Area 55 Newsletter for Grizzlies @ Pacers 12/26/10
Written by IndyHoya
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!
Happy Holidays 55ers!
Well, it’s about time to shake off the Xmas doldrums, get our game faces on, and gear up for a post-holiday encounter with the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis (12-17) is powered by a roster full of young, but pretty talented players — Rudy Gay, O. J. Mayo, Zach Randoph, Mike Conley, Xavier Henry, and March Gasol, just to name a few. They’re mercurial, like a lot of young teams, being sometimes shockingly good and sometimes horrendously bad (Sound familiar?).
Like the Pacers, the Grizzlies have some pretty decent wins this year, including two big ones over the Lakers and the Heat. They also took San Antonio into overtime last week before losing. In their last game, played at home against the Nets, they stunk it up. Gay went 4-16, Randolph 4-13, and Net’s center, Brook Lopez, gave them all kinds of problems up front. The Grizzlies will present some pretty tough matchups for us. But some of our guys – notably Roy – are capable of causing big trouble for them.
The guys that really make the Grizzlies go are Rudy Gay, their leading scorer, and Hoosiers Zach Randolph (a predictable double-double guy) and Mike Conley (their 1st round draft pick last year and now starting point guard). The latter two are steady and dangerous and it’ll be sort of a homecoming for them. My guess is that DG will be tasked with containing Gay, as DG should know him pretty well from having played together for Team USA in the World Championships last summer. DC and TJ will be called upon to cover the Grizzlies’ tandem of Conley and Mayo. Randoph frankly scares me because I don’t know if Josh or Brandon can handle him. However, I like Roy’s chances against the Memphis big guys if Roy can pull out of his slump. Gasol’s had a bad year, Hasheem Thabeet’s been worse than a disappointment, and Hamed Haddadi is big, but pretty clunky. This might be an opportunity for Tyler, Josh, and James to excel. We’ll see. It oughta be a real interesting game.
I might add that this is a pretty important game for us. For one thing, it offers us an opportunity to close out 2010 on a winning note and help us keep pace with our Central Division rivals, the Chicago Bulls, who we now trail by 5 games. For another, we get to jump on Memphis at Conseco. Home wins are precious and not to be squandered. If we want to make the Playoffs, these are the kind of games we have to win. And we are definitely still in the Playoff picture. If the seedings were set today, the Pacers would be in there – in 7th place – and playing the LeBron lead Miami Heat.
The Pacers looked pretty good in our last game, stinging a team with a winning record, the New Orleans Hornets, at the buzzer with a game winning tip-in and netting us a much-needed home win. “D” was the word in that game. Our Defense was very stingy; our Double Ds of DC and DG both looked great; and MD (should we call Dunleavy “The Doctor”?), as mentioned, was right there where he had to be at crunch time to put in the crucial tap. Hopefully, we can keep up the momentum that a win like that can generate and use it to put away the Grizzlies in summary fashion.
Area 55 was loud and vocal for the Hornets. Let’s be even louder and more vocal when the interlopers from Memphis hit the court. Don’t miss this game! Who knows? It’s Memphis! Maybe there’ll even be an Elvis sighting!
Ugly Sweater Contest! The PS&E boys in suits have challenged all Area 55 members to wear their most uniquely ugly Christmas sweaters to the Memphis game. Anyone beating the PS&E contribution shown below wins a free bratwurst personally hand-toasted by PTO VP/GM (and ex-felon) Casey O’Brien:
Never ones to back away from a challenge, Area 55 members Cole the Mole and Kielbeze have already promised to rise to the occasion and defend 55’s well-earned reputation for tasteless tackiness. Both have promised to adorn their bods with something even more outlandish and repulsive than PS&E’s offering. Let’s hope there will be others! Ben Howell, now’s your chance!
So be there at the game, 55ers! And bring a barf bag! If I know the Mole and Keilbeze, this could be both interesting and nauseating!
PTO Doings. The Pacers Tailgating Organization was again on hand prior to the Hornets game and, as usual, mirthful holiday cheer was in abundance. The PTO regulars from 55 were all in attendance and were supplemented by a motley auxiliary from Pacers Digest. New PTO attendee, Dave Dearing (a/k/a Day-V on Pacers Digest), was on hand to sample the beer, sniff the heady aroma of brats, and generally share in the pre-game merriment that is always a feature of the PTO. Dearing, you should know, is the talented author of the following truly inspirational Pacer highlight video which features cameos of Area 55 and its sole Hispanic member, El Pacero:
Nice work Day-V! That was really well done!
The Area 55 Xmas Video! PTO and Area 55 regulars Kyle Cranfill, Devin Ellis, Joe Murphy, Chris Goff, Zach Brown, Markus Beresford, and the inimitable El Pacero conspired to put together a tuneful Christmas video. The vocals were harmonized in a morning taping session of Pacers Crate filmed at Conseco and were later featured at pacers.com. This colorful group of vocalists (a/k/a The Area 55 Indianapolis Boys Choir) was hurriedly assembled at the prompting of affable Area 55 ticketing buddy and PS&E marketing guy, Rob Laycock, who read Chris Goff’s Pacers-inspired Xmas lyrics (you know, the ones that were passed out on the back of the Chant Sheet prior to the Hornets game), and was inspired enough to give them voice.
The expertise of the assembled Choir was surprising in many ways. For example, it was learned, for the first time, that 55 regular Kyle Cranfill could actually sing! (Until the taping, he was better known for his fathead waving and isolated bellowing of tributes to his idol, “Larry Legend!”). And who would have previously suspected Pacero of being a mezzo-soprano?
Pacers Crate MC Conrad Brunner was real impressed and a good time was had by all participants. If you dare, you can view the finished product here:
The above video served double-duty, as a selected outtake was made into a spectacular holiday Xmas card by the skilled editors at Pacers Crate. Those of you 55ers who were too cheap to spring for your own cards can now advertise your membership and regale friends and loved ones with a festive picture of the above-named participants belting out their own particular brand of Roy-inspired, drunken cheer. Just copy the following, paste it into an email, send it to your friends and relations and your Yule responsibilities are totally taken care of!
Commentary on the touching holiday video was generally complimentary. Music critic Roy Hibbert was personally overcome with holiday sentiment and tweeted thusly:
“I love the Area55 vid u guys made for me. U guys show me so much love. Thanks.”
As El Pacero would say: ˇIgualmente, Seńor Hibbert!
Dunkin Donut Race Results! Damn! Brian Koller (a/k/a pacers4ever on Pacers Digest) took me for $5.00 when Dashing Donut edged out my pick, Biggie Bagel, in the DDR at the Hornets game. I don’t know for sure, but Koller may have colluded with the Jumbotron operator to learn the result in advance. He seemed suspiciously sure about the winner when he placed his bet. Anyway, I’m damn-well looking into this! If the DDR races are fixed, the news is definitely going to rock the NBA time-out world! I’ll see to that. And I’m sure as hell going to demand a refund from Koller!
Bulgarian Judge Lowballs Area 55’s Hornets Performance! Bulgarian judge and former Communist, Boris “BillS” Yustinkovitch of Pacers Digest, only gave Area 55 a “7’ for its Hornets game performance. Points were harshly deducted for lack of punctuality and lack of early-game and ball-transition noise. As Yustinkovitch elaborated:
“A55 was struggling a bit like Roy in places last night. There were a number of occasions where it took a little time to get something going after a change in possession. Once again, the section looked completely empty when the game started but filled in as it progressed. I’m not sure what can be done about that – what is taking some people so long to get there?”
British and American Judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, respectively, were more charitable, both assessing Area 55 with solid “9s.”
Let’s show Yustinkovitch up at the Memphis game by actually getting to our seats early for a change and getting really vocal at tip-off time. We’re gunning for unanimous perfect 10s! Bulgarian judging be damned!
AND NOW SOME FACTS ABOUT MEMPHIS!
First, a bit about my sources.
I got most of my stuff about Memphis from a handy reference book, “How to Lose Weight by Having Great Sex with Celebrities, the Elvis Way!” My Elvis information mostly came from a meticulous review of all the material on the subject gleaned from The Weekly World News (“The World’s Only Reliable Newspaper”). All of this was supplemented by tons of anecdotal information gleaned from Butler student, Chris Goff a/k/a Pacers Chants, who hails from Memphis, wears shorts and flip-flops to PTO events, and whose home is actually located on the South side, high upon a ridge, just a half-a-mile from the Mississippi Bridge.
Now, a little mood music!
General Stuff to Know About Memphis! This is important stuff that any real fan needs to know about Memphis:
1. How Best to Get Out! Memphis is the home of the first Greyhound and Continental Trailways bus lines! So, if push comes to shove, you can always take a bus!
2. Where to Grocery Shop! The Piggly Wiggly, the world’s first self-service grocery store, opened in Memphis in 1916!
3. Go to Memphis to See the MGM Lion at the Zoo! No Wait! He’s Dead. Volney, the lion who roared at the beginning of all the old MGM movies, lived at the Memphis Zoo until his death in 1944. Volney was the first of five lions used in the MGM logo over the years. His original name was Slats. Born in captivity in Dublin, Ireland, in 1919, Slats was brought to Hollywood and trained to growl on command by his trainer, Volney Phifer. Slats toured for the studio under the name Leo, promoting MGM’s films. After retiring from MGM, Slats was sold to the Memphis Zoo and renamed Volney after his trainer. According to zoo records, the famous lion roar heard at the beginning of classic MGM movies was first recorded in the City zoo’s old Carnivora Building. The McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation in McPherson, Kansas now displays Slats/Leo/Volney’s pelt in its African room. Now you know!
Here’s Volney in action straight from the Carnivora Building:
4. Memphis – Bar-B-Q Capital of the World! Basketball is not king in Memphis. The favorite sport there is competitive barbecuing. And the culmination of competitive barbecuing takes place at the “Memphis in May” Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest held, logically enough, in May each year in Memphis. To get a real flavor for this event it is suggested you slug down a shot of Open Pit and then take a gander at the following video:
Or, if you want to just get down to the eye-candy, here’s a peek at MIM’s “Miss Piggy Contest.”
5. Memphis – Vacation Mecca! “Dream Destinations: 100 of the World’s Best Vacations” by Life Books ranks Memphis amongst the likes of The Vatican, Montezuma, Costa Rica, and Beijing, China. (Montezuma? I thought he was an Aztec king, not a place. Oh well.).
6. See the Shrubs! Memphis’ Official City flower is a shrub, the crepe myrtle. Its official tree is the dogwood. Plant-lovers rejoice!
7. The Most Important Thing to Know About Memphis! Memphis is the home of famous quiz show host, Wink Martindale. Who’s Wink Martindale? Well, just watch!
Fun Fact #1: Elvis Lives and He May Be El Pacero! There’s some that say Elvis is dead, but my research indicates otherwise! See below:
Not only does Elvis live, there’s actually a lot of informed speculation that he may have assumed the identity of the masked Mexican women wrestler and Area 55 member, El Pacero. Those adhering to this view believe it was all done for tax purposes.
At one time, Elvis actually paid more taxes than any other person in the United States. According to the IRS, he actually hit the 91 percent tax bracket! Many suspect that this crushing tax burden caused The King to stage his own death and later reappear in the masked guise of penniless Mexican women-wrestler, El Pacero.
Don’t believe me? Well here’s more evidence! You be the judge!
1. The King and his entourage were known collectively as the Memphis Mafia. All sported diamond and gold rings on which a thunderbolt and the letters “TCB” were imprinted. “TCB” stood for “Taking Care of Business.” Oddly El Pacero is known to occasionally wear a “TCB” ring and his triumphant wrestling battle cry, heard without fail when he pins a woman mercilessly to the mat, is “Taking Care of Business!!!”
2. Elvis gave away so many cars – including Corvettes, Cadillacs, and Lincolns – that nobody has ever been able to come up with an accurate count. According to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, a 1976 AMC Pacer that is presently titled and driven (when it is not in the garage for needed repairs) by El Pacero was previously titled in BMV records under the name “E. Presley, Graceland, Memphis TN” Significantly, Elvis supposedly died in 1977, just a year after the car was purchased!
3. Elvis’ concert jumpsuits were all given names. They included: Peacock, White Prehistoric Bird, Flame, Gypsy, Mad Tiger and King of Spades. El Pacero’s blue and gold wrestling outfit also has a name: “El Guapo” (Spanish for “The Handsome One”).
4. The King’s supposed last words before his untimely death were in response to his girlfriend Ginger Alden’s warning not to fall asleep in the bathroom. His reply was: “OK, I won’t.” Note this well! After the Hornets game, El Pacero was found by Conseco clean up personnel in a club-level bathroom stall, fast asleep!
5. El Pacero’s theme song, played without fail on his massive portable stereo set at ringside before every match, is Elvis hit “Burning Love”! Pacero often refers to himself in the third-person as a “Hunka-Hunka-Hunka Burnin’ Love.
For the record, El Pacero vehemently denies that he is Elvis. His denials have done little to allay lingering suspicions.
Fun Fact #2 – The Naming of the Memphis Team. The current Memphis Grizzlies had their origin in 1995 when the NBA expanded into Canada, where they were known as the “Vancouver Grizzlies”. In 2001 they abandoned Vancouver and moved to Memphis, In moving, they followed the standard NBA rule of thumb and kept their Grizzlies nickname, this despite the fact that grizzly bears have never been known to roam east of the Mississippi. FedEx, which is headquartered in Memphis, wanted them renamed the “Memphis Express” but the NBA nixed the idea ruling that no NBA team could be named after a corporation.
When the team first came to Vancouver, the owner wanted to call them the Vancouver Mounties. The nick was dropped when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police interposed strenuous objections.
Fun Fact #3 – The Iverson Era! On September 9, 2009, the Grizzlies signed free agent Allen Iverson to a single year, $3.5 million contract. Iverson had been the subject of some controversy due to the nature of his previous season with the Detroit Pistons, where he was not a starter. Iverson stated, at signing, that he was real excited about helping Memphis. His actual words were:
“God chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career.”
However, he only played in three games (none in Memphis) before thwarting God’s will and leaving due to “personal problems.” He was then waived by the Grizzlies. He’s now playing in Turkey.
Fun Fact #4 – Meet the Green Card Holders! Memphis has lots of foreigners on its team, although most aren’t all that good: There’s 7’2” center, Hamed Haddadi (the only player in the NBA to hail from Iran). There’s Hashim Thabeet (an old UConn nemesis of Roy’s whose home was Tanzania). There’s also Marc Gasol (Laker Pau Gasol’s little brother, who comes from Spain); and Greivis Vasquez (a former University of Maryland player that originated from Venezuela).
Another foreigner that almost played for Memphis was Malik Badiane (hailing from Senegal and reputed to have 18 brothers and sisters). Malik’s story is interesting. He apparently made the mistake of listing his favorite team as being the Dallas Mavericks in a 2008 pre-season Memphis promotional brochure. Before the actual season started he was waived, sent to the D-League’s Anaheim Arsenal, and has never been heard from again.
Fun Fact #5 – Meet Grizz, the Grizz Girls, and, the Grizz Grannies!
A. Here’s Memphis Mascot Grizz doing the now banned “Dreaded Ring of Fire” Thing!
B. And here are the Grizz Girls! (Hot!)
C. And best of all, the Grizz Grannies! (Warning! Real Hot!)
Fun Fact #6 – Marc Gasol and the GEICO Caveman Memphis center Marc Gasol is often mistaken for the Geico Neanderthal. There IS an uncanny resemblance!
Waddya think? Is there a “Caveman!” chant in Marc’s future?
Well, enough high-jinks for one sitting. I can’t be there with all of you in Conseco on the 26th cuz the wife has me traveling to Caveliersville to visit with her daughter’s family. Last time we visited we ran into a lake-effect snowstorm and when we got there, the daughter and her hubby weren’t speaking. I would SO prefer to be in 55 and not in Cleveland! However, I’ll be there in spirit! Get the win for me 55ers!
Go Pacers! Go Area 55! And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!