Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dolly Parton's Jolene

So, we were looking for a particular version of Dolly Parton's song Jolene. We then stumbled upon 40+ recorded versions of the song.

While that, in and of itself is not particularly noteworthy - surely there are other songs that have been recorded countless times. However, there was one facet of this we did find particularly remarkable.

There are versions of Jolene recorded in genres ranging from punk to bluegrass, from dance to jazz, from rock to Persian. There have been artists as diverse as The White Stripes and Olivia Newton-John take a stab at the song.

Some versions were really very good, others? Well, let's just say that it probably wasn't thought through very well, just to be kind.\

The interesting part of all of this is despite the different musical styles, different instrumentation, different arrangements, one thing remained very consistent - the melody. While artists had no qualms taking liberties with everything else, the melody seems to be untouchable.

Maybe some things are just too iconic to be altered.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cowboys and Redskins

Sunday night the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins to become champs of the NFC East.  Who would of thunk it, right?  Washington starting a rookie QB.  And the Cowboys?  Well, let's delve into that a little bit.

A month ago, Dallas was given no chance.  None.  Nada.  And here we are with a win-or-go-home game. Playoff berth on the line. How?

This middle of the defense (NT, ILB and S) has been pulling guys out of the stands just in order to fill out the roster, what with all the injuries.  The offensive line has been atrocious, injured and held together with baling wire and duct tape.  The stud RB and WR have been injured and/or in fantasy land.

Smoke and mirrors? Coaching? Resiliency?  A combination of all that?  Maybe.  Whatever it is, this team has somehow held it all together and put themselves in position to make the post season.

For all the Tony Romo detractors out there, which there are many and we admittedly are not among, you have to admit that some of those wins turn into to losses without that guy behind center.  Especially when the O-line is sieve-like at times.

Rob Ryan has somehow kept the defense viable despite all the injuries, giving the offense a chance to win those games when it mattered most.

Could Dallas have put themselves in a better position by playing better early in the season, before they turned into a MASH unit?  Sure.  But all that matters now is Sunday night.  Cowboys and Redskins.  Something is just right about that.  Be sure an tune in.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Josh Hamilton Now an Angel: Not Exactly the Apocalypse

We want to preface all that follows with this:  we wish Josh Hamilton were still a Ranger.

What stings most is not that Hamilton is gone.  We had prepared ourselves for that.  What stings is that he is now with the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim California.  Texas' most hated division rival.  That's what stings.

In our opinion, the Rangers never had any intention of resigning Hamilton unless it was to an organization-friendly deal.  But given the chance (which Josh never gave them, probably not his fault) the Texas brass would have matched an offer by the Angels.  Just our opinion.

While Hamilton was an integral part of the Rangers' three straight post-season appearances, he was not the whole team.  Hamilton has the ability to carry an entire team for a span when he is hot.  When he is cold, he also has the ability to suck the life out of a team.  While the good outweighs the bad, the loss is not insurmountable.

This team still has Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, and Nelson Cruz.  Throw David Murphy, Mitch Moreland into the mix.  Then the Rangers have young players like Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar, just to name two. The cupboard is far from bare.  Texas also has what most consider to be the best minor league system in the league.  So there.

The losses of Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli hurt.  But it's not the end of the world (that comes 12/21/12).  There are still free agents and trade possibilities available this winter.  It's not over yet.  Then comes the chance for some of those prospects to bloom during spring training.  Let's also not overlook the possibility of in-season trades.

While the past few days have not been ideal from a Rangers' perspective, do not panic.  This whole Major League Baseball thing is a marathon.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Michael Young: Thanks for Many Ranger Memories

While not officially official, Texas Rangers' Face of the Franchise will be donning a new uniform next season.

Michael Young has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.  We are sad to see him go, but it is the best move for both the Rangers and Michael Young.

He will play 3rd base everyday for Philly.  In Arlington, his playing time was going to decrease.  Texas is loaded in the infield with Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Mitch Morleand, and Ian Kinsler.  Not mention youngsters Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt who need at bats in 2013.

Young had a down year in 2012.  That does not diminish what he did for this organization over the past decade.  He played every position in the infield.  He put up 200+ hits many times.  He was a clubhouse leader.  He was an integral part of the building of Texas into a perennial contender.

Michael Young, you will be missed.  Best of luck.  Thanks for the memories.

Tommy Tuberville Flees Texas Tech for Cincinnati

Former Texas Tech head football Tommy Tuberville has fled the Big 12 for the browner pastures of the Big East.  Tuberville is going to be the new head coach for Cincinnati.

While his abilities to coach a major college football program may be debated, he is by no means a dumb individual.  Tuberville had to see the writing on the wall.  Unless 2013 provided a miraculous turnaround for the Red Raiders, he was going to be gone anyway.  We think he took the Cincy job as a parachute.  A nice landing spot.

While we are not defending Tuberville here, it was a no-win situation from the beginning.  For any coach.  Especially if you did not repeat the success of the beloved former coach.  After Mike Leach was unceremoniously booted from the South Plains amid controversy, speculation and allegations and not to be overlooked, Craig James, no coach had a chance with the Red Raider faithful.  Maybe Nick Saban.  Or Urban Meyer.  But even that is debatable.

Heads up Kevin Sumlin.  Your offensive coordinator (and former TTU quarterback) may be getting a job offer soon.  Kliff Kingsbury's days in College Station may be numbered.

And Tuberville leaves Lubbock with this lasting impression.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rush: An Epiphany

We have always been fans of Rush.  Yes, Rush, the Canadian power trio.

As we were watching a documentary on the band, something that guitarist Alex Lifeson said rang true with what my wife and sister said.

We were at a Rush concert a little over a year ago.  My sister, here husband, my wife and I.  As it is at a typical Rush show, over 90% of the crowd was male.  My wife and sister were talking about how they had never really thought about a band being a guy band, but Rush was definitely a guy band.

Personally, we never really thought about it.  Rush rocks.  End of story.  Never really gave much thought about them being a guy band.  We just liked the music.  Also, we never actually cared.  Just liked the music.

In the documentary, Alex Lifeson says (paraphrasing just a tad) "When we started almost 100% of our fans were male.  Through the years, almost 100% of our fans are male."

We suppose this means Rush epitomizes the guy band.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bon Jovi

Back in the day, the '80's and the times of Jesus according my daughter when she was 7 or 8, we went to our first rock concert.  The concert featured Bon Jovi as the opening act.  This was around 1985.  We have slept a time or two since then so we don't remember exactly.  They were supporting the 7800 Fahrenheit album.  Ratt was the headlining band.  We can see the career trajectories of those two bands and conclude why we were there for the opening act.  Actually we saw Ratt twice in the mid-to-late '80's.  Both times we went primarily for the opening act.  No disrespect to Ratt, but it was what it was.

Why does any of this matter?  Well, really it doesn't.  But throughout the long career of Bon Jovi, that was the only time we were able to attend a show.  That may all be about to change.

A band that can stick around for almost 30 years and still sell out stadiums and arenas, whether you are a fan of their music (and we are) or not, you've got to give them their props.  This is the stuff legends are made of.

With Bon Jovi embarking on yet another tour, we may now have the means and access to complete the circle.  Sure it's going to be a 200 mile trip.  One way.  But this is West Texas.  200 miles is a Sunday drive in these parts.

"When the world gets in my face, I say.........Have a nice day."

College Football 2012

Now that the 2012 College Football regular season has come to close, we are now subjected to the worst post season in all of sport.  While the regular season brought much excitement, including the emergence of Johnny "Football/Touchdown/Heisman" Manziel, the post/bowl/silly season brings many yawns including a New Year's Day game matching up Northwestern and Mississippi State.  Mark your calendars for that one.

We could go off on a lengthy rant about the entire bowl process (which somehow excludes the second most prolific offensive team in Louisiana Tech) but we will focus here on the BCS Trophy game and the upcoming four team playoff starting in two years.

While we are no fans of the current system, it seems to get it right most years just by sheer luck.  This year, not so much.  We are not convinced that either of the teams (Notre Dame and Alabama) are the best two teams in the country.  There is circumstantial evidence to back this up.  However, there is no concrete evidence to argue otherwise.  Notre Dame is undefeated playing a schedule that did not include any cupcakes.  Alabama won the SEC, which many argue is the best conference in the nation.

We think any among Oregon, Texas A&M, Stanford, Kansas State, Florida and LSU could beat either of those teams on a neutral field at any given time.  Or not.  It's that close.

So, things would be better if we had the four team playoff in effect this season, right?

In the words of Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend."

Sports Illustrated had a mock selection committee pick the four playoff teams here.  Very interesting read.

But are you comfortable with a final four of Notre Dame, Alabama, Oregon and Florida? We're not.  While that would provide for three very interesting games, leaving out Stanford (who beat Oregon), Texas A&M (who beat Alabama), Kansas State and LSU just seems wrong to us.

The four team playoff is a step in the right direction.  But it is not that much better than what we have right now.  We say either go all in with an eight team playoff, or keep it as is, or maybe scrap the whole thing and go back to the old way and end everything on January 1.

Oh yeah, and you kids get off of our lawn.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

We Love BCS Chaos

Here in the Cheap Seats, we don't have a dog in the BCS hunt.  Sure, we have our likes and dislikes,  but we are D-II.

However, if we do have a rooting interest, it is chaos.  The games on 11/17/2012 did not disappoint.

The BCS has lucked out more times than not in getting the right matchup for the BCS Trophy Bowl.  This year, their luck may have run out.

There are still games to be played.   The college football gods may still smile upon the BCS.  But as things stand right now, it's a no win situation.

If Notre Dame defeats Southern Cal next week, they will finish undefeated and earn a spot in the BCS Trophy Bowl.  But who might they face?  Probably the winner of the SEC Championship game.  Either of which would have at least one loss.  Right or wrong, that's probably how it plays out.

If Notre Dame loses to USC,  then what?  Then the SEC champion is almost assured a spot.  After that, who knows.

Either scenario creates a bunch of angry people.

This year, the new four team format might not be the answer.  But it would be an improvement.  Who in their right mind would want to play Texas A&M right now?  A two loss team with no shot.  But might just be playing better than anyone else in the country right now.

The FBS postseason is broken.  It is the best regular season in all of sports.  Could have the best of both.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Here's our view on the great AL MVP controversy of 2012.  Words matter as much as statistics.

If we are going to give the MVP to whomever has the best WAR (Wins Above Replacement), then why even have a vote?  Simple.  Player A has the best WAR. MVP.  Done. No further analysis required.

But hold on just a second.  The award is for most valuable player.  Not the best player on the field.  Not the player that had the best statistical season.  Not even the player whom everyone deems to be the best.  It is for most valuable.

Now that changes things.

No one can argue about the greatness of Mike Trout's season.  He can hit.  He can run.  He can play defense.  He is a great player.  He probably had the best season of anyone in MLB. But how valuable was he?

Let us use the WAR stat to prove our point.  (We are not going to look up the actual WARs of each player, but we know the figures and they will suffice.)  Mike Trout had a WAR of around 10.  So without him, the Angels win 10 less games.  The Angels did not make the playoffs with Trout's 10 WAR.  They don't make the playoffs without him.  How valuable is that?

Miguel Cabrera had a WAR of around 6.  The Tigers won the AL Central by 3 games.  Take away his WAR and the Tigers miss the playoffs.  Seems pretty valuable to us.

If you want to award the best player for a year, re-word the award.  Until then, live with it.

Where Has the Good Music Gone?

Finding new good music is becoming more and more difficult.  With music becoming more and more diverse and top 40 music pretty much in the crapper, finding the good stuff takes work.

The internet has made it manageable, but it's still not easy.  Really, how exactly do you find a Swedish rock band that sounds like a cross between the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd with touches of Hanoi Rocks?  By accident mostly.

Here in the Cheap Seats, we are kind of stuck in the '80's. We grew up on hair bands/glam metal/pop metal (whatever you want to call it).  And we unashamedly still listen to it.  We also grew up on classic rock and southern rock.  Also had country influences due to locale and parental figures.  We are now into Texas Country/red dirt country (again, whatever you want to call it) because it is the closest genre out there that incorporates classic/southern rock sensibilities into the music.

But if you put in the work and dig a little deeper, there are still bands (new bands) out there putting out good old-fashioned Southern rock, classic rock and pop metal.

If any of the above strikes a chord with you, check out Blackberry Smoke, Diamond Dogs and/or Halestorm.

If you hate all of the above genres but can't find anything you like, you're gonna have to do your own work.  But don't despair, good music is still out there.  Even if you can't find it on the radio.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Did Postponement of Texas A&M's Season Opener Cost Them Shot at SEC Title?

May or may not have made a difference, but interesting to think about in light of Texas A&M's victory over Alabama today.

How may have the postponement of the Aggies' season opener against Louisiana Tech affected the entire season?

Let's explore that just a bit.

First of all, the Aggies may very well have lost that game had it been played as scheduled. But as A&M has improved throughout the season with Kevin Sumlin and Kliff Kingsbury in their first year at College Station and Johnny Manziel a first year starter at quarterback, one game under their belts before heading into that SEC opener against Florida may have made a difference in the outcome of that close loss.

Now fast forward a few weeks.  The makeup against La Tech was played in what would have been an open week before the LSU game, another close loss.

While we will never have any idea what might have happened, just something that crossed our minds today.  Had the game been played as scheduled, Manziel might have been lost for the season with an injury.  Or that one game of experience may have propelled A&M to victory over Florida.

Who knows.  Pure conjecture, but fun nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Singing Rock is Harder Than It Seems

The day after the election would be apropos to post something on the results.  But we are politicked out.  So let's go on a guilty pleasure journey.

We admit it.  And without shame.  We love the singing competition shows.  The Voice.  X Factor.  American Idol. Actually kind of addicted.

One thing we have noticed: It is really hard to sing rock songs well.

All the people on these shows make it primarily because of their ability to sing.  For the most part, they are all incredibly talented.  Pop songs they all do well.  But, have mercy, when they try to do rock. OK, some can pull it off (because they're rock singers), but for the most part it is a train wreck.

I can't count the number of times a Bon Jovi or Aerosmith song has been butchered on these shows.

You don't have to be the best singer technically to sing rock.  But those that do it well have something that can't be taught or learned.  We can't explain it, just know that it is.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Notre Dame: Overrated and Overblown

Many claim that college football is better when Notre Dame is good.  We, however, do not subscribe to this.  In fact, we believe college football is worse when Notre Dame is good.

Let's explore this, shall we?

The past few years, while Notre Dame has been irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, CFB has flourished.  CFB has shown, over and over again, it is not dependent on the Fighting Irish and their overblown sense of self worth.

One might contend that CFB has never been more popular across the country as a whole.  And Notre Dame had absolutely zero to do with this. CFB has thrived as ND has floundered.

Now, here's the real rub.  Even as ND has been nowhere near the BCS trophy game conversation in recent years, they still garnered way too much media attention.

"Will Notre Dame ever get back to a place of relevance?"

While we are old enough to remember when ND was in the national title hunt almost every year, there is a whole generation that must wonder what all the fuss is about.  Now that they actually are, help us all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Presidential Town Hall plus Sports Stuff

We admit that we did not watch the entire "town hall" presidential candidate debate.  We do deeply care about the future of this great country.  This debate, however, did nothing to further our support of either candidate.

From our view here in the Cheap Seats, we pretty much saw all we could stomach in our ten minutes of viewing.  If this farcical atrocity swayed anyone's vote one way or the other, said swayee would be better off staying home and making a nice potato soup than venturing out to their polling booth.

Neither candidate looked good in our limited viewing.  The only thing that was apparent was their tangible hatred of each other.

In the meantime, the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander is good.  He goes 8 1/3 against the Evil Empire (though depleted as they are, still the Evil Empire, and no, we do not delight in the Derek Jeter injury) to give the Motor City Kitties a commanding three games to none lead in the ALCS.

Also, in some Sun Belt Conference action, the Mean Green of North Texas took out Louisiana-Lafayette (or U-La-La as we prefer) in a very entertaining game.  The presidential debate would have been more entertaining had they discussed the relative merits of MACtion vs. WACtion vs. SBCtion.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jon Acuff, Cee Lo Green and Semantics

We love to play semantics, we really do.  So any opportunity to do so, we will take.

Jon Acuff tweeted something along the lines of this earlier (and yes, it is a paraphrase, we could do the whole screencap thing here and post the original tweet, but we're really just not cool like that):  "Cee Lo Green said to one of the guys on the Voice that he was equally incomparable with another guy.  Incomparable means without equal.  #Tricky."  If you want other such insights, you can follow @jonacuff.

Sure, it seems reasonable to question such a statement at first glance.  But if we dig a little deeper, it makes perfect sense.

Equally incomparable, using Jon's definition, means equally without equal.  If I'm without equal and you are without equal, who's to say that either is more without equal than the other.  So, therefore, can we not be equally without equal?  Equally incomparable?

Semantics can be fun.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Losing Weight, #CFBUniWatch

OK.  I admit it.

I'm overweight.

I should lose about 70 pounds.  My goal is 50.

There.  I've said it.  The pounds should start melting away just because I decided to lose weight. No pills, no fads, just gonna do it.  Shouldn't it be that easy?

Realistically, it's going to take time.  I also think 50 is a realistic goal.  It may be at a snail's pace, but it can and will be done.

I'm so far out of shape that the whole process is going to take time.  I can't just start running miles per day.  I've got to work up to everything.  Many years of sedation do not get erased in one morning.

Some may scoff, but I have started  by walking 2.5 miles at least three times per week. Watching portion sizes.  Baby steps.  It's working so far.  I've lost 5 pounds.  Not much, but a start. No pills, no fads.  Just trying to live healthier.

This blog will not become a personal diary on my quest to lose weight.  From time to time I may update my progress, but it will  be in passing, not as a focus.

 And while I'm here:  Time for a little College Football Uniform Watch.

Not much going on this Saturday, but West Virginia and the gray helmets.  Yep, that was your downfall in losing to Texas Tech.  Forget the facts that your offense was anemic and your defense was a sieve.  It's all about the unis.

As I write at the moment, South Carolina is on the field against LSU in what can only be categorized as an atrocity.  The gray on gray is NOT working.  While we don't have a dog in the hunt, we were pulling for  SC to take out LSU in Death Valley until they took the field with costumes.  Their best defensive player's last name is Clowney.  No need to dress the entire team like clowns.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Perspective and Balance

Exactly when did being a fan of a particular team go from supporting said team to ripping each and every shortcoming?  With the proliferation of sports talk radio, sports talk radio on TV, shows consisting of highly opinionated people loudly making, sometimes fallacious, points, we can see where fans might become confused, ripping their favorite team instead of rooting for their favorite team.  Because that's what everybody does - tear people down.

Here in the Cheap Seats, we are unabashed fans of the Texas Rangers.  Yes, the end of the season was very disappointing.  Even more so considering the high expectations and the fact that they led the A's by 13 games as late as June.  And needed to win only one game in the season-ending series in Oakland to clinch the division title.  Sure, it sucks to put it mildly.  But really, it's just sports.  Move on.

LSU lost a college football game today against a ranked Florida team on the road.  LSU's offense was inept. As it was last year.  For reference see both games against Alabama.

Judging by Tweets and facebook posts, one might conclude that both Texas and LSU went on marauding sprees, killing firstborn children and molesting women immediately after their respective games.  They were also the most disgraceful, inept and stupid collection of players to ever be assembled, led by incompetents who should never work in their preferred field again.

Of course it's perfectly right to criticize your favorite team.  That's just part of the deal.  But to come completely unhinged and emotionally unstable?  Maybe an intervention or professional therapy is needed.

Perspective and balance, folks.  Just a nice way of saying "Get a life."

Texas Rangers, Mike Trout, MVP and Bevo

For the one or two people who read the blog, we apologize for the lack of consistency lately.  We're still trying to figure out where this is going.

However, here are some thoughts going into the weekend:

Texas Rangers Baseball
For all those bandwagon fans who are ripping the team, stop it.  Yes, it is terribly disappointing how this team collapsed its way into the Wild Card game.  Once there, the performance left much to be desired.

But come on, these last three years have been amazing.  Back to back World Series appearances.  While the final results have been far less than stellar, remember where we came from.

The Mike Trout/Miguel Cabrera Debate for MVP
We have made our thoughts know on this subject.  Where would the Angels be without Mike Trout?  Exactly where they are now.  At home.  Watching the playoffs on television.

Where would the Tigers be without Miguel Cabrera?  Probably cozying up on a couch with the Angels.  The triple crown is a bonus for Cabrera.

There have  been some great arguments made as to why leading a team to the playoffs should not factor into the MVP vote.  First and foremost is that Detroit had a worse record than Anaheim/California/Los Angeles. Tough break, Trout.  You play in a really good division.

If the award were for best player, most outstanding player, then I'm all over Trout. But most "valuable"?  Not so much.

EDSBS: Every Day Should Be Saturday
Now we finally get into the meat of the college football schedule. Less Savannah State, more top 25 vs. top 25.

We are curious to see if Geno Smith and West Virginia will be able to make fajitas out of Bevo and thatTexas defense.

Georgia and South Carolina is also on the radar.  Among others.

Don't forget to check out #CFBUniWatch on Twitter every Saturday, where we become fashion police.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

College Football Uniform Watch Week 5

Usually we want to mention winners and losers of the weekly uniform watch.  This week only losers.  From only one game.  Nebraska, Wisconsin and adidas:  Shame on you.  See for yourself.

While we heard some praising the Nebraska black helmet look,  we are not amused.  That is not Nebraska. That is not Wisconsin.  The Scarlet Letter game.

That is all.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Enjoy the Texas Rangers Post Season

Our Texas Rangers are on the verge of their third straight playoff appearance.  We are just as excited this year as we were two years ago.  Or in the late nineties.

Our advice is to never let it get old.  Or taken for granted.  Ask the fans of the Royals.  What would they give for one playoff appearance?

The 2012 is both fun and frustrating.  They never give up, except when they do.  They can come back from a six run deficit or be totally inept in a 1-0 loss.  The pitching can carry for while, the bats can carry for a while.  Ian Kinsler can throw the ball into the stands or turn an amazing double play.  Josh Hamilton can wave helplessly at breaking balls for weeks or can hit 242 homeruns in a homestand.  Derek Holland can be the best pitcher in baseball for a month or can give up 108 runs in a third of an inning.

They lost two fifths of their starting rotation.  They have seen the entire lineup slump for an extended period.  They have won a total of nine games in a month.

But you know what?  Their magic number is three with six games to play.  They hold a four game lead over Oakland.  They will be in the playoffs.

Enjoy this.  It doesn't happen all the time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Great Replacement Ref Controversy of 2012

There are many people outraged by the ending of the Monday Night Football game between Seattle and Green Bay.  Rightly so.  The end of the game was a debacle of epic proportions.  the people opining are passionate about the NFL.  Good for them.

However, much hot air, bandwidth, air time and ink will be wasted this week.  Why?  Because this changes nothing.

The owners have decided what they are going to offer the referees.  End of story.  They are dug in.

This lockout ends one of two ways:  The regular refs cave or someone gets killed because of the replacements' incompetence.  We've written that here before and still believe it to be true.

Meanwhile, the league and network executives are laughing all the way to the bank.  NFL telecasts have now become "must see tv" just to find out what ludicrous thing will happen.  While the ESPN talking heads have to decry this situation, the ad execs have to be loving it.  This latest situation will rule the airwaves for the next week.

Here in the Cheap Seats we are popping popcorn and sitting back to watch the fireworks.  Most fun we've had in a while.  We know the replacements are terrible and in over their heads, but much like a train wreck, we cannot turn away.  That makes us part of the problem, but we're OK with that.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Winners and Losers in the College Football Uniform Watch

Here in the Cheap Seats, we sometimes yell at kids to get off our lawn.  Sometimes we get a little cranky.  We are not fans of most of the "alternate" uniforms spotted in the college football landscape these days.  We will try to have a synopsis here every week, but for those that need more real time info, check out Twitter hashtag #CFBUniWatch on Saturdays.  And sometimes Thursdays and Fridays.

This part of the entry is usually going to be very short - see above.

Oregon - We never now what to expect from the Ducks week-to-week.  This week they went fairly traditional (for Oregon) and it worked.

Rutgers - I don't think their's is an alternate uni, but the sleek silver and scarlet look they now sport on the road (haven't seen them at home yet) is very attractive.

Virginia Tech - The camo look they had going on with the all white unis was a definite upgrade from the atrocious Maroon and Orange combo that is their usual look.  Any combination of that is bad.

Missouri - If this drab gray and mustard combo is what the SEC move has wrought, they have lost even before they step on the field.

West Virginia - See Missouri above, only substitute Big 12 for SEC.

Arkansas - Now, they have much bigger problems than fashion, but still.  For us mostly it was the white helmets with the faint Razorback outline.  This is Woo Pig Soooie.  Red headgear with the distinctive hog outline, please.

Utah - We thought we were watching Cincinnati.  No disrespect to the Bearcats, but the Utes are supposed to feature red.

Open Letter to Rangers Fans

Dear Fans of the Texas Rangers,

Here in the Cheap Seats, we appreciate the overwhelming support of our Rangers by everyone involved, whether you have been a fan for 40 years or 40 minutes.

We have been here for most of the 40 years.  We were here when Tom Grieve (TAG) was a player.  We were here for three managers in two days.  We remember Ferguson Jenkins, Toby Harrah, Buddy Bell, Bump Wills, Jim Sundberg, Jeff Burroughs, Mike Hargrove, Gaylord Perry, Mickey Rivers, Odibe McDowell, Steve Buechele, Gabe Kapler, Charlie Hough, etc., etc.

We suffered through managers such as Frank Lucchesi, Billy Hunter, Pat Corales, Darrell Johnson, Doug Rader, Bobby Valentine, Toby Harrah, Kevin Kennedy and Jerry Narron.  We have seen "names" such as Ted Williams, Whitey Herzog, Billy Martin and Don Zimmer come and go.  We have seen two pretty good managers in Johnny Oates and Buck Showalter come through.

We have seen owners such as Tom Hicks, George Bush, Brad Corbett, and Eddie Chiles.

Right now we have an ownership group headed by Nolan Ryan.  Jon Daniels as general manager and Ron Washington as the field manager.  This group has taken the Rangers to back-to-back world series.  In the 37 years of franchise history before this trifecta, our Rangers had won exactly one playoff game.

Don't become Red Sox Nation or the Evil Empire.  Realize that this is special.  Realize that we could be fans of the Astros, or the Royals, or the Rockies, or the Pirates, or........well, you get the picture.

If the manager decides to call for a bunt in the eighth inning of a game in which the offense has been inept and it fails, it is not the end of the world.  We will take the last two years with the "worst manager in baseball" over the previous 37 any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Just a little perspective.


Long time Rangers fans in the Cheap Seats

NFL Week 3 Snaps

What can we glean from the NFL's third week so far?  Other then we are not doing well in our Survivor/Suicide Pool picks.

In a battle of two surprise 2-0 teams, Arizona is for real, Philadelphia is not.  The Cardinal defense is for real.  Michael Vick is not a winning NFL QB.

New Orleans is Arkansas.  Two teams who lost their head coach amongst off season upheaval are now both floundering.  In opening the season 0-3, the Saints defense has been horrid.  The offense is lacking.  Could be a long season.

The Week 1 matchup between the Jets and the Bills confuses us to no end.  New York dominated Buffalo in that game.  Since, the Bills have crushed Kansas City and beat Cleveland on the road.  The Jets were not close in a game against Pittsburgh (which lost to previously winless Oakland in Week 3) and were taken to ovetime by a Miami squad that many have said is in disarray and beat the aforementioned Raiders in Oakland.

Our Twitterverse centers around Dallas area teams and the consensus was that a not-very-good Cowboys team beat a horrid Tampa Bay outfit.  The majority opinion being that the Week 1 win over the Giants was a fluke.  Perhaps overlooking the facts.  The Cowboys beat the Giants.  The Bucs should have beaten the Giants.  The Cowboys beat the Bucs, should have won easily.  Perspective, people.

Which allows us a nice segue to Tampa and head coach Greg Schiano.  Schiano stuck to his guns in defending playing to final gun.  We're sure you remember the controversy caused by the Week 2 effort by Schiano's team on the final "victory formation" play by the Giants in the game's waning moments.  Well, the  Bucs were at it again against the Cowboys.  This time even calling timeouts to extend the game.  Dallas was prepared for it, so it didn't become an issue.  Here in the Cheap Seats, we have no problem with those tactics.  The offense should not dictate when a game is over.  The rest of the league will adjust.

The games are becoming interminably long due to the replacement refs.  Too many times they have to be corrected by replay.  In one game, five (5), yes five, plays were overturned by replay.  However, as we've opined before, this doesn't get settled until the refs cave.  Roger Goodell and the NFL owners have dug in.  There is no way this ends well.  Either the refs cave or someone gets killed on the field. Helmet to helmet contact is running rampant because none of the players or coaches have any respect for the replacements.

We didn't cover everything here, but it has become too long already.  More later

Friday, September 21, 2012

2012 NFL Week 3 Survivor Pick

Our pick of New England last week turned out to be a big flop.  We were tempted to take the Giants, hindsight being 20/20 and all, should have.  That one was also too close for comfort.

Everything that says you should pick a team aligned with the Patriots/Cardinals game last week.  Double digit home favorite.  Inter-conference opponent.  West Coast (almost) team going east in an early start time.  Every cliche in the book is apropos here.  Any given Sunday.  That's why they play games.  Etc.

Ninety nine times out of 100, we would make the same pick.  These things happen.  So we are officially out (as is close to 50% of the field).  However, this will not stop us from further analysis.  So on to Week 3.

Stay Far, Far Away
Tampa Bay (+8) @ Dallas - After last week's meltdown in the Pacific Northwest by the Cowboys and Tampa's near upset of NYG, we're just not comfortable going with the home favorite here.

Jacksonville (+3) @ Indianapolis - We have absolutely no idea what may happen in this game. Two young QBs on bad teams.  Nuff said.

NYJ (-1.5) @ Miami - Division game.  Favorite on the road.  We don't think the Jets are as good as they think they and the Dolphins are as bad as everyone thinks they are.

Cincinnati (+3) @ Washington - This game is way too evenly matched to risk a pick.  That is all.

Detroit (-3.5) @ Tennessee - Never pick against Detroit.  Never trust Detroit unless you have to.  We think the Lions will pull it out, but would not risk it.  Chris Johnson could figure out how to run at any moment, we would hate for it to be this week if we picked Detroit.

Philadelphia (-3) @ Arizona - The Eagles and Mike Vick have been very, very lucky the past two weeks.  The Cards are a very good defensive team.  Their offense, however, leaves much to be desired.

Atlanta (+3) @ San Diego - This is pretty much a pick 'em.  Nothing to see here.  Move on.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) @ Oakland - James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are out for the Steelers.  Enough of a reason for us to stay away.

Houston (-2) @ Denver - Peyton Manning will not throw three picks again.  The Texans are going from sea level to altitude.  We think the line is too tight and that Houston will prevail, but there are better options.

New England (+2.5) @ Baltimore - Both teams coming off games they could have (should have?) won.  This should be a great game to watch.  Not a great game to pick.

Green Bay (-3) @ Seattle - Strange things happen in the Pacific Northwest.  The Seahawks defense is good. The Packers have not looked like world beaters up to this point.

Looks Good on Paper
Kansas City (+8.5) @ New Orleans - We confess, this should be a walk in the park for the Saints.  Should be.  The Chiefs have been blown out twice.  But the New Orleans defense has been a sieve.  A game between to 0-2 teams is not where we want to put our faith in Week 3.

Worth a Look
St. Louis (+7) @ Chicago - A lot of people are down on the Bears and Jay Cutler.  Sam Bradford and the Rams looked pretty good against the Redskins last week. Chicago has three extra days.  And they're a pretty darn good football team.

Buffalo (-3) @ Cleveland - What is that you say?  You think we're crazy?  Maybe.  Or maybe like a fox.  This is tough week to pick.  We think that debacle against the Jets was an aberration for the Bills. They are better than that.  The Browns are..........well, the Browns.  Brandon Weeden may or may turn out to be a good NFL QB.  Right now he is not.

San Francisco (-7) @ Minnesota - The 'Niners may be the best team in the NFC.  This game screams trap. But Jim Harbaugh is the coach.  Yes, it's a road game.  But are the alternatives any more attractive?

The Pick
This, my friends, is a tough week to call.  We are a bit conflicted.  New Orleans should be the pick, but they have been a hot mess thus far. Jay Cutler is hard to trust with the Bears. Buffalo, really?  That's how tough this week is.  San Francisco on the road.

Wow.  We really want go with the Bills, but in the end, San Fran is the pick.  We just don't see the 'Niners having a meltdown in Minnesota.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Texas Rangers Fans Hatred of CJ Wilson Unfounded

We have been dyed-in-the-wool Texas Rangers fans long before Al Gore invented the internet.  In fact, we've been around for all of the past 40 years of Rangers baseball (though we were too young to remember the first few years).

We were there with Ferguson Jenkins, Mike Hargrove, Jeff Burroughs, Toby Harrah, Buddy Bell, Jim Sundberg.  We remember Bump Wills, Odibe McDowell, Gary Gray*, Tom Grieve (as a player).

*Our first Rangers game attended was a double header against the Evil Empire.  Gary Gray hit a walk-off (not yet a term at that point) homer in the bottom of the ninth of the first game.

While the teams of the Juan Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez, Kenny Rogers and Rusty Greer era, the first Rangers teams to make a playoff appearance, will always hold a special place in our hearts, the current cast of characters has spoiled Rangers fans who do not have the franchise's long record of futility to reflect upon.

What, you may be asking yourself, does this lesson in nostalgia have to do with CJ Wilson?  That is a good question.

There has been plenty of vitriol spewed in Wilson's general direction by Ranger fans lately.  Sure, a lot of it has to do with him signing with division rival Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim California.  Another good portion comes from his failures in the playoffs.

Let's get one thing straight:  Without CJ Wilson, the Rangers are probably not two time defending American League Champions.

While Wilson is a bit "out there" and can rub people the wrong way, he was an integral part of the past two Ranger teams.  Good-natured fun is one thing.  Out and out hate is another.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The NFL Referee Lockout Will Not End Until the Refs Cave

For everyone calling for the NFL to end this ludicrous lockout of the referees, we would not hold our collective breaths waiting for this to happen.

This thing ends only one way:  the refs caving.

Or, God forbid, a player getting killed because of the incompetence of the replacements.

The NFL claims to care about the fans.  It doesn't.  If it did, we would have at most two preseason games (with no addition of regular season games) and charged a pittance for admission.  As long as fans will allow themselves to be screwed over in order to obtain season tickets, all the moaning and groaning in the world will not change things.

The NFL responds to one thing:  the size of its collective wallet.  If fans cannot hit the NFL in the pocketbook, nothing else matters.  The NFL will not care about the fans until the fans no longer care about the NFL.  Now, that's a wicked catch 22, is it not?

This referee lockout cannot hurt the NFL. Sure people could stop watching on television.  But the television rights are locked into place.  The refs will cave long before the next negotiating window and all will be long forgotten.  Besides, we don't think the NFL will lose viewers because of this.  It's like a train wreck.  You can't help but look even if it may disgust you.

Until and unless fans can make a dent in the NFL's revenue, we are stuck with whatever the NFL force feeds us every week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Can Faith Hill Just Let Janis Rest in Peace?

We were watching some country music fest on ABC earlier and caught Faith Hill doing "Piece of My Heart".  This begs the question: Why?  First, here is the music video to document the original hatchet job Hill did on this classic song.

While the live version we saw tonight was not near this bad, it still wasn't good.  The above video caused us never to take any of Ms. Hill's music seriously.  Maybe she has been performing this live for years.  Maybe her fans like it.  But for the love of everything right and good in the world, please stop this atrocity and let Janis Joplin have some peace.

Which reminds us, exactly when was the last time Faith Hill was relevant?  Sure she has the whole Sunday Night Football gig.  With a Joan Jett song.  At least Hank Jr. used his own song.  Watching her tonight trying to do her best Carrie Underwood was sad at best.  Really more pathetic than anything else.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn and Tyler Wilson

Strange things happen in college football.  We love that.  In our personal lives, we prefer more order, but as far as college football is concerned, the more chaos, the better.

Just consider this scenario.  If Arkansas somehow defeats Alabama Saturday and Louisiana-Monroe beats Auburn, where does that leave the CFB landscape?

OK, we know these are fanciful projections, but stranger things have happened.

In the minds of poll voters, is ULM suddenly a top five team?  Was Alabama vastly overrated?  Did the Razorbacks just have one bad game?

And what if all this happens without Tyler Wilson playing for Arkansas?  The Razorback brass has gone all Fight Club on the Wilson discussions.

Things will probably fall neatly into place with the Crimson Tide handling Arkansas and Auburn bringing ULM back to earth.

But one can dream.  That is what makes CFB so exciting week to week.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Chik-Fil-A Madness

OK, I was made aware of this via Twitter.  Apparently there is a professor at Angelo State University (yeah, that's a little close to home, as in the place I live) that would like to get the Chik-Fil-A removed from ASU's University Center.  Because, as her email states, "as Angelo State University’s faculty, we strive to create a campus environment in which GLBT students are welcome. Therefore, I hope that you will join in sending a message to the ASU community that faculty here support their GLBT students by petitioning our president:

“to remove Chick-fil-A’s food service from the Housto
n Harte University Center and thus to encourage a welcoming atmosphere for GLBT students on the Angelo State University campus.”

If you would like to sign the petition form, which will be circulated among faculty this semester, please reply to this email."

This comes from Dr. Linda Kornasky, Professor of English, Chair of Gender Studies Committee, Angelo State University.

I wonder how welcoming an atmosphere abounds in Dr. Kornasky's classroom with people whose view do not line up with hers?

Here is the facebook page for ASU students who wish to support Chik-Fil-A

We thought this whole silliness had passed.  This, however is ludicrous.  

NFL Survivor Pick: 2012 Week Two

This week's pick will come a bit earlier than normal as the Cheap Seats prepare to actually occupy some seats this weekend at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Week 2 in the NFL season is almost as hard to call as Week 1.  The trick is to not get too caught up in what happened in Week 1, either good or  bad.  Too small of a sample size to glean any real knowledge.

Since this is our first foray in providing a weekly analysis, we are still tweaking the format.  Should we continue to provide commentary on each game?  We think, yes.  While it may seem frivolous at this point, it will become much more important as the season progresses and more and more teams come off your board each week.

A bit more on our philosophy:  We scour the web for recommendations from so-called experts.  Take these recommendations into careful consideration.  Use our own personal knowledge.  Then come to a conclusion.  We would be remiss if we did not look for other recommendations before making our own.  There are many opinions out there.  Ours is but one.

Wouldn't Touch with a Ten Foot Pole
Kansas City (+3) @ Buffalo - Both teams miserably under-achieved in the first week.  Which team, if either turns it around?  We don't know.

New Orleans (-2.5) @ Carolina -  Division game with the favorite on the road.  Still don't know what to make of the Saints with all the off-season drama.  Will Cam Newton have a sophomore slump for the Panthers?  Maybe, maybe not..  But the  first week was not kind.

Minnesota (-1.5) @ Indianapolis - Andrew Luck played like a rookie in his first start for the Colts.  Even with Adrian Peterson apparently at full strength, the Vikings are just not that good.

Oakland (-3) @ Miami -  The Raiders are probably better than the Dolphins, but are making a big time zone jump.  Ryan Tannehill may or may not be as bad as he performed last week against Houston.

Baltimore (+2.5) @ Philadelphia - Not real sure why Philly is favored after that atrocious game last week in Cleveland.  And the Ravens looked pretty good against Cincy.

Washington (-3) @ St. Louis -  As good as Robert Griffin III was against New Orleans last week, remember, he is still a rookie.  Not enough trust yet for us.

Dalllas (-3) @ Seattle -  This may look like a good pick, but it's a long trip for the Cowboys and strange things can happen in the Pacific Northwest.

Denver (+3) @ Atlanta -  Still not enough data on either team for us.  Also, it's the Monday nighter, which we try to avoid.

Looks Good on Paper
Cleveland (+7) @ Cincinnati - This may be the best chance to pick the Bengals all year.  But this is a division game and goofy things happen in division games.  Were this game played later in the season with less options available, we may have recommended it. But this being Survivor, it's too early to risk it.

Houston (-7) @ Jacksonville - We avoid picking road teams when possible.  And this could possibly be a trap game for the Texans, who have the Peyton Manning led Broncos next  week.

Tennessee (+6) @ San Diego - Long trip for the Titans.  This almost makes it to one our recommended games, but we still don't trust the Chargers.

NY Jets (+5) @ Pittsburgh - We don't get it.  Some sites are recommending picking the Steelers this week.  We don't know if the Jets are that good or Buffalo is that bad.  Same goes with the Broncos who beat the Steelers. Also Pittsburgh is coming off a short week.  In good conscience, we cannot recommend this game.

Detroit (+7) @ San Francisco - The Niners are good.  The Lions are not as bad (Matthew Stafford) as last week indicated.  San Fran might have a bit of a let down after the Green Bay game last week. Detroit has something to prove.  This is not a bad pick, just not one we would make in Week 2.

Our Recommendations
Arizona (+13.5) @ New England - This is obviously the safest pick of the week.  Also the biggest spread of the week.  The Patriots have much more future value than any other team.  This is obviously the first opportunity to use some strategy in you pool.

Tampa Bay (+7) @ NY Giants - The Giants have had extra time to work out the kinks that caused their season-opening loss to Dallas in the Wednesday nighter.  The Bucs looked better than expected in their win over Carolina.  Josh Freeman looked more like the Josh Freeman of 2010 than 2011, which is a good sign.  But I don't see the defending Super Bowl champs starting 0-2 at home.

The Pick
Houston is off the board for us as that was our Week 1 pick.  While we are awfully tempted to go with the G-Men, New England is our pick.  While we may wish we had the Patriots later in the season, nothing is guaranteed, so we will go with the pick that gives us the best chance to survive.  Besides if, heaven forbid, Brady were to go down sometime in the next few weeks, all that future value goes out the window.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NFL Survivor Pick: Week 2 Preliminary

If there is anything that comes close to the Week One trepidation in picking NFL Survivor pools, it is Week Two.  The key is not to over react to anything that happened in Week One.  Week Two is still a time to play it safe in our opinion.

We will have full analysis later this week, but with the NFL playing Thursday games most weeks, we want to  give some quick picks before the Thursday games in case your picks are due before the first game of the week.

As for the Thursday night game, Chicago/Green Bay?  Stay away.  The Packers will probably be better than their season-opening loss to San Francisco indicated and are early 5 1/2 point favorites over the Bears.  With the short week, this is one to stay away from this early in the season.

The safest pick this week is New England over Arizona.  Others worth considering are NYG over Tampa, San Francisco over Detroit, Houston over Jacksonville and Cincinnati over Cleveland.

If you want to just survive this week and not worry about any considerations later in the season, then the Patriots are your pick.  Depending the level of risk you're comfortable with, the Giants are a good play.  This may be the only time that the Bengals will be a good play all season, but it is a division game.  The Niners could come down a bit after the big win over Green Bay and the Lions should be better (Matt Stafford we're talking to you) than the squeaker they pulled out in week one.  The Texans should win, but are on the road.

The detailed analysis along with our pick will come later this week.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Two Facebook Pet Peeves

We realize this will mostly fall on deaf ears, but if one person gets the message, then the world will be a better place.

Facebook friends, if all you have to contribute to the political discussion is to post links to websites and/or stories that share your views or political cartoons that you  agree with, then don't bother.  The number of minds that have been changed by this can be counted on zero fingers.  Besides all it gets from me is your posts being hidden.  So, you have effectively accomplished less than nothing.

On anther topic, I don't have my birth date published for a reason.  Stop requesting me to be added to your birthday calendar or whatever.  I don't need a bunch of random acquaintances filling up my timeline with empty birthday wishes.  While it's a nice gesture and all, if you don't know me well enough to have my number to be able to text or call with birthday wishes, then don't bother.

What an Incredible US Open to End the Tennis "Season"

OK, I guess it's official. The "Big Four" that is.

Andy Murray finally won that elusive major.  Each of the Big Four (Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) won a major title in 2012.  Murray also won the Olympics title.

In the Cheap Seats, we are exhausted, as fans, after a long and exhilarating year.  We cannot even imagine how the players must feel.  But, alas, there is still tennis to be played.  Really, though, tennis should have an offseason  between the end of the US Open and the e start of the Australian Open.  Why not culminate with the last major of the year, then let everyone take a well-deserved break.

Let the players recuperate.  Let the fans catch their breath.  Start back up in late December/early January with Aussie Open tune-up tournaments.  Tennis has never been better world-wide than it is right now.  Let us not run it into the ground.  A true offseason is needed more now than ever before

Personally, we are going to take a break.  We only wish the players could do the same.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

College Football Uniforms: The Good, Bad & Mostly Ugly

Sometimes things just beg to be ridiculed.  Here in the Cheap Seats, we are more than happy to oblige.

With this new found proliferation of hideous-looking uniforms in college football on a weekly basis, this kind of thing cannot be ignored.  We intend to provide you with  a recap of the worst faux pas each week right here in the Cheap Seats.

We were really hoping this wouldn't be necessary.  But, alas, no one knows when to leave well enough alone.

We will start this week with the Missouri Tigers.  Fox Sports columnist Jen Floyd Engel, (twitter @engeljen), a Mizzou alum said it best when she tweeted "Dear Football Watching Peeps, Missourians do not as habit dress this abysmally. Also Mizzou is black-gold not dirt-mustard."

Nothing really hideous about the Stanford look.  Just that it's not.........Stanford.  Stanford has always been scarlet and white.  The all black is actually a good look, it's just not Stanford.  And we really don't care for the flat look on helmets.

Usually looking good and on the cutting edge of stylish unis are the Oregon Ducks.  Today, not so much.  The silver and highlighter look just doesn't do it for us.

Texas A&M did not look bad, but what was with the wide striped on the unis?  And the grey facemasks?  In comparison, those are minor infractions, but we have grown up with A&M and white facemasks.  And none of those silly wide stripes. Just makes no sense.

On the positive side, Virginia looked quite snazzy in the orange headgear.  And we go back a week to give huge props to Georgia Tech and that sweet honeycomb look they broke out against Virginia Tech (who, by the way, need to ditch the orange jerseys).

Granted, we didn't get to see all of the good, bad and ugly this weekend, but we'll try to do better in the future.  We now hereby proclaim #CFBUniWatch as the official twitter hashtag for college football uniforms, both good and bad.

Bad Week for the UTSA and US Open

Bad, no awful, few days for the USTA.  First, in an indefensible move, they suspend the number one junior player in world, Taylor Townsend.  Tom Perrotta does a fantastic job of explaining it here and has a great piece with Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova here.  Therefore,  we won't discuss it any further in the Cheap Seats.

But we will expound on the USTA's second boneheaded move this week, well third if you count stretching the first round of the US Open over three days, but that is not pertinent to this discussion.

The men's final will again be played on Monday in 2012.  This has happened way too often recently.  This year it could have been avoided.  Here we pause to give credit to the USTA for getting one thing rioght - suspending play during a severe weather alert.  That, my friends, was a no-brainer.

However, before play was suspended, both men's semis should have been in the books.  When you have a weather window, you get in as many matches as possible.  Simultaneous semis on Ashe and Armstrong was the play here.  You're probably not going to get in the women's final, but that's not a huge deal.  Really, who among tennis fans would not like to see a men's and women's double header final on the last day of the tournament?

I realize there are ticket issues and TV issues at stake when you start monkeying with the schedule, but now there are even bigger issues because they weren't dealt with initially.  I know of at least one market where the men's Monday final was not shown because the local affiliate, either by contract or a local decision.

There needs to be some changes made before the 2013 US Open.

Does MTV Even Play Videos Anymore?

That's the first thing that came to our minds after accidentally stumbling upon a replay of the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.  That seems odd programming for a channel that hasn't shown an actual music video in years.

Yeah, we're older and grumpier, more nostalgic and delusional about the past, so you can take all this with a grain of salt.

Seriously, we had no clue that this particular awards show was still in existence.  We suppose, were we in the 15-24 demographic (is that even a real demographic?), we might actually be aware of and maybe even be able to feign some semblance of caring about the VMAs.  However, alas, we are not.  The three minutes that we did see was, well, just asinine.  Alcohol and drugs kill brain cells.  In those three minutes of viewing, our brain cells were attempting suicide.

When MTV plays another video, will someone please alert us.  But if they play them late at night, don't bother.  We are already in bed.  Have to be up early to yell at that the  kids to get off our damned lawn.  In the meantime we'll be watching That Metal Show and MetalMania on VH1 Classic.

Friday, September 7, 2012

NFL Survivor Pool Pick: 2012 Week One

Want our week one pick for our NFL Survivor Pool?   Well, you're going to have to read through some highly informative and mildly entertaining analysis to get to it (or just scroll to the bottom, whichever you prefer).  And it might not even be highly informative.

We hate week one.  The preseason is useless for predicting what will happen in the regular season.  Well, the preseason is actually useless for more reasons than but that's another post.  Nobody knows who will surprise by being better than expected or which team with high expectations will lay an egg.

If at all possible, our strategy is not to pick road teams or games involving teams in the same division.  That is not always possible, but it is a good place to start.

Not Touching with a Ten Foot Pole:
Atlanta (-3) @ Kansas City - Road game for the Falcons.  This one is just doesn't make sense in a survivor setting.  Much better choices.

Jacksonville (+3) @ Minnesota - Both of these have so many issues.  The Viking's Adrian Peterson (off-season surgery) and the Jaguar's Maurice Jones-Drew (holdout), each team's start running back, will not be at full strength.

Pittsburgh (+1.5) @ Denver - The Peyton Manning era begins in Denver.  Who knows what to expect.  Out of either team actually.

Buffalo (+3) @ NY Jets - What a hot mess the NYJ QB situation is.  The Bills spent the offseason getting better (at least on paper).  No thank you.

Seattle (-3) @ Arizona - Rookie QB for the Seahawks.  Never know what to expect in that situation.  Plus the favorite is on the road.

Carolina (-3) @ Tampa Bay - Division game with the favorite on the road.  Nuff said.

San Diego (+1.5) @ Oakland -  We don't even know what to say about this game.  Therefore, we will stay far, far away.

Kinda Looks Good on Paper:
San Francisco (+5) @ Green Bay - The Pack at Lambeau is usually a pretty good choice.  But the 'Niners play tough defense and there are safer picks out there.

New England (-5.5) @ Tennessee - The Tom Brady led Patriots are, well, the Patriots.  They're good.  But they're also on the road.  Tennessee is not horrible.  But still, no need to risk that much in week one.

Cincinnati (+6.5) @ Baltimore - Division game.  Plus, we don't thing the Ravens are as good as last year's record indicated.

More Than a Touchdown Favorites:
Philadelphia (-9.5) @ Cleveland - This should not be close, but..........we don't trust Michael Vick to stay healthy at any point in the season. Who's to say what could happen if he goes down?  Plus, this a road game for the favorite.  It's probably safe enough, but this is week one.

Indianapolis (+9.5) @ Chicago - The Colts without Manning last year were awful.  Now Indy puts their trust in the hands of rookie Andrew Luck.  How good is Luck?  Pretty darn good.  But this is the NFL.  We don't like venturing into the unknown when we can help it.

St. Louis (+8) @ Detroit - This is the first of two games that we really like.  The Rams are better, probably good enough to cover the spread, but we still like Detroit to win.  The only caveat is, these are the Lions.  But they are not your father's Lions.

Miami (+11.5) @ Houston - The only double digit spread of the week.  The Texans' are many people's Super Bowl pick.  The Dolphins seem to be in a state of disarray.  This may be as close to a sure thing as there is this week.

Washington (+8) @ New Orleans - We could have easily put this in another section, but the spread precludes us from doing so.  But do not touch this game.  Don't even think about it.  The Saints are without their head coach and defensive coordinator from last season.  There is the whole bounty situation hanging over their heads.  RGIII will be the starting QB for the Redskins, and who knows what he'll do.  See Cam Newton from last year.  This game just has too many variables for week one.

The Pick:
The name of the of game is Survivor, so the goal is to survive.  For us, it comes down to Houston or Detroit.  Houston seems like the surest thing (as least as much as there can be in the NFL), but we hate using such a good team in week one.  On the other hand, Detroit is still Detroit and that scares us.  So, from the Cheap Seats, we will go with Houston in week one.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Del Potro Handles a Tough Situation With Class

It had to be tough.  Knowing you were about to end someone's career.  Not only that, but on your opponents home turf.

Such was the task for Juan Martin Del Potro defeating Andy Roddick in his last match.

There are going to be many, many recaps of Roddick's fine career littering the web in the next 24 hours.  Here in the Cheap Seats, we will mostly concur with everything written.  While Andy has not been our favorite, we have always been a fan. He carried the American men's tennis torch by himself for many years.

Here we want to give some love to Del Potro.  After he ended Roddick's career, what ensued was one of the classiest demonstrations I have seen in sport.  DelPo did not fist pump, he did not celebrate. He slowly walked to the net and embraced Roddick, had a brief exchange and took a seat.

By this time, Del Potro had won over most of the crowd with his demeanor.  With his on court interview, we think he won many new fans.

Del Potro could easily have been the villain, just by being the guy who ended Roddick's career.  The way he handled himself at the end of the match quashed any of that.  We have always liked Del Potro.  Now he may have become one of our favorites.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

US Open 2012: Roddick survives for another day

Andy Roddick's farewell US Open lives one more day.  With play suspended due to rain with Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro just starting a first set tie-breaker, the rains came.  Roddick won the first point of the tie-break, so Del Potro will be serving down 0-1 when play resumes.

Who does this favor?  We think both players, to a certain degree.  Roddick alrealy leading the tie-break, has the first set advantage in our opinion.  However, with the urgency with which Del Potro left the grounds at Flushing Meadows, maybe the delay will give him a chance to get himself together.

This match leaves us here in the Cheap Seats somewhat conflicted.  While we are on record as predicting a surprise Del Potro US Open championship, how can we really root against Roddick?  Wouldn't another major title in his final tournament be the ultimate farewell?

Match of the Tournament
Victoria Azarenka's three set victory over defending champion Samantha Stosur in a thrid set tie-break (7-5) was the match of the tournament thus far.  Men or women.  After so many lop-sided matches (especially in prime time) this was a great match.

Rain, rain go away
Where we live, rain and more rain would be a welcome site.  At the US Open, not so much.  And while they  can't control the atmosphere, the UTSA deserves some blame here if the men's final ends up being on a Monday once again.

First and foremost, the idiotic three day first round.  Weather permitting, let's get everyone into the second round by end of play on the first Tuesday.  Give yourselves some leeway for when the almost inevitable weather comes.  I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express at some point in my life.  That makes an expert on pretty much everything.

Monday, September 3, 2012

2012 US Open: A strange first week

The first week (and a little more) of the 2012 US Open is behind us, and, quite frankly, it's been just a little strange.

Not so much the actual tennis, for the most part the usual suspects are still around, but just the whole feel of it.  With this being the last hurrahs of Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters, the entire event has been a kind of nostalgic, feel-good tournament.  The on-court interviews after every match have turned into a tribute to the two retirees.

Not that it has been a bad thing.  Roddick and Clijsters deserve all the good things being said about them.  It has just brought about a different kind of aura to the event.

Serena is Scary Good
Since Serena Williams surprise dismissal in the second round of the French Open, she has been playing frighteningly well.  I don't know that I have ever seen a player that looks like so outclassed the competition before.  Serena was quoted as saying her opponent on Monday played well.  Her opponent failed to win a game.  Imagine if she had not played well.

It would require a complete meltdown by Serena for her to lose a match right now.  But we have seen that happen before.  However, I would not count on that happening at this point in time.

Isner is what he is
John Isner has a huge serve and huge forehand.  Not much defense.  If a set doesn't go to a tiebreak, one break either way usually decides it.  That is Isner.  A top 15 player.  With that huge serve, probably for long time.  We don't see him ever getting to the point where he can win a major.

Isner will play a ton of matches that go the distance (whether that be three or five sets) against good players. He will lose as many as he wins.  Because it all revolves around one service break or the tie breaker.

Georgia Tech wins the Uniform Battle over Virginia Tech

Just before halftime of the Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech game, I have come to this indisputable conclusion:  Georgia Tech has one win already whatever the outcome of the actual game.

Those honeycomb inspired unis are sweet.  Virginia Tech's orange and maroon mashup, not so much.

This is sweet:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

2012 NFL Survivor Pool

Here in the Cheap Seats, we have entered an NFL Survivor Pool for the third year (first time since the blog started) and will be keeping everyone abreast of our picks, reasoning and results.  Let it be know right up front, we have not done well the two previous years, although it wasn't entirely our fault.  Yeah, right.

For those unfamiliar with Survivor games, it's really quite simple.  Everyone in the game puts up an entry fee. Last person still alive wins the whole thing.

How the game works:
Everyone entered person picks one team to win their game that week.  The team you pick wins, you survive.  Your team loses, you're out.  But the catch is that you can only pick a team one time per season.  Sure it would have been real nice to pick New England every week during their 16-0 regular season.  But once you pick a team to win, you can not pick that team again.  Ever.  Until next season.

The first week always scares us.  We don't really know what to expect.  There are always the surprise teams that come out of nowhere and the disappointing teams that fall on their face.  The pre-season is of no help whatsoever.

We are definitely not touching Wednesday night's opener between Dallas and NYG.  We try to stay away from divisional games as much as possible anyway, but this being the season opener on national television in the middle of the week with no precedence to go on?  Staying far, far away.

We have not done well in past seasons, so don't take these posts as advice.  Just another information source to glean a sliver of knowledge from.  We will try to have our picks in by Friday, with how we reached the conclusion.

Alabama and Michigan Thoughts

The Crimson Tide totally dominated the Wolverines on Saturday.  The much anticipated matchup between two top ten teams from different conferences was a big disappointment, right?

Well, not so much.  Yes, it was nice to see a matchup of two highly rated teams, but this game was highly over-hyped.  Michigan was over-rated, without it's top RB, and over-rated.  Sure the Wolverines are coming off of a 10-2 season and an impressive bowl win, but they are nowhere near a top echelon team.

Alabama is coming off of a BCS bowl trophy season and is rebuilding or reloading on defense (whichever term you prefer).  Also their offense is much more experienced in all facets except RB.  And have we mentioned that Michigan was over-rated?

There is way too much football yet to be played to anoint the Tide as the favorites to repeat.  So in the words of ESPN's Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend".

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Andy Roddick Announces Retirement

Andy Roddick has announced that the 2012 U.S. Open will be his final tournament.  While we are not surprised, the timing is a bit surprising.

We have always been a fan of Roddick's, as frustrating as that could be at times.  Andy always had the big serve and played quickly.  He possesses great goundstrokes, but the maddening thing for us about Roddick has been his reluctance to play aggressively, preferring instead to grind from the baseline.

His body has betrayed him in recent years, battling through numerous injuries.  He will go out with his final tournament being the only major he ever won.  Here's hoping he makes a Jimmy Connors-like run in his farewell fortnight (and there's a term you'll rarely find outside of tennis).

Roddick will be a Hall of Famer, the precedent for one-major-winners is there.  He had a great career.  While not a winning effort, probably his best match was the Wimbledon final in which he fell to Roger Federer 16-14 in the fifth set.

Best of luck Andy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Time for Some Real Football

Thank you, college football.  Real games start tomorrow (8/30/12).  Games that count. Not some glorified scrimmage masquerading as a contest between opposing factions. Yeah, we see you, NFL.

Being fans of the Dallas Cowboys, who held their final overpriced, fan-screwing, pocket-lining exhibition of 2012, we almost successfully navigated our team's preseason schedule without being subjected to any of it.  While surfing channels in the first or second week, we stumbled upon a Cowboys game and stayed long enough to see a bad snap on a punt turn into to a first down.  We then quickly found a rerun of Storage Wars (or somesuch).

With the MLB pennant and wild card races heating up, the U.S. Open going on and football for real starting, no thanks NFL.  If there is no other reason to watch tomorrow night, the Pirate, Mike Leach, returns to the sideline with Washington State taking on BYU.  Should be fun.

There's also UCLA/Rice and South Carolina/Vanderbilt.  Texas A&M's first game as a member of the SEC will be pushed back a week as their game against Louisiana Tech has been pushed back to October 13 because of Isaac.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hope Solo on ESPN's E:60

Just watched the Hope Solo segment on ESPN's E:60.  Jeremey Schaap conducted the interview. Jeremy Schaap: consummate professional.

Let it be known that the Cheap Seats are huge fans of the 1999 team that won the World Cup.  We are also  big Hope Solo fans.

The most poignant thing to come out of the interview was this statement by Solo: "jshe took her shirt off after scoring the winning penalty kick but that doesn't make her a great commentator, and certainly doesn't mean she knows the game".   Maybe Fox, CBS, ESPN, et al could take that to heart.  Too many bad announcers in all sports, getting jobs just because they were successful on the field.

The Cheap Seats has been a fan of Hope Solo before and during her benching in favor of Brianna Scurry (no offense to Scurry), which started the Solo bashing.

The Clairvoyance of Def Leppard

We are always amused by people getting lyrics wrong.  We can cite many examples.  But that is not the point of this post.  This is kind of a "retro-fit" misunderstood lyric.  Lest you chastise us later, we are fully aware of what the actual lyric is, and if you are not, well, we love you anyway.

While we would never confuse Def Leppard with Nostradamus, their "Hysteria" album came out in 1987, long before the smart phone.  Yet in the first verse of "Pour Some Sugar on Me", they mention the iPhone.

Don't believe me?  Listen to it.  Tell me the lyric is not "livin' like a lover with a red iPhone".

If nothing else, you'll never hear the song the same way again.

Here it is, for your listening enjoyment.

You're welcome.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mike Trout for MVP? Don't Think So

While Mike Trout, rookie sensation for the Anaheim Angels of Southern California somewhere near Disneyland, is a slam dunk for Rookie of the Year award in the A.L., as a Most Valuable Player candidate he's doesn't belong in the conversation.

Why, you may ask?  It is more about semantics and the performance of his team than anything else.

Here in the cheap seats, we don't think anyone from a non-playoff team can be the MVP.  With Trout the Angels are currently in third place in the four team AL West, 9.5 games behind the division leading Texas Rangers and 5 games ahead of cellar dwelling Seattle.  The Angels are closer to the bottom than the top.  Without Trout the Angels may or may not be competing with Seattle for the worst division record.  Either way, they're on the wrong side of the playoff picture.

How valuable is that?  And yes, this is where we play semantics.  If the award were called the Most Outstanding Player, then Trout belongs in the conversation.  But most valuable?  I think not.  He is not even the most valuable player on his own team.  Of course that player has yet to be found.  The most valuable player for the Angels would be the pitcher that could stop the bleeding in that hot mess of a bullpen.

Trout is having an excellent year.  Putting up superb numbers, MVP type numbers.  If he played on a playoff bound team.  There is still time for the Angels to squeak into the expanded playoffs, but those chances are slim.  Until then, leave Trout out of any MVP talk.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lance Armstrong: Just a Man

Want to know what really bothers me about this whole Lance Armstrong/USADA situation?  It's not that Armstrong declined to fight the allegations.  It's not that the USADA is overstepping its bounds.

What bothers me is the amount of people who are saying Armstrong let them down because he was a hero. Really?  A hero?  Did we not learn anything about putting human beings up on a pedestal from the whole Joe Paterno debacle?  The bottom line is don't put your faith in man.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lance Armstrong: So What?

So, Lance Armstrong will be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life.  Big yawn.

Armstrong has no intentions of challenging the doping allegations brought forth by the USADA.  Why? We think because he has no intention of competing in cycling again and those Tour de France titles being stripped have no effect on what he has accomplished in the past.

Armstrong has made his money off the Tour championships.  He is now more well known for surviving cancer and his Livestrong campaign.  What the hell does he care?

On a side note, as the most tested athlete ever, he has never failed a drug test.  So there's that.

I don't know the full story, but if there is evidence, what transpires brings to mind some Pat Benatar lyrics from the 80s:  "It's a little too little, just a little too late."

Besides, he beat cancer on PEDs? Sounds more like an endorsement opportunity.

Big headlines, non-story.

Whiskey Myers and Halestorm: I Would Pay to See That

You know what I'd like to see?  Whiskey Myers and Halestorm in concert.  On the same bill.

I'm well aware that one is a Red Dirt Country outfit from Texas and the other a hard rock band from Pennsylvania.  Not a whole lot in common on the surface.

Dig a little deeper and the similarities are there.  Both are extremely good at what they do.  Both are guitar driven for the most part.  Both feature American music at its best.

My mind wanders at times and I think about stuff like this, but an actual tour of two seemingly dissimilar bands could be beneficial to both.  Take my example.  While a full-scale national tour might not be the best undertaking, a couple of regional tours would make sense.  Whiskey Myers would headline a leg in Texas, Oklahoma, etc. while Halestorm would headline a series of shows in Pennsylvania and the rest of their stomping grounds.  Both bands get exposure to an audience that might not normally find them.  Win/win.

I just use those two as an example because they happen to be my two favorite bands at the moment.  But, really, it could work with countless pairings.  But this is my blog, so I'm sticking with what I would want to see.

Really, just a pipe dream, but can you blame a guy for trying?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bartolo Colon: Busted for PEDs

OK.  Really.  Bartolo Colon?  Suspended 50 games for positive PED test.  Details here.

We poked a bit of fun at Colon on this blog recently.

When you think of athletes testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, you think of some ripped, cut guy putting up extraordinary numbers.  Not some guy who looks like he might be pitching in a softball beer league.

Coming back after some injuries, I understand (though do not condone) why Colon did what he did.  He's trying to hang on to a pretty sweet gig.  Still.

Monday, August 20, 2012

NFL Preseason: Avoid at All Cost

I enjoy the NFL. I follow the NFL. The NFL is great.

The NFL also has a huge scam going on the with fans. It's called the preseason. It's the worst excuse for football that is put out for public consumption. A bunch of 6-year-olds playing flag football is better.

From what I hear, some people actually watched the first NFL preseason game, the Hall of Fame Game. I'm sad for those people. For the rest of us, here's all you need to know to get you through until the real games begin.
What to look for: An escape. A back door.Plausible deniability. A conveniently timed illness. A sudden urge to take up hot yoga. A neglected dog to walk. A "CSI" marathon. Anything.
How to interpret what you see: You cannot. Because if you were smart, you didn't see a thing. If you did happen to see anything, it means nothing to the average fan. It's all evaluations for who gets the 53rd roster spot.
What to take from the final score: Nothing. The final score means nothing. Preseason records mean nothing. You shouldn't even care.
How to avoid watching: Take an interest in MLB baseball, ATP and WTA tennis, mow the lawn, clean the house, go out for dinner, play with the kids, take in a movie, wash your hair, read a book, anything. As a sports fan, I immerse myself in the pennant races that are heating up in MLB, the tennis tournaments leading up to the US Open and the US Open itself. There's also golf, which is really good if you need a nap. 
What to do if it seems like viewing is imminent: Immediately find a sharp pointy object and stab yourself in the hand, skillfully avoiding any nerves, tendons and ligaments. Make sure it requires stitches so a trip to the ER is unavoidable.

See you in September.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Melky Cabrera

Either Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants is the biggest idiot in the world, or he needs to fire some people.  Here are some details of his suspension and subsequent attempted coverup.

I mean, really.  Creating a fake website?  There's no way investigators are going to dig into that.  "Oh, Melky, I see.  You bought some tainted supplements from this website.  That's good enough for us.  Carry on."

Whoever suggested this ludicrous ruse should be fired immediately.  Unless of course it was Melky himself, in which case, well, as Ron White so eloquently put it:  "You can't fix stupid."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August: The Sports Wasteland

I do not plagiarize.  I do not take undo credit.  Therefore, in the spirit of full disclosure, this post was totally inspired by Steve Rushin's column in  Here it is.

In any normal year, let's just face it, as far as sports go: August sucks.  Living in Texas with the oppressive heat, lack of rain and threat of hurricanes (pretty ironic): August sucks.

OK, so August has its good points.  The pennant races are heating up in MLB.  And.............I've got nothing.

Wait, college football - real games - actually starts before the month ends.   There's that.

We'll try to come up with something tomorrow.  Chances are it won't be sports related.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nike's Gold Digging Shirt

There it is.  The controversy-causing shirt by Nike.  Only for women.  All in the Olympic spirit, right?

On the slim chance you are not aware, a gold digger is a term for a woman who searches for a man solely for the amount of money he is worth.

Some are calling the above shirt crass, classless, out of touch, clueless, degrading, sexist, etc.

I have two words for it:  marketing genius.  What?  Yep, that's right, marketing genius.  OK, maybe genius is a bit much.  Happy accident anyone?  I tend to believe that it had to be intentional.  A company as successful and savvy as Nike surely has someone, somewhere in the decision making process that knows what gold digging means in broader terms.

Whether intentional or not, this shirt has garnered more reaction than anything Nike has put out in years.  Carried by many major retailers, sales have been brisk.

This only gets attention because it's Nike.  I have these shirts made and I sell maybe two and nobody cares.

Much ado about nothing in my opinion.  If you like the shirt, buy it.  If you don't, don't.  Simple.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When do the Cowboys and Radiers Play?

I heard rumors that the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders played football Monday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (yeah, that's right, I'm not mentioning any sponsor names.  They aren't paying me.).

Apparently those rumors cannot be substantiated.  There was not really any football played in the 3-0 game.It does't really matter who "won".  The real "losers" were the fans who shelled out hard-earned money to witness this debacle.

Wake me when they start playing for keeps.