and a killer lineup, means this may be the year that the Atlanta Braves of the West (year after year of good management producing solid teams) go back for the big prize they last won in ’02.

LOOK FOR: Chone Figgins. ‘Chone’. GREAT name. He’s their leadoff man and is the vital spark of a team loaded with ageing hitters in the middle of the lineup.


"Yes I just branded you! My names is 'Chone' ok?"


photo_derek_jeterOk, yes its a copout. But this is the YANKEES, where their current WAGs include Kate Hudson and Minka Kelly. They are the stars. They are the Show. And Mr Jeter is at the heart of it all.

He’s the real throwback in US sports. Not falsely modest, but not a grandstander, has played his whole career in the world’s loudest media market, probably not a steroid user, very rarely seen in tabloids despite a stellar dating record, leads by example. He is the true descendant of Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig, who he passed this year as the leading hitter in Yankees history. If the Yanks do it this year, and bring Jeter his FIFTH ring, I will cheer along with everyone else.

However that means that Alex Rodriguez will also get one, so fuck that.

LOOK FOR: Pitcher CC Sabathia. To do what he does at that size, and with that passion? Don’t miss it.


WINNER: The Angels.

And if both of those events happen, then it could be the cultural event that finally unites Mexican, Funky, Liberal LA with Uptight White Middle Class Anaheim.
Or at least gives us something fascinating to listen to as we spend another hour going nowhere on the 5.

– Mark Tierney