Saturday, July 31, 2004

The Emperor Has No Clothes


   When I was younger, I was actually afraid of Mike Tyson. I don't box, but he was scary enough to scare non-participants. He was this furious powerhouse who was simply knocking everyone he met smooth the heck out. Spinks was torn to pieces. The Razor Ruddock fights were tremendous. For a short spell, he was absolutely fearsome.

   Then, he started slipping. He lost to Douglas. He had a nouveau-riche public divorce. He raped Miss Teen Rhode Island, or someone. He served hard time. He attempted to devour Evander Holyfield. He threatened to eat Lennox Lewis' children- no small threat from a man with an ear in his mouth. Any time the press spoke to him, he would say something amazing. In a slow spiral, he went from intimidating to comical.

   Last night, he got smacked up by a Brit. He may have fought with a torn knee ligament, but still....this was his second loss to those guys with the funny accents. 1988 Mike would treat those tea-sippers like...well, like The Blitz, Part II. Watch the English get empowered by this, and try to come over here and take Bunker Hill back.

   Tyson is not far from his own reality show. He'll need the money. Imagine the fun as Tyson goes off his medication on camera. Imagine the Springer-esque brawling as Tyson has the forseeably bad reaction to people taunting him in the streets. Imagine the rambling "where did it all go wrong?" speeches made with that ridiculous falsetto lisp he speaks in. Imagine stoned Mike trying to pick up girls with a camera rolling, then exploding in a fury for no reason. Oh, the humanity.

   Tyson still has a name people recognize, but the money is gonna get smaller and smaller each fight. He grew to rely on his power and quickness, and is helpless as those attributes depart his game. He seems to be a poor technical boxer. Still, he will always have a puncher's chance...especially with the lack of talent in the heavyweight ranks. Tyson can beat anyone, but he can also get KOd by a tomato can.

   A career in the WWE might be the best long-term financial solution for Tyson. Vince would know how to handle Iron Mike. Ric Flair is being paid into his 60s, and Mike would draw in more non-fans than the man who has kissed all the girls...and made them cry.


   I do think it would be a nice story if Tyson met a girl who helped him get it together, and he eventually won the title back. An aging yet rejuvenated Tyson, fighting with an Adrienne-like #1 fan watching nervously at ringside, would actually be sort of cute (Note- Tyson is married, and the girl is the one trying to straighten his finances out). Like music, beauty hath charms which soothe the savage beast(sic). It would make a nice Disney film. Maybe he could even develop his own fat-burning grill.

   It wouldn't matter. Tyson's problems- amazingly- are not mental ones, now. He has lost a step in a game with a small margin for error. He may end up with that Ali syndrome. He may even get killed. His technical skills can not protect him anymore.

   I have learned a lot about sports and life from the Rise and Fall of Mike Tyson. He has moved from inspiring Terror in me to inspiring Pity. He has been a huge part of boxing for most of my life, and I find myself rooting for him to reverse this toilet-swirl that his life has become.

Yo seen my tiger?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Holy Mackerel

I got the bad hottie, rocks enough ice to play hockey....

   Aren't they cute? He wore his best hat for that pic. I've seen Mako Sharks with smaller grins than Miss Moesha there. Goofing on her is OK, because she just got a ring that rocked 11.5 carats. That's about a million dollars, folks.

   San Quentin can afford it- he just signed with Phoenix for $42 mmmmmmmmillion. Jeweler Jason Arasheben spent a month designing it, much like Uma Thurman's sword in Kill Bill I. This craftmanship merely ends Q's single life, as opposed to the lives reduced to a Cambodia-like pile of limbs that Uma stacked up in that Japanese club. You can read all about it in Quentin's forthcoming autobiography, called:

I, Q"

   For any young men reading this column, pretty much any girl is gonna scream, faint and jump on you like a wrestler if you put 11.5 carats on her finger. Even a Diva who used to have her own show on the WB. There isn't an equivalent act a woman can do for a man...unless she could turn into a pizza, a 12 pack and an NFL Sunday Ticket after lovemaking.

   An interesting sidebar: this adds prestige to the Clipper franchise. Playing in LA holds a certain charm for any young, single man. He'll be a rich stud at parties that Beyonce and Buffy and god knows who else will be at. Not much beats pulling your Ferrari up to a club, and having Jessica Alba hop out. NBA guys get girls in LA: at parties, they'll be a foot and a half taller than Tom Cruise. Check, please!

   The Lakers are a championship team, and have a certain air about them. The Clippers are kind of like their white trash cousins from the wrong side of the track. This marriage will show a potential free agent that he can indeed Score in Clipperland. Didn't Norm Nixon marry the girl from Fame, or something?


This could be you, kid....come to LA and hook up.


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

"He's as tough as a waffle house steak, folks"

   I know a lot of people who simply can't wait for football season. As a teacher, I want to throttle these people....but that's not today's post, kids.

   I actually AM looking forward to football season. My local team (Go PATS!!!!!!) is in a title reign. Their coach should probably be running the Iraq war. The quarterback is gorgeous...and I might add that I'm FAR better in the sack than Bridget Moynahan- as long as the lights are off, and we don't talk about money.

   Actually, I will be veh-dee interested in the Minnesota Vikings training camp. This interest has nothing to do with that Adonis they have playing QB(mmmmmmmmm), and has everything to do with a rookie free agent defensive tackle prospect named Brock Lesnar.

   This dude didn't just walk in after being an undrafted All-Conference player at Iowa. He didn't even play in college. He's also been out of college for a few years, and I believe his last organized football game was in high school. Football is probably his second-best sport.

   Brock Lesnar comes to the Vikings camp from World Wrestling Entertainment©. He came to the WWE from a career as a champion college wrestler. He's 6'3", 283 pounds, cut like a Renaissance statue, and no one has chop-blocked his knees since 1994. The WWE ran his stats once, and the only number I remember was a 40" vertical leap...but the other numbers were astounding, as well.

   Now, wrestling is indeed "fake", in that the outcomes of the matches are pre-determined. It is also very "real" in regards to the athleticism and suffering involved. Wrestlers are in phenmonenal shape, and take a terrific beating. I don't mean the Jackhammer slam Lesnar suffered at the hands of Goldberg(the first player cut from the expansion Carolina Panthers team), although I'd imagine that hurt quite a bit. I mean the day-to-day pain, and the ability to suck it up and do a night's work.

   Wrestling is football's estranged cousin, in that both attract that no-necked, barrel-chested type of kid. Many wrestlers have high-level football backgrounds. Ernie Ladd, Manny Fernandez and Wahoo McDaniel were long-time NFL stars who got into wrestling. Ron Simmons was All Something at Florida State before he became the WWE's charming "Farooq" persona. The Rock played at Miami. Stone Cold and Bradshaw played college ball in Texas. Lex Luger and Brian Pillman almost made the NFL. This- to my knowledge- is the first time someone has gone from wrestling to football, though.

   I see Brock having a few problems:

- while I'm no doctor, I'm pretty sure Brock got himself a serious concussion when he fumbled his moonsult attempt on Your Olympic Hero Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania Whatever a year or two ago. For the uninitiated, a "moonsault" is a reverse backflip off a 5 foot high post. The Big Guy landed right on his head, and had the look of someone who was a bit concussed afterwards. While his staggering and collapse may have been a part of the may not have been. Concussions are not well-regarded by NFL teams, and many a career has ended because of them. Could be a great lawsit in 2009, or so.

- Brock, during his time in the WWE, didn't seem like the coldest beer in the six-pack, if you know what I mean. The impression I got was "big...dumb...hayseed....hit in the head a lot." NFL defensive schemes are complicated, and veterans aren't going to like Brock interrupting team meetings to ask what a "sweep" is. Brock's last coach was some hick in Minnesota who was probably the gym teacher, as well. He will be far down on the Learning Scale. He'd be just about to approach the uphill part of the Bell Curve.

- Many of his opponents might take cheap shots at him, for a goof. I can see two tackles talking on the sidelines already: "It's 34-0, in the 4th quarter....the next chance I get, I'm going to head slap Hollywood Hulk over there."  One could also do some Big Poppa Pump flexing over Brock if one managed to deck him with a blind-side block on an interception return or a kickoff.

- "Small" and "283 pounds" aren't two terms that go together very often outside of zoos.  They will indeed fit the bill when making a sentence to describe Brock's weight in relation to the average size of most defensive linemen. You could hide Brock very easily behind a guy like Ted "Mount" Washington.

   All in all, it should be fun to watch. Minnesota had a wrestler/governor for a while...why not a wrestler/tackle? Maybe he'll tear the NFL apart in a few years. At worst, we get to see some big dummy get knocked out.




Monday, July 26, 2004

Retired at 27

   Wait till Ricky Williams finds out that he has to wait 40 years to start collecting Social Security.

   Imagine if he did this to Ditka? His head might blow up, like Scanners.

Father always told me

'Son, you be hard-workin' man'

and Mother always told me

'Boy, you do the best you can'

But then, one day, I met a man

who came to me, and said

'Hard work good...and hard work fine

But first, take care of head'


   Ricky Williams shocked the world by retiring at 27. Few people have that luxury, and "luxury" is the key word there. Ricky has socked away an enviable pile of cash in his short career. He can afford it.

   Don't cry for the Dolphins. If they decided they were tired of him, they'd cut him loose in a heartbeat. He pre-empted their 2009 dissing of him, as far as I'm concerned. Fin fans get no sympathy from me, either. As a Celtic fan, I have seen 2 of our young stars die in my lifetime....and I'm about the same age as Mr. Williams.

   Check this out...I can listen to the future. Here's Ricky Williams' great-great grandson, on the day that his money runs out:

   "Stupid son of a (gun). I hope Ricky sure had a good time lollygagging at 29 yo. Despicable. I have to go to the freakin' State College, and buy my own car. Damned, lazy Rasta!"

   Other than Ricky IV, I'm sure most of the Williamses are happy. Old football vets tend to limp a lot, get hooked on painkillers, and never really can let go of those glory days of yore, when thousands of people cheered for them. Ricky has plenty of money...he's just walking away from much, much more.

   Keep Ricky on the field till 2010, and he'd make the Williamses about $30-40 million dollars. Stack this next to the 10-15 milly he made already, and he'll be living large for quite some time. Ricky can lay back and smoke all the weed he wants to. He can, according to Monponsett Research, smoke an ounce of the Kind a day for the next 4,000 years without working again.

   Still...I can't imagine giving up $30 million. Someone once asked a Rockefeller or J.P. Morgan if there was a point when someone had made enough money. "I always find that I need just a little bit more," said the Rich Man.

   Ricky is either beyond that, or crazy. Crazy will get some votes. Ricky suffers from some kind of Social Anxiety Disorder, and did interviews while wearing a helmet for a while. He is- no joke- said to have body odor that would cause miscarriages. He doesn't do a lot of team bonding. He is poorly equipped for the high-exposure NFL lifestyle. When he files the retirement papers, all that pressure is off his back...and God bless him.

   I get this sense- and I am far removed from the main story-that if one asked a 60 year old Ricky about his favorite football memory, they will get an answer that involves a Pop Warner game, or maybe a cute story that ends with him getting a kiss from a pretty high school cheerleader. I would imagine that his Heisman Trophy is sitting on some shelf somewhere. There are greater worlds than these, as someone once said.

   Thomas Jefferson's tombstone epitaph says something like "Farmer, Doctor, Teacher, Inventor." He didn't bother to mention "President" on it. I sense a little bit of the Sage of Monticello in Mr. Williams, and it has nothing to do with what slave TJ did the Hip Shimmy with. To anyone who isn't a Dolphins fan, it's refreshing and admirable.

   Until some girl divorces him and takes half of his cash. Then, it's hysterical. I can almost see him co-hosting The Best Damn Sports Show, Period now.


"Easy-E, were you ever caught slippin'?"

"Hell, no!"

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Screwin' Up the Happy Dream

   Not a lot of people know this, but Jerry West is a native son of West Virginia. He is also the son of a Hatfield daughter. While the Hatfield/McCoy feud has died down in the past few years, sporadic violence still occurs.

   The ascension of Mr. West to the heights of stardom essentially "won" the feud for the Hatfields. The most famous McCoy was the distantly-related Jack Dempsey- who claimed ancestry from both clans. Duxbury's Juliana Hatfield gained fame as a songstress, and Jerry West was pretty much the third slap of the mat for the feud. One family had proven its' superiority.

   Old scores are never truly settled. One McCoy won't allow the feud to end. Earl McCoy and his family have taken it upon themselves to "e'en up" the score. Juliana Hatfield was savagely beaten at CBGB's by a woman who left in a car with West Virginia plates. The registration was traced to a car stolen from McCoyville, West Virginia.

   And someone keeps trying to shoot Jerry West.

   Since 1960, several attempts have been made on Mr. West's life. Metal detectors were secretly installed at the Forum, as part of West's contract. West moved his family to a heavily fortified compound. Retired S.W.A.T. agents patrolled the player parking lots, and travelled with the team on road trips. Even then, the attempts continued.

   In 1994, an arrow slammed into Jerry's seat at the Forum as he bent down to speak to a child. While the shooter was never apprehended, a man matching Earl McCoy's description was seen fleeing the scene in a 1975 pickup. Earl was later killed by a group of seven foot black men in purple and gold warmup suits. 

   Up until July 14th, 2004, Earl McCoy was the only man who ever missed West. On July 15th, everyone in LA not named Donald Sterling joined him. Kobe misses West...he's just too spoiled and dumb to know it yet.

   Shaq Daddy was shipped east for Brian Grant, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom and change. When the dust cleared, LA had a Divac/Grant/Butler/Medven...the Russian guy/Odom frontcourt. Malone will go wherever the easiest title route leads through.

   Odom is the key to the deal, and he is a fragile tweener who has an affinity for the Hippy Spinach. He had a fine season last year, but so did Bo Jackson and Bill Walton, once. Butler is a hard worker, and Grant has  a monster contract that goes POOF in 2007 or so. Grant and Odom will make $75 million over the next 3 seasons....didn't Shaq want $100 milly?

   This was not a fast trade. It was not a slow trade. It was a half-fast trade. The Lakers didn't plan this out well, which is shocking, as Kobe and Shaq have been feuding like cheerleaders for years. They panicked, and dumped Shaq for the best offer that popped up. Had they worked the phones a bit harder, I'm sure they could have wrung more out of someone than what they got.

   However much Shaq has slowed, he is still a freakin' monstahhhhh. He shot about 55% from the field in the playoffs. He dunked on Duncan, KO'd KG, and looked like the only one who was trying during the Detroit debacle. He averaged 26.6 ppg, and shot 63% on the highest stage afforded to an NBA player last June.

   LA lost the Detroit series for 3 reasons. One, they were out-coached. Two, Detroit had a better team. Three, the man LA is building around shot 35%.

   LA won't suck that hard next year. Odom and Kobe should score in bunches, and they have good frontcourt depth. GP may improve with a new coach. Vlade is as good as most centers he'll face. Still, they are no longer frightening. Here's how you beat LA now: rough up Odom, and swarm Kobe. If Payton leaves, no one else on the team is good for more than 7ppg.

   Kobe is driving the bus now, and we'll see how good he is next year. He has a Jordan situation now- he'll have to carry the team, especially offensively. If he thinks he's the next Air, Kobe can silence all doubters now.

   Ironically, Jordan was probably the only man who could have walked into that Laker locker room, shut the door, and used his commanded respect to right that ship. Shaq would listen, and Kobe is young enough to bully. Whatever Jordan would have cost, it would have been cheaper than giving Brian Grant $42 million dollars over the next 3 years.

   Does anyone else think Miami just dumped all of their pot-smoking players? Butler works harder than most stoners, but Lamar has a history...and Grant HAS to be high to rock that hairstyle. That sh*t looks like Kelp.

The Travels of the Stanley Cup

   There are many coveted pieces of art in the world. The Mona Lisa. Michelangelo's David. The Washington Monument. The Crown Jewels. All of these fine craftings mean very little to me, because no one has dove into a swimming pool with them at a keg party.

   Now, the Stanley, we're talkin' ahhhhhhht, as we say here in DNC town. The Holy Grail of Hockey is a trophy that has been around the block a few hundred times.

    Donated in 1892 by Lord Stanley, the Governor General of Canada, the Stanley Cup is awarded to the NHL champion every year. It's over 30 pounds of fine silver, with a 2004 street value $6.35 an ounce....ummm....a lot. It is insured for $75,000.

   Remember girls...if you keep your looks up, boys will do your Arithmetic for you.

   The Stanley Cup becomes "fun" when the tradition of letting each member of the NHL-winning team keep the trophy for a day or two is introduced. That's right, folks...each guy gets the Cup for a day, and they can do whatever they want to it.

   Here's a few Stanley Stories I found:

-  In 1905, the Stanley Cup was in possession of the boys from Ottawa. It was smaller, then...kind of like a football. Somebody who was limping the next day tried to drop-kick the Cup across the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. The canal was frozen, and the Cup landed in the middle. It was re-gotten once the players sobered up.

- In 1907, Montreal players left it in the home of a photographer. His wife planted geraniums in it.

- While travelling between parties, the Cup was left on a Montreal snowbank for an evening in 1924. This was back when Canada was the kind of place that you could leave a Stanley Cup laying about without worrying bout someone "ganking" it. The Montreal players only noticed the Cup's absence when they went to drink from it.

-  During a 1962 game in Chicago, the cup was stolen by a Montreal resident who wanted to "bring it back where it belongs."

- It was stolen from the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1970, only to be returned by a cop who claimed it was left in his driveway.

- The Cup was thrown into an Ottawa cemetery following a 1903 scuffle. Boys will be boys....

-  A 1910 bowling alley owner/hockey player displayed it at the alley, and kept cigars in it.

- In 1927, King Clancy used it as an ashtray for a summer.

- In 1940, the NY  Rangers celebrate by urinating in it....a Canadian Cross Stream.

- In 1980, Clark Gillies allowed his dog to eat kibble from the Cup.

- Unaware of the 1940 and 1980 stories, Montreal enforcer Knuckles Nilan poses his infant son in it for a picture. "His bottom fits right in the cup" noted Nilan. His and many others...

- It has been at the bottom of pools owned by Patrick Roy, Mario Lemieux, and Guy LaPointe. "The Cup doesn't float," noted Lapointe, who played before helmets were mandatory.(Note: I'm getting mail attributing that quote to Guy Carbonneau, who did indeed wear a helmet,,,if so, my apologies to the LaPointes....I also played before helmets were mandatory- in soccer)

- The influx of European talent to the NHL has led the Cup to Czechoslovakia, Poland, Sweden, and Russia. It has been to Lenin's Tomb.

- In 1994, the NHL has mandated that security guards be with the Cup 24/7/365. They get to go to all the parties.

- In 1988, Mark Messier damaged the Cup, and had it repaired at an auto body shop.

- Messier deserves his own section in this post. He has brought the Cup onto Letterman and done "Stupid Cup Tricks." He brought it to bars, and let fans drink from it. He has brought it to an auto body shop for repairs. He brought it to Scores, a NY strip club. He also put it on stage with an Edmonton stripper in 1987, and she gave it a brothel-quality dry humping.

- In 1996, Cheryl Riley attends a party that Mike Ricci brings the cup to. Mrs. Riley, who had been told she could not conceive, kissed the Cup on a whim. She had never heard of Lynn Patrick from the 1940 NHL Champion Rangers, who had dangled his genitals in it. She was pregnant in no time...Lord Stanley is a dirtydirtydog, I tell ya . She named the boy "Stanley."

- Also in 1996, the child of Stefan LeFebvre was baptised in it. This was 10 years, and hopefully numerous polishings, after Messier paid some slut to straddle it at an Edmonton strip club.

 - In 1994, Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin was allowed to eat out of it.

- In 1996, it appeared on MTV, and Brian  Noonan used it as a rolling pin to make biscuits.

   I doubt that the Wimbledon trophy has been used as a frisbee by drunken Canadiens. I don't believe that Oscar has been used by an actor to bludgeon someone during an Ottawa fistfight. An Orlando editorialist once said "I'd kill someone for a Nobel Peace Prize," but I tend to think that there is little chance that he'd toss it into the squared circle between two mud-wrestlers at a New York City gentlemen's establishment.

   And that, folks, is why Hockey kicks so much ass.

You might not want to have your hand in there, kid...

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


   If I had $70 million or so to spend, I would make a grab for power. I've already envisioned this. I would take over a small Caribbean island, and establish myself as a dictator. I was considering "El Macho" or "Pimpistan" for an Empire name, but I'll throw a few other contenders into the article as we move along.

   I'd immediately begin to militarize the economy and all means of production. Once New Purse City(my friend's favorite) was powerful enough, we'd declare war on our neighbors, and would work to establish a nuclear capacity. I would go to great lengths to establish a hedonistic culture that would attract tourists once the shooting stopped. In 5-10 years, Schlitzlvania would be a burgeoning regional superpower.

   My ruling style would be, as Calvin put it, "benevolent despot." I'd wear one of those Sgt. Pepper military jackets that Jacko favors, and would review endless military parades. I'd have an active secret police force. I would make subtle gestures at dinner tables, and people in Bogota would vanish. 

   I would crush any opposition, and keep the people hungry and scared- with just enough Bread and Circus stuff to keep them from wrecking the Stacey statues with any rioting. If all else fails, I'd do a Pol Pot- empty the cities, establish a huge collective farming culture, and kill all the intellectuals.

   While my people slave away for a bowl of rice a day, I would spend my days in one of my numerous Presidential retreats. Once a week, I would get nude, and roll in money. I would foster a Cult of Personality, and schoolchildren would be taught that I am their true Mother.

   I think I could work this fantasy of mine for $70 million dollars or so. I'm figuring $5 million to bribe a few Senators into pushing through arm sales to my new People's Liberation Army of Endonesia. I could use a few million more to hire mercenaries, and spend the rest on weaponry(the Soviet stuff is cheap, these days), ammo, provisions, etc...If all the right pieces fall into place, I could topple a small Banana Republic for under $75 million, if the U.N. didn't become involved.

   Keep in mind...I'm French. We are not above being megalomaniacal. Louis XIV said, "L'etat, c'est moi," which means "the state, it is I." Napoleon had every intention of conquering the world, and only Russia's "General Winter" was able to thwart him. "The deaths of a million men must be of no concern to men such as myself" said the Little Corporal.

   Whether my plan is feasible or not, and whether I may be a bit cruel in my nature, I have given this a lot of thought. I really think I could do it for under $75 million. You heard me, folks. I could become a regional power for $75 million.

   Or I could use the same money to sign Derek Fisher and Adonal Foyle for 6 six years. Derek is a career backup who will be pushing 37yo when the contract ends. Foyle sucks so bad, he has concave cheeks. Both of these dudes are guys you let go to have the money to sign Erick Dampier, or whoever.

   Someone in the Warrior's office should check Mullin's coffee, if you know what I mean. M.L. Carr is laughing at him tonight.

Adonal Foyle, Derek Fisher and Chris Mullin

Monday, July 19, 2004


Doug Mirabelli, Trot Nixon

"Tell Pedro to stall....I haven't finished High Above Courtide yet."

Slide, Slide, Slippity Slide

   Parents have a responsibility to their children. Part of this includes knowing the answers to the millions of questions that children ask. As a teacher, I am often asked why we have to study a particular topic. An easy answer is "You'll have children someday....they'll have to know this stuff, too....therefore, they'll ask learn this, so that your kids won't think you are a moron in 20 years."

   My daughter is nearing T-Ball age, and with any new sport will come questions about its' rules, conduct, and so forth. As my readers know, I have a fairly good grasp of sporting info. Still, there is stuff that I don't know. I don't know why football teams don't punt for field goals more often, like Burt Reynolds did in that prison movie. I have difficulty explaining Quarterback ratings. I also don't know the answer to the Slide Quandry. I aim to figure that out today.

   What I am referring to is baseball sliding. Why is this important? It isn't. Go see Farhenheit 911 (the temperature at which bush catches fire) if you want to change the world. I'm just here to talk baseball skill.

   Many times as a child, I saw Mike Greenwell run to first base, trying to beat out a weak grounder. As he neared the base, he would launch himself into a head-first dive. My father would scream "No NO NO!!" as he did it. I gradually became aware that sliding into first base is viewed as a Faux Pas, and that it is considered faster to run through the base.

   One has the option of running through first base. On all the other bases, one has to stop on the bag. Does the option of running through first base make sliding to first base bad strategy? That is what we are here to discuss.

   Sprinters are not known for diving through the finish line, and actually try to stay as vertical as possible. They don't have to touch a base, though. Sliding takes from the speed of running, and is probably most effective when avoiding a tag.

   Still, can sliding get you to touch that base faster than running? Every coach, TV analyst, and player that I have ever heard speak on the subject insists that sliding to first base slows you down. Yet, players slide into every base except first. A vertical target means more of the runner is in the tag area, as opposed to the upper torso/leg/extended arm that is there when sliding.

   I did find 2 interesting notes when searching for info on this matter. First....ESPN did a study. They chose a group of ballers who were known for first base slides. They timed them on how long it took for them to get to first base with a slide, and compared it to how long it took them to sprint through. Generally, the slide saved a quarter second or so- a lifetime in a game of inches.

   The second interesting tidbit was an observation from a non-player. He pointed out that the runners sometimes realize that their stride is such that it won't put the foot on the bag. They are either forced to shorten their stride- which costs speed- or risk injuring themselves with a sudden giant step at the bag. In that instance, one might benefit from throwing the whole body at the base.

   A baseball player has spent a lifetime hitting the ball, and running to bases. They have seen hundreds- thousands- of throws to first base. They probably have a pretty good idea if they will be put out from the moment the infielder scoops up the ball. Any thought put towards the slide quandry simply takes away from the ability of that athlete to act instinctively. There's a reason so many athletes are dumb, you know....they're dumb all the way to the bank.

   This leads into the sub-argument. Is it better to slide head-first or with your legs extended? As in the "slide or not to slide" question, there are matters of physics involved...resistance, momentum, kinetic energy and so forth. I got through college science by cheating off my Asian lab partner, so I won't begin to wrestle with that part of the question. I can tell you what I've read, though.

   For starters, the American Journal of Sports Medicine( ), in a shocking waste of taxpayer dollars, developed the position that head-first slides are far more dangerous than coming in with the spikes up. One is exposed to more potential injury, especially in the head/neck/arm areas. The actual injury rate is higher for feet first slides (7.3 out of 1000 slides, as compared to 3.53 for head-first), but the degree of potential injury for a head first slide is far greater. The majority of injuries for HF slides is  broken-finger themed, while leg-leaders tend to sprain a lot of ankles. Softball has a higher rate of injury, btw.

   Quick notes, not backed up by research:

- one is less likely to have their face slapped with a glove on national TV if they lead with their feet.

- a shortstop will leap after tagging second on a double play throw, to avoid being taken out by the runner. He is less likely to land on one's Big Unit if the baserunner is sliding tummy-down.

- one can slide into first on an errant throw that takes the first baseman off the bag, forcing him to apply a tag. This is another good way to get spikes to the face.

- Ty Cobb used to use intimidation to further his cause. Ty made a point of sharpening his spikes as he sat on the bench, in full view of the opposing infielders. He was known to have injured a few men with his slides. Pete Rose nearly killed a catcher with a head first shoulder tackle/slide in the 1970 All Star Game.

- Little League rules prohibit head-first sliding, except in cases of rundowns or pickoff attempts.

- The Houston Astros have a minor league policy that any player who slides head-first will be removed from the game at once.

   Swing for the fences, kids....less thought involved.


Sunday, July 18, 2004

Texas recap

   Texas wasn't ready for the Smurf. I was all over that state, met some nice people, ate some bar-b-q, and had a great time. It is still good to be back home.

   I liked Texas. It is simply too hot for me. I don't know how they do it. If 6 million Mexicans try to slip into Texas every year, I tell ya, it must be a god-damned inferno down there in the Halls of Montezuma. Out of the frying pan...

   My poor husband. I was raised by French people, and the lilt in my voice can get me passed off as a very light-skinned Hispanic. I fit in down in Texas, to an extent.

   My husband was raised in Dorchester, MA. He says things like "cah" when he asks me to clear the driveway, and uses the term "wicked hammahd" when asked to describe a fun night out. He was fine until he spoke aloud...then everyone in Texas was calling him "Vinny" in, "My Cousin...". A man named Spree at the IHOP started laughing aloud when Stephen spoke, and he was only from New Jersey. "I had the same problem when I moved here, man."

   My older sister, who is more French than I am, pronounced the nickname of the Miami Heat's center as most Americans would pronounce the word "shock", but that's a whole other post.

   It took a lot of effort, but I did force my sister into eating a fried catfish sandwich at what I think was called "Poppa's" on Westheimer Street in Houston. She shan't be having that again. I wouldn't even sit near it. We also were walking around 5th Ward looking for barbq before a cab driver pulled over and explained that we might be safer near the hotel district.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

and that's the ball game....

Gagne, which means "to win" in French, enters the game with a 5 run deficit. Closers hate that duty, but Abe Lincoln didn't run from some unpleasant work....and neither should men who wear Abe's beard. Throw a stovepipe hat on him, and freed slave descendants would hug him in the street.

I left before the bottom of the 9th. I'm too pregnant to fight through that crowd twice in a night....especially when someone has been feeding the crowd beer all night. Texas is a big state, with well-spaced cities....I'm sure there are several thousand 12 hour drunks with 4 hour rides home. I'm glad my hotel room is on the 10th floor.

When we were sneaking down front, I think I saw Dr. Phil. I called my husband to tell him...and he tells me Jessica Simpson just checked into our hotel. I got out-celebritied.

I'm pooped. so I'll tell you more tomorrow. I had a wonderful time, and I want to thank Jamie and everyone at AOL and the Hotel Derek.




I think the entire annual cotton crop of Georgia was required to construct Ruben Stoddard's American League shirt. They could have wrote "American League" on it, and still had room for "2004 MLB All Star Game."

How many fat men have a signature sandwich?

"Why, yes....I will Supersize that...."

I'm back

We got to the lowest level this time, but we didn't stay long. Good ballpark security in Texas. I'm tiring, so you all may be on your own soon.

I had to stay for David Ortiz. I simply adore the man. He came to Boston with little fanfare. He had "platoon" written all over him. Instead, he worked hard, and made a huge success of himself. He's a legitimate MVP candidate, and he is as humble and team-oriented as it gets. I get that proud feeling watching him...that proud feeling teachers get when a student rises above himself. I was screaming for him when I was up close, and I may have made it onto the FOX audio.

2 Sox....2 Homers....move Houston to the American League....NOW!

No chance of getting on field at Jeter, btw....there are guards every 5 feet or so near the field, and I ain't that fast anymore.

running out of steam

Jeter just slid about 10 yards short of second base. If that was a playoff game, there'd be spikes to the chest. This is a friendly game, and I don't expect to see Giambi do a Pete Rose catcher takeout.

Joe Torre looks even more guilty in person.

I CC A Fat Fat Guy Guy

CC Sabbatical is a big guy. Even on the mound, he's blocking my view. The man exudes more gravitational pull than Jupiter does, and he looks like he married Bartolo Colon's mother.


When they traded Carl Pavano for Pedro Martinez, I wonder if the Red Sox expected Pavano to be in the 2004 All Star Game while Pedro is vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

Sometimes, the best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray...

Big Unit

Big Unit time.

What a tremendous nickname....and what a tremendously ugly individual. Even from 100 yards off, he's the kind of ugly only an accountant could love. Still, I think he would make a fine Red Sock. I bet Ichiro started having Godzilla flashbacks when Das Unit came to the mound. Randy may be the tallest human being Ichiro has ever seen.

Randy got lit up, too. McKeon might have to go backstage and recruit Nolan Ryan before this game is over. It may even be like a flight where both pilots die..."Is there a pitcher in the house?"

Player Notes

Ichiro looks like a slim Mr. Fuji, or that dude from all those cheesy Van Damme films. He has a smooth swing, though.

Vladimir Guerrero nearly had his head taken off by some high heat from Kolb. Had Vladimir Tepes been at bat, Kolb might have walked him intentionally. Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, was a Wallachian prince who earned the name Dracul(son of the dragon, or son of the devil) by his enormous cruelty. He was the man Bram Stoker based Dracula on, and in this case, the fiction pales when compared to the horror of history.

We got kicked out of our seats when the original owners came back. Turns out the usher spoke enough French to foil my defense mechanism. Rome wasn't built in a day, and we WILL get up front. I have a sick friend who needs Manny's hat. If I can get my hands on it, my sister can take it and run away...she's the faster sibling.

Check back in a few...S



I am having a great week. AOL treated my family to a week in Houston. We got All Star Game tickets. I saw almost everyone I'm related to on this trip. I am totally happy, and I feel great.

Then I saw Red Sox turncoat Roger Clemens get shellacked in front of his home crowd....and I felt EVEN BETTER.

I really enjoyed Super Manny's homer. The last time he saw Rog, he was having his head thrown at. Tonight, he made Roger his....well, let's just say that Manny has the upper hand, now.

I bet Clemens didn't think the bullpen would be warming up before 8 PM. That's what you get, Hoss....

The Greatest

Muhammad Ali came out, and he got a pop that blew everyone away. Ali has a certain air about him, a sort of primordial peremptory authority. He stands out on a field full of all stars.

First good crowd quote...."Watch Ali hit Piazza with the ceremonioal pitch.'

Derek Jeter spoke with him, then called all the stars to sort of conglomerate around the man. It was really cute. Men turn to boys when Ali is nearby...even kids who weren't born when he was last fighting. I never saw him fight, but I would still faint if I met him. He's simply that kind of guy, and I don't care who's syndrome he has.

A funny thing about Ali.....He's a guy who has Parkinson's Syndrome....but he could still kick your ass. He was throwing a few play punches, and he still has remarkable hand speed. I wouldn't mess with him.

We got denied on attempt #1 at getting up front. We will try again. We have not yet begun to fight.

Player Intros

The players just got the intro. The bottom of the lineup were all Astros. Berkman and Kent got a huge pop from the crowd. Clemens sort of got the leftover Kent cheers.

I threw some popcorn at Barry Bonds when he was introduced, but I missed by about 70 rows. I'll deal with him when he's in the outfield.

We have managed to sneak down a level from our original seats. Somebeody may have to eject a pregnant woman soon. We're going for the front rowwwww.

Check back in a few...S

We're in

We're in!!

My sister Shea and I are now in Minute Maid Park. This place is crowded, and hot. Some fat guy is trying to throw baseballs through a target for money. Just by making it to the field, he has won free Taco Bell for a year. Trust me,,,,this dude doesn't need 365 taco meals. I think I saw Nolan Ryan laugh when the taco prize was announced.

We have nice seats, but we're all about sneaking down a few rows. I doubt security will challenge a pregnant woman....and if they do, I'll just start speaking French.

I'll check back in soon...S

It's drrrry heat, son

Good morning, America

How are you?

I say, don't you know me?

I'm your native....ummm...French step-sister

Before I start, I want to give a big hug to everyone on Amtrak, who fell all over themselves seeing to my every need. I took a train from Boston to Houston, and every employee of that train stopped by 50 times a day to see if I needed anything. I have had "relations" with people who showed me less attention.

There will also be hugs for AOL, Jamie Mottram, David Nesbihal, Summer Olson, Prime Sports, and the Hotel Derek, but we'll get to them later.


All my Exes live in Texas

So I hang my hat in Tennessee

The talk of Texas tonight is Roger Clemens. Roger is having a remarkable season, pitching in his hometown. He is empowering the over-40 crowd. It's sort of like when Italians watch Rocky. He holds center stage this evening, and should put on quite a show...unless Dave Stewart is pitching for the AL, in which case Clemens will get a blister on his pinky and ask out.

It should be fun watching Clemens work with Piazza tonight. These two have an uglier past than the Hatfields and the McCoys. Roger has thrown a bat at Piazza, and nearly killed him with a beanball one year. There is little else he could throw at the man. Maybe his glove, or his disgusting, sweaty jock strap.

Tonight, Pizza Man can have his revenge.

If I was Piazza, I'd whisper what the next pitch will be to every man that steps up to the plate against Clemens. "Pssstt....fastball, inside corner....snicker." Nothing like serving up 4 straight gopher balls when you are doing your farewell game in your hometown, on national TV. I can almost see the pitcher/catcher conference..."I don't get it, Roger...your stuff looks pretty good to me...they just can't seem to miss." There is also a chance that Clemens will try to tag Piazza in the face with a fastball, wedging the ball into the mask like a tumor.

I have to cut this short...I'm off to San Jacinto to gather some dirt. I collect dirt from famous places, and I put it in my garden. I'm just starting in Monponsett, but my former home in Duxbury had Gettysburg tomatoes, Monticello rhododendrons, Lexington/Concord lilacs, Rouen roses, Plains of Abraham parsley, among other things. Im thinking San Jacinto peppers, by the way. 

Welcome to Texas

Now, I don't like to mix business with business, but I have a little ass to kick here...

To:  Gus in Houston

You really should go to that basketball camp Spree is suggesting for you. You can improve your game, meet some people, have some fun- and you won't be hanging out on the corner all summer. I know that you have no idea who I am, but trust me- I'm a professional



Friday, July 9, 2004

Hi! I'm leaving today. The next time I write here, I'll be South of Monponsett. I have procured a hat, so I should be all set.....S

Thursday, July 8, 2004

NASCAR for Northern Girls

   With the elimination of Diecast Dude from the competition, the burden of explaining NASCAR to the proletariat falls to me. Diecast knows NASCAR inside and out, while I, admittedly, had to ask him what NASCAR stood for. Still, I am a teacher, and if people don't know, I have an obligation to try to help. So, here goes...

   NASCAR stands for "National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing." Depending on the month, it is America's biggest sport. It humiliates NBA and NHL ratings. NASCAR also has a pretty good site:

   On their site, they have a section called "NASCAR 101," which I thought would save Diecast Dude 400 emails from me. Unfortunately, even that was above me. My head's still spinning.

   I guess a logical starting point is "what's a stock car?" Good question. NASCAR has it's beginnings in bootlegging(sort of like the Kennedys, but with a sillier accent), and many early NASCAR drivers had earned their stripes runnin' gin through the countryside. To keep away from Sherriff Buford T. Justice, they would modify their regular cars to attain maximum speed.

   As near as I can tell, NASCAR ran heavily modified cars until 1949, when NASCAR President Bill France Sr. seized upon the idea of racing cars that people actually drove on the streets. Few modifications were allowed, other than tweaking the engine. The roll bar- which keeps the car roof from crushing the driver- was mandated in 1952.

   A few cool notes:

- "Late model family sedans" were the primary car used.

- Many NASCAR drivers drove rental cars. How tremendous is that? Jackass had a skit where Johnny Knoxville tried to return a rental car he had used in a Demolition Derby. I bet HERTZ had "Don't Rent To This Man" photos of Dale Earnhardt Sr. at every US branch. I have a friend named "Waltrip,", and  he always has trouble securing a rental car when he travels.

- US auto makers got into the spirit, and designs for late-1950s cars began to emphasize any small change that could make the car faster without breaking NASCAR's rules. I'm being told that the wrong answer to the "Ford or Chevy?" question can get you an ass-whipping in Georgia.

   On to the races. NASCAR kicks ass on a race-by-race basis. Everyone in a race gets some points, with the winner getting 180 points, the runner up getting 170, and the remaining places get amounts lesser by 5/4/3 point increments.

   If your starter blows and you have to get your husband to push your car off the Talladega Speedway before Lap One, you still get 34 points. It's sort of like T-ball, except that people get killed now and then.

   These races are conducted in a series. Nextel foots the bill here, although I think Winston also has a series- "Winston Cup" seems to be running through my head for some reason. The only reason I didn't name this "NASCAR by a Dummy" is that I think I might be infringing someone's copyright.

   The race in New Hampshire stands out from the crowd like a geographical white Globetrotter. Otherwise, there are places here that even a NASCAR-dummy like myself recoqnize. The Daytona 500 manages to get my attention every year, and may be the Granddaddy of em all. I imagine Daytona Speedway is held in the same regard that I hold the old Boston Garden, so they're cool with me. 

 I'm sure there are other races that are famous, that have since changed their name to match the corporate sponsor. This would mirror college football's bowl-naming process that gave us the "Outback" and "Carquest" bowls. Richmond, Darlington, and Talladega are names that I know for some reason that has nothing to do with the Civil War.

   As you might imagine, the main effort here is to drive faster than the other drivers. Whoever has the most points at the end of a series (a la Nextel) is the overall winner. You can fudge with the numbers a bit. Jeff Gordon once got $90k  for losing a race that the winner, Jimmy Johnson, got $50k for.

   The money rocks. NASCAR's #1 driver right now- the doubly phallic Jimmie Johnson- has made over $2 milly this year, while #2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made $4 million. I imagine a lot of that money is funnelled back into the car and the team, but righteous bucks, nonetheless.

   NASCAR drivers seem to be loaded with personality. I could really look into this and give an informed opinion, but you can do that better on your own. What I will give you is what I have managed to absorb out of cultural diffusion:

- Jeff Gordon is the pretty boy that the judges favor. He wins a lot, and gets endorsements. He also likes to drink a Pepsi on the hood of his car after a race. The old-timers think he's a punk.

- Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. are sort of the Howes of racing, for you hockey fans in here. Dale Sr. may have been the coolest man south of my father. He was known as the "Intimidator." This label came from the fact that if you were leading a race and saw old number 3 in your mirror, you knew he was gonna bash you off that wall over yonder.

   He paid a racer's debt in 2001. I still see 3s on the window of many a pickup truck, even in suburban Massachusetts. He embodied the attitude needed to tailgate someone at 190 mph. Dale Sr. will always be well-spoken of in this forum.

   Dale Jr. seems to be carrying the family name well, and is the second place driver in the Nextel Cup series. I'm sure his mother wanted him to try a nice career in knitting, or perhaps wanted him to enter the ministry. He ended up driving 187 miles an hour, and has probably wrecked a few cars already, for all I know. I guarantee that Mother Earnhardt has some grey hair, unless Dale Sr. was even cooler than I think he was.

- Richard Petty was known as "The King." He retired in 1993, and never buys a drink anywhere he is recognized, which is everywhere. He bears a slight resemblance to the Burt Reynolds character in Smokey and the Bandit, or maybe Doc Holliday. I think the Order of Influence goes Doc/King/Burt. My brief research shows that he won 10 straight races, and 27/43 one year. For quite some time, it was his track- the others were just driving on it.

- Geoffrey Bodine has made quite a career for himself since splitting up with Jed, Granny and Ellie May. I bet there's a nice "ce-ment pond" at the Bodine residence, and the "courtin' parlour" is rarely empty.

- AJ Foyt may actually race those "other" cars, but I think he has a motor oil commercial, or something.

I'll conclude this with a few little-known NASCAR facts:

- "NASCAR" was mentioned in 42,435 Alabama divorce cases in the period of 2000- 2003.

- The General Lee, the car driven by Bo and Luke Duke of Hazzard County, was a restored (by Cooter)1969 Dodge Charger, which won 22 of 54 NASCAR races in 1969. A half ton of ballast was required to keep the car from flipping during the show's many chase sequences. The last General Lee from the show is in the possession of the actor who played Bo Duke. The chase scenes were filmed on a Disney lot in California.

A Few Quotes:

- "There's no bigger surprise than to  be hit in the rear when going 200 miles an hour"......Daryl Waltrip

- "I sat up in the ambulance and saw that my car still had tires. So I got out and finished the race".....Dale Earnhardt Sr.

- "Why did I take up racing? I was too lazy to work, and too chicken to steal."....Kyle Petty

-"The best way to make a small fortune in racing is to start with a big one"....Junior Johnson(poor guy)

"Drivin' a race car is like dancin' with a chain saw"....Cale Yarborough

"There's only one lap you want to lead, and that's the last one"...Dale Sr's Sr.

"Well, he lived on the North end of the house"....Ward Burton, on the difference in accents between he and his brother Jeff

Gentlemen(and Ladies)....start your engines.


Tuesday, July 6, 2004

I'd like to thank the Academy...



   Texas time. A-Rod just may get that smooch after all.

   I also have to come home with an impressive autograph. I indirectly know a sick kid, and he asked us to bring him back something. Unless my move on A-Rod goes better than I am planning, I won't be bringing back a jersey. I'm also fairly small, and not the odds-on favorite to come out of the scrum with a foul ball that lands in the stands- unless it rolls, at which point it will be a race between me and whatever kids are around.

   I plan on wearing a Red Sox shirt, so my strategy should probably be to try and get some momento from a Boston player. Manny looks a bit surly, Mr. Ortiz may be a little large for me to be bullying into surrendering his hat, and Schilling will be starting(Torre is too smart to not cost the Sox another $100K). Once I get near a player, I have to use perhaps the oldest autograph seeking trick in the book- the "Sick Kid."

   I'll think of somethin'...

   Barry Bonds probably has no idea that AOL just sent a pretty twisted Boston fan with a national forum to Houston. Barry had some bad things to say about Boston, and he will be within my yelling range.

   I'm a schoolteacher, and I have a voice that carries, as my husband says. I'll be on his ass like Preparation H. If he comes into the stands after me, watch close- I will get in at least one well-placed kick, and I was a HS soccer player.

   I also need to get a hat. I don't mean a baseball cap. I mean one of those big Charlie Daniels hats. My students, who are primarily urban northeastern blacks, politely refer to these as "brother-hating hats." As Antoine put it, "Not all cowboys are racist...I know some good people from Texas....but when a brother sees a bunch of those hats coming, he's like "Uh Oh."

   I tried to explain to Antoine that many cowboys were black guys, that the Wild West offered a chance for a man to be judged by his work rather than his race, and that the man who invented the Bulldog takedown of steers- Nat Love, who may have been the best legitimate cowboy in our history- was as black as James Brown.

   It didn't matter. Once kids have a visual, you're half-dead. When they learned I was French-born, I'd get questions about having cheese for breakfast, and what the best $1.99 bottle of wine is.


A) Cheese for breakfast will give you a tummy ache 

B) MD 20/20- which will also give you a tummy ache.


Down to the Wire

   I love elections. Two opponents, vying for the affection of America. Two trailblazers of the New Media, competing to cover America's oldest sports tradition. Two rivals, with much mutual respect, gettin' down and dirty in the bogggggggggggs.

   We have our reasons for wanting to win. Wes is a lifetime baseball fan, a coach of children, and he wants to see the heroes he grew up rooting for. His motivations are admirable and endearing.

   I, myself, want to leap onto the field and kiss ARod(I was going for Jeter, but 3rd base is closer than SS, and ARod makes more money). Manny Ramirez, who has that whole Big Sexy Latino thing going on, seems a little too surly to run up on. I bank on my cuteness quite a bit, and can't afford to have SuperManny KO me on National TV.

   If I'm on the 1B side...David Ortiz. He deserves affection after the fine season he's had, and Mother always told me to get a 6'4" Dominican man.

   America has redefined the term "dirty politics." In Japan, the Parliament have fist fights. In Africa, generals have a way of supplanting Presidents, before being supplanted themselves by majors, who then fall to captains. Charles Taylor moved up to President of Liberia from his spot as Sgt. Taylor, and he became Sgt. Taylor after being a guest of the state of Massachusetts' prison system. Many the head of a European king/queen has ended up in a bucket. It's good to be King, but it sucks to be deposed.

   In America, we do it our own way. In 1714, Anthony Henry, a British government official, had this to say to his New York constituents, who wrote to him demanding relief from an excise tax:

"About the excise, may god's curse light upon you all, and may it make your homes as open and as free to the excise officers as your wives and daughters have always been to me while I have represented your rascally constituency."

   Of course, he didn't have to get elected. When a vote comes around, it's time to drag out the heavy artillery.

   Earl Long once called an opponent a "big-bellied liar, and the crookedest man who ever lived." He was speaking about his brother, Huey. He also called him a "son of a bitch" before realizing the implication. Huey ran from several fistfights with Earl, "because he bites."

   Charles Sumner of Massachusetts once made a speech on the  Senate floor, "The Crime Against Kansas." In it, he denounced several Southern sympathizers- one of whom was related to Preston Brooks, who took offense to Sumner calling his cousin a "harlot of slavery." He snuck up on  Sumner and beat him half to death with a cane. This, regrettably, was before C-Span. I plan to explain this to Barry Bonds if I am seated in the outfield.

   Sometimes, you have to stoop down to the level of your constituents. George Smathers once called Claude Pepper a "extrovert," who had "frequently marticulated on campus," and who had a sister who was a "known thespian." He also accused Pepper of "engaging in celibacy before marriage," and of being a "practicing Homo Sapien." Smathers won in a landslide. It ain't what you's how you say it.

   Lyndon Johnson ran for Prez in 1964, against the hawkish Barry Goldwater. He ran an ad that showed a little girl picking daisies in a an ominous voice counted down from ten. The girl was then hit with a Soviet ICBM. The ad basically said "Vote for LBJ...or else!"


   I don't plan on nuking anyone, but I would appreciate your vote. The name's Monponsett, and please, vote early and often.

(Defense Department analysts state that High Above Courtside appears to be about 3-5 years away from developing a crude nuclear weapon.)

Monday, July 5, 2004

Hey now, you're an all star!


Let's look over who will be the supporting cast for Wes or I next week:


C Ivan Rodriguez... Tigers   .376avg, 10HR,  57RBI 

1B Jason Giambi... Yankees   .239 11 31 

2B Alfonso Soriano... Rangers   .292 13 48 

3B Alex Rodriguez... Yankees   .276 19 50 

SS Derek Jeter... Yankees    .273 13 40 

OF Manny Ramirez... Red Sox    .342 22 63 

OF Vladimir Guerrero... Angels    .345 20 71 

OF Ichiro Suzuki... Mariners   .319 3 30 

Tim Hudson... A's 7-3 2.98ERA  68Ks

Ted Lilly... Blue Jays 7-4 4.04 83

Esteban Loaiza... White Sox 8-4 4.37 52

Mark Mulder... A's 10-2 2.90 81

Kenny Rogers... Rangers 11-2 3.42 64

C.C. Sabathia... Indians 5-3 2.77 61

Curt Schilling... Red Sox 11-4 3.08 110 

Francisco Cordero... Rangers 2-0 1.85 24   

Tom Gordon... Yankees 2-2 1.51 2 

Joe Nathan... Twins.. 1-0 1.19 23 

Mariano Rivera... Yankees 0-0 0.86 29 

Francisco Rodriguez... Angels 1-1 1.04 7 

C Victor Martinez... Indians   .299 12 60 

1B Ken Harvey... Royals   .330 9 33 

1B David Ortiz... Red Sox   .306 22 76 

2B Ron Belliard... Indians   .317 5 34 

3B Hank Blalock... Rangers   .313 21 57 

SS Carlos Guillen... Tigers   .328 11 57 

SS Miguel Tejada... Orioles   .315 15 69 

SS Michael Young... Rangers   .330 11 48 

OF Carl Crawford... Devil Rays   .317 3 30

OF Matt Lawton... Indians   .315 13 47 

OF Gary Sheffield... Yankees   .298 13 53


And for the Bad Guys:

 C Mike Piazza... Mets   .312 16 39 

1B Albert Pujols... Cardinals   .304 21 57

2B Jeff Kent... Astros   .293 10 52 

3B Scott Rolen... Cardinals   .342 18 77 

SS Edgar Renteria... Cardinals   .287 4 34

OF Barry Bonds... Giants   .354 22 45 

OF Ken Griffey Jr.... Reds   .244 19 35 

OF Sammy Sosa... Cubs   .276 14 33

Roger Clemens... Astros 10-2 2.63 107 

Tom Glavine... Mets 7-5 2.16 60 

Livan Hernandez... Expos 6-7 3.23 100 

Randy Johnson... Diamondbacks 9-6 3.04 129 

Carl Pavano... Marlins 9-3 2.92 73 

Jason Schmidt... Giants 10-2 2.61 112

Ben Sheets... Brewers 7-5 2.58 113 

Carlos Zambrano... Cubs 9-3 2.41 99 1

Armando Benitez... Marlins 2-0 1.11 26 

Eric Gagne... Dodgers 2-0 1.54 21

Danny Graves... Reds 1-3 3.02 31

Danny Kolb... Brewers 0-0 0.87 24

C Johnny Estrada... Braves   .328 4 45

1B Sean Casey... Reds   .352 15 54

1B Todd Helton... Rockies   .352 15 53

1B Jim Thome... Phillies   .298 27 58 

2B Mark Loretta... Padres   .321 6 33 

3B Mike Lowell... Marlins   .301 19 51 

SS Barry Larkin... Reds   .294 4 30

SS Jack Wilson... Pirates   .340 7 33 

OF Moises Alou... Cubs   .287 19 49

OF Carlos Beltran * Astros   .281 19 58 

OF Lance Berkman... Astros   .305 16 59

OF Miguel Cabrera... Marlins   .288 19 54 

* Beltran was selected to the team on the AL All-Star ballot. He can take part in All-Star Game festivities but can't play in the game.


-  If Clemens has any sense of humor at all, he should make his first pitch to Mike Piazza be a shard of Louisville Slugger. Pizza Man would either laugh, or attack him- either way, it'd be over.

-  Not a lot of people know this, but Mordred(Medraut, Mewdrawd) was from Wales. Many irreputable historians will tell you that there actually was a Mordred, an evil king in druid times who formed the legend for the Mordred of Camelot/King Arthur fame.

   The man who would slay King Arthur was born in Monmouth, in Eastern Wales- allegedly from an incestuous coupling of Arthur and his sister, Morganna Le Fay. He raised an army that laid waste to Arthur's lands, and eventually took out Mr. Excalibur himself at Camlan.

   Up until 2004 AD, he was the worst Welsh in history. That title was just taken from him as Pedro Martinez was left off the All Star game roster for Ted Iris, or whatever. Mordred and Arthur

- There are rumors that a platoon of Army Rangers, led by President Bush, will escort a long-ago-captured Osama bin Laden to the pitcher's mound prior to the All Star Game. He will then be beaten in public with a bat carved out of a tree from the field in Pennsylvania where one of the doomed 9/11 jets crashed...swung by Ken Griffey Jr.


- Joe Torre is arrested, and charged with "Looking Guilty"

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Happy July 4th!!!!

   Not much time to write, today. The town puts on a wonderful show every July 4th( Clowns, face-painting, apples, fried dough- you know, the whole nine. They have a nice kid scene for the afternoon, complete with a turtle race.

   My turtle- who has exhibited anti-social tendencies in his previous public appearances at my school- chose to stay home in the tank, and celebrate the holiday in his own way.

   They provide a couple of hours intermission, where they switch the crowd from children to 12 Hour Drunks. The fireworks start at nine, but the Show will begin much earlier.

   For those of you who don't have fireworks, I will produce some....check this out:

   A "no-hitter" is a gathering of my townsfolk in one setting before the priest leaves. Once the fireworks crowd arrives, it is a giant keg party. Hopefully, we'll get a nice fist-fight or arrest to add to the entertainment.

   The fist fight is an American institution. We didn't invent it, and we may not do it the best, but it is ingrained in our culture. I speak several languages, and I can assure you that no other language has as many euphemisms for beating someone up as American English does. I can list a few, and feel free to add your own:

- Beatdown

- Ass Whippin'... and it's country cousin, Ass Whuppin'

- Taking him to the Woodshed

- Blanket Party

- Laying the Smackdown

- Pimp Slap

- Shellacking

- Rout

- Whipped

- Put a foof to his ass

- Curb-stomping

   You get the point. America is a tough place. In this case, the child was the father of the man. Many great Americans were quick to kick an ass, or shoot it out.


   Check out these Founding Father Fights:


- Andrew Jackson married a woman who hadn't fully divorced Husband #1 yet. There was much scandal, and Jackson would confront anyone who mentioned her name with unbridled fury. 

   "For the man who dared breathe Rachel Jackson's name except in honor," said James Paton of AJ, "he kept pistols in perfect condition for thirty-seven years."

   In 1803, Jackson and Tennessee Governor John Sevier exchanged shots in the street, with none landing. Jackson later killed Charles Dickinson- who, up until he met Jackson, was considered the best shot in Tennessee- in an 1806 duel. "I intended to kill him, and would have stayed on my feet to do so even if he had put a bullet in my brain," said Jax.

   Jackson himself was shot during a fight with future Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton and his brother. They eventually became friends. "I had a fight with General Jackson," said Benton. "One was hardly fashionable who didn't."

   When AJ was running for President, his opponents put together a pamphlet that listed all his brawls where he stabbed, shot, stomped, and clawed over 40 US citizens. Most of these fights were from his more roughly-hewn youth in Salisbury. "Aahhhhh... old Salisbury," said Jackson. "I was a rough lad then, but I did my best."

   An assassination attempt was once made on Jackson. The assassin's guns failed, and Jacksonbeat him like a government mule.


- In 1754, Colonel George Washington got into a heated argument with William Payne. During the beef, Washington insulted Payne. Payne then decked the Father of our Country. Washington himself restrained his troops, who were set to rend Payne limb from limb.

   The next day, Payne got a message from Dollar G, asking him to appear at a local tavern. Fully expecting an invitation to duel, Payne was shocked when Washington instead met him with a bottle of wine.

   Washington offered his hand, and said, " Mr. Payne, to err is nature; to rectify error is glory. I believe I was wrong yesterday; you have already had some satisfaction, and if you deem that sufficient- here is my hand. Let us be friends."

   Sometimes, you have to know how to take a beating, as well as how to give one.


- Teddy Roosevelt kicked a lot of ass in his day. As an aristocrat who took up cowboy life, he punched out several people who crossed him. Word soon got around the Badlands that Mr. Roosevelt was not to be uffed with.

   As a young Assemblyman from New York, TR was heckled in a bar by elder Assemblyman John Costello. After being called "momma's boy" and a "damned little dude," TR removed his glasses and decked Costello...and  the guy who was laughing at Costello's jokes. He then told them, "When in the presence of gentlemen, behave like a gentleman. Now... clean yourselves up, and join me for a drink."


- Harry Truman had a daughter Margaret who gave a singing recital that was lampooned by the local art critic. Truman wrote the critic, expressing his displeasure:

"I've never met you, but if I do, you'll need a new nose and a supporter below.... You sound like a frustrated old man."


Happy Birthday, America!!

Friday, July 2, 2004

America's Sweetheart


A great American comeback story ended in bloody defeat last week. The Comeback is as Americana as baseball or apple pie. MacArthur, Chrysler, Suge Knight- all speak to that punk in all of us who slinks away from treacherous seas. We need heroes, because most of us are pretty average. I got beat up once, and I hid when I saw that girl again. Come to think of it,,,,that girl looked a little like Tonya Harding.

   How tremendous is it to see a figure skater reduced to prize fighting? Figure skaters aren't bred for combat. However athletic the skater may be, her game is finesse and grace- virtues not apprecited when the fur flies. It isn't a gender thing, either. I have never heard of anyone trying to avoid a confrontation with a male figure skater.

   Society grabbed Tonya by the back of the head, rubbed her face in the mud, and tossed her to the curb like Hefty. Make no mistake, she deserved it. Her people hired the first Hitman in figure skating history. What's worse, they got caught.

   Tonya quickly rose to the top of the Double-Wide hierarchy, and managed to turn up in the news for the occasional drunken brawl that you could almost imagine people chanting "Jerry...Jerry!!" during. I understand that she hit a boyfriend in the face with a hubcap, once. If you snoop enough online, you can find pics of her doing community service, cleaning some Washington median strip.

   I'm sure the future was supposed to be quite different when Harding was kicking ass as a young skater. Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill became famous, got commercials, and rose to prominence through figure skating. Figure skating is a powerful media event, and is always a good ratings draw. It carries the Winter Olympics. Harding could skate circles around Fleming, and is still the only American woman to hit a triple axel- whatever the heck that is....

   Beautifully dressed, alone on a stark white rink, with every move being judged and watched by millions of people- American figure skaters became household names....Divas. Divas usually don't end up boxing.

   Yet, that's exactly where Tonya Harding ended up last week. Banned from skating, she dabbled in Wrestling and Porn, and ended up trying to become a professional boxer. I approved of this move. She was an Olympic-caliber athlete, and had a name people knew- even in infamy.

   Her public debut- on a Fox show that may have been called "Look At My Failed Career," or something- was positively dripping with promise. Showing deft skill, she pounded an overwhelmed Paula Jones into the sort of terrified submission that Clinton was probably hoping she'd show when he pulled out his unit in that hotel room.

   Most people looked at Tonya Harding on Celebrity Boxing and saw a disgrace. I looked at it and saw a scrappy powerhouse with a mean streak. As was once said of Stonewall Jackson, Harding "knew how to hate." I filed her name away in my selective memory, and it didn't pop up again until last week.

   Tonya had actually worked out a pretty good deal for herself. A Canadian promoter was going to pay her $600K to fight some heavy-hitting-hussy from Edmonton. All Tonya had to do was get a few fights under her belt, get her name in the news....and not suffer a humiliating loss at the hands of whatever tomato can they set her up with.


   The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray.

   Tonya was allowed to fatten up, and came in overconfident for her match with Edmonton's Amy Johnson. Tonya had to starve to make weight, which was eventually moved up to 135, and went into the fight weak and distracted.

   Amy Johnson was raw, but tough. Despite the starving, Tonya looked like she trained at Krispy Kreme. Johnson cut her over the nose in round one, and repeatedly landed straight right hands to the ever-more-dazed American. Harding rallied in round 2, laying the Canadian at her feet at one point, but then things went Picabo Street/downhill.

   Tonya came out for the third round with her hands down, and got tagged. She staggered back to the ropes, where Johnson cornered her. A fierce hook stunned Harding, who was unable to defend herself. As the crowd bellowed in joy, a poleaxed Harding then took a series of unanswered punches to her face before the ref jumped in. Harding fell to the floor, and her new career was over.

   Thousands of miles away in the Massachusetts suburb of Stoneham, a  retired skater with an old knee injury enjoyed a last laugh- in the wealthy, pampered life that she carved for herself after her time in the the world's eye.

   Tonya may seize the spotlight again. She will keep working at her boxing, and maybe one day she will win the big fight. She'd make a terrific WWE villain, and Fox is way overdue for some more Celebrity Violence. Forever cursed to fight an uphill battle, Miss Harding may one day show us all something, after all.

   Or she gets beaten to death by Geri Haliwell. Either way, we get a laugh. And at the end of another humiliating day in the rat race, we need a disgraced figure skater to goof on.



Thursday, July 1, 2004

Nothing says "England" like a Communist Supermodel and a Compton homegirl

Maria Sharapova 


Serena Williams

   This would have been so much better if Maria Sharapova was from Soviet Russia, circa 1979 or so. Trained in the Siberian tundra since birth by a focus group of Red Army trainers and technicians, she is unleashed as a teenager upon the pro tennis tour of the decadent West.

   She seeks nothing other than a complete display of her nation's superiority. The degenerate skirts of the west are no challenge to the White Russian. Fattening herself on the soft pushovers of the tour, she seeks to take down the Ugliest American. Humiliating former champ Lindsay Davenport, she has one obstacle in her path- Serena Williams.

   If Sharapova could somehow kill Serena and force Venus into a Christmas match in Moscow, we'd have a sort of short-skirted Rocky IV. Maybe Venus could make a Rambo speech as she stood over the prostrate form of her Slavic foe... "I used to drive million dollar tanks, and now I can't get a job at the fahging car wash!!"

   Sorry, folks. It rarely works out that well. Sharapova trained in Florida for most of her life. She was 3 when the Berlin Wall came down, and as a Siberian, is more of the oppressee than the oppressor. GLOW tried the same Juggernaut Slavic Heel story with the terrifying Colonel Ninotchka, but they never gained the attention that Wimbledon draws. Wimbledon is the big draw in tennis. If you haven't won Wimbledon, you can't be mentioned among the greats.

   It is sort of like being a Sled Dog that wins the local races, but comes up short in the Iditarod. The other sled dogs sort of snob on you, and you revert to the solace offered by the Chuck Wagon. Next thing you know, you're on the #6 plate at the local Hung Gardens. Society has little use for past glories.

   Serena need not worry, here. She is after her third straight Wimbledon. She gorilla-pimped Jennifer Capriati and Tatiana Golovin to make the finals, blasting a serve past Golovin at over 120mph at one point. The beatings were so bad, reporters saw Serena making Capriati hold her sleeve as she took her to Amelie Mauresmo. While reports were sketchy, Serena left alone, with a carton of Newports.

   Now, all that stands in Serena's way is a slinky Russian teen. Sharapova outlasted Ai Sugiyama and Lindsay Davenport onthe road to the Final, but the party shoud stop when she encounters the Ricky Williams-like thighs of Serena. Serena already whupped fellow Russian teen Golovin, and Sharapova looks to be her next Slavic conquest.

   If not.....sweet. We get a new queen of tennis- a teenage Russian who does modeling work. Anna Kournikova will suddenly look old. Sharapova emerged on the scene with Tatiana Golovin, who got headlines by admitting that she has been saving her virginity for Prince William of England.

   Could these two kids revitalize tennis? Will Sharapova start dating Derek Jeter? What are the chances that William abdicates his chance at the throne in order to flex the Crown Jewels with a Wimbledon quarterfinalist?

   Bill Clinton would have shared a cigar with Golovin in 5 minutes if she had put herself out there like that at the Daytona 500. If Prince William didn't summon Golovin to Buckingham Palace that very day, England may want to have a Coup or something...or get ready for a gay royal wedding. They made you a moron....

   Silly English King....