Heid and Spencer Pratt Calling it Quits???

Season 6 of the hit HBO show “Entourage” returns on July 12th and has some big guest stars. “High School Musical” hottie Zac Efron joined the show and actually shot some scenes at the Niketown store in Beverly Hills today. None of the other cast members were there but a Niketown employee said Efron shot a scene talking on a cell phone and that he was really nice. Also joining Jeremy Piven and Adrian Grenier this season will be Tom Brady, LeBron James and Lil Wayne and they will all appear as themselves. I don’t know about you but I am ready for some good summer shows to start back up!!

Madonna is out and Kate Hudson is in when it comes to officially dating Alex Rodriguez (A Rod) from the New York Yankees. It seems that Kate and son Ryder followed A- Rod on the road to Dallas during a three game series against the Texas Rangers. A source says they stayed at the same hotel and even worked out together. It seems like love is in the air, now we will just see how long it lasts. Wonder how Chris Robinson, Kate’s ex and Black Crowes band member feels about baseball.

I finally got to see a monologue by Conan O’Brien and I am happy to say it was for his first “Tonight Show” gig. He was finally early enough for me to see him and I have to say he was funny. It was odd to not see Jay behind the desk but I think he did a fine job for his first night. The sketches were funny and he did a good job with guest Will Ferrell and Pearl Jam. I must admit though that my heart still belongs to Letterman. He is just my favorite and his show was funny as always. David Letterman had on Bill Cosby and his mom, who said, “Well Dave, I see you didn’t get the Tonight Show again.” You have to admit…pretty funny. I wish Conan luck in his new beautiful studio and everyone will just settle into to their favorite host or who has the best guest on that night.

The word of the day for Mr. and Mrs. Pratt is – WIMPS!!! It seems the duo cannot decide if they really really want to quit the NBC reality show, “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” or if they want to stay. Now I am not saying I could do it but I would NEVER sign up for that. What were they expecting….easy living since they are “celebrities” – it’s the JUNGLE? So quit your whining guys. Literally the first night, Monday, during the premiere they threatened to quit twice and did and then unquit and came back to Tuesday nights show. At the moment it seems like they quit but honestly I am not really sure. We will just have to wait and see. Here is a quote from Mr. Super celebrity Spencer Pratt himself…”Super- celebrities don’t belong in the jungle. They belong in Hollywood with the paparazzi.” That makes you really like the guy right?? That statement is so irritating for so many reasons… the first being that he thinks him and wifey Heidi Montag are super celebrities!!! Anyway more power to the nine celebrities’ toughing it out in the Costa Rican jungle for charity. Lou Diamond Phillips, Stephen Baldwin and Janice Dickerson are sticking around – for now anyway. Bye bye Heidi and Spencer…hurry back to “The Hills” while you still can.   

Should I Keep Sipping On My A-Rod Haterade

I have been one of the many baseball fans outraged by the Alex Rodriguez saga this summer, but sometimes it helps to back up and take a look at the allegations I have simply accepted as fact in the last few months. I have to really look at facts, our at least first hand encounters, and decide does A-Rod really deserve all the flak he has been getting.

The first story that broke was the release of the Joe Torre book. The book painted Rodriguez as faux-teammate, prompting clever media outlets to continue the name game and add the hyphenated A-Fraud to the hilarious list that goes from Choke-Rod to Madonna’s-Rod to A-Roid.

The Yankees Years, which was “co-authored” by Sports Illustrated write Tom Verducci, chronicles the Torre’s experience from 1996 to 2007 with the New York Yankees, a period that saw him go 1173-767 and win four World Series. It also covers the locker room stories, some of which center on a highly-paid superstar that desperately sought to attract the devotion from fans and players as resident good guy Derek Jeter.

These revelations were nothing new. Sports writers seemed to come out in droves to claim that they witnessed this behavior, this fake friendliness, since Rodriguez arrived in 2004. At one point A-Rod even talked to a group of the press and admitted that he had been acting like an A-Fraud.

What I found more telling was a Sports Guy podcast with Jason Gay, the writer of the A-Rod article in details that featured the now infamous A-Rod staring intently/lovingly into a mirror as he worked out. It seemed to Gay that A-Rod was perpetually in PR mode, with every answer carefully crafted in his head before he spoke.

To me it seems that A-Rod may not even be comfortable with himself. This really makes me feel more pity than any kind of hate for the man. Of course, then I remember that he is making $27 million this year and my bile duct immediately wants to spit out a rant laden with acrimonious damnations. In the end, after considering he is getting to bang a Madonna that is a mere ghost of her prime, I think I have come to accept Alex Rodriguez as a flawed man who can simply kill a baseball at will, at least until the pennant race starts to heat up.

Of course, I have come to accept every connotation of the moniker Choke-Rod. I have images in my head of ninth inning rallies against the Boston Red Sox thwarted by a nubbed double play off the end of A-Rod’s bat or gimmee-series against the Baltimore Orioles lost as Rodriguez went 0-4 with three strikeouts. I have had all those images, but have never had the statistical proof.

When I actually checked, I found that the statistical evidence was simply not there during the regular season. Over the course of three seasons, from 2006 to 2008, A-Rod hit .301 with runners on and belted 67 homeruns and drove in 323. With bases loaded he is batted .426 with six grand slams and 61 RBI. After the All Star game, when the pennant race really seems to begin, he has hit .301 with 56 home runs and 176 RBI. In the month of September he has hit .335, 24 home runs, and driven in 78 RBI.

The validation for the nickname comes in the postseason though. In the last three postseason appearances by the Yankees he has been rather lack luster. In 2005, in the series against the Los Angeles Angels he hit .133 with zero home runs and zero RBI. In 2006, against the Detroit Tigers, he hit .071 with another double zero for run production. In 2007, though, against the Cleveland Indians, he hit a respectable .267 with a solo shot for his only RBI of the series.

The only real solid truth of the “Winter of A-Rod” seemed to be that he admitted to steroid use back in his Texas Rangers days. The initial news boggled my mind. He never appeared to need the extra help, yet he still joined 107 other known players in 2003 and shot or creamed up.

In the context of an offseason of personal attacks the admittance was damning. However, the mere fact that he did openly admit that he took the drugs is something I blatantly ignored. Yes he lied to Katie Couric a year ago, but many ballplayers lied everyday to fans when they claimed they were not using any form of PED. Looking at this in the context of baseball culture as a whole I am more conflicted than ever.

It seems that like most things in life, there is a half truth to everything said about A-Rod. He is A-Fraud, but he is not a malicious character fraud, rather somebody trying to find his social niche. He is not Choke-Rod across the board. He is simply Mr. September, and a mere mortal during October. He is A-Roid, but many other players do not have nicknames that make it so easy to make a steroid reference. Should I hate him so intensely anymore? Probably not. Will I drudge up all these cherry picked allegations if I am ever sitting third-base side at a White Sox game? Most definitely.

MLB Tickets

An Ode to Baseball and Spring Training

First the pitchers and catchers reported. Then the rest of the position players came to camp. Now, on this fine Wednesday, the first exciting, but meaningless games begin.

New York Yankees fans will get the chance to heckle A-Rod in the Grapefruit opener, Chicago Cubs fans will reset the doomsday clock, and everyone else will practice making pitchers cry on the mound. Tomorrow morning baseball “enthusiasts” will read there first box scores since October 28, 2008, back when Bush was president and Philadelphia was rewarded with a team that did not let them down.

Chances are most fans will look at the many of the names and wonder who those guys are, but no worries. In about a month those no-name guys will back in Double A. If fans want to watch some games that are supposed to mean something with names they know, then the beginning of the World Baseball Classic is just a few days away.

For those who do not remember, Japan won the first tournament in 2006 and the U.S. failed to even place among the top four. Much has been made over the lack of participation by a number of MLB All Stars, especially on the mound.

Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt are solid ace starters. Jeremy Guthrie is an underrated pitcher because he has the misfortune of playing for the Baltimore Orioles. Ted Lilly is a disappointment though. He is a good mid-rotation guy, but I would like to see a fourth ace there instead.

The Yankees Derek Jeter is doing his country proud and AL MVP Dustin Pedroia from the Boston Red Sox is on board. The outfield has young stars that fans are really going to question, but Ryan Braun, Grady Sizemore, Curtis Granderson, and Brad Hawpe are far from the worst outfield in the world. If a MLB team had these four guys they would be talking about future World Series runs.

Many people do not care about WBC tickets though, so for those guys who want to hurry up and start their fantasy league, opening day is a little more than a month away. Yes, baseball is almost here again and I could not be happier. I will probably ignore most of spring training and the WBC like most sane fans, but just knowing they are there is putting the scent of baseball (bad beer, hot dogs, and a cool breeze) in the air.

MLB Tickets

The Brett Favre Rule (Formerly the Michael Jordan Rule)

Before baseball season begins it has become tradition to wait for Brett Favre to decide whether or not he will retire. Word is in that he has decided to retire. Of course, we all remember that last season he told his agent the same thing. Then he found that he could still throw the ball around with some zip with a bunch of high school kids, decided to comeback, and cause the Packers a gigantic headache, sabotaging Aaron Rodgers transition into the starting quarterback role.

Michael Jordan used to do this with the Washington Wizards at the beginning of the century. The waiting game probably helped lead the Wiz down the road to mediocrity, that and Gilbert “Injured List” Arenas. The lesson seems to be clear. Never begin an offseason be showing a willingness to appease an aging superstar. I do not care how many jerseys they sell or how much the owner thinks the player can actually help their team.

Sports legends have a difficult time letting go of the game and sports fans have a hard time imagining the game without them. But after five years of Brett Favre threatening to retire for good and years of Michael Jordan wanting to leap out of the owners’ box (where he makes terrible decisions) and onto the court we should all learn that letting a legend go is like a heart-felt breakup. It is difficult, but it must be done.

With that said, I have a request for every high school football team, every junior high team, and every Pop Warner team. If you see Favre walking toward your pickup game, run. Run away. Save professional teams the drama and refuse to play with him. If he completes one pass he is liable to try and make a comeback. If you cannot run away and he has to play then his team should lose badly. Remind him of this last season when he did not make the playoffs after blowing it hard with a 1-4 finish.

Sports fans should be concentrating on catching up on college basketball to better fill out their bracket for March Madness. They should be watching NBA basketball during the weeknights. They should be waiting to get Red Sox tickets to Fenway or Cubs bleacher seats to Wrigley.

Fan should be trying to think of tasteless jokes and taunts to scream from the stands as A-Fraud takes the plate for the New York Yankees. If they must think about football, that thought should be about the draft or a free agent.