Kings of Leon at Madison Square Garden

17 11 2010

When you get a chance to watch a concert at Madison Square Garden, you take it. I’m not knowledgeable about music, but I’ve made a more concerted effort to broaden my interests beyond DJ Quik and Tupac. Fortunately, I was able to witness the Kings of Leon concert earlier tonight at the Garden. I first heard them on an episode of Entourage — I think Season 3 — and since then I’ve kept tabs on them. It was a joy to see them in person. I shot a few videos during the concert, although now I regret not recording full songs. Only a few other people in our suite were snapping cell phone shots; I had a FlipCam with me and felt a little bit awkward recording in there. Still, I’m glad I got what I got:

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NBA logos; Explanation of concussions

3 10 2010

I like to keep busy, which means I blog at 12:15 a.m. on a Saturday night/Sunday morning. One of those days where I couldn’t muster the energy to even leave the apartment, so I just watched football/baseball/golf and read all day. I didn’t write an article today, but I have a couple more here which came out this week.

Five NBA teams made changes to their logo this past off-season, some more than others. An overriding theme for the franchises was a return to their roots. That’s expressed more in some teams (Warriors) than others (Cavaliers). The successful part of this story was that I was able to speak with an executive from four of the five squads. (I didn’t pursue someone from the Clippers since their part in the story is minimal, per the small change in their logo.) It took me three months to get at the Warriors, which makes me feel prouder that I actually got this story to go live before the NBA season begins.

Click the link below to read the story:

NBA Team Logo Changes

Meanwhile, over in WeightWatchers.com land I came out with a story about concussions. As is the nature with most pieces on that website, the story takes an overview of the injury, what it is, how you get it and how to treat it. The goal with stories there are to write to an audience that might not know much about health, in general. They’re interested by it, but you have to assume a reader hasn’t done any research on his/her own accord. So, this story explains concussions in a straight forward, detailed manner.

Click the link below to read the story:

What’s the Deal with … Concussions





To live and suffer in L.A.

11 09 2010

Last night, I watched Straight Outta L.A., the documentary Ice Cube narrated and directed for ESPN’s 30-for-30 series. While it was a solid effort, it wasn’t on the level of Without Bias, Winning Time or The Two Escobars. It still had a big impact on me, though. I grew up in Los Angeles, from when I was born in early ’83 until I moved to Montana in late ’96. The doc reinforced to me what a weird time it was to live in L.A. during those years.

I didn’t start paying attention to sports until ’89 and not on a full-time basis (watching SportsCenter, reading the L.A. Times sports section, watching Dodgers/Lakers games) until ’90. To think of what a mess the sports scene was in that city from ’90-’96 is pretty disheartening.

The Dodgers did make the playoffs in ’95 and ’96, getting swept on both occasions, but most of the early ’90s were frustrating. Daryl Strawberry returned to his hometown in ’91 with a $25M deal, but he was never the dynamic player he had been with the Mets in the ’80s. Pedro Martinez was traded to the Expos in ’94 for Delino Deshields after spending an impressive rookie year in the bullpen. Sure, we had five straight Rookies of the Year in Eric Karros-Mike Piazza- Raul Mondesi-Hideo Nomo-Todd Hollandsworth from ’92-’96 but the Dodgers were never electrifying like they were the four previous decades.

The Lakers lost the ’91 Finals and it was downhill from there. Magic’s sudden retirement from HIV was as depressing for the L.A. sports base as anything that happened before it. The Lakers won 43, 39 and 33 games in the three seasons following Magic Man’s departure and it wasn’t until the Kobe/Shaq Era began in the summer of ’96 that a new dynasty would form. Of course, I moved in December and could only watch it unfold from afar.

The Kings made the Stanley Cup in ’94 and Wayne Gretzky became the NHL’s all-time points leader, but it was hockey. It was a temporary distraction for a city starved for a championship. And, of course, the Rams and Raiders moved from L.A. by ’95. This isn’t to mention that the USC and UCLA football teams weren’t competing for national championships. Only UCLA’s fantastic run to a men’s basketball title in ’95 gave the city a championship they were dying for.

It was a weird first part of the decade for more than just sports. We had the ’92 Riots in South-Central. I was far away from that living in the Valley but it gripped the whole city. The Northridge earthquake in January ’94, a 6.9er which was NOT fun to be apart of, made us all realize the danger of living in a city constructed over a major fault line. We had a huge number of wildfires that summer in the L.A. basin which cast a cloud of smoke over the Valley. We were advised not to go outside for a couple days at one point. Then, we had the O.J. murder case from’94-’95. It seemed like L.A. was always in the news for something negative. Fortunately, my naivety as a young dude prevented me from realizing how damn weird it was to be an Angelino at that time. Straight Outta L.A. brought back those memories.





When is sports news not sports news?

24 08 2010

I got into another Twitter discussion argument regarding the story of Tiger Woods’ divorce case. The lady whom I was Tweeting with (sounds dirty but get your mind out of the gutter) thought that anything about Woods’ divorce finalization with his ex-wife Elin was unfit for a sports website. I argued to the contrary, stating that since the story concerns Tiger Woods and since it is a news story, any sports website from ESPN.com to AOL Fanhouse to Yahoo! Sports should run at least the AP version.

She said that she doesn’t care about personal matters of athletes, only information pertaining to what someone is doing on the field, course, ice or court — or any story directly impacting on-field/course/ice/court performance. I can appreciate that, I noted, but how should website editors determine what affects athletes and what doesn’t? Another Tweeter interjected into our conversation by explaining that stories of players getting arrested are worthy because they can affect an athlete’s playing time. I can’t refute that but, again, where is the line drawn?

If a sports website were to banish stories about divorce cases, then what sense would it make to publish a story about an athlete signing an endorsement deal? How about an athlete doing charitable work? Those two types of stories wouldn’t directly affect on-field performance any more than would a divorce case settlement.

There’s also the responsibility of a website to finish reporting the cycle of a story. If ESPN.com or any other place reported the news stories of Tiger’s car crash last Thanksgiving and the subsequent news of his affairs and breakup with Elin, then it’s the site’s duty to finish reporting the story by seeing it through the divorce settlement. This was vehemently argued by the person I was Tweeting with, but I believe strongly in this.

A site has to show consistency through a story’s news cycle if it expects to gain credibility. As tired as some people might be with the story, it is a news story in the fact that it’s a divorce case. It is a sports story in the fact that a prominent athlete is involved. If it were the setup man on the Kansas City Royals getting a divorce, then I could understand not reporting a story. Nobody gives a damn about the Royals setup man. But people care about Tiger; he’s possibly the world’s most recognizable athlete. That’s why I think it makes sense for ESPN.com, and any other sports website, to publish the Tiger divorce story. It’s not a matter of ESPN becoming more like TMZ. It’s just a relevant news story regarding a well-known athlete. That’s enough to go live with it.