Friday Grab Bag: O Canada’s Olympic beer fridge

Everybody has that one friend that always manages to drink most of the beer in your fridge and never seems to bring any to replace it. It looks like the Olympics have that problem but at least one nation has come up with an innovative way to keep the beer available only for those who have a right to it.

In the Team Canada athletes compound the only way you can get the beer fridges to open is to have your Canadian passport scanned in order to get a cold Molson. I wonder if they are marketing this technology to home owners?

Rick Reilly really likes Rick Reilly

It seems like a very dim memory now, but at one time Rick Reilly was one of the must reads in sports. And if you did read him religiously in the past there is probably no reason to read him now as it seems that he is increasingly plagiarizing himself in his latest work.

It has gotten so bad for the ESPN columnist that now when people report on his latest transgressions they have a large selection of past examples to bring up. Aside from this he has been embarrassed by Fox Sports 1 announcers, misquoted his father-in-law and complained that he did not get credit for a Twitter news item. What may be even worse is that satire on the subject looks real.

There is an (ESPN) app for that
ESPN touts itself as the worldwide leader in sports and one of the methods that the sports network is now reaching out to fans is via apps for mobile devices.

Most sports fans that I know have the general ESPN app on their phone but that is just the start. There are a range of apps that are locally targeted with the first five covering Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Chicago and New York.

No Cactus League games from ESPN
ESPN has released the lineup of games that it will be broadcasting for this years Spring Training slate and if you are not a fan of the Yankees and Red Sox you are very likely to be uninterested in this heavily slanted broadcast schedule.

There will only be seven games and two of them are featuring the Yankees-Red Sox, and the Cactus League, that serves teams from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, apparently does not exist to the network as it has been shut out, again.

A look at climbing one of the tallest buildings in the world
BASE jumping is the sport of leaping off tall structures, so is there a name for climbing them? Well even if there is not it is quite an achievement and the video for the guys that climbed the Shanghai Towers shows how hard it is.

The tower is 650 meters, or 2,132 feet, and these two men did it with their bare hands. I wonder what the winds are like at that height on a building?

Reilly, Trump Fall Short in Bid to Renovate Wrigley Field

wrigleyWell, Chicago, it almost happened. You know what I’m talking about, the plans by sportswriter Rick Reilly to buy the Cubs and turn them into a winner by “making necessary improvements” to Wrigley Field.

Turns out that Reilly’s last ESPN column wasn’t just opinion, it was strategy — who knew that Reilly had a partnership already in the works with Donald Trump to do a leveraged buyout of current Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, who was only too happy to take Reilly and Trump’s $3 billion to leave the Friendly Confines? Or rather, the “Friendly’s Ice Cream Confines,” which the park would have been re-named under the Reilly/Trump “aggressive revenue raising plan.”

See, Reilly, wizard that he was, had solved the problem that had been vexing the North Side for more than a century — the reason why the Cubs couldn’t win, Reilly wrote, was because they weren’t using Wrigley to its full fiscal potential, thereby robbing the Cubs of necessary income they could use to bolster their lineup. Never mind that the soon-to-be renegotiated TV deals for Cubs games could net the franchise at least equal to the Dodgers’ recent $7 billion 25-year pact. Or that the Oakland A’s somehow managed to win the AL West in 2012 with the next-to-lowest MLB salary total. It was that missing $70 million or so, Reilly said, that would end the goat curses and bring a World Series trophy to Addison and Clark.

You gotta have more bucks to lure the big stars, Reilly reasoned, and the best way to do that was to make some “obvious” changes needed to the ballpark that used to be crammed to the gills no matter how good or bad the team was. Just to recap, some of the highlights of the Reilly/Trump plan were:

— Tearing out the grass field and putting down blue synthetic turf, a la Boise State. Not only would that net a cool $5 million per year from sponsor FieldTurf, but it would also stand up better than grass and dirt for the 40-concert revenue-rich schedule of “old rock stars selling $250 tickets” tour, headlined by Bruce “No Free Tickets” Springsteen.

— The new “Trump-surround” Digitial Scoreboard, which would wrap from foul pole to foul pole in the back of the outfield, soaring 100 feet above the top of the back wall. Replacing the Dallas Cowboys’ TV screen as the world’s largest, the Trump-surround screen was going to be revenue-positive from its launch, thanks to constantly changing display ads and to the $10-per-tweet charge for fans to post messages to the big screen during play. The back of the screen was going to be live too, showing repeated recordings of Trump and Reilly laughing and flipping off anyone who still climbed to the rooftops of surrounding buildings.

— Instead of organ music, the Reilly/Trump plan called for the “world’s biggest collection of iPods,” a number of different-colored versions which would replace the ivy lining the outfield walls. Fans would have been able to pay $10 to request a song, with music playing non-stop at every break in play. During the seventh-inning stretch, the traditional “Take me Out to the Ballgame” break would no longer be live, but instead feature a different hip-hop star doing a rendition of the song in a Intel-sponsored hologram projection every game.

— There was more, of course, like the Budweiser “simple math” scoreboard that was to show only one digit at a time (saving fans all the time and pain of having to actually add the runs scored every inning) and the “BALCO Distance Meter,” which would use lasers to track the flight of every home run hit by the Cubs’ new steroid-powered lineup. No named sponsor was necessary for the “Alderman’s Payoff Race,” where cartoon versions of famous Chicago politicians would push shopping carts full of cash around the bases between innings. Trump and Reilly said the race would simply honor the new “city/stadium leasing agreement,” under which half of the team’s purchase price would be underwritten by city-backed bonds.

Luckily, the deal fell through when Chicagoans stopped laughing hard enough to make it to the polls to defeat the bond measure by the first ever unanimous margin in city elections. Reilly and Trump, of course, redirected their energies to golf, and are now presiding over the “Trump Resort and Spa at Augusta National,” where this year’s Masters tournament will be the first in that event’s history to be played at night, under the lights installed around the entire course.

“We’re confident golf fans will appreciate our eliminating all that stuffy old tradition in favor of exploding scoreboards and comfortable, double-deck seating,” Reilly said. “After all, how can the Masters expect to survive without reaping the obvious ad revenue that’s available? Isn’t that what sports is all about, anyway? To take maximum advantage of fans’ undivided attention? The idea of going to an event to escape the everyday barrage of marketing is as old as gutta percha balls. Masters fans will be happy we’re moving this event to the 21st century.”

The preceding was a special report from our bureau of satire. We now return you to our regular programming.