When The Going Gets Tough….Just Quit

Just ignore that never ever ever part
Just ignore that never ever ever part

 

 

I really don’t see what everyone is so upset about. Jericho Scott, a 9-year-old pitcher with a 40-mph Nolan Ryan fastball was banned from pitching in his Pee Wee League in New Haven (it figures that the week I leave lowly New Haven for the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, something like this happens).

The team tried to ignore the rule and pitch young Jericho (who, ironically, suffered the same fate as his CBS namesake), but when the opposing team saw the intimidating 50-pounder on the mound they packed up their gear, left their Capri Suns and Ding Dongs in the cooler, and returned home in time to catch the second half of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with this move. If anything, Jericho and his parents should be flattered and honored by this gesture of submission by his peers. Professional athletes always talking about wanting to ‘go out on top.’ Well I can’t think of anything better than having the entire league refuse to play against you because you’re too good.

Could you imagine this conversation going on in the Phillies dugout before a game with the Mets:

“So, they got Santana going tonight. You think we should go with Feliz or Dobbs?”

“Wait, I got a better idea. Let’s just quit.”

“Oh yeah, why didn’t I think of that?”

Johan would be out of the league in no time. Despite the best efforts of his mother.

 

Jericho can now retire as the best 9-year-old in the history of the game. So good that his competitors would rather quit than suffer the embarrassment of striking out. Sounds like a good deal to me. I mean what are the odds that he would grow up to pitch in the Major Leagues? About the same as Danny Almonte starting next year’s All-Star Game.

Word on the street is that Jericho has other talents, however. Just this last week alone, these incidents occured at his high school:

  1. Jericho continually found his classmates’ hiding places during ‘Hide and Seek.’ After the second game, they simply refused to hide. When he finished counting to ten and uncovered his eyes, he found 9-year-olds lined up single-file like lambs to the slaughter.
  2. After running down several of his classmates after being tagged in ‘Duck, Duck, Goose,’ Jericho remained a Duck for the next six games. When one of his competitors accidentally called him ‘Goose’ and tapped his head, he simply fell to the ground in the fetal position and let Jericho tag him on the head.
  3. Jericho’s classmates refused to play MASH with him after he won the Mansion, Ferrari, Jessica Alba, and Pet Monkey that Poops Million Dollar Bills.

 

The New Haven community has certainly set a new precedent for youth activity. If someone is much better than you at something, don’t try to test yourself against the best and take pride in the fact that you tried your best. Just complain until somebody removes him from the playing field. Then you can make things fair by taking your hacks against the kid with the inhaler and the Rec Specs.

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What’s This All Aboot?

 

We interrupt this broadcast of 8-year-old Chinese gymnasts masquerading as 16-year-olds for an urgent message: ONE OF THE PARTICIPATING NATIONS IS NOT HOLDING UP ITS END OF THE BARGAIN.

As of the time of this post, the fine nation of Canada had won 0 medals. Yup, that’s right, not one of the 33 million Canadian citizens can say that they have a medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. You, sitting on your couch yelling at American gymnasts for falling off a balance beam the width of your remote control, have just as many medals as any Canadian athlete.

Just for comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at some of 50 powerhouse nations that have managed to justify the 4 years of training, millions of dollars worth of travel, and countless amounts of commercials by actually winning a medal:

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Mongolia
  • Togo (I guess they’re not just a sandwich shop anymore)
  • Vietnam
  • Egypt
  • Zimbabwe
  • Finland
  • Georgia (actually a country, not the Peach State)

and my personal favorite…

  • The Stan Brothers: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and of course the home of Borat, Kazakhstan.

It’s not like Canada is perenially in the poor house when it comes to the Olympics. In Athens in 2004, the Canucks took home 12 medals, including 3 golds! I don’t know what happened between now and then, but it seems like they never thawed out from the winter.

Hey, if your country is gonna spend its hard-earned Loonies and Toonies to get you here, you might as well compete, right? Here are some possible reasons for why they haven’t been able to break through with that first medal:

  1. Too much poutine.

    French fries and gravy....a marriage made in heaven

    French fries and gravy....a marriage made in heaven

  2. Still hung over from too many Molson Canadians on Canada Day.
    I think I had too much, eh?

    I think I had too much, eh?

     

  3. They are disqualified because they bring their hockey sticks to every competition.

    These guys showed up for gymnastics

    These guys showed up for gymnastics

  4. Instead of a swimming pool, the Canadian swim team practiced in a vat of maple syrup.

    This might get you through one Canadian breakfast

    This might get you through one Canadian breakfast

  5. All the real Canadian athletes stayed behind to become Royal Canadian Mounties.

    They always get their man...but unfortunately no medals

    They always get their man...but unfortunately no medals

 

Those are just a few ideas about why our friendly neighbors to the north have been struggling thus far. The most logical reason, though, is that they’re saving up so they can blow everyone to hell in Vancouver in the 2010 Winter Olympics, where they consistently give everyone else a good old fashioned wood-shed beating (24 medals, 7 golds in Turin in 2006).
With my luck, the Canadians will have 8 medals by the time this posts, but hey you gotta take any opportunity you can to take a shot at Canada, eh? What with their universal health care and friendly, helpful nature.

The Faux-Lympic Games

Alright, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, at long last I have returned from my vacation to historic Charleston, South Carolina. No, that’s not a joke, I actually went on a family vacation to the Palmetto State, and I have to say it was quite a good time. Here’s the official tally:

Trips to the beach: 5

Waves ridden: 7

Jellyfish Stings: 2 (one to right foot, one to right ankle…on consecutive trips. I started to think i was going to set a Cal Ripken-esque streak for number of consecutive trips with a jellyfish sting. Alas, on the third day they got my brother instead. That’s like if they replaced Cal at short one day with Billy Ripken.)

Crabcakes eaten: 4

Shrimp eaten: 1,356

Ounces of alcohol consumed: priceless

 

Anyway I can’t say that I was too out of touch with the sports world while I was gone since we had digital cable with every channel imaginable. I was able to receive by-the-minute coverage of Favre-Gate 2008 (has a nice ring to it, eh?) even after the SportsCenter anchors insisted that Favre’s reign of terror was over. Now they’re giving us updates on how he is fitting in with his new team because he was forced to run a punishment lap. Just like a normal guy! Imagine that! Luckily, there was a crawl across the Bottom Line saying “Brett Favre runs punishment lap in 34.3 seconds. Jets management “satisfied” with time.”

I then turned my attention to the second-most covered story of the week: The Games of the XXIX Olympiad. 192 independent countries sent their finest athletes to Beijing, China where they were treated to one of the most impressive opening ceremonies I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, find a replay and watch it. You won’t be disappointed. Here are some stunning high-resolution photos  from the NY Times.

What was somewhat disappointing, however, was the list of “sports” that will take place at this summer’s Games. Here are some of the events we will be treated to at 4 a.m. on BRAVO, CNBC, and other affiliates while the real NBC turns into Michael Phelps’ own reality show, Michael Phelps: Silver Ain’t Good Enough.

  • Handball (the nations must decide the rules before the match, i.e. whether to include “rainbows,” “slicies,” and “bouncies.” See here for some commonly-used techniques.)
  • Synchronized Swimming (aka freaky twins showcasing their mind-control powers by dancing in the water)
In the midst of a riveting game of Marco Polo

In the midst of a riveting game of Marco Polo

  • Badminton (white sweater must be tied around neck at all times, or a point is awarded to the other team. Official timeout when Jeffrey brings out fresh-squeezed lemonade.)
  • Canoeing (one team member must stand at the front of the canoe with a spy-glass; extra points awarded for any land discovery)
  • Water Polo (what happens underwater…stays underwater!)
  • Fencing (before every strike, the striker must recite, in his best Spanish accent, “My name is Inigo Montoya…you killed my father…prepare to die!)
  • Table Tennis (Timeouts taken when the ball gets broken and/or lost under the garage beer fridge. Also, Tyler Hansbrough and Bobby Frasor avaliable for “Texas Ping Pong” tiebreakers. The fun starts around 3:08 )

 

  • Weightlifting (the U.S. team consists of four Jersey Shore residents who attempt to intimidate their opponents by grunting while they get their swell on. They are also known for their elaborate victory dances.)

 

With sports like these, who needs football, rugby, or golf? They’ve even decided to dump softball for the 2012 Olympics. I guess they need sports with more subjective judging involved rather than clear, outright winners. I’d personally like to see Mixed Martial Arts make its way into the Olympics. Some say it’s too violent, but one of the mainstays at the Olympics is “Shooting.” I think I’d rather see two guys face each other in hand-to-hand combat than an Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton style duel…but that’s just me.

Manny Joins the Cast of The Hills

He's ready for his close-up

He's ready for his close-up

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple hours (or at the movie theater seeing Space Chimps), you know that arguably the greatest right-handed hitter of all time was just traded where else but Los Angeles. The Dodgers desperately needed a power bat in the middle of the lineup (they haven’t had one since the pride of the Jewish community – Shawn Green), and they got one, and then some.

Nobody’s questioning the Dodgers in this deal, as they gave up their ‘best’ hitting prospect in Andy LaRoche, who couldn’t win the position from some guy called Blake DeWitt or a gimpy Nomar Garciaparra. The only question is how Manny will fit in in LA LA land. I know Manny will be a great fit for several reasons:

 

1. In Los Angeles, the fans don’t show up until the third inning and leave in the seventh. So does Manny.

2. Dodger fans can often be seen talking on their cell phones in the stands during the game. So can Manny.

 

 

 

3. Angelinos enjoy the night life, often heading to clubs to spend tons of money on overpriced drinks with celebrities. So does Manny.

4. Many aspriring actors come to Los Angeles with the hopes of becoming the star of their own sitcom. So has Manny.

5. People in Los Angeles are free to express themselves through their appearance, especially through unique and interesting hairstyles. So is Manny.

 

So it looks like Manny will have no problem being Manny in LA, and the kooks and vegetarians will even embrace him for it. Just make sure he sets the alarm so he knows when to turn when he’s on the beach tanning. There’s nothing worse than an uneven tan.

Titletown, Shmitletown

 

By now you’ve seen it. You tune into SportsCenter hoping for a recap of the night’s games and news, but instead you see Wendi Nix sitting on a makeshift set next to someone you can only assume is a former athlete. They proceed to discuss for 15 minutes why whatever city they happen to be in is going to take the crown of TITLETOWN, USA.

I guess the goal is to hit every city in America so that everybody at one time can say, ‘Oh Man! I can’t believe they’re in my city!’

I still don’t see how Williamsport, Pa. and Valdosta, Georgia are supposed to compete with Detroit, Los Angeles, and Chicago, but I guess it’s this year’s ESPN summer gimmick, and far be it for me to deny them (my personal favorite was Beg, Borrow, and Deal). Plus they cap the amount of Brett Favre coverage at 35 minutes, so what else are they gonna fill time with, baseball?  Please.

By the way, let’s just clear the air, everyone knows New York is going to win. Yankee Fan and Mets Fan LIVE for this kind of contest. They’ll call in and vote and make sure Derek Jeter is elected Mayor of TITLETOWN.

“Yo, Vinny, you see they got us up against the Little Leaguers for TITLETOWN? Fughedaboudit!”

Since New York is gonna run away with it, I figured I’d give some other MLB cities some honorary Titles, just to make them feel better.

Atlanta: Nineties Town, USA

Baltimore: Jeffrey Maier Town, USA

Pittsburgh: Rebuilding Town, USA

Milwaukee: Dollar Beer Town, USA

Tampa Bay: Empty Stadium Town, USA

Oakland: Mediocre Town, USA

Toronto: Content With Two Town…..C……A? (Mitch ‘Wild Thing’ Williams honorary Mayor)

San Francisco: Denial Town, USA

St. Louis: Boring Town, USA

Houston: How Long Til High School Football Town, USA

Seattle: Remember When We Beat The Yankees Town, USA

Boston: Still Not New York Town, USA

 

Hopefully those cities can take some consolation in these newly appointed titles, and the fact that New York could also be named, No Titles Since 2001 Town, USA.

Dunking With The Stars

I was watching SportsCenter for the 4th time today when I saw some highlights of Terrell Owens (while they were saying that he was the one pro-bowl caliber player that they wouldn’t want on their team). One of the highlights showed T.O. doing one of his least original and most low-key touchdown celebrations, the time-tested and well-received football dunk over the goal post.

Now, the goal posts in football are 10 feet off the ground (the same as a basket), and T.O.’s arm was a good two feet over the post. That got me thinking that I’d like to see him in a dunk contest. Then I got thinking about other non-basketball athletes I’d like to see in the same contest.

I think I remember hearing something about a Non-Basketball dunk contest in the 80s featuring track runners and high jumpers, but my extensive research (typing “non basketball dunk contest” into google) didn’t give me any results.

Luckily, on my trip to the gym I noticed a group congregated on a local outdoor basketball court. It turns out the Non-Basketball Dunk Contest is alive and well, and all athletes (except for basketball players of course) were invited.

There I saw some of the most amazing dunks ever displayed, which I will now recount to you in all of their golry:

 

Terrell Owens: Natually T.O. went first. He backed up all the way to the other end of the court as if he was going to take off from the free throw line. He got the cheerleaders ready on the sidelines, placed a mystery item behind the basket (a surprise for the post-dunk celebration) and began running with his 4.4 speed to the opposing basket. To everybody’s shock and amazement, T.O. took off from the THREE-POINT LINE and glided gracefully towards the basket.

He was well on his way to making it when, in mid-air, he received a call from his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on his bluetooth earpiece telling him not to complete the dunk without a $4 million bonus. T.O. ended the call, put the ball on his waist, and grabbed the rim to let himself down without dunking the ball. Of course after the “attempt” he was bombarded with questions, and he fielded them while doing shirtless bicep curls and situps on the pavement.

Score: Despite not actually dunking the ball, T.O.’s athletic display (and consequent workout) earned him a score of 40.

 

Prince Fielder: In an effort to put his own spin on Gerald Green’s “Birthday Cake Dunk”, the 5’10” 275 pound Fielder got a ladder and balanced a box of twinkies on the rim. He then asked teammate Ryan Braun to assist him by throwing him an alley oop. Fielder backed up, then started running full-speed toward the basket (his man-breasts smacking him in the face with every step). Braun threw a perfect lob to Fielder, who ignored the basketball, detached his jaw bones and swallowed the box of twinkies (wrappers, box, and all) as the ball fell through the hoop.

Score: The judges all had an uneasy look on their faces as they hid their laminated scorecards under the table. Because the ball went through the hoop (and Fielder still looked hungry), he received a 42.

 

Brett Favre: It put a smile on everyone’s face to see the gray-bearded 38-year-old out to have a good time. He took the ball and went to the three-point line. He tossed the ball in the air, as so many dunkers do, waiting for the perfect bounce for a self-alley-oop. Favre ran up to the ball, then stopped claiming the toss was too high. He then did it again, but this time the toss was too low. He threw the ball again, caught it in the air, but stopped just before throwing the ball through. Favre continued this for about 20 minutes before people realized he was never going to dunk the ball, so they switched baskets, leaving Favre and his indecision to continue his ‘attempt’.

Score: Favre is technically still attempting his dunk, and since there is no time limit, he cannot be given a score. ESPN will be sure to update you everytime he’s close to dunking though.

 

Tiger Woods: In a surprise move, Tiger Woods, still not cleared to walk by doctors after his recent surgery, rolled his wheelchair to center court. He stood up, walked slowly towards the basket and threw down a standard two-handed dunk. The judges were impressed and gave him a score good enough to get it to the second round. In the second round, he stepped up a did a 360. In the third round, Tiger found the strength to go between the legs. And finally in the finals, Tiger did a dunk with more contortions and acrobatics than a Cirque De Soleil performance, blowing away the competition and unanimously winning the title.

Rocco Mediate was seen shaking his head and smiling on the sideline.

 

Needless to say, the contest was quite entertaining and I was happy to see that such a thing exitsts. Apparently they go from city to city using abandoned hoops, so who knows when I’ll come across another one.

Wait…Who’s Pitching Tonight?

Maine vs. Cain, Brito vs. Zito, pitching is so confusing!

 

Yesterday while watching the bottom line on ESPN, something amusing and slightly confusing caught my attention. The starting pitcher matchup for last night’s Mets-Giants game was: NYM (Maine) vs. SF (Cain). Naturally both starters factored in the decision, with the Mets righty picking up the win and the Giants righty taking the loss in the first annual Maine-Cain matchup.

I got to thinking about other possible confusing pitching matchups in the Major Leagues, and there were a lot more than I thought. A LOT more. Let’s start with the most confusing matchups, two pitchers facing each other with the same last name (all pitchers listed have logged at least one inning this season).

 

Bos (C. Bucholz) vs. Col (T. Bucholz)

Tor (A. Burnett) vs. Pit (S. Burnett)

Was (C. Cordero) vs. Cin (F. Cordero)

Sea (F. Hernandez) vs. Min (L. Hernandez)

ChC (R. Hill) vs. Was (S. Hill)

Bal (J. Johnson) vs. Ari (R. Johnson)

Det (A. Lopez) vs. Bos (J. Lopez)

Sea (M. Lowe) vs. LAD (D. Lowe)

Fla (A. Miller) or Fla (J. Miller) vs. TB (T. Miller)

Was (Od. Perez) vs. NYM (Ol. Perez)

NYY (E. Ramirez) vs. KC (R. Ramirez)

TB (Al Reyes) vs. StL (An. Reyes) vs. Min (D. Reyes) vs. Atl (J. Reyes)

NYY (M. Rivera) vs. Was (S. Rivera)

LAA (F. Rodriguez) vs. Hou (W. Rodriguez)

NYM (D. Sanchez) vs. SF (J. Sanchez)

LAA (E. Santana) vs. NYM (J. Santana)

TB (J. Shields) vs. LAA (S. Shields)

Oak (G. Smith) vs. NYM (J. Smith)

LAA (J. Speier) vs. Col (R. Speier) 

Bal (J. Walker) vs. SF (T. Walker)

SF (B. Wilson) vs. Tex (C. Wilson)

Tex (J. Wright) vs. Hou (W. Wright)

 

Ok, those were boring but I was just blown away by how many active Major League pitchers share a common surname. These confusing matchups should be a little more fun:

 

SD (Banks) vs. CWS (Danks) or CWS (Jenks)

Sea (Batista) vs. Det (Bautista)

SD (Bell) vs. Col (Wells)

Bos (Beckett) vs. Atl (Bennet)

TB (Birkins) vs. Atl (Jurrjens)

Hou (Borkowski) vs. Cle (Borowski)

NYM (Brito) vs. SF (Zito)

Cle (Byrd) vs. Hou (Byrdak)

Atl (Carlyle) vs. Cin (Belisle)

Oak (Casilla) vs. Tex (Padilla)

Pit (Chacon) vs. Tor (Chacin)

SF (Cain) vs. Min (Crain)

Oak (Foulke) vs. SF (Chulk)

Col (Francis) vs. Tex (Francisco)

Tex (German) vs. SD (Germano)

Det (Grilli) vs. ChC (Lilly)

Phi (Hamels) vs. TB (Hammel)

SD (Hampson) vs. Atl (Hampton)

Bos (Hansen) vs. Tor (Janssen)

Oak (Harden) vs. Ari (Haren)

ChC (Howry) vs. SF (Lowry)

Phi (Kendrick) vs. TB (Hendrickson)

Hou (King) vs. Atl (Ring)

LAA (Lackey) vs. Cle (Laffey)

Phi (Lidge) vs. Tor (Litsch)

Tex (Loe) vs. LAD (Lowe)

Sea (Lowe) vs. StL (Lohse)

Col (Newman) vs. TB (Niemann)

Fla (Nolasco) vs. ChC (Carrasco)

Atl (Ohman) vs. TB (Dohmann)

Fla (Olsen) vs. Bal (Olson)

Ari (Petit) vs. NYY (Pettite)

Tor (Ryan) vs. TB (Ryu)

Cle (Sowers) vs. Col (Towers)

NYY (Wang) vs. Cin (Harang)

SD (Wolf) vs. Tor (Wolfe)

SD (Yabu) vs. KC (Yabuta)

and just for fun…  Oak (Street) vs. Sea (Rhodes)

 

Well hopefully this list has alerted you so you won’t be too confused the next time one of these matchups pops up on the bottom line. I tried to find one for my name, but I had trouble finding a name that rhymes with Ward-Henninger. Go figure.

 

 

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