Welcome to Manny Stiles ' Daily Weekday Column:
"Sportsune Cookie" – Where a guy who likes to watch women play sports talks about that too!
Prepare for the part where I hit you over the head with your preconceptions
Mercury 102, Sun 81
In case you didn't know, I am not Mike Gundy, but I am a man.
I am a man that enjoys basketball.
I enjoy the WNBA.
I am "X-Factor".
I am a Phoenix Mercury fan.
Mrs. Stiles killed two birds with one stone (Father's Day, Pookie Stiles' birthday) and purchased tickets to a Mercury home game; which was last night.
Irony, your fate is wickedly cruel and cruelly wicked
It's not funny, but it is...
The Mercury were hosting the Sun in the same building that is home to the Suns on a day the temps were well over 110 degrees (Fahrenheit, not Celsius... relax) throughout the Valley.
It was a matchup of Lindsay Whalen and her East leading Connecticut Sun who came into the battle with a 9-2 record against Cappie Pondexter and DT3 and the bottom dwelling Phoenix Mercury, at 2-7 on the season.
While the Mercury have been struggling, they still lead the league in scoring thanks to the system brought in by former coach, "the Gray Goose" Paul Westhead, and slightly changed but still implemented by former assistant and current coach Corey Gaines - who also played at Loyola-Marymount. They have been averaging over 83 points a game (WNBA games are 40 minute games, mind you). But obviously their defense has been hampered by the absence of forward Penny Taylor who is in her native Australia preparing for the Olympics.
The game itself was also a scorcher from the start. Diana Taurasi ended up with 33 points, 5 boards and 4 assists. She also went 3-6 from threeland in her 31 minutes on the floor. Cappie Pondexter was her usual unstoppable self netting 22 and turning the momentum of the Sun whenever she deemed it necessary.
The Sun's star, Lindsay Whalen who is built like a bulldog - or a linebacker... or some twisted offspring of a linebacking bulldog and is just as tough - and probably has knocked out a few people that teasingly called her "Whale" - never really got going, mustering up a mere 13 points and only getting 5 assists, both below her average. (I got it! She could easily sub in for AGM linebacker, that's how tough she is!!!)
Cappie and Diana are the top two scorers in the league and clearly either can do whatever they want on the floor. If the entire league was of the same caliber as these two tremendously gifted athletes, the WNBA wouldn't have it's second class status and negative connotations hanging over it. Both are straight up ballers. Both can bust your ankles or stick a J in your eye. Both have serious handle and both make "how did she do that" passes. Cappie even had 9 rebounds in the game.
Unfortunately, the pool of talent isn't deep enough just 11 years into the league's history. The disparity between the elite talents and the bench and role players is a chasm, not a leap like in other pro leagues. Tangela Smith, for instance is a second tier talent, a "sometimes all-star", not a perennial; like Pau Gasol and sometimes, not all the time she looks fundamentally inept (like Pau Gasol). But she is still really good.
And that's the rub... Too many people want it to be crisp and perfect and fine tuned and few people realize that the girls playing today didn't have the role models to emulate when they were young... fundamentals and talent pools will emerge over time as a sport grows... it takes a proper vision and patience and I think we're starting to see that happen...
But I am a staunch supporter of the league and I am thoroughly enthralled by my hometown team. I love the WNBA and will for a long time.
About the Game - A certain fan's perspective
Crowd just under 5,000, despite the D-Backs hosting a game next door.
My kids - who are DIEHARD Phoenix Suns fans - were confused and perplexed often. They've been to one Mercury game before and even they kept saying it was "girls basketball game", despite my mild insistence that it was just "a basketball game".
Further confusion was added by my son's persistence in calling the Mercury the Suns and when we went to the concession stand, he wanted a purple Suns' flag - which of course was a purple Mercury flag. We got it, he loved it and waved it gleefully.
But the kicker was the minor fact that the team the Mercury were playing was called the Connecticut Sun.
Every P.A announcement - "Sun ball", the kids would cheer "Go Suns!"
Plus there were enough fans in attendance decked out in Suns jerseys, purple logoed gear that there was a tidal wave to fight if I was going to get them "corrected" and since that wasn't that important to me, I let them be kids.
The Mercury team mascot -whatever the hell it is - is called "Scorch" and provided pretty good entertainment. But that also led to some questions by the boy - "Where's the Goriddah, Dadt?"
The Gorilla is by far the Stiles offspring's favorite mascot - and why not? The only mascot in sports that's better is the Phillie Phanatic - and they haven't met "him" yet... After explaining why the Gorilla isn't at Mercury games, they kinda got it and did their best to have fun anyway!
After the game was over, we left and on the way home circled around Chase Field. Then the boy started crying because he thought we were going to a baseball game next!!! I told him the baseball game was over and he threw a fit, and cried "I wanna go to baseball, Dadt!" - he is after all, still only 2 years old...
All in All, an enjoyable night for the family... Not expensive, decent game, we didn't catch a T-shirt, but I still rooted and hollered like an idiot. The kids had a blast. Wifey still isn't a total fan of it, she tolerates it and watches in amazement that they are as good as they are... And I didn't even feel the need to explain everything to the morons behind me!
It's the WNBA - it's just fun!!!
I learned nothing - I was hoping that the Piñata. I learned that inviting people
Aaaaah. Yeah. That was a good one.
How did I miss him when I compiled my list? Is a call to Russ Ortiz's agent far behind?
Even former Rays are getting into the swing of things... - Damion Easley???? REALLY?
Speaking of the Past - Is there anything funnier to laugh at than people who live in the past making jokes that weren't that funny when they were in the present? Yuck it up, Cubs fans... make those Devil Rays jokes. Maybe, just maybe... in 92 more years (and counting), the "funny part" will hit us?
Are you ready for some futbol? - Look, my TV gets plenty of stations. Why does ESPN AND ESPN2 BOTH have a soccer game between two countries I'll never visit on at the same time? There wasn't even a delay so I could entertain myself by flipping back and forth... Somebody ephed up there. I could have been watching something interesting like college softball, WPT from 3 years ago or a 9 ball tournament!
In case you didn't know - the Celtics didn't win the Super Bowl, either.
Enough is Enough... Tiger, blah blah blah... blah blippity blah...
1) He was taking painkillers and getting TOP of the line treatment. Come on! Doctors love golf and I'm sure when Tiger Woods needs a doctor, they'd even wait in their own waiting rooms just to see him. And he's the face of golf. Things are going on behind the scenes of the behind the scenes... we'll never know and we probably are better off not knowing.... right? .....
2) He's had this injury forever, so it's his own damned fault from arrogance.
3) If he was "so freeking awesome" this weekend, why did he take 91 holes to beat a regular dude?
4) He's not going to be the same. Regardless of the injury, he is getting older and his body will break down more and more over time. Of course, his "secret training methods" might reverse the effects of time...
5) I don't wanna be the first to say it but I will... muscle mass bordering hypertrophy + recurring ligament damage = a common sign of "performance enhancement". "Normal" people don't usually blow out an ACL "jogging"... people in Tiger's shape with his physique should not either...
6) I'm not trying to downplay his achievements, I'm just saying that this guy is very secretive and there's NO WAY he'll let us in on the whole story about anything. After all, he's not told us about the knee truthfully... Maybe he hurt it whilst in a drunken state, practicing 'le parkour' or perhaps chasing his wife around with a double dong and he's just trying to maintain his squeaky clean image by saying it was hurt while jogging?
7) He's sufficiently self-centered and driven by ego-will. He had no intention of playing in the Ryder Cup anyway. Don't act surprised when he gets "healthy" just in time for Augusta...
8) Eight, eight... I forget what eight was for (but I like to recycle that one every so often)
9) I'm sure it actually hurts. But I'm leery of this "well if you play, you won't make it worse" diagnosis some unnamed doctor gave to him. Stress fractures DO GET WORSE as you continue to prevent them from healing. And they often cause other injuries due to limping and overcompensating, let alone continuing to apply the full forces that CAUSED the stress fractures. (Where's Dr. Frank Stevenson when we need him?)
10) Once again, the media missed the real story. they poo-poo Tiger instead of the guy they could write an Oscar winner about. The guy who comes out of nowhere to take on the glorious champ just to fall short in the end... Have Adrienne Curry play his girlfriend, get a Pittsburgh Penguin to be his swing coach, a little "Gonna Fly Now" and call it Rocco...
Or let the media drones rehash their AP style guide and pre-written bylines to dull the hell out of us all!
ESPN and NBA TV have exclusive rights to WNBA games. Yet neither network shows game highlights in their regular highlights shows.
People are missing out on some quality entertainment. I'm not kidding.
Channel Manny Presents:
W.T.M.F. Sports with your host, Manny Stiles!
Brought to you by "Nothing" by Nobody
"The new cologne, by Lars Nobody. It smells like Nothing, but it costs more!"
Reporting on Thursday, June 19th... Manny Stiles:
MS - "I was gonna say 'screw it' and not do this today... but first, our top story today..."
"One of the questions was NOT "Is this a sport?"...
So now we'll never know....
How much did the Crackerjacks company make off of "Take Me out to the Ballgame" in the last 100 years. You don't even get a crappy toy in the box any more. The bastards!
Next thing you know, baseball cards won't come with a stick of gum and a pack of cigarettes won't have an athlete endorsement on the pack!
The Adventures of ManRays
Today's "Ray of the Day" is...
The schedule makers, for giving the Rays THREE straight games against the Cubs.
Seriously.. thanks, it was kind of you to schedule a break in the middle of the season like this!
T.T.E. (Total Team Effort)
From Sonny's Beard, to just a marvelous third inning rally. It was a joy.
When a team is winning games like the Rays are this year, you start to think that not only are they really and actually "good" but there's that "magic" along for the ride that says "you're witnessing 'special' as it occurs".
As much fun as I had last year laughing at all of the un-facking-believable ways they could lose baseball games, it's the exact opposite this season.
EXACT opposite. Instead of expecting the losing of games in ridiculous fashion, they are NOT losing games but still in a ridiculous fashion!
I LOVE being a Rays fan!
One more day off before finishing up the homestand against those son of a bitchin' bastards from Houston (the only episode of Seinfeld I ever really liked).
Ah, screw it! MORE Cowbell!!!
Well, for the second time all season, the upstarts were on ESPN for a lve appearance... For the second year in a row, my daughter got to watch the Rays play on her birthday!
Last year, the Rays were in Phoenix to cap a series against the D-Backs and I took her to the finale (along with the little bro') and she got to see her favorite baseball team in person!
This year, we has tickets to see the defending WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury play. But before the game, we hit up the local "B.J. McFuddyduddy's" (I won't mention the real name to protect the fear of accidentally giving them my pseudo-celebrity endorsement) for a pre-game meal and surprise "Attack of the Waitresses"-brand version of "Happy Birthday" and a free dessert.
Luckily B.J.M.F.D's had the Rays-Cubs "game" on - thankfully with the sound over-ridden by glasses of libations being slung and slurped!
It always cracks me up to no end to ALWAYS be the guy who is gleefully cheering for the Rays in a room full of "name the team their playing, because that team is the reason it's on TV, because that team has a following" fans...
I might not be the "Official" biggest Rays fan in the world. But I might be the BIGGEST Rays fan in the World. I mean, there aren't many humans that are larger than I am, and those that are probably don't have the Rays high on their "Things to Obsess Over" list...
And then in the top of the 5th inning, the Rays were up 5-2, but the Cubs had the bases loaded with no outs. Sonny got 'em out of it allowing only one run on a fielder's choice, then striking out Derrek Lee and when Aramis Ramirez popped out, I erupted into raucous, thrilling enjoyment and the kids gleefully joined the opportunity to act like rabid monkeys much to wifey's slightly embarrassed and dismayed chagrin. (She's used to it, really)
It's even more fun when the lesser people of the world (Cubs fans) start to get angry when the kids are getting loud and obnoxious about the Rays too. It's easy to dislike the big emepher but a 2 year old with stitches in his face and a newly crowned 5 year old? What is there to say?
Well, she really was wearing a crown (It said Happy Birthday " on it) and the whole staff came over and screamed their very own copyrighted version of a birthday celebration ditty in the bottom of the 5th (yes, I tell time in innings) and the Birthday girl got her free ice cream and beamed while watching the Rays fans put the cowbells to work...
The kids don't know what to make out of this "Rays are winning" stuff.
Last year, I think they thought I played for the Rays. They learned that a loss wasn't the end of the world and sometimes you just have to laugh at that much losing in inexplicable varieties. This year, with the "winning" stuff going on, everyone on TV and radio keep mentioning the Rays too, so they are super in tune to the keywords "Tampa Bay" and/or "Rays".
But the Rays are still secondary to both their true loves... Might Morphing Power Rangers!
Oops, I meant to say the Phoenix Suns...
A Box of Rays-ins
Little dried up chunks of trivial unimportance high in potassium
- C.C. has the second highest SB % of all American Leaguers (minimum 200 SB) ever.
- Only four active players entered this season with more HR, more SB and a higher OBP than Cliff Floyd - Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero and Gary Sheffield. Barry Bonds is not "active", but would also be on that list were he to become active.
- Evan Longlorious leads all A.L. rookies in HR and OPS and is second in RBI.
- Jonny Gomes has more catwalk HR at Tropicana Field (7) than any other MLB player.
- Hey doubters and non-believers... Only two starting second basemen in baseball are still errorless this season. And Aki has way more chances than the other guy... Tad Iguchi - (310-279 coming into today).
- Aki is also the MLB player with the most at bats (288) this season without a single GIDP. He's turned 54 on the season in the field, so his 54-0 DP - GIDP ratio is probably the best in the game right now...
A Picture is worth 1000 and 50 appearances
I'll always remember him as a Cincinnati Red.
But I'll never forget those fugly Pirate unis... Seriously, was there ever an All Star that looked LESS likely to be a pro athlete??
Dr. Commento Answers the Questions
ATQ – Yesterday's 10 was athletes that indeed have streets named after them! Jim Thorpe has a whole town named after him (Formerly Mauch Chunk, PA - You can see why they'd want to rename it). Yes, I even dated a girl from Jim Thorpe for one summer during the 90's, so I've been there many times.
There were plenty of athletes to choose from for that list, but I thought it was a good mix! Congrats to LASB for his Sherlock Holmes-like cunning in picking up on my clue "look at a street map"...
But for answering correctly, I will respond to this comment:
"I thought I was gonna spend this Cookie saying: Ya? Well how far did the Suns make it? Instead I just chuckled and said to myself: Man 18 and 1 is a funny combination of numbers"
Anyway, yeah LA, this was a hard series for me to deal with for so many reasons...
I hate Boston. For the obvious reason - I like the underdogs, the downtrodden, the beaten, the weary, the unexpected, the forlorn...
I've been talking trash on Boston ALL year. That town is acting too big for their britches (and bridges). But then the C's beat the Pistons, who I anti-love more than any team not named "Lakers" or "Spurs"... (long story)
I don't like Kobe (been there, explained a part of that) and the Lakers (another "Goliath" franchise that's fun to anti-love) are the Suns DIVISION rival - and I anti-loved them even more because they forced me to root for the Spurs against them! And I really anti-love the Spurs, too.
So while I'm happy for the individuals involved, the "people" that believe they are "we" can all go to a "Hell-like" place...
You know, a place where David Tyree has a football stuck to his head at all times. A place where Mike Strahan's gap has its own marching band, a place where Eli Manning gets the hot chicks while Tom Brady gets the fat, tranny friend, a place where Randy Moss's bong is perpetually filled with the dirtiest, seediest, stemingest, un-dank schwag but his lighter won't light anyway, a place where even Jeremy Shockey has practice using a jewelry polishing kit. A place where ALL the cameras are on Bill Belichick.
So.... Yeah... "18 and 1"...
Strike a Prose
Facked Up Day at the Office (An ode to a...)
Having a mirror fight
with my shadow.
In some far away existence
Do sun devils fight snow angels?
Wearing the same tie every day
Will anyone notice?
Figuring out cold fusion, then quickly
Carry a big stick
Asking you to repeat yourself 550 times
During one conversation
This one dude I know is a homo-
His epidermis shows all the time
apparent signs of obsessive chair manipulations
I was never blinded by the light
but was many times blinded by total darkness
a few times deafened by alcohol
irrationalized by oxygen
Make sure to touch every third one!
Wrap it in a bow,
Do you like strawberry jello?
Eat a random sandwich.
I did not lose your money
He also drinks homo-
Little regard for office ethics
What a facked up day I had...
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