Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Brewers v. Cubs: The facts

By Nate Noy

On July 2nd the Brewers were 48-34 playing .585 ball and were 14 games over .500. The Cubs were 41-40 playing .506 ball and were a single game over .500 and 6.5 behind the Brewers.

At that time I thought to myself that the Brewers were a complete fraud and the Cubs would win the division. For the next few days and almost nightly thereafter Rick Morris and I debated how accurate my prediction would be.

Over the course of the next few weeks I continued to launch this debate with people I know, most of them responding that I was insane. However, the Cubs continued to chip away slowly at the division lead.

As of today, the Brewers are 65-66, they have gone 17-32 or .347 since I called them out. Their 14 game over .500 record is now one game under.

The Cubs are now 67-63 and have gone 26-23 since my infamous boast. No they have not exactly set the world on fire as I thought they would, (see impact of Soriano injury for that) but the Brewers did completely collapse as predicted.

As a side note, the Cards went from 37-42 and are now 64-64 going 27-22 over the same time period, one game better than the Cubs.

In two days the Brewers will be 65-68, their road record will be 25-43 (and since the Rangers and Astros both play at home this week), they will have the 29th best road record in baseball, only behind the D-Rays.

They will also be 4.5 games behind the Cubs and could be as many as 2.5 behind the Cards.

I know Rick Morris will still not concede the argument, but I am finding very little justification for a claim that the Brewers are even worth a crap at this point.

A final point: on August 12th when we did the Lounge show, the Brewers were 62-56. I blasted them from top to bottom and received a counter from every member of the show. However, since I called them out on air they have gone 3-10, and when the Cubs win the next two it will be 3-12.

Put a fork in the Brewers; they are DONE.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Media's first big industry gathering

By Rick Morris

As I have stated numerous times on The FDH Lounge program, I am a huge fan of, and believer in, new media. It's where our organization has most of its focus at the moment (with the exception of our forthcoming fantasy sports instructional DVD -- Paul Belfi is right, I never miss a chance to shill!).

Being a growing, but still relatively small fish, we are always looking around to see what others in all forms of new media (whether that be blogs, podcasting, Internet TV shows like the Lounge, etc.) are doing. As such, I'm very excited to call to your attention the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas November 7-9: the first new media conference ever to be attempted on such a massive scale.

One of the Dignitaries of The FDH Lounge, Raymond Smalley, will be attending the conference, and thanks to his efforts, we're going to have Expo head honcho Rick Calvert on the Lounge show to explain what it is all about -- probably more than once. We'll be exploring the Expo here on the blog also in the months to come as this event promises to harness the divergent possibilities of this new reality in the media universe like nothing that has come before.

Vikes want Kelly Holcomb: No, really!

By Rick Morris

For Minnesota Vikings fans not yet convinced how dire their quarterback situation really is, this transaction should make that fact plain. Kelly Holcomb, who reads NFL defenses about as well as Stevie Wonder, was acquired from Philadelphia for a sixth-round draft choice in 2009.

Speaking as a lifelong Browns fan subjected to this goof when our sobriety-challenged fanbase inexplicably turned on Tim Couch, you fine denizens of the Twin Cities have my sympathies.

Romney kicks Larry Craig when he's down

By Rick Morris

Mitt Romney, a "late convert" (to be excessively generous) to the causes of protecting the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, did not miss an opportunity today to show his true colors as he threw longtime supporter Larry Craig under the bus.

Romney claims to be a Christian, although some would say that he's part of the hierarchy of an insular religious institution founded by a heretic (side note: I love the use of the Nixonian "some would say" to make a point!). Doubtless the previous sentence would enrage Hugh Hewitt -- who proclaims legitimate questions about electing a Mormon as president to be religious bigotry -- but he's in the tank for Romney anyway, as he proves every time he sticks a passive-aggressive shiv in the back of Real American Fred Thompson. But, back on point: would a real Christian pile on such an ardent supporter in this manner? I think not.

Unfortunately, in these graceless times, the shallow expediency of a Romney and the infantile gloating of hateful pinko blogs are the norm for a situation such as this. I wish to differ, as I often do. I certainly don't condone what Larry Craig has, in all likelihood, done, not just now, but probably over a long period of time. I think his state and his country would be better off if he were to acknowledge that his effectiveness has been fatally compromised and resign. But I am not going to develop amnesia about what he has done for his country over his decades of service in Congress. He has posted a fine legislative record, particularly on Second Amendment issues and was a principled voice in a town with far too few. I feel let down by his actions, but I feel compassion for his shame and that of his family. They are in my prayers, even if they are just so much discarded garbage to the likes of "Moral" Mitt Romney.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Final Summerslam thoughts

By Rick Morris

By and large, Summerslam was a lazy, paint-by-numbers effort from the WWE "braintrust." Here are the main points of the evening:

* The HHH and Rey Misterio comeback matches were decent, but nowhere near off-the-charts and they seemed to be tasked with completely carrying the undercard.

* Khali and John Morrison retained the World and ECW titles, respectively, with an unforgivable non-finish for a major card and a screwjob finish, respectively. CM Punk loses some credibility as ECW's anchor face wrestler, while Batista's 7th consecutive PPV match ending without the World Title around his waist signals a downward spiral from which he will never recover.

* The Steve Austin surprise appearance seemed to be a sheepish bone tossed to fans who expected more from what is arguably the second greatest wrestling PPV of the year.

* Umaga's babyface push gained momentum with his clean pinfall of Mr. Kennedy, but this loss is very inconvenient for Kennedy as his mega-push based on the Lashley injury and his anticipated reveal as "Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son" takes a setback here.

* John Cena and Randy Orton started the main event match slowly, but built to a pretty good effort. They were aided by great crowd heat, albeit the now-familiar "Cena split crowd effect" in which men boo the babyface Cena heavily while women and children cheer him. Much like the Umaga match, Cena gains even more credibility with this win -- albeit, credibility he hardly needed, since he's been through the lion's share of the roster -- and leaves one of the few main-event heels in bad shape. With King Booker, Kennedy and Orton having been pinned this evening, Cena is bereft of credible heel challengers at a time when he's already beaten everyone -- unless a HHH heel turn gets hot-shotted. The creative department doesn't seem to be planning anything too far in advance, so there may be a lot of twists and turns between now and the Survivor Series.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Summerslam liveblogging fourth installment

By Rick Morris

We have reached the main event. In a manner typical of the way that big-market crowds have reacted to John Cena over the past two years, much of the audience at the Meadowlands has actually cheered Randy Orton. The crowd has at times been split in its loyalties, with the idiotic dueling chants characteristic of the TNA Impact Zone in Orlando. Regardless, though, it's been a hot crowd for this match and it has helped to make this the best match of the night by far. In a mild surprise, Cena survives the RKO and delivers the FU to Orton for the win. He will mark an entire year as champion, absolutely unheard of in this era. At this point, Cena doesn't really have any strong heel challengers left and I'm not sure where they go with Orton at this point, so the booking decision was very interesting.

Also, Hulk Hogan's son Nick is in the hospital right now after a serious car crash in Florida. For all the opprobrium my fellow smart marks and I hang on Hogan for the politics he's perpetrated on this business, I wish all the best to the Hogan family in this difficult hour.

Summerslam liveblogging third installment

By Rick Morris

HHH won a decent match against King Booker. That was the most enthralling comeback I saw in the WWE in at least an hour and a half.

Next up, Batista defeated Khali by disqualification when Khali used a chair. Khali retains the World Heavyweight Title and Batista leaves the ring for a seventh consecutive PPV without the championship. Can they possibly be thinking of foisting Batista on us for an eighth consecutive show next month. In a word, yes.

Summerslam liveblogging second installment

By Rick Morris

Beth Phoenix won the Divas Battle Royal. "Glamazon" is a cool nickname, so I approve.

Next, MVP came out for the segment that would substitute for a U.S. Title match because of his heart condition. When he challenged Matt Hardy to a beer drinking contest, I called Steve Austin's appearance 10 minutes before it happened. Inevitably, Hardy summoned Stone Cold to the ring to take his place and Austin gave the stunner to MVP to the delight of the crowd. How sad is it that someone who can't physically perform anymore is still more over than anyone on the roster? Austin was very, very funny in this segment, though.

John Morrison then successfully defended the ECW Title against C.M. Punk in an average match by way of the feet on the ropes during the pinfall. That old gag.

I must mention also that a backstage skit aired with William Regal imitating Cryme Tyme shucking, jiving and wearing a ballcap in a silly manner. Ron Simmons interrupted with the predictable "Damn!" That was actually a more entertaining moment than many of the matches thus far.

King Booker made his entrance in his usual over-the-top fashion, setting the stage for Triple H's mega-produced entrance. The crowd pop seemed to justify the immense video and audio efforts of the production staff. HHH seemed a bit slimmed down, but still pretty muscular -- certainly in better shape than tonight's other returning hero, Rey Rey. What this tells us about the state of WWE's drug testing is still fairly uncertain.

Summerslam liveblogging first installment

By Rick Morris

Before we get to the actual action, I wish to pass on a link that has caused endless mirth for myself and The FDH Lounge Dignitaries watching Summerslam with me. Paul Belfi, Mike Ptak and myself have been entertained far more by the transcript of the Charles-Camilla tapes than any of the action thus far.

Before the PPV started, the Redneck Wrecking Crew successfully defended the World Tag Team Titles against London/Kendrick.

In the show opener, Kane defeated Finlay even after most of the match centered around Kane's bandaged ribs. Speaking for smart marks everywhere, count me as bitter that the WWE won't even give Finlay a win when a perfect storyline excuse is built in for his opponent.

Next, Umaga provided a small surprise by pinning Mr. Kennedy in a triple threat title defense that also included Carlito.

For anyone wondering about the state of the returning Rey Misterio's physique after the steroid scandal erupted -- let's just call it very bizarre. He came out with a bulked-up upper body, but much of it in the form of stomach fat! And he was covered in a very strange bronze-like body paint that wore off in streaks during the match. Predictably, Chavo Guerrero carried much of the offense, but Rey Rey got the duke as everyone knew he would.

Comcast and Big Ten Network both stink!

By Rick Morris

One of the reason's that is the 800-pound gorilla of sports blogging is that head honcho Will Leitch will often sum up a situation better than anyone else can. The imbroglio with Comcast and the Big Ten Network is one such example: "Whenever corporation argue with each other, the only certainty is that we'll all lose," Leitch writes.

Indeed, we are witnessing a situation in which there truly is no "good guy." The Big Ten Network is trying to extract the maximum amount of moolah to worm its way into as many homes as possible -- naturally, after it has sold off its most attractive football games to the ABC/ESPN family and its most attractive hoops contests to the ESPN channels and CBS. Thank God The Big Ten Network has responded to the crying needs of the free market for endless repetition of Wisconsin-Northwestern cross country events!

And as usual, the cable and satellite providers are as sympathetic a group of folks as your average lobbyist for the trial lawyers. Comcast, fresh off of destroying the NHL's TV visibility through its broadcast rights for the Versus "network," is trying to gain public sympathy by hiring operatives to troll Big Ten college football message boards. The smarmy half-baked "apology" from the firm responsible for said disingenuous postings of course did not mention why similar posts showed up on numerous other message boards.

When the history of sports in the 21st century is written and we look back at how greed and Big Money ultimately destroyed the games we love, both pathetic entities in this battle will have their tales told.

Summerslam liveblogging tonight

By Rick Morris

As mentioned previously on the Lounge blog, we are not producing our 15th live program tonight -- rather, that will be held September 9 at the usual time with this week's show being made up on September 16 before resuming the live every-other-week format. However, in the interest of throwing a bone to regular listeners of the show on Sunday nights and an extra bone to the substantial percentage of wrestling fans in our audience, we will be liveblogging Summerslam here on the Lounge blog tonight. President and FDH Lounge Dignitary Paul Belfi is ordering the pay-per-view at his humble abode and has recently added wireless service there, so we'll be suffering through what looks to be a horrible show to bring our takes to you live. As our Senior Editor Jason Jones, currently vacationing out of town, texted me yesterday when apprised of our plans: "Better you than me!"

An Obama odd couple

By Rick Morris

As has been established, I am not a Barack Obama supporter -- the only one of our Dignitaries on the program to endorse him has been Burrell Jackson, although Jason Jones has noted several of his statements approvingly. But I want to give credit where it is due, because he made a pronouncement in the past few days that has gained little notice but would be immense in its implications if he is elected president.

While asked to cite specific Republicans with whom he would seek to conduct serious business if elected president, he named among others Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. The foremost enemy of federal pork and business-as-usual in the Senate, Coburn is as unpopular among his Republican colleagues as he is among the Democrats because he's in town not to make friends, but to make serious changes. Republican members of the Senate also resent him because he's ideologically driven as opposed to being a simple partisan -- he has worked with Democrats inclined toward certain changes, including Obama last year when they co-sponsored the new Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. This law mandates full disclosure of all entities receiving federal funds and creates a free database for the public to search. By taking an unprecedented step towards making the gargantuan federal budget transparent to the American people, Coburn and Obama advanced the cause of a more just national government.

In short, if a President Obama would work seriously with Coburn and throw his weight behind him in the admittedly limited circumstances in which they agree, he would do more to establish reform credentials than any president in the last century. Most promises from politicians get jettisoned quickly upon their assumption of office -- let's hope that this is an exception to that rule.

UFC legend amazes yet again

By Rick Morris

As the UFC continues its move into the American sports mainstream, one of the key factors has been the fact that the marquee fighters have been able to establish a long body of work, comparable to the top athletes in other sports. Certainly, even before last night, three-time UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture had earned a place in the sports pantheon comparable to Peyton Manning or Floyd Mayweather, Jr. based on his accomplishments. But his stunning defeat of young gun Gabriel Gonzaga last night at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas may be the crowning achievement in one of the greatest ultimate fighting careers ever.

Both fighters came into the match with incredible momentum from the first half of 2007. Couture emerged from a year's retirement to upset Tim Sylvia for the heavyweight crown in March, while Gonzaga seized his place at the head of the line in the division with a shocking win over the feared Mirko Cro Cop in April. Fighting a man infinitely younger and more athletic at this stage of the game, Couture's odds were long, but his performance was strong from the outset as he reestablished himself with a flourish as the man to beat in the heavyweight division. As UFC continues to expand into the Big Time of professional sports after the acquisition of its main rival, Pride, it's only fitting that Couture lead the way for the heavyweights.

In other UFC news from Vegas, former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre shook off the effects of his title loss to Matt Serra in April by upending Josh Koscheck. St-Pierre must now be considered a strong challenger to the winner of the Serra-Matt Hughes championship fight to be held before the end of the year.

On the undercard, there was one figurative black eye delivered to the sport when light heavyweight Renaldo Sobral refused to immediately break a chokehold after defeating David Heath, citing Heath's alleged disrespect before the fight. UFC has come too far in terms of cleaning up the sport and delivering solid regulations for it and has too much potential in the future to tolerate this kind of pathetic conduct from Sobral. He'd be wise to be expect quick sanctions from UFC.

Turning the tide in Anbar

By Rick Morris

Michael Yon is one of the foremost milbloggers writing today. Having written extensively from the front lines in Iraq over the past few years, he is greatly qualified to assess how our civilian leadership and their followers at the top of the military failed us in the years prior to 2007 and what are our remaining chances for success -- which must now be defined in the narrow sense of not leaving behind an Afghanistan-like Disney World for terrorists. In Part I of his new series, The Ghosts of Anbar, he sets the stage for his latest trip to Anbar by narrating the events of the past few years. It's great writing by one of the few journalists anywhere truly qualified to opine about the state of the war and I recommend it highly.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Untold story: the KGB's frightening comeback

By Rick Morris

The Russian Bear has returned. In a supremely compelling cover story this week in The Economist, the comeback of the KGB in the form of its successor the FSB is illuminated in chilling detail. While we in the West have deluded ourselves over the past 15 years that the Cold War is dead and buried, it has slowly arisen again -- and with Russia playing footsie with China, Venezuela, Iran and a number of formidable anti-American players worldwide, we're staring down a new threat at a time when we can't afford to be diverted from pursuing the Global War on Terror. We certainly don't have a global alliance to deal with Russia and its axis similar to the anti-communist umbrella of the Cold War.

Although it is an excellent account of how Russia's turn away from the West has materialized, the Economist's story surprisingly does not contain any information about another key factor in this sad development: Nashi. This anti-American youth group has become a slavish tool of Russian President Putin as he re-institutes the domestic tyranny present throughout much of the country's history. Nashi is a frightening and powerful force in Russia, instilling hatred of the West. These articles are stark warnings of the successes they have enjoyed to date.

While I believe that Putin has plotted all along to take Russia down this path, I also see much that our government has done to play into his hands over the past decade. After we went into Afghanistan, our government had the bright idea to try to place military bases in former Soviet republics, ignoring the sense of paranoia it would stir up in Russia. The same can be said of our decision to expand NATO right up to Russia's doorstep -- that was a classic example of something in international affairs that was undeniably moral, but was anything but helpful to our national interest. In a presidential debate in 2000, George W. Bush pledged to instill a new humility in American global affairs. Had he followed though on his promise, Putin would not have had as easy a time in turning Russia into USSR 2K7.

Vick's going to snitch: I LOVE IT!

By Rick Morris

It's always insanely delicious when a blatantly guilty person is defended by hateful people purely because of the color of his skin -- and when that individual then inevitably lets his defenders down (i.e. O.J.'s acquittal being celebrated in many quarters after he played the race card at trial, only to see him turn around and resume his self-centered golfing/life of leisure lifestyle as though he had never even pretended to care about black people in the first place). The latest celebrity to hand his supporters a revolting karma sandwich is Michael Vick, who will be singing like a canary to the Feds.

First, Vick was proclaimed "innocent until proven guilty" by these bigots (listen to the Al Sharpton radio program for one day and hear the mindset being described here). Then, inevitably, when he cut his plea bargain, the "what did he really do wrong?" card was thrown down by people who would justify any crime because of the pigmentation of Vick's flesh. Now, to further save his pathetic skin, Vick is cooperating fully with federal prosecutors to go after dogfighting rings nationwide. While I personally am happy that Vick is at long last performing a public service, even though it is under supreme duress, I'm more thrilled that he's letting down the despicable supporters that he has gained. The people who have defended him throughout are the same ones to decry any form of "snitching" -- no matter that so-called "snitching" cleans up poor areas and allows the vast, vast majority of the non-criminals living there to live safer lives with predatory vermin sent to prison. So to all of the racists who think Vick should get a free pass to slaughter animals because of the color of his skin and who are now feeling betrayed by his decision to "snitch," allow me to give you a large Nelson Muntz "HA HA!"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Great timing, Orioles!

By Rick Morris

On the very day the Baltimore Orioles announced that their interim manager Dave Trembley would return in a permanent capacity in 2008, they went on to become the first team in 110 years to yield 30 runs in a game. Nothing says going in the right direction organizationally better than getting your teeth kicked in by an average of three runs per inning! And as a bitter former fantasy owner, may I say that I am shocked, SHOCKED that Daniel Cabrera had his fingerprints on this travesty.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is that guy wearing a Ryan Leaf jersey???

By Rick Morris

This might just be too awesome for words -- a new website dedicated to chronicling people wearing humorously outdated jerseys. Just so I never see a picture of me in my Tim Couch or Charlie Frye jerseys on there -- they could still be relevant!

Next FDH Lounge program postponed

By Rick Morris

We've got a quick programming note for you here. Due to the vagaries of summer vacation schedules, we will have key Dignitaries unavailable this Sunday night when we were to bring you the 15th live edition of The FDH Lounge on As such, we'll be back with the 15th show on our regularly scheduled date of Sunday, September 9, then we'll bring you a bonus show on September 16 before resuming the live every-other-week format.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Names being named in MLB steroid probe

By Rick Morris

And away we go. Finally, a key figure in the MLB steroid investigation is talking. The cheaters who have polluted our national pastime may have to pay a price yet.

Annual list proves many of us are quite old

By Rick Morris

It's that time of year again. The Beloit College Mindset List has just been issued for the tenth year. No doubt, you've received this list previously via email spam from your friends -- it's the one with the theme that reads something like "This year's incoming college freshmen have never ..."

Personally, I started to feel a bit old the year that the list indicated that incoming college freshmen would not have had knowledge of an Atari 2600. That was a staple of my youth! But like many other people in their thirties, the list just rubs more salt in the wound each year. This year, a major theme of the list is that incoming college freshmen did not grow up in a world with the Berlin Wall or, more broadly speaking, the Cold War. Now, as a child of the Cold War and someone whose geopolitical references were framed by it (in a reactionary manner, naturally!), that's depressing enough.

But no Berlin Wall? I remember as though it were yesterday November 9, 1989, watching the wall come down while pounding celebratory vodka with a great friend and fellow college right-wing firebrand -- today known as Ohio's finest public policy and legal expert, Scott Pullins. If memory serves correctly, that was also the night (during Sweeps Month, naturally) that the Cheers episode aired in which Carla's husband got killed by a runaway Zamboni. Unfortunately, after the Cheers and Berlin Wall revelry was done, I still had to go work an overnight shift at the school newspaper with a whole lot of 80-proof vodka in my system. Suffice it to say, that's the kind of youthful mistake you only make once! Scott, who got to sleep off his fun immediately, was smarter than me even back then.

Clearly, I have vivid memories of that great moment in time, but now those images are tainted by the unmistakable fact that I am now "the old guy who remembers the way it was back then." I'm sure I'll get over it -- until next August when the list comes out and says that incoming college freshmen never knew a world in which we weren't at odds with Saddam Hussein.

Weirdest reason yet to support Hillary

By Rick Morris

This is priceless. Novelist Anne Rice has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Now, there's nothing unusual in the slightest about people in the creative community backing Democrats; it happens every day. But this part is really good:

"I am Pro-Life. I believe in the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Deeply respecting those who disagree with me, I feel that if we are to find a solution to the horror of abortion, it will be through the Democratic Party," says Rice.

Voting for a Democrat -- to REDUCE abortion! Under similar impeccable logic, I'm going to vote Republican to advance the interests of pacifism, labor unions and the agenda of the Sierra Club.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Senator Leahy will be in Batman movie

By Rick Morris

Truth really is stranger than fiction. Senator Pat Leahy (Bolshevik from Vermont) has landed a role in the next Batman movie. If he gets a role as an evil old guy quashing qualified judicial nominees, would that be typecasting?

Vick guilty -- only the stupid are surprised

By Rick Morris

For all the insipid talk that Michael Vick was "innocent until proven guilty," today he admitted the obvious when he copped his plea: he is indeed guilty of heinously murdering animals by way of operating his dog-fighting ring. The truly stupid and delusional people of this world who defiantly maintained their trust in him despite all evidence of his guilt are no doubt rationalizing that "it's only dogs we're talking about" and "the System set him up" and "he's only going to jail because his friends snitched on him."

I expressed rage on The FDH Lounge show when Vick entered what he now admitted was a lying plea of "Not Guilty." He has shown himself, by these actions and others from the past, to be a classless degenerate, so it may surprise some readers to know that I do support his conditional reinstatement to the NFL. I would like to see NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell institute a suspension from the league which would not run concurrent with Vick's prison sentence, so we may be talking a few years down the road before Vick could be reinstated. But this would allow him an opportunity to get back into the league, assuming that one of the 32 teams in the league would take the necessary public relations risk and would be willing to carve an offensive scheme to his abilities. This strikes me as the necessary balance between the harsh penalty Vick's reprehensible lifestyle deserves and the American tradition of allowing a chance for redemption.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yeah boyeeeeeeee! Free Flav video game

By Rick Morris

Regular listeners to The FDH Lounge are aware of my longtime fascination with Flava Flav, dating back well beyond his reality show resurgence of recent years. Frankly, if this guy doesn't put a smile on your face with his many antics, I question whether you have a pulse at all.

As such, I was delighted to come across a video game which is free to play online and I feel that it is my duty to share it with the Lounge following. It's available here, on the outstanding Addicting Games website, which provides an endless library of fun free games. For that matter, since we at the Fantasy Drafthelp brand have never shied away from self-referential plugs, that gaming site and 329 other websites both in and out of the sports world are linked to on this page, the Internet's ultimate links portal. It's my personal home page and it's truly the one indispensable page on the entire Internet.

The UFC: the success story of pro sports

By Rick Morris

With the NFL under the shadow of the Michael Vick indictment and the criminal element of Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson and the Cincinnati Bengals, MLB bearing the fruits of longtime steroid tolerance, the NBA suffering under a referee fixing scandal, the NHL all but invisible to the TV public because of putrid broadcast deals and boxing continuing its death spiral through the continued irrelevance of its marquee heavyweight division, sports leagues everywhere are going through downward cycles. But the major organization with the most dramatic growth this decade is thriving and took another huge step Friday towards consolidating its gains.

Ultimate Fighting Championship, or the UFC as it is more commonly known, achieved something UFC President Dana White called "the pinnacle of my seven year career in this company" this week when he locked up former PRIDE champion Wanderlei Silva. As my friends at Pro Karate Weekly have chronicled, Silva amassed a legendary career on the PRIDE circuit after an early stint with UFC. When UFC acquired the remnants of the PRIDE organization earlier this year, White made a bold comparison that may have drawn some snickers when he compared the looming new era in ultimate fighting to the AFL-NFL merger. While any comparison to the behemoth in American sport that is the NFL is a fanciful one for the moment, the direction of the UFC since their difficult early years of being labeled as"human cockfighting" by John McCain has been overwhelmingly impressive. Much of this is due to the implementation of safety reforms installed by the UFC brass, the absence of which was holding back the sport from achieving mainstream appeal. This positioned the company to be financially profitable enough to obtain the PRIDE assets when that company faltered due to its own circumstances.

Now that the UFC is taking advantage of the opportunity to snap up all of the world's top fighters under one banner, we will see heretofore unlikely "dream fights" several times per year. Silva joins Rampage Jackson, Cro Cop and others as fighters now able to be paired in combat with any other top-level competitors in the world. With the difficulties of the aforementioned major sports and the boxing world being choked by the politics which have been conquered by the UFC, within 2-3 years we may be speaking of another entity on the top tier of American sports.

Requiem for a RINO

By Rick Morris

Chuck Todd's piece in the Wall Street Journal celebrates the spineless career of one of the Beltway's biggest Republican squishes, John Warner. While Warner has not ruled out seeking another term in 2008, the article nonetheless seems to frame his career in the past tense. Todd is an excellent analyst and the column sums up Warner's 30 Years of Shame well, even if it makes you seethe a bit in thinking about why this country keeps electing poll-obsessed moderates instead of people who act on principle.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The GOP YouTube debate will happen

By Rick Morris

After some doubt, the Republican YouTube presidential debate is now back on, scheduled for November 28. The Pullins Report, a fine online newsletter dealing with all aspects of public policy published by my longtime friend Scott Pullins, has the details. He was part of the Save the Debate coalition dedicated to making sure that the doubts sown by the leading contenders would not be enough to sink the event itself.

As I indicated on The FDH Lounge show when we discussed this event, I believe that the candidates are obliged to attend this debate, but I do believe that they are well within their rights to refuse to answer any asinine agenda questions or anything undignified (i.e. a query from some creep in a snowman's suit). There should be a minimum baseline of dignity for any event, but I believe that these aspirants should show up and keep an open mind on what they will and will not address. I urge the readers of this blog to follow the Save the Debate link and submit questions to be asked.

Life under the Vegas casinos just as interesting

By Rick Morris

This story is very interesting
and the phenomenon was confirmed to me by fellow FDH Lounge Dignitary Nathan Noy, who once lived in Las Vegas and toured some living quarters beneath the city. In the winding labyrinth of storm drains under the city and in many cases, directly under major casinos, a subculture (literally, a subculture) of people braving periodic flooding persists. As a repeat vacationer to The Greatest City on Earth, I am startled to know what looms underfoot in that most eclectic of cities and it's very humbling to think of those who aren't fortunate enough to enjoy this wonderland like the rest of us.

Charles Krauthammer on baseball?

By Rick Morris


For those of us used to reading Charles Krauthammer's insights on politics, the Middle East and other such matters, it was a bit unusual to see him tackling a sports subject. But it's very well-written and demonstrates a keen grasp of baseball, particularly the part about tracking a baseball in the outfield.

The subject matter of the article is none other than Rick Ankiel, the man who arguably is redeeming the sports world during this dark summer (NBA ref fixing, Michael Vick, steroid freaks in baseball getting over, Chris Benoit offing his family -- if we extend the concept of "sports" to rasslin' here). His meltdown in the 2000 National League Playoffs was shocking and sad and signaled the end of the pitching career of one of baseball's greatest young stars. So to see him make it back to the big leagues as a slugging outfielder and help his Cardinals get back into a playoff race that they have no business being a part of -- there are no words for that. Regardless of what happens from here, this might well be the greatest "Rocky" story I have ever seen in professional sports, and probably second only to the wonderful story of Jason McElwain, the autistic youngster who was team manager for his high school basketball team and scored 20 points in a shocking flurry when he got put in one time by the coach (do yourself a favor and watch the video if you've never seen it before). Ankiel's story is very uplifting and needed not only by the sports world, but America at large at a time when we are besieged by war, domestic tragedies in Minnesota and Utah and troubling markets. May Ankiel continue onward and upward and kudos to Krauthammer for doing his story justice.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

LT can improve on historic 2006

By Rick Morris

LT can actually build on last year in San Diego, says CBS Sportsline's Clark Judge. I agree. The greatest back of our generation may not have peaked yet.

Celebrity deaths in threes -- Again!

By Rick Morris

On The FDH Lounge program back in January, we reviewed the syndrome of celebrity deaths in threes, including a cycle from the previous month. I think the grouping we've just seen is as eclectic as any of the rest:

August 2007 – Merv Griffin, Phil Rizzuto, pro wrestler Brian “Crush” Adams
December 2006 – James Brown, Gerald Ford, Saddam Hussein
August 2005 – Barbara Bel Geddes, Peter Jennings, Saudi King Faud
May 2002 – Dan Devine, Joseph Bonnano, Seattle Slew
June 2001 – Carroll O’Connor, John Lee Hooker, Jack Lemmon
February 2000 – Tom Landry, Jim Varney (can you picture him doing the "Hey Vern" routine with these guys in line at the Pearly Gates?), Charles Schulz
March 1999 – Dusty Springfield, Stanley Kubrick, Joe DiMaggio

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Famous pundits weigh in on Karl Rove

By Rick Morris

Rush Limbaugh interviewed Karl Rove today, "interviewed" actually being a kind euphemism for the most shameless sucking up since the last time he had an Establishment Republican on his show. The next time Limbaugh starts with his "conservative grass roots" charade, remember this display when he whiffed on his chance to confront George Bush's main man about:

* the attempted Dubai ports sellout
* the attempted travesty of Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court
* the attempted immigration amnesty monstrosity
* aiding and abetting the drunken-sailor spending and pathetic pork-barreling of the Congress when it was under unified Republican control
* aiding and abetting the Congress in running from any shred of the Contract with America reforms when it was under unified Republican control
* this administration's passive tolerance of Iraq's slide into chaos and the complete collapse of our capacity for military deterrence before this year's troop surge
* the No Child Left Behind boondoggle and the double-cross of poor families who voted for Dubya believing his rhetoric about fighting for school vouchers
* a fight for Social Security reform waged with such ineptness and such a political tin ear that the resulting rout has poisoned the waters for needed reforms for at least the next decade
* the Medicare prescription drug boondoggle that didn't even succeed in its only cynical goal: bribing a decent number of old people to switch to the Republican party
* a federal response to Katrina that somehow managed to match, if not trump, the incompetent local and state efforts and which the Bush crew decided to whitewash by pushing reckless and loosely regulated federal spending

In other words, Limbaugh, who shilled for Bush during the 2000 primaries and made fun of Pat Buchanan for leaving a Republican party which was stacking the deck in W's favor, did exactly what you would expect.

Next, we come to some amusing wishful thinking from the Ragin' Cajun, James Carville. Here, he opines that Bush and Rove's many blunders have led to a Republican "lost generation." Now, I have long been a skeptic that a figure as politically polarizing as Carville's girl Hillary Clinton could be elected. But with the "Reagan precedent" of 1980 looming increasingly large -- a scenario in which a woefully unpopular incumbent can cause the nation to turn to a candidate of the opposite party previously dismissed as unelectable -- Hillary stands a good chance of becoming the next president, if for no other reason than the fact that the Republican nominee will have to work a John Kerry-esque straddle between denouncing Bush's above-noted failures and praising his successes (the tax cut-fueled economic expansion, two Supreme Court justices who interpret and don't legislate, the success of the Global War on Terror in most areas except Iraq). But nothing will bring back Republicans and independents chased away by Bush and Rove like the presidency of Madame Hillary, a figure already reviled in much of Middle America. Carville is greatly exaggerating the shelf life of the Republicans' toxic unpopularity in a nation with such a short attention span. Will he overreact with similar vigor to a second President Clinton presiding over the Democrats' second loss of the Congress in the 2010 midterm elections? Somehow, I doubt it.

Finally, we come to the analysis of one of my all-time favorites, Pat Buchanan. Unsurprisingly, I find his thoughts closest to the mark. I should note also that I am glad that his many years of well-received exposure on MSNBC since his presidential campaigns have exposed the lie about his brand of politics being hateful and destructive to the public interest. He is a true patriot, and is entitled to the "I told you so's" that he does not stoop to taking in this fine assessment of Bush and Rove's unpleasant legacy. As noted above, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Republican Establishment were in the tank for Bush in the 2000 primaries and were working feverishly against Pat in 1996 when he appeared for one brief shining moment to be on the verge of sparing the party from the specter of horror known simply as "Republican Presidential Nominee Bob Dole." Were Rush and the rest of the backroom Republican elite capable of learning from their mistakes, one might well ask if they're happy they got what they wished for, but that would of course be an exercise in futility.

But for all of Buchanan's many cogent points, he hints at but does not actually state the heart of the matter about the Bush and Rove mistakes. He denounces the Wilsonian neoconservatives who co-opted the Bush presidency after 9/11 and led our country to increase our over-commitment around the globe and he also excoriates their insane immigration policies, but he does not mention the solution. It's called paleoconservatism, a school of thought to which he and I both subscribe and the Bushes and Roves of the world have tried in vain to exterminate. It places the needs of the Old American Republic over those of the New World Order, whether it be by resisting the efforts to erase our borders and submerge our people into an amorphous North American Union or by fighting only the battles vital to our national security. It is a coherent and brilliant theory of who we are as a people and a celebration of how we got to this point. It is intellectually consistent and honest, unlike the Bush crowd, which sees nothing contradictory in decrying the bigotry of low expectations for schoolkids in the underclass and toadying to Hispanic voters by assuming that those who got here legally will vote Republican if they abandon control of our borders. And it is the true reflection of where the American people are, post-Rove. While the alienation this country feels from the Republican party and what has come to be defined as conservatism is deep and true, it is most assuredly not a repudiation of what conservatism has historically been and could be again. The assumption that Bush and Rove have inadvertently driven this country to the left could not be more false, as voters continue to express disillusionment with Washington from the right on a fairly regular basis. While the Republican elite has quashed Buchanan and any other adherents of paleoconservatism in the past, in part because they tolerate no dissent on an absolutist free trade agenda that does not take into any account the predatory trade policies of other countries, they may not always be in position to do so. What we need is for a prominent presidential contender to find the guts to pick up Populist Paleocon Pat's megaphone and rally the people with his memorable cry from the '96 primaries: "Mount up, everybody, and ride to the sound of the guns!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome to The FDH Lounge blog!

By Rick Morris

It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to the newest addition to the media family, an accompaniment to our revolutionary Internet TV program The FDH Lounge. This is The FDH Lounge blog, where the Dignitaries of The FDH Lounge can pontificate on any subject under the sun.

For those of you less familiar with and the Lounge, I will provide some background., or FDH as it is commonly known, amicably spun off in February 2006 from, a site which has contained the writings of many great fantasy sports analysts since 2000. I took over the operations of at that time, with the help of my new partner Jason Jones. Since 2003, I had been serving as’s representative on (also known as STN), the Internet’s most listened-to station of its kind (source: I have appeared on a variety of STN programs through the years, providing both fantasy sports and general sports analysis.

In addition to our other regular appearances on the network, Jason and I host and produce THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER (Thursdays from 9-11 PM EDT), a weekly Internet TV show on STN with a four-year history behind it. We pride ourselves on covering the widest array of fantasy sports under the sun, and while we devote the lion’s share of attention to the major fantasy sports, we’ve also had mock drafts on the show for events such as the Olympics, the Triple Crown and even the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest! We work for maximum synergy in tying together all aspects of the FDH brand, so the show reflects the work of the FDH website and blog to the greatest extent possible.

Under the FDH banner, we were privileged to assemble a wonderful array of contributors to the site. Our roster expanded with even more great minds once The FDH Lounge was conceived. In short, with the vast array of interests and expertise that we had on our staff, we felt that we needed to expand beyond the fantasy sports industry. While fantasy sports is still our primary focus at FDH, as evidenced by the constantly-updating content of our site, our blog, our Internet TV program and our forthcoming fantasy sports instructional DVD, it was no longer a big enough banner for everything we were capable of producing. So, on January 14, 2007, The FDH Lounge premiered on STN, after weeks of ambiguous advertising promising a mind-blowing assemblage of compelling entertainment. It appears live every other Sunday night from 8-11 PM EDT on STN.

With 14 episodes now “in the can,” The Lounge has lived up to the billing of being the program “where nothing is off-topic.” The Lounge’s “Dignitaries” pontificate on anything and everything relevant in the world today, from sports to politics to music to geopolitics to movies back to sports again to celebrity gossip to everything in between. Additionally, in assuming the lineup spot of one of STN’s most popular programs, Sunday Night Submission, we have occasionally provided programming of interest to the “sports entertainment” and MMA audience that Sunday Night Submission served so well. The former Sunday Night Submission hosts themselves have appeared as Lounge Dignitaries, most recently in the immediate aftermath of the Chris Benoit family tragedy when intelligent media commentary on the situation was scarce indeed.

Regardless of the topic, The FDH Lounge has been able to provide entertaining and informative commentary on a wider array of subjects than any other show anywhere, with the wisdom of educated individuals mixed with the wit of Happy Hour at the local tavern. Whether through interesting conversation with authors and other invited guests or through no-holds-barred Dignitary roundtables, The FDH Lounge has delivered on the promise of wide-ranging fun from the very first show.

So now, having established what The FDH Lounge brand is all about, it’s time to bring our product to the blogosphere. We certainly have an urge to pontificate more often than once every 14 days, and many of our Dignitaries will be taking advantage of this platform to deliver any cogent rants and analysis on any subject that we deem necessary to share. I would certainly anticipate that we may be introducing some new Dignitaries to you through these means as well. Whether you’re an established FDH Lounge listener or somebody who’s discovering us for the very first time, I urge you to check out our content, to comment on our writing and programming either on the blog or on our program’s message board and to give us the chance to entertain you as only we can.