Archive for the ‘cross-sport parallels’ Category

Twinsies: MLB dead ringer for the Anaheim Ducks

April 9, 2009
=

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks are quite a bit like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays

1. Name Diets

Does this Mighty make me look fat?

Both Anaheim and Tampa Bay trimmed down their names to be more credible/so that ESPN would make fun of them less often. Let’s be honest, though. It wasn’t the names that made these teams a joke.

2. Mickey Mouse Organizations

The Ducks literally made good on the infamous Wayne Gretzky quote, while the Rays were a perpetual drum that MLB teams just loved to beat. (Don’t worry, Tina Turner, we’re not going to make a joke about you this time)

3. Whoa, wait, they’re GOOD?

Anaheim didn’t sneak up on us in the post-lockout era since they signed Scott Niedermayer and then benefited from the … uh, weather in Edmonton to snatch Chris Pronger. But few people saw Anaheim coming the year the Ducks (then mighty) shocked the Detroit Red Wings and came within a game of winning a Cup.

That lines up better with the Rays’ shocking run last season, a year in which Evan Longoria became more famous than his hot-ass Tony Parker banging family member (at least with one demographic, namely baseball dorks).

As if Tony Parker‘s tear-drop layups weren’t infuriating enough to begin with, he sees her naked on at least a weekly basis. Ugh, those damn Spurs.

4. Certain inexplicable factors

Both teams play in warm climates, where many potential fans would rather go to the beach, amusement parks or have sex with vapid individuals than watch these teams. Many people question the existence of the Ducks, asking how there possibly could be three professional hockey teams in California. Many people question the existence of the Rays, wondering why that team would work when the Florida Marlins struggle enough on their own.

***

So, those were the parallels, but baseball isn’t exactly our area of expertise. Any other similarities? Does Lou Pinella share some mystical kinsmanship with Mike Babcock? Let us know if there’s anything we missed.

Advertisements

Twinsies: If the Edmonton Oilers were an NFL team, they would be:

April 2, 2009
=

The Edmonton Oilers are DEAD RINGERS for the San Francisco 49ers. Here’s why:

1. Four championship main dynasty + one championship without their most famous player

Could there by more similar players (in all the ways that matter) than Joe Montana and Wayne Gretzky? Throw out Gretzky’s jaw-dropping stats and they are two peas in a pod. Both were such Aryan golden boys that their leagues couldn’t wait to plaster their mugs on the TV. They each have ludicrously hot wives. In general, their lives are so much better than ours. The assholes.

The two teams both dominated the Eighties (winning four titles in a short amount of time) and then won one more title after they reached their peaks.

By this analogy, Mark Messier would have to be Steve Young.

Under the shadow of Montana, Steve Young faced a ton of pressure. So when his 49ers beat the Cowboys and then absolutely pummeled the San Diego Chargers, Young and his teammates actually pantomimed “getting the monkey off his back.” Sure, it was pretty lame, but it said a lot.

Messier saw a similar glory year in which he won a Hart trophy and managed to win a Cup without Gretzky. Of course, Messier-Young isn’t a perfect analogy marriage.

  • For one thing, Young has an enviable bushy mane while Messier suffers from Wade Boggs syndrome.
  • From what we know, Messier is not a Mormon.
  • If you shine a light in Messier’s eyes, he probably won’t get a headache. (Boooo concussion humor)

(We guess that Jerry Rice would match up pretty well with Jari Kurri.)

2. Commerce over cartoons

It’s refreshing to see a sports team that isn’t named after some angry animal. Both the Edmonton Oilers and San Fran 49ers remind you of the cold commerce that allowed their areas to teem with life. When you study the two teams’ logos, it’s almost like taking a trip in a Dolarian back to each region’s past (and they don’t even have to resort to racial slurs!).

3. Innovative offense

Any shmuck with a stick could dream to hit the 100-point plateau in the goal crazed Gretzky era. How many fat, moustachioed NFL head coaches get their (expensive) meal tickets from Bill Walsh‘s West Coast offense? Each dynasty was loaded with absurd offensive talent and prompted runs to their league’s Hall of Fames.

4. Enormous falls from grace

There were some pre-lockout years in which the Edmonton Oilers were looking like they were going the way of the Nordiques. Tough times have hit the Niners recently; you know things are bad when you’ve got the No. 1 pick.

Even the two teams “meh-ish” playoff runs were pretty similar: the Oilers featured Ryan Smyth and (aside from the one Pronger-fueled Cup run) were usually lucky to make the post-season. The Terrell OwensJeff Garcia era for San Fran rarely saw those two jackholes sniffing the second round.

If the Detroit Red Wings were an NBA team, they would be …

March 25, 2009
=

The Detroit Red Wings are the NHL’s version of the LA Lakers.

Why?

1. American institutions

When you think of the top teams in their respective sports, the Red Wings and Lakers are among the five team a casual sports fan would blurt out. The New York Knicks and New York Rangers might compare to these teams in terms of value, but neither of those Big Apple franchises can match the dominance of these two storied American sports franchises.

2. Multiple eras of dominance


Although the Red Wings had the “Dead Things” Era, Detroit dominated multiple generations of hockey. From the days of Gordie Howe to the Steve Yzerman age to the current ZetterbergDatsyuk dynasty, Detroit justifies the stupid “We Don’t Rebuild, We Re-Load” slogan on the back of my eight grade football team T-shirt. (Wildcats for life motherfugees)

The LA Lakers might not have as many championships as the Boston Celtics, but even with Kevin Garnett‘s greatness, the Lakers has been more successful in recent years. The Lakers have arguably an even more dominant lineage than the Red Wings as Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain passed the torch to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar who then made way for the Shaq-Kobe three-peat and now the “Europeans plus Kobe” gang.

3. Dominant Coaches

The Lakers had Pat “My hair is a daily Valdez spill” Reilly and now employ the league’s hippie-tastic answer to Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson. Detroit employed Scotty Bowman, almost undoubtedly the greatest coach in hockey history, as well as Mike Babcock (the coach of the decade, according to certain geniuses).

4. Shrewd, heart breaking and borderline unfair moves
The list of amazing players the Detroit Red Wings found in the lower depths of the NHL draft is a thing of mind blowing genius. Just take a look at some examples of their Tom Brady-like bargains: Pavel Datsyuk – 6th round; Henrik Zetterberg – 7th round; Tomas Holmstrom10th round; Nicklas Lidstrom – third round; Sergei Fedorov – fourth round.

While the Red Wings made the rest of the league look stupid with brilliant drafting, the Lakers made their biggest moves mostly through trades. Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul Jabbar came over to the Lakers in lopsided Gretzky-like deals. Kobe was drafted with a pick the Lakers acquired in a trade; Shaq came to LA after starting his career with the Orlando Magic. The deal to bring Pau Gasol to LA was so lopsided that some NBA figures hinted at foul play.

The Lakers and Red Wings are proof that the rich get richer.

5. Infrequent, yet sometimes extreme tragedy
That’s not to say these teams never fell on hard times. Magic Johnson became HIV-positive. Steve Yzerman was forced to retire after a grizzly eye injury. Few hockey fans could forget the awful limo accident that nearly took the life of Vladimir Konstantinov.

6. A bunch of championships
The Red Wings have the third most Stanley Cup championships (behind Montreal and Toronto) with 11 while the Lakes have the second most NBA titles with 14 (behind Boston’s 17).

But just to play the devil’s advocate:

  • The Red Wings lack a polarizing star like Kobe, despite what some Penguins fans will tell you about Marian Hossa.
  • Los Angeles is a West Coast, sun-baked city full of fake breasts and false hopes; Detroit is full of blue-collar workers living in fear for their jobs.
  • The Lakers were awesome in the Eighties while the Red Wings were the Dead Things.
  • To our knowledge, a coked-out Jack Nicholson never showed up to Red Wings games.

Crosby vs. Ovechkin: Everyone needs a good villain

February 25, 2009

After Sunday’s Washington – Pittsburgh game got a little ugly, it seemed there was a line drawn in the sand.

On one side, there are people who think Alex Ovechkin is light years ahead of Sidney Crosby. People who cannot stand Crosby’s whining or bland, vanilla personality.

On the other side: Penguins fans.

For a long time, it seemed like Crosby just needed to open up. Over the years, there’ve been rumors of Crosby being gay (whether those rumors are faint, in my head or Tom Cruise-level widespread is irrelevant) and that didn’t seem crazy to me. The guy still lives in Mario Lemieux‘s basement (doesn’t he?) and to my knowledge has only been photographed with women while promoting his Reebok clothing line. No saucy Russian blondes wrapping themselves around Sid the Kid. At least not in public.

That’s the strangest thing. For a league that barely generates high-end marketing, Crosby is the closest thing to “overexposed” the NHL can muster. Yet, does anyone really even know the guy? He could be gay. He could be a huge fan of “comedian” Sinbad. Hell, he might collect Pogs and Magic cards. None of this seems unreasonable because I know nothing of “the next, next one.”

But maybe that’s for the best because every league needs an “Elvis vs. the Beatles” type debate. And like NBA officiating, NFL replays and the BCS, controversies get people arguing and generate free publicity. If hockey fans found out that Crosby actually is a pretty solid guy, it would take all the fun and the fervor out of it for many Sid-haters.

The NBA’s breakthrough era came with the Bird vs. Magic rivalry, two players who seemed both sublimely skilled and diametrically opposed. Magic played for the run-and-gun Lakers, coached by then-Hollywood-ized Pat Reilly; Bird was the leader of a Celtics team soaked in tradition, the last basketball team to win championships with two goofy looking white dudes as their best players.

You could appreciate both teams, but ultimately it came down to a choice. And that’s a lot more fun than being in the middle.

When you talk about “best player” it’s a Malkin vs. Ovechkin vs. Crosby battle, but the fight that sells tickets is Crosby vs. Ovie. Two players who couldn’t be more different. Ovechkin takes nine shots a game, throws his body all over the ice and is wilder than a tornado. Passing is an afterthought to him. Crosby threads some of the prettiest passes you’ll ever see, plays an all-effort game on both ends of the ice and is as bland as unflavored yogurt. He over-passes almost to a fault.

On some level, we need to sit back and enjoy this. Keep in mind: this is far from settled; Crosby can barely buy a six-pack right now.

I’ll leave you with this thought originally posted on Battle of California:

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. “The Hitman” Bret Hart: Not a bad parallel to the Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby rivalry when you think about it. Austin/Ovechkin appeal to the simple fan with brashness and aggressiveness; Hart/Crosby are vaguely whiny, undeniably talented Canadians. Crosby might even have a disturbing obsession with baby oil and strange sunglasses for all we know.”