Sunday, October 3, 2010

Well hey, at least they got the suck out of the way earlier than usual. As Dan Dierdorf put it, "I don't even think Donte Whitner got a fingernail on LT as he ran to the end zone." Yup, 2010 is gonna be a long year.

Part II

See this is why I would argue being a Bills fan is tougher than, say, being a Lions fan. Sure, the Lions probably lose more than the Bills, but they do it in a professional manner. They show up, get trounced and jog it out to the locker room. If you're a Lions fan, you can start watching other games, make some food or just go outside and throw the pigskin around at halftime and not really worry about getting back in time for the third. The game is usually over by then. And the game looked pretty much over already when Mark Sanchez zipped a play action pass to a wide open Braylon Edwards for a 17-0 Jet lead.

But of course the Bills couldn't just roll over and let the loss wash over them. Chan Gailey made the admittedly great call of going for it in the Wildcat formation. This prompts me to ask why we don't see a lot more of the Wildcat. Fred Jackson is the perfect fit for a Wildcat-running back QB...if that term makes sense. He's smart, quick, patient and can throw the ball. He made a great play to get that first down on the Bills side of the field. The call clearly lit a fire under the Bills offense as they marched right down for a TD and it's now 17-7 Jets at the half.

And there's the rub: This game is destined to end 27-14 Jets. Or something like that. The Jets will continue to pound the ball and wear the Bills D down while it's only going to take one Fitzpatrick INT or one too many three and outs for the Bills and that will be that. But at the half, the Bills are only down by ten. You cannot stop watching your team if it's only down ten at the half. Not even 17 really, but never ten. It's too close. The Bills are masterful at hanging around until they simply run out of time. Until then.

Bemoaning the Bills

When you root for one of the worst franchises in pro sports, you have to find ways to get yourself through the games, week in and week out. The Buffalo Bills are without a doubt one of the worst teams in the NFL, and have been so for the better part of the last decade. With no hope in sight and the team 0-3, the best fans in the NFL still showed up for a Week 4 matchup with playoff contender New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Since I wore out my welcome at the Ralph thanks to about 14 gallons of Labatt's Blue Light and the repulsive sight of Dolphins fans, I'm sitting the rest of the year out as far as live entertainment is concerned. However, that won't stop me from sitting back and watching my beloved Bills every week. And while I'm at it, I might as well chronicle my thoughts as I watch my team most likely lose in what will most likely be a cold, wet, miserable affair.

1st quarter:

Kickoff! Did I mention that this game is sold out? This team is becoming Lions bad, but these fans still come out every week and make Ralph Wilson Stadium a pain in the ass place for anyone to play. If only we could say the same for the team. Chan Gailey defers and the Bills kickoff to the Jets.

Mark Sanchez might not have to pass more than eight times today for the Jets to easily win. Ladainian Tomlinson is averaging about ten yards a run as the Jets march down the field and, yep, there's an LT touchdown. The historically bad run defense of last year proudly juts its chin in the air as the crowd's energy is already sucked from the stadium. My gut feeling is the Jets have already scored more points on that drive than the Bills will today.

And wouldn't you know it! The Jets set themselves up to ice the Bills before the game is ten minutes old! A high, short kick is bobbled, of course, by a Bills player and the Jets recover. Swimming start, fellas. Somehow the Jets manage to botch a gassed Bills D and can't even get a FG out of it. Still 7-0 Jets.

And now the Bills take the field for the first time! Ryan Fitzpatrick's career stats look like a bad Jay Cutler year: 58% Comp. Rate 4351 yds 23 TD 29 INT. Yeah, it might be time to draft a quarterback...

And now the Bills punt for the first time! Well hey, it was a great three plays, guys. LT averages more in one rush than the Bills average on a drive. If you'd told me a decade ago that I'd be watching the winningest AFC team of the 90s get shredded by a Jets team led by a guy who designed his own shirts for a "Jets West" seminar with the skill players on his offense. Ugh. I need a break. Back in the second quarter.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kudos to the creators of Hung for once again coming through with a killer track to end the show's most recent episode. Found here:

If you like that song, check out The Heavy. You probably heard their song How You Like Me Now on a few different commercials:

The rest of their album The House That Dirt Built is stellar. I'd especially recommend Cause for Alarm and Long Way From Home. Both the Map of Africa tune (I can't seem to find anything else by this band) and The Heavy are packed to the gills with soul. Give them a listen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I May or May Not Have Seen Scott Bakula

I might have tended bar for Scott Bakula today. He either was Scott Bakula or he was someone who looks like a dead ringer for Scott Bakula. I wanted to ask, but I never did. For one, the guy sat at the end of the bar and ordered a Diet Coke. He pulled the businessman move and placed a laptop and some papers on the bar. He grabbed and pen and pored over his sheets, rarely so much as picking his head up. I had four or five other guys in the middle of the bar and they were a lively, chatty bunch so I never really struck up a conversation with him. If it had just been this man at the bar, I would have jokingly told him he looked like Scott Bakula. If he said he was indeed Scott Bakula, I'd ask him how the TNT smash hit Men of Certain Age is going for him. Just kidding, I had no clue what the name of that show was until I looked it up on IMDB. Ah, TNT, you truly are the purgatory of the drama television market you so yearn to rule.

Anyways, I don't know where we would have gone from there. I mean, Scott Bakula's a pretty reputable movie/film actor and I absolutely would have jumped out with the "Quantum Leap!" shout, but I didn't even watch that show. It just seems like the acting gig he's most commonly associated with. But then what? We just mutually acknowledge that I'm ambivalent to this dude's work and have no real idea of the roles he's played through the years and be on with it? Great, but I work for tips. What if Scott Bakula is a generous tipper, but a sensitive man? He ordered a wine so at this point I was edging in for that buck. It doesn't seem like much, but that's how you have to approach it. Give everyone your best and hope enough of them are generous enough to help you pay your rent. You want them happier than when they came in. Would it make Scott Bakula happy to know his performances haven't penetrated the Buffalo market yet? What would he be doing in Buffalo anyway? Actors don't come here. Every person I've seen come through the airport with some shred of fame, nationally or locally, has been attached to the Buffalo Bills or Sabres. That's Buffalo for you. But here, potentially, is Scott Bakula! I don't know the guy and I don't care about his career (although I am by no means a hater of Scott Bakula, we just seemingly haven't crossed paths on the screen in a major way that I can remember of. Put it this way, I've never seen anything in TV or film that has made me say, "You need to watch [insert here] and see Bakula's performance! Doesn't mean he's bad, but he's just flown over my radar like a good number of successful actors/actresses), but I'm assuming he's got a LOT more money than the average bum leaving the 70 cent tip and I wanna stop at the liquor store on the way home on Scott Bakula's dime.

So I left him be. Patrons with work like to be left alone. I joked with the guys in the middle and talked about Buffalo, which is apparently entertaining for people from outside Buffalo. They find it amusing that we actually have a summer. Then they dip their chicken fingers in Frank's Red Hot Sauce and they realize why they named chicken wings after the home of this ambrosia. One man in the middle paid his tab with a credit card and, wouldn't you know it, his name was Scott. As I brought his slip back, I said loudly, "Thanks Scott!" and immediately looked to the end of the bar. No response. Head still down, studying his papers. Point. Not Bakula.

He even looked over once at one of my jokes and gave me a Bakulan look that I believe said, "I am genuinely amused, but too reserved for laughter". I responded with a look that I hope said, "If you're Scott Bakula, then I know who you are. If not, sorry for the weird look." He looked down at his papers and continued writing Xs on charts and perusing lists the likes of which we'll never know. He paid in cash and left a 5 dollar tip on a 7 dollar glass of wine. Obviously an awesome tip and not something poor people do. Point. Bakula.

I never asked his name or made a Bakula joke (if there is such a thing?). I took my tip, packed my drawer, and went home. So if that was you Scott, I'd like to pour a sip of my boxed wine -- the purchase of which you so heartily contributed to -- on the road. If not, thanks (Probably) Rich Guy Who Looks Like Scott Bakula. You made my day just by looking like the Quantum Leaper.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cory Buck: Sports Investigator

ESPN is the zenith of love/hate for me. I love anything that dedicates itself to sports 24/7. I hate anything that tries to choke me to death on Brett Favre coverage. And this recent Lebron James free agency fiasco has brought the media to new heights of non-stop player worship.

Still, I couldn't help but keep digging. After all, for all its saturation, the Lebron James story was a fascinating one. This wasn't just about what team a superstar was going to play for. This was a story with a strong human element. Does a man stay home with everyone he knows in a city he was born near continuing to make good money while building a lifelong presence in his hometown? Or does he go to big city and leave everyone behind for good? There was an intriguing tale behind it all.

When I watched Lebron make the jump to Miami on his silly Decision show, I felt like I was watching Green Day unveil American Idiot. Suddenly, everything I knew about this popular entity was turned upside down. Awards and adulation trumped loyalty to a brand. Green Day won Grammy's and Lebron will probably eventually win titles. But at what cost? Lebron will never be that galloping giant who carried his teammates, high fived everyone and played every second ably carrying his hometown on his shoulders with the hope of someday bringing Cleveland to the promised land and becoming a legend.

Now, he's an athlete gone Hollywood, playing in the shadows of a guy drafted 3 spots lower than him in 2003 and nothing in basketball will ever be the same. A subtle choice we've all made before (home vs. prosperity) played out on a giant stage for millions to watch and scrutinize. With that in mind, I snuck into Pat Reilly's office and eavesdrop on a meeting Reilly had with his new trio of prized free agents shortly after they verbally agreed to join the Heat. Read on for the full transcript.

Reilly: Hey guys we need to get our fans pumped up for you and the 24-hour inundation of analysis on your every move for the last month isn't enough to get their blood pumping. So to celebrate my brilliant feat in conning you all to take less money so I can come back and get another ring or two as a coach, I wanna put you on a stage!

Bosh: Yay! Stages! Then more people can see me for the first time!

Reilly: Busting the Bosh cherry! It'll be like seeing a dragon for the first time. I love it!

Lebron: Is the stage on the beach? I wanna be on the beach!

Wade: Can I wear that dope white hat that I wear in all my T-Mobile commercials?

Reilly: No. You'll all be wearing your new Heat jerseys. You realize how high jersey sales are gonna skyrocket after this event?

Bosh: I'll bet I sell a million jerseys now!

Reilly: Uh, probably not Chris. In fact, to make room for Wade and Bron jerseys, we're delaying making your jersey until the season starts and people actually see what you look like on the court. I think we're all just kinda assuming you're a top 3 power forward in the league without any real evidence that you can dominate.

Wade: I can't wait to sip coconut rum out of that sexy Cuban's ass after the show.

Lebron: Word to that, Big Bro!

Reilly: Right....anyways, back to the gala. We'll invite yuppy Dolphins fans to come out to the arena. We'll play dance music, get a little laser show, some smoke, and then you guys come out.

Wade: What do we do?

Reilly: Whatever you want. You're Dwyane Wade. You literally own this town now thanks to your brilliant free agent lobbying.

Lebron: Can I dance?

Reilly: Of course you can dance. It's Miami! Dancing is mandatory.

Bosh: Can I dance!?

Reilly: Eh...only if you cut that Predator hair-do...

Bosh: Done!

Reilly: As if you had a choice. So look just show up, we'll bring the lasers and the Heat. Get it? Bring the Heat! Oh fellas, this is gonna be the second-best six years of my life.

Wade: Bring the Heeeaaat!

Lebron: I don't get it...

Reilly: Just smile and let your chin strap do the work, Bron Bron. Save it up for game day.

Lebron: I got this real sweet dance move I perfected in my head during Game 6 against Boston. I'm gonna bust it out tomorrow. Drink all dayyy, play all niiiight, let's get it poppin'. I'm in Miami trick! I've been jammin that beat since July 1st!

Reilly: You mean, when you woke up July 8th *wink wink*

Lebron: Why are you winking at me? Where's my entourage!? Do they get to come up on stage, too?

Wade: Bros before hos, bro.

Lebron: But my entourage ARE my bros, Big Bro!

Reilly: No bros on stage. Sorry Bron.

Lebron: That's bunk, man. I want it put in my contract that next time you have a Heat Party, I get to bring my boys with me.

Reilly: We'll consider it. But for this one, it's just gonna be you three wearing your new jerseys. High five the fans, maybe even make eye contact with one or two if you feel like it. Oh and make sure you randomly cross your arms and do the tough guy head nod at least five times each. That's crucial.

Bosh: I'm gonna make eye contact with everyone!

Wade: Nah man, we don't wanna freak 'em out.

Reilly: Yeah, Chris. Why don't you just kinda point at spots in the crowd and give these guys some room? Then once you've postured a bit, we're gonna put you guys in stools and have someone interview the three of you.

Lebron: I wanna sit in the middle!

Reilly: Eh, we're gonna put Dwyane in the middle. That's what Big Bros are for. Just think: Wade's House joins Lebron's Kingdom. The fans will go apeshit!

Bosh: What about Bosh's Broom Closet!?!?!

Wade: Bosh's Basement.

Lebron: Bosh's Miami trick!

Reilly: Ahh, yeah. Forgot about, basement's not bad, but let's get a little more creative. Say, Bosh's Pit?

Bosh: The Bosh Pit! I'm in, coach!

Reilly: You mean, general manager *wink wink*.

Lebron: Now you're winking at him! And you said you were gonna be coa--

Reilly: Not now, Bron! Please, fellas. Work with me. So we introduce you, do your dance thing. Do like five minutes of interviews, then you go back to the beach. Do I dare even ask if there are any questions?

Lebron: Yeah I got one. What's your policy on spitoons on the bench?

Reilly: Spitoons?

Lebron: Mike Brown always gave me a spitoon for my chewed up nails when I got nervous in the playoffs. You gonna give me a spitoon?

Reilly: A spitoon clause. No problem. Any other questions?

Bosh: Yeah I got one.

Reilly: No more questions? Great! Fellas, it's great to have you here. Now get out there and make Papa Reilly proud.

Wade: Oh, coach, one more thing. Did we get that cabana reserved for Saturday the 21st? Me and Bron wanna see how many Miami ladies can fit in that pool at once. Bron's sayin 200. I'm sayin 250.

Bosh: Can I come!?

Wade: Ahh, we'll call you. So, Pat did we get the cabana?

(Reilly stands and smiles with an outstretched hand.)

Reilly: Yes. We. Did.