Nerds on Sports Where nerds are talking about sports!

June 3, 2008

For Love Or Money

Filed under: Basketball — Perich @ 7:30 am

A friend of mine bought a special package of tickets for this basketball season – games 2 and 7 of any Celtics playoff series. So far, it’s worked out remarkably well for him.

I was watching the final game of the Detroit/Boston series with him at a bar on Friday and the subject came up, as these things sometimes do. “It must be tough,” I said. “You want the Celtics to win, but you wouldn’t mind if it goes seven games.”

“Actually, I want it to go to seven games,” my friend said. Before my jaw could properly gape, he added, “I would then sell my two tickets for ten thousand dollars.”

I can’t fault his math. If anything, $10,000 for two tickets to game 7 of the first Celtics title shot in twenty years falls on the conservative side. But is this the behavior of a true fan?

On the one hand, you’ve got the die-hards who’d insist on being there, in the sweat and din and stink of it, screaming themselves hoarse at the Garden as Paul Pierce bricked yet another layup. Having been to a few dire close games on the college level, I can only imagine how much the intensity ratchets up on the pro level. That’s a game to make sure you hit.

On the other hand, you could only share that experience with, at most, one other person and a row full of strangers. Choosing the friend you take could spark any number of bitter rivalries. How about this: take the $10,000 you get for your Game 7 tickets, spend $500 on a keg and catering, and invite 20 of your friends over to watch the game. I guarantee you’d have a good time.

I put it to you, Nerds on Sports Readers: if you had 2 tickets to the game of the decade, would you give them up for $10,000? How about $50,000? $200,000? A cool $1,000,000? What’s the price of your fandom?

May 6, 2008

Corrections, Retractions and Apologies

Filed under: Basketball — Tags: — Perich @ 9:49 am

When your Nerds On Sports columnist screws up, the error is admitted immediately. Or whenever we need to fill some space.

Thus: I was wrong about Kevin Garnett:

All the rage in Boston today is over the late night Kevin Garnett trade. And I’m certainly excited for Boston to get him – devil knows the Celtics could use anything up to and including Boston College-level point shaving to get a winning season again.

But apparently, you can get one player in exchange for “five players and two draft picks” and still come out ahead on the deal.

This makes no sense to me. It doesn’t even read right. Imagine Bill Belichick trading eleven players and the second and third round draft picks in exchange for Carson Palmer. Imagine Billy Beane trading his first, second and third basemen for Tom Gorzelanny.

Joke’s on me, apparently, because one player does in fact make all the difference if that player’s name is Kevin Garnett. The Celtics climbed from the basement (this time last year) to championship contenders, playing the Cavaliers tonight.

And it’s all thanks to KG. Credit the man for being in the top ten of Eastern conference rebounders. He’s also brought a new level of professionalism to the clubhouse, with his sunny smile contrasting the legendary sullenness of Paul Pierce.

So nice work, Celtics, and good luck against LeBron. I’m glad to be wrong about you.

April 29, 2008

On Draft or In The Bottle

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , , — Perich @ 8:00 am

Baseball season’s over! And nobody cares about NBA playoffs! It’s time for the second most riveting time of the year: the NFL draft!

Here are some highlights:

#1: Miami Fish: Jake Long, OT. The only OT to go first since 1967.

#2: St. Luda Rams: Chris Long, DE. Some brief camera time with Suzy Kolber proved that Chris not only runs faster and hits harder than his father Howie, but also speaks at least as well. He’s practically guaranteed a cushy commentary job when he retires, so Chris has locked his future down.

#3: Hotlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB. Chris Berman described Ryan as “personable,” a comment painstakingly crafted to avoid any argument. Writers slaved over copy for hours to come up with such a non-controversial remark. “Can we say he shows promise?” “Maybe, but …” “He’s cool under pressure!” “Except when he’s throwing picks.” “Hell, stick with ‘personable’ and keep going.”

#4: Chokeland Raiders: Darren McFadden, RB. I caught a bit of Michael Smith’s interview with McFadden on ESPN earlier this week. Berman and Kiper revisited it on Saturday. “Darren McFadden: violent thug or criminal mastermind?” wasn’t quite the tone, but it was close. My take: a man who’s never been to jail, who stands by his family of crack addicts and gangsters and who takes responsibility for children he may have fathered – even before the paternity tests come back – shines like a cherub at the right hand of God in today’s NFL. Put that man on a poster.

#5: Kansas City Chefs: Glenn Dorsey, DT. I like Dorsey the most of any of the first rounders. Suzy Kolber caught him after he walked off stage, commenting on his visible emotion when he took a phone call in the green room. “It was the general manager,” Dorsey said, “asking me if I’d like to be a Chief. And I said I’d love to. And then they put the head coach [Herm Edwards] on the line. He asked, ‘You think you can help our defense out this year?’ And I said, ‘Yes sir, I surely will.'” Dorsey didn’t relay any of the rest of the conversation, though, on the subject of how bad the Chiefs’ defense is, Edwards probably didn’t lack for conversation.

#6: New York Jetropolitans: Vernon Gholston, DE. Commissioner Goodell addressed this draft pick to “Jets fans,” meaning the hundred or so people packed into the auditorium who’d been issuing a steady stream of boos for the last 45 minutes. I don’t want to say Jets fans are the worst fans in American football: the Missoula Babyspikers have a particularly grotesque halftime show, and the less said about the Portland Luftwaffe the better. About Gholston: he’s played competitively both at linebacker and at defensive end, making him a coveted multi-tool player. Which should be handy for the multiple tools filling the seats at Jets Stadium every year.

#7: New Orleans Aints: Sedrick Ellis, DT. Our first bit of draft chicanery. Bill Belichick, crafty sonuvabitch* that he is, traded the 49ers for a first round pick – and then traded this #7 spot with New Orleans! Always thinking, that guy.

#8: Jacksonville Jagoffs, Derrick Harvey, DE. Perich at T-minus-five minutes: All right! #8! The Ravens can snatch up Dominique Rogers-Cromartie! Perich at T-minus-two minutes: The Ravens traded their draft pick? Newsome! Harbaugh! What are you thinking? Perich at T-plus-five minutes: Okay, so they traded 1 draft pick for 3 others. All right. It’s cool. We’re all cool here. I’ll clean that beer off the wall later.

#9: Cincinnati Bangles, Keith Rivers, LB. The integrity of the draft gets compromised! Hidden cameras in the Rivers’ household** capture young master Rivers receiving a phone call. His college chum then hands him a Bengals cap, which he proudly and prominently wears for many minutes before Commission Goodell can take the stage! Shock and horror! Dishonor and taint! We learned what team he’d be playing on before we were supposed to! What’s next?

#10: New England Patsies, (more…)

April 22, 2008

The Blood of Patriots

Filed under: Baseball,Hockey — Tags: , , , , — Perich @ 8:02 am

Here’s some Boston-related sports news:

First, some kind of marathon. The ESPN coverage hints at but doesn’t really spell out how close the final half-mile was between the Russian, Alevtina Biktimirova, and the Final Fantasy VII villain Dire Tune. Tune and Biktimirova covered that last eight blocks in a dead-out sprint. They wove in and out of each other’s paths. People screamed. It was epic.

On the men’s side, the race belonged to four-time winner Cheruiyot from at least Newton on. He led a small knot of about four runners for a good stretch, then just broke away from them a second at a time. After that, nobody could even touch him for the remaining miles. He pumped his fist after crossing the finish line and counted out one-two-three-four, thus proving he’s no stranger to Boston post-victory culture. Bill Belichick’s got his eye on him.

Not all was joy in Mudville, however: the Canadiens trapped, shot and skinned the Bruins last night, knocking them out of the championship contention. Montreal rookie goalie Andrei Kostitsyn had the game of his life, not letting a single one of Boston’s 25 shots on goal get by. Thus another Bruins’ season ends in disappointment, which isn’t really “news” in the traditional sense. Think of a workplace safety board being updated – “X Days Without an Incident”; that’s the kind of story this is.

Finally, undaunted by their stunt’s unexpected success last year, Jordan’s Furniture is once again offering free furniture. This time, though, the Sox can’t just win the World Series – they have to sweep the first four games. They paid for this with an “insurance policy” last year, which I have to imagine is secret code for “gigantic sports book” as I can’t picture Citigroup writing off baseball-related furniture losses.

Can this stunt pay off?

The MLB.REDSOX contract is going for 14.00 on Tradesports. There’s no “REDSOX.SWEEP” contract posted, but let’s assume, for the sake of blogging, that the odds are similar. A contract on Tradesports pays $100 $10 if the conditions it describes come true. So to “insure” one million dollars worth of furniture, Jordan’s Furniture would need to buy 10,000100,000 shares of MLB.REDSOX. If they bought today, that’d cost them $140,000. (Edit: fixed some math)

I don’t know much about inventory and wholesaling, but I say that’s not a bad bet.

(If there’s any interest, I’ll talk more about Tradesports and other “idea futures” in another post)

April 15, 2008

The Nerds On Sports March Madness Grand Champion

Filed under: Nerd Tournaments — Tags: , , — Perich @ 1:07 pm

You’ve helped us slug through thirty-two impressive contenders, the best warriors that nerds have to offer. Now it’s down to the final two: BATMAN vs. LUKE SKYWALKER.

First Period

Luke SkywalkerBatman flung a handful of boomerangs, flash grenades and other sharp, distracting implements at Skywalker’s head. Skywalker parried them with his lightsaber and leapt across the court. He swung wildly, but Batman tumbled over his swings and rolled up behind him to kick him in the back.

Skywalker flung Batman against a stanchion with a Force push, then charged him with his saber flurrying. Pinned against the far wall, Batman narrowly avoided decapitation, but the tip of the laser sword shredded his armor from hip to shoulder.

The Dark Knight flipped his cape around to distract the Jedi and vanish. But Skywalker’s attunement with the Force meant that Batman’s stealth wouldn’t avail him. He pretended not to notice Batman hiding in the rafters – until he lashed out suddenly, severing a support pillar with his lightsaber, and knocking Batman off his perch.

Second Period

The Caped Crusader and the Jedi Knight circled each other warily.

This is what the arena looks like right before the home team starting 5 are announced“This is senseless,” Skywalker told him in calm tones. “You can’t possibly defeat me. Surrender now and save yourself the trouble.”

Batman’s response: flinging a bolo with one hand and a tear gas pellet with the other. Skywalker shredded the bolo, but the gas cloud enveloped him in thick white smoke. Batman lingered cautiously outside the cloud, his cape held over his face.

When Skywalker vaulted out of the cloud feet first, kicking Batman in the head, the Dark Knight was caught completely off guard. He sprawled backwards in a heap, fighting to clear his head. Skywalker watched him struggle, standing in the same spot Batman had stood seconds ago.

“Your thoughts betray you,” Skywalker said. “I feel the good in you, the conflict. I know that underneath that mask you’re a decent man.”

Palming the remote in his hand, Batman rolled onto his side. “No, I’m not.”

The micro-mine, lying in the spot where Batman had just been kicked from, beeped between Skywalker’s feet.

“Oh, sh–”

Winner and Grand Champion: BATMAN

BatmanThanks to the over 300 people who cast votes in this year’s tournament. We saw quite a few surprises and some epic matches thanks to your participation. Be sure to tune in for next year’s March Madness tournament, where a whole new roster of nerd icons will duke it out for that prestigious title – the Nerds on Sports March Madness Grand Champion.

April 8, 2008

Nerds on Sports March Madness – The Championship Game

Filed under: Nerd Tournaments — Tags: — Perich @ 8:22 am

Over two hundred and fifty votes cast. A month of matches. Upsets, blowouts and victories by the slimmest of margins. All of it’s been leading to this moment: the Nerds on Sports March Madness Championship Game.

But first – the Final Four recap.

Hyrule Conference Championship

BatmanBatman and Morpheus traded blows in a rainswept alley. Batman did his best to elude the vastly stronger and faster terrorist, tossing gadgets and distractions to keep Morpheus at bay.

Morpheus tapped his Bluetooth earpiece to dial up Tank in the real world. “Tank,” he said. “I need a Mantis style Kung Fu download.”

“Tank?” he repeated. “Tank, come in.”

Batman tapped a blinking device on his belt. “Cellular shielding,” he growled.

“Oh, shi-” Morpheus said.

Your Hyrule Conference Champion: BATMAN

Paragon City Conference Championship

Luke SkywalkerApparently, adamantium can parry lightsabers. Who knew? Wolverine and Luke Skywalker went toe to toe for several rounds. The mutant berserker almost forced a Dark Side relapse on Luke with the ferocity of his attacks.

Luke had the edge on defense, but Wolverine wasn’t tiring. And Skywalker hadn’t been able to sever a single limb of the Canuck’s in all this time, thanks to his adamantium bones. Finally, in a sudden burst of inspiration, Luke used the Force to push Wolverine off the narrow platform on which they fought.

“RING OUT,” boomed a loud voice.

“What?” Wolverine yelled. “Are you frickin’ kidding me? Son of a …”

Your Paragon City Conference Champion: LUKE SKYWALKER

The Final Match

Your votes have been counted and your champions have been tested. But now it’s time to see who truly is the Nerds on Sports Champion – Batman or Luke Skywalker.

Cast your vote before midnight on April 14th. Results will be announced one week from today.

April 1, 2008

Nerds on Sports March Madness – Final Four!

You think UNC’s got ups? You think UCLA’s got the defense? Just wait until you see the Nerds on Sports March Madness tournament!

T-1000 vs. Batman

BatmanWhat the T-1000 boasted in strength and adaptability, it lost in speed. The Caped Crusader leapt from rooftop to rooftop to avoid his pursuer. Analyzing a sample of liquid metal with his Batcave computer, he figured out the T-1000’s weakness quicker than Linda Hamilton did, and disabled it with a liquid nitrogen spray.

Winner: BATMAN.

Morpheus vs. Captain James T. Kirk

Captain KirkThe two captains faced off in a garbage-strewn subway. Morpheus’ kung fu was strong, but Kirk kept luring him into situations where he couldn’t unleash his full power (narrow hallways, subway turnstiles, etc). Kirk lost some headway in the early rounds, however, by mistaking the superhumanly strong Morpheus for a robot. “What is love?” he bellowed, trying to trick his opponent’s programming. “What … is the meaning … of life?”

MorpheusBattered and bloodied, Kirk finally tricked Morpheus into severing a phone junction box with a vicious roundhouse kick, cutting off his means of escape. He then wrapped Morpheus up in a headlock and threw him into the path of a train. But Morpheus shocked the crowd by backflipping off the opposite wall just before the train arrived and landing on Kirk’s head with a double knee strike. This was one for the record books – the closest match the Tournament has seen so far.

Winner: MORPHEUS.

Wolverine vs. Optimus Prime

Optimus PrimeThis one went into triple overtime with no clear leader. Optimus Prime kept stepping on Wolverine, but the feisty Canuck couldn’t be kept down. Meanwhile, Wolverine had the cutting power but not the muscle mass to take down a robot ten times his height – despite having no problem with Sentinel robots of similar size.

WolverineFinally, a stroke of good fortune exposed the Autobot Matrix of Leadership to Wolverine’s claws. Optimus fought the remainder of the third overtime period with one hand protecting his chest cavity, giving Wolverine an advantage. As Optimus fell, the Matrix bounced out of his chest and landed in the hands of Judd Nelson.

Winner: WOLVERINE

Luke Skywalker vs. Legolas

Luke SkywalkerA lot of commentators expected this one to go longer than it did. Legolas had some clear advantages in agility and precision, and a thousand years of experience over his young and headstrong Jedi opponent. However, lightsabers can still deflect arrows, whereas the reverse is never true.

Winner: LUKE SKYWALKER

Final Four

This week brings us to the conference championship games, which will determine who faces off in the finals next week. We’ve seen some upsets and some blowouts, but I think we can all agree that these competitors deserve to be here.

Hyrule Conference Championship: Batman vs. Morpheus

Paragon City Conference Championship: Wolverine vs. Luke Skywalker

Log on to our survey to vote for your favorite. We had several matches in this last round come down to just a few votes. Don’t let your favorite get knocked out because you didn’t vote for him!

Voting ends midnight on Sunday, April 6th. Good luck, and see you in the finals!

March 25, 2008

March Madness – Nerds on Sports – Elite Eight

Filed under: Nerd Tournaments — Tags: , , , — Perich @ 8:39 am

The NCAA bracket has excited exactly no one, with top seeds like UNC, Tennessee and Kansas cruising on through. But the Elite Eight at Nerds on Sports continues to surprise!

Blowouts

BatmanGiven past success in defeating Superman, it shocked no one that Batman wiped the floor with Superman’s low-rent Jersey cousin, Mr. Incredible. A complicated series of super-gadgets and martial arts nerve strikes brought the invulnerable bruiser low, though the two superheroes parted as friends. The Operative looked awfully bad-ass, quoting obscure philosophers and wielding a totally cool katana, until Optimus Prime ran him over. Nine or ten times.

Meanwhile, fans were treated to the longest first half of the tournament so far, as Rick Deckard insisted on putting Luke Skywalker through the tedious process of the Voight-Kampff test. Determining with six minutes left in the game that Skywalker was not, in fact, a robot, Deckard seemed at a loss and quickly fell to Skywalker’s lightsaber. “Don’t get cocky, kid,” he warned after the game.

Squeakers

Legolas and Harry Potter traded the lead several times before Legolas slammed one home before the buzzer. Mark Schlabach at ESPN.com had said that Potter’s “keys to the game” included not brooding for hours over consequential choices, advice the boy wizard apparently failed to take. Morpheus and Buffy Summers had an epic kung-fu duel on rain-swept rooftops that went into quintuple-overtime. The terrorist mastermind finally capitalized on the fact that it wasn’t actually air he was breathing and pulled out a win in the end. Indiana Jones lasted far longer against Wolverine than any of the pundits anticipated, but eventually succumbed.

Upsets

I have extensive files.Fan favorite Jack Bauer broke a lot of hearts – and a lot of brackets – over the weekend, losing to the T-1000. Under the mistaken belief that the shapeshifting robot could turn itself into a bomb, Bauer wasted valuable clock time asking where the bomb was and then trying to defuse it. The T-1000 took on the appearance of Chloe, a trusted coworker of agent Bauer, to close in for the final blow.

And all the magical scimitars and panther miniatures in the world couldn’t give Drizz’t Do’urden a win over Captain James T. Kirk. Kirk somehow ended up shirtless and glazed with oil, and he seemed by far the less graceful of the two, but he avoided the dark elf’s whirling blades and beat him with trickery and secular humanist know-how.

The Elite Eight

The final match approaches! Be sure to cast your vote in each of these match-ups!

Hyrule Conference

T-1000 vs. Batman
Morpheus vs. Captain James T. Kirk

Paragon City Conference

Wolverine vs. Optimus Prime
Luke Skywalker vs. Legolas

Voting ends Sunday at Midnight, as usual. Your votes make the difference!

(Remember, you vote by taking this survey, not by leaving comments)

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