For your Memorial Day Listening, Michael and TJ give their guests a breather and cover a vast array of topics all on their own. They discuss their favorites of the NEXT James Bond candidates, some of our favorite video games, the Riot Fest Chicago lineup, Game of Thrones (per usual), and all the tangents that come with.
Listeners ALSO get in on the fun by asking ANYTHING and the guys do their best to answer them. Questions include: The #1 Sport for America, Favorite Simpsons Characters, Sports to add to the Olympics, and our favorite things to do in Chicago.
As the NCAA Tourney tips off tomorrow, voting will be underway for our TV Character Madness bracket…
Before your favorite characters duel for TV supremacy Thursday morning, YOU can submit your own filled out bracket by posting it to the Michael Piff Facebook Page or by Tweeting it to @Mike_PiFF03 for a chance at a Piffcast Prize Pack.
Piffcast producer TJ Martin has already submitted his and has Ron Swanson going pretty far.
I am tired of the lazy “Millennials are soft” narrative.
Monday night, sports fans were treated to one of 2016’s early instant classics as #1 Kansas University went 3 overtimes to fend off Buddy Hield and #2 Oklahoma 109-106 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. It was one of the better regular season basketball games in a long time. Brent Musburger and Dick Vitale nearly lost their voices. It was a great time had by all, thanks to millennial athletes.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was busy doing his best Grandpa Simpson impression by blaming “Millennial Culture” for his team’s second to last place record in the Western Conference.
“My whole view of the millennial culture is that they have a tough time dealing with setbacks,” Sarver told the Arizona Republic. “I’m not sure if it’s the technology or the instant gratification of being online. But the other thing is, I’m not a fan of social media. I tell my kids it’s like Fantasyland. The only thing people put online are good things that happen to them, or things they make up. And it creates unrealistic expectations.”
It’s cool though, because local journalists are Sarver’s version of a Facebook wall to rant on, and his “instant gratification” are hot take sports talk shows like FOX Sports Live (I thought this was supposed to be a highlight show) with panelists echoing his sentiments…because none of them are millennials themselves.
On this particular FSL panel from Monday night, moderator Randy Travis led off the discussion with the typical “We all know Millennials are the most coddled generation…”, and I felt more compelled to change the channel than ever. Ironically, everyone on this panel was screaming “Let Johnny Manziel be Johnny Manziel” just beforehand.
I appreciate Sports Illustrated’s media reporter Richard Deitsch for pointing out exactly where I wanted to take this on Twitter.
Michael below is exactly the viewer (a millennial w. sports interests) that FS1 needs. Why alienate a group here? https://t.co/HDZVEZVEnR
The group in question is exactly the audience Fox Sports 1 is fighting for with ESPN too. Fox Sports Live was originally packaged to us as the “fun” sports show with entertaining highlights, anchors who get it (like Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole), and smart analysis. Instead, the network adds former ESPN First Take executive producer Jamie Horowitz – who brings Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock with (reasons millennial audiences wanted an alternative) – and we’re back to searching for something else again. ESPN then capitalizes by handing the late night SportsCenter reigns to their most millennial friendly talent, Scott Van Pelt.
In case you weren’t aware, the millennial generation covers people born between the early 80’s to the early 2000’s. These are impactful business owners (Mark Zuckerberg), soon-to-be college grads (Jack Gleeson aka Prince Joffrey from Game of Thrones), teenagers standing up for important causes (Malala Yousafzai), and kids who never saw Michael Jordan play live. They love nostalgia (reminiscing about 90’s Nickelodeon shows and NES cartridge games) and can’t wait for what’s next (standing in line around the block for the new iPhone).
Millennials are another young generation, shaped as much by previous generations as they are criticized by them. The people who can’t stand anyone younger than them actually gave birth to them and had the opportunity to raise them the way they wanted to. The irony is hilarious. Yet for every Phoenix Suns team, there’s a Golden State Warriors roster dominated by 20-somethings on top of the basketball world. The best player in the league currently and millennial athlete, Stephen Curry, had his game influenced by a specialist from the previous generation…his dad.
Obviously the disconnect isn’t limited to basketball, as Mr. Sarver generalizes. The old folks write pointed letters when Cam Newton dances in the end zone. They take to social media and sports talk radio when Jose Bautista flips his bat. Alas, when a millennial has something to say to defend their generation, they tell you to shut up and stop being so sensitive.
I remember that “wambulance” joke from Modern Family. It was funny the first dozen times the kindergartner on the show used it.
If the Suns are victims to “Millennial Culture”, then why are the current Chicago Cubs 7/1 World Series favorites with a projected lineup whose average age is 26? What the Suns are victims of is an organization and leadership that spends more time blaming everything but themselves for their own losing culture…and bad scouting.
Rather than sit back and criticize a generation for your problems, be proactive and either adapt or provide a productive solution. If you don’t like what you’re hearing, change the channel. Otherwise, this will be you someday.
From afar, I’ve admired what the Chicago Cubs are doing. Not just at the plate and from the mound, but also from a promotional standpoint. Rather than trot out any famous person who can afford a ticket with what they find between their couch cushions, the Cubs had players who appreciate where the team is now and put in blood, sweat and tears wearing the blue pinstripes to throw out first pitches in Games 3 and 4.
After Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and 2-time All-Star Kerry Wood kicked off each game, the Cubs utilized their new video boards at Wrigley Field with videos of the late Ernie Banks and Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” That’s classy. That’s also what they should do from now on, but that’s a discussion for another day. (Never let Ryan Dempster do his impression of Will Ferrell’s impression of Harry Caray again)
Amidst the bat-flipping, opposing pitcher name chanting, and hardcore partying, we’ve seen the celebrity faces that we expected (some dreaded) to see at the ballpark. Billy Corgan and his new get-off-my-lawn attitude. Northside/Southside flipping John Cusack. And the worst front-runner on the planet, Jim Belushi (I cringe typing his name like he’s Voldemort). New assistant to Cubs President Theo Epstein (probably) Eddie Vedder has been fun. As an avid Pearl Jam fan, I get a kick out of him partying as hard as the players after each game.
Eddie Vedder is standing on the mound, double-fisting drinks and taking pictures with anyone who comes up and asks.
It’s also hard to imagine that Bill Murray isn’t too far away, despite his media tour next week for the upcoming release of Rock the Kasbah. If anything, he could make it an epic cross promotion for his film and the MLB playoffs.
Vedder and Murray are awesome but it’s time to bring out the big hitters to the seats in Chicago, and not just at Wrigley Field. Last summer, I countered recently-outed heavyweight racist Hulk Hogan’s baiting for angry Blackhawks fans during the Stanley Cup with my own list of better celebrity hockey fans. Those mentioned in that list (CM Punk, Mr. T, Vince Vaughn, etc) get a hat-tip, but the following names will represent star power that we’d rather see regularly, similar to the likes at New York and Los Angeles events.
1. Harrison Ford
We’re talking about Han Solo AND Indiana Jones here. How can you deny the idea of either baseball stadium in Chicago playing the “Imperial Death March” music announcing the Yankees lineup, then following it with a shot of Harrison Ford behind home plate with the Rebel Victory score over it? Maybe it’s a the geek in me, but any opportunity to implement Star Wars, especially with the new film coming out, is super sexy to me.
Note: I also refer to White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu as #Baseball Jedi, so there’s that.
Ford has Chicago in his blood, being born here and spending his college summers working on a boat in Burnham Park Harbor or managing the first Crate and Barrel on Wells. In an Michigan Ave Magazine interview, Ford said:
“I’ve been out in Los Angeles for 35 years, and I think there are some things about my upbringing that reflect the values and the attitudes of the Midwest…. a kind of work ethic that I find particular to the Midwest. I can say that those were important, formative years for me, living in Chicago.”
Cool, Indy. I’ll buy you a beer next time you’re in town, if it gets you to a ballgame.
2. Nick Offerman
Currently featured in the new season of Fargo, Nick Offerman isn’t slowing down since the end of Ron Swanson and Parks and Recreation. Offerman isn’t shy about his baseball allegiance either.
There are many grown men and women who would scream like a 90’s tween at a Backstreet Boys concert if they saw the Joliet native, University of Illinois grad, and professional canoe craftsman down the foul line at a ballgame.
If he’s willing, during a the Crosstown Cup series, there’s plenty of bacon-on-a-stick awaiting his consumption at US Cellular Field.
Double-thick maple bacon. You know you want it, Nick…
3. Gillian Anderson
Yep, X-Files fans, Scully is from Chicago. With TheX-Files revival series coming soon to FOX, they’d be making a huge mistake not having Gillian Anderson at Wrigley Field fending off the paranormal and extraterrestrial that I’m sure some Cubs fans still believe will prevent the Cubs from going to the World Series…At least come out to a Men and/or Women’s basketball game at DePaul, where Anderson finished college…something she and I have in common.
When his term is up, I would welcome the president taking in as much Bulls basketball, White Sox baseball, Bears football, and whatever as he wants.
5. John C. Reilly
Would you really argue with me on this? Who doesn’t want south side native John C. Reilly in their corner?
That’s exactly who you want in games against New York when Billy Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Jay-Z and Beyonce are behind the opponent’s bench.
6. Stephen Colbert
For someone who has spent a lot of his career recently in New York City, Stephen Colbert has not been bashful at all about his time in Chicago. Leading up to the new Late Show’s premiere, Colbert dedicated multiple podcasts to his years at Northwestern and doing improv in Chicago. While interviewing Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez this week, the two bonded over their love for the city and living there. Most notably, as tongue-in-cheek as it sounded, Colbert predicted a Cubs World Series win…a proclamation he believes “in no way will come back to haunt” him.
If the NLCS goes to New York, I would be shocked if Colbert wasn’t in attendance. Heck, he should catch a weekend game in Chicago if the opportunity is there.
More Chicago Celebrities You’d Rather See:
John Landis, Director – Animal House, Blues Brothers
Robert Zemeckis, Director – Back to the Future Trilogy
Sammy Watkins is still listed as Questionable and being considered day-to-day. I wouldn’t bank on him going this weekend, nor do I like Michael Crabtree against the Broncos defense. Denver’s pass defense is currently tops in the NFL…Eddie Royal, on the other hand, goes against the league’s worst pass defense when it comes to allowing WR touchdowns. The Bears also appear to be getting Alshon Jeffery back, which will only soften the coverage on Royal. So yeah, Royal.
While I don’t love starting anyone against the Seahawks defense, Andy Dalton (aka “ADalt” in my Fantasy world) has been too good to sit this season. Dalton is throwing 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns in all of his games so far, and Seattle has faced only 1 decent quarterback so far.
I know Bruce Arians is dubbing Chris Johnson as the #1 running back in Arizona, but I’m not sure how much weight that holds when he has Andre Ellington back. Detroit’s run defense has only given up more than 50 yards once, and that was to Adrian peterson…With Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick out, I think the Cowboys are in big trouble going against New England. The #BradyRevengeTour is going call for a lot of scoring and a lot of red zone opportunities for the Patriots running backs again. If his usage in the 2nd half of Week 3 is any indication, LeGarrette Blount is going to get his.
If Andy Reid’s play calling wasn’t so conservative, I would lean toward Alex Smith. But Andy Dalton hasn’t done anything to warrant benching him yet, and I’m very eager to see what he can do against the Legion of Boom. The Bears have also somehow figured out how to get to quarterbacks after cutting ties with Jared Allen (weird).
RB: Ronnie Hillman – He’s basically a co-starter with CJ Anderson getting the same amount of touches and more production. And he’s actually reached the end zone…Tevin Coleman’s taking a backseat to Devonta Freeman and his Jim Brown-like numbers. And just no on Ryan Matthews. No.
WR: Emmanuel Sanders – If the Bears weren’t enough proof, that Raiders secondary is BAD. Sanders is also getting ALL the Peyton Manning passes, and you’re not going to get that kind of production with your other options. Then I go with Kendall Wright. The Bills have an incredible front 7 but are incredibly susceptible to the pass. Wright’s averaging 10.5 yards per target too.
I’m not an odds maker, but I would keep betting on Todd Gurley while he’s healthy.
Two reasons I like Pierre Garcon the most. (1) Even if Desean Jackson comes back this weekend, he’s not going to be 100% and only takes pressure off Garcon. (2) Kirk Cousins loves throwing to Garcon and you have to think Washington will be playing catchup against the high power Falcons offense.
I like Sproles in the flex if you get return yard points. If you have better running back options, play them…but you get the feeling he’s going to get as many chances as possible to make the team that let him go pay for it.
(1) Derek Carr is either going to show us all how good he can be, or he’s going to get his ass kicked by the best pass defense in the league. If Alex Smith is your best available option, you can try him…however, I like Jay Cutler even better in his game against the KC D that’s giving up the most passing TDs in the league.
(2) The upside is higher with Latavius Murray. He may have been put in timeout but if the Raiders want to have a chance against the Broncos D, I think he’s learned his lesson. Cardinals front 7 is too good for me to feel comfortable starting Abdullah ahead of him, despite the strong showing he had against the Seahawks.
(3). If I’m picking 3, I’m not playing Carlos Hyde. The Giants run defense is one of the best in the NFL and this is what the 49ers offense looks like:
I know Breesus, King of the Drews, just threw his 400th touchdown but Carson Palmer is far more trustworthy this season at this point.
TJ Yeldon finally eclipsed 100 yards and his next matchup should make Fantasy owners hungry. The Bucs are giving up the 3rd most rushing yards and a touchdown to running backs in 3 of their first 4 games. Given the matchups and Jack Del Rio’s benching trigger finger, I feel much better about Yeldon.
I would go with neither of the Kearses. Seattle WRs are more unpredictable than Belichick running backs and retired defensive players are retired defensive players…Snead got more snaps than any Saints WR last week and I say roll with the Waiver Flavor of the Week.
Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend!
In the year that doesn’t feel like it was 8 years ago…
Steve Jobs announced the first generation iPhone.
J.K. Rowlings releases “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows”, the fastest selling book ever.
Track Star Marion Jones surrendered her 5 Olympic gold medals after admitting to doping.
Legendary 49ers head coach Bill Walsh passed away at the age of 75.
4-time Best Drama Series Emmy award winning Mad Men premiered.
(Fingers crossed for Jon Hamm this year)And here’s the what happened in Movies, Music and Sports…
Knocked Up, Superbad, Enchanted, Blades of Glory, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Hot Fuzz, Juno, Evan Almighty, Balls of Fury, Good Luck Chuck, Hot Rod, Death at a Funeral, Lars and the Real Girl, Epic Movie, Wild Hogs, The Game Plan, The Heartbreak Kid, Who’s Your Caddy?, Dan in Real Life, Fred Clause, The Bucket List, Mr. Woodcock, License to Wed, AND…
The Simpsons Movie
The Bourne Ultimatum, Grindhouse, Zodiac, Live Free or Die Hard, Transformers, I Am Legend, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Kingdom, Sweeney Todd, Hitman, Death Sentence, 28 Weeks Later, Disturbia, Spiderman 3, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Hannibal Rising, The Mist, Fracture, Ghost Rider, The Condemned, Vacancy, Rush Hour 3, War, Funny Games, Paranormal Activity, Mr. Brooks, The Hitcher, Resident Evil: Extinction AND…
Into the Wild, Gone Baby Gone, Atonement, There Will Be Blood, American Gangster, Michael Clayton, Reign Over Me, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Visitor, The Girl Next Door, Premonition, We Own The Night, 3:10 To Yuma, In the Valley of Elah, PS. I Love You, The Lookout, Across the Universe, The Invisible, Breach, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Man From Earth, Control, Evening, Trade, Rendition, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Eastern Promises AND…
No Country For Old Men
The 80th Academy Awards
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood – Winner
(This was the 2nd of Daniel Day-Lewis’s 3 Best Actor Oscar wins)
Best Supporting Actor
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men – Winner
(It was Javier Bardem’s first win out of 3 Oscar nominations)
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose – Winner
(Marion Cotillard has been nominated twice for Best Leading Actress. This was her first win)
Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
Ruby Dee, American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton – Winner
(Swinton is batting 1.000 going one-for-one in Oscar nominations and awards, so far)
There Will Be Blood
No Country For Old Men – Winner
(Won 4 of the 8 Oscars it was nominated, including Best Writing and Directing)
Hip Hop Albums
Billboard Year-End Top 25
01. “Irreplaceable” – Beyonce
02. “Umbrella” – Rihanna
03. “The Sweet Escape” – Gwen Stefani and Akon
04. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” – Fergie
05. “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” – T-Pain featuring Young Joc
06. “Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
07. “Hey There Delilah” – Plain White T’s
08. “I Wanna Love You” – Akon featuring Snoop Dogg
09. “Say It Right” – Nelly Furtado
10. “Glamorous” – Fergie featuring Ludacris
11. “Don’t Matter” – Akon
12. “Girlfriend” – Avril Lavigne
13. “Makes Me Wonder” – Maroon 5
14. “Party Like a Rockstar” – Shop Boyz
15. “Smack That” – Akon featuring Eminem
16. “This Is Why I’m Hot” – Mims
17. “It’s Not Over” – Daughtry
18. “The Way I Are” – Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson
19. “Fergalicious” – Fergie featuring will.i.am.
20. “Crank That (Soulja Boy) – Soulja Boy Tell’em
21. “Give It To Me” – Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake