“Just a bit outside”

June 29, 2011

Say it ain't so, Wild Thing. Say it ain't so.

Forget the Mitchell Report. We have now discovered the true extent of performance enhancing drugs in baseball.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated on Wednesday, Charlie Sheen admitted to taking steroids during the filming of the all-time classic baseball movie Major League. From the interview:

SI: You never told me why you didn’t like the haircut.

Sheen: I didn’t like the haircut because it generated so many comments in bars. I’ve got enough of that already. Add that to the mix, and it’s a recipe for a fistfight. I was already bitchy because — let’s just say that I was enhancing my performance a little bit. It was the only time I ever did steroids. I did it for like six or eight weeks. You can print this, I don’t give a f—. My fastball went from 79 to like 85.

Now that I know that “Wild Thing” needed PEDs to strike out that Yankee in the ALCS (and that his fastball wasn’t really in triple digits), how can I possibly believe anything that’s happened in baseball over the last 22 years was real? What’s next — finding out that Pedro Cerrano didn’t really go on to become President of the United States?

A LeBron James Screed

June 2, 2011

LeBron James takes a break for a photo during a game this season at Philadelphia.

For the start of the NBA Finals, Instead of Texting has been lucky enough to host a couple of guest entries. Here’s the latest, from lifelong Cleveland sports fan Jeff Strowe.

So it has come to this. Of course it has.

As a Cleveland fan, you just knew that the nemesis would rise and make its presence known. Despite the trials and tribulations along the way, the posturing, the attempts at pushing their head coach aside, and the regular season setbacks, it is the truth that the Miami Heat, that stacked AAU-like band of brothers are in the NBA Finals. Having fairly simply dispatched of the Celtics and the Bulls, King James, D-Wade, and little cousin Bosh are on the big stage soaking up the fawning accolades that are coming hot and heavy from national pundits, primarily those in Bristol who at least can say that they were on the bandwagon from the beginning.

So, as the Finals tipped off last night and Dirk & Co. threw their arsenal at the “Heatles,” I took notice with deep disappointment that it could have and possibly should have been my Cavs in the Finals the past two seasons, with LeBron delivering on that long-sought-after championship he had promised Clevelanders back in ’06 after first tasting some playoff success. The fan part of me remains bitter, hoping that the Mavs rally behind their star and move quickly and fiercely towards a dismantling of the Heat, cementing Dirk’s and Kidd’s legacies and avenging their botched series in ’06. The other, more realistic part of me, though, watches with an air of inevitableness, waiting for James to hawk his way across the court and hit some key shots down the stretch, stifling Dallas’ momentum, delivering on a championship, hugging D-Wade and Darth Riley, and then smugly accepting his MVP trophy, reminding us again that he needed to go somewhere to play with players he could trust and “that wouldn’t hide when the lights got brightest.”

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Remembrance of Things Past: The NBA Returns to its Roots

June 1, 2011

LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. Now, Grant Jones is taking his talents to Instead of Texting to present his definitive retrospective on NBA fashion through the ages (with an assist from Jimmy).

The recent unveiling of the new Washington Wizards uniforms was further evidence of a growing trend among NBA franchises to re-brand themselves into the aesthetics of their own past. Golden State, Utah, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Detroit and Minnesota have all rebuked the “upgrades” of the 1990s in favor of a return to the uniform styles of the 1970s and 80s. Looking back, this now seems only the inevitable conclusion of a decade-long obsession with throwback uniforms, which had begun as an occasional homage to a team’s history but quickly proved very popular with fans. Now those same teams that once rebuked these older styles as out-of-date are changing their minds. In fact, the only franchises which seem immune to this growing trend are those whose style have never (or seldom) deviated from their original incarnations. Teams such as Boston, New York, and Los Angeles, Chicago and San Antonio. It would appear that the same NBA marketing teams which, during the 1990s, ushered in one of the most comprehensive, unnecessary and unappealing style shifts in league history could finally realize what fans had long known: nostalgia sells.

Well, usually.

It seems odd that such a sweeping change in uniform styles would have taken place in the 1990s, when the league’s popularity was at an all-time high. Not only were logos updated but in many cases, entire color schemes—which had been associated with their respective teams for decades—were swapped out for new ones. Detroit went from blue and red to green and orange. Houston, which had always been red and gold, made navy blue its dominant color. Sacramento, Milwaukee and Utah each decided to drape themselves in purple despite no preceding association with that color. Cleveland ditched burgundy for sky blue and black. Denver, Philadelphia and Golden State all fell into the modernization trap, with Toronto, New Jersey and Dallas staggering into new designs by the early 2000s. In a few cases, these overhaul designs were met with positive critiques, while in most, such as Detroit’s odd choice, the changes were met by fan outrage. Undoubtedly, as The Gap recently realized, change for change’s sake is not always a good idea, especially if it uproots an identity fans came to regard as part of their own.

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