The Humanoids: Leaving A Legacy

Legacy is fickle thing. So is my vocabulary seeing as I think a lot of things are fickle. You think you know what someone’s legacy will be but something happens that changes everything. I thought Michael Schumacher was overrated and a dirty driver but a few years without him made me realize how good a driver he actually was. Brett Favre was set to retire as a legend but tarnished his legacy with a trip to New York. There are some of my subjects today that haven’t set their legacy in stone yet. But is there such a thing as a legacy set in stone? Two controversial examples: 1) Steve McNair who was considered the toughest guy in the NFL but being shot by his mistress has tarnished him a bit in my eyes. Not as much as the circumstances surrounding 2) Chris Benoit who was one of the greatest technical wrestlers to set foot in the ring but he killed his wife and son before killing himself. The thing with these two is that they have tremendous professional legacies but could you ever think of them the same way (especially Benoit) as you did before they died.

Good news out of Lowdown HQ. We have one part of the Season 3 Premiere of The Lowdown radio show is in place. The kind folks at EA Sports have sent us a copy of NCAA Football 10 to review. We’ll have a preliminary review on the blog in the next couple of weeks. The big feature review will make on to our season premiere, currently scheduled on September 15th at 6:30 PM on 94.9FM CHRW in London, ON, and

Anyway, The Humanoids will be going on hiatus next week. We’ll see what Jackie comes up with as a replacement. Maybe it’ll be the next big thing in blogging. And no, this has nothing to do with some guy on Twitter calling me a “st****** m*****f******” for not cheering the fact that Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix. I’m still not sure what he was trying to call me. I would have guessed “stupid motherfucker” but I’m short a few letters. Anyone have any ideas? Maybe it’s “Stig’s coming! Fuck yay!” about Schumacher’s return. I’m thinking of making that edition of The Humanoids a NASCAR edition because I’m heading to the Michigan International Speedway to watch the good ol’ boys of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.

Reggie Bush
I’m not entirely sure but I think that NFL stars think that being famous outside of football is bringing them down. First, Tony Romo dumps Jessica Simpson (and banned her from entering his home). Now, Reggie Bush has dumped Kim Kardashian. If you want to stretch the scenario, Matt Leinart gave up hard partying to train in MMA to get him ready for next season. There seems to be this growing perception that players that can’t focus on football because of women. As Mickey said “Women weaken legs!” That might be true. Romo just can’t seem to play whenever Jessica is in the stadium and Bush has fallen victim to knee injuries that have force him to miss 10 games (of 32) in the two seasons since he first met Kim. Change is a good thing but you have to think that the entertainment “press” and paparazzi will still be dogging Romo & Bush coming off their high-profile romances. Mind you, I don’t think this could necessarily hurt. Finding a relatively unknown local girl to see on the side would probably be best for both of them. But the real question is what’s next for Kim? I wonder if Ray J still has any tape left in his camera…

Brett Favre
brett-favreSpeaking of football stars letting go, Brett Favre has finally let go of his career. Yes, after many will he or won’t he off-seasons, Favre has finally decided to hang up the cleats for what we would assume to be forever. With this being Brett Favre, we know that we can only trust him as far as he can throw a pass to one of his own receivers. Last season, it was very often that could find one of his receivers. If Favre had retired after leading the Packers to the NFC Championship game in January 2008, he would have gone down as one of the greats who retired while on top of his game. We all knew that to be a lie because he was well past his prime but he reached into the well and pulled out something special in 2007. Last season was relatively miserable, though his team was in contention for a playoff spot until the end of Week 17. I guess now was the most appropriate time for Favre to retire. Long-time defender and fan, SI writer Peter King, had began to sour on the annual Favre Watch. Also, Favre’s #1 fan John Madden retired from the broadcast booth. It just seems right that he retired now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t expect to see him everywhere. I’m sure he’ll be in Madden NFL 10 as a free agent. And I’m fairly confident that there’ll be a bidding war over hiring Favre as a TV analyst. My money is on ESPN. That way we can see a line in their ticker to the effect of “ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that ESPN has signed Brett Favre to be an analyst on Sunday NFL Countdown.

Michael Schumacher
michael-schumacherIt’s slightly ironic that as one legend of the game retires, another legend will ride back into the spotlight. Unlike Brett Favre, Michael Schumacher willingly retired without reconsidering in 2006. And Schumacher isn’t coming back almost three years after hanging up his helmet because he still wants to race. His protégé, Felipe Massa, was injured during qualifying at the last F1 race and Schumacher is filling in until he’s ready to return to the track, though that’s not an absolute certainty. Sure, Michael is likely past his prime and well out of practise when it comes to driving F1 race cars but I’m sure Michael has been following the progress of NASCAR Sprint Cup star Mark Martin. After a couple seasons running partial schedules, Martin is running full time this year and is considered a serious threat to win the title. Now, Michael won’t step into the top ride in F1 unlike Martin who has the car in NASCAR at his disposal. Michael also won’t be able to make a run at the championship. Schumacher is very different from Favre and Martin because he’s motivated by loyalty to the team and has been drafted in under unusual circumstances. What I’m trying to figure is how his return will affect his legacy. Say what you will about his tactics and the era he raced in, statistically Schumacher is the greatest driver of all time. He wasn’t the fastest driver ever but he was the most complete, combining car control, mechanical knowledge, physical fitness, and team building skills to put him lightyears ahead of his competitors. Now, drivers try to be like Mike. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits into modern Formula One which is a world far different than what he left two-and-a-half years ago. Schumi comes back to a Ferrari team that has only in the last few races become a consistent threat for points finishes. But it’s not like he hasn’t done well with poor equipment in the past. The ’91 & ’92 Benettons and the ’96 Ferrari weren’t the greatest cars on the grid but Schu had good performances in all three. It will be interesting to see how he copes with going to new circuits (Valencia & Singapore) with a car he’s never driven before (Ferrari F60) with car functionality he’s never used before (KERS, adjustable wings). Critically, we’ll have to see how Schuey’s neck copes with the extreme cornering forces after injuring his neck and back in a superbike racing accident last year. It’s a long, uphill climb but if anyone can pull it off, it would have to be this legend of the sport.

BMW Sauber F1
bmw-sauber-f109Lost in all the talk about Michael Schumacher coming back was the announcement that BMW was withdrawing from Formula One. Now, this wasn’t as big a shock as Schumi returning. Since Honda left F1, BMW, Renault, and Toyota were all believed to be next to pull out of Formula One. Of those four teams mentioned, three have had reasonably good seasons. Brawn (formerly Honda) and Toyota started the season strongly but have faded recently. Renault has had an up and down season but haven’t entirely embarrassed themselves which is what BMW have done. They were strong contenders for the 2008 title but cut development of the F1.08 short which caused them to fade in the stretch run of the season. They said they were focusing on developing a car to contend for 2009. They had their 2009 car ready to run before anyone else and put more miles on it than anyone else. However, they have scored only 8 points during the season, most of which were scored during the rain-shortened Malaysian GP. It’s not BMW’s fault that they failed with the new car. It’s tough to make a competitive car with a complete overhaul of the rules as building a good car that’s completely new because it’s part skill and part luck. That’s why it’s disappointing that a bunch of suits have decided to pull the plug on this team. As I read somewhere (and I’m sorry but I don’t remember who said/wrote this), to guys on a car manufacturer’s board of directors, pulling the plug on a racing program is as easy as flipping a light switch. The racers at BMW tried to make it work. Hopefully BMW will try to sell the team and either turn it over to team principal Mario Thiessen or former owner Peter Sauber rather than shut the factory down. FIA put out a statement that I didn’t read about BMW pulling out that I could only assume was gloating that their budget caps would have saved BMW. To that I say: Bullshit. FOTA wants to cut costs and be reasonable. BMW would have kept going but they have to justify to shareholders how much they spend on F1 now, not next season and the season after that. If BMW had been competitive this year, maybe this decision wouldn’t have been made this soon. Hopefully, Renault and Toyota will hold off on pulling out of F1 or, at the very least, stay involved as engine manufacturers. The last thing we need is Max Mosley and the FIA to become insufferable gloaters. The economy is finally coming around and starting to recover. The companies that are pulling out now are either mismanaged or not serious about racing.

Composite Swimsuits
They made big waves (literally and figuratively) at the Water Cube during the Beijing Olympics last year. They made more waves when swimming’s international governing body banned them last Friday. And they’re making waves again at the World Swimming Championships in Rome. These suits, made of polyurethane and designed to cut through water while increasing the swimmer’s buoyancy, have been responsible for every world record shattered and every medal won in competition over the last year. The launch of Speedo’s LZR suit set off the technological arms race. Sure, the cost of these suits and the face that the swimmers were only as good as their suits prompted the super suit ban. If it didn’t happen last week, it surely would have happened this week. I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was Michael Phelps’ 200m freestyle loss and world record being broken at the hands of unknown German Paul Biedermann. Biedermann wore what is considered to be a suit that is superior to Phelps’. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that Biedermann didn’t beat Phelps as much as his Arena X-Glide beat Phelps’ Speedo LZR. I’m sure that seeing the most dominant swimmer of this generation beaten by a nobody wearing a fancier suit would have caused a massive public outcry to ban the suits. The only really good thing is the new rules for competitive swimwear. Women will wear suits going from their shoulders to their knees. Men, fortunately, will be wearing trunks from their waist to their knees. That’s the best news to come out of it for the swimmers, the governing body, and the broadcasters. After all, would you tune into swimming it is was a bunch of men running around in Speedos? “Speedo freedom” on the international stage would be more like a violation of the Geneva Convention as far as the audience is concerned.

Roy Halladay
roy-halladayThe doctor is in… maybe. We’ll find out by shortly after 4:00 PM if Doc Halladay will be contending for a World Series or just another Cy Young. I say that as if it’s a bad thing. The thing is, as good as Doc is, all this trade talk must be getting to him. He just gave up 11 hits to the Seattle Mariners (who, to their credit, are actually above .500 so far). While everyone is entitled to a bad day, I’m sure J.P. Riccardi would have rather he had a bad day after he was traded. He’s having a tough enough time moving Doc as it is. Well, when I say “tough enough time,” I really mean that J.P. is really just screwing things up himself. How hard is it to get a good deal for one of the best pitchers in baseball? He really doesn’t think that he’s going to be able to Doc after next season? As much as Doc seems to enjoy Toronto, when the Yanks and Sawks turn up with blank cheques, the Jays will be saying goodbye to their former ace. As much as I think that Riccardi should have been turfed ages ago, he has done some things right like sign Marco Scutaro and trade for Scott Rolen. But for every good move, he’s done something stupid like sign B.J. Ryan, A.J. Burnett, Frank Thomas, John Gibbons, David Eckstein, and Troy Glaus and got rid of Reed Johnson, Carlos Delgado, and A.J. Burnett. Let’s face it Blue Jay fans, we’re screwed. As much as we all like Doc, he’s not long for Toronto. Let’s just hope that Riccardi doesn’t screw up again and get something halfway decent in return for Doc.

Jim Balsillie
jim-balsillieI really don’t want to justify Jim’s attempt to take over an NHL by playing by his own rules. Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing about Jim’s bid to take over an NHL franchise and move it to Hamilton. After having his bid for the Phoenix Coyotes unanimously denied by the NHL, he sent one of his Make It Seven spokesmen on CBC Newsworld to say that the NHL doesn’t want a seventh NHL franchise. I say that’s bullshit. The NHL didn’t deny the bid for the sake of screwing Canada. The NHL denied the bid because Balsillie won’t play by the NHL’s rules. He used bankruptcy courts to try and take control of the Coyotes rather than follow league rules and go through the NHL Board of Governors. Then he tried to make his own rules in court. I don’t think Canadians would want a team that was forcibly dragged here through some off-ice power play. Think of it this way, Jim trying to go around the NHL’s rules would be like you refusing to file or pay your taxes because your stock portfolio tanked. You may not like having to pay taxes but the rules and laws are there for the greater good. Anyway, the NHL turned down Balsillie’s big based on a by-law that says an owner must have good character and integrity. If a guy that’s willing to try anything to get a team and move it to Canada gets a team, how likely is he to try anything (inside or outside the rules) to make it successful on ice? And if the team doesn’t have long playoff run fast enough, will he just get frustrated and give up on the whole thing or would he go Steinbrenner and make things worse? Does that mean I think that hockey is better off in the desert than in the Steel City? No. I can think of at least six teams that need to be contracted or moved, including Phoenix. Right now, however, I think it’s best that Jim takes lumps and comes back in five years with a better attitude towards the NHL’s rules and procedures. Only then, an NHL owner, will he be.

fedor-emilianenkoJust like the UFC’s last pseudo-threat, Affliction was done in by a last minute change to the main event of a major event. The last big group that came knocking was Elite XC. They had all their money and marketing sunk into Kimbo Slice. He was supposed to face Ken Shamrock who was well past his prime and a relative pushover. Instead, Shamrock was cut while warming up for the fight. Seth Petruzelli stepped in and knocked out Kimbo in 37 seconds. Whether it was a fluke or not, Kimbo was done as a legitimate contender and so was Elite XC. Similarly, Affliction tied all of its fortunes to Fedor Emilianenko. As good a fighter as Fedor is, he wasn’t a massive draw for North American MMA fans. Also, Affliction wasn’t willing to try running a show without Fedor which tied their fortunes to him. When Fedor’s next opponent, Josh Barnett, was suspended for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, that was the end of Affliction as a fight promoter. Dana White said in the past that Affliction didn’t know how to promote fights. I’m not sure that’s entirely correct. I think that this shows the depth of the UFC. They have so many stars and create news stars so that if one big name goes down, there’s another marketable fighter waiting to step into the main event spotlight. Affliction and Elite XC didn’t have that superstar depth. Fedor and Kimbo were the be all and end all to those promotions and if they didn’t fight or have a good fight, the company would be hit hard in the pocket book. Elite XC’s second show on CBS might have had better fights than the first and third ones but had the worst ratings because it didn’t have Kimbo. Fedor would still have fought at Affliction: Trilogy on August 1st but it would have been against a last minute substitute that Fedor likely would have squashed like a bug. Nobody would have bought that show if they already knew that Fedor would win in less than 60 seconds and nobody outside serious MMA fans knew the rest of the card. Maybe Affliction didn’t know what they were doing, but they did learn a valuable lesson. You can’t be successful if you only have on name on the marquis.

microsoft-yahooWhat kind of internet writer would I be if I didn’t mention the new deal between Microsoft and Yahoo to take down Google. Though that’s not exactly a done deal. The National on CBC said that they would have to go through regulators to seal the deal so we won’t see it come into effect right away. However, I’m glad to see how the partnership breaks down. Yahoo searches will be powered by Microsoft’s Bing and, other than some advertising deals, only goes about that far. That means that all the great content on Yahoo (such as sports blogging, fantasy sports leagues, games, and financial news) will remain intact. Only if you search will you be helping the evil empire. I love the tiny bit of irony that the Senate was willing to squash a deal between Yahoo and Google because that would violate competition laws. After all, that would crush Microsoft in the internet ad and search markets. So far, I haven’t heard that Yahoo and Microsoft teaming up to squash Google will be turned down by the Senate. If I had the time, I would have followed the money. Since I don’t have the time, someone could Bing it. Or if you want to use a quicker, better search engine, just Google it.


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