Star Wars Has Officially Taken Over EVERYTHING

–originally posted on espn.com—

If MLB players were Star Wars characters …

Written by:

TODD DETWEILEr

The Star Wars saga might have taken place a long time ago — before even Jamie Moyer was pitching — and in a galaxy far, far away, but it still has parallels with the current baseball universe. The Force is strong between these 10 big leaguers and their Star Wars doppelgangers.

Darth Vader/Alex Rodriguez

Like Anakin Skywalker, A-Rod overcame a tough background to achieve early success and reach Jedi-like status. Unfortunately, like Anakin, he also gave in to the Dark Side (in his case, PEDs and Scott Boras).

Luke Skywalker/Mike Trout

Just as Luke did, Trout became a heroic master of his craft at a young age because the Force is strong with this one. Plus, he has all five tools, including the ability to swing a bat with the speed, precision and power of a light saber.

Han Solo/Bryce Harper

He’s multi-talented, daring and a little cocky but he’s the guy you want on your side rather than in the opposing dugout. And as Greedo or Jonathan Papelbon could tell you, he’s not the type to mess with either when you’re sitting close to each other in the same dugout or the wretched Mos Eisley space cantina. Note: Harper might be able to do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs but his hyper-drive to first base sometimes conks out on routine grounders.

Chewbacca/Jayson Werth

Like the Wookie, Werth is big, powerful and very, very hairy.

Princess Leia/Mo’Ne Davis

Young and powerful like Leia, Davis clearly has the Force within her. She’s used to being a rebel and challenging an evil empire — or the status quo. And she doesn’t keep her hair in cinnamon buns either.

Obi-Wan Kenobi/Joe Maddon

Joe not only has the wisdom of Obi-Wan, he also can connect with his players through the most creative means, channeling the Force via his thoughts, music and wild road-trip rituals. “These Jedi master robes are the travel clothes you are looking for.”

C-3PO/Chris Colabello

The Blue Jays’ first baseman may not speak as many languages as the six million that C-3PO knows (yet), but he is fluent in English, Italian and Spanish, and is also learning Japanese. Plus, he moves more quickly than the robot.

R2-D2/Jose Altuve

Like the squat R2, the undersized (at 5-foot-6) Altuve makes up for his lack of stature with his considerable talent and performance. This is the guy you want at second base . . . or sitting behind you in an X-wing fighter.

Yoda/Ichiro Suzuki

They aren’t big, and they’re both elderly by their colleagues’ standards — Yoda is 900-something while Ichiro, 42, is the oldest position player in the majors. But they have talent and wisdom and a gift for delivering memorable quotes. “Swing or swing not. There is no bunt.”

Emperor Palpatine/Jeffrey Loria

Like the dark Sith lord who built the Galactic empire, Loria reached early success (2003 World Series title) at the expense of others (Montreal). But like Palpatine, it fell apart because of his evil rule (forcing Miami to pay for a bad stadium, signing players to huge contracts and then trading them away, firing Joe Girardi, making his GM his manager, etc.). We can only hope that he falls from power and, like the Death Star, the Home Run Sculpture will be blown up one day.

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Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan Announces Retirement Effective Immediately

Mar 29, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bo Ryan celebrates by cutting the net after overtime in the finals of the west regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament against the Arizona Wildcats at Honda Center. The Badgers defeated the Wildcats 64-63. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Ryan announced his retirement as the Wisconsin Badgers head basketball coach on Tuesday night.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal‘s Jim Polzin, Coach Bo Ryan and Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez agreed this semester would be the best time for Ryan to announce his retirement to give interim head coach Greg Gard an opportunity “to take a run at the job.”

Over the summer, Ryan announced the 2015-16 season would be his last, but the midseason announcement came as a HUGE surprise to the basketball world.

“I’m sure I’ll have more to say later, but it’s extremely difficult,” Ryan said Tuesday night, according to the program’s official Twitter account. “I’ll see you down the road.”

Ryan leaves the Badgers as the winningest coach in school history with 7 Big Ten Titles and 2 Final Four appearances.  He’s already being called the 2nd best coach in all of the state of Wisconsin’s sports history (Vince Lombardi).

It’s very fitting that the great Bo Ryan; a man who didn’t necessarily buy into the glitter and glamour of the current state of college basketball, a man that represents an old-school toughness and team-play brand of basketball, a man that didn’t buy into the “one-and-done” mentality of college hoops; retires in the middle of a season on a Tuesday night after a non-televised game against Texas Corpus Christi without any warning or specified press conference.

In a Norman Dale-ish way, Coach Ryan walked into the post-game press conference and said to the Wisconsin fans, ” I would hope you would support who we are. Not, who we are not. These individuals have made a choice to work, a choice to sacrifice, to put themselves on the line 23 nights for the next 4 months, to represent you, this high school. That kind of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect. This is your team.” 

Mic drop………..”I love you guys”.

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NFL Forms A Committee To Tell Us What A Catch Really Is

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This coming off-season, six men will get together in a room, order coffee……probably order lunch…..and finally settle the massive amount of complete and utter bullshit that is the NFL’s “Catch Rule”:

A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player executes a three-step process:

  • secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground;
  • and touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands;
  • and maintains control of the ball after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, until he has clearly become a runner (see 3-2-7 Item 2).

Currently, the rule is a little vague when it comes to crossing the goal line plane and/or crossing the out of bounds line.  For some reason, the NFL now feels the need to employ six more men in order to figure this thing out.

  • My take: Whenever there is a “committee” involved in a fairly simple decision making process, rest assured nothing good will come of it.  Just ask the NCAA.

The “Committee” consists of former NFL coaches Ken Whisenhunt, Jim Schwartz and Joe Philbin.  Former general manager Bill Polian, former NFL receiver James Thrash and Tom Finken, a former NFL side judge who currently trains game officials.

Ready to play CATCH OR NOT A CATCH???

  1. RULING: Touchdown Golden Tate

    RULING after review: Touchdown Golden Tate

     

  2. RULING: Incomplete pass

    RULING after review: Incomplete pass

     

  3. RULING: A good catch

    RULING after review: A good catch and fumble

     

According to CBS, Dez Bryant has volunteered himself to help give input to the committee:

At some point, according to NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino, they’d love to hear from Dez Bryant, the Dallas Cowboys star who has volunteered to provide input.

The committee’s review will include the current rule and the history of the catch rule, with the charge to make a recommendation to the NFL’s rule-making competition committee for potential tweaks that would better clarify what constitutes a legal catch.

“We don’t know what will come out of it,” Blandino told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday. “Maybe there’s something the (competition) committee hasn’t considered in the past.”

Kevin Garnett Turns Back The Clock On Blake Griffin’s FACE

In the NBA, there’s a slightly unwritten rule guideline for defenders; if you’re the only guy back on defense in a 2-on-1 situation where someone big or athletic (or formerly athletic) is trailing the play slightly (timing up his steps) and he has ANY amount of bounce left in his system, you’re gonna get dunked on.  You’re better off “going for the steal” on the pass or faking an injury and just running off the court before you get humiliated.  EVEN if you stand motionless in an attempt to take the charge, you will be mashed-on like potatoes on Thanksgiving…..pass the gravy son, you got served!

  “My priiiiiide’s telling me nooooooooo, but my body…..my bodddddyyyyyyy is telling me yesssss!”  Kevin Garnett STILL has a little bump-n-grind left in his system, if you let him get his feet timed-up, WATCH OUT.

It’s Bowl Season, Here’s a List Of What To Watch

National rankings from LEAST-interesting bowl game to the MOST-interesting bowl game according to CBS SPORTS (sorry CSU/Nevada fans) :

RANK BOWL BREAKDOWN
40 Arizona Bowl: December 29, 7:30 p.m.

Nevada (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-5): This is just a Mountain West Conference game that won’t be nationally televised. Doesn’t sound very fun.

39 Cure Bowl: December 19, 12 p.m.

San Jose State (5-7) vs. Georgia State (6-6): I’m happy that Georgia State qualified for a bowl, as it’s a major turnaround for the program, but this is not an appealing matchup.

38 Independence Bowl: December 26, 5:45 p.m.

Tulsa (6-6) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6): The only appeal of this game is it’s your last chance to watch Frank Beamer coach. Other than that, well, it’s No. 38 for a reason.

37 St. Petersburg Bowl: December 26, 11 a.m.

Connecticut (6-6) vs. Marshall (9-3): Somewhat interesting matchup stylistically, but not the most appealing of teams, nor game time.

36 Liberty Bowl: January 2, 3:20 p.m.

Kansas State (6-6) vs. Arkansas (7-5): It’s a matchup of Power Five teams. So it has that going for it. It should also be over in less than three hours. That’s better.

35 New Mexico Bowl: December 19, 2 p.m.

Arizona (6-6) vs. New Mexico (7-5): One team that had a disappointing season against another that surpassed expectation. In other words, one team that will want to be here, and Arizona.

34 Pinstripe Bowl: December 26, 3:30 p.m.

Indiana (6-6) vs. Duke (7-5): This game may end up being great because Indiana is lovingly known as Chaos Team. Nothing about an Indiana game is ever what you think it is, so if I have it ranked this low, it’ll be amazing.

33 Quick Lane Bowl: December 28, 5 p.m.

Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Minnesota (5-7): A mid-tier MAC team against a Big Ten team that lost more games than it won in Detroit on a December evening. What more could you ask for?

32 Texas Bowl: December 29, 9 p.m.

No. 20 LSU (8-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5): I just can’t help but look at this matchup and see a blowout one way or the other. So even if it’s two Power Five teams, I don’t expect it to be good.

31 Birmingham Bowl: December 30, 12 p.m.

Auburn (6-6) vs. Memphis (9-3): Memphis without Justin Fuente against an Auburn team with major changes on its own coaching staff. I don’t have the highest of hopes.

30 Cactus Bowl: January 2, 10:15 p.m.

West Virginia (7-5) vs. Arizona State (6-6): This game not only has a late start time, but it will last about five hours. You’ll probably be better off going to bed.

29 Foster Farms Bowl: December 26, 9:15 p.m.

UCLA (8-4) vs. Nebraska (5-7): Two great Power Five brands, two not-so-great teams.

28 Idaho Potato Bowl: December 22, 3:30 p.m.

Akron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6): The reason this game is ranked ahead of some of the others is that these two teams are a lot closer to one another in their football-playing ability. So while they may not be great teams, they could make for an exciting game.

27 Camellia Bowl:  December 19, 5:30 p.m.

Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian State (10-2): If you haven’t taken the time to watch Appalachian State this year, give the Mountaineers a shot. They’re fun. Not sure how fun this game will be, but App State’s cool.

26 Bahamas Bowl: December 24, 12 p.m.

Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5): Again, this is ranked here based on the similarity of the teams. It should be close. Besides, what else are you going to do on Christmas Eve? Spend time with your family?

25 Hawaii Bowl: December 24, 8 p.m.

San Diego State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (7-5): This game could prove to be quite entertaining, and again, what else are you going to do on Christmas Eve? Spend time with your family?

24 Poinsettia Bowl: December 23, 4:30 p.m.

Boise State (8-4) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5): The idea of a Boise State-Northern Illinois game is great, as these are your two Cinderellas of the last decade. It’s just, this year the glass slippers broke and there was blood everywhere.

23 Armed Forces Bowl: December 29, 2 p.m.

California (7-5) vs. Air Force (8-5): An Air Raid offense against an option offense will provide an interesting contrast of styles. I just don’t know if these teams will make for an interesting game.

22 Sun Bowl: December 26, 2 p.m.

Miami (8-4) vs. Washington State (8-4): If both teams show up wanting to play, this could be a sneaky-good matchup in El Paso.

21 Military Bowl: December 28, 2:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh (8-4) vs. No. 21 Navy (9-2): This game has a shot to be finished in under three hours, which is always a bonus. I suggest tuning in for no other reason than to watch Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds.

20 TaxSlayer Bowl: January 2, 12 p.m.

Penn State (7-5) vs. Georgia (9-3): Penn State-Georgia certainly sounds like a good game given the two schools, it’s just, the two teams aren’t all that great this year. I expect this one to be close, but I also expect it to be ugly. So maybe not the best hangover cure.

19 Belk Bowl: December 30, 3:30 p.m.

NC State (7-5) vs. Mississippi State (8-4): This is an interesting matchup, in my opinion. I fear a possible blowout, but I believe this one could prove to be more entertaining than you might think just looking at it on the surface.

18 Heart of Dallas Bowl: December 26, 2:20 p.m.

Washington (6-6) vs. Southern Miss (9-4): A very good offense against a good defense. I always enjoy matchups like this.

17 Music City Bowl: December 30, 7 p.m.

Texas A&M (8-4) vs. Louisville (7-5): This bowl matchup would have sounded a lot better before the season began, but even so, it could still make for a fun game.

16 New Orleans Bowl: December 19, 9 p.m.

Arkansas State (9-3) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4): Games like this are why I do these rankings. You may look at this matchup and write this one off, but I’m telling you, this game will be worth your time. You don’t have to know the teams to enjoy a game.

15 GoDaddy Bowl: December 23, 8 p.m.

Georgia Southern (8-4) vs. Bowling Green (10-3): Another “sleeper” game. I love the matchup of Bowling Green’s spread attack against the Georgia Southern option running game.

14 Miami Beach Bowl: December 21, 2:30 p.m.

Western Kentucky (11-2) vs. South Florida (8-4): The Willie Taggart Bowl. The Hilltoppers are a good team that can put up a lot of points, while the Bulls had a very strong finish to the season.

13 Holiday Bowl: December 30, 10:30 p.m.

No. 25 USC (8-5) vs. Wisconsin (9-3): USC is a better team than its record suggests, and Wisconsin didn’t have a great season, but it’s solid too. Attractive names and what should be a close game.

12 Outback Bowl: January 1, 12 p.m.

No. 13 Northwestern (10-2) vs. No. 23 Tennessee (8-4): Northwestern has a tendency to make games rather ugly, but I’m still intrigued by the matchup of its defense against the Tennessee offense.

11 Las Vegas Bowl: December 19, 3:30 p.m.

BYU (9-3) vs. No. 22 Utah (9-3): It’s The Holy War. In Sin City. That’s all you need to know.

10 Boca Raton Bowl: December 22, 7 p.m.

Toledo (9-2) vs. No. 24 Temple (10-3): Two teams who were competing for that Group of Five bid to the New Year’s Six all season long now face one another in a lower-tier bowl game. Should still be an upper-tier game, though.

9 Citrus Bowl: January 1, 1 p.m.

No. 14 Michigan (9-3) vs. No. 19 Florida (10-3): A classic matchup of schools, and what should be a very enjoyable game for anybody who appreciates good defense. I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of points here.

8 Alamo Bowl: January 2, 6:45 p.m.

No. 15 Oregon (9-3) vs. No. 11 TCU (10-2): Before the year began, these two teams were definite playoff contenders. Things didn’t go to plan, but if TCU gets healthy on offense in time for this game, watch out. It’ll be fun.

7 Sugar Bowl: January 1, 8:30 p.m.

No. 16 Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. No. 12 Ole Miss (9-3): I have a feeling this game will be a lot more competitive than the last time Ole Miss took on a Big 12 team in a major bowl game. It’d be hard not to.

6 Peach Bowl: December 31, 12 p.m.

No. 18 Houston (12-1) vs. No. 9 Florida State (10-2): Houston earned the auto-bid from the Group of Five, and it gets an interesting matchup with Florida State. I really want to see how Tom Herman, Greg Ward Jr. and company do against the big boys.

5 Russell Athletic Bowl: December 29, 5:30 p.m.

No. 10 North Carolina (11-2) vs. No. 17 Baylor (9-3): The Bowl Game Most Likely To Feature 100 Points And 1,000 Total Yards Award goes to …

4 Fiesta Bowl: January 1, 1 p.m.

No. 8 Notre Dame (10-2) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (11-1): It wasn’t that long ago both of these teams were ranked in the top four. Neither finished there, but the two of them together makes for a top four bowl matchup.

3 Rose Bowl: January 1, 5 p.m.

No. 6 Stanford (11-2) vs. No. 5 Iowa (12-1): If you enjoy two good football teams trying to beat one another up for three hours, you’ll enjoy this matchup. If you enjoy amazing football players that do a little bit of everything, you’ll enjoy Stanford’s Christian McCaffery. You’ll just enjoy this game, I promise.

2 CFP Semifinal — Cotton Bowl: December 31, 8 p.m.

No. 2 Alabama (12-1) vs. No. 3 Michigan State (12-1): The only reason I have this game ranked second instead of first is I feel like, with these two defenses, this game has a chance of being “ugly.” Not bad, just not the most aesthetically pleasing. Still a great game, though.

1 CFP Semifinal — Orange Bowl: December 31, 4 p.m.

No. 1 Clemson (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1): I bet this one is more competitive than when these two met in a bowl last season. I also bet there will be some great offense and defense on display by both teams. You may not like these games being on New Year’s Eve, but trust me, this game will be better than whatever party you’re at anyway.

Greg Popovich Loves Craig Sager, But Hates Interviews

Firstly, let’s get this straight……Greg Popovich is awesome.  He’s the Bill Belichick of the NBA in every way possible.  I have no doubt that the two of them are best friends in the off-season and take yoga classes together in order to find eachother’s Ch’i.  Maybe someday they’ll quit delaying the inevitable and open a fine cheese and wine shop together and call it “The Beli-Vich Artisan Gallery”.  I imagine the Tony Parker – French Cheese Tray Ensemble would be breathtaking and paired perfectly with a Tom Brady – Bordeaux…….ahhhhhh, a man can dream can’t he?

So last night Popovich continued mastering the art of non-conformity to the NBA’s absurd in-game interviews by welcoming back Craig Sager (who has been going through cancer treatments) to the business of NBA interviews and ridiculous questioning.  It was a classic moment filled with real sentiment and sarcasm between grown-ass men:

   

DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!

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In case you have a life and weren’t watching Thursday Night Football last night (STILL weird); you missed a giant WTF-JUST HAPPENED game between the Detroit Zombie-Lions and the Green Bay Injured-Reserved Packers.  Let me briefly fill you in on what you missed: THE LONGEST HAIL MARY-WINNING PLAY IN NFL HISTORY.

The Miracle in MoTown!

The Lions lead 17-0 at halftime, the game was a train-wreck to watch and completely boring on all accords.  The Packers STILL apparently hadn’t woken up from their multi-week, sleep-walking, too much turkey and gravy, game plan that’s been plaguing fantasy owners and Green Bay fans like the nut-check torture  scene in James Bond “Casino Royale” .

Then, all of a sudden as if God is a Packers fan (he definitely hates the Lions), Aaron Rodgers reminded us why he’s the Discount Double-Check KING of Insurance and Football in the mid-west.   An incredible 61-yard “please somebody catch it” heave for a game-winning TD by everyone’s favorite QB-who can save you 40% on auto insurance.

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I know they didn’t play the Bears last night, I just thought this was funny.

The hail-mary wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t a suspect (but justified in the moment) face-mask call on the previous play when DE Devin Taylor reached out to bring down the mighty A-A-Ron, and Taylor’s right hand made contact with Rodgers’s mask.  In super-slow-mo, the replay showed it wasn’t as bad as it looked and in fact, maybe wasn’t even a penalty.  BUT, in real time you can’t blame the refs for making the call.

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This penalty gave the Packers one more play with ZERO TIME remaining on the clock.  Time for the old back-yard, everybody go deep and we chuck it to the sky-play that NEVER works…..even in the backyard.

One more time:

That’s GAME-TIME folks.  Let’s go home.

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