Thursday’s With Raider: Episode 14 Fanning the Flames


Honors Go To MAC

I think I would be remiss if I didn’t begin this discussion of the hyper-fit that the Salt Lake Media had over the two year hiatus in the Holy War.  It’s amazing, for Chris Hill being arrogant and wanting to end the thing, he decided to go to Provo, NEXT YEAR?  Is the SLC media so lazy that they can’t cover sports in that market without just laughing as BYU and Utah fans scream at each other.  I think I’ve almost made it my mission to stop hating BYU fans just make these pathetic hacks jobs just a bit harder.

Ok partially because of you and partially because of this Mike Trout kid, I’ve started paying a bit more attention to baseball and so I have a question, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH TIM LINCECUM?  Did Ben Affleck catch up to him a second time behind the ballpark with that paddle and he’s never been the same?  WOW.

Breaking Bad begins to tonight.  I’m so excited I might pee myself.  At this moment I’ve brainfarted on whether you watch this show or not.  If not I think you would dig it.  Plus it’s filmed in the ABQ.

Funny story about how ABQ has gotten to be a popular film and TV destination.  Arizona used to have a huge tax credit for people to film in Arizona.  And Tucson of all places was getting a lot of film business, and even had a fairly big studio.  You’ll recall such great films as Can’t Buy Me Love with Patrick Dempsey and My Science Project.  Anyway some genius in the Arizona Legislature decided that it was fair that one industry got this credit and he got it removed.  New Mexico passed one and now a crap ton of stuff is filmed in the ABQ.

Finally, what do you make of this Dwight Howard nonsense.  It really is stuff like this that is turning me off to the NBA.  Now we have major stars all conspiring to create a couple of super teams?  I do not find this entertaining.  Along those same lines, I was listening to someone point out that the worst place to be in the NBA is average because if you’re terrible, you could get better but if you’re average, you can basically do enough to stay that way.  And my thought was, don’t the Jazz just seek to be average so they’ll keep making money for Greg Miller.  Do they even try to be great?  Even when they had Stockton and Malone, did they ever go a make that one last move that would have brought them a title?

Raider Volleys

Understand here that I do have to be careful about what I say regarding the media here, because I do work inside that machine now.  But I did talk to one of these dreaded SLC media luminaries one night after work (plausible deniability doesn’t make for great writing sometimes, so for that I apologize).  We were sitting down to a few drinks and one of us brought up Andrei Kirilenko tearing things up in a game in Russia.   My initial reaction to this was “boy that’s a surefire way to make Jazz fans angry.”  He retorted by saying “hey, if I don’t do that I’m not doing my job.”  When I asked him why he said “my job is to get people irritated so they will discuss the topic on the air, in the office, on Facebook, and so on.”  So annoying though it may be, the media here who are responsible for that are doing their jobs.

I mean, would Chris Hill have the undeserved reputation of “hating Mormons” if it weren’t for that type of media agitation?  Oh, sure, the Internet helped with some of that but I refuse to discount anything I wrote in the previous paragraph.  But as for the Holy War going on hiatus, I still insist that this “cease fire” will be a good thing.  Both sides need to cool off, and I don’t want anyone to think that Ute fans are completely innocent.  Certainly, I include myself in that discussion because I have been incredibly vicious in how I have treated the fans on the other side of the rivalry.  So if for no other reason than I just think we as Ute fans “need to see other people”, the hiatus has my full endorsement.

(Maybe it’s just me, but I think I’ve gotten a lot more philosophical as I’ve gotten older).

The theory I have regarding Lincecum is simple in the sense that I think a lot of hitters have figured him out.  His off speed pitches are getting crushed, he hangs too many pitches out over the plate, which explains why his breaking balls get killed.  Dave Righetti seems powerless to try and turn the tide, and fortunately for Timmy, he has an awful Astros team and a slumping Dodger offense to fall back on for two of his three most recent starts.

Its a shame that you haven’t kept up as much with the Angels this year, because they’re a pretty solid team.  Hell, they may have been a solid team without having to sign Pujols and C.J. Wilson.  If they do get to the postseason and past this “hey, I’m Bud Selig and I’m going to guarantee a one game playoff every single year because I can” monstrosity, they could be a tough out.

I have yet to watch a “Breaking Bad” episode in its entirety.  Of course, I did go for about a year and a half with only the Internet and the random a capella singing that happened at the Gateway one night (yes, I witnessed a girl’s choir break out into song for no reason whatsoever in a shopping mall).  Thus, I will take you up on your recommendation.  Now, “Weeds” is a show I have taken a shine to over the small sample size I’ve consumed.  Some may say that it’s due to me wanting to look at Mary Louise Parker on a TV screen and they would probably be right.

While I’m sure you didn’t realize it, but the Warriors are falling into the same mediocre trap that seemingly plagues 2/3rds of the NBA.  Its better than the awful “hey, we once drafted Todd Fuller with a first round pick” trap, but not by much.  Take last year’s draft, where the W’s picked 11th.  Picking at that point of the lottery every year isn’t going to change a franchise.  Look, I like Klay Thompson, but he’s not the type of player that can be a final piece of the puzzle for a bad team (Jimmer isn’t either, but if you would not tell Zoobs or Kings fans, that would be great).

I believe the conventional wisdom with the Jazz is that no high profile free agent in their right mind would want to play in Salt Lake City, Utah.  But isn’t being something else besides great the way the Clippers have “survived” under Donald Sterling?

Speaking of film production–at least as it relates to Utah–of everything that has been remade, could “Fletch” ever be remade?  Or was “Fletch Lives” bad enough to prevent that?

MAC with a Forehand

A Fletch remake.  I suppose anything is possible, but that first movie worked because Chevy Chase still remember how to be funny.  Something he lost.  He is funny in Community but he’s so old and dumb now he doesn’t get that he’s funny.  But as always, “Provo isn’t exactly a cure for boredom.”

I wonder when the Utah Jazz will make that Jimmer trade.  It’s inevitable isn’t it.  I mean Jimmer will sell tickets even if he isn’t making shots.  Jazz fans will view his lack of success as a league wide conspiracy.  I can’t believe the Kings haven’t figured this out and gotten a number one from the Jazz.  Of course the Maloofs are too deep in debt to figure anything out at this point.

I think you’d dig Breaking Bad and that you just might have some Jesse Pinkman in you.  Watch all of the series before you judge me for making that comment.  Pinkman kind of becomes the man.  I am a Weeds fan as well.  It jumps the shark badly in later episodes but Mary Louise Parker is willing to take her clothes off so I’m willing to over look.  In fact she has quite a sex scene with Zach from Saved By The Bell.  Interested Now?

I have a theory that this scream at each other radio that the SLC media loves is extremely  lazy radio.  I think you could have very good sports radio, but the host needs to do a great deal of work and you need to not hear from callers very much.  You need a great phone screener so that you either only get intelligent calls, or let through the true crazies not to create an argument but to mock them horribly.  I think this sounds like the template for Mike and the Mad Dog.

So as our season closes in, do you have any more feelings about the season?  Can Jordan Wynn stay healthy?  Am I crazy to think we can beat USC?

Also as payment for some legal work a friend is buying me my very own Peyton Manning Bronco Jersey.  I am enjoying this Orange Crush flavored Kool Aid.

Raider with a Backhand

Sports talk radio, at least in my opinion, is a caller driven medium and by and large it always has been.  Listen to a post-game call in show after either a Giants game or Warriors game on KNBR sometime.  Especially during a Warriors game when someone will have just gotten home from a game and people have that liquid hope that the W’s can make a deep playoff run not realizing that Brian Winters has maybe 10 wins to his credit.  Or how about in 1998 when I’m driving home from a day at Alcova Reservoir after a combination fishing/listening to the Giants game when the sun went down excursion and someone called into suggest that the Giants should trade for Randy Johnson (this was back when the Mariners were looking to deal him).  What was more likely at that point: Sabean shipping off some package of Rich Aurilia, Shawn Estes, a couple of prospects–maybe what would have been the picks where we picked Jesse Foppert or Jerome Williams–and something from Brian Sabean’s secret stash to the Mariners for The Unit or the 17 year old me getting some action?  (Not that the 31 year old me is doing much better, but still).

What plagues this market I believe is that Salt Lake isn’t the type of town where people argue about every little thing.  New Yorkers have the stereotype in which they yell and argue about where they’re going to eat for lunch, so that’s why that kind of radio works for New York and WFAN.  And besides, how much can a host really talk about Paul Millsap’s efficiency rating or whether Enes Kanter can step out and shoot from 15 feet?  It still remains a mystery to me as to what kind of sports radio would really truly work in this market, but as an aside I do think it would be an incredible foray into the written word if I–who for the most part is new to this state and its culture–were to participate in some of the things that make this state…well, Utah.  Things like going to church, buying liquor at the liquor stores here, joining a multi-level marketing scheme, that sort of thing.

I do have to be honest, I went into the Pac-12 era with the mindset that we could go a decade if not longer where we would win 7-9 games but just not quite get over the hump.  However, nothing would give me greater satisfaction than pounding that little trust fund pip squeak Lane Kiffin and his team into Rice-Eccles Stadium turf mulch.  I’m not sure what happened to where Monte Kiffin would have a progeny that would make the decision to have us wear white at home during a game against San Diego.  But as much as I would like to think we have a shot against SC and be glass half full, I just can’t.  On the other hand, if we do get to Matt Barkley a few times and get the victory my expectations will be exceeded.  Sometimes my pessimism just doesn’t really compute.

Quite a few Warriors fans were clamoring for Jimmer on the interwebs when he was in the draft, and that alone threw me into a conniption fit.  Lookie here, a guy who can shoot out of the gym, light up a scoreboard and may or may not play much defense.  I don’t think we have that kind of thing on this team, let’s go get that thing.  As for the Jazz getting him, I just can’t see that making them a threat in the West.  Would they be better than the Lakers, the Mavericks, OKC, or even Memphis?  Oh sure, it could make them a perpetual 7 or 8 seed but it might be just as well that he stays in Sacramento so they can pack their arena again like they did when they first moved there.

(By the way, you may not know this, but a lot of Kings fans hate the Warriors.  I don’t know what we ever did to them, since we have been every bit as terrible as they have, save for the early 2000s).

Meanwhile, as you anticipate receiving the Sunkist-looking Peyton Manning jersey, I will take this opportunity to recap what I’m stuck with for the foreseeable future.  Last year a series of strange accidents happened for us that went a little something like this:

1. Hue Jackson’s boss dies.

2. Jason Campbell makes the executive decision to go head first into a task.  How very Gus Frerotte of him.

3. No one–and I mean no one–in the entire organization, not Mark Davis, not Amy Trask, not Jim Otto, not anybody had any meaningful authority to say “well, I guess I’m in charge now”…except for Hue.

4. Hue needed a quarterback and luckily he knew a guy.

5. He gets Carson Palmer.  I mean, what use did we have for a few draft picks anyway?

Reggie McKenzie has done a yeoman’s work so far in working around this one last big FUBAR for old time’s sake, but there’s plenty of wrath from yours truly ready and at the waiting if McKenzie and Dennis Allen can’t fix this thing by the time we get to the start of 2016.  I’d probably consider a year of celibacy if the defense could find a way to stop a DVR though.

Mac crashes the net

I think if I’m Orlando, I deal Dwight Howard to Utah for a second round pick.  I mean at least send this prick to purgatory for a year.  I think this would have a two fold effect.  It would humble Dwight, at least for a moment and two, there would be a segment of Jazz fans who would convince themselves that they could resign Dwight because of all the cap space that they have next year.  Then when they got crushed I could laugh and laugh because no one gets crushed quite as uniquely as a Jazz fan.

As for the Jimmer idea, I don’t say it because it would make the Jazz a contender, because I don’t think the Jazz care about the idea of being a contender.  They want to sell tickets and Jimmer does that and gives the illusion that they’re trying to be a contender, without actually being a contender.

As for Jimmer, I asked a question at the time, what about Jimmer makes him anything more than a non-diabetic, slightly more mentally stable Adam Morrison.  They could both score, if anything Morrison was a more dynamic scorer. Neither had real interest in defense, if anything Jimmer was even less interested.  So how would a less dymanic Adam Morrison make your team a championship.

I was a Morrison believer and was horribly wrong, so when I see someone that makes me think, why is he different, it sets off alarm bells.  I still think my Jimmer comparison holds.

Honestly, I look forward to the NFL season so that the league can be a greater topic for us.  Like how the Jets are about to implode because of Tebow.  As for the Raiders, it’s the first time in a long time I’ve sensed competency from that organization.  I know you’ve got to do a whole lot of work, but at least there is the return of hope.

As for the Utes, I don’t know why exactly, but I’m all in on all of it.  Beating ‘SC, running the table, seeing what happens in the Pac-12 title game.  The Urban Bourbon is flowing strong in this one.  I mean maybe I’m setting myself up for humiliation, I don’t know.  But I think my reasoning about why it is possible is at least solid.

So either I’ve set myself up for the worlds largest punch in the groin or there may be another Sermon on the Table.

Raider with a winner

For you readers who are unfamiliar, if you were in the tailgate lot the night before the 2004 BYU game, you sir gave to us what we have now called the Sermon on the Table.  As I remember it–and that memory was always a little sketchy given the number of Urban Bourbons we all drank–you retold the story of the 1994 season and had the epic fail that was the New Mexico and Air Force games of that year hadn’t occurred, the Utes would have been mythical national champions.  (There was an argument one could have made about how us, Nebraska and Penn State would have all been undefeated and I’m not sure if we would have taken the place of “Da U” in the Orange Bowl that year, but that was neither the time nor the place to argue).  Perhaps you had to be there to feel what was going on?

I failed to address the whole Dwight Howard thing earlier, but I have sort of thought for a while now that he would end up with the Lakers.  I mean, they got Pau Gasol from Memphis when Jerry West was in the Grizzlies organization for practically nothing, so whatever practically nothing the Lakers can offer should suffice.  I did have to laugh that the Lakers acquired Antawn Jamison, who for a while was the best thing the Warriors had going for them.  Yes, I exaggerate for literary effect, but you get the idea.

Truthfully, I thought Adam Morrison was going to be a legitimate star in the NBA.  Every generation of NBA fans yearns to have an awkward white person to cheer on and I just assumed like lots of others that Morrison was the next Larry Bird.  The ridiculous shooting, the facial hair, the “custodial engineer” sort of creepiness…he had it all!  Jimmer just isn’t that much of a redneck and not even his kinda sorta endorsement for Daily Bread in this town makes him awkward enough.  Take what I predict with a grain of salt though because I was convinced Jamarcus Russell would pan out.  Of the millions of football fans out there, I’m the one doofus that decided to be a contrarian.  You don’t have to be a genius to play QB in the NFL!

(Yes, I said the exact same thing about Jeff George once.  I never learn.)

I’m not so sure if the Jets will implode because of Tebow so much as they will implode because of Mark Sanchez.  They’re probably every bit as overrated as we were under Gruden, but Rich Gannon was often the glue that held those teams together.  Let me ask you this though as a Denver fan: do you get the feeling that this whole Manning thing could be a ticking timebomb that may end at any moment?  Maybe I’m looking at this the same way I looked at things when Manny Ramirez signed with the Dodgers.  I had the mentality as a rival fan that “well that’s the final piece of the puzzle for them, they’ll get at least one more title”.  In that case though, LA ran into a Phillies squad that was probably better up and down their roster, so I have that hope I guess.

Allow me to answer a question you asked me last week that I have been mulling over.  Would I trade the Seahawks for the Chiefs in the AFC West?  One of the many laughs I have shared with your fellow team’s fans is the following statement: “hey, it could be worse, you could be the Chiefs.”  And you know it’s true, because I’ve become convinced over the years that KC would rather beat us twice a year than win the Super Bowl.  It’s kind of like Ute football during the Lovat/Howard/Stobart/Fassel dark ages.  You beat BYU and lose to everyone else, people will be happy and graduate with degrees or something.  And how is Kansas City not considered the fattest city in America?  I’m sure that the grand total of four days I spent there isn’t enough to judge, but I couldn’t help but notice that Kansas City Kansans and Kansas City Missourians like to eat.  Don’t get me wrong I like to eat, just not quite that much.

Hey, you know what you don’t see much of anymore?  Bandwagon Atlanta Braves fans.  Thought I’d point that little bit of 90s culture out to you.