Countdown: Bucs (busted), Argentina (hubba), Chills (duck!)

The Count isn't big on spin.

The Count isn't big on spin.

The Count once thought about a career as a company spokesman. But he soon realized that while the job might come with some really nicely tailored suits, there was the strong possibility that he would have to sell his soul, and, well, there go the parties. This probably also explains why The Count never made it past the second rung on the corporate ladder. But that’s OK. At least he has a shorter fall than the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are $1.6 billion in debt. Billion? What are the monthly minimums on that kind of bill — $16 million? Is somebody at least getting free miles out of this, because this might be a good time to fly to Bolivia. And if you’re owner Malcolm Glazer, do you phone your credit card company and say, “Um, we’ve had a little problem. Went on vacation. Bought a soccer team. Can I get my limit raised to $2 billion”?  Listening to the Buccaneers’ company spokesman, you would think we were back in the Gulf War, with Baghdad Bob declaring, “There are no American infidels in Baghdad! Never!” Need a refresher course? Ah, that’s what we’re here for. Don’t panic! All is well! We count down . . .

10. You doofus — why did you have to buy a soccer team?

Manchester United fans did not take it well when their soccer team was purchased by an American in 2005.

Manchester United fans did not take it well when their soccer team was purchased by an American in 2005.

Quick recap: According to a BBC report, the Glazers are $1.6 billion in debt and have borrowed $570 million against their shopping malls and $95 million against the Buccaneers, which explains the team’s depth chart. This situation was created largely because of the Glazer family’s leveraged buyout of the Manchester United soccer club for $1.4 billion in  2005, a transaction that went over so well in England that Malcolm Glazer was burned in effigy (see: hot under the collar to the left). Meanwhile, Tampa’s director of communications, Jonathan Grella, who apparently trained on Three Mile Island, released a four paragraph statement that read in part: “Buccaneers fans should know that the Glazer family is as financially well-positioned as ever before. Companies they own generate revenues in excess of $800 million each year. This franchise remains committed to bringing the resources to build its next championship team.” And then he was run over by the villagers. Grella sounded a lot like Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi’s minister of information during the Iraq war, who quickly turned into a cartoon figure during his news conferences. Sort of like this:

9. The NFC South just became a three-team division

Don't laugh. She might be the quarterback next season.

Don't laugh. She might be the QB next season.

The Bucs can spin this anyway they like. When companies accrue that much debt, they don’t spend. Whey they don’t spend, they don’t win. When they don’t win, they say things like, “We have destroyed two tanks, fighter planes, two helicopters and their shovels! We have driven them back!” (For more wonderful reminders of Baghdad Bob, click, “WeLoveTheirInformationMinister.com“) Fact is, this can only help the Falcons because they’re in the same division as the Bucs and they play these schlemiels twice during the season. The St. Petersburg Times, which has some healthy desperate denials from Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer, points out that a recent NFL.com report stated the Bucs spent less in player salaries and bonuses than any NFL team in the past five years. Just guessing: Payroll is not going up.

8. If soccer is so big, why must you shout?

While we’re on the subject of soccer, it’s not oblivious to The Count that the World Cup opens Friday in S0uth Africa. This is usually when all of the soccer fans come out of the woodwork to tell us in the U.S. how big the sport is around the world, to which we respond: “We don’t live in the world. We live in the United States.” See, I have this theory that if something is really important, you don’t need to tell me it’s important. But since I know there are some soccer fans out there, I”m posting some highlights from the 2006 final game that I know even non-soccer fans will appreciate.

2006 World Cup: Italy vs. France

7. OK, OK:  Here’s a real World Cup story for Joe Six Pack

Maradona wasn't the picture of discipline after his heyday. And now he's a coach?

Maradona wasn't the picture of discipline after his heyday. And now he's a coach?

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Diego Maradona. If not, just think: Pele meets Darryl Strawberry. He was the World Cup star for Argentina in 1986 who later turned into a Hoover any time he was near cocaine. He eventually ballooned to roughly the size of Buenos Aires. So it seems Maradona is now coaching Argentina in the World Cup. He has said he will run naked through the streets if they win the World Cup, to which everybody replied, “What’s the big deal? You do that every Tuesday.” I guess you can say Maradon’s a players’ coach, bcause while most teams are told to steer clear of nooky during the World Cup, Maradona is telling his players they can have all the sex they want. This should be interesting. Dr. Donato Vallani, the team physician, proclaimed: “The players can have sex with their wives and girlfriends during the World Cup. Players are not Martians.” But there are limitations. He added that the sex “should not be at 2 a.m. with champagne and Havana cigars.”

6. Hey, Chills: Your hair is on fire

This could be former Hawk Josh Childress pointing to the airport.

This could be former Hawk Josh Childress pointing to the airport.

If this doesn’t chase Josh Childress back to the NBA, nothing will.  Childress’s team in Greece, Oympiakos, lost game four of the championship series to Panathinaikos, 76-69. The game was called with 1:03 left because of flares. That’s right. Flares. Angry/rowdy/drunk/stupid Olympiakos fans shot off flares and, for some reason, officials considered this dangerous. Go figure. Fans reportedly also started rioting, tearing out chairs and throwing garbage. The game even started 40 minutes when police felt compelled to use tear gas to combat 200 rowdy fans who had entered the arena without tickets. Here’s a brief vague recap on Eurobasket.com.: “With something more than one minute to go (69-76 for PAO) Olympiakos fans made another big incident and the referees decided to end this meeting.” The video says it so much better. You can fast forward to the three minute mark to see a flare explode on the players’ bench. In the next shot, most of the arena’s fans were gone from the lower level. The pyrotechnics hit again at the four minute mark.

5. Coming next week: Hindenburg, the comedy

This is one of the few screen grabs I can use from the unauthorized Tiger Woods game.

A family friendly screen grab from the unauthorized Tiger game.

This is not how a marketing department draws it up. Fresh off his last three tournaments — missing the cut at Quail Hollow, withdrawing/quitting at The Players championship and finishing 19th at the Memorial — Tiger Woods can celebrate today! EA Sports has shipped, “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11″ to stores! I read the news release and the closest thing I can find to a mention on Woods’ extra curricular activities is the reference to the new “Ryder Cup Challenge,” in which “the U.S. or European squad [can] participate in various competition formats: foursomes, where players hit alternate shots, fourballs and singles …” (I think I just heard a chainsaw in my editor’s office.) But wait — there’s more! To coincide with the EA release, a company called D-Dub Software, which seems to specialize in pornographic video games, is releasing its own game, “Tiger Woods Affair 2010.” I am not making this up. From their release: “The interactive parody game allows the user to live in the shoes of Tiger Woods. Whether a user wants to sleep with cocktail waitresses, fight with other golfers at a nightclub, or just party and get drunk, the game allows them to do it.”

4. How would you like to be selling Cavalier season seats about now?

Dan Gilbert surveys the remaining rubble of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Owner Dan Gilbert surveys the remaining rubble from the Cavaliers.

Coach Mike Brown was fired. General manager Danny Ferry resigned. LeBron James has thrown himself onto eBay. Now owner Dan Gilbert thinks he’s going to get Tom Izzo to leave Michigan State and coach his team? Yes, methinks the Cavaliers are about to become Cleveland-worthy again. And on a related note, word is the team also is shopping Mo Williams and Delonte West. They have not said if LeBron’s mother would be included in the West deal (a link, just in case you miss the rumor that may well leave you nauseated but certainly would explain a lot about James’ playoff fizzle).

3. From the Miami Hurricanes’ school of humility

Good morning, boys and girls. Today, we are going to learn about sportsmanship. And geraniums. Please take note of the video below. Engel Beltre of the Bakersfield Blaze (A) has just hit a walk off home run, and he decided to celebrate this achievement by basically sticking it in the face of every player on the Visalia Rawhide within earshot as he rounded the bases. It seems humility and Beltre never intersected in his life. This brawl resulted in seven players getting suspended, led by Beltre at five games. He might want to use the time to purchase a muzzle. (FYI, according to Wezenball, Beltre’s home run trot last 1 minute, 7.47 seconds, ending with the classy flip off.


2. BP — even the initials have a low Q rating

Manny The Manatee apparently gasses up at the Citgo.

I'm assuming Manny The Manatee also never rode the Exxon Valdez.

BP, you’ve just lost Brevard County. Yes, it’s one thing to alienate environmentalists and pretty much anyone who doesn’t like their beaches or birds covered with sludge. But this is how much of a stigma BP has now: The Brevard County (Fla.) Manatees of the Florida State League want everybody to know that they no longer take BP — as in batting practice — before games. Instead, they are officially changing the name of their daily pre-game routine to “hitting rehearsal.”  Manatees general manager Kyle Smith said, “As an organization we feel that changing the term ‘batting practice’ and ‘BP’ to ‘hitting rehearsal’ shows that we are deeply concerned and hurt by the disaster on the Gulf Coast.”  I think I speak for everybody when I say that Kyle Smith has too much time on his hands. But maybe more “rehearsal” is in order. The Manatees are hitting .253.

1. A muted response . . . from Hugo Chavez?

Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro were known for fastballs, high and inside.

Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro were known for fastballs, high and inside.

Noted human rights crushers, U.S. basher and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is a long-time baseball fan, similar to his mentor, Fidel Castro. So it figured he would come out breathing fire when that American pig and infidel Jim Joyce called a Cleveland runner safe and destroying the potential perfect game of Venezuelan (on loan to Detroit) pitcher Armando Galarraga. Instead, he said, “From here we salute Armando,” praised the pitcher for grace and called Joyce “noble” for having apologized to the pitcher. He added: “The umpire was wrong … but, well, the umpire is the umpire.” Either somebody kidnapped Hugo Chavez or this guy is the next Bucs’ spokesman.

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90 comments Add your comment

Reality

June 8th, 2010
3:19 am

The Reality is — FIRST, SON!

Great work here Jeff. Provided some Grade-A late-night entertainment. Some of these stories (like the BP one) I found ABSURD…..and hilarious. Nice work.

"Chef" Tim Dix

June 8th, 2010
5:44 am

The word “nooky” and no Gulbis pic? Oh, the humanity!

JSS

June 8th, 2010
6:05 am

@ Jeff Schultz…
Hiroshima!!! Just saying

Remember what I said about “deals?” The Bucs may not be able to make deals, but it does to do is doom them to being the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Tennessee Titans. Those teams are good in 3 year spurts. Once their draft picks and home grown free agent finds become unrestricted free agents they suffer some, see the Jacksonville and the Titans defensive lines destructions. The uncapped year does not really help them. Remember, the Bucs are not in trouble, the Glazers are in trouble. Unlike the situation in Texas, the NFL has socialism (Revenue Sharing) which kept something as terrible as the Smiths, Modells, and the the Culverhouses in the League for decades.

Castro was almost signed by the old Washington Senators as a pitching prospect back in the late 40’s. Alas, that skin flint Calvin Griffith tried to low ball him into signing. Well, we’ve been paying for that great piece of capitalism for nearly 60 years!

JSS

June 8th, 2010
6:11 am

Correction:
“but it does work to doom them to being like the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Tennessee Titans.”

H. Billy

June 8th, 2010
7:04 am

You reckon Hugo Chavez is any kin to Jesse Chavez? Reckon he might add Jesse to the national team and out off the Braves bullpen?

Urban Meyer

June 8th, 2010
7:19 am

Why not an article on how Danny Hall and Paul Hewitt give the same results in BIG games?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

June 8th, 2010
7:20 am

Classic Stuff JS- Got to know what that “Bakersfield Anthem” was playing in the background as the players scuffle- could you find that out for me?? I’m actually excited about the World Cup, looking forward to US vs England. Perhaps you heard of John Terry, Englands D-man. i believe he’s knocked up 2 of his teammates ex’s or wives.

JSS

June 8th, 2010
7:24 am

H. Billy

June 8th, 2010
7:24 am

“Streets of Bakersfield,” is a classic country song by the late Buck Owens, a proud son of that city.

Sanity

June 8th, 2010
7:27 am

Really? We don’t live in the world? That’s news to me.

H. Billy

June 8th, 2010
7:35 am

OK, Wikipedia tells me he didn’t write it, but as a big star from Bakersfield, he made it his own. In 1988, he performed it with Dwight Yoakum on one of his albums and it was a No. 1 hit.

Henry the city editor

June 8th, 2010
7:36 am

Guess what. I don’t live in the $%^#$% world, I live in #%$^&#% New York City, so go @$%^#% yourself!

smokemonster

June 8th, 2010
7:43 am

and jack will be the smokemonster.

[...] Tuesday Countdown The Count isn’t big on spin. The Count once thought about a career as a company spokesman. [...]

Gen Neyland

June 8th, 2010
8:07 am

At least Cleveland has reruns of The Drew Carey Show to keep them entertained. Want more..? The Browns, aka a NFL football team. And don’t forget the Mud Hens are only a day trip away…

JSS

June 8th, 2010
8:11 am

@ Smokemonster…
Jack restored the Island, he’s favored… The Man in Black disrupted and dishonored the island, thus he was the Yang to Jacob’s Yin… Trombone sound!

@ Jeff Schultz…
J. Chill’s speaks:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4200408

JSS

June 8th, 2010
8:17 am

@ Gen. Neyland…
You can always go to Cedar Point or the Pro Football Hall of Fame in less than a hour… A Day trip is Kings Island!

Mike B.

June 8th, 2010
8:18 am

Get with the times, old man. I’ve seen all of these stories already. Don’t put your stuff on the ajc website if you haven’t figured out how to use the internet yet.

Clay

June 8th, 2010
8:18 am

JSS

June 8th, 2010
8:19 am

Hmmmm, hey Jeff Schultz, did your ever drag you to Kennywood in Pittsburgh?

Big

June 8th, 2010
8:30 am

Hindenburg? A good bit of your readership is scratching its head over that allusion. Oh the obscurity!

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:43 am

Reality — Thanks. On BP story: The best stuff is the stuff you don’t have to make up.

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:43 am

Chef — Sorry, after Ben, she’s dead to me. (Well, maybe I’ll give her another chance.)

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:46 am

JSS — good eye. … On Bucs: yes, I drew the distinction between Glazers and Bucs. But Glazers are the owners. It’s not like they have one full pants pocket and one empty one. Is team going to fold? Hardly. Will it affect transactions? Absolutely. … So what you’re saying is Calvin Griffith turned Castro into a Commie?

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:47 am

H.Billy — Hugo and Jesse Chavez: I would like to see a comparison of their ball-strike differentials.

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:48 am

Urban Meyer — Stunned Tech lost last night (and in regional). Not sure what else to say right now.

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:49 am

Dr. Ken — I wasn’t even paying attention to the music. Maybe “Lady of Spain”? … Never heard of John Terry but interesting story. I may have to commence with the Googling.

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:50 am

JSS — Fine Googling skills.

JSS

June 8th, 2010
8:50 am

Maradona may be a shell of his old self, but you can never take 1986 away from us!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z-qm-Sb_4s&feature=related

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:50 am

H. Billy — Thanks for the answer. Bakersfield has streets?

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:51 am

H.Billy — Sounds like you and David O’Brien need to have a conversation (he’s a music buff).

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:52 am

Henry the city editor — I remember the line and the context. Guy just turns down working at the NY Times or something. But what was the movie? Can’t remember.

Ron

June 8th, 2010
8:53 am

No the situation in greece economically will be enough for josh to come back. i wonder how he likes the tax rate. it’s going to 75% for his bracket. some want the same here. fu-gly

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:54 am

JSS — Not saying it’s THE factor. But come on, no way it’s not A factor. And remember, that was last year. Worst when it happens again — and in the final game.

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
8:57 am

JSS — Kennywood rocks! Greatest pure/old school amusement park in country. Best rollercoasters. Been there many times. Wife grew up in West Mifflin, which is very close to Kennywood. Her family used to go often for Slovak Day.

Reid Adair

June 8th, 2010
8:58 am

I had no idea Josh Childress played soccer instead of basketball. Seriously? And comparing the Bucs’ spokesman to Baghdad Bob? That’s absolutely hilarious.

Of course, nothing quite tops the 2006 World Cup highlight video.

I do appreciate the news about “Tiger Woods Affair 2010.” Perhaps that was the game previewed in the “South Park” episode.

JSS

June 8th, 2010
8:59 am

I’m saying we could have an alternate reality with old Fidel. Instead of giving the guerrillas the fire they needed to take those whoring and corrupt Bautistas. He could have been pitching in DC with Luis Tiant bitching about being in the cellar… Oh shoot, you’re right, he would have led la revolution anyway after playing for the Sens… That experience would have turned Buckley and Goldwater to Marxism!

Fire the coach

June 8th, 2010
9:03 am

Stunned Tech lost? Really?? Its the postseason, thats all we ever do in the postseason.

wxwax

June 8th, 2010
9:07 am

Still making fun of soccer, eh?

The good news is you’re a dying breed.

Most of your kin have wised-up to the fact that their audience actually *gasp* enjoys watching the sport.

You’ll come around. You’ll have to.

wxwax

June 8th, 2010
9:09 am

BTW, which professional sport had the third highest attendance in 2009?

Yes, that’s right.

You’ll come around. You’ll have to.

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
9:10 am

Reid — I wasn’t going to link company’s site because it’s as raunchy as it gets. But it wouldn’t surprise me if South Park referenced it.

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
9:12 am

JSS — You’re midway through a nice blog with those Buckley and Goldwater references.

Jeff Schultz

June 8th, 2010
9:13 am

Wxwax — You didn’t like the Italy-France highlights?

wxwax

June 8th, 2010
9:21 am

Enjoy the World Cup!

It’s a great, once-every-four-years experience.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

June 8th, 2010
9:22 am

that game in Greece made the Malace at the Palace seem like a playground brawl. Those crazy Europeans are up to it again!!!

JSS

June 8th, 2010
9:23 am

I watched “Firing Line” every week… My late brother demanded that I know both sides of any issue… My nieces and nephews loved Kennywood. They made me take them there when they came up while we were wrapping “Mothman Prophecies.” It became came our “Summer is here” trip every year till they got married or all grown up… I guess when my grand nephew gets a couple of years older, I’ll take him too… The circle of life…

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jay Stancil, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: In case you missed it: Bucs' owners are $1.6 BILLION in debt and Josh Childress almost blew up. Seriously. http://bit.ly/cjmQcI [...]

Ted Striker

June 8th, 2010
9:43 am

These reader comments (esp from JSS) are way cerebral and uber-informative today. I have learned more before 10:00 a.m. than I typically learn before 9 p.m. on an average day.

p.s. Nice column. Striker gives it 2 thumbs up and raises you a shot after 2 beers.

Ted Striker

June 8th, 2010
9:45 am

I am also wondering if the “Too Hot Banker” ever played sports in high school or college or anything. I would really like for the Count to work her into a column. I am also she gets fired from enough jobs so as to eventually consider working for me.

curtl

June 8th, 2010
9:45 am

Did Tiger get a boob job?