Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day - Fentonia calls bullshit on the ultimate sucker holiday

February 13 - In hopes of convincing even one person to do the right thing this Valentine's Day, I just wanted to point out to all of you this evening what a sucker holiday Valentine's Day is.

Somewhere along the way, card companies and retailers were able to concoct the ridiculous notion that guys were somehow "obligated" to go out and spend money on worthless cards and merchandise under the guise of a made up holiday. AND ALL OF YOU BOUGHT INTO IT. And now look what has happened. People officially RECOGNIZE it for Christ's sake. My softball league CANCELLED GAMES THIS WEEK BECAUSE THEY FELL ON THE 14TH!

I am calling bullshit on Valentine's Day. It exists solely to serve the Hallmarks and chocolate and jewelry producers of the world. Don't let anybody tell you when to express love. If you're in a healthy relationship, it shouldn't make a difference what day it is. Bless The Chelsea Bee's heart, she hates Valentine's Day even more than I do, and would actually be pissed off if I tried to buy her anything on that day just because society says I'm supposed to. We agreed early in our relationship that we wouldn't observe the day, and we don't. Our love is stronger for it, and we spend the entire year trying to do the things that strengthen it, not just one day. I don't claim to know everything (or anything, for that matter) about love, but I call bullshit when I see it.

So Valentine's Day, you are being called out. Don't buy into the hype.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Brave New World

By now we've all heard about the Devil Rays' plan (hope) to build themselves a new ballpark on the waterfront where their spring training stadium, Al Lang Field, currently sits.
Anybody reading this who's known me for any amount of time knows what an absolutely horrible place I think the Tropicana Dome is as the home of a major league baseball team. It is an embarrassment and needs to be abadonded as soon as possible. And yet there have always been people around here who insist on defending it, and who look at me like I'm crazy when I suggest that the team needs to and wants to get a nicer place. You know, one that actually takes advantage of and accentuates some of the many reasons we live in this beautiful place to begin with.
That is why it was so rewarding when I first heard the news about this.
We can go round and round about the feasibility of this entire project, how it will get paid for even if it is feasible, and if it is truly reasonable to expect it to happen at all. In fact, in the coming year or so, baseball fans and non-baseball fans in this area alike are going to do all of those things.
But how can you at least not get a little bit excited about the possibility?
No one is more of a Tampa > St. Petersburg than me, or more of a Hillsborough > Pinellas guy than me. But that's really no longer the point. Even though I beleive the owners would love to be in Tampa, which makes the most geographical sense, at least there's some forward thinking here. Those who came before painted the team into a corner and anchored the team down in the wrong place, which has led to a situation today that seemingly makes staying on the Pinellas side the first option. That's unfortunate, but within those parameters, isn't this pretty much the ideal scenrio? You've got waterfront views. You've got open air, with a sort of "saillike" canvas used as a covering for the seats. You've got AMBIENCE.
So parking may be a little leaner. I couldn't be any less concerned. It has been my ballpark experience at other places that there is an inverse relationship between available parking and the ballpark's level of charm. The less parking available, the more charming the ballpark. Public transit and other issues will have to be addressed if this were to get past the voter approval stage, but for now, for the first time, I'm actually a little impressed with this ballclub's foresight.
For those of you who insist it can never happen, or those of you who like the team playing at the Trop just the way it is, I honestly don't even know what to tell you.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Going into the belly of the beast

Get the fuck ready...

Before the season started, The Chelsea Bee and I decided that the 2007 edition of our annual Gator game SEC road trip (at Auburn was 2006) obviously had to be Oct. 6 - at LSU. We did this in anticipation of the Megasupercolossalgigantic UltraClash that we thought this game could be. There was a checklist, before the first game of the season had been played, that we figured would need to be met to qualify the game for the lofty and elusive Megasupercolossalgigantic UltraClash classification. Now that the time has arrived for us to buckle our chinstraps and load up the car to head up to the Bayou, let's look at that list and where each item stands as of today...

Both teams ranked in the Top 10...check. A night kickoff...check. College Gameday on site...check. SEC and National Title implications oozing from all orifices...check. Lots of hype and superlatives being thrown around such as, "The largest crowd to ever see a football game in the state of Louisiana is expected"...check. LSU comes in undefeated...check. Florida comes in undefeated...che-woops.

The Gators may have lost at Auburn this past weekend, but look at that list. Everything else that was on it before the season started still applies now despite the one loss. If anything, the Gators' loss might have made this game EVEN BIGGER. And I couldn't be more fired up. Do you hear me? I COULD NOT BE MORE FIRED UP. The Bee and I roll out of Gainesville Friday morning and expect to be on the Bayou by Friday evening (we will be attempting to "conduct relations" in each state we pass through on the way for the sake of one day crossing them all off). We'll be staying with some of The Bee's relatives in Houma. We'll spend Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge seeing the town and campus, and Saturday night, we'll be two of the 93,000 plus on hand at Tiger Stadium for an event they say every college football fan should experience once - a night game at Tiger Stadium . As I am fond of saying, they're gonna be jam packed and jelly-tight for this one, with 93,000 Cajuns hopped up on bourbon, crawfish, and dreams of a national title, and if that doesn't get your fire going, there's a cold, dark mass in your chest where your heart is supposed to lie. Naturally, I will be wearing at least one article of UF clothing at all times during the trip.

They say there's nothing in sports quite like a big night game at Tiger Stadium. Well they don't get any bigger or more at night than this shit. There's nothing else that needs to be said. If anything more about this game needs to be explained to you, then you probably stopped reading two paragraphs ago.

Here we go.

Go Gators!

An Ode to Hockey

I have to admit that the buildup to the new NHL season this year was without the fanfare that past seasons have held. A crappy new Lightning logo, an arena sound experience that borders upon brutal, and two huge weekend football games would seemingly overshadow the opener tonight at the Ice Palace Forum in downtown Tampa.

Hockey's opening week has always fallen during football season, and things don't really get serious until after New Year's, sure. But you know what? It's still hockey. I still woke up this morning anticipating the game tonight, I've still been talking about it all day, and even with the Gators (along with me and The Chelsea Bee) about to head up to Baton Rouge for a huuuuuuuge game with LSU, for two and a half hours tonight, nothing else will matter, and it'll all come rushing back, and I'll realize why I became so enamored and fascinated with this game at Expo Hall on a January night in Tampa 15 years ago.

In years past, I have tried to extol the virtues of the most exciting sport in the world to anyone who would listen. Even as people would (sometimes gleefully) point out sagging television ratings for the game, or when idiots in the media made the same tired jokes about no one paying attention, it didn't matter to me. I've said this before - hockey is the ultimate heart sport. I think that goes not only for playing it, but for caring about it too. There are no casual hockey fans. You're either in or you're out. You have to want to be there, and you can't fake it. That's probably part of the reason we all love it so much. It's like our own little club.

To quote ESPN hockey writer John Buccigross, there are four main hockey values: heart, courage, mental toughness, and artistic expression. Some sports have two or three of those, but give me another sport that has all four. You can't do it. From my favorite sport of football, which lacks artistic expression, down to hobbies like ultimate frisbee, which has three of the four but requires no courage, not one sport has all four of those values woven into its fabric - except for hockey. So even as the "mainstream" sports world revolves all around us, never seemingly ready to stop even for a little while for hockey, I'm ready to set aside some time each week for odd man rushes...the sound of a puck hitting the crossbar...slapshots from the point, deflections off a body in front, battles in the corner, and power play goals. You've got to love power play goals.

In short, I'm ready for hockey, and if you are too, then stick with me and I'll stick with you. And you and me and the most exciting game in the world are all we're really going to need.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Pre-Game

It was a huge Thursday last night, with The Office and Grey's Anatomy both offering up their season premiers. I have yet to watch either of them, but with my trusty DVR being one of the few frills at the otherwise spartan One Gameday Place in South Tampa, I will be afforded that luxury at my own leisure. It might not come until Monday though, because we are looking at a Big Boy Weekend:

- Tonight, West Virginia at South Florida, 8:00, RJS in Tampa- The South Florida Bulls have sold out Raymond James for the first time ever, a testament if there ever was one to the bandwagon nature of fans. USF is a good team, and this game deserves the hype, don't get me wrong. But if USF loses, will there be another 65,000 ready to go for UCF in the next home game? Neigh, sir. And that's bullshit. I will attempt to go to this game because I think it will be fun, but I will not pay more than $25 for a ticket outside. I don't fucking care. It's not like it's an SEC game or something.

-Saturday night, Florida vs. Auburn, 8:00, The Swamp in Gainesville - Now we're fucking talking. Me and The Bee will be two of 90,000 in full throat as Florida tries to jump its final hurdle before heading to Baton Rouge next weekend. A win here ensures that the LSU game will indeed be the Megasupercolossalgigantic UltraClash that we have been looking forward to all year. People talk about revenge because of what happened last year. I guess. But winning this game is important because it's another step. Who gives a fuck about Auburn this year? As long as you don't lose to them, the answer is nobody.

-Sunday Afternoon, Bucs at Panthers, 4:05, The Chelsea Bee's apartment in Gainesville - I host a sports talk radio show, and I still really don't know what to say about the Bucs right now. Two home wins over teams that are a combined 0-6. A road loss to the only decent team they've seen. And yet they look really, REALLY good so far. We'll know a lot more on Sunday evening.

Happy Weekend, everybody!

Friday, September 21, 2007

So you like the new (Sting)rays uniforms?

So you like the new uniforms for your Tampa Bay (Sting)Rays? I value your opinion, fair-minded observer. Allow us to discuss.

What is your favorite part? Is it how we went from one of baseball's unique color schemes to the color navy blue, which 15 other teams have? Is it how you now can barely tell the difference between us, the Mariners, or the Padres from a distance? Did you like the font, which is essentially Times New Roman, and looks like someone actually typed it on the fucking jersey, only using the "R" from Ryan's Steak House, and in letters that are waaaaaaaaaay too big?

Did you like the cute little sunbeam they threw in there? Yes there is still a stigray on the sleeve, but the Rays themsleves seemed confused at what they are trying to be (it should be the stingray). Do you like the "logo", which is not really a logo so much as the word "Rays" in its pathetically generic typefont with an even more generic baseball diamond in the background? At least no other teams have thought of that.

There's a difference between simple and boring. The Detroit Tigers have simple uniforms, and they are gorgeous. The Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Braves, and countless other teams from other sports like the Packers or Chicago Blackhawks have simple uniforms that are classically elegant, nice to look at, and stand the test of time because they're built to last. The (Sting)Rays uniforms may not end up being hideous, but one other thing they won't be is a trademark, because they'll look like about 15 other teams.

And last but not least, did you like how both the home and road uniforms are the same? Do know what difference all those other aforementioned baseball teams have between their home and road uni's? THE NAME OF THEIR FUCKING CITY ON THE ROAD UNIFORMS. The (Sting)Rays apparently didn't see fit for the area to be represented on the road. They thought it was more important to keep pushing the most bland, insipid, and uninspiring nickname in all of professional sports on us for 162 games a year, essentially trying to disconnect the franchise from its home location with the demented notion that the words "Tampa Bay" on the uniform might discourage the extra 15 people they are trying to attract from Orlando and Sarasota and wherever the hell else they think people actually care. Your fans are in TAMPA BAY, and they will support this team if given a reason to get excited. The 99% of those fans that are actually here in the Tampa Bay area and identify with that local pride? Well, fuck 'em, according to the (Sting)Rays.

These uniforms are a colossal airball on the part of the franchise in every possible way. The words "transcendant embarrassment" keep coming to mind, and it's not the first time for a franchise that has developed a reputation as a national joke, mainly because the people in charge are capable of doing things like spending two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to come up with something that could've been thrown together in about 15 minutes, but would take only about another 10 minutes to be bettered. Stop and think about that for a second. It took them two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars, and at the end of it all, they produced this and this.

I am so pissed off right now, and yet the most frustrating part is that I knew, KNEW, they would fuck this up, and then I was only still to be shocked that even my own low expectations were submarined to depths even I found surprising.

So you liked the new uniforms? I was just checking.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Gameday's Little Rules of Life

From time to time, I will publish a few of my Little Rules of Life. The list is long and extensive, but every now and then, I'll just throw a handful of them up here on the website as they come to me. It is important to note that these are not superstisions. They are Little Rules of Life. Some have concrete explanations. Some do not. But I follow them all almost as a matter of pure instinct, and I can't always explain why. A random sampling:

- Never take the top newspaper out of a newspaper machine. Always slide your hand below it and grab the second one from the top. The exception to this is if there are only two papers left. NEVER take the bottom paper in the pile.

- When making a toothbrush change, always make said change on a weekend, Friday, or holiday. NEVER change toothbrushes on a regular weekeday.

- An addendum to the above rule - always show proper respect to the outgoing toothbrush. Don't just replace it. Put the new toothbrush in with the outgoing one for a day or so while still brushing with the outgoing one. The ceremonial "final brush" should be akin to the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.

- After doing dishes, always place the newly cleaned dishes UNDER dishes of the same type in the cabinet. If you keep putting the newly cleaned plates on top of the ones already stacked in the cabinet, you'll keep using the same 3 or 4 plates while the ones on the bottom will never see the field. Playing time is important to dishes. Spread it around and make sure they all get some quality minutes periodically.

- There are certain times in life when a person simply has to be on their feet. NEVER be sitting down at the following times:

At midnight on New Year's Eve
During the Kentucky Derby
When any big game involving one of your favorite teams is on the line (this applies whether you are at the game or not)
During a Florida game at The Swamp if the score is within four touchdowns or anytime during the first three quarters
On Opening Day, during the first pitch of the season for your favorite baseball team
During a hockey fight or baseball brawl
When you are all-in with your cards turned up while playing Hold 'em
With two outs, not two strikes, at a baseball game with the home team leading in the 9th
When any one of your friends or family is involved in a dispute of any kind, verbal or non-verbal, unless it's with another one of your friends or family

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's not always going to be this way

It was bound to happen where a situation arose, and I wouldn't update the website for a little while. It HAPPENS. But don't think for one second that the new-look Fentonia is going to go the way of the old Yahoo! site, gathering dust and rotting away in a shroud of ambivalence. I had a little hiccup there, is all.

I'm coming right back at you on a Tuesday afternoon as excited as ever. A lot happened in the 30 or so days since my last update. There was a Chicago trip, a stirring five days of radio with Fordy that is hopefully a portent of things to come. I also babysat Chelsea's dog Sierra for a week straight without Sierra laying down a hot shit anywhere in my apartment.

Most importantly, though, we got thirty days closer to football. There are games TWO FUCKING DAYS FROM RIGHT NOW, folks. The Gators open things up with a glorified scrimmage against Western Kentucky on Saturday, and the Bucs aren't far off, opening next Sunday.

I actually don't have much for you today, but this was one of those times where I wanted to put something up for the sake of putting something up. I don't do that too often, but we needed to get the ball back rolling. I will be posting throughout the week, including live from Gainesville for Opening Weekend in Division One Football. The Gators not withstanding, I may just about fucking explode on Saturday with the lineup of games on tap, starting with a bright and early, biscuits and gravy tailgate with the General and Co. at Maggie Novy's 2nd Ave. home in Gainesville, then on to the Swamp for the 12:30 kickoff, and going all the way through Tennessee and Cal, which should end close to midnight eastern Saturday night. That's twelve consecutive hours of Division One Football - and we don't want it...ANY...OTHER...WAY!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend Blowback - I will now let, and I stress LET, Red Sox Nation Blow Me

I spent Friday night and all of Saturday in Gainesville with The Chelsea Bee. Bless her heart, she has made the I-75 trudge down to Tampa for something around 37 consecutive weekends, so the least I could do was mix in a trip back up there. Of course, once football season rolls around, I'll be up there all the time. Anyway, her dog Sierra had six seperate episodes of diarrhea, all in the apartment, in the 24 hours leading up to my visit. I suggested that The Bee simply move to a new place by the time I got there Friday night, but she's the type that likes to plan ahead and the notice was too short, so I lowered my head and plowed through what I thought would be a weekend's worth of knee-deep shit. Luckily, The Bee had the place sparkling by the time I got there. I felt bad for her, since if it had been me, I would've simply put sheets of vomit on top of the already soiled carpet. I don't do shit, in more ways than one.

It turns out the it was the Tropicana Dome where I would have to wade through shit, because on Sunday I got back to town and hit the Devil Rays-Red Sox game at the Trop with Drew and Poppy. What a bunch of fucking turds these Red Sox fans are. Growing up in Tampa as a native, you become inured at a young age to all of the people around town who are from another place. It doesn't bother you normally. In fact, we NEED these people. They are repsonsible for the explosive growth of my fair hometown that I hold so dear. But it does bother you in one particular setting - sporting events in town where the home team is terrible. In a sold-out crowd of 35,000 at this game, I would estimate 20-22,000 were Red Sox fans. Of those 22,000, I would say 75% fell into the category of "Massholes", as they have come to be known. I fucking hate Boston accents and basically their whole culture, which is based apparently on leaving their beloved hometown to live in ours while simultaneously singing the praises of almighty Boston. This describes the culture of a lot of other cities, come to think of it. Well, fuck Boston. And fuck these people:


Do you see? Do you see what has to be put up with? Imagine 20,000 of these parasites at a game in which YOUR team is supposed to be the home team. I blame the Devil Rays entirely, for managing to swallow inch after inch of cock year after year. If they weren't as categorically atrocious as they are, the situation wouldn't be this depressing. The Bucs are proof that this can be turned around. It used to happen to them all the time too.

The Devil Rays won 5-2, but lost two out of three in the series.

Comments are for the Meeting House

I toyed with putting a "comments" feature on the site which would allow for "comments" at the bottom of each individual post. I even threw it up there to see how it would look. Upon further review, these "comments" are the exact reason the Fentonian Meeting House Bulletin Board exists (that link is permanently on the left side of the site right below the photo). To add a seperate feature for "comments" would detract from the spirit of the Meeting House. No special feature for "comments" then.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fuck it. I'm ready for college football.

Buccaneer training camp opens tomorrow with a morning/afternoon two-a-day session at Disney's Wide World of Sports. I'll be broadcasting my evening show on 1010 live from camp two or three times a week for the next three weeks. I don't like training camp, nor does anybody else, player or member of the media. Anyway, while I am fired up for the Bucs and the NFL to return, there is one thing, and ONLY one thing, that gets me even more excited than that. We're talking more excited than a rabbit with three dicks. What, pray tell, is that, you might ask? To quote Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins:

Now, there is still a lot of time to go until September 1 when the Gators take the field against Western Kentucky (that, alas, will be Division one and a half football, becuase the Hilltoppers are in their final year of I-AA this season). Nevertheless, the bug has not only bitten me, but burrowed under my skin and layed eggs early this year. ESPN is already airing daily episodes of College Footall Live, and I have already started checking the Gainesville Sun website and various other online outlets of information for anything can find on Gator and college football in general.
Goddamnit I'm exctied.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's Fordy's Day

Congrats to my buddy Anthony Fordyce (Fordy), who is getting married today. I am going to the wedding later on, meaning I will be wearing a suit and tie today for only the thrid time in the past two and a half years or so. I always have to hand it to a guy who has the confidence to put his balls out on the table and get married to the right woman at the right time, especially when it's a guy of Fordy's virility. What a stud. I mean, that's how it's supposed to work, right? His bride Anne is a lovely young lady, and often comes to our softball games, which demonstrates an exemplary level of dedication.

Other Saturday notes:

- HFB to my cousin Natalie, who's 24 today.

- From the hard to believe until you think about it stat file: According to Rays Index (, a Devil Rays blog that I read semi-daily, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have the highest regular season winning percentage of Tampa's three major professional sports teams, besting to this point the Bucs and Lightning. Think about it for a second.

- From the not hard to believe at all stat file: The Devil Rays turned a 2-2 game in the 6th inning at Yankee Stadium into a 7-3 loss. They'll try for a double header split tonight when the two teams meet again at 7:05. The cursory bullpen bed-shitting in the matinee was compliments of Jae Kuk Ryu, who gave up five runs in the 6th, all with two outs. Before being picked up by the Devil Rays, Ryu was most famous for intentionally throwing a baseball at a bird while in the minor leagues, killing it. So Ryu is not only a piece of shit on the field, but off of it as well.

- Exactly six weeks and 26 minutes from right now as I type, the 2007 Florida Gators will take the field at The Swamp to play the season opener vs. Western Kentucky. Saturday's in the fall are the times when it is strangely exciting to announce the names of colors in a loud tenor, only to have others off in the distance respond by yelling out another, different color. ORANGE....