324 Words On Old Men in Locker Rooms

If you change in a men’s locker room after working out on a regular basis, there are certain immutable laws of human nature that you observe, the first of which is that old guys don’t care about nudity. This is a fact and it’s just the way it is. No big deal, really. Like Adam Sandler said to his girlfriend who left him for an old man in Big Daddy, and I’m paraphrasing here, but, “Enjoy the loose skin and old balls.”

The second thing you might observe is that most old guys refuse to wear flip-flops or shower sandals or any kind of foot-covering gear whatsoever. This decision is questionable for health issues, but again, I get it. Most of the guys in this age group are 80+. If you stormed the beaches at Normandy and liberated the free world, then you probably don’t give a crap about a small case of athlete’s foot or plantar’s wart now and again.

This last observation though… The one where these guys sit bare-assed on a bench with a towel on their shoulder is baffling. Pre-shower, post-shower, it doesn’t matter. Forget that a towel is readily available, or that their buddy just sat on the same bench bare-assed after lounging in the sauna for twenty minutes, and forget that a young kid tied his basketball shoes in that spot five minutes ago, or that someone made a protein shake and sprinkled whey on the bench, or that the Gold Bond that didn’t stay on someone else’s under carriage fell softly to the bench, or that used towels and the bottom of gym bags that are put on the ground next to urinals sit on that bench… None of these things matter. It’s ass to bench come hell or high water.

I’m not sure if I’ll be one those guys before I decide to ask one of those guys how they do it, but I’ll keep you posted.

The Legend of Razor Shines – My 8th Grade Song/Poem/Ode


I found this song/poem/ode to Razor Shines in a box of my schoolwork in my parents’ garage before I recently moved. It was an assignment from an English class in 8th grade. My friends, all baseball fanatics, loved it. My teacher was confused. Reading it now, and taking into consideration that I didn’t have the Internet to research Razor in the 8th grade, I’m impressed with my old self for writing this entire iconic masterpiece with only the back of his baseball card to work off of. Yes, I re-typed it. I thought it was worth it. Enjoy:

The Legend of Razor Shines

by: Jon Finkel, 8 Red, 124

Razor Shines, well, he had some game,

But his main claim to fame is his All-Star name,

No other baseball player ever had one finer,

Than the right-handed infielder from North Carolina…

Single A, Double A, Triple A too,

Razor played ball in every city but Kalamazoo,

From Grapefruit Leagues to winter ball in West Palm Beach,

No stadium was too small or out of Razor’s reach,


Razor Shines, Razor Shines, shine on me! With your Expos hat and your Louisville Slugger bat, won’t you shine on me!


His name was sharp, but his game was dull,

He’s a switch hitter who was over six feet tall,

With thick sideburns and a keen eye,

Don’t mock Razor’s one career game winning RBI!


He played in Memphis, Wichita and Jamestown,

When it comes to great sports names, Razor wears the crown,

Born in nineteen fifty six and weighing two ten,

I love his name so much let me say it again:


Razor Shines, Razor Shines, shine on me! With your Expos hat and your Louisville Slugger bat, won’t you shine on me!


Drafted by the Expos, in June of seventy eight,

This man named Razor was destined to be great,

But when he got to the majors, he couldn’t get it done,

His career batting average was only one eighty one!


He had no homers, no triples and one double,

For most athletes that might spell trouble,

But Razor took his five career ribbies and formed a plan,

He’d take his awesome name and travel the baseball land!


Razor Shines, Razor Shines, shine on me! With your Expos hat and your Louisville Slugger bat, won’t you shine on me!


Nobody was crazier than that man named Razor,

He’ll strike out in uniform or a blue blazer,

You gotta be careful or he’ll steal a base,

And slide right by you on his grinning Razor face!


A blur in Expo white is all you’ll see,

And you’ll be left wondering: “Did Razor just steal on me?”

You’ll know he did and we’re not telling lies,

Put on sunglasses, ‘cuz that’s Razor Shining in your eyes!


Razor Shines, Razor Shines, shine on me! With your Expos hat and your Louisville Slugger bat, won’t you shine on me!


Seven years he spent, playing first and third base,

Then he left the league almost without a trace,

Was it an ACL or a rotator cuff he tore?

Or was it his career slugging percentage of one ninety four!


Sadly, the answers to these questions we may never know,

But don’t ever say we didn’t enjoy the show!

The pride of Durham, he’ll always be,

Razor Shines, you’ve been good to me!


Razor Shines, Razor Shines, shine on me! With your Expos hat and your Louisville Slugger bat, won’t you shine on me!





The Reverse Buffett Bracket


With all due respect to Nate Silver and the 538 crew, anybody with an old TI-82 can invent an algorithm and build a statistical model and use other math jargon I’ve never heard of to predict the winner of every NCAA Tournament game… What would be really impressive, however, is to pick the loser of every NCAA Tournament game.

Yes, it’s easy to push all the #16 seeds past the #1 seeds, and all the #15 seeds past the #2s, but what happens after that? In the Silver model, we have actual games to decide the results. In this version, we have no reality to speak of. How do you decide who would win in a Wofford v. Mercer 2nd round match-up? What do you do when you have a #15 seed American v. #16 seed Weber State in the Elite Eight? Has anyone crunched the numbers on that scenario? Where are your sample sizes for that epic battle?

Rather than bore you with the stats and figures and hard analysis that was necessary to complete the Bizarro Bracket, I will simply provide a picture below. Whether you’re picking winners or losers, the middle-seed games are still tough.

But once you get past the first two rounds, you have to resist the temptation to go all chalk. That’s why I took Manhattan to upend Cal Poly and Wofford to make it to the futile Final Four.

That lead to a match-up of Manhattan against their upstate New York brethren, the University at Albany in the Final. From there, in a victory for the state capitol over the de facto capitol of the world, the Great Danes shock the universe to take home the championship. Ladies and gentleman, your Reverse Buffet Bracket:

20140320_095906 (800x600)

First Four No More. Enter: The Bubble Bracket

SMU (600x800)

Thinking your team qualified for the NCAA Tournament, only to find out they’ve earned a spot in a play-in game, is like being told your MLB team is headed to the World Series, but then you discover they’ve actually won a spot in a stick ball game in the parking lot.

Nobody cares about the play-in games. March Madness is, and always will be, about the 64 teams who make the tournament.

Rather than expand to 68 teams or beyond in future years, what the NCAA should really do is shrink the first field to 60 teams, then take the next best 16 teams who are all on the proverbial bubble and enter them into…ready… The Bubble Bracket.

The Final Four teams who survive the Bubble Bracket are then entered into the tournament as 12 seeds in each different region (presuming that the auto bids from small conferences still get the majority of 14, 15 & 16 seeds).

The Final Four teams in the Bubble Bracket are actually the final four teams of the 64 team March Madness field and they earned their way in through their play, not by arguments in a selection committee.

No more ‘on the bubble’ talk. No more sad Larry Brown interviews about SMU getting hosed. No more bubble at all. People might care a little about the 65th team getting left out… But nobody will care about the 77th team getting left out (60 + the Bubble Bracket 16).

The NCAA can get the whole thing sponsored by Dubble Bubble and make even more money. And we can all fill out another bracket…like a warm-up bracket. Or, the NIT can take it over and actually be slightly relevant. Either way, it bursts the bubble team bubble, which is a good thing.


Googled For You: What is Titanfall and Is It Awesome?


It’s a video game and yes, it is. At least it looks awesome. I have two little kids, which makes playing a video game pretty much impossible… Here are the bullet points:

1) Titanfall was developed by the guys behind Call of Duty, another phenomenal-looking video game series I haven’t had the time to play.

2) The trailer for the video game looks like a cross between Avatar, Star Wars & a Bourne movie, with a little Oblivion and War of the Worlds thrown in. Yeah, all of that.

3) It has won over 75 awards in the video game world, so, like Ron Burgundy, it’s kind of a big deal.

Now you know.

Want more? Here you go: http://www.titanfall.com/


Public Relations Pain & Gain & Derek Rose

The phrase “Derek Rose’s brother said” should have never entered the sports lexicon. Derek Rose has a website (www.drosehoops.com). Derek Rose has a blog. He has a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel… He has so many ways to communicate that if he wanted to make an announcement about his playing status in Chicago, it might take more time to decide the proper social media channel to use than it would take to type the words: “I’m back”.

But he hasn’t typed those words and he hasn’t said those words. Instead, “Derek Rose’s brother said” popped back into the sports world. What “Derek Rose’s brother said” is irrelevant when D-Rose’s voice isn’t injured. Nor are his fingers (for typing) last we checked. If he wants to say something, he’ll say something. If he wants to play, he’ll play.

The speculation about what his teammates think (nobody will criticize the cornerstone of the franchise publicly), what management thinks (see last parenthesis) and what the coach thinks (obviously, he’d enjoy having the former MVP back on the floor) doesn’t matter. All that matters is that somehow D-Rose ended up in a situation where, unless he comes back and takes Chicago to a title, he loses.

Whether or not he is pain free from his injury isn’t the issue anymore. The issue is that he has nothing to gain by playing now. If he plays, it’ll look like he was pressured to play. If he comes back and doesn’t play well, it’ll look like he came back too early. If he plays and is excellent, people will wonder why he came back so late. Anything short of a miraculous playoff run and he loses.

It didn’t have to be this way…

Early on, he said it would be up to the doctors when he returned. The first question still posted on a Q&A on his website (from a long time ago) still deals with this issue. Here it is:


Hey Mr. Rose, I’m a Filipino and a huge fan of yours. I just want to ask you this question, when do you think you’ll come back?


I really don’t know yet. It’s ultimately up the doctors to tell me that I’m 100% healthy. I’m working very hard though, and my knee is doing well, so I can’t wait until I’m able to get back out there with my teammates.

Now we’re learning that it’s not up to the doctors. The doctors cleared him months ago. It’s up to Derek…and, for his own reasons, Derek isn’t ready. And if that’s fine with the Bulls and fine with his teammates and fine with him, then it should be fine with you…

The problem is, he should have been protected from this situation from the outset. If he never planned on playing, then his trainer or his doctor or a team representative or somebody should have simply issued the following statement: “Derek Rose will be out the remainder of the 2013 season through the playoffs. He is coming along as expected, but our staff has determined it would be best if he had the full off-season to recover. He’ll be back to start next year 100%.”

Those three sentences would have diffused this situation months ago. Instead, Derek said it was up to the doctors, and now the doctors are saying it’s up to Derek. And so now the fans are asking, “What’s up with Derek?”

But Derek doesn’t want to talk because for his own reasons, good or bad, he doesn’t want to play yet. That’s his choice, but then that leaves everyone else with: “Derek Rose’s brother said”… Which is lame.images

March Sadness: Why the First Four Tourney Games Are Lame (and 4 ideas to make them better)

Thinking your team qualified for the NCAA Tournament, only to find out they’ve earned a spot in a play-in game, is like being told your team is headed to the World Series, but then you discover they’ve actually won a spot in a stick ball game in the parking lot.

It’s a scam, a flim-flam, a way of cheating teams into thinking they’re going to the big dance, when, in fact, they’ve only earned the right to a dance-off in the lobby with some other poor sap team who also thought they were in, but really weren’t.

Last week, after a near two-decade drought, I watched my alma mater, James Madison University, win the Colonial Athletic Conference Championship, and along with it, an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament – although the bid, as noted above, was not a true bid, rather it was just a bid to play for a bid, which is, to put it in the simplest terms, dumb. Here are four reasons why:

1) Conference champions who earn automatic bids should automatically be seeded in the top 64. Don’t let fans of schools in smaller conferences rush the court, let coaches talk about how it’s been a dream to get to the tourney, and let fan bases spend a week wondering if maybe, just maybe, their squad will be the first 16 to knock off a 1, or one of the few 15s or 14s to win, only to deflate the entire fan base by putting them in a play-in game against a school they’ve never heard of, which leads me to…

2) Know what’s worse than watching a college basketball game that includes a team you don’t know anything about? A college basketball game where you don’t know anything about either team, where there’s no history between either team, and where the players/fans are heading into it already disappointed. If we have to keep the play-in games, then why not co-opt the four smallest conference tournaments like this…

3) I’m not saying this is the best idea, but it’s an idea: Whatever we decide the four smallest, least powerful conferences are, we should assign each of them a 16 seed right out of the gate, then let that conference play for the 16 seed in one of the four regions. This would make each of the finals in those conference tournaments de facto play-in games that actually matter, because not only is the conference title on the line, but a real NCAA tournament bid is on the line as well. But what about the play-in games? Glad you asked…

4) Rather than letting teams think they made the tournament only to discover that they aren’t quite there yet, why not put together a quick 4 team Bubble Bracket Tournament. These could be the proverbial best four teams who got screwed out of a NCAA Tourney bid. Usually, there are several big name programs among them, which would ensure ratings as well as solid story lines and big name coaches. These four teams would then play a two-day tournament, with the winning team earning an 8 or 10 seed (we just save one spot in one region for this team). Now we have the same 68 teams, but with some real excitement involved.

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m an idiot? Let’s go Duke Dogs.

Tweet me at: @Jon_Finkel

Weeknight at Burnie’s – My Evening as a Mascot for the Reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat

Weeknight at Burnie’s – My Evening as a Mascot for the Reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat for Yahoo! Sports’ ThePostGame.com

Did Doc Rivers Rip Off Rocky Balboa?


My hometown Boston Celtics got a huge win against the Miami Heat last night. When asked how they won, Celtics Coach Doc Rivers gave what seemed like an off-the-cuff answer, but it turns out he may have had Rocky Balboa on his mind. As a fan of both the Celtics and Rocky, I think it’s fantastic. Few theme songs have been used more in the world of sports than the original Rocky theme and Eye of the Tiger, however, it’s rare to hear a coach parrot a line so close to one of the films. It’s not an exact quote, of course, but it’s in the ballpark. Am I stretching here? Probably. Is it awesome? Definitely. You be the judge:

“They just kept throwing punches at us,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the game. “We withstood them and kept moving forward. I thought that was important for our team.” – Doc Rivers after the Celtics beat the Miami Heat 4/10/12 (courtesy of the Boston Globe)

“…But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” Rocky Balboa to Rocky Jr. in Rocky Balboa 2006