A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Category: Sports

The NFL Is Looking for Unpaid Interns to Perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show

by evanmcmurry

The NFL is seeking experience-hungry artists to perform for byline credit at the Super Bowl halftime show. Repeat, this position is UNPAID, but a great opportunity for exposure:

So why does the Super Bowl have such a history of messing up what should be a simple thing? In other words, why isn’t Jay-Z making halftime an Empire State of Mind — after all, he has time for the DirecTV party in Manhattan on Super Bowl eve?

The simple answer is that the NFL doesn’t want to pay performers, and a lot of stars apparently don’t want to play for free, even if the NFL is technically a non-profit enterprise. Instead, artists use the opportunity for exposure, or to up their profile, maybe revive their careers.

Interested applicants should demonstrate a strong Twitter presence and a willingness to learn on the go.

Behold the Most American Headline of All Time

by evanmcmurry

Nailed it:


Kevin Ware’s Very Expensive Injury May Not Cost the NCAA A Dime

by evanmcmurry

The only thing worse than seeing Kevin Ware’s injury is reading about how he’ll probably have to pay for it:

It is certainly true that Division I NCAA basketball players get athletic scholarships. However, those scholarships often do not cover the entire cost of attending college. Additionally, many are not guaranteed four-year scholarships — on the contrary, many schools refuse to offer guaranteed multi-year scholarships, and the NCAA’s big “reform” of the last few years wasn’t to mandate such a guarantee, but to merely allow it if particular schools want it.

That means that if a player like Ware gets injured while on the job at a school that doesn’t offer a multi-year scholarship, the scholarship can be — and often is — revoked.

If that isn’t bad enough, the New York Times reports that when it comes to major on-the-court injuries like the one Ware sustained, medical bills can end up being the responsibility of the student and the student’s family, rather than the NCAA or the school. Indeed, the NCAA has a Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program, but the Birmingham News reports that there is a $90,000 deductible. Worse, the Daily Caller reports that while “the NCAA has its own catastrophic injury insurance, which insures individual athletes up to $20 million … the majority (of athletes) don’t qualify.”

Good thing he makes so much money playing basketball.

Asking Paul Krugman about Super Bowl Ads

by pdxblake

And this is the moment when I start to ask what the hell they are doing to Paul Krugman.  Super Bowl ads?  I don’t care about his opinion of Super Bowl ads.  Although I do appreciate that he is distressed that the Rolling Stones have entirely sold out (but is he surprises? is he just realizing now?).  The marginal utility to Mick Jagger of having more money far exceeds the marginal disutility from selling out.

And on to Paul

I’m Stephanopoulizing tomorrow, and as part of the preparation I had to watch a bunch of Superbowl ads. There went a series of 30-second chunks of my life I’ll never get back.

But one ad really disturbed me — and no, it wasn’t the one with Bar Rafaeli. You see, I remember when the Rolling Stones were the Rolling Stones, and would sing things like this:

When I’m watchin’ my T.V.
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarrettes as me

And now “Sympathy for the devil” is the sound track for a Mercedes ad. Yes, I know that there’s supposed to be some irony, because the car doesn’t cost as much as you’d think, and they’re making a joke about expecting Kate Upton to come with the package. But still …

If you’re still reading, is this some plot by the cyborgs who control George Stephanopolous to neuter Paul Krugman’s message by asking him about entirely unrelated issues.

It’s Time For Buzz Bissinger To Prune His Facebook Friends

by evanmcmurry

Sad trombone:

The Newsweek and Daily Beast contributor, who wrote a cover story titled I Still Believe in Lance Armstrong, says he’s thoroughly embarrassed he gave the disgraced cyclist the benefit of the doubt, believe that the athlete didn’t win his cycling championships through doping.

[..] In his August cover story, Bissinger—the author of Friday Night Lights—argued that Armstrong “is a hero, one of the few we have left in a country virtually bereft of them. And he needs to remain one.”

[…] The writer said the Newsweek story “really shot my credibility” by “2%, 3%, [or] 5%,”

Bringing his net credibility down to zero. You’ll recall the last time we saw Bissinger he was endorsing Mitt Romney for president via one of the most pathetically ignorant and offensive screeds ever penned by a professional columnist. You’ll recall the previous Bissinger sighting was his public split from Tony LaRussa*, who turned out to be a Tea Party nutjob, of which Bissinger was unaware despite writing a book about the man.

Romney, Armstrong, Larussa*: It might be time for Bissinger to take a sober look at his method of character evaluation. At this point he resembles less the guy who wrote Friday Night Lights than the Odessians he describes as falling for the same oil scheme again and again.

* Yes, I know how his name is supposed to be spelled.

Can Something Be True And On Oprah At The Same Time?

by evanmcmurry

Given Oprah’s pathological inability/unwillingness to verify anything said on her show, now I’m suddenly skeptical that Lance in fact doped. All confessing on Oprah does is put you on the same truth register as James Frey and vaccinations = autism.

If he did, though, it makes this all the worse.

What We Won’t Learn From The New York Giants’ Season

by evanmcmurry

Ends of seasons tend to bring out the histrionic in sportswriters (they have this is common with just about everything else). Thus we learn the fact that the same 9-7 record that got the Giants to the Super Bowl last year got them diddly squat this year is one of the “perils of life,” as opposed to the perils of a small sample size, and “an unforgiving truth they will take to their graves.”

Lighten up, guys. Have a sandwich:

Mike Tomlin, Phenomenologist

by evanmcmurry

“Sounds like a broken record but reality as we sit here.” Totally; see also the phenomenology of Bobby Valentine. (via)

Progress, Boston Red Sox v. Capitalism Edition

by evanmcmurry

Ben Cherington must read this blog and its long-running complaint about ballclubs sinking all their money into overpriced slugger salaries:

We knew when we made the Dodger trade, when we moved (Adrian) Gonzalez, that we would have to try to find a way to replace that offense, and as we got into the offseason we understood that was probably going to have to come from a combination of guys and maybe not one guy. (via)

Many guys as opposed to one guy? That’s not how baseball works.

Cherington has already offloaded three of Theo Epstein’s obscenely-paid players; of them, Gonzalez was the only one potentially worth a blockbuster contract, but even still his salary was so stratospheric that it’s hard to imagine a single player’s performance living up to its value (no player’s does). So while Cherington is still stuck with Dice-K and John Lackey, both Epstein acquisitions, he’s showing a proclivity for the smarter, mid-range contracts of the mid-2000s Sox—in other words, he’s acting like Epstein before Epstein started handing out contracts the size of a small nation’s GDP to anyone who was on the market that year.

All This Could Have Been Yours, Los Angeles

by evanmcmurry

The Dodgers are so corrupt even people who didn’t buy the team are going to jail:

Some were disappointed Cohen was swept aside at the last minute by an aggressive $2.15-billion bid by the Guggenheim Baseball Group, a initially misnamed the “Magic Johnson-led group.”

Cohen’s hedge fund company, SAC Capital, was under investigation for insider trading during the bidding process, though Cohen was reportedly not directly under scrutiny.

Not anymore.

Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen had been implicated in a massive $276-million insider trading scheme.

Perhaps your economic Spidey sense was tingling for good reason. Now just imagine if Cohen — widely viewed as the runner-up — had actually won the bidding. The Dodgers would have gone from bankruptcy court under Frank McCourt to criminal court under Cohen.

It remains to be seen what Guggenheim Baseball Group will ultimately be guilty of.