Never tell me the odds!

>> Sunday


Get your Dollars, Pesetas, and Euros down now. Odds to win the World Cup, per SI.com. As far as chance for profit goes, I'd say Germany at 12-1 is probably your best bet.

9-2: Spain
9-2: Brazil
6-1: England
9-1: Argentina
12-1: Germany
12-1: Italy
14-1: Netherlands
16-1: France
16-1: Portugal
22-1: Cote d'Ivoire
40-1: Chile
66-1: Ghana
66-1: Paraguay
66-1: Serbia
80-1: USA
80-1: Cameroon
100-1: Mexico
100-1: Australia
100-1: South Africa
100-1: Denmark
100-1: Nigeria
100-1: Greece
100-1: Uruguay
150-1: Switzerland
200-1: Japan
200-1: Slovakia
200-1: Slovenia
250-1: South Korea
300-1: Honduras
300-1: Algeria
500-1: North Korea
1,000-1: New Zealand

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Chad Ochocinco wants Facebook to know what he thinks about Tiger Woods' domestic situation while smoking a cigar in his Snuggie

>> Friday

No further explanation necessary/possible.

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DRAW!

>> Thursday

Tomorrow morning, the ping pong balls will bounce around and the "random" draw for the World Cup will be held. So much of getting out of the group stage next summer in South Africa will be determined on the draw. Unfortunately, the US has been sufficiently screwed in pot allocations.

Since North America is a bit of a footballing ghetto on the world stage, the Yanks have been placed in the group with the other "minnows," teams from Asia and Oceania. It's the Stars and Stripes' curse for being the big fish in a little pond. Teams from the same continent cannot be drawn against each other outside of two European teams in each group (ie: Algeria cannot be drawn against South Africa, Paraguay cannot be drawn against Brazil)

Goal.com has a great piece on what the best and worst-case scenarios would be for Landon, Timmy, Jozy and the gang.

Pot 1 (Seeded teams: Host country and top 7 teams in October '09 FIFA World Rankings)
South Africa
Brazil
Argentina
Spain
England
Italy
Germany
Netherlands

Pot 2 (North American, Asian, and Oceanian teams)
USA
Mexico
Honduras
South Korea
North Korea
Australia
Japan
New Zealand

Pot 3 (African and non-seeded South American teams)
Algeria
Cameroon
Nigeria
Ghana
Ivory Coast
Uruguay
Paraguay
Chile

Pot 4 (Non-seeded European teams)
Serbia
France
Denmark
Portugal
Greece
Switzerland
Slovenia
Slovakia

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"The Hand of Frog"


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"Finally," Marquette is 2-0.

>> Tuesday

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Marquette forward Lazar Hayward "finally steps up," and that this was the Lazar Hayward Coach Buzz expected to see in the season opener. Exact quote.


"This was the Lazar Hayward coach Buzz Williams wanted to see - banging in the paint, grabbing rebounds, spacing the floor, firing up his teammates.

In other words, doing all the stuff he didn't do in Marquette University's opener."


"Finally" = one game.

Ow, my brain.

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Irish to French: Piss off, Frogs

>> Friday

Ireland and France are set to play a home-and-home series over the next few days to determine who goes to the World Cup. Leg 1 is Saturday at Croke Park in Dublin with the return leg at the Stade de France midweek.


Attached is what can only be assumed is dry Irish humor. At least I hope so. Because if this is real, it may well start a war; and a war between Ireland and France could potentially lead to casualties in the range of... a dozen?

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Sunshine

>> Tuesday

Lots and lots of sunshine. You know, the kind that gives you a really good tan. And stronger thigh muscles. Or maybe it's just all the rabbit chasing.

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Freeze it!

>> Thursday

The best thing about preseason polls is how terrible some of the initial rankings look come the end of the season. With that in mind, let's hang onto this.

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Life immitates art immitates my crappy jokes

>> Wednesday

I wonder how similar this will turn out compared to this.

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Philly's bats aren't the only things swingin' BA-ZING!

Philadelphia woman arrested after offering sex for World Series tickets.

After Craigslist ad reading ""DESPERATE BLONDE NEEDS WS TIX (Philadelphia)"Diehard Phillies fan--gorgeous tall buxom blonde-- in desperate need of two World Series Tickets. Price negotiable--- I'm the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!"

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Rebranding opportunity

>> Tuesday

Ok, so our blog has a few minor issues right now. Namely:
  • The image hosting account is expired.
  • The authors never post new material.
  • It has no readers.
  • It has no niche, focus, or any other redeeming value.
On this last point, I don't see much changing in the future, given that we haven't found anything resembling a focus in more than three years, especially with interest at an all-time low. Therefore, rather than restoring the old banner and ill-defined format, I propose we go the opposite route:

Yay? Nay?

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MLS End-of-Season Awards and Playoff Predictions

I've got to get to class so I'll keep this short.

MVP: Shalrie Joesph, New England Revolution. As much as it pains me to award a dirty Rev bastard anything, the fact of the matter is that no player has been more valuable to his team this season than the Grenadan international has been for the Revs. New England squeaked into the playoffs on the last day after fighting a rash of injuries and departures.

Most Outstanding Player: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan's 12 goals were enough to tie him for third among the scoring leaders in MLS. While Jeff Cunningham of FC Dallas and Conor Casey of Colorado Rapids technically scored more goals (17 and 16, respectively), Donovan's to me rank more impressive because of several reasons. First, Cunningham was nearly invisible in the first half of the season, scoring most of his goals in Dallas' stretch run from irrelevance to the brink of the playoffs, and I can't even remember the last time Casey scored for the Rapids in the run of play. A number of his goals at the end of the season came on penalty kicks. Moreso, Donovan scored his 12 goals in only 25 games, missing a decent chunk of the summer with Confederations Cup and World Cup Qualifying duty with Team USA.

Newcomer of the year: Fredy Montero. The Columbian striker turned Seattle Sounders into an instant contender. With two goals in his first game, Montero set the pace and put the league on notice. While his goal tally tailed off, he still finished with 12 strikes in 27 games, and became a weapon other teams needed to focus on, opening up space for Nate Jaqua (7 goals) and rookie Steve Zakuani (4 goals) in leading the Sounders to the playoffs; the first MLS expansion side to reach the postseason since the 1998 Chicago Fire.

Supporters Section of the Year: Emerald City Supporters, Seattle Sounders. The new boys in Green showed the old guard a thing or two. While points should be docked because the ECS does get a healthy dose of assistance from the Sounders front office, this should show a model for other MLS teams to follow, treating supporters groups like what they are. Passionate supporters that can only grow your business and will be your best customers, instead of a troublesome nuisance that is nothing more than a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Goalkeeper of the Year: Zach Thornton, Chivas USA. As a former keeper, I gotta give an award for the netminders, and on that note, Zach Thornton may inspire me to dust the gloves off. Also making a move for MLS's comeback player of the year, Thornton after being released by the Chicago Fire after the 2006 season, has found his way from from New York to Colorado to LA. Looking like the Zach Thornton of old, he backstopped Chivas USA to 12 shutouts, and posted a 0.87 GAA en route to Chivas USA's third playoff berth in a row. Only three other MLS sides have made the playoffs the last three years (Chicago, New England, Houston) so this is quite a feat in itself.

Playoff Predictions
League Quarterfinals

West #1 Los Angeles vs. West #4 Chivas USA
The Clasico Angelino makes its first playoff appearance. Los Angeles should be able to take down the Goats after winning the season series, and winning their first Division title in 7 years.

West #2 Houston vs. West #3 Seattle
Experience favors Houston. Even when their offense has trouble scoring goals, the backline is solid and they may have just enough to progress. This is going to be a marquee series. At least 70k people will likely attend the two games if past attendance is any guide.

East #1 Columbus vs. West #5 Salt Lake
Columbus is the best team in the league for a reason. They are solid at just about every position from the Keeper all the way to the strikers. They have been dominant at home, and became only the second team to repeat as Supporters Shield Winners (2006 and 2007 DC United). As the only MLS team left in the CONCACAF Champions League, they have shown a deep roster capable of adapting whatever injury challenges are thrown at them. They have to be considered the favorites to come out of the East, but it is worth noting that at least one #1 seed has gone down in the first round the last four years (2008 Houston, 2007 DC United, 2006 Chivas USA, 2005 San Jose). RSL has traditionally been strong at home. A poor outing in the Wasatch range altitude could set the stage for a win or go home game in Columbus a week later. I would welcome an RSL victory....

East #2 Chicago vs. East #3 New England
...Because it would enable Chicago to host the Eastern Conference Final at home for the first time since 2003. The Fire have only won one postseason series where they did not have home-field advantage (1998 vs. LA). On the flip side, the Fire have only lost one series where they did have home field advantage (2001 vs. LA). The Fire won the season series 1-0-2 from New England, including a win and a draw in Foxboro. However, the Fire's home form has been nothing short of dreadful. Both teams are saddled with injury problems, but the archrivals are set to lock horns once again in November. One team has ended the other team's season every year since 2000 save one.

First Round Winners
Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Columbus

MLS Cup 2009
Seattle over Columbus.

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Can I cuddle up in your bed?

I just had a bad dream. I dreamed that the NBA season was about to start, but everything was all weird. I don't know how to describe it, but things just didn't look right:


I was so relieved to wake up and realize that it's still 2001; Allen Iverson is the reining league MVP; Rasheed Wallace and the Jail Blazers a favorite again in the West, and Ron Artest is a budding superstar on the Bulls (who are gonna turn the corner this year--I just know it).

Ok, I'm better now. I'll leave you alone. Sorry if I interrupted any sex.

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No, we will not upgrade to Pro

The "pathetic" level of this blog just went up another notch. This is fun.

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Do as I say, not as I did

So what can a guy who never, ever hit to the opposite field teach those young impressionable kiddies about the fundamentals of hitting? Though I generally consider the role of hitting coach high brand quackery, it's still an odd choice. What next--Mitch Williams as pitching coach? David Wells as trainer? Lenny Dykstra as CFO? I could keep this up all night. Oh, but look at the time. Shucks.

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University of Minnesota spokesman: "This is a totally serious matter. So serious, in fact, that I will now reprimand a big, fluffy gopher suit."

>> Thursday


"On behalf of Goldy and the University of Minnesota, I want to apologize to the Penn State player involved and anyone else who may have taken offense from this incident," Wolter said in a statement. "We have reiterated to Goldy the importance of exercising appropriate religious sensitivity in the future."

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News and Notes and Half-Stories

>> Tuesday

In the past few days I've seen a number of postings, read a few articles, and heard commentators ranging from Sports Illustrated to the Wall Street Journal opining on the early season dominance of dome teams, in particular, the undefeated starts for the Vikings, Colts, and Saints. They say that the Domes are giving them the advantage. I could argue that Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees might have something to do with it as well.

So, before anyone gets carried away on a "Dome-inant" headline pun-writing bonanza, I'd like to point out that the Rams are winless, the Lions are 1-5, and the Cardinals, Cowboys, and Texans are either .500 teams or just a hair better.



Jay Mariotti on Around the Horn this afternoon claimed Yankee Stadium was a "Cathedral of Baseball" despite the stadium only being open for the past six and a half months. Given this standard, one can only conclude that Great American Ballpark is a wonder of the ancient world.

Seconds later he was given a shaving cream pie by my friend Frank from Section 8 Chicago, who works as a program coordinator at ESPN in Chicago. The revolution is coming.

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Estamos en El Mundial!!!!!!!!!!!!

>> Friday

Honduran soccer commentators go psycho after Team USA equalizes against Costa Rica in the closing minutes, giving Honduras the result they need to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1982.

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Hooked on phonics

>> Tuesday

This struck me as odd:
Personally, I think it would be far clearer (and a lot more fun) if they went Classic Concentration style.

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Pack Your Bags, Boys

>> Sunday

You're going to South Africa.

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Congratulations, Auburn, NY

>> Saturday

Home of my kid brother and the Class A Doubledays, you have just been named worst sports city in America.

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...And Adam Carolla as Secretariat

>> Thursday



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Al Franken, please buy the Minnesota Vikings

>> Tuesday


So we can settle the debate like men. On the field. Owner of the team that doesn't win has to retire from public life. Hopefully it ends in a tie.

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Then again, we have Miley Cyrus

>> Monday

Interesting tidbit:

Beijing's $423 million Bird's Nest stadium has been used only once since last summer's Olympics, for a Jackie Chan concert.

On the more relevant matter, not only am I happy Chicago won't be hosting the Olympics, but I'd like to see the entire concept of Olympic Games as bloated, grandiose spectacle die and go away forever, just as I'd like to see happen with all sporting events. Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen anytime soon, barring large-scale turmoil that I'd otherwise rather not see.

Bitch bitch bitch rabble rabble rabble rabble. The end.

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Daily Mail unaware of vast landmass south of Italy

>> Friday

According to Britain's Daily Mail, there was no doubt once it got down to Madrid and Rio for the 2016 Olympics.

"South America is the only continent that has never hosted the Games - which means that it was the only option of the four currently on the table that gives IOC chiefs the chance to make history. "

Problem with this statement is it isn't even true if you ignore the continent with all the penguins on it. Ever hear of.....well, never mind. I'll just present what I call "The World According to the Daily Mail."







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Dear IOC,


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7 Years = History

Sportscenter just announced that Monday Night, Brett Favre will have the chance to be the first player in NFL history to beat all 32 NFL Franchises.

This was announced with grandiose sentiment.

"He has a chance to make history; to do something NO PLAYER IN NFL HISTORY HAS DONE!!!"

ESPN, taking nothing away from Brett Favre, please remember the Houston Texans have only existed for 7 years. I don't think Johnny Unitas or Joe Montana ever had the chance to beat them.

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Other Rematches We'd Like to See

>> Wednesday

The offer for a rematch game of 21 between Michael Jordan and Byron Scott got me thinking, what other rematches could be arranged for a worthy cause (or windfall profit)?






Luis Castillo vs. Moises Alou in a game of Pepper


David Tyree and Rodney Harrison playing 500.






Leon Lett vs. Don Beebe in a game of keepaway

Come on YCS Nation! How else can you make us....err....charity some money?

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Comes with 15 free hours of Prodigy

>> Monday

People still use mouse pads?

I think the Cubs need John McDonough back.

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A Little Cameo

>> Sunday

So on a quiet Sunday night (which I badly need after last night) I am listening to local sports talk radio and we have quite the doozy from your typical uninformed, stereotypical host:

I'm sure stat people can find something about Scott Podsednik that calls him average, but then again they probably could say something about Ichiro. Not that I'm comparing Podsednik to Ichiro or anything.

Even in this renaissance (read fluke) season for old Scotty Pods, he has an OPS+ of 93, below the league standard of 100 (which is a pretty basic stat that even the ESPN types have started to use in their analysis). Even though I think Ichiro is a bit overrated since he hates taking walks or hitting for any kind of power, he still has an OPS+ of 129 this season and 118 for his career (whereas Podsednik has a career OPS+ of 86 and only one reason of an OPS+ of 100 or better). Not to mention the fact that Ichiro is light years better as an outfielder and a bit better base runner (though both guys get caught on stolen bases way too often).

Basically, I am not saying that Podsednik is an average player. He has (save his rookie year) and always will be a below average player that brings nothing to a team but a lot of smoke and mirrors and I hope White Sox management lets another team overpay for the flash of a fast, yet dumb base runner that cannot play the outfield.

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It would be a first

>> Wednesday

As YCS's lone MLS geek, with 6-8 games left in the season, the playoff push is well underway. Unfortunately, poor analysis still reigns. Speaking on MLSnet.com's "Extra Time" show, former New York Cosmos goalkeeper and chewing tobacco spokesman Shep Messing said of a potential Chicago-New England first-round playoff matchup.

"New England would salivate if that's the matchup they end up with because they have that history, they've had the ability to upset Chicago; on the field and off the field, so that would be dynamic."

Now, while Chicago and New England have one of the fiercest rivalries in the league, and have met in the MLS Cup Playoffs more times than any other matchup (7 times), the team that finished with the better regular season record won every series. So despite the frequency of meetings, and despite what Shep Messing thinks, neither team has any history of upsetting the other.

2000: #2 Chicago defeats #7 New England
2002: #2 New England defeats #7 Chicago
2003: East #1 Chicago defeats East #2 New England
2005: East #1 New England defeats East #3 Chicago
2006: East #2 New England defeats East #3 Chicago
2007: East #2 New England defeats East #4 Chicago
2008: East #2 Chicago defeats East #3 New England

In addition, Chicago leads the 2009 season series 1-0-1 with a draw at Toyota Park and a win at Foxboro in the Superliga Semifinals.

Chicago won the 2008 season series 4-0-1, a mark that included 3-0, 4-0, and 3-0 routs.

Off the field? I cannot think of one signing where New England beat out Chicago. Even more strangely, I cannot think of one player who has suited up for both teams. So I'm not sure what Shep means by that either.

Gratuitous video that makes me smile.



Fuck you Greg Lalas you revvie bastard.

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Iconic

>> Tuesday

Congratulations, Kansas City! Not only do you have the lowest-paying tech sector in the nation, but your city's defining image is... Larry Johnson. Pret-ty lame, Milhouse.

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No, we hate you because you suck.

>> Thursday

Not because you're black.

But nice try.

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Black is Beautiful, if not Plentiful

>> Tuesday

You knew you weren't going to get anything resembling rational thought in an article entitled "25 more things we miss in sports," basically a chance of old-timer sportswriters to have a wank about what sports were like when they were 9 years old (No ads in stadiums, wood drivers, "the perceived innocence of college sports," etc.)

But this one took the cake

24. Non-black college uniforms
They were neat for a while, a break from the norm, a variation on the typically retro throwback. But now that nearly every NCAA program has trotted out a variation on all-black uniforms, school colors have become all but obsolete.

The purpose of uniforms is to identify a team or program -- heraldic devices of a sort. While most schools have historically employed a neutral color (black, white or gray) to serve as the signature shade for home games, a number of programs have lately taken to wearing all-black as their primary uniforms. Therein lies the problem: If everyone does it, everyone looks the same, negating the purpose of uniforms in the first place. Only a handful of athletic programs remain true to their roots -- Southern California and Penn State are two that come to mind -- and while they may not sport the prettiest pairing of hues, at least we can tell them apart. -- N.J



Well, just among the D-1 Football programs without black jerseys (let alone all-black jerseys), I also count...

  1. Michigan
  2. Michigan State
  3. Ohio State
  4. Illinois
  5. Indiana
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Minnesota
  8. Northwestern
  9. Syracuse
  10. West Virginia
  11. South Florida
  12. Pitt
  13. UConn
  14. North Carolina
  15. North Carolina State
  16. Georgia Tech
  17. Clemson
  18. Miami (FL)
  19. Duke
  20. Boston College
  21. Virginia
  22. Virginia Tech
  23. Florida
  24. Mississippi State
  25. Kentucky
  26. Tennessee
  27. LSU
  28. Ole Miss
  29. Arkansas
  30. Alabama
  31. Auburn
  32. Texas
  33. Kansas
  34. Kansas State
  35. Texas A&M
  36. Oklahoma
  37. Oklahoma State
  38. Nebraska
  39. Baylor
  40. Iowa State
  41. Washington
  42. Washington State
  43. Arizona
  44. Arizona State
  45. Cal
  46. UCLA
  47. Stanford
of 65 BCS Conference teams.

So by my count, only 16 BCS Conference College football programs have black jerseys or black alternates (Iowa, Purdue, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, Florida State, Maryland, Wake Forest, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Texas Tech, Colorado, Missouri, Oregon, Oregon State).

Oh, don't forget Notre Dame and Navy. But why let facts get in the way of a good argument?

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A hazy shade of winter

A good way to be sure the curtain is closing: Your home run calls sound like, "Ken Griffey Jr.! Number 625!" It may be true that Griffey is, in fact, coasting along the final few miles, the odometer turning evermore slowly until the friction of the road brings him to a halt. But I make it a point not to eulogize the living, and I wish other people would do the same.


Ok, so that was a lot of lame aging metaphors, but seriously--let the man play, and don't genuflect every time he goes yard. If that's how you're gonna be, just come out and call him The Doughy Shell of Ken Griffey Jr., why doncha.

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勝手に言ってなwwにわかファンがww

>> Friday

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Hitler Chimes in on Cubs Collapse '09

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Hard to imagine Fratelli d'Italia being played in Oakland, but OK

>> Thursday

The US Bid Committee for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups (whose awarding is less than 2 years away), has released through its site http://www.gousabid.com/ the cities who are still in the running to host a World Cup game should the United States be awarded either tournament. This list is down from a prior list of 70, which frankly included just about every NFL and major college stadium in a town with more than two stoplights.

Did anyone really think Fayetteville, AR would host the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Torres?

The list has been narrowed to 27 cities, of which likely 12-14 will likely be chosen to host matches.

Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Oakland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Glendale-Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.

Just a few notes
12 cities on the list host MLS teams in their metro areas (Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC). The only US Cities with an MLS team that failed to make the cut are Columbus, Salt Lake City, and Portland.

All 9 sites of the 1994 World Cup are still eligible (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Orlando, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, New York, Boston)

Should each city use the venue that most would assume they would use, then 22 of the 27 potential host cities are using venues constructed or substantially renovated in the 15 years SINCE the 1994 World Cup.

21 of the 27 potential host cities have hosted a major soccer event (MLS game, International friendly, Club friendly, World Cup Qualifier, Gold Cup game) since 2006.

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Two things on which Hugo Chavez and I agree:

>> Wednesday

1) Everything bad in the world is America's fault.

2) Golf is for jerks.

Seriously, golf is for jerks.

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There is but one reasonable answer:

Definitely.

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Black Thursday... or Monday... or whatever day it was

Someone get me a 1994 calendar and settle this. Just in case August 12 doesn't immediately ring familiar for you, today is the 15th anniversary of the start of the 1994 MLB strike. Because numbers that end in 0 or 5 are more important than the other ones, I thought I'd reminisce a little. I was ten at the time, and as I recall, our family was on vacation in Florida when the official news broke. I was all like, "That sucks!" to which my mom was like, "You shouldn't talk like that," and then my brother laughed at me, so I called him a jerk. Then we went and played in the pool, and some old lady started complaining that we were splashing and making too much noise. Then we got out and drank some Publix sodas.

Anyway, before you go to bed tonight, say a prayer for Matt Williams, Tony Gwynn, and all those Expos diehards. I'm sure they're hurting today.

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Props To YCS Writer Mike's Little Brother

>> Tuesday

Dave Sever has gotten off to an excellent start in his pro baseball career, posting a 3.13 ERA in nine outings (seven starts) with a WHIP under 1.00

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Calling all MLB utility players

>> Monday

Sophisticated Ivy League research.


Participating in this study entails answering three brief questionnaires (about 10 minutes total). Additionally, we will ask you to nominate 3 friends or family members to answer brief questionnaires about you.

I nominate Ryan Theriot, Darin Erstad, and Freddy Sanchez.

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Goes great with a refreshing glass of Ovaltine

>> Wednesday

Linked from a semi-related article in Time is a gallery of pro-smoking propaganda ads from the Mad Men era. I'd seen most of them before, but this one was new to me:

Mickey Mantle clearly had no values. Changing loyalties like that... it's just wrong.

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Over here, we call it a "lift"

>> Tuesday

Isn't this basically the same as a Chicagoan tourist overseas hearing "Ya ya, Chicago... Mi-khel Zhor-dan, ja no ees good, si?" everywhere they go or like when I met a Scottish girl at Pitchfork last week and started talking Proclaimers within about two minutes of introducing myself? I guess when you're a certified true-hoopin' juke-jivin' president of the ballin'-est country in the world, it's a slick diplomatic stroke of genius and not a pathetic attempt at ingratiation or precursor to an attempted camera theft.

I'm just curious, though--For all the wonderful things Obama said about Ghana when he visited a few weeks back, why no love for Pops Mensah-Bonsu?

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Your daddy's swim trunks

>> Monday


Meanwhile, time and science proceed indifferently in their usual forward direction.

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More Uninteresting RSS Headline Typos

Another intern asleep at the switch:

I shall henceforth formally refer to him as the Commissioner Allan H. "Bud 'Bug'" Selig.

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DeWayne Wise is a walking cliche

Just flipped to AMC, which is showing For the Love of the Game. Those familiar with the movie may remember that the Tigers' center fielder robs a home run to record the 23rd out of Billy Chapel's perfect game. Seems awfully familiar.


Ok, so Wise's catch was in the ninth and not the eighth, and he caught it in left-center, not straightaway center. Nevertheless, it's shocking that Universal hasn't sued Wise for copyright infringement. (Oh, that's right--they've already dispatched every available lawyer to bleed money out of online video distributors and file sharers.)

Anyway, I couldn't find a video with the robbed homer clip, though I did find this, which you may have seen before but is far more entertaining:

UPDATE: The guy who makes the final out for the Yankees would have to be slower than Paul Konerko carrying fat Kevin Mitchell on his back to get thrown out on that play. It's a high chopper off the bat; the ball deflects of Chapel's glove and bounds toward second base long enough to show several slow-mo seconds of agonized Costner-face; the shortstop then has to dive to field the ball--on the far side of second base, no less--before coming to his feet and throwing to first. And the throw still beats the runner by a full stride. Ridiculous.

Also, having never seen the movie before, it's obvious that For the Love of the Game was just a high-budget platform for Kevin Costner to indulge in his fantasies to be a major leaguer and play in Yankee stadium (with a younger woman as a love interest to boot). How pathetic. / I'm jealous.

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A Hall of Fame Wish

>> Sunday

Very shortly, Rickey Henderson will give his Hall of Fame speech. Rickey, of course, played many years with Jose Canseco on the Oakland A's. Without turning this into a Raul Ibanez thing, let's just acknowledge there's a probability greater than zero and less than one that he took steroids.


So here's my wish for his speech: Rickey gets announced, walks up to the podium, basks in the applause for a few minutes, coaxes a little more to draw it out, adjusts the mic, flashes a huge grin, and says, "Hey, guess what? I took steroids. You voted me in. Nothing you can do about it now. Suckers!"

Of course, this all rests on the premise that he actually took steroids and would be willing to throw away lots and lots of future monies. That said, he's one of the few people in the history of baseball who'd be crazy enough to pull it off.

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Gymnastics

>> Friday

This graphic (lifted from a friend's Facebook post without permission) appeared on ESPN last night. What it tells us is... something:

All priceless information (especially the bottom scroll). Beamed through your cornea in crystal-clear HD.

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For real?

>> Thursday

I mean, seriously:

Perfect games are cool and all, but I'm not sure I could justify one being lead story for the world's biggest news organization. Don't they know that Michael Jackson died???

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Comment on real website = Post here

Over at Craig "Shyster" Calcattera's NBC Sports blog, I had an Andy Rooney moment after reading a post he made regarding a failed attempt at a start-up baseball league in 1959. The comment being more substantive than anything I've posted here in a while, I thought I should re-post it here.

Call me crazy, but I could see the idea of a rival league gaining momentum in the not-too-distant future as the live game experience continues down the path toward stimulatory overload. Assuming that chairback touchscreen monitors and the like will become MLB-wide status quo within a few decades (and assuming that most farm and indy-league teams will piggyback), I expect an underserved market of fans to emerge whose ideal live baseball experience is still an escape from their plugged-in, clamorous world--not the extension of it that MLB have become. It seems the market is already palpable, and it's not just made up of people over fifty.

I'm 25. I love the internet. I love loud music. I love things that flash lights and make noise when I touch them. However, I do not desire these things when I'm watching live baseball. Some things go together well. Others do not. Modern MLB games are like fine merlot with Skittles and a side of fireworks. I long to be one of those fans in the grainy newsreel footage, and I worry for the fate of the endangered organist.
I think this crackpot theory of mine was cemented Friday night when I went to the Sox game with Zuch and a few other friends. Granted, it was a cold night game, and we sat in the club section (ahem, the LG Skyline Club section, as Hawk Harrelson so dutifully refers to it each time a foul ball lands there), which can distort the perceptions a bit. But even still, that familiar good vibe I always get at baseball games was hard to find. Too many colors, too much motion, too much "(I Don't Wanna Lose) Your Love."

Of course, it's not just the Cell. I'm fairly certain the P.A. at Wrigley is several decibels louder than it was, say, six or seven years ago. And for what? A more intense atmosphere? Regular-season baseball is as much about intensity as government work. Trying to fabricate intensity with intro music is futile and obnoxious.

Whether it spawns interest in a new league or not, I do think the tension between escapism and sobriety is poised to build in the next few decades. Ideally, it wouldn't be an all A versus all B choice; rather, both A and B would be a ticket away.

Us romantics have grudgingly tolerated the MLB on FOX for fifteen years, but if we can no longer enjoy the live experience, it may be time to split the congregation and start a new church.

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Compensation for...?

>> Wednesday

Two words, Eddie: Speaking. Gigs.

"While the NCAA, its member conferences and schools, and its for-profit business partners reap millions of dollars from revenue streams ..., former student athletes whose likenesses are utilized to generate those profit centers receive no compensation whatsoever," the suit claims.
I'm not saying that NCAA athletes shouldn't be compensated, but I think that ship sailed on O'Bannon--ohhh--fourteen years ago.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and calls on the NCAA to pay the former athletes what it has allegedly made from the use of their images.
What you call damages, some call free publicity. The NCAA is still using your image to make you look like a hero a decade and a half after your playing career. CAPITALIZE.

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Welcome Back

>> Monday

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Weau is me

>> Wednesday

(Oh, right, we have a blog...)

Prior to Tuesday night's game, Grammy Award-winning singer Sheryl Crow performed the Star Spangled Banner at Busch Stadium.

But she didn't sing O Canada -- and neither did anybody else. Instead, an instrumental version of Canada's national anthem was piped through stadium speakers.

After the game, the 28-year-old Morneau told reporters that Major League Baseball could have handled the situation better.

"I wasn't very impressed with that to tell you the truth," he said Tuesday night. "You figure they could find somebody to come and sing the song. They have a hockey team here, the Canadian teams play here.

"It's something that didn't really go over too well. I think if it happened the other way around, if they were playing in Toronto and they did that, it would have been a lot bigger deal. But nothing you can do about it."

Oddly, the Dominican-born players--who outnumber Morneau's countrymen almost seven-to-one league-wide but didn't hear their anthem played via boombox, MIDI, kazoo or any other audible medium--had no complaints.

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Totally misleading headline department

>> Monday

Even if it said "starter" that wouldn't be accurate. Either way, I want Brian Cook's pubilcist working for me. I could be "acclaimed writer."

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Correlation may be causation: Is Zach Randolph the worst NBA player of all time?

>> Thursday

Now, for the next installment in my continuing series of commentaries on trades between bad franchises no one cares about, news today is that Zach Randolph has been traded by the L.A. Clippers to the Memphis Grizzlies.


How very appropriate.

As many of you may already know, I have an intense, borderline-pathological dislike for ol' Snack-Attack Zach that's particularly inexplicable considering he's never done anything in his career to hurt my hometown Bulls. Really, my only genuine beef with the guy is the utter stylelessness of his game, which helps preserve the legacy of unwatchable post-Jordan II iso-postup tuhrri-ball.

That said, I can't help but laugh over the fact that he has once again been shipped off to an arguably worse team than the already bad one he's left.

Blazers-->Knicks-->Clippers-->Grizzlies. Throughout his career, Randolph starting for your team has proven a pretty good indicator that your team's fortunes are not so good and are probably going to stay that way.

Randolph did come off the bench for playoff teams in Portland his first two years--the second of which saw him play significantly playoff minutes. Since becoming a full-time starter in his third year, however, Randolph has played for a 50-game loser every year but one--that being his first season starting with Portland, 2003-2004, which saw the Blazers finish 41-41.

Granted, Randolph hasn't been surrounded with the best of talent in that time, but I can't help but feel he's a big part of the problem. Cherrypicking a single advanced metric to prove my point, Randolph finished the year with only 3.1 win shares--good for only third on a 19-win Clippers team. The year before last, he compiled only 2.9, which put him fourth on a 23-win Knicks team. To put it another way, he was only about as valuable to the Clippers as YCS favorite (but subpar NBA player) Steve Novak and less valuable to the Knicks than Nate Robinson.

Of course, things are unlikely to improve for the Grizzlies, which could mean Randolph will have a few more 50-loss seasons on his record by the time he leaves Memphis (if the Grizzlies don't leave there first). That leads me to wonder: Who has the alltime worst winning percentage as a starter in NBA history? Is such a stat kept? If so, I would imagine big Zach is in the running.

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So disappointing

>> Wednesday

The Pirates make a trade. The trade upsets the players. The players lash out at management. 79 articles are written about the trade. And not a single one has "mutiny" in the headline. How does this happen???

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British Empire unaware of the existence of periods

As seen here, British announcers have a tendency to use run-on sentences in a way so that a regular sentence is as likely as the result of today's semifinal match in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa (a warmup tournament for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; also in South Africa) where in a gutsy performance by keeper Tim Howard, and on the backs of goals from Villareal benchwarmer Jozy Altidore and Fulham FC role player Clint Dempsey, coupled with incredibly solid games from the US backline of Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Wisconsin's own Jay DeMerit, and Chicago's own Jonathan Spector, the United States of America upset Spain; the European Champions and the #1 team in the world, who were owners of a world-record 15-game winning streak, and a tied-world-record 35-game unbeaten streak (having last lost in 2006) by a scoreline of 2-0 to reach their first ever Final in a FIFA competition in a game that has already been dubbed "The Miracle on Turf" and "The Shock Heard Round the World," a reference not only to the 1775 Battle of Lexington, which signaled the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, but also to a 1989 FIFA World Cup Qualifier where the United States faced off against Trinidad and Tobago in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where Paul Caligiuri scored to lead the US to a 1-0 win, clinching qualification for the 1990 World Cup in Italy, the Yanks' first appearance at soccer's showcase event since 1950.

Next sentence.

EDIT: According to Yanks Abroad, the South African crowd chanted "USA! USA!" in the closing minutes of the game. I can only assume this means that the US and the rest of the world are cool again.

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High times in the 'Querq

>> Tuesday

Normally, I'm uninterested or outright annoyed by the superstar minor-league rehab stint media circus angle (Roger Clemens comes to mind), but I guess what's awesome about Manny Ramirez the Isotope is that this time the indignity of superstar-as-sideshow revolves around a guy who I'd doubt is bothered at all by the temporary exile and is playing for a team with a ridiculous name, uniform, and logo--in a small urban island with a funny name to boot--to the grave consternation of those who are somehow unamused by the situation. A freewheeling Dominican stationed in the southwestern plains wearing an advertisement for nuclear power is a match made on the moon that's impossible not to love.

And come on--it's Manny Ramirez.

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Crime and punishment


Or to put it another way:

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Analysing the reseeded gentlemen's bracket

The New York Times tennis blog Straight Sets has a little rundown of how the men's Wimbledon bracket was restructured after Rafael Nadal had to pull out of the tournament last week, vacating the #1 seed.


The explanation makes two things pretty clear:

1) The players are seeded as though the bracket is comprised of four sub-brackets much like the NCAA tournament.

2) There are (at least) four meaningful strata of players in the eyes of the seeding folks: the best four, the next 12, the next 16, and everyone else.

If you translate this to college basketball, that would be like lumping the 2 through 4 seeds together and then lumping the 5 through 8 seeds together. I guess my thought is this: If something similar ever had to be done for the NCAA Tournament (e.g. major violations by one of the teams surface the day before the tournament starts), who would benefit more--the 5 who jumps to the 2 line or the 9 that becomes a 5? My asnwer would be the first, but what do you all think?

And if we have any real tennis fans out there, who benefited / got hosed most by Nadal pulling out?

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Does Miller Park have adequate drainage? A rudimentary lesson in hydrology (or our most interesting post ever)

>> Monday

It's not often I get to use my professional expertise in the environmental sciences to write about sport-related topics, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that the Brewers may be displaced for their upcoming series against the Twins due to severe flooding at Miller Park. As for you Milwaukee-area fans and friends / YCS co-authors who may have flooded basements or--at a minimum--are pissed off at the prospect of the Brewers losing three home games: Sucks to be you. Ha-haw. Etc.

Like any normal person, my first reaction upon reading the story was to check out the USGS website and look up the severity of the storms that caused the flooding. The result: It was a lot of friggin' rain.

The table below shows the Thursday night / Friday mornng rainfall totals and river stage data from the USGS gauge on the Monemonee River in Wauwatosa, about three miles from the stadium. The gauge height in the second column is the water surface elevation relative to a datum of 628.86 above sea level (i.e. a reading of 0.00 = 628.86 above sea level). The rainfall column is the measured rainfall over the given 5-minute interval, and the final three columns are running totals for the time interval given in the column heading.
As the table shows, the rainfall was extremely intense over a two-hour period that resulted in 4.40 inches of rain--just over half of that falling in the first half-hour. In all, from the time the rain began at 11:15 Thursday night through 11:15 Friday night, 5.40 inches of rain fell on 'Tosa.

Without spending the time to look up the rainfall frequency distributions for the Milwaukee area, I'm going to assume that they're only marginally different than those for the northeast Illinois region, which are shown on the following chart pulled from the Illinois State Water Survey, Bulletin 70. The colored lines plot the 30-minute, 1-hour, 2-hour, and 24-hour peak rainfall totals from Thursday / Friday storm that's left the Brewers homeless for the time being.

[For those unfamiliar with the term, a "recurrence interval" is the theoretical period of time that will ellapse between one random event and an event of equal or greater magnitude. For a full explanation, go here.]

By any measure, this was indeed a very rare downpour, and--contrary to popular belief--all that water doesn't just disappear when it hits the ground. If you go back to our table, you see that the Menomonee River crested at 15.35 feet above datum, which, according to NOAA, is expected to occur once every 15 years (roughly) and has been exceeded only three times since 1973. That, my friends, is what we in the biz call a "flood."

Now, none of this answers the question posed in the title. Was Miller Park properly designed to handle severe weather events? Unfortunately, I resold my Standard Design of Stormwater Drainage Systems for 50,000-Seat Baseball Stadiums, 4th Edition textbook for booze money once I got my D in the college course, but I'll guess that a project as costly and conspicuous as Miller Park would have been designed for a 100-year storm and 100-year flood.

If I'm right (probably not the case), it doesn't necessarily signal failure on the part of Miller Park's architects because, after all, it does not sound as though the stadium underwent any permanent damage. Also, my experience has taught me that stormwater management is a highly empirical and highly imperfect art that's very difficult to get "right." (Or at least that's the line I use at work.)

Pretty cool stuff, huh? Well, I hope you've learned something valuable. (Disclosure: You have not.)

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Critics a bit o-vuvuzelas

>> Saturday

One constant in this past week's FIFA Confederations Cup, a warm-up tournament for the World Cup pitting the regional champions against one another, other than the suckitude of the United States, and Coach Bradley's asinine decision to stick with worthless players like Damarcus Beasley is the drone of the Vuvuzela. It has been the subject of much commentary in the soccer mediasphere this week, so to prevent YCS from simply being "Yellow Chair Vinnie" and to put these self-righteous, quasi-racist pricks in their place, I am returning to action.

A vuvuzela is a cheap plastic horn about 3 feet in length, that when blown, creates a sound like an elephant or a swarm of bees. It is a popular part of soccer culture in South Africa.





It's humming has become a source of ire for commentators, players, coaches, and fans during the Confederations Cup, and has led to urgings to ban the instrument for next year's World Cup Finals. And they're all full of shit.

Announcers say that the horns drown out their commentary. First, I would like to direct these announcers to a magnificent invention created in the 19th century. It is called a microphone, and can do magical things for voice amplification. That being said, no. I don't want announcers to know about microphones. ESPN's announcing team during the last World Cup took more away from the broadcast than any horn could ever aspire to. See also: Dave O'Brien. Given the choice between a cheap plastic horn, and ESPN's soccer announcers (with the exception of Derek Rae, and on occasion, Andy Gray), I will take the plastic horn any day.

Fans say that they contribute nothing to atmosphere, and have no place in football. I love when fans talk about what has a place in football culture, because when people say "proper football/soccer" what they usually mean is "the way things are done in some Western European countries." This person is the scourge of the American soccer fan, because he usually retains no connection to the local game, choosing instead to support his favorite EPL Big 4 team on Setanta every week, jerking off to an English flag while downing a pint of Beamish.

The fact is, soccer, just like the way it is played, is supported in different styles all over the world. Even in the MLS, styles range from Chicago's Polish/Italian/Mexican influence


To Columbus Crew's German-style support


to Houston Dynamo's El Battalon, which is heavily populated and influenced by support common in Latin America.


If all you watch is one or two leagues, and a handful of teams, then naturally your worldview of what qualifies as "support" is going to be a tad myopic. While I'm not ready to play the race card just yet, it's certainly a thought. FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who usually has his head so far up his own ass he can see the inside of his own neck, is for once, dead on the money here. "It's a local sound and I don't know how possible it is to stop it.I always said when we go to South Africa, it is Africa. It is not Western Europe.It's noisy, it's energy, rhythm, dance, drums. This is Africa. We have to adapt a little."

Spain's Xabi Alonso is also in favor of banning the vuvuzela. "They make it very difficult for the players to communicate with each other and concentrate. They are a distraction and do nothing for the atmosphere." This is the biggest bullshit argument I've heard yet, considering its source for two reasons. First, Xabi Alonso plays his club football for Liverpool, whose home ground; Anfield, is regularly one of the loudest in Europe. Yet no problems communicating and concentrating there.

Pregame at Anfield



During the Game (especially starting at the 0:40 mark)


So the argument that the horns are loud and distracting seems a tad misplaced coming from Alonso. Likewise, Alonso plays his club football on a team whose first team features Brazilian, Spanish, English, Israeli, Italian, Danish, Ukrainian, Swiss, French, Dutch, Scottish, Argentinian, Slovak, Moroccan, and Hungarian players. I have to imagine there's more than a few language barriers on that team. Yet, Alonso apparently has no problem communicating at Anfield. You figure with those barriers removed in South Africa (since presumably every player on the Spanish team speaks Spanish, and the players could at least lip-read simple commands), this should be a non issue.

Also gotta wonder about Alonso. Alonso is from Spain, whose soccer games have been plagued by racist chanting at African players (including tossing bananas on to the field at some stadiums). I wonder if that "contributes to atmosphere."

As for the coaches who don't like the sound of the vuvuzela, I think they largely overestimate the importance of their own job. 95% of a soccer manager's job is in preparing the team; once they're out on the pitch, the manager's influence is largely limited to substitutions and half-time adjustments. So unless the vuvuzela is blowing in their ear while they are selecting the team or during training sessions, their impact on a coach's performance would appear to be minimal at best.

So next year, expect the vuvuzelas to be back. Now if only we could do something about the United States team's chronic sucking...

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"Now when I say 'sportz!' you say 'nutz!'"

>> Friday

"Sportz!" "Nutz!" "Sportz!" "Nutz!"


Ok, so this turned up in our inbox today:
Been looking for a good excuse to reclaim the living room from the toys and sewing machine? Finally got sick of scrounging through your neighbor’s trash to find a couch?

1800® Select Silver Tequila is about to make your day. Visit www.1800tequila.com/mancave and enter for a chance to win $10,000 towards putting together the ultimate ManCave! You can deck out your spot with the sickest new home entertainment system, a game console of your choice, plenty of seating arrangements to keep you comfy and a supply of 1800® Silver Select Tequila within an arm’s reach – the Man Cave is sure to secure poker night at YOUR house, indefinitely. So, stand up to the powers that be and enter daily to for a chance to be the envy of all your buddies.

1800® Select Silver is a new kind of Tequila: 100 Proof, double distilled and blended with a touch of aged tequila. It’s got enough gravitas to impress any true Tequila fan. Try 1800® Select Silver and Change The Game!
You hear that guys? It's time to send Sally upstairs to go hem your golf shirt, tell Junior to pick up his rocking horse and train set, get out the poker chips, call up your buddies, and... margarita night? Tequila shots and blacked out by 8:30?

Whatever, it's ridiculous. Last I checked, most guys don't live in the Patty Duke Show, so I'm not sure where all these intrusive sewing machines are coming from. Also, unless your neighbor has an industrial-sized dumpster for his trash, I'm not sure how scrounging through his trash could turn up an entire couch. And when I think tequila, I think of a poker game that doesn't end up so friendly.

More importantly, this male-fantasy-for-the-male-stereotype nonsense is beyond tired. Besides being an impractical, wasteful celebration of disgusting consumerist glut (which has gone way out of style, if you haven't noticed), this whole "man cave" / "man wall" phenomenon is yet more proliferation of the unthinking, competition-crazed male caricature that should have been put to bed with the cancellation of Home Improvement. Yet, this proves that Tim Taylor lives, along with the all the implicit xenophobia and misogyny built into this bad joke. They even call it a cave for god's sake.

But who am I to argue with the reality that sports fans are an uncouth lot of illiterates who hate to think?

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The feds are onto us


Hey Mike--I think I'm gonna go ahead and put your name on that post, ok?

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Bow to the master

Forget what I promotional-idea-for-white.html">wrote last night--this is a promotion. Then again, it seems unnecessarily targeted and might be cause for trouble. It could very well turn into another Disco Demolition Night, except with fans furiously deleting Nickleback songs from their iPhones, setting off a massive orgy of cyberterrorism. Or worse yet, pro-Nickelback vigilantes led by the members of the band might show up and torch the place. No--on second thought, this is a terrible promotional idea. Isn't it enough that the two teams playing or the Ports and the Nuts?

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Anticipating the pounce

If you haven't heard yet, Dontrelle Willis is back on the DL, again for an anxiety disorder. And again, the circumstances are a little fishy. As such, I assume the next day or two will see plenty of people calling shenanigans and just as many, like me, calling time out on the people calling shenanigans.


It begrudges me to comment on these kinds of stories because it smacks of know-it-allism and forces me to admit I'm no better than all the other overimaginative potificators speculating on a semi-fictional account of the thoughts in another man's brain. Decoding the mental processes of a faraway figure is a fool's game, and it requires a creative license that's just as inappropriate and annoying as finger wagging. Unfortunately, I'm inclined to think I'm skilled in this exercise, so here I go.

We shouldn't doubt for a second that the Tigers may want to abuse the diagnosis of a common, vaguely-defined, and easily-suggestible mental disorder to tell a struggling performer to go play in the sandbox while the adults work in the yard. It's especially tempting to assume so after reading this:
"I've talked to everybody and I don't feel like I have any nervousness out there," Willis said. "I've got so many moving parts that if one's out of whack from time to time it happens.

"This is not the first time I've had control problems, but I've been able to overcome it, so I'm not worried about it."
Of course, self-deception is typically easier than outward deception, and a few bullshit sentences to satiate a hard-questionin' reporter is easier yet. That said, we also get this "detail":
Willis has been his usual gregarious self during a three-game interleague series against the Cardinals, constantly joking around with teammates. He even punctuated many of his comments about going on the DL with laughter.
To that I say: a) Don't be fooled by Willis; b) don't be fooled by the Tigers; and c) don't be fooled by either of them.

The only real point I have is this: "gregarious" has little to do with anything, and laughter can signal delusion just as well as it can signal happiness and stability, so that's not much help either. The charismatic extravert is often the best actor, and those within his sphere are often least able to see through his gregarious ways--assuming there's something to see down to in the first place--simply because that gregarious version of the person is the version they want to see, the version that makes them feel good about themselves, and therefore the only version they care to believe exists.

Also, I think people who've never dealt with legitimate anxiety issues or any other mental disorder tend to downplay or simply don't comprehend the inseparability of mental state and physical performance, so we'll probably hear--as we have before--those who'll maintain Willis's issues (assuming they're real) have nothing to do with his physical mechanics. This is probably false, though I think people who would react this way are dwindling in number.

Anyway, this is all just food for thought. I have no idea what D-Train's thinking, and neither do you. It's actually not relevant, nor is it fair to use this story as a backdrop and excuse for my psycho-rambling. Good thing we only have, like, five readers.

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Last-minute Father's Day gift idea

>> Thursday

Just in case you still haven't bought my Father's Day gift:

Sure, I may not technically be a father, per se. But I do have sperm (I hope), which I think should count. Oh, and if you hurry, it might still ship in time to be here by Sunday, but you'll probably have to pay for the express shipping. I'm sure you don't mind, though.

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Brilliant promotional idea for the White Sox

I've already lent my genius consulting services to the Brewers. Hopefully, it caught the eye of the White Sox people too because I just came up with a brilliant idea for them. That's what we do here at Vinnie's Brilliant Ideas, Inc., and it's a fool-proof business model. We pay me to think; I churn out brilliant ideas, which is a matter of habit for me. Just another day at the ofice.


So what's this latest great idea from the Vinnie's pipeline? Simple--Invite a special guest to sing the seventh inning stretch during the Cubs-Sox series at the Cell this year. Who, you ask? Why none other than P.R. Chief in Chief, Barack Obama.

The reasons to stage this promotion are multifold and obvious. 1) As we all know, Barry's a huge Sox fan, and since being innaugurated, he's already shown up once at the Cell--to throw out the first pitch on opening day this year. 2) He should have the time, now that he's finished flubbing the big decisions on the economy. 3) It would piss off Cubs fans who feel that they own the celebrity-performed (and occasionally sortafamousperson-performed) seventh inning stretch tradition. 4) We'd get to hear Barry sing! 5) It would settle the current mess in Iran... at least in some alternate reality construed by the lefties in the mainstream media.

Now, some Sox fans might object and be all like, "No! That's something gay the Cubs do, and they're fags who suck! We don't wanna suck like them!" But of course--as seasoned Chicago baseball fans know--the singing of the seventh inning stretch began as a White Sox tradition.




It would be great. They could even have the Motivational Speaker in Chief join Hawk and Stone Pony in the booth to call a few innings and try to catch foul balls with Harry's old fish net. Harrelson-Stone-Obama: What a dream team! My palms are sweating just thinking about it. (Oh wait--that's just because I've my hands in my crotch for the last hour. But still!)

I think the Sox need to act fast on this idea, though, and do it during this year's series before rising unemployment gives rise to civil unrest and ultimately a violent coup, at which point Obama will be just another refugee seeking asylum from the Limbaugh Liberation Militia. In the meantime, though, it'll be fun at the ol' ballpark, Obama-style.

So what do you say, Chairman Reinsdorf? Is it a go? Hell yeah, it's a go! No, thank you, Chairman Reinsdorf. You can send my check to:

Accounts Receivable
Vinnie's Brilliant Ideas, Inc.
1010 Awesome St., Suite Idea
Badass, IL 60606-$$$$

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Well, at least we have one thing in common

Not entirely new but new to me, it's a TreeHugger slideshow of famous vegetarian athletes, a list that includes Robert Parish, Tony Gonzalez (whom I may now have to pick in our next fantasy football draft, where I will, as usual, be the only person in the Skokie Buffalo Wild Wings eating a Gardenburger), and of course, Prince Fielder. I think this proves to you doubters that not all vegetarians are sexually ambiguous, androgynous freaks (Carl Lewis notwithstanding).

I do, however, find it ironic that one of the few athletes in the history professional sports famous for wearing a fur coat is also a vegetarian. (Then again, I wear a fur coat. Of course, I didn't buy it; I inherited it. Then again, I also wear leather. But I look really good in leather, so that makes it ok.)

One more thing: Why don't these athletes use their fame to promote vegetarianism more? It helps to put a famous face in front of a cause, and let's face it--guys would rather hear it from an NFL star than from Toby Maguire. If Dan Marino can shill for NutriSystem ("Man Food!... For real men!"), why doesn't Broadway Joe launch a line of meat analogues?

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Your tax dollars at work

Let's be like Fergie Jenkins and use made-up numbers to figure out how big of a waste this will be, shall we?


Ok, so let's assume that any congressional activity, simply by virtue of being a congressional activity, is roughly twice as time-consuming and costly as necessary. Then, because it's a matter interesting to the public (not be confused with "in the interests of the public, by the way), let's multiply the inefficiency by a factor of 1.5. The opportunity to moralize and grandstand in press clippings is good for a factor of 2.5. Lastly, it involves a famous person, so we have to double it again. Do the math, and we're looking at a marginal public good at a cost overrun with a factor of 30 (in contrast to my blogging, which only has a factor of infinity).
"The Oversight and Government Reform Committee always takes seriously suggestions that a witness misled the committee while testifying under oath," Rep. Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in a statement. "Investigators will begin a review of this matter and, upon learning the results, I will determine appropriate next steps."
Oh, goodie! I hope those include a drawn-out, over-reported perjury trial. Either way, I find the chairmanship of Edolphus Towns remarkably appropriate in this case since Edolphus Towns does indeed sound like the name of a colonial-era Puritan judge presiding over witch hunts.

Meanwhile, the unsung heroes of academia continue to address the real issues.

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Reaction in the blogosphere to reaction to reaction in the blogosphere... about Sammy Sosa

People react. My reaction.
Bleed Cubbie Blue: We now know, presuming the report on Sosa is true, that the joy [of the 1998 home run race] was indeed stolen from us. The numbers put up were put up by cartoon figures, not baseball players as we had known them for decades earlier. I know, I know, amphetamines in the 50s and 60s, other PEDs, other ways of cheating, ad nauseum . . . we were sold a bill of goods. They all swore up and down that they were honest -- "Flintstone vitamins," Sammy told us with a straight face. Now we know that face was lying to us, presuming the report is true.
Speak for yourself, homie. I still feel perfectly joyful about the homerun race because--sorry to burst your bubble--pretty much every pro athlete you watch is, on some level, cartoonish. And here's another eye opener--you probably haven't lived a single day on this planet in which someone, somewhere hasn't lied to your face about something. People lie. I lie. You lie. We all scream for lie lie. Get over it. Whenever I read / hear stuff like this, I wonder--How much of the 'roid (out)rage has to do with fairness to the other players, the record books, etcetera, and how much has to do with the critic's own feelings of lost connection? "Sammy, I thought we were best buds! I thought we shared all our secrets! But you lied to me! I don't know if I'll ever be able to love again *tear*."
Bugs & Cranks: It's expected because Sosa's career progression and statistics smack of performance enhancing drugs; there's such a dramatic spike in his power later in his career it almost moronic no one though to question Sosa at the time. Sosa's halfhearted denials and severe drop in performance after baseball began drug testing only amplified the expectation that his superstar turn was aided by the juice.
Hmm, that's an amusing take on things. You'd be right if you consider age 29 to be "later in his career." Then again, you'd also be a fool. One need only click through a few of Slammity Sam's highest comps on BR (Killebrew, Stargell, McCovey) to notice that peaking during the 29 to 32 range (or later) is perfectly normal. Maybe the leap was more dramatic, but again, unless you're Fergie Jenkins, you have no idea how much of this improvement may or may not have been due to PED use. Attribution to a smoking gun, e.g. steroids, is super easy when you have post facto knowledge that, yes, this factor was in play. And we should all have such selective memory. People did question his production at the time, especially following the McGwire andro controversy (See: Flinstone vitamins).

And lastly, the only useful sentiment on this topic:
Deadspin: The real outrage here, as it was with A-Rod, is not who's on the list but who's doing the leaking, a story that for obvious reasons The New York Times will not be writing. You'll remember that those tests results were supposed to be confidential--a perfectly reasonable expectation of any employee who submits to a drug test--yet now they're trickling into public view, merely because somebody wants to remind you to care deeply about steroids in baseball again.
Whoever's leaking these names is a manipulative coward, as are the people who were involved in deceiving the player's union. Rot in hell, a-holes.

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Fergie Jenkins should be one of Obama's economic advisers

>> Tuesday

"I don't think they [proven users of performance enhancing drugs] belong in the Hall of Fame," Jenkins said. "The drugs probably enhanced their performances about 20-30 percent. Sammy was in his 30s when he was apparently using and it gave him an edge in homers and RBIs."

Rule #1: Any numerical estimate is valid when the baseline is pulled from your ass.
Rule #2: When no one has the right answer, there's no such thing as a wrong one.
Rule #3: As long as you're popular, people will believe you.

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Turning now to some tragic news...

American Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps has died today after accidentally wearing his regular headphones into the pool, causing his head to explode. Phelps was 23 years old.

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I Soo-Choo-choose you

>> Friday

Wasn't this a scene from Major League 2? More importantly, why does Jacobs (a.k.a. Progressive) Field attract so much wildlife? My guess is that the site was once a thriving wetland ecosystem before us evil humans disembowled it to make way for our silly baseball games. Whatever the case, I'll get to the bottom of it.

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Assorted links

>> Thursday


Real Madrid--the AIG of football.

More evidence that closely-matched adversaries are naturally drawn to a state of attrition... or that NBA refs conspire to force overtime.



Yeah, I know... Only successful blogs with lots of readers are allowed these kinds of posts, but whatever--it's all better than anything you'll read here. Anyway, I'm having trouble deciding whether I look better in a navy Texans jersey or a red one. Speaking of which, I thought it was a tad cruel that the WGN news used, "Houston, you have a problem" to headline the Grossman signing tonight. What jerks.

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