Archive for November, 2007

Rich

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Rich somehow can kill my productivity even though his is hundreds of miles away… Whether it be politics or sports, the guy sucks me in.

At least he will owe me a cookie cake in March.

TDELL

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

As I avoid graduate school applications, I thought I would share some of the happenings of the past ten days and Billikens.com.
A couple of weeks ago a user, TDELL, on my site posted the following

thetorch where did you play college ball, probably no where. This is a new coach with a new system, everybody’s saying how good of a coach Majerus is, I dont see it anybody can run around and set screens you dont have to have talent to do that. Majuerus doesn’t want any fancy stuff just plain basketball. Tommie played well his first two years now all of a sudden he’s not, its not Tommie it’s the coach. I’d rather have Sodie.

Source

TDELL is the user name of Tommie Liddell Jr, Tommie Liddell III’s dad. Rick Majerus, SLU’s coach, has challenged Liddell III this season and many users believed that TDELL’s post was an expression of discontent. As message boards do, people went back and forth about this issue and it somewhat died down in conversation.

Then Bernie Miklasz, the main sports columnist in St. Louis wrote the following in his “Bernie’s Bits,” which ran in Saturday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch (both in the paper and online):

Tommie Liddell III’s father, Tommie Liddell, is active on the Billikens.com message board and doesn’t appear to be a fan of St. Louis U. coach Rick Majerus. In a recent posting, Liddell the elder wrote: “Everybody’s saying how good of a coach Majerus is. I don’t see it. Anybody can run around and set screens. You don’t have to have talent to do that. Majerus doesn’t want any fancy stuff, just plain basketball. Tommie played well his first two years now all of a sudden he’s not. It’s not Tommie, it’s the coach. I’d rather have Sodie.” (Sodie is former SLU coach Brad Soderberg).

Source

This obviously brought more attention to the issue. People question Bernie about checking his sources. He stated on his forum something to the effect that he made sure that TDELL was Tommie Liddell Jr. TDELL then on Billikens.com said he had lent his username to a friend, another poster. A little broo-ha was had, but the issue died down again.

Then midday today, CBS Sportline put this on the front page of their college basketball section
CBSSportsline College Basketball Page Screenshot

This was the beginning of the following article

Thread of reality is biting Liddell III in the back

Gary Parrish Nov. 27, 2007
By Gary Parrish
CBSSports.com Senior Writer

I am sitting at my laptop right now and wanting badly to visit the message board connected to a column I wrote from last week’s football game between Arkansas and LSU. Some guy with the screen name ChopShop started a thread titled Bush League Journalism. He used 684 words in a post that beat me up pretty good, and he was wrong in so many places that I want to go on that board and just destroy the idiot.

Liddell III has had problem this season, and this latest situation won’t help. (AP)
Liddell III has had problem this season, and this latest situation won’t help. (AP)
First, ChopShop wrote that I was the same columnist who spent all last season raving about Ohio State before it lost to Florida in the BCS title game. Problem is, I never filed an OSU football column last season, meaning it didn’t happen. So he’s just wrong.

Then, ChopShop wrote that contrary to my column suggesting otherwise, LSU shouldn’t feel disappointed. Problem is, when a team starts ranked No. 2 anything less than playing for the national title is by definition a disappointment, meaning LSU should feel disappointed. So he’s just wrong again.

I want to tell him both those things and more, but I can’t because if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that no known person can argue or unleash vitriol on a message board.

Nothing good comes of it.

It’s like hiring Isiah Thomas.

And I bet Tommie Liddell Jr. would back me on this theory.

You probably don’t know Tommie Liddell Jr., but he’s the father of Tommie Liddell III, whom you might know if you follow college basketball. The 6-foot-4 wing is a junior at Saint Louis University, one who thrived under former coach Brad Soderberg but has had trouble adjusting to new coach Rick Majerus. Liddell’s averages in minutes, points, rebounds and assists are all down under Majerus, and after a subpar effort against Detroit earlier this month somebody calling himself TheTorch torched Liddell on the message board at Billikens.com while claiming he was “half the player” he was in his first two years of college.

Twenty-three posts later, TDell fired back.

TDell is well known at Billikens.com to be Tommie Liddell Jr.

“Everybody’s saying how good of a coach Majerus is, I don’t see it. Anybody can run around and set screens. You don’t have to have talent to do that. Majerus doesn’t want any fancy stuff, just plain basketball. Tommie played well his first two years, now all of a sudden he’s not. It’s not Tommie. It’s the coach. I’d rather have Sodie.”

The next post came from SLUNick.

It read, simply, “Uh oh. Not good.”

And just like that we had controversy, all because a father was presumably pissed to the point of logging onto a message board where sometimes-loony fans — and in many cases, often-times-loony fans — tend to gather and be irrational with each other.

It’s a fascinating thing, these message boards. But it’s also a dangerous place for people who are known and truly in the know, because there’s no way to win an argument and without anonymity you might as well be posting your thoughts on a permanent billboard by the time they are linked, forwarded, e-mailed or otherwise passed around the country.

That’s how I learned of this, by the way.

(What, you thought I spent my afternoons trolling Billikens.com?)

Somebody called, asked if I had seen it, so on and so forth. Naturally, I was intrigued, and by the time I tracked down the post I found another from TDell where he was half-heartedly suggesting that maybe — just maybe — he didn’t actually file the original post that was critical of Majerus, that perhaps one of his buddies used his password and did it. Of course, that’s about as believable as Paris Hilton telling Larry King she has never used drugs despite there being pictures of her smoking weed.

Somebody posted under my name is the 21st century version of the dog ate my homework. It doesn’t matter that Liddell Jr. didn’t return the phone message I left at his home Monday night or that Majerus declined to discuss the subject through a school spokesperson. The damage is already done, as it were.

Tommie Liddell III is the player whose Dad blasted Rick Majerus.

Rick Majerus is the coach who got blasted by his player’s dad.

So let this be another warning to everybody out there — mothers, fathers, brothers and cousins. Be careful about what you write and where you write it, what you say and where you say it.

Technology is a beautiful thing, but it has also led to Nick Saban making headlines because he was recorded goofing on Cajuns, Kobe Bryant making headlines because he was videoed making an off-the-cuff comment about Andrew Bynum, Gilbert Arenas making headlines because he blogged about what he’d like to do to Mike Krzyzewski and TDell making headlines because he went on a message board and criticized his son’s new coach.

As for me, I already understand why not to get involved.

And ChopShop, if you’re reading, just know you’re lucky.

Source

So now this little issue has gone from a post on Billikens.com, to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, to now CBS Sportsline’s College Basketball page.

I have commented very little on the situation. I thought SLU would contact me regarding it, asking me to do something like remove the post or prevent conversation.

Sorry I am not commenting more about it here, but I just sort of wanted to share and document the situation a bit.

Billikens.com has proven to be quite the hobby.

I’ve been blogged

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Just got home from Pittsburgh. SLU played three games in three days up there, and I got the signs and made the trek.

While I was up there, I spoke to Kyle Whelliston of MidMajority.com and ESPN. Kyle is a really nice guy with a passion for College Hoops. He was nice enough to include me in his blog posting today where we talked about SLU amongst other things. Below is the part about the SignGuy:

There was at least one person who’s more enthusiastic about the Houston Baptist win than Coach Majerus. There he was in a halfcourt 200-level seat, holding a series of hand-made posterboards featuring the Billiken logo, plays on player names, and an inspiring Latin phrase about the team’s new coach (“Ad Majerus Dei Gloriam”) that he’d later describe as “a Jesuit thing.”

SLUSignGuy turns out to be Steve Rogers. He lives in D.C. but gets out to SLU (pronounced “sloo”) games often. He’s a Saint Louis University legend, even appearing at the groundbreaking of the school’s new gym this summer to hold a special sign (“Home Sweet Home”). He runs a rotation of about 20 signs on 10 foam-filled posterboards. One for each upperclassman, a few for special occasions, and he carries them all around in an artist’s portfolio.

“There are a lot of sign guys in Missouri,” Steve explained. “Everyone knows about the Cardinals sign guy from being on TV all the time during the playoffs. He’s a Missouri State guy, and he gives them signs too. But those are professionally printed, so that’s kinda like cheating. I make these myself, 100 percent.”

In addition to his SignGuy duties, Steve also runs billikens.com, one of the more successful fan-run one-team forum/blog/info sources out there. He’s even pushed the The athletic website is SLUBillikens.com, which might be your third or fourth guess if all you had was a browser’s address bar.

“I’ve had the domain since 5th grade,” he said. “They contacted me years ago, but they haven’t asked for the domain… yet. They just wanted a disclaimer on every page saying that we were unofficial and didn’t. ”

The next day, I sat with SLUSignGuy in the last row of the lower bowl, directly behind the basket, and watched the second half of the Billikens’ tourney-closing contest against the hosts from Pitt. As the Panthers slowly, steadily and surely wear the blue-clads down to a nub (despite Majerus’ frantic guard rotation), Steve recounted the recent history of SLU hoops: a 1998 first-round win over future A-10 foe Massachusetts under Charlie Spoonhour, a 2000 bid with Lorenzo Romar before he left for Washington, and the excruciatingly slow-paced and decidedly “unsexy” style of Brad Soderberg.

“Yeah, we’re a mid-major,” Steve said. “SLU basketball is the little engine that could.”

I asked him about some of the rumors circulating this decade about the school applying for membership in America’s top mid-major league, the Missouri Valley, a conference that has its headquarters virtually right down the street from SLU’s campus.

“If we did join the Valley, that would lock us in,” he replied. “We’d be a mid-major forever, we’d never be able to get out of it. It’d never happen.”

Barry Eberhardt, the Billikens’ new power forward, drives the baseline and throws it down. “Yes!” Steve yelled out suddenly in the momentarily hushed arena, pumping his fist wildly, then reaching for his “How Scary Is Barry” sign.

“Sorry about that,” he said after composing himself. “But sometimes I can’t control myself when it comes to the Billikens. I mean, c’mon, this is college basketball… gotta love it.”