Happy No. 6!

>> Friday

As we all know, today is Leap Day. And for many people, it's also the first time in four years they've been able to call it their birthday. Well, we have one of those people on staff. Today, Pat turns 24, but in some technical sense, this is just his sixth birthday.

Pat's parents, always sticklers for technicalities, refused to give him birthday gifts and parties growing up except on February 29. So if you've ever wondered why Pat has so much pent-up hostility, which comes gushing out everytime he posts on this blog, now you know.

So let's all of us in the YCS family help Pat's childhood trauma sting just a touch less by wishing him a happy birthday. And if you have a chance, buy him a drink because it's the last time anyone will for four years.


The Other Side of Darkness

Guest author Ted, a man who's been in a coma since spring of 2001, weighs in on the early NFL free agent moves:

Oh man... I think my Vikes are really gonna make a run next year. I just hope they can convince Robert Smith to come back another season and then trade up to draft David Terrell to replace Chris Carter when he calls it quits. He'd be the perfect complement to Moss--I know it.

Wait--what?! Randy Moss is a free agent? How did that happen? Great! Typical Vikes... we finally have a star player, and we let him walk as a free agent after three seasons. Unbelievable. Denny Green needs to be fired. The Vikes are the only team dumb enough to employ him, and I guarantee he never works again once they finally can his ass.

And what's this--the Rams cut Isaac Bruce?! But what'll become of the greatest show on turf?? They have such a good thing going.

Jevon Kearse was cut too? He's one of the best young ends in the game. What are they SMOKING in Tennessee? Whatever it is, I bet it comes from Afghanistan or whatever that country where we get all our drugs. Or is it Khazakstan? Whatever--like anyone knows them apart anyway.

This is unbelievable... Ty Law was cut too?! Wow. The Patriots. What a mismanaged franchise. I don't know why they would ever get rid of Pete Carroll to hire some retread who couldn't win in Cleveland. And I bet those dumbasses let Bledsoe walk after the season. Have fun in last place next year.

Shit, I'd better get going. Busy day at Arthur Andersen tomorrow. Accounting--it's a bitch sometimes, but at least I know I have stability.


Another medical/sports post? What body part would you sacrifice to improve your sports performance?

Here's another little medically related sports tidbit... or sports related medical tidbit. Hey, what else am I going to write about? You guys are far more versed in sports than I.

Anywhom, NPR had a piece today about R. A. Dickey, a pitcher in the Seattle Mariners' organization who lacks an ulnar collateral ligament (you might also find other stories by Googling "ulnar ligament knuckleball") but keeps chugging on. In essence, Dickey has developed a knuckleball to prolong his career in spite of the congenital abnormality that should render his arm somewhat incapable of pitching.

I was only half-listening to the piece and initially thought the story was about how this strange deformity actually made the pitcher capable of throwing really bizarre pitches. However, upon researching Dickey further, I realize that the ulnar collateral ligament deficiency does not at all make him a better knuckleballer.

Nonetheless, I briefly entertained the thought of what other physical abnormalities would confer a competitive advantage to athletes. The best deformity I could think of was a center in basketball who's wrist could flex in both directions, thereby giving said center the greatest hook shot ever.

Any one have any other ideas? We're talking about conditions that might be considered deformities in the real world, not bogus superhuman capabilities or fictional injuries that enhance a player's abilities.


He's one of the good guys in the game

>> Thursday

It's like the Make-a-Whish Foundation... but with very old people... and dogs. And while I'll refrain from using this story as an excuse to revive the voice of Uno (I don't think Paul has ever been more disappointed in me in the nearly 24 years I've been his brother than when I made that post), there's something inherently funny about weird, pet-obsessed people that deserves sharing with those of you outside the St. Louis and Chicago media markets.


Grant Wahl Hates Atmosphere...and Puppies

>> Wednesday

SI.com writer Grant Wahl takes a shot at what he calls "College student sections going too far." Somewhat odd considering that SI.com regularly posts shots of College fans hurling abuse.

While there certainly are a few who step over the line (Death threats to family members, and throwing stuff at people isn't cool, man), a lot of Wahl's "problems" really don't seem that bad, and the article is pockmarked with other various forms of blowing the issue out of proportion, using the actions of a stupid few to indict a passionate many, and generally just being an ass.

"While nobody has ever called (Oregon's) Pit Crew P.C. -- its members once printed a thousand copies of an embarrassing picture posted on Facebook of Stanford's Fred Washington at a party."
Comment 1: Oh no! What if his future employer was there!?!?
Comment 2: Isn't the proper measure here for Washington to not post embarassing pictures of himself on a website where he is searchable by name?

Wahl posts numerous references to homophobic chants and signs that I won't detail here. Obviously, just saying "You're gay" is pretty uncreative. However, Wahl's adherence to this point shows he has a short memory. "Fighting Irish" was initially applied to Notre Dame not as a creative mascot but as an anti-Catholic slur. Not just 100 years ago, but in the movie Knute Rockne All American: which was released in the 40s (Rockne is asked if hockey would be a good substitute for football at ND, to which Rockne replies "Notre Dame will never support a sport that puts a club in the hands of an Irishman").

In the 1970s, Georgia Tech fans littered the field with fish and barraged the Irish with similar anti-Catholic insults. While I really can't see any team adopting any such moniker in the future, Wahl is seemingly oblivious to the fact that derision of your opponent for whatever reason you see fit has long been a staple of organized sport.

When Illinois hosted Indiana on Feb. 7, the home fans took out their frustration on Hoosiers freshman guard Eric Gordon (who'd reneged on a verbal commitment to the Illini) by chanting "F--- you, Gordon,"
Scottish Comedian Billy Connolly (better known as the dad in Boondock Saints) has a great routine addressing this very thing. He says that swearing doesn't limit your vocabulary. He knows tons of words and still prefers "F***," and that he has yet to find an English equivalent for "F*** off!" "It isn't 'Go Away.' Go away now! Shoo!"

I can here the chants now. "Go Away Gordon! Go away!" He already did, you schmucks. That's why he's wearing Crimson instead of Orange.

"The abuse that fans are bringing day to day, whether it's on talk radio or in the stands, is going to ruin the game eventually," says Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. "I hate to say this because freedom of speech is at issue, but this isn't what freedom of speech is ­intended for."
Somewhere I remember hearing that the First Amendment wasn't being put in place for popular speech, but for unpopular speech. This kind of speech, as vile as you may sound it, is EXACTLY the kind of free speech that the first amendment is intended for.

It's been my understanding that the stadiums (especially those on state-run campuses) are public places. All over the world people use their stadiums to express what some people would call unpopular viewpoints. (FC Barcelona and The Old Firm in Europe come to mind).

Some of the same conditions that make college basketball so popular-an intimate atmosphere, passionate crowds, heated rivalries -- can also create a volatile situation when fans cross the line. But what is that line? When Duke's Cameron Crazies donned caps and gowns on Feb. 13 and held up signs reading MARYLAND BASKETBALL: FEAR THE CLASSROOM, was it a creative dig at their rival's ACC-lowest graduation rate or a boorish put-down?
Isn't the bigger problem here Maryland's low graduation rate? While we can all agree that very many basketball players are in college to play basketball and not to go to class or get anything resembling an education, I'm not letting Wahl off the hook here. Earlier in the article he criticizes students choice of words by stating that colleges are supposed to be beacons of enlightenment. It seems unfair to hold the students to one standard of education for their performance in the arena and the players to another.

And once an adrenaline-filled crowd gets going, it can be extremely hard to control. Even though Hoop Scoop -- the pamphlet circulated within Illinois's student ­section-encouraged members "to keep your composure and to refrain from vulgarity" when Indiana's Gordon took the floor, the students followed that directive for, oh, about 1.3 seconds before the anti-Gordon chants started. (It didn't help that the pamphlet devoted eight times as much space to rehashing every detail of Gordon's recruitment.)
OK, does Wahl (or anyone) for that matter think that these things actually work? He seems shocked that when the university boot-lickers said "Don't swear," people didn't comply.

But like so many Presidential candidates, Wahl points out a lot of problems but doesn't really offer any practicable solutions.

Strong responses from college officials and coaches are necessary to help control unruly crowds, Stan Love and Eric Gordon Sr. argue, pointing out that neither ­Oregon coach Ernie Kent nor Illinois coach Bruce Weber stepped in to address their vulgar fans on the P.A. systems.
Again. Pamphlets. See above.

According to Love and Gordon, none of the offending fans were ­ejected in either game. "They need a code of conduct,"
Again, it's a sporting event. You should expect this. Passions run high, and even if they didn't, it would be a free speech issue.

Perhaps it's no surprise that some players (including Hansbrough and Paulus) say they have stopped using Facebook ­altogether. Then again, fans may need to read only a newspaper or a website to find ammunition for taunts. aAfter Memphis's 79-78 last-second win at UAB, Tigers forward Robert Dozier is standing only a few feet from a ­female member of the Gang Green student section who's wearing an I DATED DOZIER T-shirt and an ersatz black eye-a reference to a complaint filed against Dozier for allegedly striking his girlfriend outside a nightclub.
Again, isn't the real problem here violence against women, not heckling fans? And last but not least, the stupidest pargraph of the article...

If there was one saving grace for the Loves, the Gordons and Memphis, it was this: Their teams overcame those unruly crowds and left victorious. Eric Gordon Sr. is convinced that was no coincidence. "They were so nasty, so hateful, such poor sports, that it all turned back around and we won the game," he says. "I think it's karma."
I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that those three teams (UCLA, Memphis, and Indiana) are a combined 73-8, and the three teams they faced in those games (UAB, Oregon, and Illinois) are a combined 45-37.

The bottom line is, this article was insulting. It took the actions of a stupid few to cast a blanket net over college basketball student sections, which, let's be honest, if I wanted basketball with less atmosphere, I'd watch the NBA.

There's enough sit-on-your-hands, wait till the Fan-o-meter or "Rock and Roll Part II" comes on to show any kind of indication on whether or not you care about the game in this country for people like Grant Wahl. Don't stamp out the only major sport in this country where you have genuine passion for the team and real atmosphere that makes a place consistently hostile to play in every night regardless of how well the team is doing. While threats to family members and racist taunts are not cool, people need to realize that no one actually intends to follow through on a threat. The scraggly kid from Centralia is going to climb over the railing and personally take out a trained professional athlete? Mountains out of molehills.


Yes, watching soccer can actually kill you... and not just from boredom!

Hey, here's a soccer post that's not really about soccer at all.

For those of you who don't regularly read the New England Journal of Medicine, you are missing out on some of the most comprehensive review articles on current trends in medicine! More importantly, you probably didn't catch this little piece.

Recent research during the 2006 World Cup suggests that men may have two to three times the risk of having a myocardial infarction ("heart attack" for you ignorant lay folk), arrhythmia ("abnormal heart rhythm"), or cardiac emergency ("a really bad heart problem that needs pretty quick attention") on the days that their favorite soccer team plays. Moreover, most of those heart problems actually seemed to occur during the game.

The take-home lesson? I don't know. I'm not a doctor yet. I'm just a media commentator (this blog qualifies as media, right?) with some medical background... kinda like a young Sanjay Gupta.


It's like raaa-iii-ain... on your wedding day

>> Tuesday

One of my favorite English language foibles is misuse of the word and/or concept of irony. (Others include: "literally" when one means "figuratively" and the term "ill-afford")

Recent irony-misuse example (approximately four seconds ago):

"Lofton now has four 3s, and Foster has four 3s. And the lead for Vanderbilt is now 3. How ironic."


Anyway, I have some real posts fermenting, which I'll post soon enough when I feel like it. But for now, filler. I just wanted to bump that weird cannibalism thing I posted Sunday night.

And I've got one hand in my pock-et, and the other... is in down pants, in the vicinity of my junk. (So how am I typing???)


A human brain at work (in case you forget)

>> Sunday

Alright, let's get right to this.

Ellen Page. Simple, lovely, and sparkly! I know I'd impregnate her if I had the chance. A-plus, Juno.
Sean Combs. Classy and sophisticated. So surprising from a black man.

Cate Blanchett. Academy Award nominee or German barmaid? Yuck!

Ok, done with the silly ruse. Actually, what brought me on here was this teaser for an upcoming SportsCenter segment (paraphrased):

"How dominant has Tiger Woods become? Who's dominated more--Tiger or Michael Jordan? Michael Wilbon weighs in!"

Wow, creative. Controversial subject. Very important. Worth a thoughtful answer. I missed Wilbon's answer, but I'm guessing it went something like this:

"It depends what you mean by 'dominate.' If you're asking which player is, or was, better at his sport relative to his contemporaries, I'm not sure anyone can answer that. After all, basketball is a team sport where a player's individual contributions are inseparable from those of his teammates, whereas golf is a sport where one's accomplishments are dictated, almost entirely, by his own limitations. Even if we were able to accurately evaluate an NBA player's accomplishments independent of the team dynamic, the question of "dominance" is complicated by the fact that NBA players offer varied skill sets, each rendering a different role--and therefore, different objectives--within the team dynamic. On the other hand, every golfer has an identical objective: get the ball in the hole with the least amount of strokes. And we still haven't addressed the issue of the two sports' talent curves and how they compare with one another at various points within the two men's careers. With all this in mind, shouldn't we spend our time on a resolvable debate? Or at least one that can better our understanding of sports? Or better our understanding of something more important than sports? Or for God's sake, at least something that doesn't seem so cliched? Working at this network has made it harder and harder for me to respect myself."

No, wait. His answer would be nothing like that. More like:

"I'm from Chicago, so it's hard to say anyone is better than MJ at anything because I'm from Chicago. But--and I can't believe I'm saying this because I'm from Chicago and grew up worshiping MJ--I think Tiger is more dominant! He has 63 career tournament wins! MJ had just six championships! Those numbers have a huge arithmetic difference--the only fair way to compare any two numbers in sports, by the way--so I don't see how you could argue against, which is so hard for me to say because I'm from Chicago and love MJ. I love having these debates, though, because they're fun and get my face on TV, and like any good American would do, I willingly trade my journalistic integrity for celebrity on a daily basis. So... Tiger! Now you know the answer."

Honestly... What kind of society do we live in that people earn money, respect, and huge stage for hashing out nonsense questions and where people like me have the time and a forum to critique it? It makes me sick. I make me sick. We need a good plague or famine--not like the kind government aid can cover but the kind that brought civilaztions to their knees--to get back some semblance of sanity. Thank God for these diversions. Thank God for the reassurance of a resolute voice rich in testosterone telling us that these trivial things matter and that everything is hunky dory as long as we work hard and play hard. And we believe him because subconsciously, we see him as a protector and a rock of strength when the truth is, they'll be the first to cannibalize the weak when that famine does hit.


I guess in Italy you get what you pay for

Italian giants Juventus are fed up with all the bad officiating in Italy's top flight.

Two years ago, Juventus was stripped of their titles, fined, and demoted to the lower divisions for their role in the Calciopoli scandal, where they were found guilty of repeatedly pressuring and bribing match officials.

Karma's a bitch, huh?


Why inequality in the NBA makes me happy

>> Saturday

Some chumps are still hanging on to the tired proclamation that the NBA is boring, but whether you realize it or not, we're in the midst of perhaps the most exciting NBA season ever. And it's all thanks to inequality.

There has been a recent trend in sports to rate a league on its level of parity, which is good as far as making sure that small market teams have an opportunity to compete with the big dogs. But in any given season, I don't want to watch a league where every team has a good shot of winning on any given night.

When teams are equal (and I'm specifically talking about basketball now) it means that the great players are evenly dispursed, but it also means that the bad players are evenly dispursed. So you may get to see a lot more close games, but those close games will involve one or two star players on each team trying to make up for the ineptitude of the Tractor Traylors and Eric Snows they are teamed up with.

But thanks to a flurry of midseason trades, all the Tractor Traylors and Eric Snows are now playing together on teams that we can ignore, and all the stars are playing together on teams that are playing at the highest level.

I really hope that this trend continues, where struggling teams give up their good players for future picks and undeveloped talent, while contending teams mortgage their future to make a run. It works in baseball to an extent, but would be even better in basketball because there are no Yankees or Red Sox that can afford to grab all the big names year after year without having to pay for it in future seasons, and teams can climb the ranks in the NBA a lot quicker than they can in MLB. This means that if you don't win when you have a chance, there's a damn good chance you won't win at all.

That's what makes this NBA season (and at least the next couple seasons) so damn intriguing. Most of the contending teams are facing closing windows, producing a sense of urgency to win now. The Pistons' and Spurs' core players have been around for an eternity, and they can only hold together for so long before age starts to set in. The Celtics' new Big Three have only a few years of elite play left in them. T-Mac and the Rockets are running out of time to win a playoff series. AI was willing to give up the spotlight because he realized his opporunities are running out. And of course, you have the Suns and Mavs who pretty blatantly traded their future for former superstars that are running on fumes.

Barring some ingenious front office moves, all of these teams have three years or less to win a championship, and Vinnie can check my math, but I'm pretty sure seven teams can't all win rings in three years. And it's probably that not even three of these teams will win, because of the younger teams like the Lakers, Hornets and Jazz.

One of the big knocks against the NBA is that there is not enough passion compared to NCAA hoops. But when you combine tons of talent with tons of desperation, you can bet your ass that you're going to see some emotion and passion...and with a lot more talent than college.

This is just one of the reasons I am watching at least one NBA game a night. There's the whole situation with nine elite teams in the West fighting for eight playoff spots. There's the absence of any scandals. There's my opinion that in Kobe and LeBron, we are watching the two greatest players to play the game ever. There's the championship promises from my favorite player ever. But I'll spare you any further raving about how great the NBA is right now. The only thing that could make it any better would be if they brought back the 'NBA on NBC' theme music.


If fans rush the field, the terrorists win

>> Friday

A Cubs fan who ran on the field was found guilty of felony trespass.

The charge was upgraded from a misdemeanor and I wholeheartedly agree. However, it's not enough. It's high time that we developed ways to keep fans from running on the field. The safety of the players is tantamount. I mean, otherwise, it would be a madhouse on the field. Players would be dropping like flies.

So in a day and age where sacrificing freedom for security has always worked out swimmingly, we present new security solutions.

1.) Make Green Monster-style walls encircle the entire field. It might not be good business for the sightlines in all but the nosebleed seats, but it will enable team owners to further raise prices on the crappiest of seats. For the seats that come up to the Monster walls, nothing deters fans running on the field like a 4-story drop to a premature end. Let's face it, if you're drunk enough to run on the field, you're probably headed for the hospital one way or another that night (Picking a fight with someone bigger than you, alcohol poisoning, drunk driving accident). This would take out the possibility of other people getting hurt as a result of you being a dumbass.

2.) Build a moat. Works for Mexican soccer. But since this is 'Merica, we gotta one up it. Fill it with crocodiles.

3.) Rename every team the Tampa Bay Rays. Then no one will come to see them and you won't have to worry about fans running on the field.

4.) At this point I'd consider the possibility of an electrical fence circling the field, but then two things came to me. First of all, an electrical fence couldn't hold the raptors or the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. Second, that it would probably be much more effective to just have a T-Rex or raptors circling the field. Would make live balls in foul territory more interesting.

5.) Randomly place terminators in the stands, among the fans, just to keep them in line. Sure, we don't have terminators yet, but with the implaccable growth of facebook, it's only a matter of time before it becomes an intelligent Skynet network capable of destroying all life on earth.

6.) While we're on the subject of terminators, let's build a time machine and a terminator. Then we can send him back in time to kill Abner Doubleday's mother. Then he'll never invent baseball and we won't have to worry about lone idiots charging professionally trained athletes. I can't see a more efficient use of resources. Of course...if we do that....then we won't have baseball, and no incentive to build terminators to send back in time in the first place...

7.) Conceal-and-carry. Drunken fans won't be so quick to rush the field if they know the players are packing heat.

So I hope you're listening, Major League Baseball. Follow my suggestions and we can have stadiums that are safe for everyone.


373 degrees Kelvin (Sampson)

>> Thursday

(Holy shit, my titles are awesome. I'm so fucking clever. But you probably don't even get that. Go to a blog where people are as dumb as you, e.g. Busted Coverage, ok?)

Evidently, there's a good chance that Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson will be canned tomorrow afternoon. Come Tuesday, he'll likely be homeless. By Thursday, dead.

And for what? Lust. Lust for the services of 17 year-olds. If you're Matt, you can sympathize. For the rest of us, we can at least empathize. His only sin was wanting too much. Or in the words of Hannibal Lecter, "He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice?" Young Jodie Foster in a southern accent: "We see a high school junior with a mad handle and a sweet J, and we want him so bad that we call him each night before we can fall asleep."

So here's my question: What's so wrong with a little talent lust? Do we really need the NCAA to police coaches who can't help themselves? Coaches who woo and woo until they can woo no more? Why not let the recruits police the coaches? Why not let the recruits police the coaches the way your high school squeeze policed you? "Matt, I get that you want me. But you're coming off way too desperate. You have to stop calling me or my parents'll get pissed. I'm going now, ok? Bye. ...No, I won't be around later, ok? Bye... For real. Bye!"

Instead, Kelvin Sampson has been disgraced, and may soon be jobless, for what I see as a victimless crime (ok, maybe one victim named Bruce Weber). Ask Eric Gordon if he cares how many phone calls he got while he fields his next call from a future agent promising more money than Geraldo has earned in his lifetime.

No one paid anyone. No one beat up anyone. No one bought anyone dinner to make the death of a young man's father sting a touch less. No one killed anyone. And most importantly, no one bought anyone dinner. Why is this such a big deal? Sure, it's a little sleazy, but recruiting is a sleazy business. And guess what--your favorite team's coach is a sleazebag too. And I guarantee whatever that coach--let's call him Tomrick PaCreano--does to land stud recruits is no more wholesome than what Sampson has done.

And no, Matt, I still won't go out with you.


NBA Re-Alignment Pick

>> Wednesday

Calling it right now. The word is that the Sonics are moving to OKC to the collective yawn from the Puget Sounders. Doesn't make a lot of sense to move the team to within driving distance of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, then tell the local populace their rivals are in the Northwest Division, featuring Portland and Minnesota.

So here it is.

  • Seattle moves to Oklahoma City.
  • OKC Sonics move from Northwest to Southwest Division (Texas rivals as well as former NOLA/OKC Hornets).
  • Replaced by Milwaukee, who moves from the Central to the Northwest (rivalry with Minnesota?)
  • Milwaukee is replaced in the Central by Memphis.
Northwest Division
Portland, Utah, Denver, Minnesota, Milwaukee

Southwest Division
Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans

Central Division
Memphis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Indiana

Speculation? Dadgummed right (gave up swearing for Lent), but no different than Joe Lunardi filling out a bracket in July.


NBA And-Ones! aka Layup Drill!

>> Monday

The most amazing stat from the All Star Game? Only 37 turnovers! And no one tackled anyone The two teams were practically wearing the same uniform. Or at least half of the same uniform. Who the hell designed those? They made the game horribly confusing, and I expected at least 80 turnovers, with all those undisciplined, tattooed hotshots with their baggy shorts and complicated shoes playing in the game. But 37 would tie for the fourth lowest when put against the totals from the last ten All Star Games: 37, 40, 43, 44, 52, 30, 40, 39, 33, and 34.

Done deal--No Kidd-ing!
I am thoroughly confused by this Jason Kidd trade. The Nets actually want Kieth Van Horn? a) He wasn't that great before he retired; b) he hasn't played in a year and a half; c) he obviously doesn't wanna play very much; and d) he has the same name (almost) as a former Bears offensive tackle. (That last one's sorta inconsequential, I guess.) I can't believe he was holding up the deal. I will never, ever understand NBA trades.

Whore-icane Ka-dumbass
Quit bragging Sports Guy. Big deal. You went to New Orleans. If I remember correctly, a certain group of respected sports reporters (and friend)...

...went to new Orleans almost two years ago, while you and everyone else was convinced they'd get bacterial meningitis by stepping foot in the state of Louisiana. And we didn't even have ESPN to pay our way. So come off it, yo. (Read: "We were there first, na na n-na na.")


Champions League Picks in 2 sentences

>> Sunday

For my hastily-chosen group stage picks, I went 13-3. Now, in an ADD world, I'm essentially bringing each matchup for the Round of 16 down to 2 sentences.

Lyon (France #1) vs. Manchester United (England #2)
Best in France not what it used to be.
United just thrashed English title-rivals Arsenal 4-0.
Pick: United

Celtic (Scotland #2) vs. Barcelona (Spain #2)
Normally attacking Barcelona has struck for more than one goal only twice in last 10 games.
Normally defensive Celtic on the other hand has struck for 13 goals in last three games.
Pick: Celtic (Upset Special)

Liverpool (England #5) vs. Inter Milan (Italy #1)
Whenever I pick Liverpool to lose, they win, and vice versa.
Kind of hard to pick the Reds when they're falling out of relevance domestically and just lost to lower-division Barnsley.
Pick: Inter

Arsenal (England #1) vs. AC Milan (Italy #5)
Milan unbeaten in 8 of last 10, and the European champs always find a way to kick it into overdrive this time of year.
English leaders Arsenal are looking for a confidence boost after being blown out by Man U, but have the offensive firepower to make this series interesting.
Pick: Milan, but it may be decided AFTER 180 minutes...

Olimpiacos (Greece #1) vs. Chelsea (England #3)
No contest.
Olimpiacos' fairy tale run ends at Stamford Bridge.
Pick: Chelsea

AS Roma (Italy #2) vs. Real Madrid (Spain #1)
Madrid and Roma have both lost twice in last three.
Roma hadn't lost since October 2nd before that, while Madrid have lost three of last six.
Pick: Roma (Madrid has better players, but Roma is in better form)

Schalke 04 (Germany #5) vs. FC Porto (Portugal #1)
Only storyline is Porto returning to scene of 2004 European Cup triumph, held at Schalke's stadium. Porto will likely win again.
Pick: Porto

Fenerbahce (Turkey #1) vs. Sevilla (Spain #6)
Fenerbahce should take down struggling Sevilla.
But in Europe, anything can happen, so who knows?
Pick: Fenerbahce


Key word: "exactly"

>> Saturday

The Daily Herald's Mike McGraw has finally discovered the formula!

The formula to what, you ask? Why, the elusive Who And/Or What Is To Blame For The Chicago Bulls Problems In The First Half Of The 2007-2008 NBA Season formula, of course.

So many problems are affecting the underachieving Bulls at the all-star break, so Mike McGraw has broken down exactly how much blame should be assigned to each issue:

No contract extensions -- 26 percent

John Paxson will now receive just 26% of my Bulls-related hate mail, as opposed to the 31% I'd been sending him previously. My bad!

Back to grade school -- 22 percent
The Bulls were counting on contributions from four players in their first or second NBA seasons -- Tyrus Thomas, Thabo Sefolosha, Joakim Noah and Aaron Gray. None were ready to push the Bulls forward when the season began.

Make that 48% I guess. Unless I'm supposed to be blaming those players...? Now I'm more confused than ever.

Injured and out -- 20 percent
There weren't five games in the previous five seasons when the Bulls were missing three of their top five scorers. Then it happened five times in seven games recently. Top scorers Gordon and Deng were both out for 10 of the last 12 contests.

I'm not sure if any of that makes sense, but I know I can't send hate mail to injuries. Let's make it 52% to Paxson and 4% each to Thomas, Sef, Noah, and Gray.

Art of War to Art of Noise -- 16 percent
We all knew the day was coming when the Bulls would tune out head coach and Sun Tzu fan Scott Skiles. That timetable accelerated quickly when the early season slump hit.

Well, it seems useless to send Skiles hate mail at this point. Make it another 8% for Paxson and 8% for Jim Boyland.

Big money, bad slumps -- 10 percent
The Bulls' two highest-paid players, Ben Wallace and Kirk Hinrich, were terrible at the start of the season. That didn't help pad the win column and must have frustrated teammates looking for the Bulls to open the wallet even wider.

4% each to Wallace and Hinrich and 2% more to Paxson for paying them so much. I'm gonna need a bigger address book!

Change up front -- 6 percent
Veteran forward Joe Smith is an upgrade on offense from P.J. Brown, but a step down defensively. As a result, Wallace has not been as effective on defense and his limited offense is more of a liability in higher-scoring game.

But wouldn't Smith's offense in lieu of Brown's D become an advantage in a high-scoring game? I don't follow. That's 6% to you, Mike McGraw.

So many words were used to express so little in the previous paragraphs, so made-up analyst Johnny Thunderhorn has broken down exactly why this post sucked so much:

Too many exclamation points -- 1 percent

When you abbreviate "defense" as "D," it should technically be in quotes -- 0.7 percent

It's about a stupid column from a second-rate paper about a topic that interests no one centered around made-up percentages that mean nothing -- 98.3 percent


YCS: Your home for childish mockery of foreign people

It's time once again for a little segment we like to call,

You Talk Funny!

Today's featured foreign person is Kosuke Fukudome('s translator). When asked how he would help his new team, Fookie gave this confident response that suggests his contribution will be largely supernatural:

"I'm not quite sure yet if I can help this team in any way, but I wish I can bring the good luck to the Chicago Cubs from Japan," he said.

So brash! Then Kosuke offered this misinformed and slightly dangerous take on his name:

"There has been some article about the difficult pronunciation of my last name, 'Fukudome,' " he said. "So I'm comfortable with any nickname anybody comes up with or 'Kosuke,' or whatever floats the boat will be fine for me."

Does, "Fookie" float the boat, Fookie? Good! Then Fookie it is.


Because We Love You

>> Thursday

I can't let a year pass without reposting the best photoshop work we've ever done.

Also, Valentine's disguise looks exactly like Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's.

Artwork courtesy Vinnie, disguise courtesy Yiddles' joke and novelty shop (anyone who can pinpoint that Simpsons reference has my respect).


Ryan Dempster: "Cubs will win World Series"


Clemens Testimony Transcript

>> Wednesday

Clemens: Did Not!

McNamee: Did to!

Clemens: Did Not!

McNamee: Did to!

Clemens: Did Not!

McNamee: Did to!

Clemens: Did not did not!

McNamee: Did to did to!

Clemens: Did not did not times a hundred!

McNamee: Did to times a million!

Clemens: Did not times infiniti!

McNamee: Did to times double infiniti!

Clemens: There's no such thing as double infiniti!

McNamee: Moooooooom!!! Roger says there's no such thing as double infiniti!

Random Member of Congress: Aren't we fighting a war somewhere?


A message from Uno

>> Tuesday

Oh!!! Best in Show, bitches!

You think my name is too brash? Well, go eat your own shit, other dogs and bitches, as you are wont to do anyway. It wasn't my choice to have that name, dogs and bitches. It was my fag owner, ok? So fuck you all. Eat my shit, ok?

You think I give a bastard about your dog show awards? Think again. Yeah, I did my little strut and pose for that fag judge. You think that's me? That's not me, you gullible homos. I like licking a good nutsack as much as you do, but you can't contain it enough to fool some old man with a PhD, and that's why I'm better than you. You can all lick my nutsack. Lick my nutsack? That sounds mighty fine right now, actually.

That's right--I can lick my own nutsack! You jealous? Of course you are, chumps. Especially you, bitches. I saw you all eyeing me. I'd look your way; you'd turn your head just in time so that your bag trainer wouldn't see you and whip your bitch-ass. Like I'd touch a toy poodle with my ten-foot pole. (I'd probably kill you before I even got off, but that's neither here nor there.) But I saw ya. You want my dick, don't you, bitches? Your trainer wanted that shit, too. Old bag hasn't had a good screw in fifteen years, and that's why she put all her hopes and dreams into your bitch-ass, and now she's lusting my huge doggie-wang.

Well, suck on this: I'm off to Hollywood where Hollywood bitches will lick my nutsack all day while they feed me filet. You remember "Eddie" from Fraiser? Ameteur... total pawn. And your fag owners and that fag judge are just as jealous because they all wanna lick their own nutsack too, but they CAN'T! Not without years and years of Yoga, bitches! Yeah, I'm off to Hollywood, where I'll lick my nutsack all day.

You think you can stop me, Caroline and Ed and Jon and Kathy? I'd like to see your homo legs keep up with me for twenty yards. Good luck. I sold you, and now I'm selling out. I've got youth and dog-ness on my side, and you can't touch this shit. You think I'm trained? HA! HA! HA!... And.... HA! You can't train perfection. You can't train a god. You can't train that. Sainara, Asian bitches. I'm off to the bigtime.

Shit... You inferior dogs and bitches are wearing me out by boring me with your inferior competition. This gloating is too fucking (I'd say "doggone," but I'm not some hack-bitch longhaired dachshund who finished a distant second to me) EASY. So sit on it, Chachi.

And I'm out!


Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Day Two Rundown

Colsidex Seabreeze Perfect Fit, a Weimeraner, took the sporting dogs group. Excellent choice. A Weimeraner has never taken this category, but this one can go all the way.

The working dog group went as expected, but the toy group was a travesty. I call big-time dog-doo on this one. Smash JP Win A Victory, the poodle won, but clearly, Yup's Cohiba Esplendido, the Havanese was the superior dog, yet finished a shameful third.

Best in Show: the beagle, K-Run's Park Me In First, a.k.a. "Uno," the first hound to win it since 1983! This is history, folks. Everyone knows the hounds are up against it every year, but '08 proved the year of the beagle, the breed that was once used to test military artilary. I'd have taken the Weimeraner, but that's just one man's opinion.

That leads me to wonder... Is it time to reform the judging system for Best in Show? Believe me, I have the utmost respect for Dr. J. Donald Jones. But doesn't it seem a bit unfair to these dogs and their trainers who work tirelessly to get this far to let the whim of one man, sequestered throughout the preceding competition, to make a gut choice from a five-minute exhibition? I only hope I live to see the day when Best in Show is determined by a panel of judges--some of whom see the dogs throughout the competition and the rest who are sequestered.


Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Day One Rundown

With Day Two of Westminster just underway, let's take a minute to recap the events from Day One, where we crowned the winners of the first four groups.

This year saw a bumper crop of excellent hounds. Runner-up Solo's Drag-Queen, a longhaired dachshund, could have easily won in what may have been the tightest category, but it's hard to argue with the winner, K-Run's Park Me In First, a two year-old beagle. The judges couldn't go wrong either way.

Efbe's Hidalgo At Goodspice, a stately Sealyham, edged out Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot in the terriers group. The odds-on favorite entering the show, Torquay S. Demetrio finished a disappointing fourth after showing a hint of slouch in his gait.

Brighton Minimoto, a standard poodle and a very saucy bitch indeed, took Best in Group honors for non-sporting dogs and looks to be an early favorite for Best in Show. The much ballyhooed Paray's Paragon, a Bichon Frises, may have frozen amidst the hype and placed third after a stellar, yet unspectacular, showing.

Breeder Sandra Landry has proven herself yet again with the majestic Australian Shepherd Venlake Collinswood Yablon OA OAJ, who took Best in Group for herding dogs. Third-place finisher Kaleefs Geneva Aeval-Achtung cost herself dearly when she called judge Stanley Saltzman a "thieving gypsy," yet nearly won despite the slip.

I can't wait to see what tonight's action has in store for us and who will win Best in Show!


The NBA is the most boring sport in America

I guess this post is a brief follow-up to Nate's post that actually demonstrates some level of interest in what is now the most boring sport in America.

The NBA sucks. Stories about big trades (Shaq, Gasol) and 'controversial' rumblings by 'controversial' players ('Sheed saying he doesn't want to cancel his vacation to play as an All-Star reserve) seem to be the only interesting thing about the sport. In fact, as a casual NBA fan, you hardly even hear about what teams are playing well, what star players are blossoming, etc. Instead, most of the NBA headlines are about these little dramatic side plots. And after watching parts of the Lakers-Heat game on Sunday, I found out why: The action on the court has become so deplorably boring that people have to talk about the side stories or else the league seems totally inconsequential.

I know I'm not saying anything new when I argue that the NBA regular season has become a joke. But really, I saw some terrible basketball on Sunday. I know the league has been trying for years to make the game more offense-friendly, but in reality, it has just become sloppy. Here are my proposed rule changes to clean up the atrocious mess that you see these days.

1. Seriously, start enforcing traveling and 3-seconds calls. A no-brainer.
2. Subtract a point for a turnover. Sure, a turnover should be a penalty enough in itself, but these guys really don't care if they throw errant, lazy passes. Penalize them more!
3. Eliminate the shot clock. A 24-second shot clock? I don't know what games were like in the pre-shot clock era, but the game has changed enough now that we don't need a shot clock. Teams consistently jack up shots with only 5 to 7 seconds off the shot clock. It now needs to be extended or eliminated. It's just not fun to watch teams trade (and miss) open 18-footers every ten seconds.
4. Reverse the defensive 3-second rule. The defensive 3-second rule makes no sense to me. Let a center camp out on defense and force offensive penetrators to be a little more creative and work a little harder for their baskets.
5. Let them handcheck! Bring back the handcheck. There's nothing wrong with a little push here and there.
6. Shorten the length of the game, shorten the regular season, shorten the playoffs.

In a somewhat unrelated note, I can't believe that two officials in two different college hoops games last night called a foul with less than 0.5 seconds to go. I'm not suggesting that the final <1.0 seconds of a ball game should be a free-for-all without consequence for fouling. But come on, in situations like that, there's so much bumping and chaos, just let them play. What a shame for the Nova men and Scarlett Nappy-Headed Hos.


Bringing Sexy Back!!!

>> Monday

Look out Tom Brady, you have some company atop the "All-GQ" team. This further illustrates why Rick Pitino is the man!


Conflicted rooting interests

>> Friday

I'll be the first one to admit that my rooting interests change in a heartbeat. Team loyalty is not my specialty. The Packers and Brewers are the only teams that I have always been a consistent, die hard fan of. I have been a fan of the Steelers, Bucks and Michigan football for almost as long as I can remember, but my passion and dedication for those teams has fluctuated largely throughout the years (usually correlating with those teams' success). The other exception is Marquette basketball, but that's heavily influenced by the fact that I am a Marquette alum.

You could call me a fairweather fan, and to some extent I am guilty as charged because I do lose interest in my teams when they are losing. But the main cause of my flimsy fanhood is that I cheer for players, and collections of players, rather than particular organizations. In the 90s, you would have been hard-pressed to find a bigger Pacers fan outside of Indiana than I was. But the team I loved was made up of Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, the Davis "brothers," Mark Jackson and the rest. I could give a damn less about the Pacers today. In the same manner, I have always cheered against teams who had players that I hated. The Cowboys of the 90s were easy to hate because Aikman and Irvin were easy to hate (it didn't hurt that they kept knocking the Packers out of the playoffs). My hatred for Roger Clemens has led directly to my hatred for whatever team he was playing for.

Once in a while, there is conflict caused by players I like and players I dislike playing on the same team: A-Rod and Jeter, Pujols and Eckstein, Garnett and Spreewell. But never before has the conflict been this great.

Shaq, perhaps my all-time favorite athlete, was traded to a contender! Hooray, I'll be able to cheer on the Big Aristotle in the playoffs! Oh, if only it were that easy. But it's not. Because, see, there's this other player on Shaq's new team that I kind of don't like. I mean, I really don't like him. I've made it very clear how much I don't like him. And it especially enrages me that he is never criticized by the sports media. So how can I bring myself to cheer for any team he is a part of?

What's more, my second favorite player in the NBA (yes, more than Wade, LeBron or Agent 0, and yes I was a HUGE Lakers fan in their most recent Championship days) had just got himself some all-star help in Pau Gasol, giving me a contender to cheer for in the West.

At first, I brushed it off, saying, "Shaq's got nothing left. He's a shell of what he used to be. He's not even the same player that I fell in love with. I can cheer against the Suns without feeling like I'm cheering against the 'real' Shaq."

Then came his press conference, and those sound clips that made him so damn loveable in the first place:

"You just don't really want to get me upset. When I'm upset, I'm known to do certain things -- like win championships."

And, as a Shaq fan, I want him to be right. I want him to prove everyone wrong, find a reserve fuel tank and, as he said, "Get ready to play another 10 years."

In a perfect world, Steve Nash would suffer a season-ending injury before the playoffs, and Shaq would lead the Suns to a championship averaging 30 points and 15 boards in the playoffs. Also, in a perfect world, I would get paid millions of dollars a year to watch porn and drink beer...oh, and there would be no hunger, poverty or any of that shitty stuff.

In the slightly more realistic world, I'm hoping that any success that comes to the Suns will be attributed properly to the appropriate players, whoever they may be. Alas, we all know that the gritty, under-sized white guy always gets more credit than he deserves.


International $occer

>> Thursday

The English Premier League has announced that they will look into the possibility of one-upping the NFL and having each team play one game on foreign soil each season. I'm sure we'll hear the same refrains of "for the good of the game" "expanding our international exposure" or "bringing the game to the world's fans."

I don't buy it for a second.

EPL officials have brought up the NFL playing games at Wembley as an incentive for the change; a way to expand internationally when the market is tapped-out domestically. Just as the NFL cannot get any bigger in the US than it already is (Hence the "Toronto Bills"), the EPL cannot get any bigger than it is in England. It is also the most widely-followed league in the world. It is also a completely different situation from the NFL.


The NFL schedule is a 16-game slate; six division games, four games against an intraconference division, another four against a division from the opposite conference, and two games chosen for a variety of reasons, which is a catchphrase for TV (This is partly why the Colts and Patriots have played each other every season the past five years.) Each season, any given team will not play 18 of the teams in the NFL.

The EPL schedule is a 38-game double round-robin. Every team plays each of the other 19 teams once at home, and once on the road. The team with the most points at the end of the season wins the title. In case of a tie, goal difference is the first tiebreaker. Under the "International EPL" plan, there would be a 39th game, with pairings decided by a blind draw, so that no team loses a home game.

The blind draw is presumably to give it a color of parity. Though it seems odd that the EPL seems so eager to protect the comeptitve integrity of the competition by not scrapping any home games, yet tosses away the "Every team twice" rule that has been part of English football for over a century so easily. In the end though, there WILL be winners and losers. One team will get to play Wigan Athletic three times, and one team will have to play Manchester United three times. This could very easily lead to unjust results. While it would seem exceedingly rare that a team would lose the title on goal difference, other harmful results could come about just as easily.

The top four teams at the end of the season qualify for the next season's Champions League, a finish that is worth tens of millions of dollars to teams. Even more valuable is what happens at the bottom of the table. While if the Miami Dolphins lose a bit of competitive advantage by giving up a home game, and finish in last, the only punishment is a couple of Leno jokes and the difficult decision of what to do with that #1 draft pick. In England there is no draft. The teams that finish at the bottom are relegated to their AAA. This can mean Darwinistic ruin very quickly. Leeds United was in the semifinals of the Champions League as recently as 2001, but following two relegations, they are now plying their trade in England's AA level, on a budget relative to their former EPL rivals as the Toledo Mud Hens would have to the Boston Red Sox. If another club finished in 18th and dropped, just because they couldn't make up a goal difference in a made-for-TV game against Arsenal while their 17th-place (and surviving) team got a patsy for their international game, there would be outrage.

Who are we kidding? I can't blame the NFL for attempting to take the game international. Its following is only in a handful of countries, and has its largest popualrity in North America. Soccer is the most popular team sport in the world. FIFA has more member countries than the United Nations. Any idea that this is "spreading the popularity of the game" is a naked lie. This is nothing more than a cash grab, plain and simple. In addition, it will be a cash grab for the clubs who don't need it. While there might be packed stadiums in New York and Sydney to see Liverpool, Arsenal, or Chelsea, will there be the same kind of revenue injection for a neutral site game between Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland? (Bonus points if any YCS staff member has heard of EITHER of those teams). The rich will get richer, and the gap between the Big Four and the rest of the EPL will widen. The EPL does not have revenue-sharing in the sense that we would recognize it.

And what would any of this money be used for? To buy more players? Are there any players left? The EPL is the most lucrative league on the planet. More international stars ply their trade in England than anywhere else. League leader Arsenal does not start a single English player. The International appeal of the EPL is one reason why FIFA's president is suggesting a rule prohibiting teams from starting more than 5 international players (The so-called "6+5" Rule).

In addition, the playing of EPL games in foreign countries does nothing to help promote those countries' domestic leagues. How does an EPL game in New York help the development of MLS? Red Bull New York draws sellout crowds for exhibitions against foreign superclubs, but draws 15,000 for league games. However, even that game presumably brings in a few people who have not followed RBNY before, and if they get a good result, maybe picks up some fans. How does a game in Tokyo help the J-League, or a game in Sydney help the A-League; two successful, but relatively fledgling leagues in the same position as MLS, with the skilled players but without the tradition and big names of the English top-flight?

I may be wrong, but I'm having a really hard time seeing how this move is good for anyone besides the owners of the Big Four.


I would trade my prizefighting cock Little Vinnie to see that video

But alas, the Youtube Gestapo took it down.

A video of New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez and Hall of Famer Juan Marichal at a cockfight was posted this week on YouTube.

Martinez and Marichal laugh before releasing the roosters. The two took part as honorary "soltadores," the word used to describe the person who puts the animal to fight.

The result of the contest is unsurprising, however, when you compare Pedro's fighting history:

To Marichal's:

All I know is, I wanna see that video!


Happy SuperFat Tuesday!

>> Tuesday

Don't forget to get your ashes tomorrow, heathens!

Your friends at Pretty Yellow Chair


Don't Know Much About Revisionist History

>> Monday

Some fat piece of shit on Rome is Burning has a strange take on history. Admittedly, it's on Rome is Burning, so you can pretty much expect 1.) The guy to be a fat piece of shit and 2.) whatever he says will be mind-bogglingly wrong.

"I think that the Jets winning in Super Bowl III is a bigger upset than the Giants over the Patriots, because the Jets' were bigger underdogs...."

So far so good...

"and their win pretty much CAUSED the merger." (His emphasis, not mine.)

Kind of odd since the AFL-NFL merger was announced in 1966, and Super Bowl III was played in 1969.


Turn that frown upside-down!

Cheer up, campers! Don't cry or pout! The birds are singing; the sun is out... It's a beeea-utiful day!

Actually, it's grayer than a bastard here, and the birds are all dead or down in Ecuador. But that wouldn't rhyme, would it? And those are unhappy thoughts! We only care about happy thoughts!

So what your team lost last night? To the guy who came here by Googling "I feel depressed after superbowl lost"--first of all, that's terrible writing, but it's okay because we're all special--remember that it could always be worse. You may be sad that your Pats didn't win, but at least you don't have smallpox or live in Burma! At least I hope you don't; otherwise, that might be a problem! :)

Are you depressed that football season is over? I promise there are still a few things to live for, like warm weather and baseball and dafodils and the 4th of July! Sure, you'll have to wait through several torturous weeks of crippling malaise before any of those things comes around, but in the words of Dido, "It's not so bad... It's not so baaaad." If you start feeling down from football withdrawl during the offseason, here are a few tips:

1) Open up your wallet you cheap bastard, and get the NFL Network. They re-run full games during the offseason!

2) Go buy a puppy and a football-shaped chew toy, carpet a room in your house to look like a football field, and watch the puppy run around it for no less than three hours at a time.

3) Reach for a cocktail, cigarette, or comfort food. They all give you a quick mood boost with absolutely no potential negative long-term consequences!

4) Buy yourself something nice but practical, like a faberge egg, and leave your wife for a younger, hotter one.

5) Get revenge on someone.

6) Balloons!

Most importantly, keep a smile on your face! Research shows that smiling releases neurochemicals in our brains that cause the muscles in the corners of our mouth to go upward, thereby causing us to feel happier! And above all, remember--sadness is a sign of weakness!



>> Sunday

The dynasty lives, HOMOS! Who won Vinnie's Super-Rigged Super Bowl Pool for Suckers for a third straight time? Oh, that's right! It was me, VINNIE.


I offered you PRIZES, both material and otherwise, yet I still DOMINATED YOUR WEAK-ASS WEAK ASSES because I'm AWESOME!!!! Instead of posting on this blog or removing one of my posts (YOU'D REALLY LIKE TO REMOVE THIS ONE, HUH, QUEERMO??), you now get Vinnie unabridged for AT LEAST a year because I KNEW that the Giants would win and/or lose by less than 12 points and that the Unders would beat the Overs. You all thought my panting man-lust for high-risk QBs, particularly Eli Manning, was crazy, but clearly, I WAS RIGHT. That means more preachiness, more terrible jokes, more unwarranted bravado... more Vinnie-ness!!!!

(By the way, Pat was the only other person who called the Ginats v. spread and under, so the other five of you--yes, five responses were all I got--suck hardcore, and Pat rules like me. And Tom Petty is a moron because he should have played his first-last in reverse order as I called. "Runnin' Down a Dream" is a perfect opening song, while "American Girl" is a perfect closing song. And yes, I even claim to know Tom Petty's music more than he does.)


Live blogging Puppy Bowl IV

2:01 - I can't believe how many of these dogs are either lying on all fours or playing with chew toys during the national anthem. That's plain disrespectful.

2:03 - As the anthem ends, they all howl. I think that's like the equivalent of booing in Romania. Strike two, muts.

2:05 - The first "touchdown." I can't believe this is actually a three hours show. My bet: By hour three, the puppies are all asleep or gnawing their paws.

2:06 - There's a puppy who appears determined to tear off another puppy's taint, and yet the camera remains fixed on this brutal scene.

2:09 - I am bored out of my mind.

2:11 - You can vote online for Most Valuable Puppy! My early pick: Panda. He's like the Desmond Howard of Puppy Bowl IV.

2:13 - A commercial. Thank God.

2:16 - Show resumes. They're introducing a new "lineup," which I'm guessing happens after each commercial break. So much for my bet.

2:17 - New MVP favorite: Bruin, a 44-pound killer Alaskan hunting dog that "loves fish." I fear he will devour one of the other dogs (probably the one that looks most like a fish). He is literally three times larger than any other dog out there.

2:18 - I feel bad for the guy playing the ref. "Puppy penalty! Holding." He will be haunted by this gig the rest of his life.

2:19 - I am bored out of my soul.

2:20 - There's a camera in the water bowl that lets you see the dogs' faces through the water as they drink. It's adorable, by which I mean disgusting.

2:22 - Turns out Bruin is a big lazy oaf, but there's some other large dog (part golden lab, I think) who's out for the kill right now. Go for the throat! The throat! Kill him!

2:24 - "This game has gone to the dogs!" I am shocked they waited a full 24 minutes to say that.

2:24 - Second commercial break. Ok, I'm done. I have places to be. I can't believe there's three hours of this nonsense... Three hours.

2:44 - No longer watching Puppy Bowl but the NBA instead, and Bill Walton just used the phrase "unbridled enthusiasm." I think he's been reading too many Billy Mumphrey stories.


The First Annual Yellow Chair Sports Super Bowl Primer for Women and Non-Butch Gays

Ahhh, Super Bowl Sunday. Perhaps one of the best days of the year not yet recognized with a federal holiday. An annual tradition marking both the culmination of another glorious NFL season and the beginning of the worst few sports weeks of the year. People from all over gather to put aside their petty rivalries and enjoy one another's company whilst pounding MGD and tearing through an endless stream of barbecue potato chips.

Everyone's got a big party to attend (unless you're a wussy douche that backed out because of "work"...), but for some, Super Bowl Sunday can cause anxiety when in the midst of your more gridiron-literate friends. Not to worry, broads, fairies and Mike Sever (redundant?), because as YCS's most knowledgeable and therefore best looking football mind, I'm here to get you prepped with all the who's, why's and what's you'll need to fake your way through enjoying the big game. Not only will you wow them with your impressive catalogue of football trivia, you might even earn yourself forgiveness for that unholy mess you'll undoubtedly leave in the host's bathroom at halftime after having eaten 45 hot wings and a british tonne of taco dip.

Ok, we'll make this plenty easy and start with the basics:

Who's playing?

The New England Patriots (AFC Champions) are playing against the New York Giants (NFC Champions even though the fucking Packers should have been there because Lawrence Tynes is a fucking asshole that all of a sudden decides to pull a 50-yarder out of his fucking ass just as the game happens to have gone to overtime and he spent the rest of the game looking like he couldn't find water if he were the god of the sea Poseidon himself, also called Neptune).

So yeah, uh, Patriots are in blue, Giants in white.

Where are the playing?

The game takes place in Phoenix, Arizona, home to the Arizona Cardinals. This year, the NFL decided that it'd had enough of fun host cities like New Orleans and Miami and decided that it would be in everyone's best interests if they played the game in the fucking desert for some reason. The local populace of cactii and illegal Mexican day laborers are reportedly thrilled with the boost to the tourism economy.

Who are the one guys for these teams that get to touch the other fat guy's butt every play and throw the balls? You know, the ones that are white and not the kickers?

For the Patriots, it's Tom Brady, a three-time Super Bowl champion and 2007 NFL MVP that set a league record with 50 touchdown passes this year, roughly 10% which he didn't just lob up in the air for Randy Moss.

On the other side, you have 2008 NFL Make-a-Wish Foundation honoree Eli Manning, a legally retarded yet able-bodied simpleton from Louisiana. He is the son of Olivia Manning and the remnants of a once-virile gene pool from Archie Manning's shriveled ballbag. You might remember his brother Peyton, who was the Super Bowl MVP last year. He won the award for being the quarterback who didn't completely shit the bed and single-handedly hand the game to the other team.

Any other players I should know about?

Sure, tons. First, for the Patriots, you should at least be familar with Randy Moss, currently the best wide receiver in the game when not slingin' sweet juices and slappin' a bitch around. Also, if you're white, you'll love Wes Welker, the plucky slot receiver whose play old white sportwriters love and drastically overrate because he, like them, is athletically untalented. Defensively, you should also notice linebacker Junior Seau, if not for his play then for his hilarious jheri-curl fade, which he has had since birth.

For the Giants, aside from Manning you should be aware of running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. To keep them straight, remember that Jacobs is the big one whose foot is on Rodney Harrison's throat. Plaxico Burress plays wide receiver and is the sole reason Eli Manning completes more than 40% of his passes. Defensively, the Giants feature an excellent defensive line, led by single season sack record holder Michael Strahan and sheisse enthusiast Osi Umenyiora.

Who should I be rooting for?

If you're a front running ass hat, you'll be rooting for the Patriots. Just go to a bar and look for the group of dudes wearing brand new jerseys and team apparel and join in the fun. The best part is that by deciding you're a Patriots fan because they're in the Super Bowl means you've been a fan just as long as they have!

If you're a fan of the underdog, root for the Giants. But please, be advised that in this sense I don't mean underdog in the "David vs. Goliath" sense, I mean it in the "David vs. God himself" sense.

What are some easy observations/rhetorical questions I can use during the game to sound cool?

"That Welker sure is tough! Even if they lose Moss next year, they'll still be ok as long as they keep him around."

"Man, Bill Belicheck is an asshole."

"Joe Buck is a fucking douchebag and I wish Troy Aikman would stab him in the throat with a pen."

"Wow, Eli really under/overthrew that one."

"Did Brandon Jacobs just kill that guy?"

"Are the Giants going to run out from between Strahan's teeth before the introductions?"

"Is Rodney Harrison carrying a shiv?"

"Man, Tom Coughlin sure looks befuddled."

"Does Eli go to a special school?"

"Why do they keep showing Archie and Peyton laughing maniacally every time Eli throws a pick or gets blindsided?"

"Who's that guy with the Patriots hat and the video camera in the Giants huddle?"

"Wow, I bet Umenyiora leaves a huge log when he takes a dump on your chest...I mean, look at the size of that guy!"

That should pretty well cover it for the game. When in doubt, if you can't think of anything to say, just stuff your face with nachos and avoid talking to anyone, for any reason. And just remember: under no circumstances should you ever (and I mean EVER) audibly agree with the witty insights and pop culture references from Joe Buck.

Enjoy the game!


Enter to win!

Do it! (Sorry, guys... just thought I'd leave this up-top til Sunday so that we might get a reponse or two before the game starts.)


I've beaten the odds before, and I'll do it again

>> Saturday

So evidently, I only have a 1.03% chance to win each quarter in my office Super Bowl pool according to this site (scroll down for the table), thanks to my crappy 8-6 and 7-2 squares. Damn you JBP and Bob J, getting the 7-0 and 0-7! Well, I'm not gonna let some silly chart tell me what I can and can't do. I'm a fighter!


ESPN360 Announcers Prove Why They're on ESPN360

During the Marquette-Cincinnati Game after a three-pointer by Scott Christopherson.

"Scott Christopherson with the three! The Freshman from Lacrosse, Wisconsin."
"Yea, but I think they brought him in to play basketball, not lacrosse."

No joke. The only inference I can make from this is apparently Lacrosse, WI is populated entirely by lacrosse players, except for Scott Christopherson.


More YouTube filler

>> Friday

Like most of our YouTube filler, this only vaguely relates to sports. But for you Conan O'Brien fans who haven't had the chance to watch him in the last week, or who have abandoned him since the WGA strike started, you've missed out on this brilliant gag--Super Bowl-predicting turtle races... with rockets!

And by the way, if you are one of those people who have not been tuning in since Conan came back on the air writer-less, you are missing out. Granted, the shows aren't quite as full or crisp as with writers, but the absolute lack of regard for whether the gags are too silly or frivilous makes for comedy gold. And it proves to me that Conan O'Brien is funnier by himself than Letterman, Leno, and Stewart are with writers (that is, until he takes over the 10:35 slot next year and is forced to do Leno-style humor. So enjoy the 11:35 show while you can.)


Not Quite Lee Elia, but the most life I've seen out of the Hawks in a while

Lost in the shuffle of Super Bowl week...and that it happened in the NHL was Blackhawks coach Denis Savard's tirade on his team's woeful performance (currently in last place); telling the players they need to "Commit to the Indian."

In one of the stranger writer questions ever, Hawks President John McDonough responded saying that the Blackhawks will NOT be changing the official team slogan to "Commit to the Indian." Not because of any half-assed attempts at labeling what Savard said as "racist" because to do that ignores that the Hawks have worn the Indian Head Sweater since the 1920s.

My reason is while I like the passion Savard showed and saying what was on his mind rather than standard coachspeak, I gotta say a team's official mantra should never be when they're getting called out by an irate coach. It would be like if the Cubs adopted a marketing scheme of "Wrigley Field: It's a playground for the cocksuckers!"

However, in the internet age, it's already too late.

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