Tag Archives: New England Patriots

The delightfulness of “Glee”

gleeSo about a minute after I saw the premiere episode of the new Fox show “Glee,” a question popped into my head:
How the hell did this ever get on network TV?
I’ve argued before that there are hardly any interesting shows on the broadcast networks anymore; everything is so safe and watered down and sanitized, for the general masses.
So how in the name of John Phillip Sousa did a show about a high school glee club and their oddball teacher get on Fox?
“Glee” is awesome. It’s subversive and funny and sarcastic and possibly brilliant, though after only three episodes I’m a little hesitant to call it brilliant.
If you haven’t seen it, the first three episodes are on Hulu.com linked here, and I highly recommend it.
Basically, it’s about a very-low-on-the-coolness-totem-pole high school glee club, and their struggle to gain acceptance and deal with each other.
  There’s Rachel, the way overachieving lead female singer, who reminds me a little of Tracy Flick from “Election.”  Rachel’s  got a crush on the best guy singer, Finn, who happens to also be the football quarterback but really, he just wants to sing Journey.
  There’s also a loud African-American in the glee club, a kid in a wheelchair (who sadly gets locked in a port a potty in one episode; I told you it was a little subversive), and a teacher, Mr. Schuster, who was once a glee club star and yearns to see the McKinley High group reach its past glory.
 
Of course, there are problems, starting with the hilarious Jane Lynch (she was Steve Carell’s boss in “40-year-old Virgin.”) She’s the coach of the “Cheerios,” the cheerleading squad at the school, and of course she hates Glee. There’s also Quinn, the cute blonde cheerleader who’s the president of the Chastity Club at the school (also Finn’s girlfriend; now do you see why he’s frustrated and needs to sing?).

I won’t give away anything except to say that the pilot was supremely awesome, and the next two episodes have been great, too.
I’m reluctant to give my heart to this show because most brilliant stuff on TV gets cancelled; America can’t handle intelligent programming, sadly.
  So even though I’m sure “Glee” will be cancelled within a year, I say definitely check it out.

And oh yeah, the kid in the wheelchair makes it out of the port-o-potty OK. Just didn’t want you to worry.

**I’m getting frighteningly confident about the Jets this weekend. I know they’ll just break my heart, but it’s Patriots week, so I’m even more fired up than usual.

**Tim Stauffer update: My old friend from Saratoga Springs continues to pitch well for the Padres; he took a loss Friday night but his ERA is still 3.51, pretty damn good for a pitcher these days. Great to see Tim doing so well.

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Update: I recant my YES Network rant (sort of)

APTOPIX Yankees Red Sox Baseball 

Email, and ye shall receive an answer. That’s my credo for today.

So after my rant yesterday about how mad I am that the YES Network, which televises Yankees and New Jersey Nets games, won’t show the games on their YES national channel, which I get living down here in Central Florida, I figured I’d ask a few experts if there was a good explanation about it. I was particularly incensed because the Yankees are in the midst of kicking the holy hell out of those Boston boys this weekend.

So I emailed Richard Sandomir, the fine sports media and business writer for the New York Times on Sunday morning, asking if he knew the reasoning behind the YES Network games blackout outside of the tri-state area.

I figured, since it was a Sunday afternoon and all, and he’s probably a pretty busy guy, that I’d hear back from him in a couple of days.

Stunningly, he wrote back in 34 minutes, while I was at the beach (had another outstanding hot dog from this guy who sells them at the Ormond Beach beach cutout, by the way. Foot-long hot dog on a delightfully toasted bun, all for $3.50. Yummy goodness, I tell ya. But I digress.)

I say “stunningly” because while I do my best to answer every reasonable email I get, I’ve found most other journalists don’t. But Richard’s clearly a good guy.

Richard’s explanation goes like this: Major League Baseball sets out exclusive territories for each team, which for the Yankees is the tri-state area, and a little bit of Pennsylvania.

Beyond that, MLB doesn’t let teams show their games on basic cable, because they’re afraid it would severely damage that other hometown teams ratings. So, theoretically, if Yankees games were allowed to be shown here in Florida, Marlins and Rays games would see a big ratings drop, because all the New Yawkers living down here would watch the Bronx Bombers instead.

The only way to 100 percent guarantee that you’ll see all the games you want is to shell out a few hundred bucks for the MLB Extra Innings pay-per-view package.

OK, a few thoughts. First, I understand MLB’s position, but by blacking out the Yankees, they’re assuming that baseball fans are baseball fans, and that if we can’t see the Yanks we’ll watch the Marlins or Rays. I don’t think that’s accurate. If you’re that diehard of a fan, you’ll buy the Extra Innings package. I’m not going to suddenly become a huge Evan Longoria fan because he’s on my TV every night.

Second, why even have the YES Network nationally as an option if you’re not going to be able to show the programming? I just feel like it’s a big tease.

Anyway, so there you go. I apologize for assuming this was all YES Network’s fault, when I should have realized that the blame truly lay with MLB.

I absolutely hate it when bloggers rip and rant one day, then, when it turns out they’re wrong or there’s an explanation, never own up and apologize.

Also, a couple of really good stories I read this weekend that I wanted to link to:

  • Michael Sokolove has written a feature for the New York Times magazine about the dying newspapers in Philadelphia. Obviously this hits home to me as an ink-stained wretch, but this really lays out the Philly issues well.
  • Speaking of Philadelphia, my friend Brian Hickey, a victim of a near-fatal hit and run accident last November, has written a strong column asking for stronger penalties against hit and run drivers. Couldn’t agree more. What kind of despicable person hits another human with their car, then keeps driving? I think hit and run drivers should be thrown into the same pit of acid as rapists, child molesters and New England Patriots fans (Ha!, I kid the Patriots fans, mostly because I’m jealous.)
  • Finally, very interesting story by George Dohrmann in Sports Illustrated last week about just how much paper college football and basketball coaches waste, sending old-fashioned letters to recruits. Truly staggering, and wildly ineffective. Wait till you see the photo of how much mail just ONE kid got.

Michael Vick has paid his debt. Let him play.

vick

My mother-in-law is pretty far from what you’d call a sports fan.

Wonderful woman that she is, she couldn’t tell you the difference between John Elway, Dan Marino or Wayne Gretzky if you put them in a police lineup.

She doesn’t watch sports, follow sports, or care about sports; one time while on a car trip I asked her over the phone to “check the score” of some game, and it was as if I’d asked her to explain quantum physics. She was completely flummoxed.

Anyway, I relate all this because about two or three times a year, she gets really angry about something that happens in the world of sports. I feel like if she’s fired up about it, plenty of other non-sports fans are, and Monday evening she was all kinds of fired up about the Michael Vick reinstatement to the NFL.

Before I go into why I think Roger Goodell did the right thing by conditionally allowing the felonious Vick back into the league in October, pending certain conditions, I want to stipulate the following, before I get tons of angry comments (actually, I’d be happy for ANY comments at this point, but that’s another story).

Michael Vick has been a disgusting excuse for a human being. His pathetic abuse of defenseless dogs, his blatant lying to everyone about his involvement, and the frightening and methodical way he ran a dogfighting ring puts him just below bat excrement on my list of favorite things.

He deserved to be punished severely, and he was. He absolutely, positively should live in shame for a long time in the public eye for what he did.

But I’m having a hard time agreeing with people, like my mother-in-law, who think he should never be allowed to play pro football again. They argue his deeds were so heinous that he should never be allowed the right to resume his profession.

I don’t get that. Let’s think about what has happened to Vick in the last two years: He lost his NFL career and his major contract with the Atlanta Falcons, costing himself more than a hundred million dollars.  He lost all of his endorsers. He was convicted of a felony. He spent nearly two years in prison, and for the rest of his life he will have to live with the memory of what he did (and, I’m sure, he’ll have to live with the animal-loving masses who no doubt will stalk him wherever he ends up.)

Now that he has paid his debt, is he not entitled to go back to work? If he was a banker or a lawyer or a gravedigger, would he not be allowed to try to pick up the pieces of his life and resume his career?

This is America, where getting a second chance is practically written into the Constitution. Was Vick’s crime more disgusting than most? Sure. Is it worse than athletes who beat their wives or get charged with DUI manslaughter like Donte Stallworth and Leonard Little, NFL players who aren’t suffering 1/10th the penalty that Vick has gotten?

One other thing that people who are railing against the NFL seem to be forgetting is that no team has to sign him. There are no guns to anyone’ s head.

It would take a coach and general manager who are awfully secure in their jobs, and in their team’s popularity with its fan base, to risk the backlash of a Vick signing. I fully expect huge PETA and/or ASPCA protests at any NFL stadium Vick would play in this year, or any year. Who could gamble on him? I’d say New England, because Bill Belichick is pretty bulletproof up there, or maybe Pittsburgh, coming off a Super Bowl win. And then there’s the Detroit Lions, who are so pathetic that perhaps their fans wouldn’t care about Vick’s transgressions if he helped them win.

Look, I think Vick should absolutely be scrutinized and banned permanently from the NFL if he even does anything remotely outside of the law.

But how long do we as a society need to punish a person? I’m not saying forgive Michael Vick, because he doesn’t deserve that yet.

But by allowing him to attempt to pick up  the pieces of his shattered life, the NFL is simply giving Michael Vick a second chance.

A chance that all of us in this country deserve.