Misinterpreted Fighting Illini basketball promotion exudes family values (photo)

fighting-illini-basketball

It’s been a great week and change for Illinois Fighting Illini basketball. They beat the #1 Indiana Hoosiers, then the #18 Minnesota Golden Gophers at their place. Then they finally ended their 8 game losing streak to Purdue, trouncing them by 20. I don’t have the facts and figures, but I bet the winning streak was good for their ticketing office. So things were going great for their marketing…

…until this happened.

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Give a St. Valentine’s Day gift like a man

valentine

This year, give a St. Valentine’s Day gift, and by that, I mean a kiss, like a man. Just don’t give a St. Valentine’s Day gift, again I mean kiss, to Jenny McCarthy or Amanda Bynes because you might get a nasty surprise in return.

We know you’re thinking about sex; but a kiss opens the door to making love. You can’t enter the temple without going up the first step. A kiss is the threshold to romance; the closest thing sex has to a gateway drug. Kissing declares you’ve proudly crossed the border from the friend zone to enter a more enchanted place of potential sensuality.

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Mets love songs popular on Twitter this Valentine’s Day

mets-logo

We haven’t done a St. Valentine’s Day post yet today, so I give you one of the biggest trending terms in the United States #MetsLoveSongs. That’s right, the New York Mets, those overpaid, underachieving crown princes of MLB are the toast of twitter. Share the love

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Sidetracked: Crap, Valentine’s Day is Coming

By: Smoove C

Oh no.  I hate the singular act of turning the calendar from the month of January to February.  Why even turn the thang?  I turn it and POOF.  My woman’s voice mysteriously echoes throughout the room and the 14th jumps out at me like an ugly Harangody all up in my face.  Her voice starts calling out thangs she wants. This year, I’m cutting her off like Daniel Snyder putting a sock in Jim Zorn. It’s about what Smoove C wants.  Fellas, if we gotta do this, we gonna to do it my way. And for those of you without a woman, I’ve got something in this article for you, too.

For those of you with a big pocketbook, maybe seven figures on your contract, we gonna benefit from this here research. Go big or go home on the court or on the field; that’s what we do. So this is what the professionals are doing this Valentine’s Day, and that’s right—this really does exist.  If you don’t believe me, all the details are right here.

We’re going to DC’s W Hotel for their Valentine’s Day Package.  In short, you get VIP copter rides to private wine tastings, bottomless champagne, Kobe steak and Maine lobster, a personal Body Chocolatier that makes candy molds of your naked selves, Louis Vuitton luggage full of lingerie for her and some Swarovski crystals on your PJ’s or whatever. It’s gonna set you back $28 G’s man, but it’s worth it. Here’s what they give ya. [Read more…]

Spring Training Sox Exchange

By Paul M. Banks and Soxman

(PMB) Last weekend included St. Valentine’s Day, a time of year that more women than men look forward to quite frankly. But once it’s over, Major League Baseball pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training, which is to most guys what chocolate, jewelry and flowers are to women.  Speaking of love, I consulted Soxman, the person who loves the White Sox more than any other individual on this Earth about what occurred in the offices on 35th and Shields this winter. You might recognize Soxman from, well pretty much anywhere local media may roam. We began this exchange by discussing the biggest move of the offseason, the Javier Vazquez trade:

(SM) After his miserable play-off performance, almost every Sox fan would agree that Javy wore out his welcome on the Southside, The trade was crucial in rebuilding our anemic farm system as it yielded two of the top 20 prospects overall in the Braves system.

2B/SS Brent Lillibridge is the player to watch in 2009.  He’s expected to battle Chris Getz and Jason Nix for the starting job at second base.  Kenny Williams believes he’s capable of stealing 40 bases if he gets 500 Abs.

Tyler Flowers could develop into the Sox next big slugger and 3B prospect Jon Gilmore has drawn comparisons to Scott Rolen.

(PMB) The Southside Dark Knight also opined on the signings of the so-called “Cuban Babe Ruth” Dayan Viciciedo and Bartolo Colon.

(SM) Sox fans should not expect Viciedo to immediately perform like Alexei as he’s only 19. There’s a ton to be excited about however.  He slugged over .500 in two of the past three seasons in Cuba and was an All-Star in Cuba’s top league at age 16.   Colon is exactly the type of pitcher I expected Williams to sign.  The once awesome, now aging pitcher plagued by injuries trying to revive his career…at an ultra cheap price.  In limited action with the Red Sox last season, he looked very good.

(PMB) In the case of Bobby Abreu and Jermaine Dye, we spent weeks listening about trade deals and prospective signings only to see no moves made. It kind of felt being stood up on a date. So what does the love interest of female Sox fans everywhere think of the non-deals- the trades that didn’t happen.

(SM) I was surprised the Sox did not go after Orlando Hudson as he still has not signed with a team, Soxman saidI think that the deals Kenny was interested in just didn’t materialize. With the economy it is pretty much a buyers market right now. I think Kenny will see how the 2-3 position battles pan out and if any bargains fall his way, he’ll pounce.

(PMB) Last week Baseball Prospectus predicted the Chicago White Sox to win just 74 games and finish dead last in the AL Central. Although the formulae and prognostications of these sabermetrician geeks sounds bleak, we must remember that almost no one predicted the Sox to win the AL Central last season. In the World Series year of 2005, most people predicted the pale hose to finish third! Also, lots of people forecasted the Sox to win the division in ’06 and ’07, yet they controlled the division for just 36 combined days in those two seasons. In summation, it’s all wide open

One guy with White Sox knowledge second place to no one is Soxman who sprang into action with his take on the Sox spring prospectus.

(SM) There are a ton of question marks going into 2009 that should make for an exciting spring. I can’t remember a time where there were so many position battles.

CF will be fun to watch, where Jerry Owens is expected to battle Brian Anderson.  The early favorite to win the job is Owens as we also expect him to assume lead-off duties.  However, Getz and Lillibridge could also factor in as Ozzie claims that speed alone does not entitle Owens to bat atop the lineup.

3B is Josh Fields to lose, but if he does, Wilson Betemit could slip right in.  The Cuban Babe Ruth, Dayan Viciedo may need some minor league seasoning before being considered a serious threat to assume full-time 3B duties.

There is also a back-up catcher position open and 1-2 spots in the bullpen.

If that’s not enough, it will be interesting to see how Alexei Ramirez handles fulltime SS duties, how healthy Bartolo Colon is, and how well Scott Linebrink’s shoulder has healed.

Soxman sees the White Sox lineup shaking up this way:

The everyday line-up will truly reveal itself during the final days of spring training, I’m really hoping that Ozzie does not decide to hit Thome, Konerko, and AJ back-to-back.”

This is the projected line-up as of today:

Owens- CF
Ramirez- SS
Quentin- LF
Thome- DH
Dye- RF
Konerko- 1B
AJ-C
Fields- 3B
Getz/Lillibridge- 2B

(PMB) With the Cuban Missile Alexi Ramirez moving over to shortstop, second base will be see a wide-open and heated competition for playing time.

(SM) It’ll be a wide-open between battle Chris Getz, Jayson Nix, and Brent Lillibridge.  All three players combined have 61 games of MLB experience and just 143 Abs.  While none of the candidates are proven, this is one of two open positions where the Sox should get a speed boost.  While Getz has the early edge, this is truly anyone’s job to win.

(PMB) Another issue on all the minds of Sox Nation is the battle for the fifth starter. Although Jose Contreras is now supposed to be way ahead of schedule, the Sox will still need major innings from one of the prospects such as Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard or the man with the most alternative lifestyle sounding name in White Sox history, Lance Broadway.

(SM) After his heroic performance in September, Clayton Richard is the early favorite to win the 5th spot but will likely be challenged by Aaron Poreda and Jeff Marquez.  Broadway will likely battle the losers of the rotation competition for the long relief spot in the bullpen.  Poreda likely has the most long-term upside, but is likely to start the season in AAA.

Editor’s note: a version of this story ran on NBC 5’s webpage, that you can read here and here.

TSB Valentine’s Day Survival Guide

By Rikki Greenberg & Melissa Wollering

With Valentine’s Day approaching fast, TSB’s two female contributors thought they would try to put their fellow male contributors (and readers alike) at ease during what can be a tense Hallmark Holiday weekend.

RG: Burning number one question, Melissa.  There’s so much pressure to get her the perfect gift.  Is this really necessary?
MW:  I don’t know if it’s the retail industry or materialistic women making a bad name for the rest of us, but you don’t have to buy me a thing.  I’m a busy person and the person I’m dating is likely a go-getter and workaholic too. If anything, I’d appreciate some time spent together and it doesn’t even have to be on the 14th. Any night that week, come over to my house, make me a drink, let’s watch some NCAA basketball I DVR’ed and didn’t get to watch yet. Then let’s go to bed, but not go to bed. Rikki, what are your thoughts?

MW: If your significant other insists on getting you something, what would you actually appreciate?

RG: That’s a toughie. Victoria Secret is nice, but I tried that once and my booty was a little too bootylicious for them. I would have to say something personal, like a really sweet Bears jersey or a $100 gift certificate to Ulta. When I get a gift like this, I know my guy has been paying attention and that always puts a smile on my face.

MW:  Bootylicious, huh? Nice. I would have to say it’s not cliché to go VS for me. New Victoria’s always makes me feel good about myself and if it makes the guy happy, slam dunk. If however, that’s all he’s ever gifted me after 2 years, I may start to become concerned…

RG: If your boyfriend/husband/significant other gave you the Vermont Teddy Bear I see advertised on SportsCenter how would you react?

MW: Dude, keep your money, save your cash, hold onto your pesos. Buy us two tickets to see the Badgers play the Gophers or find the teddy bear you had as a child and give it to me.  Both earn you more points. Shooting from beyond the arc actually takes less effort. Think about it.

RG: First of all, I love all your basketball analogies and we must have been separated at birth because I share the same reaction to this question. If I got this present, I would deeply rethink the relationship and come to the conclusion that my guy doesn’t know me at all.

MW: Do you have any professional athlete Valentine’s Day stories?

RG: Besides the dream of me and Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker getting married in the Bahamas after a two year courtship filled with hot, passionate love, I would have to say no to this one. The dude is super fine, so ask this question again in a couple years and maybe I’ll have a better answer for you :)


MW:  I’m coming to your wedding, my dear! I have a story: Chris Capuano, 2006 National League All-Star team pitcher with the Milwaukee Brewers, did not fare well in baseball last year, but he hit the jackpot in love.  The 30-year-old LHP left-hander missed the entire season after reconstructive surgery on his left elbow, but it gave him the time to seriously date his long-time love interest Sarah Clifford. They started seeing each other when both were students at Duke.  Chris popped the question in June – something he would not have been able to do while on the road mid-season. The couple got married November 29th in Maui, Hawaii.  See Pete, off-season anniversaries rock.  Now they live in Scottsdale, Arizona, perfect for spring training.

RG: Of course this article begs the question: Melissa, are you single?

MW: Intelligent readers will notice I wrote “person I’m dating is likely” above.  You get the hypothetical connotation. Rikki, you? C’mon…give me the scoop.

RG: Oh the dreaded topic that’s my love life. I’ve been single for 24 years now and my VIP card to the singles club doesn’t have an expiration date on it, so I’m going to say yes to this question. However, there’s a slight wave in the ocean, so I might have to rethink about laminating my card.  It’s time for the 2009 V-Day Survival Guide Shopping List. We agree, it’s not wrong to spend money on something you’ll BOTH use…Beer Pong it up with your woman!  Melissa, aren’t you a b-pong aficionado?

MW: That’s what my Facebook TSB Officer Description says…Banks is recommending this to the guys trying to win my heart. But again, I don’t like people spending money on me.

RG: I am head over heels in love with this gift!! There’s nothing I wouldn’t love more on game day than to dunk my Frito Lay Tostitos Scoop chip in a cup of sour cream and onion dip from a Chicago Bears helmet. Should I hand you a Scoop chip Melissa?

MW:  Yes!  Crunnncchh. Yum. Now to wash it down. Chick Beer comes in Michelob Ultra’s Lime Cactus, Pomegranate Raspberry and Tuscan Orange Grapefruit.

RG: That’s right, 6-pack if you like her, 24 if you’re really in love. No more blue foldable chairs you see at baseball games! The inflatable tailgating chair comes with a beer holder and a mesh pocket to store more beers. Got grease stains and puddles of Bud Light on your new tailgating partner? No problem! The chair is washable so eat and drink away!


RG: Chicago Bears blanket? Check. Chicago Bears lighting fixtures? Check. Chicago Bears Ultimate Game Day Recliner? I knew I was missing something!

MW: Everyone seems to want my full-size portable Coleman grill when I’m tailgating at Miller Park.  Consider any Pro-Team Grill Cover, or go Busta Rhymes and buy your woman a “grill” at Thug Fashion’s website.

RG: A fan isn’t really a fan until every inch of his or her property is covered with team memorabilia. The bathroom may be painted white and black, but I bet the car is lacking a little team spirit. Ride in style and support the cause with a blinged out license plate from your favorite team. (Editor’s note: You guys HAVE to see the Soxcave- Soxman’s crib is pretty much like what you’re describing above!)

MW:  Guys always love a new Bears Jersey. Go his & hers and ask the wife to sport JUST her jersey and nothing else around the house all weekend.   Honestly, we don’t mind as long as you think it’s hot. Remember, it’s all about you. Rikki, would you agree?

RG: Of course! If I have the opportunity to slink around in my favorite player’s jersey, I’ll not hesitate to take it. If it results in a sexy game of tackle football, even better!!
His –
Hers –

RG:  Or you can forget the jersey and wear nothing but these fantastic NCAA slippers or pair of Chicago White Sox socks!!

MW: Reading material for the bathroom is great. We know you guys follow the latest trends on the runway, so why not catch up on the latest in swimsuit fashion?
SI Subscription:
SI Swimsuit Edition:
Sports Illustrated NFL Book

RG: You can’t go wrong with a baseball signed by a big time major leaguer. Bonus points if he or she is a member of Red Sox Nation or a supporter of Big Papi.