Chalk Talk

We’re less than two weeks from Halloween, kids. You got your costume and candy yet? I don’t. Well, I’m a little short on cash. But we’ll try to figure something out for Halloween in the latest version of Chalk Talk.

Here’s one costume I don’t want: to be the guy who slapped Devin Hester in the back of the head. I’m not sure what that guy was thinking at the casino they were both at but after the slap, Hester ran back a kick for a touchdown and scored one on a deep pass from Jay Cutler.

Hopefully the Bears put him on the charter to Europe because I think it’s the slap that got Devin going on Sunday. Or may be it was just a bad Vikings team.

Over the years I’ve been a major advocate that athletes are getting too friendly. There isn’t any hatred anymore for other opposing players. It doesn’t seem as competitive as it can be.

Sure, with so much turnover now and how easy it is to cross paths with people knowing a lot of people, it’s not something odd to be talking to a friend at first base or blocking your high school buddy’s jumper. But what happened to competitiveness?

Want a good example of where it is? Detroit. Between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz.

You’ve seen the footage a thousand times. It took Week 6 in the NFL by storm.

The two had a heated exchange after Schwartz took exception to Harbaugh’s hand shake. Wait… what? A handshake? Really?

Yes, really. Somebody tell Schwartz to cool off, his Lions aren’t invincible. But if I was pushed like that after a game my team lost, I’d be a little ticked so go Schwartz for fighting back. Then again, his Lions played sub-par after its big Monday Night win over the Bears. And who the hell are the San Francisco 49ers?

The 49ers are relevant again and I like it a lot. Right now, it’s the Packers, Niners, Lions, Giants, Saints and Bucs in the NFC playoff race. If you would have told me six weeks ago that’d be the NFC front runners I’d say no way.

If I had to pick an early favorite, it’d be the Pack. They’re just too good right now not to pick, even if my football colors ofroyalty are orange and blue. Sorry Bears fans.

But having San Fran, Green Bay and Detroit in it for me is nostalgic and as long as the AFC stays compelling as it is so far, we could be in for one hell of a playoff ride this season.

How about Jay Cutler caught on camera yelling at Mike Martz? Kids, don’t copy that. It’s not good to model yourself after Jay’s choice of words for his offensive coordinator.

However, it’s about damn time, Jay.

It’s great in the sense that Cutler is finally beginning to find his leadership mentality all of a sudden. This was the Jay Cutler we had hoped for when we acquired him from Denver. Now we just need to pay Matt Forte, get some receivers, revamp the line and the defensive backfield and fire almost all of the coaching staff and we might actually have a good team for once.

Quarterbacks have been a hot topic this week, none more hotter than Carson Palmer going to Oakland in an exchange for a 2012 first round draft pick and a conditional first rounder in 2013.

Cincinnati may have pulled off a hell of a masterful trade, but pardon my french – in the dickest way possible. Here, they’re at fault for Palmer sitting out (although, people might say he’s crazy for letting all those millions slip) and they know he’s not quite the QB he once was. But getting two first rounders for him essentially? Genius. Cincy better spend those wisely. Oakland’s crazy for dealing that kind of potential away, knowing Palmer hasn’t played in quite sometime.

I think Palmer improves Oakland’s offense considerably but that’s a major IF. Already I know some of you are saying BUY BUY BUY on Oakland’s receivers. I’m not sure that’s a wise choice but they are pretty good already. Can Palmer suddenly rekindle a spark? Does he have anything left? We’ll soon find out. But Carson Palmer’s initials right now are I.F. and it all comes down to if Palmer can rapidly produce in Oakland. But what else was out there for Raider to get all crazy about?

Just a mind-boggling trade if you ask me. Mind-boggling.

Who do I have in the World Series? I tweeted yesterday I’ve got the Rangers in their second go around. I got the Rangers in six, although this could be a seven game series, which the MLB is due for. My man Josh Hamilton just has to win this time. I admire Hamilton for not just the way he plays (he’s got a great swing by the way), the way he lives his life now. Such a great story that hits very close to home.

The last time a World Series went seven games was in 2002 with the Angels defeating Barry Bonds and the Giants. It’s kind of poetic now because that was Bonds best chance at a ring. But since that series, they’ve been ho-hum five game series and an occasional six-gamer in there. Marlins in five, Red Sox sweep, White Sox sweep, Cardinals in five, Red Sox sweep, Philly in five, Yankees in six, Giants in five last year. We’re due for a long series, people!

Supposedly we’re going to hear tomorrow (Friday) that Theo Epstein will be introduced as Cubs President but who should I believe anymore? Screw all these insider tips that the deal is done. I’m not believing anything yet.

When the Cubs call an official announcement, it’ll be my pleasure to tell you what’s going to happen on the North Side or what Theo should do. We know it’s coming. Why is it so important to break it? You don’t get points for breaking an announcement we all know is about to happen.

Speaking of announcements waiting to happen, how about David Stern just cancel the NBA season already? One day it looks grim. The next, it’s grimmer. The day after that its the same report. The next day, talks go for 16 hours. Uh oh, the NBA is back! Then we have Bryant Gumbel pulling out the race card.

Well, Negrodamus did say on Chappelle Show Wayne Brady made Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X, right?

Too bad Sports Illustrated couldn’t predict that outcome in its typical NBA preview. That would have been something.

You know what I just remembered? The White Sox hired Robin Ventura to replace Ozzie Guillen as manager. I thought it was such a great move I’d mention it like a week or two later. So much for that.

I’ve just got to know what everyone’s costume is going to be for Halloween this year. Do we got some Bin Laden’s up in the house? Or in the combine? Angry Birds? Power Rangers? Is it too soon for Gadahfi costumes?

Anybody going as Joe Buck? That’ll definitely be the life of the party right there.

If I had the cash my best buddy and I would have crashed some party as Gumby and Pokey. I probably would have been inclined to actually crash threw a wall at a party with him riding me in. That would be a hell of an entrance. And probably a quick exit as well.

Any suggestions for a cheap costume are welcome. Or you can make me Halloween cupcakes if you’d like. Choice is yours. I don’t have much laying around to choose from and sweets are always welcome at the Nichols household.

I kind of regret that I threw out my Gorilla costume that was falling apart at the seams, but it was time to let it go.

And letting it go, we shouldn’t let go of the reports that John Lackey, John Lester and Josh Beckett were caught drinking in the Red Sox clubhouse throughout the year.

It’s troubling to even hear about it or even come to grips that it is even true. But if it’s true, we have to hold these three in a low regard.

It’s not just disrespectful to the game. It’s disrespectful to people in general.

Americans are pouring their hearts out in rallies, while other are scampering for any type of compensation to keep their lives going. Some of America is fine. Most of American is hurting because of the economy and other factors. More than nine percent are unemployed for good grief.

But here are three baseball players. Their financial futures set. Won’t have a hard day in the next 20 or 30 years, playing a game that was free to them as children.

They’ve taken it all for granted. Most Americans aren’t paid in the realm that Beckett, Lackey and Lester are. And they pitch every fifth day. Pitch. That’s all they have to do. Pitch. Throw a ball. People who are firefighters, truck drivers and your average Joe will never comprehend nor see the money they see.

And they’ll never get to eat fried chicken and drink beer in a baseball clubhouse.

Hard working people don’t drink on the job. You get fired for that. That includes NBA (well not now), NFL and NHL players as well as many other athletes. You don’t see Kobe going back for a beer. Brian Urlacher isn’t sipping after Matt Forte runs for a first down.

It’s disappointing and furious to think that those three Red Sox players find it OK to get used on the clock.

They must have forgot who put that money in their wallet. Who helps pay those ridiculous salaries. Who comes to see them play. Yep, that’s us, average America who finds it wrong to drink on the job because without it, we can’t buy their tickets, we can’t buy their merchandise and we can’t afford our bills.

But they don’t see it that way. We don’t like seeing it that way. But we can’t see million dollar bank accounts, fried chicken and beer in the clubhouses. We can’t see that.

We see ourselves going to work everyday sober – and that’s if we have a job. We see ourselves bending backward for bills, worried about our lines of credit, if we can get to the doctor or if food will be on the table. Are we healthy? Are we getting Timmy his medicine? Will there be heat in the house this winter? Is my car going to start?

One thing for sure, everything I just said, Lester, Lackey and Beckett won’t have to worry about. When have they? They’re too busy eating chicken and drinking beer on a day they’ve taken for granted.

It’s shame to hear that Lester, Lackey and Beckett would choose such a route. It’s unprofessional and certainly insensitive to the very issues today that are shaping out a new path in America.

If this story is indeed true, what a sad, sad mistake those three made.

Kind of makes you real happy the Red Sox blew that wild card now, doesn’t it?

It does for me.

But as another Chalk Talk comes to a close, I present you with a video you basketball fans out there will love.

For years, I’ve been searching for those old MTV Rock ‘N Jock basketball games from the 90’s. You remember them. They were sweet. You had some pros going up against the trendy entertainers at the time, with 25 and 50-point baskets. I remember when Tim Hardaway scored on the 100-point basket one year. 1996?

Or when Gary Payton kept switching from the Bricklayers to the Violators. That was awesome. May have been the same year.

Anyways.

I found a video of the Rock ‘N Jock from ’94, the year Queen Latifah punked out Shawn Kemp. Here we go! That’s Chalk Talk for now boys and girls.

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