If you play for Everton, you are getting laid tonight

>> Wednesday

Proof slutty women don't just love the Champions.

Everton, the 5th-place finisher in the EPL last season is in Chicago tonight for a friendly match against Chicago Fire.

Friend of YCS Doughboy sent us this ad on Craigslist that he found.

(We're not sure what Doughboy was looking for on Craigslist in this section, but we figure that's none of our business...)


I for one certainly wish this lady the best of luck in hooking up with one of the Toffees. Because after that love child gets born; with genes of a world-class footballer and an American passport, the US will totally cash in at the 2026 World Cup.

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When is the Rickie Weeks experiment finally going to end?

>> Tuesday

Quick thoughts after attending tonight's game:

Is it safe to say that Rickie Weeks simply does not appear to be a promising ballplayer at this point? Or even a starter?

It seems like Rickie Weeks' career has resembled one of my other least favorite and most frustrating young talents of the last two decades: Corey Patterson. Is that a fair comparison?

How can a team put a guy with an OBP of .330 at the top of the line-up? Weeks must have lead off three innings tonight and was absolutely dismal.

He's fast, and he has a great baseball name. But name one more realm of baseball that Rickie Weeks is even adequate let alone above average. You can't.

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Count the ways to say "defeat"

>> Monday

Angels bury Dice-K, BoSox with 6-run 6th
Lee, Cubs nip Sabathia, Brewers
Burnett told he'll stay with Jays, rips Rays
Twins gain ground as Slowey routs ChiSox (Can a pitcher "rout" a team by himself?)
O's drill Yanks
alternately: Orioles Crush Yankees, 13-4
Take three: Jones cracks grand slam as Orioles slam Yankees

Not used:
clobber
kill
whomp
wallop
pound
pummel
pulverize
vaporize
euthanize
deputize
anihilate
masticate
emaciate
ingratiate
fustigate
bustigate
Watergate
Passportgate
Spy-gate
It's getting late
I fustigated this to death
It was stupid to begin with

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How's about the Gold?

EDIT: Evidently this story broke three days ago. Where the hell was I? Exhibit Q why our blog is terrible.

As first drawn to my attention by friend of YCS The Interactive Gangbang, the Oklahoma City ex-Seattle Supersonics have announced a list of six possible names for the relocated franchise. They are:


Marshalls

Barons



Bison
Energy


Wind



Thunder

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The Dick Williams Way--Management style that gets results

>> Friday

With all the pampered pansies in pro sports these days, it was so refreshing for me to read this piece by Jerry Crasnick about soon-to-be Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Dick Williams today.

Unyielding, gruff Williams was an innovator

That title says it all. It's about damned time people realized what it really means to be a manager of men. Unyielding and gruff--not like these modern managers always holding the hand of some coddled patsy while he pulls up his Pampers. Dick Williams knew.

"I always respected what Dick did on the field," Hutton said. "But he was a gruff guy. You could get in an elevator with him in the team hotel, and he wouldn't say anything. I could go a couple of weeks and not hear from him."

If I were a major league player, I'd have loved to play for a guy like Williams. That sounds just like something my own manager at work, Fred, would do. I remember one time he called me into his office for a meeting. For twenty minutes, he just sat in silence with his arms folded while I waited for him to say something. Every forty-five seconds or so, he'd shoot me an angry glare and then look back at the corner of his desk and stroke his moustache.

"I consider Dick a friend, but I can remember going months without talking to him," Andrews said. "He would make you so damn mad, but it made me play harder -- like, 'I'll show him.' Other players quit. And when they quit, he got rid of them."

We had someone like that at our office. A total quitter. Not a team player. One day, she showed up ten minutes late to one of our strategic initiative planning meetings. Fred didn't say anything at first, but later that day, he went over to her desk, lit a cigar, and put it out in her purse. The next day, she was gone. Now she runs our biggest competitor and lured away half our client base last quarter. But she was a troublemaker, and we're better off without her.

"I think we caught Dick at the right time," Bando said. "He was very fair and open to the guys who were the nucleus of those teams. But he could be hard on guys on the fringe. He expected you to work hard and be ready, and if he thought your mind was wandering or you were goofing off, he got on you. I remember him having a few drinks and airing guys out on the plane."

That couldn't be more like Fred. Last year at our company holiday party, Fred had a little too much Dewar's and called me a "shit-eating mick bastard," which was hilarious because I'm not even Irish. Then he punched out the ladies' bathroom attendant and puked in the tampon disposal. That was a good time.

The résumé speaks for itself: Williams is one of only seven managers to win pennants in both leagues, and he and Bill McKechnie are the only managers to guide three franchises to the World Series.

Fred may not be the most popular guy in the world, but we're not a subsidy of a subsidy of a Fortune 500 company on accident.

"I'd get fired within a week," Williams said. "My style of play doesn't fit in with all these millionaires now. Listen -- more power to the player. He's getting that money, and they're bigger and they're stronger. But I don't think they know baseball as well as we knew it or still know it."

That's so true. All these people from other companies that fairly compensate their employees and treat them with respect--they just don't know the market like those of us guided by fear and dogma. It's a fact of life.

"Dick was in charge," Andrews said. "I'll never forget what he said when he took the captain's title from Yastrzemski. He said, 'There's only one chief, and that's me. Everybody else is the Indians.' He wasn't going to be intimidated by the big league players. He stuck to his guns."

When you walk through the doorway of Fred's office, you immediately go down a mini staircase so that you have to look up two feet when you address him. It's no wonder why people work so hard for Fred.

He eventually moved on to a budding powerhouse in Oakland, where he compiled a 288-190 record over three seasons before crossing paths one too many times with the Athletics' interventionist, tightwad owner, Charles O. Finley. After the A's beat the New York Mets for their second straight title, Williams took a hike.

"I got along well with all the players," Williams said last week. "They all hated Finley, so they loved me. And it made my job easier."

Fred despises our corporate CEO, and whenever he has his back to Fred, Fred gives him the finger or pantomimes firing a gun at him. That really reassures the rest of us that Fred's in our corner and builds company unity.

Once the program begins, Williams will try to rely on a piece of speechmaking advice he received from Gwynn, who told him that if he wants to maintain his composure and avoid crying like a baby, he should avert his eyes from his family and just "look at the trees."

That's so funny! That's exactly what Fred does every time his wife comes to the office to tell him that their son got booked for soliciting a male prostitute again.

Take it from my own experience--guys like Fred and Dick Williams are a rare find these days. In a society where everyone expects a pat on the back and thinks it's acceptable to dissent from authority, the Freds and Dick Williamses of the world are priceless relics to be preserved in a museum.

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Unsubstantiated Rumor Mill: Rickey Henderson to join Reds in 2009?

>> Thursday

With the news that 50 year-old Nancy Lieberman is coming out of retirement to play in the WNBA, the stage is set for retired MLB star Rickey Henderson to do the same when he turns 50 later this year. Henderson has stayed in playing shape since retiring in 2003 and showed a willingness throughout his career to play for any team offering a roster spot.

Henderson, who holds the all-time record for stolen bases in a major league career, would have a natural fit in Cincinnati--one of only twenty-one MLB franchises to have never employed Henderson's services--where he would serve as an adequate replacement for the struggling Corey Patterson and play for a manager, Dusty Baker, with a penchant for starting more seasoned, veteran players.

While Henderson--who is known for his legendary batter's eye--might find his playing time in Cincinnati curtailed by Baker's disdain for drawing walks, the Reds manager is a proponent of team speed who's roster management approach favors name recognition over statistical production.

It is likely that Henderson would play for the league minimum salary upon his return. It is also likely that this will all happen.

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Devin Hester: Not Much of a Son and One Very High-Maintenance Girlfriend

>> Wednesday

On holding out from camp:

"You should pay me like I'm one of a kind,'' Hester said. "It's like dating a girl. When you find somebody who is real special, you're going to do whatever it takes to keep her. You might cut back on what you're giving your mom to give to her. And that's how I feel they should treat me.''

Wow, Devin. Is that what you do to your mother? The woman who bore and bred you? That's disgraceful, skimping on your mom's gifts like that. And for what--to impress some floozy you met at the roller rink?

I know I'd never do that to my mother. I'm a good son. Right, Mom? See, I know my mom reads our blog because she supports me and is proud of what I do, like any other mother. That Tony LaRussa post was hilarious, huh Mom? Devin, you need to realize that your mom is your number-one supporter, and it's not some new squeeze you took out for ice cream a couple times. Your mom deserves nice, thoughtful gifts. Speaking of which--what do you want for your birthday, Mom? Whatever I get, it'll be something real nice, I know that! See, Devin? That's how you treat your mother.

And guys--Don't go dating Devin Hester, even though it seems like a good idea because he's really popular and you think he's cute. He's just a gold-digging hussy who's only out for lemon phosphates and carnival tokens. Go find someone who's nice and sweet and reminds you of your mom. That's my advice.

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There is no such thing.

>> Tuesday

Link headline on my iGoogle page:

Campillo tosses no-no through four as Braves win

I can sympathize with Mr. Campillo--It's tough to come so close and fall short like that. Last night I had a chance to bowl a 300 but blew it when I got a 4 in the second frame. And this morning in the shower, I almost set the world-record for holding my breath (17 min., 4.4 sec.) but lost my bid after 21.8 seconds when I decided I needed air. On the bright side, I'll be featured in a piece for the upcoming issue of Nondescript Post-War-Era American Suburb Gazette.

For real though, I think "no-no through four" tops "triple short of the cycle" and "halfway to DiMaggio's record" in the Premature Accolades for Semi-Fluky Achievment department. Had Hawk Harrelson been calling this game, he'd have no doubt pulled out his tongue-in-cheek, "You can cancel the postgame show" line (before noting that a bad call by the ump three pitches earlier tilted the count against Javy Vazquez, and that's why he gave up the hit).

No-no through four? No. No-no. No-no-no. No-no-no-no-no. (Etc.)

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The incredible exploits of Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan

>> Monday


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fans vs. Fans

>> Thursday

With no disrespect to our fine blog's educated and not immature target audience, I'm willing to bet few of our readers even know where the hell the Faroe Islands even are. Hell, if I didn't follow soccer like some people follow religion, neither would I. As the map illustrates, the Faroes are essentially just a cluster of rocks sticking out of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of nowhere between Iceland, Norway, and Scotland. The national dish is whale blubber, and the entire population of the Islands could fit in Soldier Field with about 12,000 seats to spare. (Angry Faroese, you can send your hate e-mail to yellowchairsports@gmail.com, but that won't make any of it less true).

When English club Manchester City was drawn against a club from the Faroes for a home-and-home series in the first round of the UEFA Cup, the prospect looked bleak for fans. Then again, Man City fans have spent most of their lives playing Clippers to Manchester United's Lakers, so I suppose it wasn't too big of a change.

Upon learning of the series, fans with a small f would have checked the airfare from Manchester to the Faroes, seen it was too expensive, and thought "Ah, we'll just watch the home leg then."

Fans with a capital F like these 12 Man City Fans drive 8 hours from Manchester to Aberdeen, Scotland. From there, they catch an overnight, 12-hour ferry boat to the Shetland Islands, off the Northern coast of Scotland. Once there, they rent out a fishing trawler ...IN MAN CITY COLORS, NO LESS and command it on the 26-hour sea voyage to Torshavn, in the Faroe Islands, site of today's UEFA Cup tie between Man City and EB/Streymour.

No word at press time on whether these people are employed.

Not only did the Fans manage to arrange all this, but they also arranged for soccer magazine FourFourTwo to pay for their booze . Now, I don't want to question these Fans' wisdom, but of all the places where I would want to have a boatload of free beer at my disposal, the high seas is closer to the bottom of that list than the top.

Looking at the picture, I also have to imagine that the boat may have been chosen for its relative inexpense rather than its seaworthiness. Just a thought. Hats off to 'em though.

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Living Up To His Nickname

Unfortunately, Vinnie's and I's favorite UFC star (yes, I finally got someone else semi-hooked on MMA), Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, decided to drive his truck into two cars and then evade police in a high speed chase. At one point during Rampage's escape (with his truck that had his image and sponsorship with Toyo Tires painted on it) he actually drove onto the sidewalks and thankfully avoiding hitting anyone (unfortunately that lack of contact also can describe the last three rounds of his loss to Forrest Griffin). Not that it surprises anyone, but apparently Rampage does not have all of his faculties (and in this great country, will keep him from saving to serve much jail time). However, I'll freely admit that this incident has zero effect on my fan hood of him and desire to see Ramapage knock suckas out in future fights.

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Oh, really???

>> Wednesday

Some people just don't get it.

Criminole4 (15 hours ago)

I think if you flash a gang sign, its an automatic 2 game suspension and a $100K fine. Gangs represent everything that is wrong in this country, and these players are "supposed" to be role models. Kids all around the country get in legal trouble, but know that it won't effect their hopes of playing in the NFL because the NFL doesn't care.

Like someone said below, get into the endzone and act like you've been there before. Hand the ball to the ref and celebrate with your teammates. There are too many individuals in the NFL and not enough teams...not enough Marvin Harrisons', Tom Bradys', or John Lynchs'.


You want your kids looking up to John Lynch? Well, what, improper punctuator, is this?



Subtle? Perhaps. Gang sign? Definitely. On a children's trading card, no less. And you really don't know what this single-gloved pose means?



It means he's in a gang is what it means. And Marvin Harrison? For real?



In the same gang as Gilbert Arenas! For good meansure, check out this other "wholesome" white guy showing his true colors:



Vinatieri a Black Panther? I'm afraid so. Even this palatable black guy has to make you wonder when you see him in this very "Hip-Hop"-looking pose:



Let's not be naive, Criminole4. Face the facts: The NFL will never be clean until every player has every tendon in his hand severed and the right hemisphere of his brain removed. Only then may we finally see another Paul Hornung.

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Perhaps an Unpopular Opinion In these parts

>> Tuesday

...but I gotta comment on it nonetheless. Two storylines are currently playing out half a globe and worlds away from each other. The first is Brett Favre's desire to obtain his release from the Green Bay Packers so that he can look to play for another NFL team. The second is Cristiano Ronaldo's desire to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid. United is saying no dice, which has led FIFA Chief Sepp Blatter to say that teams today own players' rights in a form of "modern slavery."

I'm sorry. But for what Ronaldo makes, I would gladly exchange shoes for that kind of "slavery."
What is particularly irksome about these two scenarios is they highlight an apparent double-standard when it comes to contract negotiations between teams and players. I know many people on this blog adhere to the "players, grab as much cash as you can while you still can" philosophy. To an extent, I agree with that. However, once the ink is dry, then it's time for the player to hold up his end of the bargain. I'm not looking for a 4th-grade-style team-loyalty. That much is assumed false. Players are inherently mercenaries; sellling their services for hire to the highest bidder. So whenever any player shows anything resembling loyalty to an organization, it is the exception, rather than the norm.

It's what I'm looking for in a dream world, and it's sad to say that. Sad to say that when teams put their financial well-being out on a limb to lure a star, and commit a significant portion of their payroll to that player, that the player can reap all the benefits from the contract, but the team cannot.

If a player has a career year, the first thing we sports fans hear about in the offseason is the player wants to renegotiate his contract. Think back. Can you remember a prominent story where after a disappointing year, the front office stepped in and tells the player, "You know, you really failed to deliver this year for what we're paying you. We want our money back." Sure, sometimes players "take a pay cut so that the team can sign other players to help build the team," but this rarely happens in non-contract years where players would be out-of-contract anyway. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't see this kind of renegotiation to the organization's benefit happening often.


If a team did, a player's likely reaction would be to hold out. But again, this should not be seen as acceptable. You can't use "not performing what you're already contractually obligated to perform" as a bargaining chip. Again, don't get me wrong, I don't mind players playing hardball during contract negotiations, since teams are around a lot longer than players are. Once the contract is signed though...that's a contract. A deal's a deal, and from that point on, both parties should perform their duties, or should have equal rights to renegotiate.

Cristiano Ronaldo is under contract at Old Trafford until 2012, the product of an April 2007 five-year, 50,000-pounds a week contract extension. The deal ended speculation that Ronaldo was en route to, of many teams, Real Madrid. Now, less than 16 months later, Ronaldo decides that the deal isn't good enough, and wants out. Presumably much time was spent negotiating the number of years in the contract. What was that all for? While I can't say Ronaldo shouldn't go to Real Madrid (Having won the Premiership twice and the Champions League with United, it's hard to see what else Ronaldo would have to prove at Old Trafford), however, I would like to see the double-standard ended. If a player wants to renegotiate his contract, great, but if the player underperforms, the team should have just as much of a right to renegotiate the base salary, without relying on more incentive-based contracts.

A similar situation has arisen with the Favre-to-everywhere rumors. It is hard to say that Favre has not been a cash cow for the Packers. It seems every kid in Wisconsin at some point or other in the last 15 years or so has a green #4 jersey. Favre certainly played a huge role in the revitalizaiton of the franchise. However, when Favre stepped away, the Packers figured the year-in-year-out "will-he-or-won't-he" bullshit was over, and as an organization they moved on. Now Favre has apparently had yet another change of heart. Contrary to my opinion on the Ronaldo saga, it is my belief that Favre should not be granted his release, and here's why.

Odds are, Real Madrid and Manchester United...because they play in different leagues, will not play each other this season. If worse came to worse, Man U could simply sell Ronaldo to Real Madrid, take the money and laugh all the way to the bank and never think about him again.

If Favre were to go to another NFL team, especially the Bears or Vikings as I've heard tossed around, the Packers would face him twice a season. Despite his age, Favre is still arguably one of the 10 best QBs in the NFL. And in the NFL, playoff berths are often decided on tiebreakers. Granting Favre his outright release could put the Packers in a precarious position, even if he ended up with an AFC team. Who knows if Favre's new AFC club knocks out the Packers in a down week for Aaron Rodgers and that loss puts the Pack out of the playoffs? In the NFL, that would seem too great a risk.

DISCLAIMER: I know the following will never happen.

If I'm GM of the Packers, I'd grant Favre a conditional release. Favre would be granted his release from the Packers, on the condition that he would not be allowed to sign for any NFL team. Then we'd see how real Favre's itch to play really is. If Favre wants to play professional football that badly so as to go back on his word, Canada's waiting. Favre gets to play professional football, but the Packers don't have to worry about lining up on the wrong side of the ball from Favre.
This works in other professions. Doctors and lawyers upon retirement often sign non-compete agreements, so if they get the itch to practice again, don't sign up for one of their former employer's competitors.

Perhaps I'm silly or too much of an old-timer in believing that 5 years means 5 years, and retirement means retirement. Perhaps I'm crazy in thinking that teams should have an equal right to renegotiate a contract after poor performance as players have a right to renegotiate after great performance. I may be crazy but I think I'm right.

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Don't screw with my emotions like that.

>> Monday

Billy Packer is out after 27 years as the lead college basketball analyst for CBS,



making way for Clark Kellogg.


Kellogg has done game and studio analysis for CBS for 16 years. He will partner with Jim Nantz on his first Final Four in April.

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Yay! My daddy made the All Star team and here come the rest of the guys and oh, SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII.....

>> Friday

If you haven't seen this yet, it's worth your time. Corey Hart's postgame press conference from yesterday in which he (with his young daughter) get showered with beer in celebration of Hart's making the All Star team. Ryan Braun, et al enjoy it way more than Hart's daughter does.



Also, two things:

1. Nice Jesus t-shirt, Dave Bush. GAY!

2. Who else was waiting for Prince and Sabathia to come running in at the end and yell, "MONKEY PILE!"?

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YCS Fashion Critique

>> Thursday

When you look up the world douchebag in the dictionary, you fill find this as one of its definitions:

adj. Someone who wears loafers without socks


I give you the new Indiana coach there on the far right. As they say, if the loafers fit (no word on whether or not they was a light feeling with them). Ugly shirt too, douce.

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Proof I Need To Pay More Attention To Things

FERNANDO TATIS is back in the majors?!?!?

And doing well!?!?!

When I saw his last name on the ESPN crawl the other day I just assumed it was some other guy named Tatis (it's like Smith down there, am I right fellas?). But no, it's the Fernando Tatis that hit two grand slams in one inning for the Cardinals and did little else that I can remember.

Also, according to his baseball reference page, he's had two stints of at least two years where he's been out of the majors, from 2003-2006 and then from 2006-2008. Congratulations on beating the odds, dude.

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Pro-bunting propoganda, starring A.J. Pierzynski, Hawk Harrelson, and the honorable Richard M. Daley

>> Wednesday

I just saw this commercial for the first time last night, but it wasn't uploaded to Youtube until today--apparently by "Da Mare" himself. And befitting of Mayor Daley, embedding the video is forbidden, no doubt in the interest of some wide-scale corruption going on in City Hall.

By the way, if this ad campaign confuses you, watch the related videos that feature the other commercials in this series. (You'll still be confused.)




And just for kicks, enjoy this one starring Carlton Fisk and Richard Dotson from 1984:

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Alternate headline:

Jeter outshines A-Rod yet again
Selfish Rodriguez goes 0-4, bangs Madonna, is reprehensible

The subtler version that made it through editing:

Jeter clutch as Pettitte, Yanks blank Rays

Playing smartly, and perhaps with a sense of urgency, the third-place Yankees avoided falling 9½ games behind Tampa Bay.

Message loud and clear: Because darling Derek played well, the Yankees' performance was "smart."

Jeter lined an early go-ahead double off All-Star Scott Kazmir, then made a stellar, spinning play in the seventh inning that preserved a two-run lead and prompted a sellout crowd to chant his name.

Hold the shit up. EARLY GO-AHEAD DOUBLE. STELLAR PLAY IN THE SEVENTH INNING. If anyone can cite an instance when A-Rod had a third-inning double or seventh-inning defensive play called "clutch" on camera, in an audio recording, or in print, I will give you a hundred rubles. Also, if A-Rod ever had a slugging percentage below .400, like The Captain currently does, Yankees fans would have him captured, quartered, and braised in a giant pot in the middle of Times Square.

Also, I haven't seen the replay, but I'm guessing Jeter's backhanded stop in the hole--like all of Jeter's backhanded stops in the hole--was really overrated.

(Side note: Look! A "Spanky" LaValliere mention!

Yankees C Jose Molina had thrown out 12 straight runners trying to steal until Upton swiped second in the seventh inning. Molina's streak was the longest in the majors since Mike LaValliere also caught 12 in 1993 ... )

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In the words of the man himself, "That is BS!"

>> Tuesday

A few minutes ago, the colorful, legendary voice of the Chicago White Sox, Ken "the Hawk" Harrelson made--in my estimation--a somewhat dubious claim.

He and partner Darrin "D.J." Jackson were discussing the incredible out-of-the-box speed of Royals outfielder Joey Gathright. According to Jackson, Gathright has been clocked at 3.3 seconds to first on a bunt and 3.6 swinging. Pretty fast, huh?

Not to be left out, however, Hawk, as is his trademark, invoked the exploits of a player from his day--just to make sure none of the viewers would get the crazy idea that players today might be as good, or better, than those of yesteryear.

According to the Hawkmeister, the great Mickey Mantle was clocked at "three seconds flat" out of the left-handed batter's box. That's right--3.0 seconds. That is, 0.3 seconds, or 9% faster than one of the speediest players in the game today.

Consider: That corresponds to a rate of 10 yds/sec (ok, maybe 9.8 when you subtract the distance between home plate and the lefty batter's box). Now let me ask you this: How many times have you heard of an NFL player running a 4.0-40? Though, when you think about it, a 3.0-30 would actually correspond to a 40 time below 4.0 since the last ten yards are run at a higher velocity than the acceleration distance shared by both a 30-yard and 40-yard sprint.

Am I finished? Oh no.

The 100-meter world record in 1956--about the same time as Mantle's prime--was 10.1 seconds. Today, it's 9.72 because--get this--people are faster.

Let's pile on some more. What, if you had to guess, was the error tolerance on a mid-20th century stopwatch? A hundreth of a second? A tenth? Note that the 100-meter records weren't measured to the second decimal place until at least 1961. And I really doubt that whatever bench coach or scout recorded this alleged 3.0 home-to-first did not possess the cutting edge stopwatch technology that was used in the Olympics.

(Still going.) The depth of scouting--and therefore the accuracy of scouting--in Mantle's time was not nearly what it is today. I'd fancy that a Yankees coach with poor reaction time could have "timed" Mantle by counting to three on his fingers like the owl in the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial with very few, if any, checks by opposing scouts.

Also...

No... No, I think I've finally had enough. This was totally not worth the effort.

(Also, I bet Mickey Mantle never did this:



Mercy!)

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Meh, A Boring Story About Racing...Wait, What?!?! (Part II)

>> Monday

FIA president Mosley in court for 'Nazi orgy' suit

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Are any of this year's All Stars on the All-Time All-Mandatory Rep All Star team? Read on for the answer to this annoying teaser.

>> Sunday

Ahh, MLB All Star selection day. I love it. The day when people like me get all worked up over who gets to play in a game that most fans of the sport won't even watch--a day bested only perhaps by Pro Bowl seclection day.

Every year, one of the biggest reasons for the griping is the at-least-one-rep-per-club rule and its obvious beneficiaries, or as I like to call them (as of today), "the Asostorfetes"--that is, the All Stars Only Selected Thanks to the One Reprepsentative From Each Team Edict (a brilliant forced acronymn if I've ever seen one). To celebrate this year's All Star selection day, I thought it would be fun to compile one of those fictitious rosters based around some nebulous theme--in this case, a team composed entirely of such players throughout the history of the All Star Game.

(Aside: Coming up with this roster was much more annoying and not nearly as fun as I'd hoped, so you miserable ingrates of YCSNation had better freaking appreciate this triviality, espcially seeing as it's one of our rare posts requiring research and effort and such.)

Unfortunately, having neither access to huge databases of MLB data nor the capacity to use said databases, I had to limit myself to recent history. I set my semi-arbitrary cut-off to 1987, or as I call it (again, as of today), the "Post-RBI Baseball Era."

Without further set-up, I give you the All-Time All-Mandatory Rep a.k.a. Asostorfetes All Star team.

Starters

SP - Mark Redman, Kansas City Royals, 2006

Redman is the no-brainer ace of this team. He is arguably the greatest asostorfete of all. In '06, the Royals were woefully devoid of any reasonable all-star candidate, and Redman was the guy who took the bullet. He entered the break with a 5.27 ERA and as many walks as strikeouts (32) in 82 innings. However, as the only Royals pitcher with a winning record (6-4), he was Ozzie Guillen's choice. His ERA would rise to 5.71 by season's end, with his K/BB ratio only modestly improved.

C - Greg Olson, Atlanta Braves, 1990

Before there were the '90s Braves, there were the '90 Braves--a last-place outfit of promising young guys and mediocre veterans. Despite break-out seasons by Ron Gant and David Justice, it was the rookie catcher Olson who got the call to represent the ATL. To his credit, Olson was hitting .289 with a .370 OBP at the break but in only 166 ABs. Olson would finish the year with a more modest .262 and .332 in 298 ABs.

1B - Ron Coomer, Minnesota Twins, 1999

The '99 Twins were bad, but their all-star selection, Ron Coomer, was just a bit worse. Playing the corner positions of 1B and 3B, the Coomdog managed just a .263 average, .307 OBP, and 16 dingers that season, good for an 82 OPS+.

2B - Carlos Garcia, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1994

The great lasting image in mandatory rep lore (at least for me) was watching the hometown Pittsburgh fans go nuts during the player introductions for their .267-hitting, .307 OBP-ing, 3 HR slugging second baseman in the 1994 All Star Game. It was perhaps the only highlight for the Pirate faithful that season and one of the few for Garcia in his career. By 1997, the all-star with the 75 OPS+ would be irrelevant and on his way out.

3B - Scott Cooper, Boston Red Sox, 1993

As hard as it is to imagine, there was once a time when the AL All-Star team wasn't loaded with Yankees and Red Sox. 1993 was one of those years, and the Red Sox lone representative was the young 3B Cooper. Cooper entered the break hitting .282 with just 6 HR and would finish at .279 with 9 HR and a 98 OPS+, numbers that might make a fringe all-star out of a slick-fielding shortstop but not a 3B. Cooper would repeat his all-star trick the next July, with a resume only scarcely better.

SS - Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox, 1988

Before Ozzie Guillen was selecting undeserving White Sox all-star representatives, OzzieBeingOzzie was himself an undeserving White Sox all-star representative. In '88, Ozzie hit .261 with a .294 OBP and a 65% stolen base success rate. Of the 1.1 million fans to watch the 71-win juggernaut at Comiskey that year, not a one walked away with an Ozzie Guillen homerun ball, as Oswaldo was shut out in the dinger department for the only time in his career.

OF - Robert Fick, Detroit Tigers, 2002

Fick had a perfectly acceptable first half of the 2002 season--.290 average, .352 OBP, 11 HR--but in the words of Mr. October, they don't boo acceptable guys. The Fickmeister would finish the season hitting .270 with 17 HR for the 55-win Tigers.

OF - Rondell White, San Diego Padres, 2003

Rondell White hit just .275 with 16 HR and a .328 OBP in the first half of the 2003 season. Though his production did come in a pitchers' ballpark, he has his 64-win Padres teammates to thank for his opportunity to play in the '03 midsummer classic. He would finish the season at .289 with 22 HR, playing for the Royals after a trade.

OF - Roberto Kelly, New York Yankees, 1992

As hard as it is to imagine, there was once a time when... oh wait, already said that. The 76-win Yanks had more qualified candidates in Melido Perez and Danny Tartabull, but when AL manager Tom Kelly went a-combin' over their roster, he stopped at his namesake, who was hitting just .281 with 7 HR. Roberto would finish the year at just .272 with 10 HR and a .322 OBP before temporarily changing his name to "Bobby."

DH - Ken Harvey, Kansas City Royals, 2004

If not for careful discretion, this fictional team may have ended up being called "Royals All Stars from the '90s and Aughts" given their wealth of candidates. Harvey was hitting .305 with 10 HR at the break, which would have made him very deserving were he a second baseman in the Deadball Era. But as a 1B/DH in the '04 American League, his only qualification was the KC on his hat. Harvey would end up hitting just three more dingers that year, finishing with a .287 average and .338 OBP. A mere 45 ABs later, Harvey would see his MLB career come to an end.

RP - Mike Henneman, Detroit Tigers, 1989

Mike Henneman was a bizarre choice for the 1989 All-Star team. Coming off a spectacular '88 season, Henneman struggled to a 4.17 ERA with 33 Ks and 26 BBs in 45 innings through the '89 break. What makes his selection as the only rep from the 59-win Tigers so puzzling was that he didn't even have the save total to dupe the public, finishing the year with just eight, and that Sweet Lou Whitaker had banged out 18 bombs by the break. To Henneman's credit, he would log 90 innings by season's end but floundered to a 1.50 WHIP and just 67 Ks.

Reserves

SP: Jose Rosado, Kansas City Royals, 1997
SP: Ted Lilly, Toronto Blue Jays, 2004
SP: Jason Dickson, Anaheim Angels, 1997
SP: Shane Reynolds, Houston Astros, 2000
SP: Esteban Loaiza, Chicago White Sox, 2004
RP: Lance Carter, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 2003
RP: Jeff Montgomery, Kansas City Royals, 1996
RP: Mike Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2003
RP: Todd Jones, Detroit Tigers, 2000
C: Brad Ausmus, Detroit Tigers, 1999
1B: Pat Tabler, Cleveland Indians, 1987
2B: Harold Reynolds, Seattle Mariners, 1988
3B: Aaron Boone, Cincinnati Reds, 2003
SS: Alex Gonzalez, Florida Marlins, 1999
OF: Jeffrey Leonard, Seattle Mariners, 1989
OF: Devon White, Arizona Diamondbacks, 1998
OF: Luis Gonzalez, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2005

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Who Wants Cake?


Alternate Headline Ideas:
"Wisconsin food shortage to reach critical mass warns top expert"
"Hardy still missing: bloated Fielder, Sabathia brought in for questioning"
"Annual BBW conference to be held at Midwest Express Center"
"Fat jokes are lame and easy"
"Milwaukee now nation's fattest, drunkest, most tax evadingest city"
"The 2008 Milwaukee Brewers: Just More of Us to Love, Baby"
"Certain YCS writers shouldn't be throwing stones"

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Strip the players of their vote, now.

It was troubling enough that the fan vote almost elected Jason Varitek to the All Star Game. But the players?!?! They don't know any better???

.219, 7 HR, .301 OBP, .360 SLG

Friggin' popularity contest.

...Mercy!

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An Epic Battle

>> Friday

In a re-match that may have surpassed the excitement of the Thrilla in Manilla, Joey Chestnut retained the coveted Mustard Belt in an epic OT victory over Kobayashi at the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest .

Determined to prove last year was no fluke, Chestnut downed 59 hot dogs in the new 10 minute regulation period and won the 5 dog sudden death over the Japanese legend. On this Fourth of July it feels fitting that America re-claims the honor of definitively possessing the top eater in the world.

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Greatest Middle Distance Race Ever!

>> Thursday


Since many people are oblivious to the US Olympic Trials that are taking place in Eugene, OR this week, I thought I would link Monday night's 800m final, which is being considered one of the greatest races ever. This is what track and field used to be about and hopefully will become once again!

800 meter showdown

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When the standard poll choices just don't cut it


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Here Come the Hawks

>> Wednesday

Okay, so we heard about this story a few years ago when the signings of Adrian Aucoin and Nikolai Khabibulan excited Hawks fans. However, as a renewed Blackhawks fan, I have a feeling this time may be different. One of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL, Brian Campbell, should be the power play quarterback the team lacked last season. Cristobal Huet will hopefully be the strong netminder that can consistently makes the needed saves (unlike Khabi's great save then bad goal problem that plagued the Hawks). Basically, for those people still leery about hopping back on board the Hawks, I urge you to Commit to the Indian.

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Less than 11 hours left, 25 votes to burn, and I can be bought

Hey there, MLB stars!

More specifically: Hey there, Kevin Youkilis, Justin Morneau, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Jason Varitek, Joe Mauer, Vlad Guerrero, Bobby Abreu, J.D. Drew, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Kosuke Fukudome, and Ryan Braun!

I know how badly all of you want to start the All-Star Game, but unfortunately, only half of you will. The other half will come tantalizingly close, only to fall short by a handful of votes. Sure, you may still have a chance of being picked as a reserve, but you really don't want to sweat that one out, do you? For some of you, losing this vote will cost you your last chance to ever play in Yankee Stadium. And how about all those Hall of Famers that will be attending? You surely wouldn't want to miss that.

Well guess what. The only thing that stands between you and that crushing heartbreak is me. Me and my 25 online votes through MLB.com. I haven't spent a single one yet, and I have just 10 hours and 42 minutes left to use them. And while a man with scruples might use his votes to ensure that the most deserving players win these tight races, I prefer to use my leverage for selfish means.

So here's how this will work: You offer me bribes of luxurious gifts, and I give you my vote. Of course, the caliber of gift I will expect is proportional to how deserving you are, how large your lead or deficit is, and how likely you are to be selected as a reserve. So if you're, say, Hanley Ramirez, and you're leading the less-deserving Miguel Tejada, a decorative fruit basket should cover it. However, if you're Jason Varitek, and you're not only trailing the more-more deserving candidate Joe Mauer but also putting up Paul Bako-like numbers at the plate, I would expect nothing less than a Louis Vuitton custom handbag for my girlfriend.

To make this easier, I've gone ahead and assigned an approximate cash value of gift that I expect from each player.

Kevin Youkilis: $45
Justin Morneau: $50
Dustin Pedroia: $75
Ian Kinsler: $40
Jason Varitek: $750
Joe Mauer: $10
Vlad Guerrero: $70
Bobby Abreu: $100
J.D. Drew: $45
Hanley Ramirez: $25
Miguel Tejada: $200
Kosuke Fukudome: $85
Ryan Braun: Ineligible (religious reasons)

Also to help you out, here's a list of stuff I've been wanting to buy:
-iPhone
-food processor
-archery bow
-Alaskan cruise
-Yorkshire Terrier
-hanglider
-Waterford carafe
-Chicago Bears beanbag chair
-cordless drill
-fake passport

Hopefully that gives you some good gift ideas. I will expect your final offers in my inbox (guywhostillhasall25votes@earthlink.net) by 10pm CDT--no later. Please include any necessary contact information for arranging the delivery of luxurious gifts.

And may the highest bidder win!

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YCS's Unnatural and Slightly Disturbing Love for Facial Hair Continues...

>> Tuesday



MSN.com came up with a list of MLB's best 'staches. Here is just a taste of what awaits when you click on the link!

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Spreading hazard threatens Olympic events

From the AP:


BEIJING—To host the Olympic sailing events, the Chinese port city of Qingdao moved a massive boat yard, relocated industries and spent about $850 million on transport links, parks, pollution controls and coastal green belts.

But with little more than a month to go until the Games, a different challenge is cropping up: A flood of blue-green ooze is choking the coastal waters, suffocating beaches, turning swimmers into warring mutant clans, and lying in thick layers along sailing routes.

Authorities have ordered an all-out drive to clear it and block any more drifting into the area.

“We have stressed … that the priority should be given to the Olympic venue,” Yuan Zhiping, an official with the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Committee, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

City officials say they’ll need at least two weeks to clear coastal waters, mobilizing 10,000 men in spacesuits aboard 1,000 amphibious mutant-resistant vessels. It wasn’t clear how they planned to block the ooze from drifting in.

Environmental problems have posed some of the biggest concerns for organizers of the Beijing Olympics, particularly the dust and filthy air in the Chinese capital, compounded by expected torrid heat and humidity.

It isn’t clear whether Qingdao’s Olympic planners ever allowed for deadly mutating ooze-related contingencies. Calls to the city’s Ocean and Fishing Bureau, charged with handling the problem, rang unanswered Monday, likely because the receptionist had turned into, or had been eaten by, a mutant.

Mutating ooze forms when unspecified toxic wastes, sometimes caused by mad scientist experiments, combine with rare space matter.

China has had a number of similar outbreaks in recent years, mostly on inland lakes, largely as a result of severe pollution from industrial sources and supervillain activity. Along the coast, red tides of microscopic flesh-eating dragons have forced fishing industry shutdowns.

The epidemics can be caused by both natural factors and human activity. Wang Shulian, the token nerdy guy who always wears a lab coat, told reporters Sunday the outbreak had no “substantial link” to environmental conditions or water quality.

“The ooze is of various sorts, which will prosper under satisfying temperature and salinity of sea water,” Wang said through a heavy lisp, adjusting his oversized glasses with one finger. Calls to the bureau were not answered Monday.

In all, the ooze has spread over an area of 5,000 square miles, Xinhua said—including 32 percent of the coastal area set aside for the Aug. 9-21 sailing events, with a closing ceremony on Aug. 23.

The ooze alert comes as Beijing and other cities hosting Olympic events are making final preparations for the Aug. 8-24 Games. Organizers announced over the weekend that all 37 venues were now fully functional, and sailors from 30 countries and regions have already arrived in Qingdao to begin training and to assist in the mutant-fighting efforts, according to Xinhua.

The Games are a huge opportunity for Qingdao to build its brand. German colonizers in the early 20th century left the city with its two best-known features: the European-style buildings of its old town and the brewery that makes China’s best-known beer, Tsingtao—the old-style spelling of the city’s name which was changed during a similar mutant takeover in 1953.

The Olympic marina sits at Fushan Bay, up the coastline on the East China Sea beside the high-gloss glass-and-marble new city center. Qingdao created 100 acres of land for dormitories, offices and barracks to house Anti-Mutant Resistance Coalition forces by moving out the enormous Beihai boat yard.

The ooze was first seen around June 1 in waters off Qingdao on the coast of Shandong province, about 400 miles southeast of Beijing. Its bright green strands have smothered beaches, forcing swimmers to wear lead suits and carry ray guns in case of a mutant attack.

Officials say the Qingdao epidemic poses no health threat, other than the rapid and hideous mutation caused by skin contact. However, the flesh of slain mutants, if ingested, can cause vomiting, respiratory failure and, on rare occasions, death.

The mutant takeover is expected to be completed by July 15, Xinhua said.

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