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      When Tarps Attack: Kansas City Tarp Strikes Back

      The tarp at Kansas City's Kaufman Stadium is a menace. Just ask the guy who was devoured while preparing for a rain delay Thursday during Game 1 of the ALDS between the Royals and Astros. Here's a GIF clip from Deadspin (look away if you're squeamish; this gets real ugly, real fast):

      It was not the first time the dreaded KC tarp went after a member of the grounds crew. Remember this, from a few years ago? [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfr0SGW81Xw] This is no benign, field-protecting expanse of plastic and fabric. This tarp is a predator. This hideous creature even has its own Twitter account: @KC_Royals_Tarp. It's an outrage that baseball hasn't banned the Kansas City tarp for conduct detrimental to the health of the grounds crew. I mean, compared to the mildly hungry tarp that ate Vince Coleman during the 1985 NLCS, the tarp in Kansas City is a ravenous beast. We're seeing a pattern all over the country, in fact. If not for a couple of alert Pittsburgh Pirates this past summer, the tarp at PNC Park would have enjoyed a tasty grounds crew snack before making its escape on the wild winds of the Allegheny Mountains. Remember this? [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRQEMONYIEs] Stay alert, baseball grounds crews. Watch the skies, but keep an eye on the tarps. They're alive ... and they're hungry.

      The Good Ol' Hockey Game is Back!

      Hey, buddeh! It's hockey season again, eh? Time to get beHIND the organIZation and cheer the boys on for 82 games, ya know. And then some with the playoffs, ya know. Here's a little somethin' to getcha in the mood for some pucks, eh? [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS3GQverRiQ] We're picking the Lightning to win it all this year, by the way. Who else? Surely not those Blackhawks again, eh. Good golly, please, no, eh? Right, buddeh?

      Celebrate! (For tomorrow, most of you will lose)

      Is there anything in sports more fleeting than the thrill of a post-clinch celebration in baseball? The players deserve it. That's for damn sure. Baseball season is ridiculously long, ridiculously grueling. It's a lifetime of frustration and heartache and sleepless nights and general bullshittery compacted into a horrible, emotionally draining six-month period. That's how it is for the WINNING teams. So, sure. When you clinch that playoff check, go crazy. Let the beer and champagne flow. This game's fun. Let's have fun out here, OK? It's fun, God dammit. Just understand this: Pretty soon, almost every one of you will be crying into that beer. Or, if not crying, punching the hell out of your locker after you get your asses run out of the playoffs just. Like. That. It's quick, man. One minute, you're on top of the baseball world. Just look at A-Rod in that embedded SportsCenter tweet up there. Doesn't he look happy? Doesn't he look cold? Well, pretty soon, chances are he and his Yankees teammates will not be happy. And they won't be cold, because they'll be on vacation on some beach somewhere in Mexico or the Caribbean. Or Hawaii. Vegas, maybe. Wherever. Where they won't be is in the World Series, probably. Because that? That is hard. Only one team will get to throw that party in early November or late October or Christmas, or whenever the hell the World Series ends these days. That's next week's bad news, though. Today is for the happy. Let's give these guys room to celebrate, if only for a little while. Here, then, is a compendium of post-clinch celebrations so far. We still have two more coming, because someone is going to win the AL West, and someone is going to clinch the second AL wildcard. Here's what we've got going into the weekend, though. It will have to suffice for most of them. Who do you think did it best this year? Mets, NL East: Michael Conforto's celebration POV is epic on Deadspin. Cardinals, NL Central: Just like St. Louis, the Cardinals celebrate NIIIIICE. Dodgers, NL West: L.A. got to rub it into the World Series champions and HATED rivals, the Giants, by clinching and celebrating in San Francisco. Doesn't get much sweeter. Cubs, NL wildcard: With Jake Arrieta pitching against the Pirates in the wildcard play-in game, we get the feeling the Cubs will live to celebrate once more. Pirates, NL wildcard: We are family! (For one more game only. Sorry, Buccos. Two words: Jake. Joe. Two more words: Good. Bye.) Royals, AL Central: Party like it's 1985! Blue Jays, AL East: Good party, eh? Munenori Kawasaki thought so. Yankees, AL wildcard: Yay. We won.      

      Great Moments in Stupid Sports Question History

      Today is Ask a Stupid Question Day. We know. It’s a stupid holiday. But hey, America! Actually, it was created in the 1980s by teachers to encourage more kids to ask questions in class. (So, it’s legit. Bet you feel bad for talking smack about it. Ha! Who’s stupid now? Huh? Don’t answer that.) The actual Ask a Stupid Question Day is supposed to be on Sept. 28, but they celebrate it on the final school day of September. Again, that seems kind of stupid. What was wrong with Sept. 28? It was a perfectly good Monday. Why do you hate Mondays, America? Don’t answer that. Anyway, sports and stupid questions go together like coffee and cream, like white on rice, like cold on ice. The two weeks of hype leading up to the Super Bowl are fertile ground for stupid questions. It most infamously gave us the twisted tale of the guy who supposedly asked Doug Williams how long he had been a black quarterback (or did it? Here’s the actual story in Snopes). But sports reporters don’t need a big event like the Super Bowl to drop a stupid bomb. The occasion can be as innocuous as a trip to Green Bay to face the Packers. Actual question once asked of Bucs coach Tony Dungy before such a trip: “Coach, do you like cheese?” Stupid is as stupid does, right? It's OK, though. Stupid questions will always make great fodder for satirical essays. Oh, we know it’s not easy coming up with brilliant ways to get athletes and coaches to make brilliant comments. Most questions reporters ask are vanilla and lame. In fact, good, reasonable questions often elicit the worst answers. So, today, we celebrate the stupid questions in sports. These questions, in particular, made history.

      1. We begin with one of our personal favorites: the great Allen Iverson .
      [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDBR2L5kzI] 2. Another all-time great: After a long rant about how bad his team had played in a loss, Colts coach Jim Mora was asked about his prospects for the AFC playoffs. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwq7BYOnDrM] 3. Sometimes there is no question too stupid -- or intelligent -- to draw an interview subject out of his shell. Here is the quintessential pointed answer by a coach who knows how to stay on topic: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agZKF7U5s8A] 4. Before young Bryce Harper became famous for getting choked in the dugout by a hyper-angry relief pitcher, he was a 19-year-old phenom doing phenomenal things. He once was asked if he would celebrate one of those phenomenal things by drinking a beer. At age 19. He was asked that on camera. In front of a whole bunch of people. Ask a stupid question ... [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dF5NcRvVxk&w=854&h=480] 5. Then, there is the post-game blow-up of all time. Hal McRae, then managing the Royals, always felt bad about this explosion afterward. But he left NO DOUBT about how he felt about stupid questions that day. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kamDqL-AGzI&w=854&h=480] Happy Ask a Stupid Question Day! Remember, there ARE no stupid questions. Only stupid reporters, and hot-headed athletes and coaches who have no patience for stupidity.

      Jim Breuer: Super Fan (Mets edition)

      No one is enjoying this season of resurgence for the Mets more than super fan Jim Breuer. The comedian, Saturday Night Live alum and New Jersey resident OWNS his fanhood. His podcast is called Jim Breur Mets and More. His Facebook feed is loaded with epic fan rants about his beloved Amazin's (see his latest below; you must be signed in to Facebook to view it). And he LIVES it, you know? It's not just show. He is one of you, Mets fans. One. Of. You. He posted this on his Twitter feed before heading to the Rocky Mountains for a gig:

      We know there are other celebrity fans out there. Ashley Judd does the Kentucky Wildcats proud. Jack Nicholson (Lakers), Spike Lee (Knicks) and other stars are mainstays in NBA floor seats. Bill Murray is a Cubs legend. And of course, Jerry Seinfeld famously staked out some Mets territory of his own in the 1980s and '90s. At the moment, though, Jim Breuer is the standard bearer for celebrity fans who not only love a team, but live and die with it. Here's a Smack Zone hat tip to Mr. Breuer. Well done, Mets fan. Well done. [facebook url="https://www.facebook.com/JimBreuer/videos/10153450376072025/" /]