Monday, November 29, 2010

War of the Words - Football vs. Soccer

Here it is, folks--the moment you've all been waiting for. The first audio debate on the SNB.

I notice that a lot of Americans knock the sport of soccer, and I'm going to defend the sport as best as possible. Today, I'll be debating with one of those said Americans, and we'll find out "which cuisine reigns supreme."

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present...this:

I hope you enjoyed the videos. Maybe there will be more of this someday.

--AZ (& CT)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Team Management = Relationships. Dead Serious.

I guess you're wondering why I'm making this comparison.
First off, I'm a girl. We see things in this way sometimes.

I've had my share of relationships (when I mean "share" I only really mean one or two) and while watching sports on the telly, I can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes with team management. Sure, you read, listen, and watch about team transactions and financial issues, but what else do they really talk about behind closed doors? In an instant, what comes to mind is a huge round table with these high-top men in pinstripe suits all talking like Marlon Brando.

"You talk about draft picks. Are draft picks going to bring your fans back to you or my dignity to me? I forgo the draft picks from last year. But my previous transactions had to leave this franchise because of this salary capping. So now I have to make arraignments to bring players back safely cleared of all these false charges. But I'm a superstitious man. And if some unlucky accident should befall us, if we should be fired by the commissioner, or if we should shoot ourselves in the foot, or if we're verbally struck by a bolt of lightning--then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room--and that, I do not forgive. But, that aside, let say that I swear, on the souls of my grandchildren, that I will not be the one to break the peace we have made here today."

(DISCLAIMER: Marlon Brando never said this. He said something relatively close to this, but not this.)

It sounds like the mental conflicts that every guy experiences in his life when he approaches "the hot chick" and weighs out the options. He goes: "are my bros gonna give the thumbs up," and "I hope my female friends don't think she's trashy." Hold up, I'm not a guy, so I can't speak on any guy's behalf. Scratch this whole thing that I just said.

Anyway, the relationship between a manager and his players is like one of those relationships we constantly experience without the PDA's (public displays of affection, in case if you've never heard of the reference). There are going to be some disagreements, there are going to be some inside jokes, and there are going to be some "meeting of the parents and family" business. Oh, and don't forget, the manager ultimately "wears the pants" in this said relationship because he pays for everything.

But aside from the goofiness of this concept, you have to dig deep in thinking of why this is a big form of a relationship. There are team managers out there that fight for their boys even to the point of ejection. There are agents that will fight for the affection of their clients by negotiating for the best contract possible. Then in both cases the financial issues come along, and then the family problems and the relationship with the guy friends and how they might not be able to stand your significant other pile on too. Funny how that all works out, right?

Sure, the way to make it to the top is not just through skill, but also through gaining good relationships and uhh... "get around" I guess would be the way of putting it effectively. It's a real shame on how that's the truth, but relationships are the way you learn things; you, in the words of the great Ms. Frizzle:

"You need to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"
(God, I love this woman. Words of a prophet.)

When I read about the contract disputes of players like Derek Jeter, he almost takes the feminine role. No, I'm not knocking the guy. Let me make my point: if he wants something, the agent and/or manager will fight for it, and they will do the best they can to satisfy the player. If you can compare this to a real relationship, a girl would want love and care--and if they're real women, no material things--and the man will pretty much give an arm or a leg (or move a mountain, as some guy would say) for this lady.

Even in big executive meetings the "bro-mance" grows and intensifies, especially when it comes to big moves and big plans that are brewing in the franchise. In many cases, this is kind of like the big group of guys or girls that basically talk about the happenings in their respective relationships (without the juicy details, of course) and in return, each of them get a lot of advice and forecasts of what may come. Ever since the pairing of Adam and Eve, we've been paired with many people and need some guidance and advice on strengths and weaknesses along the way. We just hope that the people we're paired with are ready for us, right?

In conclusion, management doesn't mean parenting, it really means the "ball and chain" or the "sunshine and rainbows" of what you may deal with in high school. It takes real dedication and real wit to manage a team and maintain the relationship that you hold with oh so many people. You have to do a good job; otherwise, you're going to hear it from people other than your client or teammate. Three cheers for lack of independence! (ha ha)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Being Thankful... FOR YOU!

As you read this, how about I set the mood for you?

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to wish all of the readers that come across this blog a happy and most healthy Thanksgiving holiday. Even if you don't celebrate it with a large group of people such as family or friends, count your blessings and be thankful for what you have been given throughout your life.

What am I thankful for? The chance to do these things. The chance to write, the chance to make people laugh, the chance to make people express opinion and emotion, and the chance to be happy with the talents that I have acquired.
Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick, at least we didn't die;
so, let us all be thankful.
- The Buddha

And now, because you are all so wonderful, here's a funny picture.

I mean, if this is the case, he'll be missing the Cowboys/Saints game today, but you never know how far away the TV will be from the dinner table.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
(Try not to kill anyone tomorrow during Black Friday, either.)


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sharing the LOVE!

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton
Cain and Abel
New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona
Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets
Mufasa and Scar
Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders
Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi
Kelly Slater and Andy Irons (RIP)
Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics
Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings
Dallas Cowboys and ...every other team that isn't the Dallas Cowboys
and the list goes on...

The example I'm trying to make here is that over the course of history, there have been many rivalries that have spiced up the love and the hatred of the men (and women) that have been a part of the history of time and space and sports. I know I threw Mufasa and Scar in there, but I'm a 90's kid and it was a good example. Deal with it.

All's fair in love and war, but is what we're feeling for our lovely neighbors healthy? Some people may think it gets obsessive, but others will find it absolutely necessary to have a fiery passion of hatred for a team that stands in the way of their favorite team. It almost...keeps things in place and gives a team something to fight for. Regardless of how well your favorite team may be doing against the rest of the competition, to some it may only matter how well you do against the team you absolutely can't stand.

Oh, rivalries. How you make the world go 'round...

This could get ugly...

We would all have to admit at some point that it's absolutely invigorating to watch two groups of people absolutely hate each other. It's like West Side Story without Natalie Wood in heavy tan makeup. Even die-hard fans have admitted that they would not date/marry someone that rooted for the other team. The thing is, I could only imagine how they would make up the day after the game happened... Never mind, I digress. You get so excited just to see what will happen when a rivalry game comes around to town. I'm telling you--living in Philly, it's almost as if everybody hates us when they come here, and we as Philly fans have no choice but to defend ourselves physically. Almost every game against either the Mets, the Redskins, or the Cowboys there's a fight either inside or outside of the stadium. It's like you're watching free UFC during the early 90's when there were no rules and really huge bums that sometimes wore sneakers stepped into the octagon.

The way I see it, sports are like male-endeavored soaps to say the least. Yes, I know that's a somewhat sexist remark, but women watch it too, so this point stays. Rivalries are like a never-ending storyline that keeps everyone watching to see what is going to happen on the field [and in the stands as well].
(Aside: This is why I consider the expression "sports entertainment" to be as irrelevant as saying "ATM machine" because sports are already a technical form of entertainment. But I'll have more of that rant coming in December after I see WWE Raw in Philadelphia on 11/29. Huzzah. End of aside.)
In every story, you need to have a hero and a villain. You always have to favor one character and keep the flame alive by showing disgust for said "villain." Whether it's throwing words, fists, beer cups, or even snowballs, it's fun to watch for some reason.

At any rate, if you look at sports in a sociological aspect (my professor would be quite proud of me) you'd find that the three major perspectives--conflict, functionalist, and interactionist--really make sense of the mix of sports and their rivalries. It explains that temporary rush, or "high," that comes from these rivalries. Although teams and fans that hate each other come together and tolerate each other for a few hours, there's a sense of patriotism and competition that comes from it and it keeps the sports flame alive despite each side not seeing eye-to-eye. That is how our social scene is growing through loving and hatred (although the word "hate" is a strong word). That is your sociology lesson for today.

Does it create a bias for me? Well, not so much as it used to. Before I started this blog, I'll admit, I wasn't very fond of the Mets. Don't get me wrong, you guys crack me up beyond belief. But after all of the stuff you guys have been through, I have a newfound respect for you. I won't lie, there's still a bias in my writing because of the city I live in and how I might not know enough about sports happening away from the east coast. But it's always nice to knock on some team while I'm outside. It just makes sports fun.
Going from a national perspective to a hometown perspective, I bet you could all remember the sports rivalries that you had when you played recreational ball somewhere. Believe me, I know I had several. It got so bad at one point between my team and another team that there was a huge fight in the middle of a soccer field (which I wasn't involved in, so they were lucky, ha-ha). Then we got older and more mature, but there was still that fire inside that stirred the motivation to outperform and show the other team that you were awesome and there was nothing that they could do about it. When I see it on the field in a professional form, it brings all of the old plumes back and it makes me feel alive again.

This is why I love sports.
This is why I write.
This is why I want to write about this love for the rest of my life.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Yeah, I just went there.

Remember when I wrote that entry way back in August when the NFL season was just starting? Boy, did time fly. Several weeks and numerous fines later, we're at the halfway point in the season. I know, you're thinking that I should have done this during Week 8, but people, there's a thing called a bye week. Some people don't technically hit the middle of the season during Week 8. Philosophical reasoning aside, we've seen loads of ups and downs on the gridiron, and we've witnessed some pretty excellent catches and brutal hits.

Why don't we get a glimpse of what our boys have been doing for the past nine weeks!
[WARNING: There are no stats mentioned in this thing. This is all merely opinion, as this whole entire blog is, basically.]


East Division
New York Giants (6-2) - I will admit, these guys surprised me a little bit. I didn't think they were going to work together in their first few games, but after Week 1, they showed some promise. After this past brutalization against the Seahawks, you can start calling them a threat. Little brother Eli won't let Peyton keep him down, that's for sure.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) - Wait a minute, what? I have no idea how they're actually pulling wins out here. Oh, that's right, they still have Michael Vick. Kevin Kolb hasn't warmed up to the leadership role yet, and fans are still scratching their heads on whether they like Sean McDermott's defensive line or not. I heart Sav Rocca and David Akers. They literally kick butt.
Washington Redskins (4-4) - Here's the scoop: it sounds like Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan are in a really rocky relationship and they're not quite on the same page. They were for like, a game, and now it seems like the team as a whole goes hot and cold. There could still be hope. Playing the Eagles in Week 10 could be a deciding factor.
Dallas Cowboys (1-7) - Let's just state this and get this out of the way now--The Dallas Cowboys: the best team on paper. These guys would probably all work really well together on a fantasy team, but not here. With Romo out, there are bound to be more problems. I don't care if they just fired Wade Phillips. These guys are screwed.

North Division
Green Bay Packers (6-3) - Good God, they flexed their muscles last game, didn't they? Let's not kid, it was against Dallas, but still. I like what they have to offer, and they get the job done. The only thing that makes me nervous is their defensive line and a hint of receiving. Aaron Rodgers has a good enough offensive line this year that his rating is still high and his sack amount is about average. I like cheese.
Chicago Bears (5-3) - I don't know how I'm going to get away with saying this, but I'm really not all that impressed with Da Bears this year. They honestly haven't been playing very strong teams, and a lot of their wins have been either out of luck/penalty bashing, or just getting out by the skin of their teeth. I mean, their schedule looks so-so from here on out, but I'm not expecting anything special from them if they make it to the playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings (3-5) - Time for a math lesson: Brett Favre + Brad Childress = MASSIVE DRAMA; it seems like a really bad sitcom where you just can't stand the main characters as a couple. In other words, it's like the show Friends on meth. After getting rid of Randy Moss after four games and having managerial controversies from all ends, it looks like a massive roller coaster ride will be ahead during the rest of the season.
Detroit Lions (2-6) - What can I say? Doesn't this happen often enough to you guys? I mean, you're riding a 24-game losing streak away from your home field, and you guys have been tossed around for the past ten years or so. Is it going to stop? It could. The whole "coming up short" saying should be your tagline. Help them, Obi Wan Barry Sanders, you're their only hope. Oh wait, he's retired.

South Division
Atlanta Falcons (6-2) - I like these guys. Don't let their statistics that compare with the rest of the league fool you. Matt Ryan is doing exceptionally well, and the rest of the offense supplies a really good running game. In turn, the defense specializes in stopping that kind of run. They've had their ups and downs as a whole, but this second half is going to be a huge factor on whether they can really make it all the way this year.
(Editor's Note: I know that was sort of a Tim McCarver-ism mainly because winning and losing determines a spot in the postseason, but it stays here so you can laugh at my poor writing skills.)
New Orleans Saints (6-3) - They're playing typical "Who Dat" ball, that's for sure. They're still embracing the heavy passing game from Drew Brees, and the defense just looks absolutely sick. C'mon, they're tops in pass yardage allowed. They have fun games coming up. Expect these guys to be going head to head with ATL for the rest of the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3) - They're about average as average can get. You can blame injury upon misfortunes, I guess, but with the heated competition above them, it's going to be tough to get some stepping stool to overcome the bigger names. Do they still have a chance? Survey says: Yes.
Carolina Panthers (1-7) - See, this is what happens when you get rid of a veteran QB like Jake Delhomme. You experience an offensive meltdown of epic proportions to the point where you're in the basement in most of the offensive categories. Sure, he wasn't the number one reason why it happened, but it could've been a catalyst that started this whole fiasco. After this is all over, John Fox, watch out for your job.

West Division
St. Louis Rams (4-4) - Whooaaa!! Welcome to the top! After the past two or three seasons, Rams fans were getting a little scared that the kind of success that was received during the Vermeil/Warner era was never going to come back. But it looks like Sam Bradford and Steve Spagnuolo are trying to start their own little thing. I hope it works out fast...they're going to have a bumpy road to ride on in their second half of the season. If you want motivation, win it for Kurt Warner since he was voted off Dancing with the Stars last night.
Seattle Seahawks (4-4) - I can tell that they like playing at home... But aside from that, they really like to be inconsistent, that's for sure. They could kill the 49ers one week, but then get killed by the Denver Broncos the next week. That's no good. Matt Hasslebeck, I don't like your sister-in-law either.
Arizona Cardinals (3-5) - Fact: Your offense and QB are sub-par. This is why your offensive coordinator was fired a few weeks in. Fact: Your defense and special teams are practically saving you from a completely disastrous season. Fact: Jay Feely is still the man. Anyway, the offense will have to start crack-a-lackin' if you even want to think about making it to the top of the division or the wild card. If you want any more motivation, win a few for Kurt Warner too.
San Francisco 49ers (2-6) - I remember when you guys were always at the top with Steve Young and Jerry Rice. Now...yeah. Other guys. Although Alex Smith is playing a half decent game, we can't really say the same thing for the rest of the team. Keep on trucking, Mike Singletary. Brian Westbrook, I miss you.


East Division
New York Jets (6-2) - I'm going to start using a new line here: The Jets "are riding on the luck train." Okay, Mark Sanchez looks alright and LaDanian Tomlinson looks fantastic as he should, but everything else seems really lucky and hit-or-miss on the offensive line. I love your defense though. That could be the main thing keeping you up top in such a offense-heavy schedule coming up for you.
New England Patriots (6-2) - Well, here are the Patriots just being the Patriots. Thing is, what boggles my mind is that they get their job done in such short time. I don't know whether it's through turnovers or Tom Brady and the endless Hail Mary play. PS, the special teams like to get a lot of work.
Miami Dolphins (4-4) - "How about those Dolphins?" These guys had a nasty first half schedule and pretty much surived the grit of complete humiliation. That deserves some merit, at least. Chad Henne isn't delivering like most Dolphin fins [I made a funny there] would want him to with the way his QB rating looks. Sure, defense wins games for the most part, but you have to score some points too and keep the crowds in their places. Things could look up if they start to like the endzone a little more this second half. Here's an upside to everything: at least people are showing up to the games. I made another funny. Take that, Florida Marlins.
Buffalo Bills (0-8) - Let's be honest, every sports league needs a basement team, and the Bills are that team. They haven't been to the playoffs in a really long time, and even the personnel change this past year hasn't helped them in the least bit. The division they're in just won't let them win those tight games, I guess. Guys, just work to get at least 2 wins this year. At this rate, I'm not sure if that could be possible with the schedule that you have.

North Division
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) - I'll admit, Baltimore isn't that bad. The big issue to me is that it seems as if one line doesn't work in unison with the other lines each week. For example, it's like the offensive line takes a vacation one week while the other two lines kick butt heavily during that game. They've survived close games, and Joe Flacco is keeping his reputation as a good QB. What's gonna work? Teeeeeeamwork.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) - Even without Ben Roethlisberger during the first four weeks or so, this team has been meshing very well and are proving contention in the AFC. The games that were lost contained costly mistakes, but it doesn't seem like Mike Tomlin dwells on them for all that long. Although they nearly lost their lead completely this Monday against Cincy, they're looking to take sole possession of first place next week against Tommy Boy and the Patriots.
Cleveland Browns (3-6) - You know that whole joke of "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl?" Oh, nothing. I just figured that I would ask if you knew. I wasn't going to use it here for that particular purpose. Anyway, although Jake Delhomme is gracing his fine Super Bowl-experienced presence on the team, it really isn't coming in handy all that much. We'll see how that happens when they have a relatively sub-.500 team schedule coming up.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) - Here we go again with another good team on paper. Behind the QB Palmer Bros., nothing has been going right for them, even with T.O.Cho as wide receivers. These guys have been very short of complete comebacks as of late, but first, they should really fix the fact that they're falling behind way too much. One thing's for sure, they have a "fun" looking schedule coming up. Who Dey? Nothing right now...

South Division
Tennessee Titans (5-3) - Holy crap exploding offense, Batman. You like to score points. However, I don't think it's just Vince Young and the rest of his buddies doing all of the work. The defense is also well-rounded, which is also a good sign for this awakening team. Now that Randy Moss hass been thrown into the mix, we're going to be seeing a lot of offensive tricks. Isn't that right, Mr. Chuck Cecil?
Indianapolis Colts (5-3) - I can't stress this enough--two words: Peyton Manning. He's just that good. They're near the top in pass yards as usual. Injuries can be a problem, especially when you're playing the Eagles and their defense can't handle runs. Anyway, their schedule is about average, so this will definitely be showing versatility and energy conservation for the Colts. They'll be going head to head with the Titans for the next couple of weeks.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) - When I first saw them, I really wasn't all that impressed with their offensive tactics. The whole team can be very hot and cold and sometimes can't find the "clutch button" when most necessary. The running game is very good, but can the defense stop that stuff? Uhh, get back to me on that one. The workload is going to be heavy in the second half, so buckle up, Jags. One last thing, your mascot knows how to catch a field goal really well.
Houston Texans (4-4) - Man, I had so much faith in these guys, especially after taking down Indy and the 'Skins in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. Then they became human after an awesome performance going back from preseason. The defense isn't what it should be at all, and if they're way off the page when the offense is doing their job, there's going to be some massive problems. So much for the all-Texas Super Bowl, Hank Hill.

West Division
Kansas City Chiefs (5-3) - Matt Cassel and the gang know how to get the guys up the field, but can they capitalize? Can they all work together in unison? Most of the time. Now that they have a hot silver flame up their behinds, things could get ugly real quick. They have a below-average looking team setup coming along in the second half, so cockiness might try to creep up when least expected. Get at 'em, "chefs!"
Oakland Raiders (5-4) - Oakland's offense...oh man. Remember when I said the Titans had an explosive offense? How about a 59-14 embarrassment from a few weeks back? Right. These guys will be giving the Chiefs a real problem since they've come alive after a couple of minor setbacks. I'd like to see these guys back in the playoff picture yet again.
San Diego Chargers (4-5) - Don't let the stats fool you. They're close to the top in just about everything, but injuries are just about killing them from every end of the spectrum. It's a real shame. They had good stuff in the palms of their hands last year, and now they're stuck in the middle of so many teams just angry at each other. They're kind of like the voice of reason in the group of friends that gets stuck in the unnecessary drama and gets tossed around even though they're good-hearted and have good intentions. Let's feel sorry for the Bolts for a little bit. ... ... Okay, that's enough. Get well soon, men.
Denver Broncos (2-6) - Trust me, Don Martindale might not have an idea what he's doing back there with the defense because there are so many problems with the defense stopping runs. What, does nobody like the idea of running on this team at all? There's nothing wrong with Kyle Orton's lead at QB (or Tim Tebow's cheerleading) and if they can't stop the next few teams, problems are going to surface in the manager sector.

Wow. That was fun. I never thought I would write so much about football, but I did it. Hope you enjoyed it, and check out the next installment once 2011 rolls around.


Monday, November 8, 2010

The End of Eras

As the Major League Baseball season finally came to a close this past week, I'd like to take the time out to talk about four old men who have finally decided to call it quits in The Show. These men--Joe Torre (for now...), Bobby Cox, Lou Piniella, and Cito Gaston--have been huge men in the business for years, and now it is their time to just golf...and fish...and attempt to get on television as baseball analysts. Retirement sounds like a dirty word to these guys, but three of the four are in their late sixties, and Torre is already the big 7-0. How are we going to remember them? Easy. In humor.

Joe Torre
Supremacist of Yankees (and some Dodgers and Mets and Cardinals) folklore.
You knew how to talk up a Subway series.  
Not only could you talk a big game, you could certainly play a big game yourself in your day.
As a cancer survivor, you can say that you've won the World Series ten times over.
You carried a flame not just for the Olympic Games, but also for the men whose lives you have touched in your career in baseball.
Hey, if this whole "retirement" thing doesn't work out, you could always take up acting. You're pretty good at it, you know.

Bobby Cox
You're a man who fought for your boys. Sometimes we feel like your bench coach did more managing time than you did at some points.
As a leader of a dynasty in the 1990's, you knew how to make things click on all cylinders.
Although your own fielding career was short, you made a name for yourself in the dugout--and in the clubhouse.
After 2,500 wins, well over 100 ejections, and numerous playoff runs, you have called in quits, and the Braves organization will not be the same without you.

Lou Piniella
Ah, Sweet Lou. Sweet, sweet Lou.
You're another man who fought for his boys, and to be honest, you were quite colorful about it too.
Another man with a long on-field career, you made your way to the dugout to lead. Those rides were bumpy at times, but you did what you could.
You also took the time to make a trip to the broadcasting booth. Your wit and figurative language were so much it actually got a guy fired. [Dead serious, wiki that.]
You told us that dope was dope, and you liked to act and make fun of yourself as well.
Although you stepped down before the season ended, you still went out with a bang--a really, really huge loss.

Cito Gaston
A real reason to "fear the 'stache."
You're an example of a comeback kid, returning as Toronto's manager after ten years of...stuff.
Another thing, you're a ladies man too. Heck, you've been married three times, I think that's enough.
You had your ups and downs in your career and have dealt with controversies, but you've survived about 98.9% of them.
You make Canadians appreciate baseball. That really means A LOT.

To you four men: Godspeed, and may your futures may be filled with lots of hobbies. Maybe we'd like your opinions and appearances again someday.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's All About the Tunes!

For those of you that follow me on Twitter (@sportsnutblogs in case if you were wondering) you know how I constantly put on YouTube links of old school sports video games or fun pieces of music that I listen to while I write these entries. Because I feel that sound complements heavy visual attractions in several ways, I find it only fitting to talk about some of the most memorable sports themes that we have heard over time. By themes, I don't mean fight songs, but the themes to the sporting events that we watch on television. Sure, I like bone-jarring montages as much as the next guy, but since I'm a sucker for different musical effects, the music makes the scene. Sometimes, I might even have them on my iPod while I'm at the gym. Too much information there, but it's true.

Because I'm very partial and I don't like picking favorites, I'm going to list my Top 15 Favorite Sports Show Themes--In no particular order. Let's DO THIS. UUNH!

1. ESPN Sunday Night Football (2001-2004)
They also called this the "theme of the sirens" or something like that. For some reason, it made the whole concept of the Sunday night game that more intense and manly. I know, I'm the last person to talk about manly stuff, so humor me here. It almost makes you wanna go street on someone and break a few ribs, right?

2. MLB on CBS (1990-1993)
It just makes the atmosphere so much more exciting. To think of all of the legends that played around the time that this theme was used. You almost think of seeing a postseason montage along with it. I think another outlet still uses this in some way, because I remember hearing it a while ago. But anyway, it brings out the magic of the game and how exciting it can truly be.

3. NBA on NBC
DUDE. You have no idea. I don't even like basketball all that much, and this still pumps me up and makes me want to watch some epic slam dunk action. It's very street-synth, and it really fits the sport that it's presenting for. It even sounds like there's some cowbell in there. You know what that means...

4. Olympics Theme Song
As soon as you hear the tympani, it could either be one of two things: Darth Vader or the Olympics. Then the happy horns come in and you're like "YEAH! GO TEAM (insert country name here)!" And then your brain is mindlessly sucked into events and coverage you wouldn't ever dream of watching outside of the Olympic games for two whole weeks. That's where the power of the theme comes in. You hear it, and you either embrace the spirit or you run away from it because it's taking away your favorite NBC programming for a little while.

5. MLB World Series/All Star Game on FOX (2007-2009)
I like this for pretty much the same reason as the MLB on CBS theme. It makes it sound magical. Why they stopped using it this year is beyond me. I don't want to feel like I'm watching sports convergence where there's a baseball game with the NFL on FOX theme going on. That really bugged me this year. All I can say is when I hear this it takes me back to when I watched Game 5 of the 2008 World Series and they were restarting the game after the super long rain delay and all you see is a sea of red with everyone swinging white rally towels in the crowd. That was really cool and incredibly fitting. Shoot, I can watch it whenever I want. I have it on DVD. (ha ha ha)

6. Hockey Night in Canada (Original)
Don't get me wrong, I like the newer one too, but I feel like this one personifies the atmosphere on the ice and just makes you want to pick up a stick and check some people. Also, the first time I heard this I wanted to pick up a game paddle and play some old school hockey game on an emulator. It's got the guitars too that just makes you visualize the anticipation for the game--you see the Zamboni go up and down the ice and you're like "C'MON ALREADY, EH!!" Canada is fun to talk about. I should do this more often.

7. Monday Night Football
YEAH! FOOTBALLL!! AMERICANO!!!!! Did you really think I wasn't going to mention this? Sure, I'm not the biggest football fan in America, but I absolutely love this theme. I can just imagine these die hard fans just doing the slow-walk to their bathroom mirrors, putting on the eye black and beads with feeling, and then running to the couch with their beer and cheese puffs. This theme is just an American (and whatever other country) staple when you think of football, and boy, does it never fail to disappoint people when they have a "case of the Mondays."

8. NFL on FOX
Whomever made this theme should get a high five. The horns and bells just work so well with the whole concept of the strategy and physicality of the sport. It could also get you really nervous when your team is down by 7 with the 2-minute warning coming up in the 4th Quarter and no timeouts left. That is what the NFL on FOX theme is all about. It's about that rush you get when you watch it week in and week out during football season, regardless of what team is playing.

9. MLB on TBS
Basically, this theme to me just speaks: "Yeah, I'm here, and I'm way more talented than you." It also brings up some lively memories of postseason ball as well. This is what you could consider being the polar opposite of the other "magical" themes that I've already mentioned. This is like a football-caliber theme for a baseball program but still has the strings to encourage that magic that baseball has to offer.

10. ESPN College Basketball
It completely fits a college setting. It's got that band horn effect and I absolutely LOVE that. Like I mentioned earlier, I normally don't watch basketball, but NCAA is an exception to that rule. The school spirit pretty much wins me over, and the music gets me into the school-y setting of it all. I actually wrote a blog entry on why I enjoy NCAA over NBA many many months around the time I started the blog (I think the entry was written in lieu of March Madness, so yes, it's toward the way beginning when I had no niche of blogging).

11. NFL on CBS
I'm probably not the first to say this, but the NFC is to the AFC as the NFL on FOX theme is to the NFL on CBS theme. It's like rival themes duking it out. Which one I enjoy more, I can't say. Of course, there's less drumming and stomping to this one but has more horns and urgency tacked onto it. This theme almost makes it feel like one team is getting monstrously blown out by the other team and the losing team's fans are like, "okay, we'll slave to you winners for today."

12. College Football on CBS
This is about 100 times more upbeat than the NFL themes, and it has that magical school spirit-like feeling along with it. It's going along the lines of: "Okay boys, you're on a quest, and this quest will not be easy. However, we've worked hard for all of this. You see that lineman? That's your least favorite professor; now go out there and win one for the (whatever the mascot is) nation! HOOT HOOT HOOT HOOT!" I also stupidly think of the movie Rudy when I hear this. So irrelevant, I know.
(PS - I also think of the Army/Navy game when I hear this. This annual game is kind of a big deal in Philadelphia since it's played at Lincoln Financial Field every December. GO NAVY.)

13. NHL on FOX (1994-1995, 1998-1999)
MORTAL KOMBAAAAT!!! Wait, what? I'm serious! That's exactly what this theme sounds like. It makes the NHL sound so much more dangerous and violent than it really is. However, during the time that it was used, I think the NHL was rather desperate because they were faltering at the time and they needed a big draw from the adult audience who thought that this sport was an attempt for the Canadians to take over the world. Our society likes violence for some dumb reason, and I guess a Mortal Kombat-sounding theme somewhat did the trick. It wasn't like that for very long.

14. UEFA Champions League Theme Song
Let's get this straight: yes, it doesn't sound "manly," and it has an orchestral background. Here's the significance behind this (to me at least): the UEFA Champions League is like the Olympics of club soccer conferences around Europe. Certain elite teams have the honor and privilege to walk up the steps of the church of greatness and play on the highlighted pitch. Almost like a "Clash of the Titans" theme set. Could you imagine Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi wearing solider armor and swords while riding on horses? Picture that in your head. It's like you're watching Braveheart without the Mel Gibson and with a lot more kicking. I sound like my hero Ray Hudson now. I don't know whether that's a good thing or not.

15. NFL Thursday Night Football
What automatically comes to mind when I hear the bells is: "It's crunch time." Just imagine your significant other getting the chip bowl ready and your buddies are coming over and you're like "YEAH! I'm gonna win that bet," and there is so much on the line when the game is on. It has a nice exciting build, and I like that. I almost feel like they wrote it with Christmas in mind. It's like Jerome Bettis having a lovechild with Mannheim Steamroller or something.

...and that would be about it from me. I know there are many more out there that are fun to listen to, but these are the ones that catch my ear more often than others. Which ones do you like or dislike?

I bet Hank Williams Jr. approves of my list.

Yeah, he does.