Japanese Pitcher Invents New Pitch, Crowd of Asians Claps Politely

>> Sunday

Some Japanese pitcher has created a new pitch that's basically a forkball and a knuckleball mixed together with a hint of ridiculous.

The pitch is pure junkball, so Jamie Moyer will no doubt throw 25-30 of them tomorrow vs. the Cubs.


Why I Hate The College Spread Offense

>> Saturday

Michigan QB Nick Sheridan - 11/19, 98 Yards

That translates to 5.2 yards per attempt. Terrible numbers, and though you can chalk it up to any number of things (the fact that Sheridan sucks, the new Michigan offense, whatever), the fact is that the spread is just an elaborate system of screens, hitches and slants. It kills the vertical passing game, and I hate it.

To put those YPA numbers in perspective, only 6 NFL teams had YPA numbers that were that bad last year, all of which from teams that had little or no talent at QB (St. Louis, Kansas City, Miami, Baltimore, Carolina and San Fransico).

So much is being made of the need to figure out how to slow down the spread around College Football, but I think it comes down to two or three things: speed, solid tackling and assignment discipline. Teams with enough of each can shut down a spread attack with relative ease.

Pointless and flawed rant over.


Another Soon-to-be-Failed YCS Spin-off Special

>> Friday

Because wasting my time on one blog that no one reads wasn't doing it for me anymore, I've started another one--if you can call it that. Really, it's more of a rip-off of other, "Hey, look how dumb people are!" blogs/websites, only much, much nerdier. Fortunately, I'll never have to spend more than ninety seconds posting on this one.

Anyway, I'll probably forget about it in a month, so until I do, enjoy.


Should the Pythagorean win-loss be replaced?

>> Thursday

"You make your own luck."

Like most other sports axioms, "you make your own luck" is nonsense--or, at best, good sense bastardized. Yet, frequent misattributions of skill and all-out dismisals of luck have given literal truth to this folxymoron in the minds of many.

That said, "you make your own luck" can be credible defense in the face of hastily ascribed luck. The implication in such cases, however, is not that honest-to-goodness random luck is really within our conscious control but that the thing we're calling "luck" is actually a mixture of luck and some glossed-over causal factors.

Two days ago, Jay Jaffe of the Baseball Prospectus posted this article in which he examines trends among teams that overachieve in the standings, according to their Pythagorean win-loss projection. The question has nagged me for the better part of the past two seasons. Is there a common link among teams that outperform their Pythagorean projections, or is it--as is typically argued--sheer luck?

This explanation never sat well with me, but the performances of the 2007 Diamondbacks and this year's Angels have ratcheted my skepticism up a notch. Intuitively, it would make sense that both the Angels and last year's Snakes--two teams with below-average offensive production, good pitching, and excellent bullpens--would juice a few extra wins out of their run differentials by being proficient at holding small leads and unlikely to notch blowout wins.

Jaffe points to fairly strong evidence that there is, in fact, a discernable correlation between bullpen strength and D3--that is, the difference between a team's actual record and their third-order Pythagorean projection (which takes into account a more refined version of run differential and opponent strength):

Of the 15 teams above who played after 1953 (the boundary of our sortable stat database), 14 of them had bullpens that finished in the top three in the league in Reliever Expected Wins Added (WXRL), and the trend continues if we round out the list of post-1953 third-order overachievers to an even 20...

He goes on to explain that there is also a correlation--though not as strong--between starting pitching and a high D3. That's not surprising, but I wonder if the correlation would be stronger if a certain percentage of "bad" starts were excluded. As an example, consider this 10-game sample of games for my favorite team, the Faketown Invisibles, in which they were outscored 40-25 but managed to go 8-2:

W, 3-2
W, 2-0
W, 4-3
W, 2-1
L, 2-14
W, 5-4
W, 1-0
W, 2-1
W, 3-2
L, 1-13

You see, the Invisibles' 1 through 4 starters are efficient craftsmen who pitch 7+ quality innings every time they take the mound before handing the game to their one-two bullpen combo of flamethrowing studs. Unfortunately, Faketown's fifth starter is the 42 year-old Jim Bullinger, who last pitched in the big leagues in 1998. Every fifth game, Bully trots out there, does his thing, and after 3 2/3 innings of 8-run ball, he gives way to the Invisibles' longman, Bob Scanlan, who typically gets tagged for a few more runs. By the seventh, the game is more or less an extra BP session for the Cityville Otherdudes.

A reasonable version of this scenario could--I think--skew a team's run differential enough to distort their Pythagorean win-loss quite a bit, especially if they're a light-hitting bunch. Unfortunately, my request to Mr. Jaffe that he run some analysis on the Jim Bullinger Factor has so far gone unfulfilled, so I can't know for sure.

All this leads me to wonder: Is Pythagorean winning percentage a useful tool at all? If nothing else, I'd say the predictive powers of run differential are exaggerated and, at times, abused. Isn't the whole point of a predictive tool to account for lurking variables and adjust for drifts? Obviously, creating a predictive method for wins with excellent correlation to a single counting stat and zero correlation to all others would be virtually impossible.

But the link that Jaffe highlights seems a bit too glaring to have tremendous faith in Pytahogorean winning percentage as a baseline level of performance. Nevertheless, observers who accept the predictive power of crude run differential have branded teams who outperform their Pythagorean as "lucky"--often in weirdly resentful way--when the reality may be that the method sells them short.

The appeal of Pythagorean win-loss, of course, is its simplicity, but there must be ways to improve upon it without undermining that simplicity. Why not narrow the sample of a team's games? Instead of counting their entire run output for the season, chop off the single game run differentials that fall at the margins. Doing so should filter out those meaningless runs scored off AAAA tomato cans late in blowouts. Then again, maybe adjustments like this would only move the error from place to another.

Regardless, I think it's a question worth the scrutiny, given how much stock literate baseball minds put into Pythagorean win-loss marks. Jaffe's article is pretty clear evidence that the method has a hitch, and if that's the case, it should be tweaked, lest we wish to acknowledge that good bullpens make their own luck.


More YCS Politics - Obama and Biden and Osama Bin Laden

>> Wednesday

This post is totally not sports related, but earlier this week, Vinnie did already post on politics -- which has the sports-like elements of competition and a scoring system. Moreover, I'm hoping to generate some serious hits with this post.

Anyways, my current/temporary roommate pointed out tonight that "Obama and Biden" sounds a lot like "Osama bin Laden." He's right, and he's probably not the first person to observe this phenomenon.

However, I do think YCS will be the first forum on entire internet to post an official "Osama Bin Laden" graphic. "Change is so naive, man" was the closest match to "Change we can believe in" that I could conceive in less than 90 seconds.

Now, I hope this post and graphic don't offend the couple of diehard Democrats at YCS. Remember, I don't dislike Obama; I'm just more of a Bob Barr guy. Good night.


As half of YCS opens fire

According to SI's tease, it reads "Find out why so many people hate the Cubs." Now, after growing up in a family of White Sox fans, going to college in Milwaukee and law school in St. Louis, I was expecting to see some pretty familiar arguments as to why others think the Cubs are the scum of the earth. The article was probably going to stretch on and on for pages and pages. This is the only part of the articlethat approaches criticism.

Seriously, how could you not love the Chicago Cubs?
Well, as it turns out, there are a lot of ways. You could grow up on the Southside of Chicago, where Cubs fans are viewed as a whole tribe of spoiled Ferris Buellers. You could be a St. Louis Cardinals fan raised to believe the Cubs are only cute and cuddly to the people who see them from afar. You could be from the greater Milwaukee area, only two hours north of Chicago, where maybe you have had the whole lovable Cubs thing rammed down your throat all your life to the point of bursting.

In other words, the Cubs are hated by fans of their rivals.
There's one other reference to a Cardinal fan who thought Ryne Sandberg was the Devil. The rest of the article is how the Yankees and Red Sox might not be in the playoffs this year and how it's hot in the Midwest (surprise) in the summertime. Hard-hitting journalism over there at SI.


Erin Brockovich II: Revenge of the Lifer

Rick Reilly has a notion:

I think minor league players like [Mitch] Jones should file a class action, restraint of trade lawsuit against Major League Baseball because they sat stewing in the minors while big leaguers were allowed to cheat.

On top of the small problem that this suggestion is completely insane, I have to quickly take exception with the two players he highlights in the column to make his point.

Mitch Jones, as Reilly points out, hit 39 HR in AA in 2004. Of course, that was a career year, and even then, his .880 OPS isn't eye-popping for a guy who plays 1B and corner outfield in a Yankees organization that employs an All-Star team.

Shawn Garrett did have a fine 2004 season playing in both AA and AAA, where he put up that .371 average Reilly cites (mind you, that was in 116 ABs in the notoriously cozy-ballparked Pacific Coast League). Other than that season, he never had an OPS over .805 higher than A ball, and again--that's not so spectacular when you play 1B and corner outfield.

That is to say, nothing on paper suggests that either of these guys would have scored huge MLB paydays. Maybe they did deserve more of a shot, but that's a far, far cry from saying they can claim other guys' juicing as the primary reason for their lack of opportunity.

Then Reilly goes here:
Stanford labor law professor emeritus William Gould IV says the idea "is very interesting" but that they'd need to prove three things to win:
1) A correlation between steroid use and better performance. (Please.)

What's hilarious is--as many of you may well know--the first web page that comes up on a Google search for "steroids+baseball" is this site that makes a pretty convincing case that the effect of steroids on performance is vastly overblown, if not illusory.

2) That baseball turned a blind eye to steroid use... [a bunch of stuff from the Mitchell Report]

Pretty fair claim.

3) "Nonstatutory labor exemption considerations," Gould IV says. That's just so complicated it makes our head ache, but a good shark would gobble it right up.

Mike, I'll let you handle that, but... I'm thinking that it's at least not something Reilly should gloss over. I don't know or care to know much about such things, but I do know that pro sports leagues have a lot of funky rules and structures that make them way different in terms of labor laws than pretty much any other industry.

If I felt like being obnoxious, I could make this post longer and slip in a bunch of stupid jokes, but I promised myself 20 minutes max on this one. I'm currently at 23. If I were one of those guys that defuses bombs instead of a blogger, I'd be dead.


Trying to resolve blah blah blah (Part III)

>> Tuesday

All (two) of you asked for it (probably in jest), so here it is--a continuation of my last post.

Golf is not a sport. Golf is a physical skills competition, and it may even be generous to call it that given how poorly it fits the survival instinct aspect of the "athletic" part of the triangle. But certainly, there is no interplay. Contest that if you must ("If a guy's down by two strokes instead of one, he'll play a different shot!" Sorry, you're missing my point), but I'm not backing off the fact that it's ultimately just an individual challenge. Mano a pelota.

Remember that junk I said about agendas and slippery slope comparisons? Guess what; I'm pulling both those cards right here. If golf is a sport, I'll argue that cornhole, a.k.a. bags has a pretty solid claim. So does that old carnival game where you swing the huge mallet and try to slide the thingy up the pole to ring the bell. Those things are awesome, and I wish I owned one.

As for agendas, maybe I subconsciously formulated my definition to be one that excludes golf. I won't say I hate golf. I've played it on rare occasions and have sorta moderately enjoyed it I think. Neither do I dislike all golfers--only my stereotype of the obnoxious, fatheaded, impressed-by-his-connections-to-county-level-politicians golfer who doesn't understand that no one's interested in his war stories from the course. Even if I were a little ambivalent on the sportitude of golf, I think that guy would ruin it for me.

Auto racing comes a much closer to being a sport, but it's hard to justify on the athleticism criteria. I understand that drivers need to have excellent muscular endurance and precision in the arms and that the mental fatigue can cause tremendous physical duress. But the physical mechanisms used to drive an automobile are less survivalist than they are facilitative--similar to performing surgery or basket weaving. Therefore, I think it fits better in the poorly-named-in-hindsight "nerd competitions" category.

Cheerleading. No.

Self-propelled human being racing events as a general category--be it swimming, running, cycling, etc.--are sports to the extent that they involve an element of defense. Sprints (e.g. 100m, 200m) are obviously just physical skills competitions, as the runners / swimmers are confined to their lanes, and the objective is setting a personal best as much as it is beating the other competitors. Ultimately, the other runners have no effect on one runner's performance.

On the other hand, cycling and some distance running events do have an element of interplay in that a runner gives himself an advantage not only by running fast--the element that can be equally performed in a (figurative) vacuum--but also by getting in the way of another competitor. The relative effect of this element is, I suppose, debatable, so I've got no problem with either the sport or physical skills competition distinction. Your call. To make Pat happy, I'll err on the side of sport in this case. Also, I like distance running. (Hey, remember that part at the beginning of this thing about selective inclusion / exclusion and skewed logic? I don't either.)

Whoa, look at the time... Lunch break's over. If anyone wants to pick this up further, be my guest, but it's time for me to get back to writing stuff and making colorful diagrams for people that pay me.


Trying to resolve the unresolvable debate: Watch me resolve it (Part II)

>> Monday

In Part I of this two-part post, I began to write something, abruptly cut off what I was writing, made some excuses, and told you all to go to hell. Tonight, in the riveting conclusion to this series, I flesh out my cockamamie definition of sport that I was segwaying to at the end of Part I.

Now I realize everyone has his own opinion of what constitutes a sport, but the problem with most of these opinions is that they're horrible. Almost without exception, the definitions formed are incoherent and framed around an agenda to include competitions that they enjoy and exclude those they do not. The result is most often a ridiculous conclusion like, "If NASCAR is a sport, then playing Paperboy is a sport."

While you may agree with that statement, the string of logic that led you there is probably dumber than Chris Matthews (sorry... DNC coverage on in the background. Politics is for idiots, by the way). And that's the problem.

Of course, the reason I wanted to open this can of Chris Matthewses now is that Olympic events are often the most contentious centerpieces and/or weapons in this debate, and many of you likely engaged in some form of it during the past two weeks. In fact, it was such an argument during the '06 winter games involving a few of us YCSies that first inspired me to attempt a cohesive definition of sport that--if not palatable to anyone else--would at least offer a better conclusion to similar future debates than the one that ended ours (which I believe was the hurling of empty beer cans, as February '06 was during the pinnacle of our empty beer can-hurling phase... ah, but enough reminiscing).

What has resulted from my labor of two-and-a-half years not thinking about this subject followed by a single week of thinking about this subject is my proudest achievement to date. I call it, "Vinnie's Awesome Triangle of Defining 'Sport' and Non-Sport Sport-Like Things."

The triangle is centered around my opinion that for something to be a sport, it must have all of three indispensible elements. They are:

Scoring. A sport must have scoring--that is, any agreed-upon system, whether it be objective or not, for determining a winner. Now, I know a lot of people will object to putting subjective scoring systems on par with objective ones. To that I say: Just look at how arbitrary some of the scoring systems in our objectively scored games are. And that's to say nothing of the governance of their rules (NBA, anyone??? Hell-ooo-ohhh!!!) Scoring is represented by yellow on the triangle, symbolizing the yellow sun that illuminates scores written in newsprint, even though no one reads newspapers anymore except old people.

Athletic skill. I don't think many people should have an issue with this part of the definition. Of course, what constitutes athletic skill is debatable, but I would like to suggest it is any combination of the Platonic "gifts of the flesh"--a term I just made up for what are actually known as the nine componenets of physical fitness. I'd like to further suggest that these qualities become athletic only when used in way that emulates our survival instincts of domination, defense, and procreation. I have represented athletic skill in red on the triangle to symbolize the heat of battle, the flow of blood through the body, and fire trucks.

Interplay. By interplay, I mean the immediate, interreactive exchange by which one opponent's actions are both necessary to and dictated by the other opponent's actions. This is--in my opinion--the most crucial, yet the most stretched and abused element of sport. In an effort to be inclusive, we (by which I mean everyone except me and other people who are right about this) have been willing to overlook the interplay component entirely and have consequently labeled things that are individual challenges performed concurrently with other people as "sports." More than anyone, I blame a certain class of people for this, but I won't name names right now. Interplay is represented on the triangle by blue, symbolizing... I don't know... beauty or Jesus or something.

As you can see, I've come up with names for the orange, green, and purple zones on the triangle as well. These may or may not be good names, but I think their distinctions from my definition of sport are fairly obvious in that they simply lack one of the three components.

Also, becuase I do think the distinction between objective scoring methods and commie-sympathizing, pro-Chinese-biased subjective judging methods is at least worth representing, I made a modified version of the triangle with orange, green, and sport subdivided for this distinction:

To clarify these subdivisions, here is the triangle with an example of each category filled in:

I realize that I've made sport very exclusive, and that's intentional. Our culture's current conception of sport is inclusive to a fault, leading to a slippery slope that has fostered poker on ESPN and IOC consideration of competetive eating. If correcting the imbalance means Phelpsy's eight golds came in "physical skills competitions" instead of sports, I don't think anyone would care, nor would they be asking for swimming to be removed from the Olympics. But I think de-jumbling the term "sport" from the heterogeneous mess it's become would be helpful to everyone.

Now I'd hoped to expand on my Vinnie Triangle of Awesomeness or whatever I called it by slotting Olympic events into their respective categories, as well as by individually addressing the most contentious sport / non-sport subjects (auto racing, bowling, etc.). But I can feel my writing getting really lazy and uninteresting, which I think is my body saying it's bedtime. And as Cosmo Kramer said, that's one argument you can't win or something like that.

Part III, anyone??????????????


I don't really give a shit who's elected president...

...But this weird stunt with Obama's little girl yelling, "Hi, Daddy!" to his satellite-fed, Wizard of Oz-like projection on the Pepsi Center stage may be one of the more bizarre moments I've seen in a long time. I'm really hoping they didn't put her up to that--though I wouldn't doubt it for a second, either--because that would be rather disgusting.


Sons of Scotland...

With the controversies from the 2008 Olympics still under investigation, the controversies for the 2012 London games are already under way. The earliest controversy includes the sports of Men's and Women's Olympic Football. In each Olympics, as in other single-site tournaments, the host nation is granted an automatic place in the tournament. (Hence Greece somehow managing to scrape together enough baseball players to furnish a team.) Other nations may need to go through qualifying stages.

As such, Great Britain is allotted an automatic spot in the Olympic tournament for every team sport. The problem however, is that the International Olympic Committe recognizes "Great Britain" whereas FIFA, soccer's world governing body recognizes "England," "Scotland," "Wales," and "Northern Ireland." As you can guess (or infer from this present Olympics), there is no Great Britain team in existence...nor has there ever been. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have been independent footballing nations for decades.

It seems like a relatively simple problem to fix...just combine the sides into a one-off team for the 2012 Olympics. But it is not as simple as that. First, how would such a team be picked? By the best players available? Or by quotas (Say....a 23-man roster with 12 English, 6 Scots, 3 Welsh and 2 Northern Irish?) However, this would likely not work, because in no sport more than soccer and in no place more than the United Kingdom does it appear to be wrapped up in national identity. The Scottish National team is one of the few cases on the world stage where Scotland is Scotland, and not part of the United Kingdom; where Scots can cheer on their own country. Secondly, even if such a team were to be formed, it would undoubtedly pick the best players available, and frankly, most if not all of them would be English, if only due to the larger population and talent pool, not to mention facilities and training infrastructure.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has made it clear that he is not impressed , and does not want Scotland to play any role in a "Team Great Britain." And frankly, he has a point. Why uproot 100+ years of tradition of Scotland as a footballing nation just to put 3 players on a one-off U-23 team. Why even risk it?

This whole argument lends further support to my suggestion that Olympic soccer should be discarded. With the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling allowing club teams to withhold their star players from the Olympics, now is a perfect time to leave top-flight international soccer to the World Cup and Continental tournaments.
Let Scotland be Scotland....Land of where they play the Braveheart speech at games apparently...


Trying to resolve the unresolvable debate: Watch me resolve it

>> Sunday

At long last, the games of the XXIX Olympiad have ended, which means Bob Costas can return to HBO, Chris Collinsworth can return to being a condescending football analyst, the forced child labor that performed in the opening and closing ceremonies can return to their meager-paying day jobs, and of course, us sports fans can revert to our usual state of ignorance for track, swimming, and gymnastics.

That said, plenty of people will remain in denial for a time, insisting that the feats of Michael Fred Phelps have permanently instilled in them a love for competetive swimming or that Nastia Liukin's incredible grace and svelte physique awoke an unrealized appreciation for women's gymnastics and not just a perverse fascination with barely-legal coeds, a la certain sicko friends of mine. Inevitably, though, these same people--in spite of their best intentions--will find themselves opting for a June airing of NFL Live over the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships by next year.

I'm here to say: Don't feel guilty about it. You shouldn't find these competitions as entertaining or interesting as our beloved American team sports. For one, you didn't grow up on them like you grew up on baseball, and it's proven scientific fact that once we get beyond 18 months old or so, we lose the capacity to adopt new interests.

But that's not the only reason we don't truly enjoy Olympic events when the Olympic element is taken away. It's more fundamental. Sprinting, swimming, gymnastics, diving, wheightlifting, skulls--these things all lack complexity or strategy or brutality or some other trait that's so vital to the team sports we love. And although few people will admit it for fear of being labeled ignorant or fatheaded, I think we all know the truth: We lose interest in these events after the Olympics because they are not sports at all.

[8/25/08, 12am: I've made the decision to cut this post here for now because I'm getting tired and won't be able to finish tonight. I'll hopefully have the rest of this post in which I flesh out this lofty hypothesis by tomorrow night while it's still almost relevant or else just never finish it. It's not like anyone reads, so really, I shouldn't bother. Forget I even said anything. From now on, I'm going to bed at 10pm flat every night and never staying up to finish a post or otherwise interact with the outside world. You're hardly worth my valuable brain power, so go to hell.]


The Stopwatch Thinks Otherwise

>> Wednesday

Mark Spitz has claimed (perhaps tongue-in-cheek, perhaps not...you really can't tell from the article) that the only person who could beat Michael Phelps is Mark Spitz. Rocky VI-style CGI duels between athletes from different eras aside, let's examine the six events that both Phelps and Spitz swam in their respective record-setting Olympics. (Note: Each one of these times set a new world record in their respective events at the time.)

Event----- Spitz in 1972 (Phelps in 2008)
200m FREE 1:52.78 (1:42.96)
100m FLY 54.27 (50.58)
200m FLY 2:00.70 (1:52.03)
4x100 FREE Relay 3:26.42 (3:08.24)
4x200 FREE Relay 7:35.78 (6:58.56)
4x100 Medley Relay 3:48.16 (3:29.34)

Say what you want about different swimsuit fabrics and different pools affecting the times, but we've seen what a big deal it is to break a world record by a half-second or so. The closest a 1972 Spitz comes to a 2008 Phelps is the nearly four seconds he would finish behind Phelps after just two lengths of the pool in the 100m Butterfly. Had Spitz's time been a finishing time in the 2008 100m Butterfly Final, it would have been in last place...only about two seconds behind Ryan Pini of Papua New Guinea.

Going either further back, it would have been the last-place time in the Semifinals for that event as well.

Note: I am in no way an expert in swimming, and realize this entire post contradicts what I wrote on.....Christ.....Monday. However, I can read a stopwatch.


Kick them out

While I have been known to give the Olympics a lot of crap for being a bunch of sports no one cares about outside of the Olympics (Gymnastics, Fencing, etc.) I more than appreciate what the Olympics are. However, despite the celebration of obscure sports like team handball and water polo, I think the Olympics could be better served by kicking some of the more mainstream sports out of the ring.

In my opinion, the Olympics should be the greatest stage of international competition in a given sport. This is why everyone remembers Michael Johnson winning gold in Atlanta 12 years ago, but hardly anyone remembers who took home the title at the next World Championships. With that, I would like to recommend the following sports be eliminated from the Olympic program.

Men's Soccer

For each of these sports, the fact remains that the Olympics are not the grandest scale for athletes to compete in international competition.


Baseball has already been taken out of the rotation for London 2012, and I imagine the advancement of the World Baseball Classic may send the idea of Olympic baseball sliding even further into irrelevance. While winning the World Series may be the dream of every baseball player since they were a child, I'm differentiating club and international competition. While the idea of national teams is still a new one for baseball (Hell, players actually coming from different countries is only a handful of decades old), the World Baseball Classic, if its first go-around is to be believed, is fast becoming the gold standard for international baseball competition. This is the competition where the stars and professionals come out to play. Of course its timing in March instead of the midst of a pennant push in August might have something to do with it, but that seems only to heighten its irrelevance. If baseball did have full functioning national teams, the Olympics would be like the fourth-stringers.

For one sport, sending in the reserves is already a fact of life. Men's soccer is arguably the most popular sport on the planet. Olympic soccer tournaments draw large crowds (even in the United States), but hardly anyone seems to care. The reason being that soccer is already bigger than the Olympics. To keep the Olympic soccer tournament from upstaging the rest of the Olympics, teams that qualify for the Olympics are restricted to bringing their national Under-23 team, plus three overage players. While this brought some stars to the Olympics this year like Ronaldinho (Brazil), Leo Messi (Argentina) and Brian McBride (USA), the tournament is mostly contested by college kids or young professionals who are still trying to get minutes with their full national team.

However, a recent decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport has thrown a wrench even in this provision. Ordinarily, club teams are required by FIFA to release players called up for international duty. However, the CAS recently ruled that this rule does not apply to the Olympics, because it is not a FIFA-run tournament. Teams are now not only reluctant to send their stars to the Olympics in August (which happens to be when lucrative Champions Leagu qualifiers begin), but they have the Court to back them up. What this means is in any future Olympic football tournaments, there will likely not be any stars of note who are not on their country's U-23 team.

U-23 teams aside, the biggest goal for any national footballer is to win a World Cup. The World Cup, likewise every four years is arguably the largest single-sport event in the world. Qualifying begins almost immediately after the prior Cup cycle ends and consumes the attention of entire nations. That's where the glory is. Just off the top of my head I can name every World Cup winner going back to 1962, but I'm note sure I could tell you who won the 2004 Olympic Football tournament.

Almost every professional footballer has dreamt of winning the World Cup. I would imagine very few dream about winning a U-23 Olympic Gold Medal. It's very similar to why Rugby is not an Olympic sport. Despite the IRB Rugby World Cup being the 3rd-largest sporting event in the world after the World Cup and Olympics, winning the Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of international competition in that sport. Anything the Olympics could offer would be second-best.

Side Note: Women's Soccer
I've recommended men's soccer for elimination but not women's soccer, despite the existence of a Women's World Cup which would in theory parallel the FIFA World Cup as the biggest tournament in the sport. However, due to the relative lack of popularity in the WWC, the Olympics still represent a major international tournament.

It's similar to the way that the Olympic Men's Basketball tournament is still a major tournament, but the FIBA Championships are at best second-tier. Likewise, I agree with some soccer writers in that the Women's World Cup should be moved to every two years instead of every four, in odd-numbered years to avoid conflicts for media attention with the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, and the EURO. With a WWC last year in China, and a Women's Olympic football tournament this year, the next time a major Women's international competition will take place is in 2011 with the next Women's World Cup. While scarcity makes for a more exciting product, for a sport struggling to find an audience, that is too long out of the public eye, and there are not enough women's footballing nations to support a four-year tournament cycle (Pretty much every country from Morocco to Pakistan doesn't have a Women's team).

Tennis is the last sport and it goes along with what I've already said about players dreaming about winning one competition and not an Olympic medal. However, here there is one key difference. The reason for this is becaue tennis (aside from doubles) is inherently an individual sport. Unlike Soccer, Rugby, and to an extent baseball, there are no national teams. With players from all over the world, that means that EVERY match is an international match. The top events are and probably always will be the US, French, and Australian Opens and Wimbledon.

In that sense Tennis is much like Golf (outside of events like the Ryder Cup). Golf is not an Olympic sport, nor should it be, but it is very similar to top-level Tennis because it has international competition, individual nature of the sport, and four major tournaments (US and British Opens, Masters, PGA Championship). On many US broadcasts of golf, when the leaderboards are shown, what do you see next to the players and their scores? Often a national flag; Woods is American, Harrington is Irish, Garcia is Spanish, Els is South African, etc.

So while I may give the Olympics crap for being a collection of largely unknown or unfollowed sports (Equestrian, Team Handball, Synchronized Diving, etc.) the only thing worse than a collection of obscure sports are the mainstream ones where neither the players nor the fans appreciate the competition on the level of what the Olympics are supposed to be in an age of professionalism, and that is the greatest international stage for a given sport.


Real fans grudgingly welcome

>> Tuesday

Other rejected slogans:

"Riffraff officially priced out"
"The Clubhouse on Madison"
"Only a 40-minute drive from Highland Park!"
"Your Lincoln Navigator is safe in Lot C"
"A reason to wear that tailored Chicago Bulls golf shirt"
"Our temporary tattoos are now lead-free"
"Your kids will love the fourth-quarter 'YMCA' TV timeout!"
"Where gentrification happens"

(Wait... did I just audition to be a Late Show writer? ...Yuck.)


I must say, I am appalled

>> Monday

Regrettably, more than half of the Olympics has gone by with almost zero coverage on this blog. No track posts by Pat. No soccer posts by Mike. Not even a single a skulls post by Matt. However, there is one matter that must not go unaddressed.

It has come to my attention in the last few days that many male Olympic spectators--including certain YCS authors and fans--have been experiencing, shall I say, inappropriate notions while watching women's gymnastics competition. Disgusting, I know, but if you can believe it, some men have been ogling the competitors rather than admiring them for their athletic skills.

Allow me to be the first to say: You are all sick and demented. Some of those girls are only sixteen! Do you know how young that is? They're pratically babies, even though if this were biblical times they'd all have borne children themselves by now. I don't care if some of the competitors are only seven or eight years younger than you, which wouldn't amount to much when you were, say, 47 and 54. It makes no difference. Those girls are young enough to be your nieces, for God's sake, assuming you have one of those crazy families where your brother is fifteen years older than you. That's just wrong.

Just because many of them are of legal consent age, that doesn't make it okay either, except in the eyes of the state and most people living under the law. Nor does the fact that some of them are in college or old enough to be in college, and seriously, what's so wrong about a guy in his mid-20s with a college freshman because it's really not that big a thing when you think about it. Nor the fact that many of the 16 year-old girls who have baby faces clearly have potential but just need to finish developing and turn seventeen. That doesn't make it right.

And let's not forget the fact that the girls on the Chinese team are obviously not sixteen. A few barely look thirteen. I mean, if you're one of those guys with a fetish for Asian women, that's totally fine and cool by me. Exploitation of children is a different story. That's something that should never, ever be taken in jest.


Nate Schierholtz: Hero to the free world

(Apologies for all the non-posts... I'd be happy to quit my job so I'd have time to finish my real ones, but then you all would have to pay me. I mean, I'd be cool with that. Not sure you would.)


I always have one in mine

>> Sunday

Millions of Cubs fans around the country just had the joy of hearing this commentary on the Miami humidity....

Len Kasper: Fans... Come to the ballpark Fiday, August 22. The first 5,000 kids will receive a SpongeBob SquarePants plush toy from Universal Orlando.

Bob Brenly: Today's the kind of day when you wish you had a sponge in your pants.

Reason #4,398 why I love Bob Brenly. (Reasons #1 through 4,397: looks fantastic in a WGN polo.)


Come on, Michael Phelps isn't really THAT great

>> Thursday

Let's stop it now. Michael Phelps has not automatically claimed the title of "greatest Olympian ever" or "best athlete on the planet" just because of his performances over the last week.

First of all, let's face it: the number of gold medals he will ultimately earn will be skewed no matter what the total. See, fortunately for Michael Phelps, his sport has the greatest number of sub-events of any Olympic sport. Kobe Bryant could win 8 gold medals too if they had a 5-on-5 men's basketball tournament, a 5-on-5 tournament with games that were half the length of regulation games, a 3-on-3 tournament, a one-on-one contest, a dunk contest, a lay-up drill, synchronized dribbling, and an open-floor, freestyle jump shot routine. Thus, Phelps is arguably just a beneficiary of a system that provides more events for his sport. Maybe I don't understand the nuances of the 200-m individual medley vs. the 200-m freestyle. But correct me if I'm wrong: both of these are swimming events of equal lengths, are they not? Wouldn't somebody who excels in one 200-m swim be expected to be pretty damn good at another one?

Also, Michael Phelps joins the rest of today's athletes in an era of training labs with advanced computerized biophysical analysis, outstanding nutritional supplements, low-oxygen training tents, and almost certainly steroids that we still don't know how to detect by tests. Thus, like his other colleagues in the realm of elite athletes (e.g. Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, etc.), he simply cannot be compared to previous generations of athletes. I don't know how many times that argument needs to be made.

Finally, I have to add the other classic but again appropriate argument against the title of "greatest Olympian ever": he's excelling in one sport alone. If he were doing a floor routine in gymnastics tonight and competing in a swim relay tomorrow, maybe he gets consideration then. However, we all know that no one can ever earn the designation of "greatest athlete ever" simply because there is no way to compare people across sports. As Kip says in Napoleon Dynamite, "Come on, Napoleon, like anyone can even know that."

So shut up about Michael Phelps already.



>> Wednesday


The Top of My Fantasy Football Draft Board

Just in case anyone of you guys want a preview into what player I'm looking at taking at number five, it will be tough to pass on the new Fajita Steak Melt at Taco Bell. Seriously, this may be the best new item Taco Bell has brought aboard in years and worth clogging your arteries for (can't find a damn picture of it on Google though).

Oh, and by orders of the commissioner here, I demand that Darren McFadden drops to my spot or else I give you the Polish curse that leads to behavior like this.


CFL-MLS-NFL Clusterfuck

Presently in Toronto, there is big controversy as the city's main teams play stadium musical chairs. If you believe what you read in the papers, the Toronto Argonauts (CFL) are looking to move from their present home at Rogers Centre to the smaller-capacity BMO Field, the soccer-specific stadium home to Toronto FC (MLS).

This would require renovation of BMO, specifically lengthening it, and require ugly football lines laid down on top of the soccer lines. I like football. I like soccer. Just not on the same field.
TFC already has a reputation as one of the best home supporters in the league, and moving them farther away from the action would certainly lessen the unique atmosphere at BMO. Fans currently sit only about 20 feet from the endline. The Argos are citing fellow CFL team Montreal Allouette's move from Olympic Stadium to a smaller stadium and how the team rebounded from there.

Like I said, this is how it's all going to go down if you believe what you read in the media. However, as an unlicensed member of the media, let's cut through the bullshit here. This isn't going to happen. Or at least, it's not going to happen for long. What the Argos should realize is that if they move from Rogers Centre to BMO Field, that leaves a perfectly functional NFL-sized venue unoccupied every year once the Blue Jays have finished another run to mediocrity. With the Buffalo Bills already playing pre-season games there, and probably desperate to escape one of the NFL's smallest markets, you think they'd stay in Orchard Park long after this option opened up?

If the Bills move to Toronto, it will be the end of the Argos. While the Argos may be the oldest professional football team in North America, the Bills have made serious inroads. The Bills already draw a sizeable portion of their gameday crowds from Toronto. After all, it's a shorter drive from Toronto to Buffalo than it is from Milwaukee to Green Bay. This whole thing is a ploy by the Argos to get a better lease on the stadium from Rogers and the Blue Jays.

I'm calling it right now.


In case you didn't already know your problem...

"Tonight's NBC Olympic Encore is brought to you by Ambien CR."


I was NOT grossed out. I only puked because of the formaledehyde smell.

>> Tuesday

Games of the XXIX Olympiad, Women's (...sorta) Team Gymnastics Final. U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson lands a sweet move. (I'll take their word because what do I know.) Color commentator proclaims:

She is monster tough!

Like I do with most things I find hilarious that no one else cares about, I couldn't help but persue the humor I found in this innocuous comment to excessive lengths. So I checked out Shawn's bio page on the Olympic web site just to see how monstrously tough she really is. Evidently, incredibly so:

During study halls, Johnson often walks animal shelter dogs as part of her school's volunteer program. She has two tabby cats, Max and Vern, who were adopted from a local shelter, and a golden retriever named Tucker.


Lest I mock (or is it too late?), if you click to the "8 things you didn't know about Shawn Johnson" page, you will find this:

She's not grossed out by dissections... A straight-A high school sophomore, Johnson's favorite classes are literature and biology. She's dissected a frog, but found the cow's eye more interesting.

So I take it back. I never even had to dissect a cow's eye in biology class. Then again, there's no word in the second sentence that connects it to the first, so I'd like to interpret that to mean she just gouged a live cow's eye out one day and started carving it up, in which case she really would be a monster. That's sick, Shawn.

Wait, what's this post about again?

UPDATE (of sorts): If you happened to watch this competition, you'll know what I'm talking about or soon will if you watch SportsCenter. But huge, huge "props" to Alicia Sacramone of the U.S. team for putting off what I'd hope was a lifetime's-worth of crying, cursing, and breaking stuff to stick around for a reporter interview after the medal ceremony.

During the competition, she fell twice, proceeded to get shat on by the commentators (especially "monster tough" dude), and then suffered the indignity of NBC showing her on camera swallowing back her emotions during--literally--every single moment of downtime between the remaining routines.

I won't even pull the patronizing "just a kid" card (especially since she's old enough to be a young MLB, NBA, or NHL rookie) but only mention it because Mary Carillo on NBC just did. Just: That's impressive.


How to Piss Off an Entire Country

Exhibit A:


Unlikely standout emerging at camp

>> Monday

With new free agent signings, contract disputes, and the arrival of first round draft pick Messiah Braveheart dominating the headlines this training camp, an unlikely standout who has flown under the radar is finally starting to open some eyes.

"Adam has been one of the nice surprises this camp,” said head coach P.R. Cleeshay. “He's really shown me something out there.”

“Adam” is Adam Easterlily, an undrafted free agent rookie wide receiver who has slowly but surely caught the attention of his coaching staff and peers.

“He plays with a lot of intensity out there,” said offensive coordinator Tex “Bud” McCutcheon. “He has good instincts, and he makes plays, and that’s what we like to see.”

Added backup cornerback Shaundarrel James-Johnson, “He’s always going one hundred percent, and he’s a tough competitor. He works hard and competes out there.”

James-Johnson should know. During third-team drills, he has often been assigned to cover Easterlily, the former star at St. Mary of Jesus College—a Division II school with only 330 students and one public restroom—where he holds records for receptions, touchdowns, interceptions, tackles, and field goal accuracy.

“Obviously, it’s a totally different game coming from college to the pro game,” said the former Division II star, “but I think anyone can make it in this league if you’re willing to work hard enough.”

Not only does Easterlily lack the BCS-school pedigree of most of his peers, but he is well undersized by NFL wide receiver standards, measuring in at 5’9” and 175 pounds. Because of his stature and 5.1-second 40-yard dash time at the draft combine—which Adam attributes to being “overly prepared”—all 32 teams balked at Easterlily in the April draft, a decision that he hopes to make them regret.

“I’m not out to prove anything to anyone,” insists the passed-over rookie. “I’m just trying to be as good as I can be and work hard to help the team and, most of all, prove to everyone that I’m good enough to play in this league and that you can succeed by having faith in your abilities and working hard.”

Easterlily has even earned the respect of his fellow receiving corps member and all-pro Chadxico Edwens. “Yeah, he’s got a few skills. You know, competition in camp is always good. It gets everyone to, you know, step up when a guy’s going all out like that.”

Asked whether he could learn from Easterlily’s ability to augment natural physical skills with intelligence and a strong work ethic, Edwens responded, “What the [heck] is that supposed to mean?”

According to Cleeshay, Easterlily will play with the second team in next Saturday’s preseason game before being cut and utterly forgotten by September.


I'll bet that sounded really good in your head

From a Steven Davis mlsnet.com article on the dismissal of LA Galaxy's coach Ruud Gullit, who previously coached in Europe, but like many European coaches, found the unique parity-driven nature of MLS fundamentally different, and challenging...

"But that's not the way in MLS, where salary caps and other player acquisition mechanisms are set to keep the playing field, if not completely level, then pretty close to it. Major League Soccer will never be an EPL, a Serie A or La Liga, where two, three or four teams bully the competition and perennially dominate the hardware. There will be no Chelsea, Man United, AC Milan, Barcelona or Real Madrid here. Baseball might work that way in this country (Hello, Yankees. What's up, Red Sox?), but this obviously isn't baseball."

Ignoring the phrase "Hello, Yankees. What's up, Red Sox?"...

EPL Champions since 1998: Different Championship teams: 3
'08: Man United
'07: Man United
'06: Chelsea
'05: Chelsea
'04: Arsenal
'03: Man United
'02: Arsenal
'01: Man United
'00: Man United
'99: Man United
'98: Arsenal

Italian Champions since 1998- Different Championship teams: 5
'08: Inter Milan
'07: Inter Milan
'06: Inter Milan*
'05: No Champion**
'04: AC Milan
'03: Juventus
'02: Juventus
'01: Roma
'00: Lazio
'99: AC Milan
'98: Juventus

* Juventus finished atop the table, Inter Milan finished second. Juventus was stripped of the title for their role in the Italian Match-fixing scandal, and it was awarded to Inter.

** Juventus finished atop the table, AC Milan finished second, and Inter Milan finished third. Juventus and AC Milan were both found guilty in the Italian Match-fixing Scandal, so no championship was awarded.

Spanish Champions since 1998- Different Championship teams: 4
'08: Real Madrid
'07: Real Madrid
'06: Barcelona
'05: Barcelona
'04: Valencia
'03: Real Madrid
'02: Valencia
'01: Real Madrid
'00: Deportivo
'99: Barcelona
'98: Barcelona

MLB Champions since 1998: Different Championship teams: 7 (potentially 8)
'08: TBD
'07: Boston
'06: St. Louis
'05: Chicago White Sox
'04: Boston
'03: Florida
'02: Anaheim
'01: Arizona
'00: New York Yankees
'99: New York Yankees
'98: New York Yankees

7 different championship teams in 10 years. Yea. That's really "two, three or four teams perennially dominating the hardware."


Carl Lewis Revisited

In honor of the 29th Olympiad, YCS remembers the great Carl Lewis:


Um, Okay!

Today's ESPN Fan Feature Comment:

"If anyone might approach Bart Starr's capability, it could be Aaron Rodgers."

Yeah, that Brett Favre really sucked for you guys! Get a life, jackass


YCS Baseball Roadshow: Stop 8, Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

>> Sunday

Despite having a blog roster that counts several Cubs fans among its members, the YCS Baseball Roadshow had never reported from 1060 W. Addison. Being given an extra ticket 2 minutes before we had to leave the house, I was naturally psyched for my first trip to Wrigley in more than 3 years. After battling Lake Shore Drive, parking in Lincoln Park and the chronic incompetence of the CTA, we arrived just in time to see Mark DeRosa tie the game with a 1-1 homer in the 2nd. Sadly, this would probably be the high-water mark of the day, as the Cubs proceeded to lose 12-3. Carlos Zambrano also homered which was badass, and from our crappy seats in Section 503, the ball heading into the bleachers was about the only thing we had a good view of (besides the buses lining up on Waveland.)

Wrigley has an almost bizarre mix of Disneyland-style charm and impending structural dread. While I love Wrigley, that place needs a renovation stat. If the stadium were in Latin America instead of Lakeview, it would only be one structural failure away from a stadium collapse spot on World's Most Amazing/Goriest videos.

Now, Wrigley has its obvious charms, so I won't go into the glories of the stadium in the city, the ivy, scoreboard, etc. However, one of the pleasant surprises of Wrigley is the beer. $6.25 gets you an Old Style (or a Budweiser if you really hate yourself). This is probably the lowest price for stadium beer that I've seen in a long time. Compare to Busch Stadium ripping me off for $8.25 for Bud Light last fall . While still getting totally ripped off, it has the same good feeling of crossing the state line and seeing that gas is ONLY $3.87 a gallon.

However, on a related note for beer, Wrigley is probably the only park in the majors where just about everyone in the park can see a giant billboard for a beer they cannot order. Sadly, these same fans, in addition to being denied high quality beer (instead being subjected to A-B fermented dishwater) are left with terrible puns as well.
The crowd was a usual mix of North side babes with no obvious rooting interests, hicks from St. Louis with a psychotic/borderline sexual love for the Cards, and people actually there to enjoy a baseball game.

By the middle of the game, the Cubs were getting absolutely slaughtered and the red contingent of the crowd was living it up...many having been to a big city for the first time in their lives. With that, all that was left was to enjoy the ambiance of Wrigley...until the 7th inning stretch, when the Take Me Out to the Ballgame guest conductor was Digger Phelps.

Fuck... Me...
Despite being in the same part of the ballpark as the organist, the two were completely in capable of keeping up with each other. Digger seemed juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust a step slow. I've never heard "For it's 1....2....3 strikes you're out..." three different times (First organist, then crowd, then Digger).

In conclusion, despite its many faults, Wrigley Field is still a great old park, but the new ownership should probably look into making it a slightly newer park sooner rather than later.


Chuck Weis Ain't Gonna Like This!

>> Tuesday

Jimmy! What were you thinking? It's not a real Beer Olympics unless Icehouse is the beverage of choice. What's this Bud Light crap? This is just plain amateurish.


YCS At the Movies: Semi-Pro

Despite universally awful reviews, I decided to drop a dollar at the Redbox outside my Jewel last Friday and partake in this recent Will Ferrell picture. These awful reviews drastically lowered my expectations (which are always high for Ferrell's movies), but I'm here to say that Semi-Pro does have a redeeming value to it.

Following the story of the ABA's Flint Tropics, owned by lead character Jackie Moon (portrayed by Ferrell), viewers enjoy the plight of the Tropics as they try to become one of four ABA teams to merge into the NBA the following season. Trumping up the circus-like feel behind the NBA's arch-rival league, Moon's promotional tactics resemble those of former Cubs and White Sox owner Bill Veeck in their utter absurdity. The not so subtle digs at the shiftiness of owners in regards to their proclivity to use bait and switch tactics adds to the outrageous feel of the movie.

Along with the usual over the top antics of Ferrell, Woody Harrelson's character Ed Monix does a great job as the straight man for Moon to play off of. A personal favorite of mine from his days as Job Bluth in Arrested Development, Will Arnett has a fun supporting role as the Tropics color commentator. Semi-Pro also features a solid performance by another cult comedy favorite Andy Richter as Ferrell's assistant.

While not on the level of legendary Ferrell classics like Old School, Anchorman, and Talladega Nights, Semi-Pro is well worth a viewing as a fun little sports comedy. Assuredly hurt from the high expectations initially placed on the film, it works when you take it at its face value as a fun little comedy and not expecting it to be anything extremely memorable.

Overall Verdict:
On the YCS scale of rating movies (the worst movies receiving the Icehouse distinction and the best receiving the Goose Island 312 mark of approval), I give Semi-Pro a solid PBR rating (Fun if you expect a good time, disappointing if you're expecting something special).


YCS Favorite to take First Step Toward Immortaility

Yup, that's right folks. Kyle Orton has been listed as the starting quarterback for Thursday's preseason game against the Chiefs. Look for Orton to dazzle the sell-out crowd with his superior gamesmanship. And in honor of his greatness, I propose that all YCS members take a shot of Jack Daniel's as Orton gets introduced as The Starting Quarterback for your Chicago Bears!


How To Tell If Your Shit Just Got Punked

You are Manny Parra, and you just engaged in dugout fisticuffs (albeit briefly) with Prince Fielder and that many guys are holding him back. Nobody bothers holding you back, as they assume you're smart enough to get the fuck outta dodge to avert an hellacious ass whooping.


Beelzebub! A motor vehicle hath doth runneth over Vinnie!

>> Monday

Before any of you devoted readers panic, rest assured that I have not perished, though I may go another week or so without a post. (Actually, you're very lucky that I'm still here after a deadly twister touched down in my town tonight. As I write this, the lightning continues to strike nearby, which means my laptop could catch a power surge and vaporize my junk at any moment. Oh, the risks I take for our audience...)

After a rather busy weekend and a long day at work, I face another long day or two at work ahead of me, followed by a four-day camping trip to the deep woods where I will re-invent fire and wrestle bears. The earliest I will likely put up a new post is next Monday, but don't worry--I have some doozies in the works! (Note: That assumes my intimate experiences with nature will inspire a doozy or multiple doozies.)

Anyway, I just felt I should warn you all, as I realize roughly 65% of our content lately has come from me, the only one of us who's a big enough dope to gouge time out of worthwhile things to post on here regularly, so there's a decent chance that you may not see any new content until then. (Also, if that's the case, expect a string of random firings when I get back from vacation.)

Behave yourselves while I'm gone, and don't forget to water the petunias! I love you! ...Oh, come here and give your Vinnie a kiss... Bye bye!


"This is how you do it, son!"

>> Sunday

Brett Favre has landed! Let the circus begin! And Aaron, if you can't beat a 38 year old for the starting job, then you never deserved dad's key to the car


Chicago Blackhawks hire close relative of Don Rickles to front office

>> Friday


Some of Chicago partying like it's 1993

I first heard the news of Ken Griffey Jr. being traded to the White Sox in the form of a "breaking sports report" by a Chicago classic rock disc jockey (who's name I believe is Steve Downs) on my drive into work yesterday morning. As the details of the trade were yet to be released, he jokingly suggested that the White Sox had offered Navy Pier in return--which I guess was his clever way of saying, "something of tremendous value."

Ok, no big deal. Classic rock DJ doesn't fully realize that Ken Griffey Jr. can no longer play center field and that his .753 OPS is rather pedestrian for a corner outfielder. I give him a pass. He is--after all--a classic rock DJ.

Mike Downey, on the other hand, is just really, really confused what year it is.

Some other things Mike Downey is stoked about:
  • the new 386 processor
  • the upcoming season premier of Northern Exposure
  • MCI's new "Friends and Family" plan
  • Hot Shots, Part Deux
  • the McLean
  • [other 1993ish-era pop culture reference]
What's funny is that even the Honorable Capt. J. Obvious Mariotti has the sense to realize, "The White Sox are not getting the first-ballot Hall of Famer, the Ken Griffey Jr. once endorsed for president by Nike, the phenom who scaled fences and blasted home runs in flurries and defined the essence of the five-tool stud."

So to Steve Downs or whatever your name is, I say: Stick to classic rock.

To Mike Downey: Fire up that 386 beast at least once every four or five years, and look up some stats.

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