167 Comments

“I Understand What I Don’t Understand”

| June 5th, 2020


I call it The Beige Beast.

It is a beat-up 2005 Chevy Cavalier that belonged to my dead grandfather. It’s got a front right bumper hanging on for dear life. It waived goodbye to 200,000 miles on the Merritt Parkway, bringing me back from a round of golf in Danbury, Connecticut in March. It passes inspection because sometimes miracles do happen and horns do blow.

Earlier this year, before the world put the emergency break on, my theatre company was running an after school program in an Asbury Park, NJ middle school. My uncle lives a few towns over so I decided to swing by there for lunch before heading to A.P. I found myself on a back road and the thing hadn’t been paved since about 1971. When The Beige Beast hits a pot hole, it feels like a crash. The impact is jarring. I know the next pothole hit could be the kill shot so I was swerving to avoid them and that involved a shitload of swerving.

Usually I’d notice if a cop was behind me.

This time I didn’t.

Lights. Siren. Pulled over.

He scuttled up to my passenger side.

The window is broken on that side so I had to open the door to speak to him. It had to look shady.

I gave him an expired insurance card but explained that I could show him the Geico app to prove the insurance wasn’t expired, just the card. That had to SOUND shady. He took my word for it and never asked to see the app.

He asked why I was swerving and I explained my pot hole issue. He joked, “I thought you might be looking at your phone.” I said I wasn’t and was only like five minutes from my destination.

And that was it.

“Keep her straight the rest of the way,” he said. He then walked back to his cruiser and we went about our days. I told my uncle the story and I never thought about it again until the last few days.

Because I’m white.

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

343 Comments

On Expanding Our Relationship with 26 Shirts, and How You Can Help.

| May 29th, 2020


Years back I decided to give 26 Shirts some prime real estate on DBB. We have always tried to use this platform to raise as much money for charity as possible and I liked the idea of a company whose foundational ethic was to help others. Over the years, we have had a lot of success with various designs and helped a great many people and organizations, especially my lovely friends at the Windy Kitty Cafe.

But we haven’t been successful enough. And the reason is simple.

My friend Del Reid (of #BillsMafia and drinking with me in Buffalo fame) and the folks who run this company have a passion for Buffalo sports and their products reflect that. I don’t even like the teams in Buffalo and I’ve bought three of those designs! The Chicago items tend to be less specific, and subsequently less interesting. To combat this I have built a sort of “ideas team” of artistic-minded friends who share a passion for Chicago sports. But that’s not enough.

Two other things need also to happen. The first is 26 Shirts producing the official DBB shirt for the 2020 season. That design has already been chosen and the shirt is in the works. Unlike they’re other products, that shirt won’t have a limited shelf life. It’ll be available on a rolling basis for the entire 2020 season. (It’ll benefit the kitties.)

The second is your involvement. If you have an idea for a clever Chicago sports tee shirt, please reach out to me via email: jeff@www.podzamci.com. You just need a concept. You don’t have to design it. They have brilliant designers. And if you have a charitable cause you’d like the proceeds to support, that’s even better. I don’t know anything about the Bulls or Blackhawks or Cubs or White Sox. And I don’t care to learn about them. Many of you do. And just one clever pun or inside reference could end up on a tee shirt and end up helping someone who needs it.

I don’t consider 26 Shirts an advertiser. I consider them a partner. And I’m invested in helping them expand their reach in Chicago and break seriously into the market. You can be a huge factor in making that reality.

Have a nice weekend. Stay healthy.

Tagged:

62 Comments

Thursday Links Package

| May 28th, 2020


This is the quietest time on the football calendar, the lull between the the NFL Draft and the start of training camps. So here’s some stuff worth reading. Read it, don’t, I don’t care.

  • Dan Pompei’s excellent piece detailing the battle scars of Kyle Long is a painful NFL read. One of the things that has often surprised me is the general obliviousness many fans have when it comes to the physical toll football takes on the bodies of these young, strong men. None of those fans will look at the game the same way after reading this staggering work.
  • The Bears were very good on defense in 2019. But they weren’t good enough to compensate for a putrid offense. Adam Jahns breaks down the Robert Quinn signing and just how good that unit will need to be to return to the postseason in January.
  • Is Cole Kmet a Y? Is he a U? Is he some other letter? Here’s what I know: he’s an impressive young man with whom the coaches are already in love. Adam Hoge at NBC Sports Chicago discusses his early days as a Bear and where he’ll fit in the 2020 offensive structure.
  • The Arlington Hambright Section!
  • From Mark Potash’s piece on Roquan Smith in the Sun-Times: “Despite the issues he has had in his first two seasons, Smith has been as good as advertised. His sideline-to-sideline speed, his instincts and his versatility — the ability to rush the quarterback, be a tackling machine and defend in coverage — give him a dangerous skill set for an inside linebacker. So far, he’s clearly general manager Ryan Pace’s best first-round pick. But by the eye test and Smith’s own testimony, he has a lot more to give.”

Tagged: , , , ,

250 Comments

The Pandemic Photo Gallery (Because…why not?)

| May 22nd, 2020

Tagged: , , ,

119 Comments

On the Likelihood of NFL Football Being Played in Empty Stadiums

| May 20th, 2020


There is a strong belief in the sports world that the NFL is full steam ahead.

No schedule delay.

No looking back.

The league faced the possibility of severe backlash by allowing their free agency period to go forward, handing out millions upon millions of dollars as the country nose-dove into broken digital unemployment platforms. Instead they dominated the sports news cycle for weeks.

There were endless debates regarding their desire to hold the draft. They never wavered, held the event, and received some of the best notices the shield has ever received.

The much-maligned, and factually-terrible Roger Goodell, is on a heater.

But the likelihood of fans being in attendance for NFL football this fall is veering closer and closer to nil. Governor Newsom in California and Governor Whitmer in Michigan have both, in effect, ruled out large gatherings in their respective states. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Phil Murphy of New Jersey have seemingly done the same. Those four states alone house 21,9% of the league. So what will it mean for the league if the games are played in empty buildings? Here are some thoughts.

  • Will home field advantage be a thing? It shouldn’t be. It’s difficult to play in Kansas City and Seattle because of the fans. But offensive communication will be extremely easy without 70,000 roaring lunatics. Hell, teams might not even need headsets.
  • The energy level of players will be worth watching. Players feed off the crowd. They feed off the player introductions. They feed off celebrating big interceptions and touchdowns. Why would they introduce the players to an empty building? Why would a receiver dance in the end zone? These guys have been hearing cheers since they were playing pee-wee ball down the park. The adulation fuels their performance.
  • There won’t be any “pumped in” crowd noise controversies. It won’t make sense for the Colts to pump in fake crowd noise when there’s no real crowd, will it? (They’ll probably still do it.)
  • The violence of the game will be more obvious, audible. If you’re ever lucky enough to see an NFL game from the sideline (or seats down below), three things stand out: the speed, the size and the sound. Having no fans in the stands will allow the television viewing audience to fully appreciate the game’s impacts. These guys go through a series of car crashes every Sunday. Now, we’ll hear the screeching tires and smashed bumpers.
  • If they mic up the sidelines, they’ll be on tape delay. Coaches curse. Non-stop. All game long. And they say some truly vile shit.

It will be a unique and bizarre experience. (Anybody who has tuned in to the Bundesliga matches in empty stadiums will attest to that.) But it will also be a specific test for these organizations. Without fans, the emotion required on Sundays will need to be entirely self-generated by the players. The teams most effective at generating said emotion should be the most successful in 2020.

Tagged:

263 Comments

betway 西汉姆

| May 14th, 2020

Quick note: I know money is a major issue for many Americans right now as the unemployment numbers have exploded and entire industries have been destroyed. When I write columns like this, encouraging gambling, I hope those suffering know I am sensitive to their situation. But gambling odds provide a solid context to discuss sporting issues. So I’m going to keep writing about them for the time being.


Bet One: Nick Foles MVP (+15000)

Do I think Nick Foles is going to win MVP this season?

No.

But that’s why he’s 150-1 to win the award. (Same odds as Mitch Trubisky actually.)

Here’s why the bet is worth $1: the value logic. What if Foles starts, executes the offense and the Bears start winning? What if he proves the 2019 season can be written off to the failures of the previous quarterback, as many believe the case to be? There will be an easily-made argument for his value to the franchise.

Also, when quarterbacks execute this offense, they produce statistically. Alex Smith, who most consider a game manager, put up 4,000 yards and 26 TDs in 2017 for Andy Reid. You combine him turning around the Bears offense with a large statistical output and he’ll be in the MVP conversation.

And Foles plays in Chicago. If he plays well, it’ll be visible and there will be a demonstrative campaign for him.


Bet Two: Bears To Make the Playoffs (+160)

If the 2020 rules existed in 2019, the Bears would have finished a single game out of the postseason. If they’re healthy I don’t see how they’re not a better team in 2020.

As a matter of fact, I believe the Bears are going to be a very good team and this number will be -400 by the middle of the season.

Read More …

Tagged: ,