Tag Archives: sports

Arguing with an Idiot

Everyone has their own opinions and most people want their opinions known. This results in a lot of arguments and debates between people who don’t see eye to eye. I’ve discussed politics, religion, sports, et cetera with friends, family members, and random people at the bar. Most of the time I end up having a decent conversation with someone who has a different viewpoint than me. But occasionally I realize that I’m talking to a complete idiot who has no idea how spectacularly wrong they are.

Case in point: the other day I was talking to a Dodger fan at a baseball game and I mentioned that beach balls in the stands is a Dodger thing. He disagreed and said that beach balls in the stands is a baseball thing. I couldn’t help but laugh at his ignorance. We were sitting in the bleachers at AT&T Park on a gorgeous sunny Saturday afternoon with nary a beach ball in sight. If beach balls are a baseball thing, then where the fuck were all the beach balls? Oh, in Dodger Stadium, that’s right. 

I didn’t bring up that very valid point though because there’s no point in arguing with an idiot. It’s an excercise in futility. If they don’t believe basic facts, they aren’t going to believe you. I want to be clear that he’s not an idiot for being a Dodgers fan. That’s not his fault. Your team is chosen for you before you’re born. He’s an idiot for not realizing that the traditions of Dodger Stadium don’t extend to all of baseball. He probably thinks that every stadium sells Dodger Dogs. They don’t. Just like they don’t do The Chop outside of Atlanta. Don’t argue with stupid people. You’re never going to change their mind. It’s a waste of time and energy. Ignorance is bliss and sometimes people want to be happy. Let them believe the world is flat.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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When the Season Ends

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of the San Francisco Giants. I didn’t jump on the bandwagon as soon as they started winning World Series titles. I was born a Giants fan and I have embarrassing childhood photos to prove it: 

Go Giants!


I like sports but the Giants are my team. They take priority over everyone else. I’d rather watch a Giants game on TV than sit in the first row of a Warrior’s game. Being a fan of a baseball team is a huge commitment, especially if they are contenders for a championship. It means a month of spring training, six months of games, and (hopefully) a month of postseason play. It’s six or seven nights a week of watching or following games. There are highs and lows, a diverse cast of characters, and lots of magical moments that make it better than any reality show. 

So it leaves me with a hollow feeling when the season ends. Especially when the season ends as cruelly and abruptly as the Giants’s historic ninth inning meltdown of Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cubs. I was in AT&T Park. I got to see the life sucked out of the stadium and the Cubs celebrate on our mound. They got to advance. We had to go home. The season ended. It was over. It’s disappointing yet kind of a relief. I can relax now. Off-season for the Giants is also off-season for me. 

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Going to the Game by Myself

 I went to work yesterday and I didn’t feel much like working. I had an opportunity to leave early and so I took it. I clocked in at 10:30 and I clocked out at 10:45. I had the whole day ahead of me and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. The Giants were playing the Diamondbacks at 1:05 and I was in the mood for some baseball. I started texting friends to see if anybody was down to go. Nobody could go on such short notice so I bought a standing room only ticket for myself and went alone. It was my first time going to the game by myself and I don’t think it will be my last. It was a lot of fun. I could do whatever I wanted. I didn’t have to settle for inferior beer. There was no debating where to go for food. I could make bathroom trips whenever I wanted and didn’t have to wait for anyone stuck in a longer line than me. And I wasn’t bored because I still talked baseball with the other fans around me. I feel like I paid a lot more attention to the game. I still prefer going with other people but now I know that I can go to the game whenever the mood strikes me. And going to the game is always better than watching it on TV. You can call me a loser but you can’t say I’m not a fan. Go Giants! 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watching the Game at the Laundromat

I got rid of cable a few years ago and I only regret not being able to watch sports at home. My options are kind of limited. I can watch games a friend’s house or at a bar somewhere. But it dawned on me as I was doing laundry earlier today that I can watch the game at the laundromat. The laundromat that I go to has cable TV, a few chairs to relax on, and is hardly ever crowded so I could control the remote. I figure I can go there as a last resort if I ever need to. I would do a couple loads of laundry, taking as much time as possible while sipping on a couple of tall boys. I’d be a paying customer so I could get away with it. I think it’s a great idea. I’m surprised that it took me thirty years to think of it.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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I Got Rid of Cable

There was a time when I was addicted to cable television and all it had to offer. My roommates and I had every single HD channel you could think of, including all the premium movie channels, along with Video on Demand, and few DVRs, the works. I could watch anything at anytime and I did. It I spent hours flipping through my favorite channels and searching for shows and movies to record. It was an addiction and I was hooked. Or I thought I was. Until my roommates and I decided that cable wasn’t worth it anymore and we discontinued our service.

You know what? It wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t that hard of a transition either, as long as you have a solid internet connection. It helps having a Netflix or Hulu subscription too. I don’t have Hulu, but I have Netflix and Netflix is pretty great. They have tons of movie and series and great original programming. You could survive on Netflix. But honestly, I rely on YouTube more than anything else for entertainment. I subscribe to a lot of channels like WatchMojo, Vice, Vsauce, and too many more to name. You can get stuck in a music video playlist. All the late night talk shows upload their best content. There’s tons of sports highlights too, its like having ESPN at your fingertips. YouTube is better than basic cable and it’s free.

The biggest thing that I miss is watching sports, particularly baseball. The first thing I did after I got rid of cable was go out and buy an old radio from Goodwill. Listening to Jon Miller and Dave Flemming on KNBR 680 with MLB Gameday open on my laptop is almost as good as watching the San Francisco Giants on TV. Almost. I will go to a friend’s house or to a bar for really important games. It’s more fun to watch with more people anyway so it wasn’t much of a change. Other than live sports, there is plenty of life after cable. I got rid of cable. I regret nothing.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Older Than the Athletes

I remember my first year in college was the same year LeBron James made his NBA debut. It made quite an impression on me, not because he was the Chosen One or whatever, but because we were both eighteen years old and starting new chapters in our lives. His book was just way better than mine. It was kind of a turning point. When you’re growing up the athletes you’re watching on TV are older than you. You keep watching sports and time slogs on. After a while you’re the same age as the rookies, then you’re the same age as the athletes in their prime, then you’re the same age as the veterans, and eventually you’re the same age as the coach. Realizing that you’re older than the athletes is worse than a finding a gray hair. It’s like finding ten gray hairs at once. It’s your mortality slapping you in the face. And it hurts. Nobody wants to be older than the athletes. They want to be the athletes.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Birth of Big Air

The Birth of Big Air is a 2010 documentary about professional BMX star Mat Hoffman. It’s directed by Jeff Tremaine and produced by Spike Jonze and Johnny Knoxville as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. You might recognize Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze, and Johnny Knoxville from their work on MTV’s Jackass. All three of them were so impressed with Hoffman’s badassery that they decided to make a movie about him. Hoffman was a pioneer in the sport. He was always creating new tricks, getting more and more big air, and pushing the sport into the mainstream. He partially saved the sport in the early ‘90s when sponsors and contests dried up. He created his own company, organized his own events, and kept on developing new tricks. He wasn’t doing it for money. He was doing it for himself.

The filmmakers stress that Hoffman is more than an athlete. He is a gladiator. He punishes his body. He’s broken practically all his bones, he ruptured his spleen, he’s been in a couple of comas, and he’s almost died several times. But he always gets back up and gets back on his bike. It’s what he does. It’s who he is. Along the way he inspired thousands of kids to get on a bike and go outside.

The documentary explores Hoffman’s influence on BMX and the X Games lifestyle. He was building his own megaramps years and getting twenty feet of air years before anyone else was brave enough to try it. He showed people that it was possible. He paved the way for the spectacle that the X Games have become. Mat Hoffman is a different breed of human. If Charlie Sheen has tiger blood, Mat Hoffman has liger blood. And yes, I just referenced Charlie Sheen’s #Winning phase and Napoleon Dynamite.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Dynasty

The San Francisco Giants won the 2014 World Series. They also won the 2012 World Series. And before that they won the 2010 World Series. That’s three World Series in five years in case you’re not paying attention. That’s a dynasty. Only a lot of people disagree with that. Those people are mostly on the East Coast and they are extremely biased. They would have no problem calling it a dynasty if the New York Yankees did it. The Giants did it with the same core group of guys in an era when rosters change dramatically from season to season. Bruce Bochy, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Tim Lincecum, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Sergio Romo (and Matt Cain sort of) all have three rings with this team. A bunch of others now have two. A handful of them got their first ones. In 2016 they will get another if the trend keeps up.

The Giants are often overlooked and underrated. The Dodgers and Yankees get all the attention and publicity because of their marquee players and enormous payroll. But it takes a team to win the World Series and the Giants play as a team in every sense of the word. They pick each other up, they support each other, and they play for each other. It seems like there’s a different hero every game. They play for the name of the front of the jersey, not the name on the back and every single player on that roster will tell you that. They believe that there’s something special happening in San Francisco. And three World Series in five years proves that there is. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a dynasty.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Wave

The wave is a celebratory gesture typically performed by spectators at a sporting event. A group of people stand up, raise their arms, yell and scream, then sit back down as the people next to them rise up and do the same, the people next to them do it too, and so on and so forth. The end result looks like a rolling wave as the spectators rise and fall as the movement goes around the stadium. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been a part of a wave. I’m ashamed to admit that I thought it was fun. But now a few years have passed and I realize how amateur it really was. Real fans don’t do the wave. They are too involved with actually watching the game (and heckling, but that’s a different story). I was at an SF Giants game the other night and there were a couple of girls sitting behind me trying to start the wave. I turned around and told them to save it for Dodger Stadium. Suffice to say, they sat down and shut up and I saved the night for everybody. I restored the reputation of Giants fans everywhere. I consider myself a hero. The wave looks enticing, but be weary. It’s best to stay in your seat and scold the contributors. Be a real fan. Respect your team. Don’t do the wave.

Critically Rated at 2/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Fans Who Leave Early

Fans who leave early aren’t really fans. You should never give up on your team. You should support them until the bitter end. Especially with baseball because it isn’t over until you get the final out. Besides, you’ll never experience the thrill of a walk-off win or an amazing comeback in overtime if you leave early. I don’t even understand why you would want to leave early. Tickets are expensive these days. You should see the complete game and get your money’s worth. Sure, you might want to beat traffic but there will still be traffic. Leaving early won’t help you any. In fact you should linger and stay longer, maybe kill some time at a restaurant or bar and let the roads thin out a bit. Take some time to reflect on the game you just saw with some friends and analyze the key plays and turn of events that affected the outcome. You don’t want to show up late and leave early like a Dodgers fan. People respect the Dodgers, but nobody respects Dodgers fans. Stay for the whole game. Don’t leave early.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Heckling

Heckling is the act of harassing and distracting somebody who is trying to perform. It’s wrong to heckle comedians or musicians, but it’s perfectly acceptable to heckle athletes. It’s part of the game. Heckling is integral in rooting for your home team. A lot of fans enjoy sitting in the bleachers to yell insults at the opposing team’s center fielder or star quarterback. But you need to be clever if you want to be rowdy and yell. It’s lazy to shout out “Number 22 sucks!” and nobody will appreciate it. It’s better if you know they Number 22 is adopted and you scream out “Your parents never loved you!” In ordinary society that would be a big no-no, but it flies on the field. Yell out that you’ve seen his wife’s tits in a movie she did and that one of her nipples is bigger than the other. That kind of shit will get in his head. That kind of shit will make him drop the ball and commit an error. That kind of shit will help your team win. Heckling is glorified bullying. You want to make them unsure and unconfident. You want to make them cry. And you want other people to laugh at them too. Don’t feel bad about it. Those fuckers get paid good money to deal with drunken spectators trying to shatter their self-esteem.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Flyover

A flyover is one of the coolest things about professional sports in the US. They are usually reserved for special games like Opening Day, playoffs, and championships. You’ll be sitting in the stands listening to a stirring rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner when four jets fly directly over the stadium, right over your head and your patriotism gene kicks into overdrive. The engines scream and the crowd roars and shouts out chants of ‘MURICA! and USA! USA! USA! It’s fricking awesome. Sometimes it’s jets, sometimes it’s helicopters, and sometimes it’s just big ass planes, but it’s always a military commercial. It makes you want to enlist and kill Al-Qaedas. Flyovers are always memorable and will probably be the highlight of your day if your team loses.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Sports Parade

A parade is a when a town or city shuts down a few blocks so that important people can wave to non-important people. A sports parade is when a team wins the championship game and all the fans can come out and cheer for their team one more time before the next season starts. A sports parade is a way of giving back to the fans. Professional sports don’t work without fans. The winning team gets a trophy. All the players, coaches, owners, and various staff members get a ring. The fans just get a parade. It’s kind of bullshit. But it’s still fun. It’s one last chance to revel in the ultimate victory. I’ve been to two sports parades in my life, both for the San Francisco Giants. I went in 2010 and in 2012, and I’m planning to go again in 2014. Normal parades are for kids and families. They aren’t fun and they aren’t exciting once you reach a certain age. But sports parades are fun for all ages, so long as you’re invested in the team that it’s for. Sports bring together people from all walks of life. And sports parades cram all those people together on a few city streets so you can see how much impact a team has on the region. There’s a sense of community, of camaraderie that only sports can provide.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Wait Til Next Year

The Chicago Cubs have a motto and it’s “wait til next year.” That’s because they haven’t won a World Series title since 1908. That’s a pretty big drought, the longest of any North American sports team. As each season crumbles away and they see their World Series chances dissolving, all the fans can do is wait till next year. I never really understood their grief. I’m a Giants fan, and we won two World Series in three years. But then the 2013 season began, and the Giants started playing like a Little League team. We still have the same core team that won it all in 2012, but this season we are last in our division, well below .500, and are about 20 games behind the Dodgers. We have no choice but to wait til next year. We can still gloat about being the defending champions, but we can’t ignore the fact that we suck right now. Only one team can win the World Series, everyone else has to wait til next year.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watching a Game with a Rival Fan

I went to AT&T Park a few weeks ago to watch the San Francisco Giants take on the San Diego Padres. I went to the game with a friend from work. He wore his Padres cap, while I rocked my Giants sweatshirt. We grabbed a few drinks before the game and raised our glasses to a good game. Then we went into the stadium and found our seats. We were talking and joking and having a good time. But then the game started and the atmosphere changed. Suddenly we became rivals. We were still making small talk, but most of our conversations involved shit-talking and subtle insults about the other team. Watching a game with a rival fan is an interesting experience. You’re watching the exact same game, but you’re seeing two different things. My heroes are his villains and vice versa. I’m cheering while he’s silent. He’s clapping while I’m shaking my head in disbelief. But you can also find out more about the other team. He knows more about his team then you do. And you can also tell him facts about your team. You get a look at the bigger picture. The major problem with watching a game with a rival fan is that somebody is going to lose and that can make for an awkward car ride home. So if your team wins, be a good sport and try not to gloat. And if your team loses, be a good sport and try not to mope.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watching the Game at Work

The game is on but you’re stuck at work. You can turn on the TV or radio and have it tuned in, but you can’t just stay in one spot and watch it because there’s shit to be done. That’s when watching the game at work becomes a group effort. You have to identify your gamer co-workers and work out an amateur system of notification. At any given point, one or two people should be following the game. Then if someone gets a run or makes a great play, they disperse and spread the word to everyone else, “Posey just hit a solo shot, it’s 5-4 now.” You might be missing most of the action, but you’re not missing out. Sports have a way of bringing people together. I have nothing in common with my manager except for a mutual passion for baseball. We can talk about the Giants for hours but all other small talk is nonexistent. Baseball season has a way of unifying people. I work in a restaurant, and it’s pretty awesome when the managers, servers, cooks, and bussers all have something to cheer about and celebrate together. Watching the game at work is essential for staff bonding. I’d still rather be at the game though.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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A Walk-Off

A walk-off is baseball’s equivalent of a buzzer beater. Except it’s better than a buzzer beater because there is no time limit in baseball. You can’t simply run out the clock. You can have two outs and be a strike away from losing and still win the game. It’s not over until it’s over. A walk-off can only happen when the home team is at the plate either in the bottom of the 9th inning or in extra innings. It’s awesome when your team wins in a walk-off and it’s agonizing when they lose in a walk-off because there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s one of the best things about baseball. There’s nothing quite like experiencing a walk-off in person. Everyone in the stands is screaming and going nuts while the winning team rushes the field and pummels the clutch hitter as he touches the bag. They jump on top of him and slap his helmet and you see grown men acting like little kids. It’s all smiles and pure joy. It’s why they play the game and it’s why we watch it.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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