Mike's Pre-Emptive Will

>> Tuesday

I'm not gonna lie, YCS Nation. Things are looking pretty bleak.

As you may know, I'm a big soccer fan, whose second home during the summer is the terraces in the Harlem End of Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire. I spend that time amidst the rest of the Fire's "Section 8" Fans, known for their constant support and lunacy for their team.

However, these days, it's pretty dangerous to be a Section 8 member. On Christmas morning 2006, one of our members Dan Parry was struck in his car by a drunk driver. He died as a result of the crash. We honored him at the Fire-Celtic game a week or so ago. He was 33.

A few days later, another one of our members, Brandon "Airman" Kitchens was playing soccer in a local pub league. Suddenly, Kitchens went into a violent seizure with no prior symptoms and ended up dying. He was 24.

On the way back from the funeral, Section 8 members Pattrick and Irish Steve were driving and were T-boned by an SUV. Both survived without major injury, but needless to say, the Section 8 community is a bit rattled.

I am only 23, but the people involved in the above incidents were not much older (or younger) So in lieu of these recent events, along with the large quantity of alcohol and actual things catching on fire around the section, I have determined that my life may well be in grave danger when I go to the Fire's game on Saturday night against Columbus Crew. Since I really should handle my estate, I'm listing the following provisions to be enacted in the event of my death.

To Vinnie...
I leave my Major League Baseball statbook. Recieved as a present for my 10th birthday, it contains all the stats Vinnie could want from the 1993 season. Want to know how many RBIs Will Clark knocked in? Don't mind waiting to flip through the pages instead of going on BR? You'll never be at a loss.

To Danny...
I leave my Burrito Beach frequent buyer card. Buy 12 burritos and you get one free! I already bought 6. You're halfway there!

To Nate...
I leave what's left of my blue and gold facepaint from basketball games in college. There may not be much left, but if you want to make JD a Warrior, you gotta start early.
To Matt...
I've got a couple cans of Icehouse in the fridge. You want 'em?

To Gavin...
I leave my Jacksonville Jaguars hat from grade school. Because to be honest, you're the only person I've ever met who admitted to being a Jags fan.

To Patrick...
I leave my collection of the Cubs' "Vine Line" magazines, to which I had a subscription from 1998 to 2001.

To Zuch...
The remaining stock for the T-shirt enterprise I ran senior year in college. They're all extra large and up, so I think you're the only staff member who could fill them.

To Paul...
What do you give the man who has everything?


YCS Questionable Gambling Advice

Earlier this week, Iraq defeated Saudi Arabia in the Asian Cup Final.
In June, the United States won the Gold Cup (The North American Championship) defeating Mexico 2-1.

Both sides qualify for the 2009 Confederations Cup, an important World Cup tune-up tournament in South Africa, joining Brazil (South American Champs), Italy (World Cup Champ), South Africa (Host nation), the 2008 European, African, and Oceania champs. Teams are sorted through a blind draw.

20 bucks right now says the US and Iraq get drawn together.


Sunday Morning From the Slammer

>> Sunday

In one of the surest inevitabilities in the history of the world, a YCS staffer had to spend a weekend morning bailing someone out of jail. However, this staffer did not bail out a fellow staffer, but rather his father from the drunk tank (And you wonder how we turned out like we did). Complete with bail funds put up by friends of YCS Dan Cherwin and Michael Blunda, we cruised on down to the Skokie Jailhouse and set my father free. After being released from the long arm of the law, Papa Zuch was greeted with a standing ovation. Rest assured that there will photographic evidence of today's events as soon as my poor ass can afford the computer hook-up for my cell phone. In meantime, just another Sunday morning for the staff of Yellow Chair Sports.


The Hall of Lame in Pooperstown, NY

And under that title, I will now attempt to offer legitimate baseball analysis.

If you aren't already aware, the Baseball Hall of Fame will induct two new members today--Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. Both Gwynn and Ripken were inducted in near-unanimous votes, making this one of the rare years that will not feature debate over the inductees' merits.

As I see it, that gives us the perfect opportunity to have a different, more important discussion. Most years, we're all so hung up on who should've or shouldn't've been voted in that we overlook the issue at the core of Hall of Fame debates--that is, the perceived overcrowding of the Hall of Fame. Because so many fans and writers share this perception, deserving players get squeezed out every year, and those that make the cut are often discounted and scrutinized.

So what's the solution? Well, that's simple. It's time to boot out some of the players already in the Hall of Fame. Sure, that might seem unfair to those players, but not kicking them out is even more unfair to future Hall of Famers and Hall of Fame snubs.

I thought I would offer my suggestions for defrocking in the form of a nine-man "team." I figure nine players is a good number to start, and lists like this are always more fun to mold into an impossible-to-assemble lineup than to say, "Hey, here's a list of a dozen or so guys with this similarity."

So loyal readers, I give you my votes for the 2007 Hall of Lame Team.

C - Ray Shalk

I'll give this guy credit. He did spend 18 years as a catcher, most of those as a full-time starter. So the dude must've pretty tough. Nevertheless, he was a pretty awful hitter. Granted he played in the '10s and '20s, Schalk only managed 11 career homers. Even in his three best seasons, he was merely a league-average hitter, which isn't so bad for a catcher but pretty crappy for a Hall of Famer.

1B - Tony Perez

This is probably the toughest position to find anyone boot-worthy, but Perez is the best candidate. As much as I despise the use of counting stats as a measure of career success, his 379 homers are rather low for a guy who played a low-impact defensive position. Also, his .341 career OBP is unimpressive for a power hitter and a Hall of Famer. Voters likely voted for Perez based in large part on his 1,652 RBI, which of course were aided by the tremendous talent of his 1970s Reds teammates.

2B - Bill Mazeroski

Mazeroski might not be the single-worst 2B in the Hall of Fame, but he is the player I hate most in the history of baseball. People are concerned about steroid-users in the Hall? How about a modest-hitting middle infielder with a .299 career OBP who only got inducted because he had buddies on the Veterans Committee and hit one stupid lucky homer that happened to win Game 7 of a World Series against the Yankees? "But he was a great defensive player!" Yeah, yeah, yeah... I don't care if he had a thirty-foot vertical. There's no way he was that friggin' good.

3B - Freddie Lindstrom

As best I can tell, Lindstrom was like the Dave Hollins of his generation. Maybe Bobby Bonilla, but I think that's being generous. He didn't play very long; he wasn't effective for very long; and when you remember that a .379 BA wasn't such a big deal in 1930 (something the voters may not have comprehended in 1976), you realize that he never even had a standout season. Oh, but he did play in New York.

SS - Phil Rizzuto

The obvious pick, Rizzuto is the classic case of a player riding the coattails of his team's success. (His own popularity as a broadcaster helped too, I'm sure.) While his 1950 MVP season was admittedly impressive, none of his other season stats would indicate that he was a special player. And if you think big-market bias is just a modern day phenomenon, look at the 1949 AL MVP voting. That's messed up.

OF - Lloyd Waner

Like Lindstrom, Waner compiled a bunch of .300 seasons in the late '20s and '30s when that wasn't such a big deal. When Waner was inducted in 1967, baseball was going through its most pitching-dominated era in recent history, which likely distorted the value of those high BAs. His lifetime OPS+ of 99 would indicate that he's precisely average, which even if he were an incredible defensive player would not merit a Hall of Fame induction.

OF - Tommy McCarthy

It may seem unfair to pick on a 19th century player, but in this list, everyone is fair game. And remember--we're talking about subtracting him from the Hall. The deader he is, the less of a fight he'll put up. McCarthy, even for those days, was not very good. He did steal a lot of bases, but he only played nine full seasons, four of which were pretty blah by the norms of the era. He also spent four of those years playing in the American Association, which was, by best indication, run on improvisation. In fact, McCarthy's best season was 1890, a year in which his St. Louis Browns played 136 games, as opposed to the 36 played by sixth-place Baltimore and the 99 played by the last-place Brooklyn Gladiators, and the World Series ended in a tie.

OF - Richie Ashburn

Ashburn was a very good hitter, but I think it's fair to say he benefited from his inseparable link to the "Whiz Kids" team. He was the Platonic ideal of a leadoff hitter--high average, lots of walks, low strikeout totals, and speed--but he had zero power (29 career HR), and he was not a very efficient base stealer. He was undoubtedly one of the better outfielders of his era, but he looks pretty weak next to nearly every other Hall of Fame outfielder.

P - Early Wynn

If Cleveland hadn't brought back the 43 year-old Wynn in 1963 to get one win, he would've ended his career on 299 and might have never made the Hall. But because he did get that win and because sports writers think like children, Wynn's induction was much easier (fourth ballot) than it should've been. With those 300 wins, he also lost 244. And while I realize that W-L is a poor evaluation tool, that's a lot of losses. Wynn also finished his career with just a 106 ERA+ and a 1.3 K/BB ratio. Wynn's career also lacks that five-year string of dominance that most Hall of Famers have, and even his one Cy Young was undeserved (won 22 games for the '59 AL champ White Sox with just a 3.17 ERA, 118 ERA+ and 119 BB).

So now that we've thinned out the heard a little, there should be plenty of room not only for Ripken and Gwynn today, but for Santo, Rice, Bert, and at least a few more border-line guys. And aw what the hell--let's give Rob Deer a plaque too.


Yellow Chair Sports Receives Much Needed Aid

>> Friday

I'm not sure how many of the YCS staff ever actually check our email address, yellowchairsports@gmail.com, but if you have, you'll know that we receive a ridiculous amount of spam emails from people who need our help getting money out of their frozen bank accounts. Little do they know that we're basically destitute.

Anyway, this latest is bar-none the best one yet:


The funniest part about this is that it seems like the European Union wants to expend money (1.4 million euros to be exact) to develop the humanitarian project that is Yellow Chair Sports. Beautiful.

P.S. Rest assured, I've already provided the sender with all the requisite contact information and bank account numbers so that we can claim our award. What do you mean I shouldn't have done that?


Commissioners Vote Unanimously to Consolidate Superfluous Athletes

In a move that analysts throughout the sporting community are calling shocking and "highly unnecessary," the commissioners of every major American sports league have voted to eliminate all players in their leagues that share a name with other professional athletes, consolidating each name into the best player with each individual name.

The movement, dubbed "Operation Cutback," was first proposed by NBA chief David Stern early last year as an organizational strategy and cost-saving measure. The proposal gained momentum as commissioners from the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball grew incresingly wary of and confused by the proliferation of a few common - and possibly redundant - names among their athletes.

The turning point appeared to have come during a recent series between the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamonbacks in late June. During an at-bat by D-Backs outfielder Chris Young against Padres starter Chris Young, baseball commissioner Bud Selig was overheard to exclaim, "Chris Young against Chris Young? What the hell is going on here?!?! Get me David Stern on the phone and tell him we're ready to move on this thing. This shit's gone too far. Also, what am I doing at a Padres-Diamondbacks game?"

Players from every sports league have been affected by the decision, some of whom will be forced, as NFL head Roger Goodell said in a statement released early Thursday, to "pack up [their] shit and get the hell out. Go find another job. We've already got plenty of [your first name] [your last name]s around here."

Still others face an even more daunting task, as they will be required, starting in January of 2008 to learn to play as many as three other sports at a professional level. "This is nuts, man," said Carolina Panthers WR and now-former NHL and NBA All-Star Steve Smith. "Did you know that I also coach third base for the Phillies? How am I supposed to handle that? I don't know shit about baseball. Worst of all, thanks to this new rule, I'm also that asshole that shaved points while playing basketball for Arizona State in the mid-90's. I have a criminal record now. This sucks."

Other athletes, however, have received the news quite positively, as many welcomed the increased opportunities and greater recognition the rule will provide. "This is awesome," said Nascar driver and Super Bowl champion coach Jimmie Johnson. "Not only do I still get to race, but I also get two Super Bowl rings and a chance to go on FOX every Sunday and talk about football! This fuckin' rules!"

Amid all the confusion, however, the new rule has made one thing undeniably clear. Kareem/Karim Abdul Jabbar is now unquestionably the greatest athlete ever. In addition to winning six NBA championships, a record six NBA MVP awards and three NCAA titles, analysts can now only stand and applaud the fact that after playing 20 years in the NBA, Jabbar still found the time and energy to rush for 3,000 yards and score 33 touchdowns for relatively poor Miami Dolphin teams in the mid '90s.


Notre Dame to Play Against a Good Team BEFORE Getting Shellacked in a Bowl Game

Notre Dame's AD has announced that they have a deal to play Oklahoma in 2012 and 2013.

The deal is groundbreaking for the Irish, as outside of getting beaten by USC by three or four touchdowns seemingly every year, Notre Dame is used to playing the elite of college football almost exclusively in bowl games, where the Domers have not won since the staff of this blog was in fourth grade.

In recent years, Notre Dame has often spurned programs of Oklahoma's calibre when scheduling games; preferring instead to play a "national schedule" which is routinely rated as "one of the toughest in the country."

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis commented, "It'll be really great to get Oklahoma so early in the season (replacing ND's current contract with Michigan.) Getting to play the Sooners one or two weeks into the season should really give our boys a good tune-up for the slugfests against Army and Syracuse later in the season."

Weis was further questioned on that point, with reporters noting that last year ND beat Army 41-9, and Army finished the season 3-9, so it didn't look like it was that tough of a game given that, well...few if any of the Army seniors are going to the NFL. They're probably going to Iraq. Weis retorted angrily.

"Yea, they're going to Iraq. You think they're a bunch of pussies? Tell that to al-Qae...you know what? You go ahead and write that story. You do your fuckin' job and I'll do mine. All I know is, Army didn't go to the Sugar Bowl last year and we did. Sure we lost 41-14, but all that means is if a few plays went the other way, then we were only a few plays away from winning. You know, we've got a winning streak against Navy that goes back to the Kennedy Administration. Think that's luck? Or that Navy just sucks? No. We fuckin' own those guys. Air Force and North Carolina don't beat themselves either. You guys think that just happens? No way. That's the end result of the tradition of excellence we expect out of our young men here at Notre Dame."

Weis then stormed out of the media room, and refused to answer any questions about the Irish's highly-anticipated showdown with Duke this year. The 1945 Sugar Bowl Champions visit South Bend on November 17th.


Props to the ol' Alma Mater

To combat the dog-fighting, game-fixing, steroid-pumping stars of the news, ESPN has put together a "Good guys in sports" list.

Both Marquette alum Dwyane Wade and Marquette's men's and women's soccer teams made the list.

Yellow Chair Sports, however, was notably absent.


Big Ten Looking at Cash Grab....Ummm...I mean Expansion

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney is interested in looking at expansion of the Big Televen by adding a twelfth team. He offered no candidates, but dropped the following clues for budding e-sleuths to decipher.

- We know from history that the Big Ten has thought about offering Big Ten Conference Membership to Notre Dame and Pitt.
- The new Big Ten Network, which is scheduled to launch Aug. 30, would benefit from an additional big-name university in a large television market, Delany said.
- "The broader (the network) is distributed, the more value (expansion) has. We have eight states. With expansion, you could have nine," (We'll assume this means states contiguous to the current Big Ten members.)

After examining the clues, I think I have it figured out.
The Big Ten is going to expand to include the New York Jets.

Let's face it, even if that's not what Jim Delaney is thinking, it's the only way to go. By adding the Jets, you already have a fanbase that has shown it can fill a stadium comparable to many Big Ten schools. The Jets likewise are a perfect fit because they've won more than 10 games only once in the last 20 years; they'd be right alongside teams like Illinois and Michigan State.

The Jets expansion would also add the largest major media market in the country to the Big Ten's network's current repertoire. It would add New Jersey and nominally New York into Jim Delaney's state expansion plan.

It's a perfect fit. I don't know how nobody else sees this besides me.


Once Again Proving Why We're the Greatest Country in the World

>> Thursday

America: a country so breathtakingly free that even our astronauts are allowed to get totally blasted on the job. This story is pure brilliance. If you're too lazy to click on the link, here's the headline and sub-head:

Drunken astronauts reportedly allowed to fly
Independent panel cites ‘heavy use of alcohol’ before launch, sources say

"So, let me get this straight. You're going to strap me on top of tons of combustible fuel and shoot me off into space in some contraption built by whoever was willing to do it for the least amount of money? All right, fine, but I'm gonna need to get totally plowed first."

Coming next week in part two of this report:

Drunken astronauts reportedly wake up to find "hot" Russian companion on international space station much less hot than previously believed


Matt Lauer Yearns for a Simpler Time of Race Riots and Nuclear Standoffs

This morning on NBC's Today Show, host Matt Lauer led into a story on the recent scandals in sports (Yellow Jersey getting kicked off Tour de France for doping, NBA ref-rigging, Barry-'roiding, and Vick Dog-fighting) by stating the following. I am not joking.

"Doesn't it seem that everywhere you turn today in sports there's a scandal and controversy? What happened? I remember when I was growing up I followed and idolized athletes like Muhammad Ali..."

Well, aside from the fact that Ali was guilty of draft evasion, sentenced to prison for five years, and advocated Black Separatism, I suppose Ali did have a relatively uneventful, mundane, non-controversial career.

Whatever you think about Vietnam and draft-evasion (or Black Separatism, I guess), I think we can all agree that Matt Lauer is an ignorant fuckhead who despite being a grown man, still views sports like a child; completely incapable of remembering that there has ALWAYS been controversy in sports, and the present, like our golden yesteryears is no exception.

After finishing the story (the lead this morning), Lauer beefed up his journalistic credentials by reporting on what rehab facility Lindsay Lohan is going to. Atta boy, Matt.


A great day for White Sox fans

The White Sox just traded Juan Uribe for Hanley Ramirez!

Just kidding. But they did pull the broadcaster equivalent of that. As reported in this morning's Red Eye, White Sox broadcaster Darrin Jackson will be going on leave next month for the birth of his expected child. (Smart money says the kid doesn't learn to talk until he's four.)

In his stead during the leave will be former Cubs broadcaster and Semite, Steve Stone.

And one more:


From AT&T Park in San Francisco I'm Pedro Gomez, ESPN

Scene: Post-game on the night that Barry Bonds finally hits 756. Outside the Giants locker room, ESPN correspondant Pedro Gomez stands, microphone in hand, ready to go on air.

Scott Van Pelt: And now with more on tonight's historic milestone, ESPN's Pedro Gomez joins us from San Francisco. Pedro?

Pedro Gomez: Scott, the mood in San Francisco tonight can best be described as more relief than celebration. 756 marks the end of a long, excruciating struggle that the historic chase's tragic hero will never forget.

SVP: Pedro, you've said that Bonds has expressed relief over the chase coming to an end, has he--

PG: [interrupting] Bonds? I didn't say anything about Bonds. I'm the 'tragic hero' here, Scott. I mean come on, I've been stuck out here covering this pompous clown while you namby pamby assholes sit back in Connecticut cutting half of my pieces from the air.

SVP: [taken aback] Well, uh, Pedro, this really isn't the time or the place to talk about sacrifices you've--

PG: Oh, cut the shit, pretty boy.

[pulls can of beer out of pants pocket and cracks it open]

I'm the one who's watched a promising journalism career head straight down the can while spending three-plus years covering this farce. I'm the one that has to spend every night in a tiny room in a Best Western in Oakland - fucking Oakland - because ESPN only pays $45 a night for my accomadations because of some bullshit about my not having enough "years of service" with the network. Don't tell me about sacrifice.

[takes a long chug of beer, a majority of which ends up on his shirt and face]

Did you know that I sleep with a handgun under my pillow in case I get robbed again? Last time they took my socks, man, my socks!

SVP: Pedro, I'm sorry, but we're gonna have to cut you off...

PG: [loosening tie] Oh, sure, cut me off. Now that the chase is over, who needs ol' Pedro, eh? This is BS. Do you have any idea what I've gone through while covering this neanderthal? The guy will barely talk to me, and when he does it's just five straight minutes of him yelling at me and calling me a fag.

[in between sips of beer] Did you know he and Randy Winn once decided, on a whim, to hold me down, de-pants me and squirt an entire tube of BenGay on my crotch and then laugh hysterically while I ran pantsless around the clubhouse with my nuts on fire frantically looking for a towel only to have Barry Zito and Pedro Feliz snap me with towels until my butt cheeks turned so red my ass looked like John Kruk's face after sprinting up ten flights of stairs?

Or the night I spent hanging from a hook in a bathroom stall with my underwear wedgied so far up my ass I could feel the tag in the back of my throat, all because I asked Barry a question he didn't like.

SVP: Uh, Pedro, this really isn't--

PG: Or the time when he went 0-4 and decided, in the middle of an interview, to give me a pink belly so hellacious I couldn't eat solid food for a week? Does that ever make the air? Does it? Nooo, because I'm too much of a pussy, always toeing the company line, so it's all sunshine and rainbows and stories about how Barry made a great adjustment on a 2-2 pitch from David Wells. Well screw that. From now on, Pedro's only lookin' out for one guy - Pedro.

[chugs remainder of his beer, throws empty can at passing clubhouse attendant, pulls half-empty bottle of Yukon Jack from suit pocket, uncorks with teeth and takes a long pull]

How's this for a report, ass wads? "Barry Bonds was a dick yesterday, he's a dick today and he'll probably be a dick tomorrow." Is that what you've sent me out here to learn so that you fucks have something to put on the air in between some asinine Nascar story and the latest installment of "Who's Now?" Gimme a fuckin' break.

You know what, fuck this. I'm done.

[takes another long pull of whiskey, and pulls out a handgun from inside waist of his pants]

How's this for a signoff, cocksuckers? ESPN can lick the remnants of Ben Gay from my chemically scarred nutsack and those of you watching at home can fuck yourselves with the rosin bag Bonds once threatened to shove up my ass. How's that go over with the soulless pricks at Disney?

[begins firing randomly in the air]

[yelling amid screaming passersby] From AT&T Park in the darkest depths of hell, I'm Pedro Gomez, , ESP MOTHERFUCKIN' N.

[cut to Van Pelt in the stuido]

SVP: [clears throat] Coming up next on SportsCenter, did Derek Jeter and the bombers have enough firepower to hold off a late surge from the Blue Jays?

Neil Everett: And later, our "Who's Now" panel tackles the hot issue of the day: Anna Kournikova or Sidney Crosby? Hear what our experts had to say. Stay tuned.

[cut to commercial]


"Rich in proteins and electromagnetic juices. It promotes robust health."

>> Wednesday

"Of course, it has been known to cause gigantism, but only in rare cases."


Part of Me Thinks There's a Joke to be Made Here

Currently pitching for the Reds: Jon Coutlangus.

The joke, which may be a pun, is on the tip of my tongue, but I just can't quite put my finger on it. Or my tongue in it.



Hilarious, hilarious exchange

I feel like I should make my first new-format post something substantial. But I should tell you this post will not be substantial.

For those of you who don't know, I recently packed up my massive collection of Star Trek paraphernalia and moved out of my mom's basement into a big boy apartment (but have yet to quit playing D&D and watching the Sci-Fi Channel).

As a result of this leap into adulthood and my cheapskate ways, I am indefinitely without cable and internet. What this means to you readers is that A) my posting on piddling crap has/will not be as frequent (though this post will qualify) and B) I'll be receiving most of my sports 1940s-style--from the newspaper on the morning train ride and through the wonder of radio.

For those of you who don't live in or around Chicago, each Cubs radio broadcast is an event unto its own. The combination of play-by-play man Pat Hughes--one of the most professional, fluent, and insightful guys in the business--and color man Ron Santo--one of the least professional, fluent, and insightful guys in the business and a man whose signature calls are "Yeah...," "Oh, MAAAANN!," and "Geez!!"--creates a magic one can scarcely describe.

Without having heard the duo yourself, it's nearly impossible for me to relay this magic without a good bit of it lost in translation. However, I couldn't help but transcribe this exchange from last night's broadcast, which epitomizes the Hughes-Santo dynamic:

Top six, nobody out, Theriot on first, Lee at the plate, 2-0 count

Hughes: The 2-0 to Lee... Theriot's running... Lee takes... the throw down to second, and he is... out!

Santo [immediately, assuredly]: He was NOT out!!

[few seconds of silence]

Hughes [matter-of-factly]: Theriot went in with a feet-first slide.

Santo [clearly watching the monitor and talking to Hughes alone, forgetting that he's on radio as he's wont to do]: Let me watch that again... See, look... Right there! You can tell that he's in there!

Hughes [composed, as always]: The second base umpire tonight is Scott Barry... No argument on the play from Ryan Theriot...

Santo [defiant]: Yeah... but... Ryan knows he was in there.

Hughes [in stride, used to this sort of thing]: So there's now one down and the bases empty...

Then in the late innings, there was this exchange:

Hughes: There is virtually no wind here in St. Louis tonight.

Santo: Well I'm hoping for no wind, period.

Hughes [baffled]: Are you... ...?

Santo [proud, as if he's said something very clever]: Did you get that? No wind, as in, no win--

Both, in broken unison: W-I-N

Hughes: Sort of a pun there... I see...

Santo: Yeah

[several moments of silence]


Yellow Chair Sports: Now Less of an Eyesore

Welcome, suckas. No, you're not in the wrong place. You're at your favorite website, Yellow Chair Sports. What we've got here is a shiny new layout (that's probably full of bugs) that I hope you'll enjoy way more than I enjoyed making it. Because making it sucked.

The new design features some handy dandy features, such as an "About Us" section over on the top right and a link that makes it much, much easier for you to tell us how much we suck at what we do.

Also, feel free to poke around in the categories to the left containing some of YCS' greatest hits, including the ever-popular "Sports World Nostalgia" collection.

If you've got a chance, feel free to also poke around the Friends of YCS at your leisure, they'll appreciate it.

As always, suggestions and opinions on the new design are welcome either by email or in the comments section.

P.S. Big thanks to Nate for helping with the artistic direction for the new design.


Simmons on the Tim Donaghy Situation

I'm not a big Bill Simmons fan. Okay, that's a lie. I hate Bill Simmons, I think he's a hack and he epitomizes the frat boy mentality that represents most of what I think is wrong at ESPN.

However, say what you will about Simmons, he does know the NBA. He's got a passion for the game and the league that I respect if sometimes not entirely agree with. I thought his column on the Tim Donaghy scandal was pretty interesting as it makes a number of good points about a lot of the internal problems facing the NBA.

Anyway, it's worth a read, so check it out, boyos.


Australians Do All They Can to Embarass Milwaukee, Part 2

>> Tuesday

A day after Aussie-born reliever Grant Balfour suffered the loss in a 12 inning game to the Reds, we find this gem from Bucks center and apparent psycho Andrew Bogut. This is the haircut he's chosen. I am, quite honestly, speechless.

The solution? Simple. It's time to deport all Australians from Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin at large.


756 or 756*? A torn fan's dilemma

It's said that you can really only feel one of two ways about Barry Bonds, that you love him or hate him. Everyone around McCovey Cove seems to be in praise of Bonds and his pursuit to become baseball's all-time home run king, steroids or no steroids. Everyone on the other side of the fence seems absolutely convinced that Bonds used steroids and as such, he is forever branded as a cheater.

I guess I disprove that theory because I honestly can't decide. But Margaret Thatcher (I'm willing to be that's her first mention on this blog) said that standing in the middle of the road was dangerous because then you'll get knocked down by traffic coming in both directions.

So here's what I think on Bonds, not because you really give a damn what I think. (Christ, people, don't look to sportswriters, much less amateur ones. Make up your own minds.) I'm rather writing this because it will likely be decidedly less relevant once he breaks the record.

First off the case against Bonds. To the un-medical-schooled eye, it's obvious that Bonds has undergone a remarkable physical transformation over his career. However, I'm no doctor. Frankly, as the rest of this staff will attest, I don't know the first thing about body building, unless the building materials involve frozen pizza and beer. So, I can't really tell whether it's steroids or just a really good training program that's kept him in shape all these years. Looking at Bonds' statistics, it's easy to point at his 73-home run total in 2001 when he was allegedly 'roided up, and his 14-game 2005 campaign as a time for him to "clean himself out." However, such an assertion would be pure conjecture. That's the dilemma of the case around Bonds. There seems to be a lot of circumstantial evidence, but nothing hard and fast to point to. No smoking gun as it were. There's a lot of smoke, so it would be reasonable to judge that there's probably a fire somewhere, but that brings us to the second part of our story...

There really is no smoking gun. Hell, other than his '01 73-homer outlier, Bonds has pretty consistently hit 35-45 homers per season both before and after '01 when healthy. Despite that key fact, things look really bad for Bonds in terms of the public eye, and Lord knows his perpetual hostility towards the media has not helped him in this regard. But still, there really isn't any proof that Bonds is undeniably a cheater. There are investigations, subpoenas, and tell-all books, but to the best of my knowledge, there's nothing completely damning so far. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a debate at all. It would be settled fact.

On that front, we have to remember that the mainstream news media, and the mainstream sports media have both jumped the gun before when it looked pretty bad. Oops. Ever since then, whenever serious charges are thrown out (like, Bonds is a cheater) that go to the core of a person's character, we need to demand a higher standard of proof rather than just allegations and circumstantial evidence. However, at the same time, with one of sport's greatest records being threatened, fans feel a need to ask those same tough questions of any dubious claim on the title.

In the end, it's kind of sad, and maybe on a deeper, more pretentious level, it's a microcosm of our public debate in general because both sides are firing accusatory questions past each other, without really taking all the facts into account.

And why should they? Their minds are already made up and nothing is going to change that. Bonds is already the greatest home-run hitter ever, if not the greatest all-around player ever and damn what anyone else thinks. They're just jealous. Bonds is a cheater and a disgrace to the game, and damn any absence of proof. We don't need any.

PS: I included the picture because I thought it was funny.


The Dubious Role of the Closer: A F___ing Novel

The following is a topic that the baseball-centric staff at YCS have discussed at great length before (while hammahed). It comes to mind specifically tonight after watching the Brewers and Reds go back and forth for 12 innings trying to hand the game to the other team, a battle the Brewers ultimately lost because Grant Balfour is the king of handing games to the other team.


Bottom of the 12th inning, runners at first and second, no outs, Grant Balfour on the mound for Milwaukee. Runner at first reached on a walk, runner at second walked on four straight pitches despite the fact that he was trying to lay down a sac bunt.

Brewers play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson says something to this effect: "With the situation the Brewers are in, do you think Yost would consider bringing in Francisco Cordero to put out the fire?"

Color Man Bill Schroeder: "Well, that's not the way you play if you're on the road. On the road you almost have to save your closer because if you don't, who's going to pitch after you get the go-ahead run to save the game?"

The next hitter bunts to the Balfour, who throws the ball to third. Runner is safe. Bases loaded. Pinch hitter Javier Valentin singles to right, game over.

Yost's decision to bring out recently recalled Grant Balfour (who has been terrible in an admittedly small sample size of two appearances) to pitch the 12th instead of Carlos Villanueva or Chris Spurling notwithstanding, it is my contention that this inning was managed terribly.

I am not, by the way, one to frequently second-guess managers, especially Ned Yost. I think Yost is a fine manager, in that he doesn't seem to make too many stupid decisions during games like calling a ton hit and runs, stealing bases in front of good hitters, sac bunting early in games or doing anything else that a lot of managers do to appear to be playing "aggressively." He plays to the numbers and generally does whatever he can to keep best hitters in the lineup every night. In fact, I am basically of the belief that managers don't make a very large impact on the game at large, and what impact they do make can more frequently be negative than positive.

The caveat to this opinion, however, comes when you consider decisions regarding the pitching staff. For starters, this is generally relegated to managing pitch counts and making a decision on whether to pinch hit for a starter when trying to play for a big inning in the National League. Most of the time, these decisions are relatively innocuous. When it comes to relievers, and specifically closers, the basis for making pitching changes seems increasingly to be based on little more than tradition and adherence to a tired code of "that's the way it's supposed to go."

What it boils down to is basically this: playing to the save stat is stupid. The idea that Yost shouldn't bring in his best reliever in an extremely important situation because he "needs him to get the save if and when the Brewers get a run" is absolutely, frustratingly absurd.

Consider it when broken down piece by piece:

1. There are two runners on base with no outs in a situation whose outcome could very probably determine the outcome of the game.
2. The Brewers would be best served with a strikeout or a ground ball for a potential double play.
3. The current pitcher has walked the first two batters of the inning, the second on four straight pitches.
4. Francisco Cordero is the Brewers' best relief pitcher, and the pitcher most likely to product the needed outcome of a strikeout (other than Derrick Turnbow who has already pitched).
5. Francisco Cordero should be put into the game.

That hacky and possibly nonsensical syllogism makes sense to me. And as Nate put it, "losing in extra innings in a one run game with your best reliever not having pitched" is something that just shouldn't happen.

So, you ask, say the Brewers get out of that no-out jam, end up scratching a run in the top of the 13th and then need someone to pitch the 13th. What then? Well, in that case you've got a one run cushion and still have a pair (at least) of pitchers to choose from, both of whom come in with no runners and a clean slate. If they give up a run, you're back where you started, but the most important thing is that you got to your next at-bat, the ultimate goal in extra innings. Leaving your "closer" in the bullpen because the situation doesn't fit the ambiguous necessity of pitching with a three run or less lead to finish the game baffles and pisses me off to no end.

P.S. This didn't always used to be the case for the use of a "closer." Frequently, Rollie Fingers and other closers in the late '70s, early '80s would come in whenever there was the threat of a big inning and they needed outs. Following that, the bullpen would shake itself out using the other guys in less important situations. Of all the ways the game has evolved since then, this is one aspect in which innovation isn't really progress.

P.P.S. My hypothetical idea for how to manage the situation made in obvious hindsight: don't use Turnbow in the 9th, instead using Villanueva, Wise or any of the other available short relievers. Continue using said shorties and if above situation arises, use Cordero. If you get out of it, use second best reliever Turnbow to close in the 9th. Two best pitchers pitch in most important innings. Obviously, this wouldn't always work to plan, but it's a thought.

Your thoughts appreciated, as always, in the comments.


This Post Has Nothing To Do With Sports

IMDb is one of my favorite sites on the net because, in addition to being a huge nerd when it comes to sports, I'm a huge nerd when it comes to movies. And tv. And random trivia. Ok, fine, I'm a nerd for most things you can be a nerd about.

Anyway, IMDb has a feature on their site where it says something to the effect of "If you like this movie/show, you'll also like..." and lists similar shows/movies/harlequin romance novels (what?).

On the IMDb page for the greatest new show on tv, aka "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," one of the listings is for the movie "Sister Act." I'm not kidding.

I find this hilarious.

Also, for the show "Will & Grace," it says, "If you like this show, you'll also like:"

some dick.

Just kidding. But the first one's true.


Raw (Zone) is Still War (Zone)

>> Monday

Tonight, I watched my first WWE Raw Zone in years -- in fact, the last time I watched it, it was still WWF Raw. Here are some various musings based on tonight's show:

1.) The RKO is a Stone Cold Stunner without the kick in the gut:

2.) Jeff Hardy still kicks ass. Usually high-flying wrestlers break something or wear out all their cartilage after one or two years in the WWE. Not Jeff Hardy. The dude still put in the most acrobatic performance of the night. And he knocked the shit out of some big Samoan guy's ass with a "steel" chair.

3.) In a "sport" with virtually no enforced rules, it still bothers me that a guy can lose a match for being out of the ring for more than 10 seconds. I mean, a third-party wrestler (who's not even involved in the match) can come into a match, knock a guy out with a chair, and the match proceeds as if it was all legal. Yet, if I guy gets knocked out outside of the ring and doesn't get back in time, he loses. Bogus.

4.) Jerry Lawler is probably on steroids too. Have you seen him lately? Even the announcers are taking steroids. Why aren't people calling out Vince McMahon instead of Bud Selig? How many wrestlers are going to die young before somebody puts the squeeze on this guy and his business? Why not call these guys up to Capitol Hill?

5.) King Booker is the second worst black character wrestler of all time. I was going to say that the Godfather was the worst. Then I considered Papa Shango. Then, a Wikipedia search revealed that both characters were the same guy, Charles Wright. They all suck. The WWE turns these guys into clowns. I mean, it might sound a little racist, but why not make a black wrestler totally hip-hop? If the WWE can create white trash characters (like the guys pictured to the left, the current tag team champs), why can't they come up with a couple of hardcore gangstas?

6.) I have no idea why anyone would watch this garbage. "There is not a single good character in pro wrestling these days. " I admit, this notion probably fits into Vinnie's argument that every year people say, "The cast of SNL is one of the worst ever". Then, ten years down the road, people get all nostalgic for the Jim Breuers and the Horatio Sanzes that they loved so much. But seriously, there's probably not going to be another Rocky Maivia.

7.) Candice is from Milwaukee?! Man, finding a chick like that in Milwaukee happens like once every decade!


The most specific book ever

“I don’t know how my putt missed. I’m still trying to ask myself, trying to find an answer on that,” [Garcia] said. “And then I should write a book on how not to miss a shot in the play-off and shoot one over. I just have to move on and hopefully do better next time.”

Sergio Garcia's Not Missing Shots in Major Championship Playoff Holes and Shooting One Over and Hopefully Doing Better Next Time: A Handy How-to Guide will be released this September by Doubleday.


Coming Soon...

New format, same old shitty writing and allusions to the word "cunt!"

That's right, we're slapping some lipstick on this pig and gettin' her all dolled up real purty like for the prom.

I'll be working out the kinks for the next day or so, but the new design should be up at this same address pretty soon. For those of you who actually write for the blog, you can take a look at the rough design at the url I emailed to you.

For anyone who's interested, here's a preview of what the new patented (i.e., mostly stolen) YCS logo will look like. It's flashy.

Any suggestions on features/color scheme/etc. are welcome in the comments, however be advised - "take this piece of shit off the internet altogether" doesn't actually count as a suggestion.

P.S. The fact that I'm in charge of the HTML coding, template design and other nerd-type stuff for this means that there will be a massive amount of bugs for a little while until everything gets polished up. Bear with me.


YCS Asian Cup Roundup

>> Sunday

Iraq over Vietnam 2-0.

Iraq advances to Semifinals, wins Battle of Unpopular American Military Campaigns.


Mike Hunt...is shaking with anticipation...is sweating in the presence of Barry Bonds...cannot write a coherant column because he is in fact, a cunt

>> Friday

We here at YCS have had our fair share of laughs at the expense of mainstream media trying to cover small market teams, but you know what's waaaaaaaaaay funnier? Small market media coverage of mainstream stories. To be more specific, small market, sweaty journalists with a fourth-grade education and a hilarious name working for a shitty newspaper, writing an even shittier column on mainstream stories.

And thus I bring you to the latest installment of our special Milwaukee series, "Can you believe this second-rate columnist's parents actually named him Michael Hunt?" Comedic gold.

There is no video on this one. I apologize, though I'm really saving you from some horrible images that would later have to be burned out of your mind with some sort of ritual involving the blood of a virgin.

Now, you know the column is going to be a gem when he starts out with this longwinded...um, I don't know, can you call it a joke?

If you happened to be sitting outside the Miller Park foul poles Thursday it was hard to keep your eyes off the left-field wall, but not because of anything Geoff Jenkins or EricByrnes were doing in the course of their daily responsibilities.
Do you see where he's going with this one? Me neither.
That's where the San Francisco-Chicago score was being periodically flashed for the benefit of the morbidly curious, except that someone from stadium maintenance neglected to affix skull-and-crossbones stickers as a warning of the area's toxicity.
um...still not making much sense. If I weren't out to ridicule you, I would have stopped reading by now.
You looked for the same reason you can't avert your gaze from a highway pileup or a Journey music video. To cite the apocalyptic Col.Kurtz, "The horror . . . the horror."
JESUS FU-...Okay, has anyone ever explained to you the concept of 'hooking' the reader? Has anyone ever explained to you that it's horrible journalism to string something out...and out...and out...and to do so in THE FUCKING LEAD? We're three paragraphs in and no logical being could possibly understand what you're babbling about. Forchrist's sake, why the hell do they make us take any journalism classes at all, if this is what is considered the best sports writing in the city of Milwaukee?
The Cubs . . . or Barry Bonds?
I'm sorry. What?
That's almost like being asked to choose between Yi Jianlian's reps and Drew Rosenhaus.
Michael Vick and Vlad the Impaler.
Tony Montana and Tony Soprano.
You ate paint chips as a child, didn't you?

Now, you might think that this is an article about a hypothetical debate within Mike Hunt's mind over which is worse, Bonds or the Cubs. (Kind of like "Who's Now?" except no televisions get beer bottles thrown at them). But you, logical reader who has come to understand the basic concept of column writing, could not be more wrong.

He quickly answers that question, which remember he has spent the first 144 words leading up to, by saying that if you had to choose, you would take Barry. Not because the Cubs are the Brewers only legitimate challenge to the division crown. No, because Cubs fans puke in our parking lot and act like jerks. Okay, let's move on. Hope you enjoyed wasting five minutes of your life to follow Hunt's path to a dead end. So, whoops, back up. Quick, write a seamless transition into what you really want to talk about.

Anyway, Bonds may even be more receptive than your average Cubs fan to an entreaty for civility among baseball's most polite assembly:

Just don't do it here, Barry.

Note to anyone trying to become a legitimate journalist. If you find yourself starting a paragraph with the great tangent-follower, "Anyway..." go back and delete the last three graphs. At least. Actually, you're probably better off starting over. Not the column. Your career. Try something that doesn't involve writing.

And now that we've actually gotten to the "point" of the column, it was better off going down the Bonds vs. Cubs trail. Anyone who thinks that Bonds is going to break the record, or even tie the record, on the road, is insane. Now I'm not going to go over all the reasons that this is a dumb idea for a column, fueled by even dumber arguments. If you want to make yourself laugh and gag at the same time, read it for yourself.

I just want to counter that horrible opening with an even more horrible ending.

Maybe this could be averted if Bonds hits No. 754 tonight. Maybe then the Giants would sit him the rest of the series.
Then why did you write this column? Really, with Yi holding out, but maybe not holding out...Adam Dunn trade rumors swirling and dying in the span of a day...Matt Wise getting his second career hit...and the very-soon-to-be home run king coming to your city...THIS was the best story idea you could come up with. And then, at the very end of the column, you mention that there is a POSSIBILITY that Bonds would sit if he got within one home run of the record, a very likely possibility. So your whole column was pointless. Except of course as one hell of an example of terrible journalism. I can't wait to see how you wrap this one up.
Just a thought. Anywhere but here on Henry's turf.
Ah, I see you chose the two-sentances-that-have-no-connection-to-each-other route. Very nice. Seriously, I applaud your ability to cap such a shitstorm with a non-conclusion that doesn't even make sense. Do you just throw sentances into a hat and randomly select their order?

This is where I would conclude with another Mike Hunt joke, but he has finally overshadowed his name with what might possibly be the worst column ever printed in an actual newspaper. As a writer and a Milwaukee native, I am truly embarrassed. I think I will crawl into my bed and slowly rock back and forth until I lose consciousness.


ESPN May Not Be Huge Fans of Small Market Teams, After All

>> Thursday

Friend of YCS Brian sent me a really interesting (although sadly unsurprising) email today about the ongoing saga of the Yi Jianlian contract negotiations, specifically in re: ESPN's coverage therewith.

Brace yourself, this post contains accusations that ESPN may be engaged in irresponsible journalism. I'll give you a moment to collect yourself, I assume you just did a spit take followed by an exaggerated "WHAAAA!?!?!?!?!!" Good to go? Good.

The basic gist of what's happened is that ESPN.com's Mark Stein has run with a quote from Guangdong Tigers chief Chen Haitao in which he indicated that Jianlian would "never" play for the Bucks. Stein's blog story (sorry, it's insider) details the Yi "ultimatum" the Bucks face from the reluctant Tigers to allow Jianlian to play for Milwaukee. The story was on the front page of ESPN's NBA page for most of the day and remains prominently placed on the NBA page as of this post.

Sounds fine, right? On the whole, yeah, there has been some controversy over the fact that the Bucks took Yi dispite the fact that his people didn't want him in Milwaukee.

Well, there's a problem. The story apparently isn't true. Both the AP and fantasy sports site Rotowire have picked up the story and have clearly indicated that team officials in China are angrily denying that such statements (which first appeared in Chinese newspapers) were ever made.

Now, this isn't really a major issue on its face, because Stein or an editor at ESPN.com could simply throw a phrase into the article relating the way the story's validity is under review. The problem is, though, that they don't. To small market fans that don't get all their sports news from the WWL, this seems problematic. I'll let Brian elaborate and close it out in his own words, complete with plenty of passionate vitriol on behalf of Bucks nation:

I just wanted to point out that ESPN ran on their front page the sensational article that Chen Haitao said that Yi Jianlian would never play for the Bucks. When the AP puts out a story saying that the club is denying the story and the club is "very willing to work with the Bucks", where do you see it? Certainly not on ESPN's front page, they still have links to the original article that the Guangdong Tigers are denying.

As a Bucks fan and Milwaukee native this seems like a huge smear campaign by ESPN against the Bucks and the city of Milwaukee. Sorry we aren't in a big market, but the draft is the draft and no matter how many articles they run and how much negativity they spread, Yi will be playing for the Bucks.

I know the ESPN brass are probably already crying over the fact that the Brewers may be playoff bound, but they are going to have to deal with David Stern making them broadcast Bucks games now too. Well ESPN needs to suck it up and someone needs to be on the forefront pointing out this irresponsible journalism.


U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

After disappointing international performances from the Americans...

--Eliminated in second round of 2006 World Baseball Classic
--Eliminated in first round of 2006 FIFA World Cup
--Bronze Medal in 2006 FIBA Basketball Championships
--Eliminated in semifinals of 2004 World Cup of Hockey, Quarterfinals of 2006 Winter Olympics

It would have been easy to lose all hope. Forever to be dominated in the international arena by the likes of Ghana, Finland, and Argentina.

But now, A team of our nation's finest...well... maybe like our third-finest or fourth-finest players (All from NCAA or NAIA schools) won the 2007 IFAF World Championship, (that would be the International Federation of American Football) with a 23-20 win over defending champs Japan.

U-S-A! U-S-A!


Gordon Wittenmyer's Got a Feelin'

>> Wednesday

He's got a feelin' bout Jason Kendall. It's been a while since I've blatantly ripped off the dudes at Fire Joe Morgan and done a classic boldface attack on a stupid article written by some dude I've never heard of. Today's subject is Gordon Wittenmyer from the Chicago Sun-Times. The way this works is that Gord is gonna say some stupid stuff about stuff and then I'm gonna pretend I'm funny when I respond. Take it away, Gordy!

If the Cubs don't make another trade before the non-waiver deadline at the end of the month, their deal Monday night for catcher Jason Kendall should make them one of the winners when the trading season is evaluated -- his debut clunker notwithstanding.

Well Gordon, prepare for some more notwithstanding games for the rest of the season from Jason Kendall, because man, he's been awful this year.

A perfect fit for the Cubs for the defensive need he fills, the lifetime .298 hitter with more walks in his career than strikeouts also adds a different-look bat to a lineup that already has a solid crew of big-swinging run producers.

By "different-look" bat, Wittenmyer is of course referring to the fact that Kendall is a "bad hitter." Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano provide a different look at the plate, as they are all "good hitters."

Also, this business about having more walks than strikeouts? Give me a break. I don't care. Sure, it's awesome that Kendall walks a lot, (in fact, that's the only thing that makes him semi-valuable at this point) but the fact that he doesn't strike out doesn't tell me much. Also, it's not like he walks way more than he strikes out, he's walked a total of 40 more times in his career than he's struck out. That's not much. By comparison, Pujols has walked more than 100 more times than he's struck out in half as many seasons. I begin to doubt your credentials, man I've never heard of.

Lou Piniella, not to be outdone, also weighs in with some random and meaningless reasons why it's good for Kendall to be on the Cubs.

''He's an experienced guy that's played on winning teams."

Sort of. I mean, he's old and stuff, so I guess that means he's experienced, but he's only played on two winning Major League teams (the past two years in Oakland) in his career. Sure, the crap he played on in Pittsburgh wasn't exactly his fault, but neither was much of the winning in Oakland.

''He's a grinder."

Very true. Kendall is white.

"He likes to win."

Obviously. He's done it twice. Also, little known fact: Rob Bowen hates winning.


Sports World Nostalgia: Scott Servais

While listening to the Cubs game today and hearing about Koyie Hill's stud day at the park, I couldn't help but be reminded of the legend that was Scott Servais. Despite his career .245 batting average, Scott Servais showed all the necessary traits of a quality team leader, guts, spunk, and git. But the thing most impressive was how he called a game. Afterall, who else could have helped Kevin Tapani win 19 games in 1998?

Right now, Scott Servais is currently the Director of Player Development for the Texas Rangers and you can bet that he will lead those troops to the top of the AL West sometime in the next 10 years.

Plus, he's from La Crosse, Wisconsin....which just reinforces his awesomeness.


Yes, A Poker Post

My tenure at YCS may be hitting a new low here with a poker post, but after watching 16 grueling hours of the World Series Final Table, here are a few observations.

First off, if there was any doubt beforehand, I officially have no life for watching that much poker, let along paying 20 bucks to do so.

For the third time in five years, the winner could be desribed as someone who would not be the best player in the average home game. Seriously, I beg for Jerry Yang to relocate to Chicago or Milwaukee and become a regular at the local casinos.

Remember the name Alex Kravchenko. Already winning a bracelet this year against a tough field in Omaha Hi-Lo, Kravchenko firmly entrenched himself on the poker scene as a bigtime player. You will see his name frequently mentioned in major tournaments and he should definitely win his share of bracelets before it's all said and done. If he could have won his final coin flip against Yang, he would have taken the title down.

Lee Watkinson may have a fabulous track record, but man did he piss away a golden opportunity that he will likely never have again. I have no problem trying to bully the raising small blind with a re-raise, especially with an Ace in your hand. However, when that player would be Mr. Yang, you cannot make a move without having the best of it. Yang will call you with any kind of playable hand and not think about twice about making the safe and normally correct play.

Tuan Lam showed great discipline throughout the event, but you have to play much more aggressively heads-up. You should play a minimum of 80 percent of hands heads-up, especially when you're on the button and control the action. While he got his chips in with a premium hand in Ace-Queen suited and lost a coin flip, he let Jerry run him over way too much.

Finally, this would be advice to all poker players out there, and not just the majority of the final table. You can make a raise or re-raise without going all-in. Infact, unless you're severely short-stacked, you have no reason to go all-in unless you have the very best of it and know that your opponent will likely call you. Remember the saying, the all-in play works every time but one.


So you got frustrated, wound up, aimed at the opposing player's fans, and MISSED?

Probably explains why you were doing so poorly in the first place.

Work on that forehand, darlin'.


Beckham threatens to be a pussy

There are several reasons that soccer (or as those crazy Europeans call it, football) will not succeed in the U.S. But one thing that certainly does not help is Beckham potentially sitting out his much-anticipated debut because of an ankle injury.

The ankle swelled up during the flight from London to Los Angeles last Thursday and despite a weekend of massage and treatment, Beckham could not take a full part in Galaxy's open training session at the Home Depot Center last night in front of around 2,000 fans.

Sorry Posh Spice's husband, but in this country we play through the pain. If there's one thing American sports fans love, it's toughness. Whether it's Byron Leftwich being carried down the field with a broken leg, or Michael Jordan's famous flu, we want to see athletes that are fucking committed to their teams and their sport, and play injured and/or sick. We sure as hell don't want to see athletes that puss out in big moments.

Now I don't know the details of soccer and how such an injury would affect a player, but that doesn't really matter because most American sports fans are in the same boat as me. And this boat sees a swollen ankle as a pretty weak excuse to stay at home and sip champagne when an entire country has promoted your arrival with millions of dollars. Whether the standards are fair or not, the future of American soccer depends on them.

Sorry, but if Beckham doesn't play any impact he might have had is going to be severly reduced. The only chance for the U.S. to give a damn about soccer within the next decade is for Beckham to pla on Saturday, injured or not.

And of course, I personally could give a fuck less either way, because I can't imagine myself ever being entertained by a soccer game.


Will Ohman - What the Fuck!?!?!?!?!

>> Tuesday

After just watching this tool walk some jackass from San Francisco a couple minutes ago, I want to start a pledge to run this jerk out of Chicago. I don't care what his stats show, this guy blows and I'm not just talking his side job after the game. In the words of the man himself...."Ohhhh Man!"


Make Believe: A-Rod passes Bonds in 2015

As both Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez are each four HR from career milestones, I've been thinking a little bit about the potential for A-Rod to hold the all-time HR record a scant decade from now. Thus, I spent a little time today on Baseball Reference and in my own imagination envisioning how it might happen. And frankly, if God loves baseball, it will.

Let's start with the current situation: A-Rod has 496 career HRs and 1437 RBIs. He's 31 years old. He can do it. Here's how:

Scenario #1: A-Rod keeps up his current pace for another 8 years. If so, he'll be sitting on 800 HRs and 2400 RBIs, both the best of all time. Maybe he can; maybe he can't. Jimmy Foxx is the second youngest player to reach 500 HRs, but he finished with only 534 career HRs as he slid off very quickly (possibly due to a drinking problem according to some 'expert' on Wikipedia). In the early 90's, you probably could have envisioned Frank Thomas breaking Aaron's mark... and then all the injuries came (or whatever caused him to fall off). But there are plenty of greats and not-so-greats that kept up their hitting stats through their 30's: Hammerin' Hank himself, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Tony Gwynn and the likes of Craig Biggio, Harold Baines, Brian Downing, Edgar Martinez, Paul Molitor, Andres Galarraga, Reggie Jackson. Sure, not each of these guys was hitting 42 HRs and 120 RBIs per year, but they still show that ballplayers can still swing the stick by the time they hit 40 years of age.

Scenario #2: A-Rod matches Barry's totals, 1997-2007 (age 31-current), over the next ten years of his career. If so, A-Rod will be even farther ahead: 823 HRs (though less RBIs, only 2226). And that's after I've erased Bonds' 73 HRs for 2001, a year in which the 'cream' may or may not have accounted for all 73 HRs so we'll erase them all just to be sure.

Scenario #3: Nobody pays A-Rod the $80 million/year he'll want for the rest of his career, and he retires at age 33. Sha, right.

Sure, Barry Bonds may not retire for another two years, but even the most well oiled and marginally productive machines eventually are considered 'not worth it' by their clubs. And all careers must come to end (except Ricky Henderson's). Still, I can't see Barry Bonds hitting many more than 800 HRs in his career.

The future's never certain, but I for one will be ignoring Barry Bonds this month and will keep my eyes on A-Rod's "Chasing Barry" saga.


Up is down, left is right

I never thought I would take Dan LeBa(s)tard's side in a debate with Michael Wilbon, who is usually pretty intelligent when it comes to sport debates. But for two days in a row on PTI, Wilbon has made the mistake of overvaluing managers. Yesterday, he said that the Cubs hot streak could be mainly attributed to Pinnella's blow-up and ejection (the overplayed "he lit a fire under their ass" argument). I thought about posting a complaint on this site, but I decided--mostly out of laziness and forgetfullness--to let it go.

But today Wilbon claimed that Joe Torre is more valuble than Gary Sheffield, a hands-down first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. Apparantly, making the decision of when to hit-and-run or pinch hit and "managing people," as Wilbon put it, is much more important than 20 years of .298/.399/.527 baseball, not to mention 10 (working on 11) 30+ homerun seasons.

Sorry Wilbon, but I'm calling you out here on being a complete idiot. And, sigh, LeBatard's completely right.


"Bob in the Studio" Does Not Compute

>> Sunday

Driving home from dinner today listening to the Score, where the topic at hand was "What is the hardest sport to play at the professional level?" Aside from the incredibly flawed question being offered, which will be addressed later, there was a very odd set of criteria being used. I can't remember their names so the studio host will be "Bob in the Studio."

Bob in the Studio: "Jim on the Carphone, you're on the Score!"
JOTCP: "Yea, I think that golf is the hardest sport to play professionally. You look at some of these players who are eking out wins, the next week, they don't even make the cut."
BITS: But there's no defense in golf! Why not add bowling and darts?

(Say what you will about bowling and darts, but I've gotten a bullseye and a strike. I've never gotten a hole-in-one.)

BITS: "Jeff in Downers Grove, you're on the Score!"
JIDG: "Yea, I think the hardest sport to play professionally has got to be soccer. Few substitutions, only a few goals per game so they're hard to get, and running non-stop for 90 minutes"
BITS: "Answer me this. Can a two-year-old kick a ball?"*
JIDG: "Can a two-year old kick it past one of the best goalkeepers in the world?"**
BITS: "A two-year-old can kick a ball. Running and kicking that's all they do. Let's include long-distance running then. Go run a marathon and come back and tell me then. Soccer's not a sport. Keep it in Europe."*

*= I have friends who don't like soccer, but are pretty cool about it. This is probably the most asinine dumb jock soccer-bashing argument I've ever heard. However, that's beside the point, as you will see later, with the very next caller who calls in.
**= This guy is TOTALLY missing the point of the question.

BITS: "Craig in Aurora! You're on the Score 670!"
CIA: "Yea, I gotta say that boxing is the hardest sport."
BITS: "Boxing, I could see that."*

*= No mention of whether or not a two-year old could throw a punch. At which point Craig in Aurora would no doubt ask if a two-year old could knock out the world champion.

Bob in the Studio ultimately concluded that baseball was the hardest sport to play because "You got this ball of string coming at you at 90 miles an hour and you have to hit it within a half second or so." BITS ultimately has a point, as there's not many things harder in sport than to hit a moving round ball at 90 mph with a round bat being thrown by a man trying to deceive you.

However, BITS is also fatally flawed in his logic because hitting is not the only thing needed to play baseball. Fielding, pitching, and baserunning all go without saying, but BITS treated hitting as if it was the only thing necessary for a baseball team to compete at the highest level, and its inclusion in the sport was enough to qualify baseball as the most difficult.

Another caller said that football was one of the hardest sports to play. Now while I can't claim to have played varsity football (I know that comes as a shock to all of you), I can tell you that football as a sport is very team-based and not individual-based because it is so position-centric. In that manner, the game is similar to baseball, as baserunning, hitting, fielding, and pitching all require very different skill sets. Just think. How many baseball players are there who are great hitters, but really lousy fielders? Likewise, how many great pitchers have a sub-.200 batting average?
Likewise, in football, the center doesn't have the same duties and skill sets as a wide reciever who doesn't have the same traits and job assignments of a linebacker and so-on. In fact, following BITS's logic from both calls, since a two-year old could kick a ball, and one aspect of baseball is enough to make baseball the hardest sport to play at the professional level, wouldn't it stand to reason that the inclusion of kickers and punters on NFL rosters would make football an easy sport (or "not a sport") at the professional level since a two-year old could do it?

Perhaps this is all overanalyzing it since I didn't stick with the show long enough to confirm that it was just barroom discussion, but it really points out how easy it is to have your logic trip up when you enter a discussion with preconcieved notions of subjective topics. Also, you can't identify what sport is the "hardest" because they are all difficult sports at the professional level but for different reasons. The only common thread is that you are also competing against professionals at the same level. But if you're even going to have that debate (go ahead!) then at least pick sports that aren't as position-centric as baseball and football. (Think basketball, hockey, etc. where you could, in theory field a basketball team of all guards, where you couldn't field a football team of all quarterbacks.)

That's my two cents.


David Wells has seen the future of MLB, and we should all be terrified

>> Friday

Wells, after being ejected from a game for questioning (not all that heatedly) the umpire's call: "They're changing the game of baseball. We're not allowed to do anything. Pretty soon we'll all put skirts on and we're all going to play softball. You're going to have to throw underhand. If you throw overhand, you're going to get a 20-game suspension. That's kind of how I see this game going."

Yikes. The last thing anyone wants to see is C.C. Sabathia battling sudden gusts of wind, Marilyn Monroe style.


Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Of particular interest to our Marquette-based readers, are MU's 2007-08 Big East mirror games. This year it goes from a 16-game schedule to an 18-game conference slate, sadly meaning one less home game against the likes of Savannah State, and one more against the likes of Cincinnati and Syracuse. Dang.

This season, the Warriors will play every Big East side once, but will also have return trips against ....

Louisville, Notre Dame, and Seton Hall.

I am already regretting my decision to not attend Seton Hall Law School.


Hawks Fan Out in Force

>> Thursday

It would not be surprising that the Hawks beat writer would be questioning the future of Shelden Williams in Atlanta following the drafting of a much more talented big man in Al Horford. However, I'm shocked that all of these Hawks fans would actually be interested in the story. Where did all these Hawks fans come from, and what did they do to the America's worst fanbase?


Invading FJM's turf again

>> Wednesday

Below is a blog post by a guy named "edhardiman." Fire Joe Morgan linked to it but didn't have time to tear it apart. I thought I'd step in and help out.

As FJM also points out, notice how poorly this guy uses commas.

Slobbermetrics, How Bill James and Math Nearly Destroyed Baseball Jul 08, 2007 1:54AM

Sabermetrics, is the Scientology of baseball.

It all started in a tiny, airless, room, where the guy who got picked last in Little League, perfected his revenge. This handy guide will help clear up the wildest misconceptions spread by this extremely annoying and exceedingly irrelevant cult.

Anti-Sabermetric zealotry is the witch-burning of baseball.

It all started when some reactionary baseball traditionalist realized that widespread thinking of the sport was changing in a way that made him uncomfortbale and called his wild conjecture to task. This handy guide will help assuage your fear of knowledge and ward off book burners.


Sabermetrics is also known as, long winded pointless dissertation, insufferable boors with calculators, or guys with pocket protectors. If you're like me, you don't need to know the equation for cracking oil to figure out you got a batch of bad gas in your car. Or live near the Devil Rays or Royals, to realize beauty might be skin deep but bad goes all the way through.


Sabermetrics is known as the brainchild of baseball historian and statitician Bill James, who does not wear, nor has ever worn, a pocket protector. And even if he had, it would have only been because they were once quite popular. Or because he's a raging nerd. If you're like me, though, you don't need to what pocket accessories a person might wear to figure out that they can't use commas properly.


Sabermites believe they have a sense of humor. Sadly, it can only be expressed mathmatically.


I believe I have an excellent sense of humor. Here's a joke: dx/dt=5e^(0.2+1/t)sin(x+π/2)

LMAO. LOL. 01100101110

Other smart people found that funny.


Using pseudo-algebraic conclusions to describe the infinite intangibles of great baseball is like using cement to describe Mozart. Abstract baseball minutia stacked like pancakes doesn't get around the real consistent opinion voiced by those who watch baseball daily and this churns the guts of Sabermites.


Using "pseudo-" to debase a concept is like using a lazy art analogy to demonstrate higher-level thinking.


Acronyms sow maximum confusion. Sabermites concoct bewildering thickets of initials around feeble wild BLEEP guessing. EqA's are as likely to stick a homemade shank in VORP's as they are to end up drunk at Bill James annual Christmas party where King Herod's win shares always make trading for the baby Jesus look silly.


Never allow anyone near the prime equation of sabermetrics, A+B=Shut the Hell Up. This is sports for math club members.

Gross Tonnage.

The complicated formula for "Hey that guy just bunted the runner to second..." would fill this entire page. SABER stat-bot hysteria amply illustrates the "Star Trek Factor," now that Kirk's too fat to worship, Sabermites invented an arcane statistical abstract to replace dialectic Klingon arguments that made their life worth living...

Strength of Nattering (SON).

Sabermite's tirelessly redefine everything in SABER-speak, until, the non-SABER person drops from exhaustion or retreats to a sport like ice curling.


According to SABER dogma, a single just isn't worth a double. Take that Ty Cobb, you BLEEP because 75% of your hits aren't all that and a bag of SABER chips.
Slide RuleIts not, never slide head first, its never attend a game of baseball without a slide rule, so you'll have something to look at.

Worship the Stat Gods.

Barry Bonds is a perfect example, the thought of losing all those succulent steroid drenched numbers sends the average Sabermite into a slobbery, mad dog, frenzy. They would rather chew off the non-math lobe of their brain than let go, or admit, that Barry might indeed be full of nincompoop.

What Can You Do?

I know the answer to every problem is "sing a song" but if organizing a world wide series of concerts is beyond your grasp, try these simple SABER killing phrases:

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."Albert Einstein

"The last time I checked baseball is best played on a field and not on a calculator."

"People who count don't."



A day without professional sports. A summer day without baseball. Even in the 100-degree heat of the wildfire-ravaged western U.S., today is the coldest day of the year.

But if we try, we'll make it through. Think back upon memories of better days--Sunday, for instance--when baseball was being played. Pull out your 2005 Chicago White Sox year-in-review DVD. Numb yourself with illegally-obtained perscription medications until it's Thursday night. Do whatever helps you through the day.

And above all, remember it's just one day a year. But above that, remember that it's just 364 more days until we have to live through this again. This existence is a cruel one, and don't you ever forget that.


Jeffrey Maier revisited?

As did I'm sure billions of other people tuned into the All-Star Game last night (who may have also posted this same comment on their own blogs), Zuch and I immediately earmarked Carl Crawford's homerun--which appeared aided by a reaching fan--as a potential source of controversy. We decided that the AL would need to win by at least two runs, or else that homerun would be called into question later.

Of course, thanks to Soriano's ninth-inning dinger, that did not happen, and now I'm here to question the validity of the game's outcome.

But before I go all Hawk Harrelson on this ("That is BS! That is absolute BS!"), I'd like to know if there's an explanation. Are Zuch and I that blind? (We really don't have very good vision, either of us.) Or is there something that I don't know about Telephone Provider Park's ground rules? Zuch and I were in a crowded public place watching the game, so perhaps Buck and McCarver eloquently explained--as they're so inclined to do--exactly why that homerun was allowed to stand.

Otherwise, you're dadgum right this game will be under protest! And this is one protest that's gonna be upheld! I guarantee that!


Sez John Donovan of SI.com

>> Tuesday

Offering justification for why the AL has won interleague play the last few years, most of the last World Series, as well as their current streak of All-Star wins...

"We can go back and forth with the reasons that the AL is a better league, or we can probably boil all the interleague debate down into one tradition-shaking fact: The designated hitter makes AL lineups deeper and more dangerous, and that probably makes the league's pitchers tougher."


OK, maybe Donovan's right...maybe. But if his diagnosis is correct, then I'd have to understand this is a fairly recent development. Before the AL's recent run of success in the All-Star game, the NL had won 8 of 12 All-Star games in AL ballparks since the DH was adopted in 1973 ('73, '75, '77, '79, '81, '85, '87, and '95). The All-Star games in NL parks would not feature a designated hitter, so at least in practice, the DH could not help the AL in those games.

However, even when all parks are taken into consideration, in 16 out of 24 All-Star games from the time the DH was adopted in 1973 to 1997, the DH failed to help the AL's "deeper, tougher, more dangerous" All-Star Lineup win the All-Star game. If we follow Donovan's conclusion, we can only assume that the DH started making the AL "tougher and more dangerous" nearly a generation after it was adopted , and even then, has barely brought the AL above .500 (17-16-1 since 1973) during that time span.

Am I missing something here?

Does the AL have the better players these days? Sure, but don't chalk their recent All-Star dominance up to the adoption of the DH over 30 years ago, because the scores don't support that conclusion.


Mindless commentary on the Home Run Derby

>> Monday

All right, I’m sitting down to watch the Home Run Derby with a Baby Ruth (which I admittedly bought partly because it offers a chance at winning World Series tickets…I didn’t win them) and several beers. Since it’s just me and the kid, I don’t really have anyone to talk to (I say, “Can you believe that Alex Rios has more home runs than Albert Pujols at this point?” and he just shits his pants). So I’m gonna give a half-assed, increasingly drunken running blog of this event.

Before it gets started, let me just say that I am a fan of dunk contests, home run derbies and such. I know most of the blogging sports fans hate anything with this kind of fanfare and lack of meaning, but as Vinnie once put it, Ken Tremendous is not the boss of me. These events are entertaining. There is no deep explanation why I enjoy watching a bunch of guys hit baseballs five times as far as I ever could. I just do. Okay, we’re ready to go.

Introductions: this is obviously influenced by my hometown bias, but Chris Berman is a fucking idiot introducing Prince Fielder. Not only does he play on the father/son thing (which, thanks to SI, everyone knows is not Prince’s favorite topic) but he emphasizes the surprising Milwaukee Brewers. Surprising? To the casual baseball fan, maybe, but if you work for the biggest sports entertainment industry in the world (or if you’re a fan who closely follows the game) it really shouldn’t surprise you that the Brewers are doing well, just like last year’s Tigers shouldn’t have really surprised you. Okay, homer rant over.

Hey, did you know that Justin Morneau is Canadian? I bet he dresses in all denim, smokes a lot of weed and hunts moose.

Waldo caught the first home run. And Berman is quickly establishing that he’s going to do the “backbackbackback” routing for every fucking home run. (CB: “Man, this will never get old. Baseball, peanuts, beer and backbackbackback.”)

How many fewer home runs would we see if they only gave these players nine outs? Every year there’s at least one guy that hits like three or four homers on the final out. Or maybe the players try extra hard for the “State Farm Gold Ball” because it goes to some kind of charity. Doesn’t it? I’m not sure where that money goes.

You know that guy that you invite to your poker game because your buddy backed out at the last second and you need to get a few more dollars in the pot, but then the bastard takes all your money? Matt Holliday could be that guy.

People who criticize Barry Bonds for not participating in the Derby…get real. The man is old by normal people standards, not to mention athlete standards. Can you imagine if Bonds participated in the Derby, and pulled something or tore something, and couldn’t get those next four home runs? Yeah, yeah, “That’d be awesome! The integrity of baseball would be upheld.” Whatever. Bonds would be the biggest idiot in the world if that happened.
Also on Bonds: he’s sitting here complaining that he’s being judged by third parties who don’t really know him. That’s what being an athlete is all about! Nobody’s saying that Barry Bonds is a horrible person who should be locked up (well, almost no one). People are upset that he’s cold towards the media and that he used steroids. Those are the things that we do know about him.

Commercial break. This gives me an opportunity to mention a hypothetical event that would be even more fun than the current Home Run Derby. That is a home run derby made up of players who generally hit for average and decent hitting pitchers. Wouldn’t everyone love to see Big Z face off against Scott Podsednik or David Eckstein in a home run contest? I know I would.

I know Vlad, Prince and Howard haven’t hit yet, but honestly, who though Alex Rios and Matt Holliday would be winning this thing at any point?

I love Joe Morgan calling Prince Fielder “overlooked.” The fact that he was voted into the All-Star Game ahead of Pujols proves that he’s widely recognized. It’s a pretty solid rule that whenever Joe Morgan calls a player “overlooked” or “underrated” he is either referring to a small white player that sucks, or he’s referring to a guy that everyone except Joe Morgan has recognized as a great young player.

Well Prince’s first try at the Derby was disappointing, but not all that surprising. This sun factor could be interesting, with the pitches now coming out of the sun into the shadows. We’ll see how it affects the rest of the field.

Wow, Ben Sheets’ son looks even dumber than his dad.

Hahahahahahaha! Joe Morgan on the Brewers’ success: “I actually have to pat myself on the back here, because I went to one game in the preseason and said ‘If these guys stay healthy, they’re going to be good.’…” (emphasis Joe’s) One game! This from the man who is constantly saying “I haven’t seen (insert team/player here) enough to comment on them.” Man, Joe Morgan is the dumbest person alive.

David Ortiz should be at every Home Run Derby for as long as he’s alive. He makes it more fun for everyone.

Justin Morneau almost nailed a small kid with a line drive to right field. I may be a sadistic fuck, but the kid deserved to get plunked for not paying attention. I mean, you get a chance to shag balls for some of the best Major Leauge hitters and you’re out there picking your butt? God damn.

Quick odds on Pujols beating Marneau’s one home run: 8/1

There it is. Berman did the Alcatraz reference. Jesus, is this guy predictable or what?

More Berman: “Holliday puts this ball on a holiday.” What does that even mean? In no way, in no person’s brain, could this statement make any sense.

Holliday just hit one 469 feet. Ryan Howard called him a pussy.

Also I’m calling it right now: Holliday will come in second. He’s wearing himself out in the second round, and the championship round starts from scratch. So mark it. Matt Holliday for second place.

Now Berman tried to explain his previous statement: “In Canada they say when you go on holiday, you go on vacation. He put a couple of these balls on holiday.” Okay, first off, that still makes no sense. And second, the Canadian reference doesn’t even make sense. Finally, I don’t know if you got Holliday and Morneau confused, but what’s with the Canada reference at all?

Wow. Alex Rios. Just…wow. Caught me off guard. I’m cheering for him now.

During commercials and inane chatter, I am working on filling out child support papers (hold your jokes, it gets better) and my favorite section is “If the Location of This Parent is Not Known…” and the following questions are “Has this person ever been arrested?” “Date of Arrest or Conviction,” “Name of Parole/Probation Officer,” and finally “Is this parent currently incarcerated?” (Okay, now you can let loose…Bechtel, I’m looking at you)

I’m rooting against Vlad simply because Joe Morgan picked him to win.

Well, my Holliday for #2 prediction is done. I could just go back and delete that prediction, since none of this is being posted in real time. But I’m leaving it in there to preserve my integrity. Or maybe I went back and put that in to make me look more honest than I really am. Or maybe I left it in there so you would think I went back and put it in there to make me look more honest than I really am. Did I just blow your mind?

Great. Vlad has to hit three home runs to win the Derby. Enthralling. I’m on the edge of my seat. They need to bring David Ortiz into the “booth” to make this interesting.

Vlad just got robbed by Pixar. The fucking “Cars” advertisement, which rises above of the left field wall blocked what would normally have been a home run.

ODELE! We have a champion! Good night folks.

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