Saturday, June 28, 2008

Where in the hell is ... Stavanger?

by Jason Schock at 3:28 PM

[Because our mission here at FatSpike is to culturally educate our visitors, not just provide beach volleyball commentary and awesomeness.]

Stavanger is the fourth largest city in Norway, and with a population of 119, 586 appears to be a relative backwater. It's major economy is oil production and exploration, and the weather is described as "rather windy". If you're like me, you're probably starting to wonder why they have a FIVB tournament here.

Well, I don't know. But please enjoy this Google map to increase your geographic knowledge:

View Larger Map


FIVB Stavanger: Boss-Ross bronze narrows gap for Olympic berth

by Jason Schock at 2:44 PM

The team of Jen Boss and April Ross narrowed the gap in the battle for the second US Olympic beach volleyball spot, taking bronze at the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam to narrow the lead of compatriots Nicole Branagh/Elaine Youngs to 200 80 points.

That gap could easilly be closed in just one tournament. With four FIVB tournaments left before the Olympics begin, the battle between the two teams could be very close.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won gold at Stavanger and maintain a wide lead in the US and world rankings.

photo: fivb


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nygaard spreading the word about skin cancer

by Jason Schock at 2:12 PM

Jeff NygaardMaybe you've been out at the AVP Tour and seen a tall guy playing in a dark, long-sleeve shirt and wondered, "Dude, what is that guy doing? He must be sweating his balls off."

Or maybe something to that effect.

Well, that guy is probably Jeff Nygaard, and he has a good reason for the shirt. After he was diagnosed with early stage skin cancer a year ago, Nygaard has been helping to spread the word about the disease.

Read the story at



by Jason Schock at 2:03 PM

The 2008 AVP on NBC schedule has been posted:

AVP Boulder Open

Sat., July 5
Men's Finals 3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT

Sun., July 6
Women's Finals 4:30pm ET/1:30pm PT

AVP Chicago Open

Sat., July 12
Men's Finals 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT

Sun., July 13
Women's Finals 1:30pm ET/10:30am PT

AVP Brooklyn Open

Sat., July 19
Men's Finals 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT

Sun., July 20
Women's Finals 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT

AVP Long Beach Open

Sat., July 26
Men's Finals 4:30pm ET/1:30pm PT

Sun., July 27
Women's Finals 4:30pm ET/1:30pm PT


Monday, June 23, 2008

Video from FIVB Paris

by Jason Schock at 3:06 PM

Mark Heese gets a nice footie-dig:

Don't know why embedding is disabled for these, but here are some FIVB Paris clips on the newly-minted Universal Sports (formerly WCSN).


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Paris surrenders four medals to Americans

by Jason Schock at 12:14 PM

US teams took home four medals at the FIVB Paris Grand Slam today.

American women swept the competition, while Todd & Phil landed their first gold of the season.


  • May-Walsh - Gold
  • Turner-Wacholder - Silver
  • Branagh-Youngs - Bronze
  • Rogers-Dalhausser - Gold

photo: fivb


Dax done?

by Jason Schock at 1:01 AM

Dax HoldrenWhile enjoying the beer garden after yesterday's Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Parade, I heard from a local player that 2004 Olympian Dax Holdren would be retiring from his professional volleyball career after this season.

Holdren, 35, is considered one of the most naturally gifted players on the Tour, but hasn't won a tournament since 2005, and hasn't managed finish better than 7th so far this season. He also quit competing internationally in 2006 to reportedly devote more time to his family.

Were he to retire, he'd finish with at least 14 titles, career earnings of more than $680k, and the title of Olympian.

That's damn respectable.



Saturday, June 21, 2008

Todd Rogers shaves goatee

by Jason Schock at 10:27 PM

Remove your visors, please, and say a prayer. Perhaps what was the most iconic goatee of the AVP is no longer.

That's right. Todd Rogers shaved that nasty-ass mouth muff he's been sporting for far too long. Let's just hope it doesn't affect his ability to win. So far, it looks like it hasn't.

No more hair!

photo: fivb


FIVB Paris: America! F**k yeah!

by Jason Schock at 8:21 PM

Tyra TurnerThe theme song from Team America: World Police was going through my head every time I thought of the FIVB Paris Grand Slam taking place among the croaking French (and waddling tourists and €8 espressos) in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

I guess it smacks of destiny now that four US teams will be battling for medals tomorrow.

F**k yeah, indeed!

Hot competition for women's #2 Olympic berth

In the women's finals, the dominant Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh (1) will be playing Tyra Turner/Rachel Wacholder (11). The latter have made great strides in their international game and will get a huge points boost with a gold or silver.

Playing for bronze will be Nicole Branagh/Elaine Youngs (4), setting up the potential for an American medals sweep. How do you like them Freedom Fries?!

Here's the battle for the 2nd Olympic spot as of today, with potential points after tomorrow:

  1. Branagh/Youngs - 4140 (+640 win/+560 loss)
  2. Boss/Ross - 4300
  3. Turner/Wacholder - 3100 (+800 win/+720 loss)
With only a couple hundred points separating each team, they will likely all continue competing in the next four FIVB events until the start of the Olympics.

Rogers & Dalhausser play for gold

Phil celebrates a pointFor the men, Todd Rogers/Phil Dalhausser continue their winning ways on the international circuit. They face Nummerdor-Schuil of the Netherlands in the finals tomorrow.

Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal saw an early exit in Paris, but still maintain a healthy points lead over the next-closest US team of Fuerbringer/Jennings.

photos: fivb


Friday, June 20, 2008

Armato: We intend to make money in 2009

by Jason Schock at 12:22 AM

Leonard ArmatoThe New Jersey Star-Ledger has a slightly better-than-average interview with AVP CEO, Leonard Armato, today. The interviewer lets Armato slip by on some tough questions but points awarded for doing a little homework.

Q. How is AVP volleyball doing now?

A. We're doing great. We're building a tremendous brand around the world. We acquired the tour, the AVP Crocs Tour had seven events. In 2008, we will have 19. ... We've grown from three hours of network television coverage in 2002; we will have 15 hours in 2008. ... On the revenue side, we've grown from $3 million in 2002 to $32 million in 2007.

Q. But you're still in the red

A. Right now, we're in the red. We diverted a lot of time and money when Shamrock Capital (unsuccessfully) attempted to acquire AVP in 2007. We intend to make money in 2009. We still continue to make our business plan more efficien.

Read the story at


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

President of FIVB retiring after 24 years

by Jason Schock at 10:11 PM

Ruben Acosta, the Mexican president of the international governing body of volleyball, the FIVB, will step down at the conclusion of the 2008 Olympics.

From ESPN:

Acosta became FIVB president at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and was one of the longest-serving and most powerful Olympic sport leaders. He led volleyball through a period of growth and prosperity, helping the sport to become a more television-friendly product.
He also got booted from the IOC in 2004 due to some kind of chicanery.

Story on

photo: fivb


Monday, June 16, 2008

Photos from AVP Hermosa Beach

by Jason Schock at 2:39 PM

Forgot to mention this earlier, but I briefly attended the AVP Hermosa Beach Open and snapped a couple few photos, available here:

Misty May: Kung Fu digKerri WalshAnnette DavisSean Scott setsKevin Wong blockingMike Lambert and Sean Scott joust


FIVB Berlin: Misty-Kerri break record, men finish strong

by Jason Schock at 2:02 PM

After a first place finish this past weekend at the Berlin Grand Slam, das Amerikaner wunderteam Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh have now won more gold medals on the FIVB Tour than any other team, with 32. They beat the Chinese team of Tian Jia-Wang, 2-0 (21-18, 22-20).

Story at

On the men's side, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser lost narrowly in the finals to the top Brazilian team of Ricardo-Emanuel, 1-2 (27-25, 19-21, 13-15).

I sorta write about volleyball at the 30,000 foot view, but player Hans Stolfus has been following the Berlin Grand Slam and has more insightful commentary on his blog:

In addition, Todd Rogers writes about his finish in Berlin on his blog.

photo: fivb


Friday, June 13, 2008

A follow-up to the Karch rumors

by Jason Schock at 7:30 AM

Karch hi-fives a Special OlympianA couple days ago, I published a rumor regarding a possible stock transaction and installation of Karch Kiraly into an executive role at the AVP.

Yesterday, I spoke with sources close to the AVP who sought to address this and other rumors, acknowledging some "nuggets of truth" to them but denying the general ideas.

There's a bit of information to parse, but here's the gist of it (disclaimer: I don't have an MBA, and I suck at math):

Q: Is the AVP going bankrupt any time soon?

According to the source, AVP experiences ups and downs and is "no worse off now" than it has been following its resurrection from bankruptcy in 2001. The source pointed to the recent election of six new board members this year, explaining that no board member would sign on to ride what they thought was a sinking ship.

Q: Who are these insurance companies?

It's possible the rumor is referring to two AVP shareholders with holdings in insurance and other businesses:

  • Diker GP, LLC - 16.9%
  • AmTrust Capital Management, Inc. - 23.7%
That's a combined 40.6% stake in AVP. Assuming these companies bought out all other shareholders except Armato - who owns 30.6% of AVP - they would own close to the rumored 70%. At today's stock price, that would be about a $2M purchase before any premiums.

The source, however, denied that these companies are looking to increase their stake.

Q: Will Leonard Armato remain as CEO?

The new board likes Armato and have no immediate plans to replace him, the source stated, though admitted they thought he "needs help."

Q: Will Karch Kiraly be stepping into any kind of executive role at AVP?

What I can only describe as an "informed source" stated that the door is essentially open to Karch to take on an executive role at AVP, though there is no clear indication if and when this will happen.

According to the same source, there was some talk amongst board members of bringing on Kiraly as an executive in light of his recent success with the US Open of Beach Volleyball, with the added bonus of neutralizing him as a potential competitor to the AVP.

Interestingly enough, Karch's agent, Steve Lindecke, sits on the AVP's board of directors. Lindecke and Kiraly created the US Open of Beach Volleyball with USA Volleyball, and Lindecke's company, The Elevation Group, produces the event.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Side Out might be the best movie ever

by Jason Schock at 11:37 PM

Flipping through channels tonight, and I landed on the final scene in the movie, Side Out. I haven't seen this movie in years, and I don't know why it's not in my small - but carefully chosen - DVD collection.

It might be as terrible/awesome as Green Flash looks.

There are some quality film moments with Randy Stoklos acting like a cave man, and Sinjin Smith getting real bitchy when Stoky messes up.

B-Movie fixture C. Thomas Howell, and his partner played by Peter Horton, look surprisingly skilled on the court, passing, setting, and hitting bombs on what occasionally appears to be a 6-foot net.

The quality of play inexplicably drops on the final point, and I el-oh-elled heartily as the good guys in hot Mossimo shorts won the match with the most illegal hand-set ever by Howell to the ugliest dropped-elbow spike by Horton.

Buy this movie now.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Kinda Good 4: Danny moves to California

by Jason Schock at 7:12 PM

The Danny Kinda saga continues with Kinda Good 4! A couple few comedy nuggets in this episode, but most of the jokes are rehashed, and it could benefit from some better editing.

Don't forget to brush up on your beach volleball jargon.


Can Karch save the AVP?

by Jason Schock at 4:45 PM

Karch Kiraly taking over the AVP?Here's the rumor we're hearing after Hermosa Beach this weekend:

Two insurance companies associated with Karch Kiraly will purchase 70% of AVP, Inc. and appoint the Pink-Hatted One to an executive position, essentially replacing current CEO and commissioner Leonard Armato.

Exact details of the transaction are unknown, but the deal will reportedly keep the cash-strapped AVP alive and funded through the 2008 season.

Armato, who founded the AVP in 1983 and helped resurrect it from bankruptcy in 2001, will likely be forced out of the company.