Sports World Nostalgia: Mickey Tettleton

>> Thursday

After chastising Mike for overkill on this new feature, I'm gonna cave in and do my own. In fact, let's brand this "Sports Nostalgia Week" as an excuse. But seriously, in the future we'll have to do it on a rotating weekly basis or something so that we don't ruin it.

My first installment: Mickey Tettleton, a.k.a. "The Mick." (To the best of my knowledge, he's the first and only baseball player to have ever sported this nickname.)

Mickey Tettleton played parts of 14 seasons in the majors, most notably and productively with the Tigers and Rangers. He also spent time in Baltimore, where he would first make the All Star team, as well as in Oakland, where he toiled in obscurity.

As a young minor leaguer in the Oakland A's farm system, Tettleton became a prized prospect for his ability to both catch and hit over .200. Playing for the Kingston Klansmen of the Southern League, the young switch-hitter grabbed the eye of coaches and scouts, as well that of a young Toni Basil, who used Tettleton as inspiration for her 1983 chart-topping smash hit "Mickey." (True story according to an unnamed, possibly made-up source.)

Tettleton soon found himself in the majors with Oakland, where he would leave just in time to see the A's make three straight World Series appearances while he blossomed for a shit-hole Baltimore Orioles team. Mickey would leave Baltimore for Detroit after 1990 when Orioles backup catcher Chris Hoiles attempted his murder.

Over time, Tettleton built a reputation for his toughness. Year after year, Mickey valiantly braved the bruises and infertility of the catcher position until managers grew wary of his below-average defensive skills and began to play him anywhere else but catcher. In that time, however, he hit a bunch of homers and stuff. Here's his baseball reference page. You can read.

What we'll remember most about Tettleton, however, were his ridiculous batting stance--a limp-armed grip of the bat projecting all the focus of a surgical patient--and his ubiquitous jumbo wad of chewing tobacco. Both were pretty sweet.


Sports World Nostalgia: Roberto Baggio

Thanks to the newest running feature on YCS, I present a name that is one of the few memorable soccer figures in America in the pre-Beckham era. I am talking of course about Roberto Baggio. You may remember Baggio from the 1994 World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl, where he put his sudden death penalty kick waaaaaaaaaaay over the crossbar, clinching World Cup glory for Brazil. Baggio, ever the good sport (and capitalist pig), decided that this moment could best be memorialized in Japanese whiskey commercials. While his costly PK blunder may be the most remembered moment in his career, Il Divin Codino (The Divine Ponytail) had enough moments of excellence to counter his error on the biggest stage, and earn a place in Sports World Nostalgia.

Baggio spent 20 years playing 488 matches in Serie A, at a time when the Italian league was regarded by many to be the best in the world. In his career Baggio scored 216 goals, or on average, a little less often than once every other game, an outstanding clip.

During his time in Serie A, he won two Italian Championships; with Juventus in 1995 and with AC Milan in 1996.In 1993, Baggio was one of only four Italians in history to win the European Player of the Year award and is still the only Italian to do so since 1983. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1993 (The only Italian to ever win this award).

Baggio also made 56 appearances for the Italian National Team, scoring 27 goals in international competition, and was an integral component of Italy's World Cup teams in 1990 (2 goals, including the Goal of the Tournament), 1994 (5 goals) and 1998 (2 goals). Baggio was the first Italian player to score in three different World Cups. In the time between Pele and Beckham, there was Roberto Baggio, a "choke artist" with one of the finest careers of any footballer.


Albert Pujols: "I really loved 'What's the Story, Morning Glory?' but Oasis was never the same after Liam and Noel started fighting."

The likely answer to this question is "no," but is anyone else put off by the bizarre marketing marriage of Latin ballplayers and Oasis music in those AT&T/Yahoo! commercials?

You may not know what the hell I'm talking about, but during recent MLB games, AT&T/Yahoo! has been advertising Cribs-style online videos of MLB stars dickin' around their mansions. Of the two commercials I've seen, one features David Ortiz, and the other features Albert Pujols.

What bothers me is that AT&T closes the commercials with the same snippet of Oasis's "All Around the World" used in all of AT&T's recent ads. I can't explain why this bothers me so much that I would post about it (granted, I'm on my lunch break and bored, but still). It's just a super awkward fit, and I don't like it.

Hot dogs, baseball, salsa music, apple pie, bling, Brit-pop, and Hummers. I say--what in the name of "Ducky" Joe Medwick have they done with our pasttime?


Sports World Nostalgia: Haywood Jeffries

Inspired by the newest YCS creation, I give everyone look back at a fantasy star of the past.

While us fantasy footballers are currently preparing to draft an Anquan Boldin or Santana Moss, Haywood Jeffries certainly won his owners a few games in the years gone by. Teaming with the likes of Ernest Givins, Curtis Duncan and Webster Slaughter, Jeffries was a main cog for the Houston Oilers run and shoot offense of the late 80's and early 90's. Jeffries finished in top ten among fantasy receivers from 1990 to 1992, leading the NFL with 100 receptions in 1991. In one of the NFL's most famous games, Jeffries had 8 catches for 98 yards and 2 TD's while his Oilers blew a 35-3 lead against the Buffalo Bills. Finally, who can forget his dominance in Tecmo Super Bowl, where he would take bombs from Warren Moon straight to the endzone. Before the Greatest Show on Turf became a part of the NFL lexicon, Haywood Jeffries and his compatriates lit up NFL scoreboards across the country.


Sports World Nostalgia: Chili Davis

>> Wednesday

Inspired by a random FSN reference, I give you YCS's first regular feature: Sports World Nostalgia.
Whenever one of our staff members feels so inclined to bring up a random, often-forgot player from our past (no Michael Jordans or Wayne Gretzkys) find a picture of him, career stats, and let's appreciate some of the former stars that time has essentially swept under the rug.

Today's feature: Chili (Bowl) Davis

Chili was the poster-boy for consistency, playing 19 seasons in the majors. He had a career .274 batting average, .360 OBP, and .451 slugging. And until Chipper Jones passed him recently, Chili stood in third place for all-time home runs by a switch hitter with 350. Only Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504) have more, and they have way more. Davis stands 72nd overall in home runs.

He came up with the Giants, but back problems forced him into a DH role, and therefore into the American League, where he first played for the California Angels. What we probably remember him best for was his two years in Minnesota, specifically 1991, when he hit 29 home runs and went to the World Series, where he hit another two dingers to help the Twins win the championship. After Minnesota, he went back to the Angels, and like any good aging star, he wrapped his career up with the Yankees.
What you might not remember (neither Vinnie or I did) is that between Angels II and the Yankees Chili played a year in Kansas City, where he hit a career-high 30 home runs.

Well that's about it for ol' Chili Bowl. I tried to find out where he is now, and to the best of my knowledge, he is currently an analyst for ESPN. If anyone can confirm or update this information, please do.

P.S. The random reference on FSN: Chili Davis apparantly holds the title of hitter struck out the most times by Roger Clemens.


Danny, look! That second chance you've been waiting for to realize your baseball dreams!

Baseball, Kosher-style







Guys--those blanks are to be filled with Jewish / Jews-playing-baseball jokes by morn. Chop chop!

Vinnie sez: "When inspiration escapes you, dip into that endless well known as racial humor. It never disappoints."
(P.S.: Newcomers--Danny is Jewish, and we never tire of reminding him. We are very immature.)


If anyone needed a reason why "power rankings" are stupid, here it is.

>> Tuesday

This week's ESPN MLS Power Rankings for Week 22 show no rhyme or reason at all. Even people who don't follow this league can tell that they're terrible. Just look at the top two teams.

#1 DC United (13-3-8, 47 points)
#2 Chicago Fire (8-8-7, 31 points)

DC has been #1 for most of the season, but the Fire in one week moved from #8 to #2. The justification? "With three consecutive wins, the Fire are off life support." Their recent streak is enough to wipe away the memory of a six game winless streak less than a month ago. However, DC has only won one of their last six league matches, and the power rankings state "It's official, United are in a slump."

Just to recap- Hot streak = Jumping 6 places, Cool streak= Still #1.

If you're going to have any kind of "power ranking" FOR ANY SPORT, either have it only reflect the results of the whole season, or have it only reflect recent results. Teams that have been crappy all season, but hot of late, and teams that have been great all season, but are in a slump should not react differently in the "standings."


Jeff George Through the Epochs: A Photo Gallery

>> Monday

Above left: High Hopes
Above right: A Hot Young Stud

...And a Dapper Gent

Above left: The Clash of Egos
Above right:
Betrayal by the O-Line (Anonymous, Oil on canvas, ca. 1994)

Above left: On his Noggen
Above right: On his Bottom

Turf! Ouch!

Below left:
A Familiar Refrain

Below right:
Pickoff Drill for the Practice Squad


You. Must. Be. Kidding.

Raiders sign 100 year-old, fifty-time reject to compete for QB spot


I Ain't a Doctor or Nuthin'

...But I knows a good ide'r when I knows one.

The way I see it, the Chicago White Sox have a certain secret weapon known as Brandon McCarthy who's kinda going to waste right now. They also have a certain fifth starter named Javier Vasquez who sports 5th, 6th, and 7th inning ERAs over 8.00, 11.00, and 14.00 respectively. I smell something obvious being passed over.

I'll admit--I'm typically a "don't change horses midstream" kind of fella, but come on; McCarthy has been way better than Vasquez most of this year, and we're at the point in the season when they should maximize the innings of their best pitchers in any way possible.

The one big caveat with converting a reliever to a starter this late in the season is the ability to build up the necessary arm strength. But if I'm not mistaken, McCarthy just pitched 5.1 innings of relief on Saturday. Granted, he kept his pitch count low (under 70, I believe), but still, you know how these young kids are, a-carousin' and carryin' on 'til all hours of the night, doin' two chicks at once like they do. He'll find the energy; he's young.

Yeah, I know Jose Contreras has been pitching like Jim Bullinger lately, so it's not just Vasquez fouling up the starting rotation. But again--maximize your best pitchers' innings.

If anyone should have the guts to make this change, shouldn't it be the reputed Ballsiest Manager in Baseball from the city famous for it's big balls?


More Blatant Anti-White Sox Bias from the Chicago Tribune

>> Sunday

One last hometown story to wrap up this Sunday. I'm a half a day late on it, but it's still worth mentioning.

This morning's sports section of the Chicago Tribune--you know, that huge Chicago newspaper owned by Tribune Company, the same media conglomerate that owns the Chicago Cubs--featured a huge front page story on Frank Thomas and his rejuvinated offensive production in Oakland this season.

And by huge front page story, I mean huge front page story. Like, one skinny left-hand column on the Bearsss, one top-fold lead on the Sox' loss Saturday night, and then a monstrous photo of Frank Thomas in the A's dugout with the headline "Big Comeback." And did I mention it was right below the lead for the Sox' loss?

The article itself was heavy on Thomas vs. Jim Thome comparisons--as in, "Look how much more the Sox are paying for the same production!"--as well as allusions to Thomas's leadership qualities, qualities which supposedly did not exist in his White Sox days.

The main reason I bring up this piece, however, is to brag for myself. Remember in March when I gushed about the A's signing Thomas for 500 G's plus incentives (about $2 mill in all)? Remember when I said he'd be Comeback Player of the Year, make Billy Beane look awesome yet again, and perhaps even lead the A's to a World Series title? Remember when I said all that? Man, I LOVE being right! Whoo! Yeah!!--

(I also picked the Cubs to win 85 games and Rich Harden to win the AL Cy Young.)

--Oh baby! Fuck yeah! God, am I BRILLIANT! Ow!!...


More Ozzie!

If you missed Part II of A Mi Manera: Ozzie Guillen el Pelotero on Comcast Sports Net, here's what you missed:

-Ozzie wears #13 to honor Davey Concepcion
-Former Braves SS and current Detroit Tigers coach Rafael Belliard called Ozzie a "superstar" (or at least something that translates to "superstar," says the documentary's subtitle-writing dude)
-Ozzie used to play the congas
-If Ozzie weren't in baseball, he'd be a writer or a volleyball player, according to his son
-If Ozzie weren't in baseball, he'd be a bullfighter, according to Ozzie himself
-Ozzie came up through the Padres system and was traded for Lamar Hoytt (I never knew)

All of these details are true, to the best of my knowledge. However, the documentary was all in Spanish, and since I'm just a stupid illiterate engineer, I may have misread some of the subtitles. I apologize if I'm wrong about the congas.


And so it starts...

Actually, this isn't the start at all. T.O. has officially recieved his first fine from the Dallas Cowboys, but trouble has been brewing for the past month or so.

Not to toot my own horn, but didn't I say a month ago that anyone who thinks T.O. has changed is an idiot?

After T.O. delivers yet another season of turmoil, for yet another team, the question will have to be asked. At what point does a ridiculously talented athlete find himself out of sports soley because of his personality? There has to be a point where every one of the 32 NFL teams realize that despite his supernatural abilities, T.O. is just not worth it.


Darrin Jackson--You Have Topped Yourself

I know this is old ground and probably a total bore, so I should just let it go.

...But I can't let it go.

Today during the White Sox-Twins game, Darrin Jackson was comparing the White Sox offense from 2005 to the White Sox offense this year. He was doing so, I should add, on the heels of a Scott Podsednik stolen base.

His conclusion was that the 2005 Ozzie-ball Smart-ball Small-ball Grinder Gang Don't Stop Believin' Go-Go White Sox did more "manufacturing" of runs and "playing the game right" and all sorts of other similar nonsensical cliched crap, while the 2006 White Sox are mostly mashers. He then added that Ozzie Guillen considers the former preferable because Guillen likes to see guys play in his own mold--a "scrapper."

Now hopefully D.J. was merely putting words in Guillen's mouth, and Ozzie doesn't actually believe that 23rd in the league in OPS+ (their 2005 ranking) is actually preferable to wherever they rank now (probably top five, if not first). If Guillen really values "scrappy" play (i.e. stolen bases, sac bunts) so much that he would see the 2006 offensive production as regress, then Ozzie really is as egocentric and hard-headed as I've portrayed him in the past.

To finish this story, Jackson said that he sees more of this "smart" baseball from the Twins this year, and it's results bear out in the standings. The validity of this observation aside--and for that matter, the validity of his characterization of the '05 White Sox (which isn't valid at all)--he's talking about a team that's one half-game ahead of the Sox after play today. One. Half. Game.

White Sox team ERA: 4.58
Twins team ERA: 4.14

Yeah, D.J.--it's the scrappiness.

Comcast Sports Net--please, please, fire this man.


Starbury, Philanthropist

And for once, I don't mean for the post title to be derisive or ironic. Starbury is actually doing something pretty cool and admirable.

If you missed Outside the Lines this morning--an almost total certainty, as I'm the only grandpa on here who's up at 8:30 on a Sunday--Stephon Marbury has designed and launched a basketball shoe called the Starbury One. The shoe is engineered and manufactured to the same standards as any other player-endorsed shoe but only costs $14.98, or about ten percent the price of the rival brands.

Marbury says he took on the idea "for the kids" (presumably just for U.S.-born and not Chinese kids, who will still make the same negative-26 Yen per shoe that they earn from Nike, but hey, at least he's helping someone). Marbury hopes the shoe can catch on with young ballers so that the $100+ their parents will save on shoes can be spent toward other luxury goods, such as food, doctor visits, and electricity.

Of course, the cheap price comes with a few hang-ups--number one being availability. Starbury Ones are so cheap, in part, because Steve & Barry's--a niche store with only 141 locations and virtually no advertising--carries the shoe exclusively. Also, the shoe itself won't be advertised, aside from Marbury's on-court modeling. Which gets to the final obstacle--that being Starbury's own popularity. Let's face it; he's not exactly Jim Belushi these days. (In case you didn't know, Jim Belushi is HUGE right now.)

Even still, I'm actually really rooting for this idea to take off, or at least have some notable impact on the basketball shoe market. And I must say, I have a good deal more respect for Marbury now--so much so that I'll start claiming the Knicks' problems to be 100% Steve Francis's fault (until he does something "for the keeds").

And one last thing: Where was Dwyane Wade with this idea? Wasn't he listening back at Marquette when Father Wild told him to "Be the Difference" and to be "an instrument of social justice"? Selfish bastard is too busy glitzing up his H2 (see recent SI) to think of something like this. Hey, I'm just sayin'. Dwyane Wade isn't Jesus, ok?

Starbury is.


Ok. Here's why I'm always defending Hawk Harrelson...

>> Saturday

...even though I'm a Cub fan by lineage and a baseball intellectual by nature.

If you'd heard his call on the Jermaine Dye game-tying homerun a few minutes ago, you'd love Hawk too. Seriously--listen to Hawk with an open mind free of Cub fan bias and baseball geekery...just once. He's really very enjoyable.

I'll admit--I like Hawk Harrelson the same way I like Del Shannon, The Honeymooners, and old Marx Brothers gags. But the true connoisseur knows the classics never die.


You should've known what you were in for when you hired an Italian to manage the team

I mean seriously, Jeff Loria, what did you expect?


I agree with Nate. Jeanne Zelasko is an ignorant, ARod-hating bitch.

Remember...Nate's words, not mine.

But seriously, Jeanne Zelasko is one ignorant, ARod-hating bitch. Either that, or she has a super wry sense of humor, and I'm just too dumb to pick up on it.

A few minutes ago during the FOX Saturday Baseball postgame, she and Kevin Kennedy were running through scores from around the league. When they got to the Yankees-Angels score—a 0-0 second-inning tie--the wiseass FOX producers cut to a single highlight: ARod striking out in the first inning. To be fair, I’m mostly criticizing said wiseass producers, but Zelasko did ice the highlight with a sarcastic, “Who--?...Is that--?...Yeah, it’s ARod with a strikeout in the first.”

I mention the wry sense of humor thing because Kennedy followed by adding the fact that ARod leads the Yankees with 17 game-winning RBI (…GWRBI is a dumb stat, but anyway…) to which Jeanne responded with a mock-incredulous, “Is that right? I’ll have to check up on that.”

So Zelasko is either mocking the credibility of the stat and holding fast to the “ARod sucks” mantra or mocking those that would dismiss the stat and hold fast to the “ARod sucks” mantra.…If that makes any sense.

Alright…this post was pointless.


I started this post, then forgot about it. It was much more timely back then.

>> Friday

I updated some stuff to have it make sense in the current time context, but I obviously meant to finish this before Hall of Fame voting. So goes life.

Original title:

"Where Are They Now?" Brooding about the Hall of Fame in a Cincinnati-area Popeye's, perhaps

A couple months ago, SI came out with its annual "Where Are They Now?" edition, in which the magazine tracks down sports figures from the past to give a glimpse of their mundane, unglamorous, non-sports lives.

The typical "Where Are They Now?" piece shows a current picture of the athlete looking kinda the same except grayer and fatter--awkwardly posing in a way that harkens to their past life--and details how the athlete has used his competetive drive toward his current ventures as marketing director/vice president of a investment/marketing/sales firm. The athlete recollects his or her seminal moment--"Ah, yes, I remember that well; what a game"--and the reader gathers little more than a plug for J.A. Stuffypants Consultants, Inc.

Some, however are more entertaining--Carl Lewis has his "mojo back" as an actor (Material Girls starring the Duff sisters now in theaters!); Greg Norman bottles Greg Norman wine; Roger Clemens still plays baseball (I'd have never known); and Gilbert Brown is in the racecar business. (In his photo, he's posed holding a big Goodyear tire in front of his torso, which lends itself to all sorts of folksy humor, e.g. "At first glance, I thought he was a semi!" or, "If that one goes flat, he has a spare in back!" Yep, I just took that bait.)

Anyway, none of this relates to my point in writing this post—that point being the Dave Parker "Where Are They Now?" piece.

The article’s accompanying photo shows him standing in front of one of his three Cincinnati-area Popeye's chicken franchises, holding a bat and wearing an old yellow-with-black-bill Pirates hat and old pinstriped Pirates jersey. (One might think he'd try to play up his days as a Red, being in Cincinnati at all, but who am I say.) Below, there's a picture of him from the late 70s, dressed more or less the same but in a batters box, which fittingly leads the highly imaginative reader to believe that Parker hasn't changed clothes or dropped that bat in twenty-seven years.

The piece talks a bit about Parker’s family, his business ventures, and his flings with coaching, but mostly it deals with Parker's obsession with making the Hall of Fame. In the article, Parker complains that Ryne Sandberg and Gary Carter made the Hall ahead of him and blames his own exclusion, in part, to a "good ol' boys network" whom he characterizes as bigoted (a characterization implied by the SI writer, though not attributable to Parker by direct quotation).

“Parker should quit bitching. He doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, and even if he did, he made tons of money playing a kids game, so he should shut up and quit bitching. And quit playing the race card.”
-Generic SI reader, probably to himself

I can understand pooh-poohing Parker’s beefs, but I think he raises an excellent criticism that is often discussed but rarely corrected. Yes, there's a double standard applied to outfielders (and also probably first basemen) in HOF voting. It has to be this way. Some positions are simply more important defensively. But I think this double standard—as Parker insinuates—is applied well beyond fairness.

When Mike Piazza and Jeff Kent come to eligibility, too many sportswriters will straight-up compare their offensive numbers to guys at their position--not at all taking into account that both are below average defensively and should therefore be compared offensively to all players of their era. When someone sucks at catching as much as Mike Piazza sucks at catching, what does his position even matter? Had he or Jeff Kent been reared differently in the minor leagues, they just as well could have been stone-handed outfielders.

Which gets back to Dave Parker.

I don't mean to criticize Parker for being obsessed with making the Hall of Fame. It's perfectly understandable that someone want recognition for excelling at a craft. Mostly, I feel bad for guys like Parker. I feel bad that this marginal and shoddily-derived distinction between HOFer and non-HOFer is so emphasized that players like Parker, Bert Blyleven, and Ron Santo publicly agonize over their exclusion.

I also feel bad that retired ball players are at the mercy of horribly researched beat writers, who either A) only know their own team and immediate rivals with any thorough knowledge or B) vote based on narrow-minded, flimsily-defined criteria (e.g. “I know a Hall of Famer when I see his name” or “I had 8,000 baseball cards of this guy when I was a kid, and he hit a homer every time I saw him at old Municipal Stadium; he’s in”). Of course, the Veterans Committee supposedly exists in order to correct the oversights of the ballot process, but when they induct Bill Mazeroski, it doesn’t take a Steve Stone to know that, yes, the Veterans Committee is just a good ol’ boys network.

[Aside: Mention the name “Bill Mazeroski” and “Hall of Fame” around me, and my blood pressure leaps from its usual near-comatose 100/60 to something like 800/1,000.

Bill Mazeroski should have his induction revoked, plain and simple; I’m not joking. I hate that he’s in the Hall; I hate anyone instrumental to his election (Joe Morgan? I always just assume.); and I hate Mazeroski himself because he should have never lobbied for induction and after then being elected, should have declined the induction in a last-minute epiphany of humility…but did not.

I think I need to go further with this topic in a later post but only after I’ve cleared any risk of brain aneurism with a neurologist.]

Back to Parker. His case is a bit of a stretch given the list of deserving-guys-not-yet-in who sit ahead of him. But here…compare his offensive stats to some Hall of Famers from other positions (i.e. 2B, SS, C), and then ask yourself this simple question: Were all of those terrible offensive players that awesome on defense to make them better baseball players than Dave Parker? Could the White Sox have substituted some other schlub for Ray "Cracker" Shalk with less consequence than the Pirates and Reds replacing Dave Parker?


I remember laughing my ass off when I first found out about this.

7:48 -- Not to sound like legendary Hollywood producer Bob Ryan, but what if I told you that Gabe Gross uses a Christian song for his at-bat music that includes lyrics like "help me Jesus!" and "Hallelujah!" Is that something you'd be interested in?

--"Time for beer, brats and Favre," Sports Guy,

I remember when Bechtel and I were first at a Brewer's game for a Gabe Gross at bat. The music played, we both slowly turned to each other (totally not in a gay way though) with puzzled smiles on our faces, and then burst out laughing.


Why no one really reads

Elliot Kalb of has written a piece of amazing stupidity. He has taken the old saying that the only certain things in life are death and taxes, and was thinking that you could add Tiger Woods to that list. He then pulls an Alec Baldwin and proceeds to step WAAAAAAAAAAAAY outside his field of expertise to list about 10 SURE THINGS in sports, but many of them are flat out wrong.

Which leads me to ponder this question: Is there a more sure thing in sports than Tiger with a third-round lead? In addition to being perfect in the majors in that scenario, he's a impressive 37-3 on the PGA Tour when he holds at least a share of the lead going into the final round and 44-5 worldwide.

Well, what you've just said is that Tiger blows a late round lead a little more often than once in every ten attempts. If Tiger takes a lead into the Final round, is it likely he will win? Of course, but not a sure thing. Taking arguably the most successful golfer of the last decade and asking how often he blows a lead is a bad measuring stick in the first place. It doesn't count the times that he didn't have the lead, or when he missed the cut at the US Open. Only counting final round leads is like asking how many times did the 1996 Chicago Bulls blow a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The bottom line: Woods doesn't blow leads late. He's an extraordinary closer, perhaps the greatest the sport (and maybe all of sports) has ever known.

Really, how differently does he play in the fourth round where he had the lead than in the first three rounds that got him there? Is he the best closer or just the best golfer over the four-day tournaments that he wins?

2. Adam Vinatieri kicking an important field goal
Really, kind of like his 1-for-3 performance in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Panthers?

3. Mariano Rivera pitching in the major league baseball postseason
Rivera has an 8-1 record with a 0.81 earned run average and 34 saves. Even the lone loss (Game 7 of the 2001 World Series) was due more to a throwing error and a bloop hit than any real shortcoming on Rivera's part.

Rivera has impressive credentials, and has been most valuable to the Yankees at his position, but let's examine that inning (Which he claims is due to a throwing error and a bloop hit and not Rivera). Mark Grace led off with a hit. The throwing error was committed BY RIVERA. Rivera also gave up 2 more hits and hit a batsman before the game was over. Rivera certainly has been one of the most successful relief pitchers in baseball postseason history, but to claim that Rivera was blameless in 2001 is to ignore history.

6. No major college basketball team will go undefeated
Here's a sure bet. The last team to go undefeated was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. Bobby Knight won his first national championship with that 32-0 club. Since then, the most serious challenge since 1976 was when UNLV reached the national semifinals in 1991, at which point Grant Hill and his Duke teammates took care of the Running Rebels.

I'm not so sure that no major college basketball team will ever go undefeated again. Many teams go deep in the season before losing (St. Joseph's 2004) or lose only once before their elimination (Were it not for Dwyane Wade, 2003 Kentucky would have been in the Final Four with only one loss). Is an undefeated team unlikely? Of course, that's why it's special. Because it is a hard thing to accomplish and very rarely achieved...but it IS possible.

7. The Washington Nationals will not make the postseason

Not this year, yes. An ownership group independent from the rest of Major League Baseball only took control of the team last month. But while baseball is known for postseason dynasties (Yankees, Braves), it is also known for teams coming out of nowhere to reach the postseason (2003 Cubs, 2005 White Sox, 1997 Marlins)

8. The Detroit Red Wings will make the playoffs

This one is far less certain than the Nationals missing the Playoffs. The Red Wings have enjoyed an extraordinary run of success over the last 10 years, but past results are not indicative of future returns. And with a 31% turnover of playoff teams from 2004-2006, no one is safe.

9. Pat Riley will win the NBA Finals if he takes over a team as head coach in mid-season. Riley won the NBA Finals with the Lakers in this fashion. He won with the Heat in this fashion. It's a sure thing, especially if he has players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Dwayne Wade, and Shaquille O'Neal. Of course, it'll likely never happen again ... but that just means Riley will end his Hall-of-Fame career two-for-two as a replacement coach.

In other words, if Pat Riley takes over a GOOD team midseason, he will win a Championship, because it happened the TWO TIMES he did it. Let's see him take over a cellar-dwellar like the Atlanta Hawks or Portland Trail Blazers midseason and lead them to the promised land.

10. The MVP of the NFL will be either a quarterback or a running back
In the 52 years that the Associated Press has named a Most Valuable Player, a quarterback or running back has captured the award in 47 of the 52 years. Last year, it was running back Shaun Alexander. The year before that, it was quarterback Peyton Manning in his record-setting season. The MVP has gone to a quarterback or running back in each of the last 19 seasons.

Again, a little less often than once every ten years, a non-QB/RB will win the MVP if averages hold. Far from a sure thing. Just because those positions have won the MVP the last 19 seasons is meaningless. That's like saying in 1998 that the AFC would never win the Super Bowl because NFC teams had won it the last 13 seasons. Also, the prolificness of the award's reception among RBs and QBs might be more due to the fact that these positions are integral to any good team, and as such their achievements seem to get noticed more often than the play of say...a cornerback.


Hitler By the Bay

>> Thursday

Well, at least according to former 49ers running back Kevan Barlow. On this theory, if Mike Nolan's der Fuhrer, all of the NFL defenses must be the Gestapo. Mr. Barlow, congratulations on your early nomination for the 2007 YCSPY's. Here's hoping NFL defenses look more the French army to you this season.


Die Meister, Die Besten, Les Grandes Equipes, The Chammmmmpionnnnss!

Because nothing breaks up YCS writers' block like a soccer post, I've posted my reaction and preliminary predictions after today's Champions League draw in Monaco. (Yes, I'm a nerd, I took my lunch break early so I could watch the streaming video online.)

MLS-bashers I know, and who write on this blog have told me that they can still stomach watching the Champions League, which will be airing on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons on ESPN2, meaning I cannot watch them while at work. God Dammit.

The group stage features 32 of the best teams in the world with the goal of the 2007 Final at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece. Interesting matchups include Manchester United vs. Glasgow Celtic, Defending Champions FC Barcelona vs. English Champions Chelsea FC, and Inter Milan of Italy vs. Bayern Munich of Germany.


Has any YCS reader from Minnesota seen this?

>> Tuesday

While wasting time on YouTube, I stumbled on this promotional video from a years ago for the Minnesota Twins. It advertised itself as "Dreams of a Field," an ad/PSA campaign for the Twins' new stadium that flagrantly plagiarized the Kevin Costner flick. No mention of the now-$480 million dollar stadium is made (likely intentionally) with only veiled references to "Playing outside with your friends, it's nice." or "How can we see the stars?"

Now, I've long been a supporter of outdoor baseball, and on TV, the dome does look like a pit, but while the PR video is supposed to tug at the heartstrings, I'll have to admit, I laughed through most of it; at everything from the overcaffinated father to the kid who reminds me of the one in the hospital on Seinfeld whose favorite Yankee was Paul O'Neill, to errors in continuity (ball hitting kid in the head, then catching it) to Kirby Puckett's borderline creepy debut. I guess that makes me a cold-hearted bastard, but then again, I'm not a Twins fan (except when they play the White Sox).

Something else I thought was strange: At least as many references are made to the 1987 and 1991 World Series and the positives of the Metrodome as are mantioned in favor of a new outdoor stadium, or the dome's drawbacks (which Matt has assured me are plentiful).

Towards the end, Puckett says, "One of these would look good in downtown Minneapolis." But with no reference to the new stadium, one could just as easily assume he means a cornfield-rimmed diamond with one set of wooden bleachers, a farmhouse, and a seating capacity of 30. Cue schmaltziest ending ever.

Any insight from Minnesota YCS-readers?


My Heart is Pulling for Team Ditka, but it's Tough to Bet Against Nick Bakay

>> Monday

They don't tell us whether this is a keeper league, but assuming it's not, I don't think Chris Mortensen quite yet understands the concept of Fantasy Football.


Dear Chicago Tribune Sports Department:

The headline for the Chicago Tribune sports section today is "Déjà Woods." Please explain to me how the hell you decided on this headline, especially in light of the facts that Woods does not rhyme with vu, and you had several hours to come up with a headline before press time.



Happy Happy Happy Day!

>> Sunday

Cubs trade Neifi Perez for other player

I would've been more than happy with the proverbial bag of balls. But a real, human minor-league ballplayer? What were the Tigers thinking?

Read more..., A-Rod sucks!

>> Saturday

During the Cubs/Cardinals game, the first "gamebreak" was to show that A-Rod hit into a double play.
The announcer: "Bases loaded, one out, A-Rod is up...what do you THINK he does?"

I quickly hushed myself as I was in my very-conservative parents' house at the time. But seriously, fuck you FOX Sports.


One of the most poorly researched scandals ever

>> Friday

Occasionally, a story from a niche sport that nobody cares about makes it to the pages of every major mainstream sports media outlet. One of those stories has occured this past week, as,, and all sorts of other outlets reacted to England Manager Steve McClaren dropping David Beckham from the England roster for a friendly against Greece on Wednesday.

Here's why this is a stupid story. From writers seemingly eager to prove that they have uncovered something earth-shattering.

The England-Greece international friendly was on Wednesday. On Saturday, Beckham was in Utah with his club team Real Madrid for a club friendly against MLS side Real Salt Lake. Assuming Becks flew back Sunday, then that means that he would be getting to England in the early morning hours on Monday, leaving him in poor shape to play with the National team on Wednesday evening.

On a related note, national teams do not have exclusive rights to their players. For a good deal of international friendlies, clubs must give permission for the national team to use their players (since the clubs are more heavily invested.) Italy put out a team of scrubs for their friendly against Croatia for this reason.

Real Madrid had signed a contract with Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the MLS-owned organizer of international matches in the United States that if Real were to come, they would bring their starters instead of some scrub team. This is the same reason why Beckham's Madrid teammate and Dutch international Ruud van Nistelroy missed Holland's friendly with Republic of Ireland on Wednesday. But then again, Ruud isn't man-pretty like Beckham, so I guess it's not a story when he gets left off the roster for a meaningless game.

And BAM! There it is. Story is over. Nothin' to see here.


Miguel Batista must be Gunning for that BBTN Opening

>> Thursday

He really would look quite handsome in a suit, don't you think? Anyway, "Miggy" apparently writes for ESPN Deportes during interims between pitching averagely.

Coming to the final push of the season, when pennant races are heating up, veteran players are more important than ever, because smarts and intangibles become even more important than talent.

...Says the aging, probably-smart, marginally-talented ballplayer.

I also enjoy his unabashed laziness in using "sources" that are just old teammates who may or may not have said the quotes attributed to them. And who evidently speak in 10,000 Manics lyrics.

But seriously, next to John Kruk and his cologne-shower furniture salesman chic, Miggy would look like a millón dólares.


Cubs Rookie Sensation Ryan O'Malley

>> Wednesday

Amazingly, I found a photo of him in his home uniform even though his first major-league start was today and on the road. Even more amazing than that is the size and color uniformity of that clover. Wow! Even more amazing yet, I drew that while craddling a phone on my shoulder. Wait; that's not amazing, just pointless. Plus he looks Scottish.


Why I Love Ron Artest

Fuck that "NBA Cares" jazz.

He may be the greatest thing this side (the mortal side) of 'Sheed.


Put your suspension where your mouth is

Well, Brad Childress has an opportunity to prove that he meant what he said when some of the first words out of his mouth as the Vikings head coach were, "The coaching staff will have high expectations for our players, and it's critical that they have those same high expectations and high character off the field." (Full story)

No boat cruise this time, just a joy cruise...with sirens in the rearview mirror. Yup, Koren Robinson is at it again. After pushing the speedometer into the triple digits and running from the cops for 10 miles, Robinson apparantly cooperated with the police once he was caught, spent the night in jail, and is probably facing a DWI and the felony charge of fleeing the police.

So far, Childress is saying all the right things: It's too early to make a decision; I'm here to make get the ship right (he actually uses the metaphor of righting a ship). If Robinson is convicted as a felon, Childress either has to suspend him or be labeled a huge hypocrite.

This crossroad will determine whether anything has changed in Minnesota...other than their new, lame logo and uniforms.


Further proof that the NFL brass is either no fun or just stupid.

Reggie Bush has been fined by the NFL for wearing adidas cleats during a preseason game Saturday. Under NFL regulations, players may only wear Nike or Reebok cleats due to contracts.

Now, I admittedly am not a lawyer yet (but scoring higher on the LSATs!), but I can read. These skills tell me that the first line of the legal page on Reebok's website reads, "Reebok is a subsidiary of the adidas Group operating under the Reebok, CCM, Jofa, and Koho brands."

Seems someone forgot to tell the NFL that adidas bought out Reebok a year ago. Am I missing something here?

This policy is seemingly ineffective at best (since adidas happily paid Bush's fine) and just stupid at worst.



I previously cheered the Houston Rockets' decision to ditch their 1990s-pajama uniforms for a different image.

However, after seeing Steve Novak wearing one of their newer threads in the NBA Rookie Photo Shoot (thanks to Deadspin for the link.), I have been led to the conclusion one year after the change that they look completely ridiculous.

Or that Steve Novak looks ridiculous.
Or that Rookie Photo shoots featuring absurd and borderline gay poses are ridiculous.
Something like that.


An Excellent Piece of Journalism

>> Tuesday

Yes, I know we (I) obsess about this subject too much, but definitely read this ESPN Mag feature by Eric Neel. It's eloquent. Poignant. Scrumtious. Out-standing!



Just some pictoral backing for my earlier comparison between Neifi Perez and a Pekingese:

(Sorry, Nate; didn't mean to bump you. Readers--proceed to scroll down past this nonsense.)


Up for Debate

This afternoon I was driving down Ceaser Chavez/16th street when I saw a pretty ripped guy half jogging, half dancing down the sidewalk with boxing gloves, throwing punches into the air. Cue the montage...

This sight also reminded me of a conversation my brother and I had a couple weeks ago about the purest of sport. Of course, this brings about the much broader and controversial question of defining sport. I came to the conclusion that boxing is the purest of sports with the trenches of a football game coming in a close second. My reasoning: Boxing requires the highest amounts of every attribute that we associate with athletes and sport - endurance, strength, quickness, agility, awareness, and toughness. The best offensive and defensive linemen also have all of these attributes, although many average linemen get away with less than the whole package.

So here is the topic to be debated, hopefully in an uncivil manner: what is the purest sport?


The Zambrano-Neifi Watch: Week of 8/14/06

After a tough 0-for-3 night by "Z" and a rare 2-hit night in a not-nearly-rare-enough start for Perez, Dusty Baker's favorite little 2B/SS/utility man/Pekingese has taken the lead in the Great OPS Race of 2006. Here's where we stand:

Zambrano: .589
Perez: .619

Zambrano in 2005: Still better than Neifi in '05
Perez in 2005: Still worse than Zambrano in '05


Come on, Paul; Represent!

>> Sunday

I just found out that Paul (my brother) caught a glimpse of Derek Jeter eating lunch in downtown Chicago last week and did NOT take the opportunity to tell Derek that he's overrated. Because you know, if it'd been me, that's what I woulda done. I'd be like, "Hey Derek--you're overrated!" No, for real...I totally would've. Seriously. And then I'd give him the finger and say he sucked. No, I'm serious. That's seriously totally exactly what I woulda done if I were there. You can book that.

Hey by the way, let's all wish Paul a huge, YCS-style "good luck" as he begins med school this week and officially embarks upon his medical career. Also, let's wish me good luck this week as I switch from an electric razor to the kind that can cut your face (or in Pat's case, your legs).


Jibber Jabber with Joe and Jon

During Jeff Kent's at bat a few minutes ago during the Giants-Dodgers game, Jon Miller was recounting Kent's excellent career production.

Jon: "Kent's career really took off when he joined the Giants in 1997."
Joe: "Remember, he had Barry Bonds in the lineup, and that helps."

After a bit more banter and a pitch,

Joe: "You have to give credit to Kent for taking advantage of those opportunities of course. But when you have Barry Bonds hitting in front or behind you, you'll get more opportunities to drive in runs."

Later in the inning,

Joe: "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a wonderful accomplishment by American policy makers, but don't forget; Barry Bonds was born that year."

Ok, so I just made that last one up. But later in the inning, they did acknowledge that Kent had 100+RBIs with both Houston and L.A. in the years after he left San Fran. It must've been all the motivation and encouragement he got from Barry over the years. Oh wait I forgot; Bonds whined like Woody Allen that whole offseason after Kent won his MVP.

Then ESPN showed an on-screen graphic for most career homeruns by second baseman (with Kent first and Morgan third), after which Joe had to make clear in not-so-subtle hints that he was still better than Kent on the whole. Joe, you silly, egotistical, insecure man.

Also, you should've heard Jon and Joe gush after Bonds made what I like to call a "Moises Alou defensive gem," or a play that looked good only because the fielder made a late lunge that a fielder of greater merit would not have required. It was gross.

Anyway, I'm done bashing Miller-Morgan. For this inning.



The biggest case of baby brainwashing I have ever seen is right here. Can you say over the top? I know when I do have kids one day, of course I will bring them up to know the teams I am passionate about (and yes, Marquette, my own alma mater, is front and center there), but this is certainly overkill.

A mindless half an hour video of items like where Bucky Badger wandering around the screen and kids are taught about Brooks Bollinger is too much. And for the record, as a Jets fan, no child should be exposed to Brooks Bollinger at such a young and tender age.

Now, some who know me might make the case that I am calling this out because of my hatred for all things Badgers, so let me add that the company has made videos for other schools as well. You can find Baby Wolverine, Baby Cowboy, and even a Baby Irish for the girlfriend's beloved Notre Dame. Either way, I think this is ridiculous. While I think it's cute to see kids dressed up in their parents' favorite teams' gear, that is a far cry from plopping them in front of a TV to ingrain the team in their head. I personally am going to want to keep my baby AWAY from the TV for as long as I can, rather than repeatedly showing them a video. I'll expose my kids by taking them to games, and telling stories about Diener and Wade, thank you very much.



The number of starts by the Angels' Jared Weaver that it took for AP to use the headline "Dream Weaver."



ESPN Archived (Featuring Occasional Classic Material)

Remember when ESPN Classic used to show really awesome stuff like, oh I don't know, "classic" games from real sports? Remember the "Ultimate World Series" or "NFL Films Wednesday Night" or the city-themed weekends--or even the hours of random NBA Home Video and Main Event with Rocky Marciano? Man, those were the days.

This morning when I flipped on Classic, they were showing "Classic Poker" to be followed by "Classic Bowling" and a "Classic Auto Show Marathon." I tell ya; things just aren't like they used to be. It's all these foreign cars people are driving these days; that's what it is.


Random Saturday Afternoon

>> Saturday

While watching the All-American High School Baseball Classic on FSN today (shut up, nothing else is on at 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon), it suddenly dawned on me that the announcers for this high school game were about 10 times more insightful and interesting than any baseball announcer I've seen cover a major league game this season. Take notes, Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan.

Also, one of the players from the East team is named Seqoyah Stonecipher. Please, please, please let this guy make it big.


ARod just made his 19th error! Maybe this New Years we should string HIM up in Times Square and then beat him like a "peen-yah-tah"!

>> Thursday

(How do you get tildes in the title? I'm too dumb to figure it out.)

I just wanted to be the first to report this story (along with hundreds of NYC baseball bloggers) before the New York Post has sixteen-and-a-half articles about it tomorrow.


Man...Rain Delays Suck

Seriously, why can't we have more severe droughts?

Also, how dare FOX Baseball Conglomeratory Enterprises, Inc. tarnish the the glorious past of This Week in Baseball by continuing to show this silly Bill Nye / Nickelodeon-style "reincarnation" of the show. It is an utter insult to those of us who will stop dead in our tracks at the beautiful harmony of Mel Allen's voice over vaudville music set to highlights of the 1981 Cleveland Indians (in red unis!). I still maintain that he 7am ESPN Classic TWIB broadcast was the only thing that got me up for my 8:00 class spring semester '05. (The 7:30 broadcast was what often made me late.)

Anyway, I keep meaning to put up some longer posts I've been writing, but I'm a technological retard who seems to fuck up his wireless internet on a weekly basis by doing something retarded, which prevents me from using my own computer, which...whatever...short story: lack of time/focus/internet access has kept me in a funk. Maybe I'll just start blogging at work like Mike.


YCS Greatest Bracket Ever Final Four, where your votes count!

We are down to the Final Four in the YCS Greatest Bracket Ever after I took charge and did the research one day while bored at work.

This tournament will decide what is the greatest thing ever, and will make any future brackets obsolete. To see how we got to this point, take a look at how the regionals unfolded (hosted on The Proper Pitch due to space constraints.)



In one semifinal, the winner of the Mark Chmura Regional (Abraham Lincoln) will play against the winner of the Fuzzy Zoeller Regional (Wayne Gretzky). The winner of the Maurice Clarett Regional (1999 Manchester United) will play against the winner of the Wil Cordero Regional (Bob Uecker). The semifinal winners will meet and will decide once and for all what is the Top thing ever. So send in your votes, and let's make sure that Stuart Scott never again has to walk us through one of those worthless shows.


Bill Maher Lucky Not to Get a Super Testosterone-Infused Knuckle Sandwich

>> Wednesday

(A weaker man would have stooped to a "Maher"/"mar" play on words.)

If you missed Jay Leno last night (1. You did; I know. 2. I never watch Leno; I don't know what compelled me last night), you missed Floyd Landis making another public denial of cheating during le Tour de France.

First of all, this interview was hilarious--not because anyone said anything particularly funny, but because Leno was horrendously unresearched on the issue and kept mis-stating major details, on which Landis continually corrected Jay.

But the worst part of the interview occured when buttinsky professionale Bill Maher--Leno's first guest--butted in mid-interview to say the most pompous and all-around prick thing one could say in that situation. Grinning his trademark I'm-the-funniest-man-in-the-world-aren't-I? grin, he asked, "Why are we having this big controversy about a sport that nobody even cares about?"

Now, if any of us were Landis, we probably go off on Maher--with fists, with insults, with pottymouth, or any combination thereof. Remember, Maher is sitting but two short feet to his right.

But Landis, evidently, is a better man than we. He somehow kept his cool and redirected the whip toward Jay, saying, "Well, it's hard for Jay to book better guests."

Floyd Landis--for that remarkable display of control (and wit) in the face of that level of piss-in-your-mouth insult, I respect you more now than I did yesterday and furthermore, will now give you every benefit of the doubt in your fight against doping charges.

As for Bill Maher--you are a piece of crap, just as you were yesterday and just as you will be tomorrow, only even more so now. And if Floyd Landis ever snaps, I'd like to see you try and run from that bike of his (or from his car, as I assume Landis can also drive and purchase firearms).


This just in: Maurice Clarett shot two elderly women, raped a puppy, blew up a grade school, and started a holy war...all while on LSD.

Every once in a while, an athlete comes along that is so stupid that you can do nothing but sit back and laugh at their misfortune. And I don't think anyone has fucked up more than Maurice Clarett.

Your lesson of the day, kids: Stay in skool.


Looks like there actually IS a manners police

Fans at Cincinnati Bengals games can now report obnoxious fans to security by dialing 381-JERK. I'm not kidding.

My favorite parts of this article are the following.

Jeanie Dittrich of West Chester, a season ticket holder, said she was offended by drunken fans when she took her 12-year-old son, Austin, to a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A woman kept spilling beer on her, and a man next to her son was swearing and helped start a fight. “We told him beforehand, ’You might see some drunk people, you might hear some ... swearing.’ But at the game, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m going to mar my son for the rest of his life by having him come to this game,”’ she said.

Listen Jeanie. You took your son to a professional sporting event. If you wanted a place with no swearing and no booze, take him to a cemetary or school. He'll love that. And he probably was more emotionally devastated because the Bengals lost that game than because of anything he heard in the stands that day. Quit coddling your kid and let him enjoy a game up to his ankles in beer, blood, and peanut shells like the rest of us. I also love how there are the three dots in front of "swearing." I'm imagining this woman breaking down and crying recounting the horrors of Paul Brown Stadium during the interview.

Also: News flash Jeanie: Your son is 12. No one on this blog will describe me as a hardass, but by age 12, I was already cursing like a sailor and had been in a couple fights. If I, the token soccer writer on this blog had done that by 12, I can assure you your little angel is as well. He probably got a kick out of the atmopshere at the stadium.

Bedinghaus said the Bengals expect some prank calls.
“If you get 6,000 people calling this line — ’Hey, (Steelers quarterback) Ben Roethlisberger is a jerk’ — then it becomes less effective,” he said. “The thing to remember is we have caller ID on this line.”

OK, but people are going to be calling from cell phones. It's not like you can track anyone down and figure out what seat they're in. Be lucky they're saying Rothlisberger is a jerk and not telling you to ask for Amanda Hugginkizz.


Crap. It looks as though we're only the second-best blog on the internet now

>> Tuesday

Hawk and DJ's blog

I have a hard time imagining either of them sitting at a computer and finger-pecking an entire sentence, much less a full entry, even lesser yet, several correctly punctuated entries. I'm thinking they transcribe Hawk's from things he says from his rocking chair on the team plane and DJ's from his coloring book.

Highlights from DJ:

..."The key is to be in the playoffs and to get there our pitching will be the key."

..."Add to it the fact that the Cleveland Indians are a very talented team who are having a down year and the on-the-rise Kansas City Royals, and you can see easily why the AL Central is the toughest division in baseball this year."

Highlights from Hawk:

..."There are managers out there that have no more business managing a ball club than Mickey Rooney."

..."I love the fact that you can see things starting to develop and you can see things starting to happen."

..."Check out that schedule - 3 here in Toronto, home for a Monday makeup with the Angels (there are still tickets for that one), 3 with the Yankees, 3 over the weekend with the Tigers, and 4 more with KC to finish off the homestand. Then 3 at Minnesota, 4 at Detroit, and then home for 3 with the Twins before our next day off on August 28. This is going to be something to watch."

Informative. Keep tabs on this blog, as it's still in its infancy (much like Darrin Jackson).


The YCS Greatest Bracket Ever

I've watched a decent amount of ESPN and Fox Sports Net. It has come to my attention that in sports journalism, to become the "Worldwide leader" or any serious contender, one must engage in ridiculous hypothetical rankings and brackets, then pass the findings off as something relevant.

But this can get tedious. Page 2 is holding a contest for "Ugliest Uniforms in History" and included stuff from the old World League of American Football, the predecessor of NFL Europe. The Sports List counted down Top 10 Sports Moments for just the city of Los Angeles. ESPN Classic smatters a "Top 5 Reasons you can't..." from time to time, and who could forget those ridiculous ESPN25 "Who's #1?" Countdowns (especially when it was a countdown of something dubious like Worst teams or Biggest Chokes..."We're #1! We're #1!")? How about's All-Time All-Star bracket? This lame "Hometown Heroes" promotion? Same vein.

That does it. We're settling it right here. One more, for all the marbles, and then no more brackets or rankings. We will be taking nominations for the YCS Greatest Bracket Ever. Greatest Moments from sport, stage, screen, history, and figures from sport, politics, history, current events, entertainment and even inventions or products will be pitted against each other in a one-off battle royale to ensure that Stuart Scott can never again say "And now the moment you've all been waiting for...."

Vinnie's nominations are in. The early favorites include the '85 Bears, the Wheel, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and the Moon Landing. My nominations include the 1927 Yankees, the Miracle on Ice, Sliced Bread, and Polio.

So submit your nominations. The tentative plan is for a 64-line bracket, but since this is for all time and all the marbles, it might have to be expanded. Submit them quickly, because ESPN may catch on to this idea (They read this blog daily you know.)

We're settling this right now. Because I don't know if I can make it to the point where "Top 10 Cincinnati Sports Moments" begins and it's all Big Red Machine highlights, the Ickey Shuffle, and Bob Huggins.


Christ. No. Please. Stop. Not True but False.

>> Monday

It's a tired, tired, tired refrain that we've whined about so often that I know we're all sick of it. But one last example.

Not too long ago during the White Sox-Angels game, Hawk Harrelson and Darrin Jackson (last post about them too--I swear) gushed over Paul Konerko's love of team, God, and country after he wasted a potential home run by grounding-out-to-the-right-side-with-less-than-two-out-and-a-runner-on-second-to-advance-the-runner.

"Shows why he's worth every million!" said either Hawk or DJ (can't remember)--they'd just been discussing the value of high-priced guys like Konerko.

Why anyone, ever, in their right mind, under any circumstances, would ev--

...You know what; I'm too annoyed and sick of this subject to even finish my thought. It writes itself.


The Red Sox had the Curse of the Babe....Now the Cubs have the Curse of T. Walk

>> Sunday

Only days after the Rev. Johnnie B. and Jim Hendry sent
Todd Walker packing to the West coast, T. Walk made the
# 4 play on Sportscenter's Top Ten for the week. Walk made
a fantastic pick at third (don't ask why he is playing third) and
then on the seat of his pants, made a fantastic throw to first
in time to nab the runner.

Cub Nation will rue the day T. Walk was traded.

In the words of Vinnie Bergl: I hate you Jim Hendry!!!


MLS kicks the crap out of Chelsea 1-0

Wait, no one will believe that headline. It's just false. How about "Chelsea's third-string scrubs hold their own against MLS All-Stars." No. That's flat out wrong too. So what to make of yesterday's All-Star game? Truth is, this blog's token soccer contributor is stumped. On Friday, I proudly forcast a 3-1 pasting of the All-Stars by the Blues (who are an all-star team in their own right), and today I will take my crow cooked medium please.

For anyone looking to see what this game's result really means, keep in mind that it is an exhibition game. It counts for no points in the final league standings of MLS or the EPL.
Reactions today across the board are mixed. Naturally, MLS's official website proudly displays the result, with a photo of the team lifting the All-Star game challenge trophy.

So far, my favorite comment has come from my favorite punching bag, Jaimie Trecker of Who said "Seeing that such a team can be formed, those fans who watched the game tonight wouldn't be so wrong to ask: Why wasn't this done with the American national team six weeks ago in Germany?" Jamie, I would bet it would be because the team contained an Irishman, a native Ghanian, a Bolivian, two Argentinians, and a Canadian. The one goal of the game was scored by a Canadian, and an Irishman got the assist.

PROS for MLS to explain the result
- Chelsea played all of their starters for at least a half.
- The DeRosario goal was beautiful.
- The disallowed Chelsea goal was a legitimate offsides call- close, but legit.
- All players may be in midseason form, but the team only had two days of practice, as nearly all of the MLS sides represented Saturday were in action Wednesday night.
- If Chelsea is going to use "lack of fitness" as an excuse, then they are in for a rough start to their EPL campaign which starts in 15 days.
- If Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho says that none of his players were ready to go 90 minutes today, what happened? Half the team just got back from the World Cup (which ended July 9) and the EPL season kicks off in 2 weeks. What happened to everyone's fitness levels?

PROS for Chelsea to explain the result
- Many starters were pulled at halftime, including huge money transfers Shevchenko and Ballack.
- The team was playing not to get hurt, and after Joe Cole went down in the 51st minute, that only amplified itself, leading to a tentative attacking game.
- It's the first preseason game.
- Training for a week. Everyone was tired.
- The goal was scored against Chelsea's reserve keeper. No way Peter Cech lets that one in.
- If they played 10 all-star games, Chelsea would win at least 7 of them.
- Chelsea dominated most of the run of play, outshooting the All-Stars, who only put 2 shots on goal.

It's admittedly only one game, but even one game would have been laughable 10 years ago. MLS has come a long way, but let's not get ahead of ourselves in thinking that the league's best are better than Europe's best. Because if they were better, they sure as hell wouldn't be playing in MLS, and Chelsea wouldn't be coming here to do a pre-season tour.

But even more importantly from Saturday's game, no one walked away with any "Chelsea smiles."


Hot Packer on Packer action

My first trip to Lambeau Field started just as I had always dreamed it would: getting hit on by the drunk forty-something woman sitting next to me.

Beyond that, some interesting notes...

...most obscure Packers jersey award goes to the kid wearing a Tod McBride jersey. Other notables: Derrick Mayes, Craig Newsome (two of them actually), and Joe Johnson (a wise investment, as Johnson recorded a grand total of 12 tackles with the Packers in three seasons).

...on another jersey note, I was happy to see several Mike Whale, Mark Tauscher, Mike Flanagan and other offensive linemen's jerseys being donned. At least in Wisconsin we appreciate the big uglies.

...the offensive quality control coach for the Green Bay Packers has a pretty cool name: Ty Knott.

...during a third and one play, Samkon Gado was stretching for the first down when he was horse-collared by his own teammate! Talk about stupid. Not only is it an illegal tackle, but it is a damn good way to land Gado on the IR for the season. The bonehead player (who I could not identify) was chewed out for it, but I was disappointed that the coach didn't make him do laps in front of the full stadium.

...A.J. Hawk, Daryn College, Greg Jennings, Abdul Hodge...throw in another rookie name that is beginning to turn heads: WR Cory Rodgers (from TCU).

...finally, Brett Favre is God.


Something about that "T" on the blue cap just puts the Superman in Vlad Guerrero

>> Saturday

The Baseball Tonight guys--tonight's lineup: Orestes Destrade, Dave Revsen, Orel Hershiser (no promises on correct spelling)--were just raving about how "amazing" and "impressive" Vlad Guerro's just-ended 44-game hit streak versus the Rangers is. Yeah, I know; it's so absurd that it's a strain just to read.

Jerks--please shut up. It's not impressive. It's a fluke. No one should care. The Rangers play in a hitters park and have had pretty crappy pitching during Vlad's career, so that might give the streak some meaning. Beyond that, please stop trying to read into it as some special accomplishment.

Hype for traditional hitting streaks is obnoxious and meaningless enough (dig up my old post on this matter if you'd like). Let's not pile the bullshit any higher.


Just another drug dealer.

>> Friday

Nothing motivates me to post like seeing a soccer/Sever post at the top of our blog.

And nothing makes me laugh more than a good ol' slap-on-the-wrist sentance. Patrick Arnold, the chemist who developed the undetectable steriod, "the clear" was sentanced today. The verdict? Three months in prison and three months of house arrest.

I've seen worse sentances for marijuana possession and underage drinking.

Arnold, who has been given the great title of "rogue chemist," has no doubt made millions from the invention of his magic steroid. In the process he has arguably "ruined" America's pastime. At best, he has tainted the fan-favorite long ball and ruined our image of baseball superstars.

"The defendant bears a heavy burden for his key role in effectively polluting professional sports with drugs which were designed to cheat the system," prosecuters said in court papers.

*AHEM* The defendant bears a heavy burden for his key role in effectively polluting professional sports with drugs which were designed to cheat(ing) the system.

If I'm Arnold, I'm more than happy to do my time (if you can call it that).


Daaaaaaaaaaaaaa Blues

I was going to write a preview piece on Saturday's MLS All-Star Game between the All-Stars and EPL champs Chelsea (5:30 CT, ESPN) with "Who has the edge?" comparisons at each of the four positions, coaches, other relevant criteria.

However, as I got halfway through, I realized that Chelsea not only has the edge at every position, it's not even close. The only things I could think of that the All-Stars might have going for them are "intangibles," or "home-field advantage" but I don't think that even applies here since the Premiership champions are unlikely to be embarassed by a ragtag group of North Americans with two days practice. Chelsea has been training in Los Angeles all week. The Blues are also sure to have a sizable and vocal supporters contingent in Bridgeview, IL on Saturday.

The most telling quality of the depth Chelsea's lineup is that German captain Michael Ballack; who skippered the Germans to a 3rd-place finish at the World Cup, may end up sitting on the bench!

Final Score
Chelsea 3, All-Stars 1

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaa Blues.


Chris Cooley's Got Gams That Just Won't Quit


Thanks to Deadspin for the photo.


I Almost Cried During Dodgers Highlights Tonight

>> Thursday

I hate you Jim Hendry. I hate you Larry Himes. I hate people who can't throw. Now I'm going to throw a tantrum.


Just Amazing

Soccer fans, even ones I know personally, amaze even me at times.

Last night I went to Toyota Park for the Chicago Fire-Kansas City Wizards Round of 16 game in the U.S. Open Cup (Sort of like if Major League Baseball held a tournament during their season where the Brewers and Cubs and White Sox played against the Kane County Cougars and the top amateur teams to determine the "best team" in the country.)

Kickoff scheduled for 7:30 PM. The thunderclouds start rolling in. Lightning delay. No problem. We'll be under way in half an hour probably. Now it's 11:30 PM. Most of the crowd has left, and the rain is only coming down harder. Everyone is huddled under the upperdeck and roof canopy as per orders from stadium security untill the lightning passes.

Someone lights a smoke bomb. It starts spewing red smoke and it gets thrown out onto the open concourse. A guy picks it up, and throws it onto the field. Everyone starts singing and drumming. A great atmosphere. Stadium security comes up, and calls out a guy who didn't throw it, throws another guy against the wall. The guy who got called out then decided that the best way to resolve this situation was to take a swing at the security guard. He landed about 2 punches before 3 security guards took him DOWN and led him away in handcuffs. The singing only gets louder. The game was called on account of weather about a half hour later.

Just for recap: Singing, smoke bomb, field, drums, punch security, NO GAME PLAYED, jail.



>> Wednesday

Consider this my NFL Preview post.


12.3 hpd, 2.06 W/S, .239 LSR%--I'm a True PTPer

That is, 12.3 elapsed hours at work per day, 2.06 work-to-sleep ratio, and .236 leisure time percentage--or my stats for this week. What can I say--I'm a gritty, young team player with lots of heart, tons of upside, and the potential to possibly be a pretty good engineer down the road (if I land in the right system with the right staff on a good team--er, company).

Anyway, my dedication and/or schleppery has prevented me from posting for about a week now (though I did find time on my abbreviated lunch break today to respond to Mike's bad Maddux post). But I've had a couple longish posts in the works and should have them up soon, and then I'll hopefully by my usual swingin', jump jivin' self by next week.

So what's new anyway? Do we have readers yet?


YCS Reel Classic: Invincible

YCS bloggers and whatever readers we have, be honest, cause I know I'm not the only one who thought this.

When seeing the trailer for "Invincible" for the first time, did anyone else initially think that it looked like it could just as easily have been a more serious remake of the 1998 Tony Danza classic The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon?

Read the plot summary for the Tony Danza made-for-TV masterpiece, then watch the first minute and a half or so of the "Invincible" trailer. (requires Windows Media Player)


A fix for the football junkies

This video has all the big hits, big plays and classic moments that makes football so great.

The best part is all the old footage of, at the time legal, closelines and spearings.


In Defense of Theo

>> Tuesday

This post is born from something I saw a couple of times while watching ESPN today. During Cold Pizza (shut up, nothing else is on at 11 AM), Skip and Woody were asked whether it was a mistake for the Red Sox not to have made a move at the deadline. Then, on some other show (it might have been BBTN, I'm not sure), the same topic was addressed. The general feel was that yes, it was a mistake for the Sox to not have made a move in response to the Abreu trade that the Yanks pulled off.

I am in 100% agreement with Epstien and the Sox's decision not to make a move at the deadline. Just because the Yankees brought in Abreu does not necessitate Boston needing to make a move simply for the sake of some knee-jerk, reactionary response. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First off, the Yankees flat out fleeced the Phillies. In acquiring a proven veteran hitter, Cash gave up no major league talent and parted ways with only one player who had even reached AAA. That's tough to do. For comparison's sake, take a look at the Brewers' recent deal involving Carlos Lee. Melvin traded Lee to the Rangers and not one of the other suitors only because the Rangers were willing to give up at least two players who could be considered major league ready, three if you count Laynce Nix. The situation involving the Brewers was probably more the norm than the exception at this year's deadline, with so many teams still technically considered "in the hunt." The bottom line is that Cashman got a steal, and Epstien would have probably not gotten anywhere near the same value in a trade for a bat as did the Yankees.

Second, I think it's ridiculous for people to claim that a team has to make a move just because someone in their division makes what is potentially a blockbuster trade. Furthermore, this isn't always a realistic possibility anyway, as the many people who like to sit at home and play GM fail to realize that deals are not easily consummated for big-name, big-production players. Especially considered in the context of this year's market, Boston's non-deal makes a lot of sense, because there just weren't that many great bats available. If they had been pressured to make a deal, they would have ended up overpaying for a bat like Soriano or Tejada that would have the potential to help the MLB team but could very easily put a large dent into the Sox excellent farm system.

Speaking of that farm system, it's a no-brainer that Epstien didn't make a move because he has publicly stated that every discussion he had with other teams revolved around one or more of his three big-time young pitchers, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester. Trading one or more of these guys would be absolutely foolish with how awesome it appears that they're going to be. Sure, everyone laughs when Epstien says he's looking towards the future of the organization as well as this season, but it'll be funny to see which team is scrambling to rebuild when the Yankees' core of aged sluggers that include Sheffield, Williams, Giambi and now Abreu begin to fade into the sunset.


Biggest. Wasted. Opportunity. Ever.

The mid-90s brought about a glut of teams redesigning their jerseys into just stupid concoctions that would make the Arena Football League blush. Remember the "Teal/Purple phase"?

The Buffalo Sabres were one of those teams, switching from a blue and gold logo they had used since the inception of the franchise, to a red and black Xtreme snarling buffalo head.

The team announced it would return to the old jerseys as an alternate this year, but have promised a new logo in the old team colors. The new logo can be seen here. It has been compared to everything from Barney Rubble's hair on the Flintstones to a banana to a possessed slug with horns.

I laughed when I saw it, but then realized, "Wait. It's the NHL. This should be expected."


An interesting take on the numbers

At the risk of being blown out of the water, I'm going to make my point quickly and simply. Cubs fans are awaking this morning to Day 1 A.M. (After Maddux). Among some on sports radio, there seems to be a sense of attachment to Greg, and dismay at this trade, but I ask, what did Maddux ever really do for the Cubs? The bulk of his Hall of Fame career came in Atlanta, and anyone who doesn't expect him to wear a Braves cap when he makes it to Cooperstown is kidding themselves.

In 808 innings pitched for the Cubs, Maddux had an ERA of 3.55. Certainly not a bad ERA by any stretch, but consider this.

Just for contrast and argument's sake, Kerry Wood has a career ERA of 3.67 in 1109 innings pitched for the Cubs. Wood's career WHIP is 1.26, while Maddux's was 1.23 in his time with the Cubs.

If there are any better statistics for comparison, let me know. The question I'm posing is this: Is Kerry Wood as good a pitcher as Greg Maddux? The answer: Of course not. Maddux is a certain Hall-of-Famer. Wood has been battered by injuries his entire career. But statistically speaking, one could make the argument that their respective contributions to the Chicago National League Ball Club are not that different.


Homerism at its best.

Remember how much Andy Katz loved Marquette in 2003? Remember how he picked them to be upset by Holy Cross, then again by Missourri? Remember how he said they were out of their league against Pitt, and stood no chance against Kentucky?

Well, he's got some much nicer things to say about us now.

I'm trying to say this without being a homer, but he's right. Watch for Marquette to compete for the Big East title. Watch for Dominic James to have an outstanding year (which, sadly, could very well lead to his departure for the NBA as a top ten pick).

Of course with people like Zuch and Danny, Andy and I are preaching to the choir. But to any readers not from Marquette, consider this your warning.

...Also, Vinnie, Sever, Danny, Zuch (when he wasn't working press) and myself can all give ourselves a pat on the back for helping the Bradley Center get voted the "hottest arena" in the Big East, whatever that means.

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