Friday, December 21, 2007

Facts Settled in Club Nats Altercation

Thank God for the Cincinnati Enquirer. First they brought us that terrific story involving strippers, woman-on-woman sexual interaction and a WWE-wannabe yokel. Now, they have straightened out the major point of contention that sparked all the back-and-forth following Club Nationals Riot 2K7:
Newman describes Gerber as a law-abiding citizen with no criminal history. Gerber, 28, works with computers. He’s a member of the Atlanta Track Club and has run about a dozen marathons, including four times in the prestigious Boston Marathon, Newman said.

“Getting abused like that, getting Tased, it’s something I’ll never forget,” Gerber said. in a post-court interview. “It’s definitely painful.”

He says the officer overreacted. [...] So far, police and witnesses have given drastically different accounts of what happened.
SEE?! It IS 'tased'! NOT 'tasered'! The paper wouldn't print it if 'tweren't so.

So - that's settled. Next up: are computer nerds really as docile as the article implies?


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Who Would Win...?

Queried on the Letsrun boards: 'Who would win at NCAA if XC teams played Hockey?'

The answer: Umm, no one. Jesus, it would look like this (watch through the end... trust me):

The carnage. There are no winners in that scenario, only a pile-up of newborn giraffes and a lonely puck sitting along the boards somewhere.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Foot Locker on Fox

I caught Foot Locker Nationals this weekend and maybe this is me picking nits, but, please, if you're going to take the time to broadcast something, can you shoot on equipment that isn't readily available for purchase at your local Radio Shack or Best Buy? I mean, come on: a decent video camera can be had for as little as $3000 - less if you are willing to buy used. Then again, maybe they had decent cameras but didn't have cameramen who knew what they were doing... but either way, it just makes our sport look like amateur hour.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Eugene... the new Williamsport?

The US Distance Running Blog delivered some nice analysis of the decision to award Eugene every National Championship and Olympics Trials until the sun collapses on itself and the Earth no longer can sustain human life. So in the end, what's the verdict? Good decision or bad decision? Our take, after the jump...

Part of me looks at it like this: what do Cooperstown, NY and Wichita, Nebraska, and Williamsport, Pennsylvania have in common? All are small, out-of-the-way towns that have become iconic and, to a certain degree, well-known, thanks to an on-going association with, respectively, the Baseball Hall of Fame, College Baseball World Series, and Little League World Series. Granted, baseball, in general, is a little more in the public eye... but no one really cares about college ball, and yet you can't book a room within 50 miles of Wichita the week of the Series. It's not just the players' families coming in town to watch their kids play. So I think there IS something to be said for creating an identity for Eugene: the home of the US Track Championships. The media gets comfortable there, maybe even looks forward to the annual visit, if the event is staged right. The public has one more simple, straight-forward truth it can digest about track and field. The Olympics are every four years. Track Nationals are in Eugene. Simple.

That said, our sport would probably benefit most from grass-roots development, and you have to wonder if that would be better served by making it a traveling roadshow everyone gets the occasional chance to see ("The circus is in town!") or by building tradition ("Every year since I was four my dad took me and my brother to Eugene for the National Championships - we've been fans ever since..."). Personally, if I had my druthers, I'd actually vote for the Antique Roadshow, option C. Just because. It's like PBS's version of The Price is Right, and everybody loves The Price is Right. Er, loved. Damn you, Drew Carey. And damn you, Bob Barker Dying. Damn you to heck.

The truth is, I'm a big enough fan that I've contemplated going to Eugene from New York for the Trials. At that point, a lack of nearby airfield options is the least of my concerns. I will attend one year, and would make special effort if it were in Eugene. I plan to my kids to the Trials someday, to sit them there and feed them candy until they have no choice but to have fond memories associated with track. At that point, if given the choice between Eugene and Sacramento, where do you think I'd rather visit? Unless the Trials would be coming to New York, or anywhere within a two-hour drive of Cincinnati, make it someplace fans will want to go. Fans will want to go to Eugene.


The Low-Down on the Mitchell Report

Live Mitchell presser. The ESPN ticker at the bottom of the screen reads:
Breaking News: Mitchell: "Illegal anabolic steroids have been in widespread use in baseball for a number of years now. Announces next investigation: corroborate roundness of Earth, existence of human life thereon."
Seriously, dude? That's your conclusion? I couldn't help but think of what the running equivalent would be: WADA calling a big press conference to say, Yes, indeed there IS doping in running, and announcing a failed drug test for yours truly. To all my fans, I'm sorry. Frankly, at the end of the afternoon we all learned one thing, and one thing only... Adam Piatt? Bart Miadich? Clearly, steroids and HGH are not necessarily performance-enhancers.



In 30 minutes, the Mitchell Report will drop. Because we are one of those blogs CAPTAIN CHEEZ DOODLE, STEPHEN A SMITH, among others hate so fiercely, we are going to exercise that blogger-right for which they so hate us: rampant speculation devoid of any fact-checking. An alleged leak filtered several names down the pipe and I'm hearing that, "in addition to the big names" (I take that to mean those involved in the House committee hearing - Palmeiro, McGwire, etc) we will see the following among The Named... [after the jump, of course]
Ramon Castro
Lenny Dykstra
Mo Vaughn
Wally Joyner
Darryl Kile
Alberta Pujols
Johnny Damon
Jason Varitek
Kerry Wood
Mark Prior
Roger Clemens
Andy Pettite
David Ortiz
Some surprises in there. Believe it or not..... Mike Piazza? Explicitly, specifically NOT included. Finally, I also expect to see Brady Anderson named twice. Because, I mean... c'mon.

[ edit: the originator of this hearsay clearly got his "leak" from the fake list circulating the Internets as many of those names did not turn up in the Mitchell report. (actual list here, via Deadspin) Given that this guy is an employee of one of the MLB clubs most heavily involved in this whole business, though, I had my fingers crossed that it was grade-A, premium, don't-bring-that-Mexican-faux-bullshit-in-here dirt. ]


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ted Corbitt Passes...

There are certain "sports things" I will argue until the day I die: chief among them is the fact that Cal Ripken's games-played streak is supremely overrated. Who else ever got such recognition for simply showing up to work everyday? I mean, there's a reason they stop handing out perfect attendance certificates in grade school - after that, attendance is, ya know, kind of expected from adults. So by the same token, I don't have a lot of use for so-called "ultra"-marathoning (you know what's "ultra"? Running 26.2 miles in 130 minutes or faster...). Running extra far or extra long is impressive, but you know what else is? Juggling for a long time.

Nevertheless, it was with real sadness that I discovered Ted Corbitt had passed away today. [reported by Runners World Online] Maybe it was the fact that I always kind of identified with him a little because he came from Cincinnati, like me. Transplanted to New York, like me. That I respected the way he crammed an extra run into his lunch break and took laps around Manhattan -- the whole island -- or that I smiled at the way he kept snacks for himself in his mailbox so he could grab them mid-run. Whether I would debate or defend the relative "achievement" of his athletic endeavors, I could only ever credit his most impressive identity: pioneer in the face of racial prejudice. Corbitt ground it out against the small-minded not by railing against their outdated institutions... but by embodying the very essence of The Runner: he just kept on keeping on, running and facing down those obstacles with determination and diligence.

For a few years now, I had held dreams of someday making a visual (documentary) history of Cincinnati running, and had always thought how amazing it would be to meet this man and hear the stories and sense his grace. I'll always regret the missed chance.

[ Recent RW Video Interview with him... ]
[ Corbitt on Wikipedia ]


Friday, December 7, 2007

Club Nats Quick Look

Club Nats is a tough one to handicap because you're never sure what kind of shape folks are in coming in - even for those folks who ran Mayor's Cup - and the entries with the sauciest PR's often are obviously past their collective prime. (See our Visitor's Guide to host city, Cincinnati, here.) This year that's obviously compounded by the fact that a number of guy who WOULD be clear-cut favorites are bouncing back from the Marathon Trials. How they each have recovered will play a huge role in the races - both team and individual. Thus, after the jump, no predictions - just a list of folks one would expect to play a role in the battle up front tomorrow. Guys who ran the Trials are in bold. My five favorites for the title are italicized in caps.

Payton Batliner
Forest Braden
Henry Dennis
Joe Driscoll
Josh Eberly
Dan Huling
Daniel Kanyaruhuru
Tim Keller
Leo Kormanik
Steve Magness
Charlie Millioen
Brandon Moen
Josh Moen
Rob Myers
Joshua Ordway
Jeff Powers
Todd Ptacek
Chris Reis (top Cincinnatian)
Sergio Reyes
Grant Robison
Nick Rogers
Ben Rosario
Bret Schoolmeester
Hunter Spencer
Clint Wells
George Young
Marcharia Yuot

Speaking of role-playing... weather will play one, too. As of now, the forecast is "AM Ice" - whatever that means. Stalactites of ice falling from the sky, perhaps? Regardless, sounds fun though.

Ok, screw it. In my career I am, essentially, undefeated at VOA, which was the site of my first ever cross country triumph - the freshman two-mile race at the Lakota Fall Classic. It was total domination, and then it was all down hill from there, the rest of my career. It should be noted, though, that my fearless co-editor, bjw, could only manage to whimper across the line that day in a pathetic 3rd place. That said, my ownership of the VOA course pretty much qualifies me as an expert, so here goes a couple quick predictions: Team Indiana Elite with a solid win. ZAP second. Bowerman Athletic a distant third. And the individual title will go to.... George Young. He just turned 70 this year, but, what can I say...? It's tough to pick against a former American Record Holder...


Insert Stale Ohio Joke Here: A Club Nationals Visitors Guide

Cincinnati: the Queen City. Home of the first Loews movie theater. Home of the original professional baseball club. Home of the least-funny commentary-driven running blog on the web. Run by two of the homeliest SOB's you've ever seen. And, at long last, home of the USATF Club Cross Country Championships.

Yes, we get it. Traveling your entire club team here is expensive. That's a bunch of airfares to buy, a bunch of hotel rooms to rent, a bunch of Quaker Chewy Granola bars to pack for your meals. But Cincinnati? Perfect location. Why? It's going to be expensive wherever Club Nationals is, but in Cincinnati EVERYONE will have to undergo the same financial hardships to get there -- so no bitching from East-Coasters about San Francisco, and no bitching from West-Coasters about anywhere else... if it's equally unfair for everyone THAT MEANS IT'S FAIR. And the PLUS side is that once you're here, Cincinnati's a pretty inexpensive city. Taking just one example: accomodations are inexpensive enough that, say, when it's 2:30 in the morning and you've been out drinking all night, say, at the sparkling new all-you-can-eat Brazilian style steakhouse, and, say, that girl you worked with last summer at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse, where the ribs are world-famous, has been all over you, and say, she still lives with her parents and you're staying with your parents because you're just home for Thanksgiving, let's just say you probably wouldn't think twice about getting a room at a place as respectable as say, a Days Inn, maybe, just for the night, because, hey, it's Cincinnati: shit's priced around here like it's Mexico.

Ultimately... you're coming in town for this little race. Might as well enjoy it, right? After the jump, find out everything you need to know to make your trip Cincitastic.

You've heard the hype, you've seen it featured in every national broadcast of a sporting event in Cincinnati...

Skyline Chili, first off... You remember "Snapple: Made from the Best Stuff on Earth"? They were required by law to start including a little Skyline in each bottle before that campaign ran. False advertising and all that shit. So yeah, when it comes to Skyline folks seem to pretty much love it or hate it, which is to say you will either love it or you're stupid. After your post-race debauching, go to the one on Ludlow Ave near the University of Cincinnati for a late night heart attack courtesy our town's brown ambrosian nectar topped with a mountain of cheese to rival Olympus. And don't bother with a menu - just order a cheese coney or four, or a three- four- or five-way. (Beans OR onions make a 4-way, beans AND onions make a 5-way... boo-yah Boolean logic.) The bottom line is that if you leave Cincinnati without having tried this stuff, you might as well have not bothered coming at all. Oh, and if you think, Oh, I'll just go to Gold-Star Chili - it's pretty much the same, then next time you go to 'put it in' some broad, I recommend you go slam your dick in a hot waffle iron instead, because Oh, in the same way Gold Star is like Skyline, it's pretty much the same.

I know it's winter but go get some Graeters Ice Cream. This stuff is so good it's been ruining ice cream for Cincinnatians for decades - we can't be bothered with Baskin Robbins or Haagen Daaz or whatever sorry excuse for frozen dessert you call your own. When you go, just be sure to get a chip flavor. You'll probably end up with a chocolate piece the size of your... thumb. Matter of fact, be warned: you eat Graeters once and you might start feeling the need to start ordering it online, and shipping ice cream so it doesn't melt ain't cheap...

I admit: I was tempted to put "life" in sarcastic quotes like I just did. And until recently that probably would have been a true statement about this fairest of river cities. But the landscape is much improved:

Cadillac Ranch Bar/Grille. Two words: mechanical bull. Their website calls it the "baddest mechanical bull in town" but thankfully, I can pretty confidently say it's the ONLY mechanical bull in town. I know... a shocker to most of you, with your misconceptions about Cincinnati.

Hofbrauhaus. Too bad it'll be too cold to really enjoy the garden out back, but grab a huge stein of their delicious liquid gold and get ready to swing it around while standing on a wooden bench and singing along in a Beer Hall so authentic they mention it in the guided tour of the original Hofbrau in Munich.

Want your Saturday night to have a pretentious East Village feel? Find coffee shops, good ethnic food, and dive bars in Clifton, near the University of Cincinnati. Like things simple? Movies, bars and restaurants down at Newport on the Levee - everything's in one place, with great views of Cincinnati from the Kentucky side of the river. Like your evening to feel shiny and new? Lots of newly-opened bars in the downtown/Fountain Square area are attracting a young, professional crowd. (Or so I'm told - they're so new I've never even been.)

Cincinnati's a good looking town, especially at night. I've been 90% of America's biggest cities. Maybe four have a better skyline. See?

Most people look at Cincinnati and make a Bengals joke. I look at Cincinnati and see a world-class zoo that tigers -- both bengal, and Siberian -- call home. Most people look at Cincinnati and make a race-relations joke. I look at Cincinnati and appreciate the culture: the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the two national-caliber universities, the beautiful Krohn Conservatory with its great holiday displays which are now showing (free), for those of you who want to get in the Christmas spirit. Most people look at Cincinnati and make a Larry Flynt joke. Me? I look at Cincinnati and also make a Larry Flynt joke. But why shouldn't I? After all, like the subjects of Hustler, Cincinnati is curvy, with lots of hills and bottle-blond hair. And it looks best when it's jumping up and down. Or taking a shower with another city.



Wild Sex Romp at Sean Casey's House Leads to Rape Charge

My head is absolutely spinning. Where to begin? From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Exotic dancer. Allegedly raped by her manager. Who is also a woman. While the manager's oh-so-charming, pony-tailed, Playgirl-posing, professional-wrestler boyfriend watched and, when (allegedly) was asked to intervene simply laughed: "I told you she was the freak."

Did ESPN re-launch Playmakers as a reality series? Now, when I first read woman-on-woman incident, I imagined strap-ons, or handcuffs and Fred Smoot's personal sex appliance of choice... maybe even just something involving sexy lingerie and a riding crop which somehow goes horribly awry. But when I got back from the restroom, I found... this....?
Summer* said Adkins alternated between having oral sex with her and having intercourse with Casey, who had a broken leg in a cast.
Wait, wait, wait. So, what you're saying is this transpired roughly like the scene in Austin Powers when he is about to be run down by the steamroller? The plaintiff alleges that, in the course of all that ruckus, there was this exchange:
Then Adkins asked, “ ‘Don’t you want to see the sexiest couple in Cincinnati’ ” enjoy themselves? Summer* testified.
She runs a hick-town strip club. He is a pro wrestler. Now that's a couple absolutely filthy with sex appeal. As a matter of fact, I haven't confirmed this yet, but I'm pretty sure Adkins was misquoted by the plaintiff, and actually said "trashiest couple." Oh wait, I almost forgot...there's just this one last, little bit...
“I have never been in a bathroom with Steve McNair,” Summer* testified. “I talked to him. He’s a pretty cool guy. Go Ravens!”
First - thanks, Summer. The Ravens appreciate the support from the witness stand. Second - why, you ask, did she testify thusly? Well, it seems, Adkins threatened to let Summer* go for (allegedly) doing the dirty with McNair, a client of their club, Naughty Bodies. (The article left me to infer that the defense is painting the rape allegations as retaliation for that threat.)

But you know the craziest part of it all? I had NO IDEA Sean Casey, the so-called "Mayor of the MLB" had posed in Playgirl and was taking up pro wrestling.

Rape Case Drags in Pro Athletes - Cincinnati Enquirer

[The link is to the Cincinnati Enquirer, but I would like to point out that this occurred in Batavia, which, if Cincinnati were New York City, would be our version of Newburgh.]


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Running on TV: the Cold, Hard Facts

Letsrun delivers the dirt on the CSTV viewership for the live feed of the NCAA Cross Champs. And the results are staggering. 8,531 people apparently "tuned in." That's it. Brojos say that number made for the largest viewership for any NCAA Championship on CSTV, and thus, we should not be discouraged. That the people have spoken. But, like Confucius once said, facts speak louder than people. And, I'm sorry to say, these are the facts.
  • FACT: I was logged-in to the web-broadcast on at least 3 computers at work, so that I could move around the office and never miss a minute. So that viewership was ACTUALLY more like 8,529.
  • FACT: Scientific research shows that if I did it, someone else probably did it, too. We're down to 8,528. Also, someone else out there probably didn't wash his hands before grabbing into the bowl of M&M's at the receptiontist's desk, even though he was nursing a fat cold. I'm sorry about that.
  • FACT: Scientific research shows that you probably came to said bowl of M&M's in your office AFTER said perpetrator inadvertently smeared particles of nose-goo all over those nibblets of chocolate goodness. Again, I'm really sorry.
  • FACT: 8,528 people is not very many when you consider the potential audience: everyone. And that's because SUB-FACT: It's 2007. Everyone has the Internet. 6.7 billion people in the world, and only 8.5 thousand of them tuned in. That's less than 1%.
  • FACT: The world population is going up by the MINUTE, which means, those ratings just got worse.
In conclusion, the NCAA and CSTV teamed up to do something revolutionary in our sport, something that, frankly, I was thrilled about before, during and after -- a rare occurrence in all walks of my life, save the occasional visit to Golden Corral... but the numbers sucked so bad that NOT ONLY will there probably be no free CSTV feed next November to surround myself with at the office, but the rumor is that they may cancel the Cross Country Championships outright. It's a shame, really. And I blame you. Next time, be a good fan and turn on at least five computers.