Welcome to the Sports page at 13 Shades of Grey.

Below are summaries of all sports-related articles. Click on the links to read full articles.

“Debunking the Reasons to Watch the NBA Finals”
By Troy Beckman
June 12, 2012

Image of Kevin Durant as Larry Bird

Comparison between Kevin Durant and Larry Bird officially 300% less ludicrous than comparing LeBron James to Magic Johnson.

Like many of you, I have read several articles this week telling me why I should watch the NBA Finals. Not a single one is compelling enough for me—and most likely, the average American sports fan—to turn the channel from reruns of Wipeout or World’s Deadliest Car Chases and try to enjoy a competition that is probably fixed from the get-go.

If there was any modicum of hope for redemption in my mind, it was shattered for good two weeks before the season was to begin.

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“Major League Baseball 2012: The Year of the Heart Attack”
By Troy Beckman
April 10, 2012

Image of baseball 2012 heart attack monitor

Each year, we hear that hope springs eternal. No matter which team you cheer for, every baseball fan of any team—both young and old—has a reason to be optimistic. While the passing of the vernal equinox promises renewed life for all sentient beings in the northern hemisphere, the summer of 2012 threatens to eclipse this notion by offering a smattering of opportunities for baseball fans to watch life slip away, all whilst enjoying our nation’s pastime at the local stadium. This season will see the birth of a new and improved species of foodstuffs that will leave thousands exiting the park on stretchers.

It is 2012 – the year of the heart attack.

A look at some of the notable additions to the rosters of several stadiums’ food vendors will explain why.

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“National Nightmare Unleashed: NFL Playoffs 2012 Pt. Deux”
By Troy Beckman
January 13, 2012

Image of Tim Tebow and Justin Bieber

Well, after declaring false prophecy last week when I picked Pittsburgh to dispose of Tim Tebow and the Broncos, I was not expecting to be blindsided by a tsunami of unparalleled hype. However, when I read the news Thursday morning that an ESPN poll rates Tim Tebow as the most popular athlete in the U.S., I — apparently unlike a lot of people — experienced acute disgust at yet another Tebow headline. But this was far worse. As Charles Barkley so eloquently states, this is more than just turrible, it’s a national nightmare.

After my stomach had settled down somewhat from rage-induced vomiting, I became perplexed at how all of this is even possible. Then a “light bulb moment” struck me. I realized that Americans, as a whole, have the absolute worst taste in just about everything imaginable. We are a nation that loves the taste of McDonald’s. We lap up sequel after sequel of horrible movies faster than Hollywood can rip them off and spew them out. Almost half of us voted George W. Bush into office in 2000 and more than half re-elected the buffoon to a second term.

Perhaps our greatest detriment as a society at large is an unfounded infatuation with pre-pubescent bubble gum pop music. That’s when it hit me. I realized that Tim Tebow is the Justin Bieber of sports.

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“Questions, Answers, and False Idols: NFL Wild Card Weekend”
By Troy Beckman
January 6, 2012

Image of Tebow the Antichrist

Predicting winners in the NFL Playoffs is much like picking the winner of a Presidential Election. With the start of the Republican primary campaigns polluting television screens across America, we are inundated with numbers from the latest popularity polls and so-called expert opinion, only to witness these prognostications rendered meaningless when final results roll in and evaporate the fanfare. As in life, so as in football.

However, unlike politics, the opinions of your everyday America slob actually bear weight in the landscape of our country’s rich culture and tradition. We can also take solace in knowing that one cannot lobby or simply buy their way to victory as we experience each election cycle, but that wins can only be gained—and manifest—on the actual field (except in college football). With that, I present my keen insight and clairvoyance in picking the winners for Wild Card Weekend.

As always, this is not the place where we examine statistical breakdowns or X’s and O’s. No, my friends, this is a genuine, red-blooded American blog where we need no facts to form opinion and no numbers to prove we’re right. We create our own logic and rationale based on gut feeling and inexplicable bias.

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“Wurld Sireez 2 Strt 2moro on Fox”
By Troy Beckman
October 18, 2011

Image of Fox Sports World Series broadcast team

If you pay attention to ESPN, you may not realize that the World Series begins tomorrow night.

If you rely on the four letter network for your baseball news, you have learned more about clubhouse rituals in Boston and the alleged role video games, Popeye’s fried chicken and ice cold Bud Light played in September’s historic Red Sox collapse than you know about any St. Louis Cardinals player not named Pujols or Holliday.

If you watch Baseball Tonight, you are more apt to be enlightened on the benefits of embarking upon the John Kruk Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast diet than you are to see a highlight reel featuring an actual grand slam home run.

In fact, if you watch ESPN at all, you probably think that baseball is played only by the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and less frequently by the Philadelphia Phillies and everybody’s favorite loser, the New York Mets.

Just when you think the world of sports cannot sink to a lower common denominator, Fox swoops into the rescue and provides exclusive coverage of the World Series, thereby forcing sports fans to indirectly fill the overflowing coffers of pure evil and vicariously fund News Corp’s future telephone hacking schemes.

Read full article >>

“NBA’s Second, Less Boring Season Begins”
By Troy Beckman
April 17, 2011

Image of sleeping NBA fan

Many people mark April 15th on their calendars as a reminder to pay their income tax. It is also a day for large U.S. corporations to celebrate another victory over common man and revel in the fact that they will pay Uncle Sam jack squat as they realize $10 billion in profits (GE did just that in 2010). With these troubling disparities, all we have as working class slobs is the solace that only April can offer: relatively half-decent weather in which to drown our sorrows, a new Major League Baseball season, and the beginning of the actual NBA season — the playoffs.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will look at key playoff series — should they actually exist — and combine our efforts and energy so that we might actually survive the brutal eight-week trek to the NBA Finals. But first…

Click here to read full article >>

“Spring 2011: The Return of the Green Man and Major League Baseball”
By Troy Beckman
April 14, 2011

Each year, April breathes the warmth of life among inhabitants of the United States of America. Drab hues of brown and grey give way to a rebirth of greens, reds, whites, and pastels, signaling an end to frost-laden hibernation and a return of sprawling natural vibrancy. Ancient pagans believed this rebirth was due to the return of the Green Man from his winter’s slumber, when trees and flowers begin bloom.

In modern America, the promise of spring has evolved into visions of fire-spewing barbecue grills with sizzling meats alongside friends and families begin to fill the hollow void in our souls after enduring what seems to be an eternity of frozen misery–all of which was compounded by Award Season on TV and political stalemate resulting in Democrats transforming into Republicans.

Most importantly, baseball is back.

Click here to read full article >>

“Happy Holidays: Super Bowl Sabbath is Upon Us”
By Troy Beckman
February 5, 2011

Image of football's First Noel

Can you feel it in the air? Are you treating your fellow citizens just a little bit nicer than usual? Do you have visions of sugar plums, nachos, seven-layer dip, and atomic chicken wings dancing in your head? Rhetorical questions aside, America’s most popular holiday is finally upon us, folks. Super Bowl Sabbath hath come and shall fill the proverbial stockings of die-hard football fanatics and casual followers alike with copious amounts of delectable cuisine, libations, opportunities to gamble, and perhaps a few minutes’ worth of good ol’ fashioned football action spread over the course of six hours.

What makes this holiday so special? There are many reasons why Super Bowl Sabbath reigns supreme, many of which are ubiquitous and some of which will be unique to Super Bowl XLV.

Click here to read full article >>

“That Which Giveth Shall Also Taketh Away: NFL Weekend Recap”
By Troy Beckman
January 9, 2011

On Saturday, Wild Card Weekend 2011 delivered one of the most exciting days of NFL action in recent memory. A team with a losing record knocked off defending Super Bowl champions in a high-scoring shootout and the Super Bowl runner-up gave a game away at home in the final minute.

Sunday did not live up to the high standards set by it’s rival day of the week, but still served as a worthy venue for millions of Americans to bear witness to both home teams’ lackluster performances and send their supporters home with the bitter taste of defeat, having dropped several hundreds of dollars in vain to see it in person.

The outcomes of these four contests did nothing but underscore the parity and unpredictability of the NFL. It was also a powerful reminder of the omnipotent destructive power of NFL Playoff football for Saints fans, who until Saturday, were still riding the rolling whitewater of Super Bowl XLIV’s proverbial wave. The lesson learned? You will always return to shore. And sometimes, it is extremely rocky.

Click here to read full article >>

“NFL Playoffs to Kick Off New Holiday Season on Wild Card Weekend”
By Troy Beckman
January 6, 2011

Image of Jim Mora

The Playoffs? Yes, Jim — we want to talk about the Playoffs.

Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone, which can only mean one thing: those holidays intended for amateurs have given way to a festive season of incomparable magnitude — the NFL Playoffs. Each year, football’s second season eclipses the overrated winter holidays in raucous celebration of watching freakishly large speedy men in tight pants battle for the right to play on our nation’s most hallowed holiday, Super Bowl Sunday.

But why is this so? Allow me to explain…

Click to read full article >>

“Frog Stomp: Utah vs. TCU in Ultimate Showdown for Chance to Bust BCS, Maybe More”
By Troy Beckman
November 5, 2010

Now that the game is over, read an article that exemplifies foolish optimism morphing into shameful regret of writing a fluff piece about your favorite college football team before they get blasted on national television.

Click here to read the full article >>

“Review: Radiant ‘Red Zone’ is Beacon of Enlightenment for NFL Fans”
By Troy Beckman
October 19, 2010

Six weeks have passed since the opening kickoff to the 2010 NFL season and there are still many uncertainties as to how this campaign will finish. Beyond a few perennial truths that include the Lions, Browns, 49ers and Raiders’ annual collective suck-fest and the usual solidity of the AFC East, we know almost nothing about this football season. A myriad of questions abound that, as of yet, do not have answers. But there is one infallible certainty in this young season: the NFL Network’s Red Zone channel is absolutely fantastic.

Click here to read full article >>

“Ole Miss Chooses New Mascot; Admiral Ackbar Relieved”
By Troy Beckman
October 15, 2010

In an attempt to rid itself of connotations and imagery related to the Old South, and the embarrassment of losing a civil war that happened a century-and-a-half ago, the University of Mississippi Rebels—better known as Ole Miss—has adopted a new mascot to replace Colonel Reb: a bear. The Rebel Black Bear beat out fellow candidate Admiral Ackbar— the former leader of the Rebel Alliance space fleet who successfully blew up Death Star II near the forest moon of Endor. Ackbar acknowledged relief in this special report.

Click here to read full article >>

“MLB Playoffs 2010, Part II: ALDS Pre-Mortem Report”
By Troy Beckman
October 9, 2010

Photo of McGuire Twins
With 25 percent of the playoff teams heading for the gallows today, I won’t focus on who will win; we already know what will happen.  We will examine the reasons why the hated Yankees and the Texas Rangers will win and advance to the American League Championship Series. The McGuire Twins (pictured above) are the world’s fattest twins ever to simultaneously ride a motorcycle, and they have a better chance of defeating the New York Yankees than the Minnesota Twins.

Click to read full article >>

“MLB Playoffs Preview, Part I: A Guide to Yankee Hating”
By Troy Beckman
October 4, 2010

Photo of idiotic Yankees fans

October has arrived and it is now arguably the best time of year in many respects. October also inherently means that the New York Yankees and their $206 million dollar payroll are again on the prowl for another World Series ring—a feat that is a love-hate proposition for followers of baseball. Mostly hate…

Before the games get underway and the sporting media machine begins its month-long coronation ceremony by showering its unabashed love for the New York Yankees—the single truism guaranteed to be imposed upon viewers this fall—let’s examine four simple reasons why we should rabidly root for the fiery demise of the Bronx Bombers. Figuratively, people; figuratively…

Click to read full article >>

“The Return of Football–America’s Game
By Troy Beckman
September 23, 2010

Football players in front of American Flag

Football season is well underway and it happens to coincide with the launch of this blog. While I am hesitant to dedicate the first sports post to football—the so-called “America’s Game”—it provides a perfect opportunity to start this section off on the right foot. The phrase “America’s Game,” something I used to cringe at, is now a perfect metaphor in which both football and the United States of America share an alarming—and hilarious—number of parallels (at least until the neo-Confederate dream of NASCAR overtaking the dominance of football comes to pass).

Like any football fan, I can mindlessly go down the list and check off everything I like about not only the game itself, but about the general atmosphere and experience of “America’s Game.” Many positives of the football experience transcend the excitement of watching oversized physical freaks violently moving (or preventing) an oval-shaped inflatable piece of pigskin across painted white lines. More importantly, the game serves as a venue for (mostly) males to come together in celebration of the very principles we as modern Americans hold near and dear.

Click to read full article >>

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