Friday, February 29, 2008

NFL free agency primer

By Murphy Kramer
Punters win championships


Coach Murphy Kramer is the head football coach at Plano Horizons High School in Plano, Ohio. His Fighting Broncos have a 16-68 mark in his nine seasons at the helm, including a 1-8 mark last season.

I love NFL free agency. I love the rumors. I love the uncertainty of not knowing where a key player is going to end up. I love agile black men and their powerful hamstrings.

Every year, I grab myself a pad of paper and a writing instrument and evaluate the top talent that is readily available. I then send it off to each NFL team in an unmarked, white envelope. Despite this yearly ritual, I have never been compensated for my efforts, despite the time I told the Patriots to sign Adalius Thomas and they did, and he was awesome, just like I said he would be. Where's my cut of the check, Bill?

Anyway, here is a list of this year's best of the best, my notes included:

Alan Faneca, G

Large man. Shaggy hair and beard. Blocks defensive lineman. Does it pretty well. Once ate a rabid goose while it was alive just to teach a classroom full of first-grade children about the dangers of not properly cooking your meat. Spent four days in a hospital after the incident. Returned to the field two days later to block for Willie Parker's 213-yard game against the Saints. Slightly largely-than-normal testicles.

Prediction: St. Louis Rams

Bernard Berrian, WR

Best NFL player named "Bernard." Runs really fast, similar to many NFL wide receivers. Known for being a snazzy dresser, possibly an indication of homosexual behavior. Probably OK for a wide receiver. Reportedly would "kill someone" just to play with a real NFL quarterback, since he never has.

Prediction: Miami Dolphins

Flozell Adams, OT

Big human being. "Flozell" is not his real name; it is short for "Flozelliam." Pregame ritual included stuffing Tony Romo in a locker and then eating six ham and cheese sandwiches. Quick feet should allow him to remain effective for several more seasons before he balloons to 430 pounds and his feet are crushed under the weight of his own body.

Prediction: After I wrote this, I found out that he re-signed with the Cowboys. I predict: Cowboys.

Lance Briggs, LB

Overrated little bitch who only looks good because he plays next to Brian Urlacher. He'll fade into mediocrity and probably die from syphillis within three years. Also, whiny.

Prediction: Washington Redskins

Asante Samuel, CB

People pay lots of money for cornerbacks, and Samuel will get lots of money. Has been described by many as "infectious" in the locker room, which, to me, is not a positive thing. That's two STD jokes in a row, if you're keeping track.

Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Turner, RB

Fantasy football has doubled Turner's value, simply because everyone knows him as LaDanian Tomlinson's handcuff. Without this, he would simply be another backup running back. Will find it difficult to get running room away from San Diego's offensive line. He's a big back, which means he seeks out contact and will always be injury-prone. Buyer beware, sayeth Murph the soothsayer.

Prediction: Detroit Lions

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

We demand recompense

By Jay Bruce and Joey Votto
Good baseball players


To Whom It May Concern:

We, the undersigned, are writing to file a complaint regarding our supervisor. This is not a matter of unprofessional behavior or sexual harassment, the weird peeping incident in the shower notwithstanding.

We are lodging a complaint because our immediate supervisor is -- in technical terms -- a dipshit.

Johnnie "Dusty" Baker was hired to manage our local baseball team. We were open to the idea at the time. We were, apparently, also high on mescaline.

Let's get this straight right away: We're immensely talented individuals. We're very good at baseball. Jay was recently named the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, and is coming off a season where he recorded a .925 OPS at Triple-A, at the age of 20. That's, like, outstanding. Joey put up a .908 OPS at the Major League level last season, at age 23. Admirable, at the very worst.

However, Dusty has recently said the following things, as documented by various media publications:

When Baker was asked who would hit leadoff when Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper aren’t playing, he said: "I hope one or the other is in the game."
“Yeah,” Baker said, “but what if you say, ‘Go play, kid,’ and he’s not ready to play winning baseball? Is it OK to overlook that? I don’t know."
"It's no secret that [Bruce] is a star of the future," Baker said. "He could be a star of the present, who knows? I'm very impressed talking with him, but there's more to baseball than just hitting, too."

He keeps talking in practice about how much he likes Norris Hopper in center field. That's Jay's position. But Dusty seems to prefer Norris, who is this lanky guy who has one home run in 342 career at-bats. Basically, he slugs like Elton John. And Dusty wants to start him over uber-phenom-studmuffin, Jay Bruce. Baker keeps saying that Jay chose the "earning business," so he has to earn what he gets. He says that about playing time, the Gatorade jug and the bathroom. Seriously. The other day he made Jay do 60 pushups before he could use a urinal. Mike Stanton got to walk right in and pee. It's not fair.

Furthermore, he keeps calling Joey "Jessie" and only lets him take batting practice off a tee, with a Nerf ball.

Everyone on the team under age 30 is terrified. Johnny Cueto says he doesn't sleep at night. Homer Bailey has already scheduled an appointment with Dr. James Andrews for August. Once, Brandon Phillips went into Dusty's office and Dusty had 15 candles lit and John Lee Hooker playing on the stereo. Dusty started asking Brandon if he liked large-mouth bass fishing, and Brandon's pretty sure that Dusty was trying to seduce him.

The man even stands on top of a scaffolding during practice, and he wears creepy sunglasses, even when it's cloudy. Also, why the fuck does he have wristbands on?

Yesterday, Jay was taking some simulated at-bats off Gary Majewski and drew a walk. Dusty spit out his toothpick, stormed over and told Jay that "Walking is for dogs, not baseball players." Then he made Jay sit out in left field with a dog collar around his neck and told him that Hank Aaron never took a walk.

We checked, and Hank Aaron walked 1,402 times in his career. But Dusty said numbers are like trout: everyone has a few lying around somewhere, and it doesn't mean you're special. We don't know what that means.

Monday, Homer was throwing on the side for a workout, and Dusty watched for about six pitches, and then told Homer he'd come back and tell him when to stop. Dusty never came back, and Homer ended up throwing 483 pitches. Dusty later said that Juan Marichal would throw that many pitches in the morning, then go out later in the day and throw another 200, and still have enough energy to hit Johnny Roseboro in the head with his bat. Who is Johnny Roseboro?

So, please. We beg you. For the sake of our careers, our lives, the City of Cincinnati, the career of Wayne Krivsky, the sanity of Adam Dunn. Please. Do something to get this man out of power. If he is not removed from his managerial position by March 1, we will be forced to move to Japan and resume our professional careers there. We hear Fukuoka is lovely this time of year.

You have 24 hours.


Best regards,

Jay Bruce and Joey Votto

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gone in a flash



There is a plaque on one of the facility walls at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, home of the NFL Scouting Combine, and a litany of NFL superstars can find their names chiseled into the sleek gold-plated tags.

Bo Jackson. Randy Moss. Deion Sanders. Devin Hester. Reggie Bush.

Eric Henderson sits on the crippled makeshift bleachers overlooking the combine field’s northwest corner, and he knows each and every name. He knows them in order, and he knows the values associated with each one. He knows he can find his name among them, mounted in the lofty pole position among Indy’s greatest engines.

On the list of 40-yard dash times recorded at the NFL combine, no one has been able to match Henderson’s 1998 time.

It was the stuff of legends when the former cornerback from relatively unknown Sandusky State ran a 4.12. Yet, Henderson is here at the combine, watching the proceedings just as he has each of the last six years, wondering what could have been. Because as fast as Henderson was, his career torpedoed out of sight just as quickly.

“I think I’m probably the NFL’s fastest cautionary tale,” Hederson says. This is a line he has used many times before. And it fits him as snugly as the red Under Armour workout shirt he is wearing today.

COLD DAY IN INDY

Henderson was a relative unknown at the 1998 combine, lost among the blue chippers from Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma and Tennessee. “Where was Sandusky State?” his fellow NFL hopefuls would ask, and he would give them their answer, knowing the answer would fall on deaf ears. It was just polite conversation, after all. These guys had their eyes set on the NFL since the day they stepped onto a football field, and no small-timer from Somewhere U. was going to register on the radar.

Cornerbacks were solid at the combine, and Henderson found himself brushing shoulders with future first-rounders R.W. McQuarters, Terry Fair and Duane Starks. Heisman winner Charles Woodson was also in attendance, yukking it up with Peyton Manning and no doubt postulating over which way the locals would go with the first overall pick – Leaf or Manning? Henderson was oblivious to that discussion. He was just hoping some team saw him and thought enough of him to use a late-round pick.

“I knew I could fly, and my senior year had been really solid,” Henderson said, shielding his eyes from the overhead lights to watch Arkansas running back Darren McFadden run Henderson’s featured event. “I just didn’t think anybody had seen me play at Sandusky. I mean, the game film I had was shot by handheld camcorders, man. We didn’t exactly get any face-time on the big networks.”

McFadden surges through the 40, and Henderson smiles. He’s impressed.

“He’s fast, boy. Not as fast as me, but he’s fast.”

It was a cold day when Henderson ran the same event in 1998, so much so that officials had considered moving the dash until later in the combine week, when bodies weren’t so rigid in the late-February chill. But the clocks were ready to register by 2 p.m. Henderson was somewhere in the middle of the pack, and when he heard his name called and stepped to the line, he had what he views as a near-religious experience.

“I could feel everyone who has ever supported me,” Henderson said. “I felt God, my mom, my brothers and sisters, my coaches, my third grade teacher, and old-man Jimmy Davis from down the street. I heard their voices and saw their faces. It was weird, man. I just knew something positive was going to happen. I don’t know if it was a religious awakening or anything like that, but I knew it was my time to shine.”

The pistol sounded with a bang, and Henderson was off.

THE AFTERMATH

When he crossed the line, there was no loud cheer of celebration. Instead, there was silence.

“They had all been talking and waiting for their turn; I don’t think anybody was really paying attention,” Henderson said. “But then they saw the 4.12, and I think that made everybody stop for a second.”

When Henderson turned around to see the digital readout, he said he nearly felt his knees give out. He didn’t know the last time someone had timed him in the 40-yard dash – maybe high school – because he viewed it as superstitious to time himself in the weeks leading up to the event.

“I didn’t want to feel like I was chasing a clock,” Henderson said. “It’s like that guy who’s trying to lose weight and stands on the scale every day, and gets disappointed when he doesn’t lose a half-pound or even gains a pound. I knew I wasn’t going to get faster right away, so I kept training without that stopwatch restraint. I had no idea what I was going to run.”

Henderson said he never thought his NFL candidacy hinged so heavily on the 40-yard dash, or else he may have viewed it differently.

“Absolutely, everyone’s eyes opened when that reading came out,” said one official who declined to be identified. “You can’t just find 4.12 guys on trees. I mean, show me that tree. I think it’s safe to say his stock rose faster than anyone I’ve ever seen, and you better believe that pun is intended. It’s just too bad how it all turned out.”

Suddenly, Eric Henderson’s name was gracing the lips of every NFL team official on hand. The Miami Dolphins wanted him to fly in for a workout after the Combine. The San Francisco 49ers wanted to get in touch with his college coordinators. The New York Jets wanted a copy of game film. Henderson was the Combine’s rising star – the kid nobody had seen coming. Not even Mel Kiper.

Mock drafts began projecting Henderson as a late first-rounder before the end of the day. He had gone from the anonymity of Sandusky State to the heavily-saturated world of NFL Draft coverage in 4.12 seconds. Interview requests started pouring in. Autograph requests intensified. “Hey, you’re the fastest guy out there,” one 10-year-old boy had said while offering Henderson his Nerf football and a black Sharpee.

“It felt so good to be wanted,” Henderson said. “It was a dream come true, and it was all because of just 40 small yards. Can you believe that?”

THE MISTAKE

Three days later, Eric Henderson received a phone call in his Indy hotel room.

He was hoping it was Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf, who had contacted Henderson the day before and was interested in bringing him to the Midwest for a second workout. The Lions and Bears were also interested, and he had begun scouting potential cities with his fiancée, Denise. She liked the big city of Chicago, but he was hoping for someplace more subtle, like St. Louis or Cincinnati.

“When I picked up the phone, I remember exactly how I answered it,” Henderson said. “I said 'hello' real excitedly, just like they do in the movies when everything’s going great just before they’re about to hear some bad news on the other end of the line. It was one of those moments when literally everything going on around me was an incredible dream come true, and I was about to wake up.”

And with that, the wake-up call came clanging into Henderson's room. Metaphorically, at least.

The call was from a Combine official, and he said there had been a malfunction with the timing equipment. It seemed there was a chance the readouts could have been inaccurate for athletes whose last names began with G-J, and they were asking that the dash be re-timed. The 40-yard dash time, they said, was by far the most important aspect of the NFL scouting process, and was the entire basis for some team's draft boards. NFL general managers knew that one-tenth of a second over 120 feet could easily mean the difference between a Super Bowl win and missing the playoffs entirely.

Henderson was devastated. On one hand, why should someone who can run 4.12 seconds be afraid of the results? He didn’t want people to think it was a fluke, and he knew he had no proof otherwise unless he re-ran the event. But he had a suspicion this was going to be a big deal. He had a sneaking, awful suspicion that he never ran 4.12 seconds at all.

“They weren’t totally sure the results were inaccurate, so my name is still up on that plaque and everything,” Henderson notes, pointing in the direction of the hallowed piece of memorabilia. “I guess we’ll never really know. I want to show people that I can run that time and be that guy, but I just haven’t been able to make it happen since. Do I feel in my heart that I’m a 4.12 guy? Yes, I do.”

But, tragically, he didn’t feel it in his feet. He ran no faster than 4.54 in several attempts when he returned to the Indy facility.

“It’s like that scene in a gladiator movie, where everyone is cheering but then the gladiator loses or does something wrong, and everyone in the whole place turns their backs to him,” said former college teammate Jerry Wisdom, who added Henderson was the most devastating shutdown corner he had ever seen. “All the attention he’d been getting just went away. I felt for him, big time.”

The calls stopped pouring in. The interest waned. Henderson had been a literal flash in the pan, and mock drafts stopped mentioning his name. It became apparent that Henderson was going to go undrafted, and when the big day rolled around, the proud third son of a fireman was left off everyone’s draft board. He was just a cornerback with average speed from a school nobody had heard of, and he was quickly lost in the shuffle.

“It was a dream I wanted so badly, and I felt like I had been cheated,” Henderson said. “It wasn’t like I lied on my resume or anything. I really was the fastest guy in camp. And the funny thing is, nobody believes me."

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Butt pimples don't lie

Jonny Dave Floyd
Southerner


Jonny Dave Floyd is the NASCAR expert for Flotsam Media. He doesn’t smoke. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t dance. He hopes to stalk Dale Earnhardt, Jr. someday, but Jonny Dave just "can’t find the time" right now.

Well, y’all, the butt pimples did not lie. Daytona happened just as they predicted. I’m gonna start callin’ ‘em…who’s that old guy that made all those predictions? Nostradamus? Yeah. I’m gonna start callin’ them butt pimples the “Nostradamus of my lower half.” Eh…well, that actually seems like a long and laborin’ name so maybe I’ll just call ‘em my “very special” butt pimples or somethin’.

With all of them superpowers and what not, you might get the bright idea that I’m really pretty fond of havin’ ‘em all over my backside. You’d be wrong. They’re kinda embarassin’ and inconvenient, to tell the truth. I’ve tried gettin’ rid of the danged things, but nothin’ seems to work. I wanted to order that stuff that made Tony Romo’s new girlfriend less weird-lookin’ in the face, but Momma said that was a waste of money. She said I could get the same thing from a bottle of rubbin’ alcohol. So, I gave it a shot. Folks, not only did it NOT work, but I couldn’t do a number 2 for three days because of the pain my butthole was in. It was almost indescribable, but, since I’m a professional writer, I’ll clue y’all in.

Have you ever had a really bad sunburn on your arms or back or somethin’? Like maybe you went tubin’ down at the river or fell asleep outside while washin’ your momma’s truck? Has any jokester ever seen that bad sunburn, walked up to ya, and open-hand slapped that sunburn REALLY hard? It hurts, don’t it. A lot. Okay, just imagine that feeling inside of your butt. But worse. And goin’ on for, like, a buncha hours straight. It was bad. Real bad. Of course, Momma always says ya gotta be careful when you’re pourin’ rubbin’ alcohol on your backside because you don’t wanna get any of it up your butt. Now I know why she says that, I suppose.

Since I told ya exactly what would happen before it happened, I guess there’s no need for a Daytona recap, really. I will share a couple thoughts on the race with y’all, though.

1. I figure that Kurt Busch was probly flippin’ Tony Stewart the bird when Busch pushed Newman past Smoke on that last lap. Probly he was flippin’ him off figuratively instead of literally because those guys really should try to be at 10 and 2 at all times.
2. I mighta been wrong about them foreigners. Well, I mighta been wrong about Juan Pablo Montoya, anyways. That lil dude drives like they did in the old days. No mercy. He’s like a tanned Cale Yarborough. A little dude with moxie. Jonny Dave likes seein’ aggressive drivers that always go for the wins instead of bein’ the nice guy. There definitely ain’t no olé stuff for that Mexican.

As for the Auto Club 500, it looks like I’m on my own. The butt pimples are leavin’ me all by my lonesome for this preview. I thought they might on account of them bein’ perturbed about an incident of a couple days ago where I knocked my legs out from under me, fell on my rear, and popped a couple of the bigger zits. It was a mess back there, but well worth it. I kicked that broom farther than anybody else. I never lose at "Kick the Broom."

ANYWAYS, if I’m on my lonesome, then y’all know I’m pickin’ Little E for the win. It’s only the second race of the season, but he’s big-time due for a win. BUT, if I had to pick a backup (you know, in case Junior’s crew chief makes another stupid decision), then I’d probably go with Kyle Busch. Sure, Kyle Busch looks like that little inbred kid from down the road that’s always tryin’ to peek in Momma’s bathroom window when she’s takin’ a shower and then he almost hit me in the head with a rock when I chased him off the last time. But, he’s always got a real good car, it seems. Kyle Busch, I’m talkin’ about. Plus, he drives like he’s on the interstate and just came down with the runs. Again, that’s Busch. I don’t even think the little inbred kid down the road even has a car or knows how to drive. His family’s awful poor.

Alright, that’s all for now. Y’all be good.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

CAVS AND CAV NOTS

By Bandwagon Burt
Wind Sock

That headline was on ESPN today and it blew my mind (CAVS OR CAV NOTS?) I love it! It totally talks about how there is a new power shift in the NBA, how the Cleveland Cavaliers are the new NBA dynasty. Everything is coming together for LeBron and his merry men!

They made the super-uber trade of the millenium and acquired BEN WALLACE and WALLY WORLD for some guys I've never heard of, and Donyell Marshall, Larry Hughes and Dwight Gooden and Ira Newble. Sure, they gave up a lot, but they got BEN WALLACE and his hair! He was having an awesome year in Chicago before he got traded, and now he makes Cleveland the best defensive team in the league. He blocks everything. You've been rejected! He's like Visa every time I call them for a new credit limit. "You've been rejected!" I'm going to start calling him Visa Wallace!

And Wally Sceezzerbacaieka is the best white player in the NBA since HELLO JOHN STOCKTON, and he came from J-Crew U Miami of Ohio and he's been tearing up the NBA for years now. He's the whole reason the SuperSonics hadn't left Seattle yet, and now that he's gone, it's going to be HOLA MEXICO CITY SUPERSONICS. Or maybe Cincinnati.

So Wally is going to be John Stockton to LeBron's Karl Malone, except Bron Bron is WAY better than Karl Malone and John Stockton combined. Ben Wallace is going to be a big tall center in that equation. Olden Polynice! Did he play for the Jazz? Wait, GREG OSTERTAG!

Except Ben Wallace is blacker and has bigger hair. VISA WALLACE. HE DON'T TAKE AMERICAN EXPRESS. In this metaphor, the American Express is the EASTERN CONFERENCE.

The Cavs are unstoppable now. Sure, the Lakers have Kobe and Pau and the Suns have Shaq Fu and the Mavs have Jason Kidd and the Nets have Keith Van Horn, but the Cavs are the new look franchise with title on their mind. It's the BIG THREE IN CLEVELAND.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

I forget when...

By Harvey McGuffin
I remember when ...


I have forgotten more in my life than you could possibly remember. I have empirical proof.

In my heyday, people knew and feared Harvey McGuffin. I've accomplished many things, conquered many foreign lands, been with many women and enjoyed my share of good times. There's a lot of exciting memories in this noggin. Some of them have become foggy with time -- like my late-70's romp at Studio 54, my brief boxing career, those three steamy nights I'm pretty sure I spent with Madonna, and pretty much all of last week.

Kelvin Sampson is pretty much done for, all because he forgot he made phone calls to a recruit and felt compelled to make them again. And again. This stuff happens when you get old, people. You forget you had conversations, made phone calls, took your medication or remembered to turn off the stove. That's why my family full of Judases put me in here in the first place -- I left the damn stove on and blew up a local restaurant. I'm not sure why I was in there at 1 a.m., but it's still no reason to commit your patriarch to live with the babbling idiots in a retirement home.

Misremembering happens all the time in sports. If it can happen to Andy Pettitte (drugs) or Sammy Sosa (English), two of sports' greatest assets, then it can happen to anyone. Misrememberization.

What was I talking about? Kelvin Sampson? Is he related to that tall guy from Virginia, Calvin? Of course they are. They're twins. Stupid parents and their insistence on naming twins with cute matching names.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Freddy's Fantasy Flotsam

Freddy Baird
Fantasy Expert


Hi, guys! I'm back and ready to rap at ya with another edition of Freddy's Fantasy Flotsam. This one is special, because we all know that spring training is heating up and that means baseball season is just around the corner! It's my favorite time of year, and while it's hard to choose my favorite fantasy sport, baseball could be my favorite.

So with that, let's get on to your questions in this all-baseball, all-the-time, fantasy advice issue!

Hey Freddy, love the column. I'm in an eight-team keeper league, and we need to choose four keepers for this year. I had three strong keepers, but I ended needed another, so I traded away Johan Santana for Carl Crawford and Todd Jones. I think saves are real important. Your thoughts on the trade?
- Francisco, Key West, Fla.

Oh my shit. You made that trade, for real? Not only did you allow Todd Jones to land on your team, you gave up the best pitcher in baseball to get him! That's like high-fiving your rapist. Christ. My advice is to leave your league and go read a book, because you obviously are stupid. Also, what goon allows himself to be in an eight-team league? Unreal. You sicken me.

Freddy boy! Long time reader, first time writer. We conducted our draft last week and I think I'm pretty set. I have the No. 1 waiver priority in the league right now, since I had the last pick, and someone just dropped Carlos Marmol. Do you think he's worth using that high of a slot on? Lemme know, bro.
- Danny, Lansing, Mich.

Good question. Waiver priority is harder to crack then Lindsay Lohan ON crack. Marmol is a good reliever, but you never know who can get dropped later. That said, you may want to go for it because you never know what could happen. Last year, in one of my 17 roto leagues, someone dropped BJ Upton midseason. I was ready to spring on that, but then my computer starting acting gay. Seriously, I was trying to make waiver acquisitions, and it was trying to have sex with other Compaq Presarios. Someone else ended up getting Upton.

If you had the top choice in a standard 5 x 5 league, who are you going with?
- Tim, Tacoma, Wash.

Tim, you slut, I'm going with Miguel Cabrera. D'ur.

Who are the sleepers you're targeting in drafts this year? You know, the guys who might fly a bit under the radar, but you think might deliver 100 RBIs or 30 homers. That's the key to any draft.
- Roger B., Springfield, Ohio

You're right, Rog. Without those sleepers providing draft value, you're not going to have a shot. The thing is, you don't want to miss on them. So this year, my surprise picks for big numbers are Ryan Braun, Brandon Phillips, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Nick Markakis. For pitchers, check out a young southpaw named Scott Kazmir. I know those fellas are young, but don't be afraid to draft them. They've got a pretty good shot to have decent-to-good years. And when they deliver for you, remember who told you first.

That's all of the time we have today. In the meantime -- add, drop and roll!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Previewin' Daytona

Jonny Dave Floyd
Southerner


Jonny Dave Floyd is the NASCAR writer for Flotsam Media. He is currently working on a script for the sequel to Days of Thunder entitled Days of Thunder 2. It’s the story of a young up-and-coming NASCAR driver from the wrong side of the trailer park that just might be the fruit of Cole Trickle’s loins. Even though the script isn’t finished, his momma says it “gave her goosebumples” all over her body.

Gobba geeba DAW, y’all! NASCAR’s back and so am I. I didn’t write as much as I hoped to this offseason, but the information dirt roads can be bumpy and full of holes. I’m here now and just in time for the beginning of the season.

What’s that you’re sayin’? Daytona’s already over and I missed the start of the season and the most exciting and important race of the year? Well, that’s quite the sentence, my friend, but Jonny Dave don’t see it that way.

I don’t even know what happened at the race, folks. Ya see, Jonny Dave went on a little adventure startin’ last Friday and just got back. What was my adventure? Flotsam don’t give me enough space to go into it at right now, but I promise to share it with y’all sometime if ya want me to. It was all in the name of love, by the way. Love of NASCAR, that is. Anyway, just trust me when I say that I don’t know how Daytona turned out.

I thought about watchin’ it and then just givin’ a write-up with no previews or nothin’. But I know how much people love them previews. I’ll probably still give a little report about the finish. Maybe. Chances are, though, ol’ Jonny Dave’s race prediction’s gonna be right on point. Anyway, let’s get to what’s gonna be important in the comin’ season.

First, and the most important thing, is that Little E doubled his driver number -- 88 instead of 8 -- and he’ll be wearin’ green from now on. And he looks danged good in it, too. On the track and off. There’s just somethin’ about that color that makes his manly whiskers just POP out at ya as if to say, “Come on over here and see if I feel as good as I look.”

Well, Junior’s whiskers, I can’t find out for myself because the court-mandated personal space I am required to afford Little E unfortunately exceeds my reach by a pretty significant distance. It’s all a misunderstandin’, though and the lawyer down at the bowlin’ alley says we should get all that overturned on my appeal. Who knows, folks? I could be usin’ that scruff to get at a variety of itches by the end of the month. Not this month, probably, but maybe the next one.

The second most important thing is that the Car of Tomorrow is now the Car of Today. This ain’t really a big thing to me because I wasn’t all that impressed with the Car of Today last year when it was still called the Car of Tomorrow. Now, today, the former Car of Tomorrow now called the Car of Today or just “the new car” still don’t seem all that special. Why? Because it don’t seem all that futuristic to me, y’all. They’s still on the ground, ain’t they? What’s so special about that? I been seein’ that stuff for years. Tell ya what, I’ll start humpin’ legs when them things start flyin’. ‘Till then, it’s just more of the same, as far as Jonny Dave’s concerned.

Now to the race preview. Daytona’s all I been thinkin’ about since Brett Favre got cheated outta the playoffs. I guess it all boils down to goin’ with my heart or with my head. My heart’s screamin’ JUNIOR BY A WHOLE LAP. My head, on the other hand, is sayin’ Junior by 3 car-lengths. I tell ya, folks, I just don’t know which one to go with. This is Jonny Dave bein’ torn, here.

I guess I’ll go with ... wait, what? My butt pimples are tellin’ me somethin’. Hold on. They’re sayin’ Tony Stewart will be leading going into the last lap only to be passed by RYAN NEWMAN who is gets pushed by Kurt Busch in pretty exciting finish. What the heck? No Little E? Say it ain’t true. Well, folks, the butt pimples are never wrong so that’s my prediction. Ryan Newman’s gonna win in an apparently exciting and history-makin’ Daytona 500.

That just seems crazy to me and I hope I’m right by goin’ out on a limb like that. But I also hope I’m wrong because I love Junior so danged much and I know he really wants the victory. I guess I’ll just hafta wait to find out. I’m not even sure when I’ll get to watch it. Momma had the TV on RAW all last night (she loves her wrasslin’), so I guess I”ll have to watch it before she gets back from her Hooters shift this afternoon.

So, whether my butt pimples are right or my heart or my head, I don’t know. It’s all up in the air, really. Anything can happen at Daytona, y’all. The only certainty in this race is that I’m gonna be so excited by the time it’s over that Momma’s gonna have to get the hose after me when she gets home.

Y’all be good. I’ll see ya around.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Dakota's press conference

By Dakota Brezinski
Seven-year-old

I am here to address acquisitions that I cheated at tag last recess, making up the no tagbacks rule after getting tagged back by Jimmy Rudolph. I am ready for your questions.

McKenna, age 8: Dakota, several peoples said they saw you and you cheats! How come?

Dakota: I agree that it was very sad that someone said this, and that someone believes there is cheating. It is very distracting. Nobody has more respect for the game of tag than I do. I love it so much! I am ready to move forward in the game of tag, and play fairly and by the rules.

Little Brian, age 7: So you DID cheat, I knew it!

Dakota: I agree that it was sad that someone believes there is cheating. The game of tag has been the favoritest game of all the second graders since the beginning of times. I don't want to talk too much about the past. I want to help make tag a great game from nows on.

Lizzy, age 8: Did you maybe think there was tagbacks? Maybe you just made a whoopsie?

Dakota: The game of tag is a time-honored recess tradition. The rules are clear, and I understand them most of the time. I think our tag has lots of integrity. As far as I know, the tagbacks rule has been clearly defined in the past. I will let you decide if that is the case.

Fat Brian, age 8: Don't you think you should call Jimmy the winner at tag, since you cheated?

Dakota: I agree that it was sad someone believes there is cheating. It is very distracting. I am very lucky to get to play tag so much, and win all the time. Mommy says I get my good stuff from God. I thank God. I believe it is important to continue recognizing my many accomplishments. I think our tag has lots of integrity.

Angela, age 7: I don't get it. You didn't answer any of the questions! You are a liarface!

Dakota: I agree that it was sad someone believes there is cheating. I don't want to talk too much about the past. I just want to play next recess and move on.

Mrs. Williams: Dakota, I'm not going to let you play tag at recess anymore if you make up rules.

Dakota: It is what it is.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

BASEBALL

By Bandwagon Burt
Wind Sock

Today is the greatest day of the year! Seriously, it's better than New Year's Eve, Halloween, Memorial Day and my birthday COMBINED! SPRING TRAINING BEGINS TODAY.

I have posted a different spring training picture on my computer desktop every 15 minutes on a rotating basis. DID YOU SEE THE GREEN GRASS? Oh my god, how come you aren't as excited as I am about pitchers and catchers reporting?! It's THE GREATEST DAY OF THE YEAR. Baseball is in the air, I can smell it and it smells like HEAVEN! Heaven smells like baseballs and cinnamon rolls.

I don't understand how you can't be as excited as I am, obviously I am a better baseball fan than you. I don't care when opening day is, this day is way more important. Because now you know that baseball is going on, somewhere in the planet. Before now, it was only going on in places that don't count, like the Dominican Republic.Do YOU SEE THAT? That's Pedro, and Willie Randolph and GREEN GRASS IN THE BACKGROUND. They aren't talking about cock-fighting, they're talking about baseball!! How can you not look at pictures like this and feel the sudden and terrifying urge to urinate all over the place? Don't you appreciate baseball? Let's do another one:

Oh my God that's JASON HIRSCH from the Rockies, and even though it's raining there, you can see the GREEN GRASS in the background. It's spring there! It's baseball season? I totally called the Rockies getting to the playoffs last year, and I like them again this year. I also have a hunch the Mets are going to do well, so I'm really excited to see what they can do this time around. THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST YEAR YET, except maybe compared to last year, which was pretty great.

I have this day circled in bright red ink on all my calendars. Because to day is not D-Day, it's B-Day. BASEBALL DAY. I don't understand why you aren't as excited.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lay off Bill Belichick

Tom Looker
Neighborhood Watchman


Look, folks. I know all of American is up in arms about Bill Belichick and his spying habits. It seems that he has been spying on opponents since 2000, when he took over as the Patriots' head coach. This is according to Senator Arlen Spector, who apparently doesn't have anything better to do with his time.

And you know what I say? I say good for Bill Belichick.

Yeah, I see you, sitting there at your computer, indignation creeping across your face. I see your brow furrowing as you read that Belichick said he didn't know that he was doing anything illegal. I see the way your hand gently holds your mouse, deftly sliding it across the surface of your desk. I spy your left hand resting on your inner thigh.

And I sit here to say that Bill Belichick doesn't need to make excuses for a gosh darn thing. Those of us who spy, we are forced to deal with an unfairly nefarious reputation. We aren't evil. We just like to see the world around us. A world that vibrates with life and color, that breathes heavily with magic, and a world that contains so very many people who don't close their blinds all the way each morning when they step out of the shower.

It's a beautiful place, this world in which we live.

I admire Bill for being so open about what he does. And I think he was being honest when he told Roger Goodell that he was doing nothing illegal. It's the same way I feel when the cops come pounding on my door at 3 a.m., telling me that I'm not allowed to let my gaze drift across the street to the apartment where those three sorority girls live. What else am I supposed to do at that time of the night? Watch Matthew Lesko infomercials? The police order me to stop, and they even try to destroy my tapes that I've made. But I tell them I've done nothing wrong, and I truly believe that.

Life is short, and there is only so much time to soak up all of the allure that this world possesses. That's my philosophy, and I try to live each day and each dark, miraculous night by it.

So next time you thumb your pointy little nose at Bill Belichick for his spying habits, try to remember that you aren't so perfect either. And trust me, I know. I've seen what you eat for dinner, and what you Google-search for when your wife goes to her PTO meetings. You're not the only one familiar with Barnyard Tarts.

Now, why don't you push away your righteous irascibility, get up out of that chair and get into something a little more comfortable? I'd suggest that bathrobe that's hanging on that hook by your closet. The white one. No, no. Don't tie the front of it.

There. That's all I needed.

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Devean George is a peckerhead

Marv Blackstone
Editor-in-chief


I don't even have a column idea. I just wanted to publicly say that Devean George is a peckerhead. When you run your own media empire and you wear the goddamn pants -- figuratively, of course, because I don't actually wear pants most of the time, sometimes due to laziness, sometimes due to comfort issues, other times because I've misplaced them -- you can do things like that.

If you haven't heard (and if you haven't, you've probably been under a rock somewhere with my pants), the Nets and Mavericks agreed to a massive eight-player trade involving Jason Kidd. The Nets would get back Devin Harris, who is a good little player, Devean George, Jerry Stackhouse and some expiring contracts that will net them major financial relief.

Devean George, who is a peckerhead, decided that he would exercise his no-trade rights and block the deal. Apparently he doesn't want to go to New Jersey.

Well boo hoo, Devean. No one wants to go to New Jersey. What makes you so special?

He followed up this bold move by going out last night and missing all 11 of his shots in 33 minutes of action.

I know you think you're special, Devean. You're tall, and you averaged a carer-high 7.4 points per game four seasons ago. Good on you. You went to Augsburg College. I don't know what the hell that is. You were a first-round draft pick. Cool. So was Zoran Planinic.

So come off it already. Go to New Jersey. You'll love it there.

OK, fine, you'll hate it. But no one cares what you think. Because you're a peckerhead.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ain't no training this spring

DeJuan C3PO
Fly Scribe


Bitches, it is some kind of hot in Arizona. And it gets hotter when ain’t nobody around.

That hobo Marv sent me on another assignment this week, and I was damn excited about it – Spring Training in Arizona! I was going to hit up all the finest hot spots – Scottsdale, Flagstaff, Phoenix, etc., and hopefully find some beautiful tanned belles with whom I could explore the desert wildlife. Dog, I figured they would be flocking to me, cuz I would be a ballplayer! You know how these journalists all go to spring training and pretend they’re on the team, riveting us with those first-hand accounts of flyball drills and wind sprints? Well, that is what DeJuan was ready to do.

Problem is, there is nobody here. I reported to camp on time at the buttcrack of dawn, 6:30 a.m. to the California Angels camp in Tempe, with my baseball cap, socks, glove, cleats, aluminum bat, flip-down shades, hoodie, bag of 15 baseballs, packet of Big League Chew and extra set of flip-down shades. Do you know how early 6:30 a.m. is? And I had to wake up at 6 a.m. so I could get there on time. It was the worst day of my life.

I expected to be among a fleet of non-roster invitees doing the meet and greet with a bunch of famous superstars, but all I got was a damn uncomfortable physical exam and some sit-ups with a bunch of Double-A cats. Dog, do I look Double-A to you? I am at least worth three to four A’s.

I was hoping people would mistake me for Vlad The Impaler Guerrero or Reggie Willits and ask for my autograph. Shit, at spring training, nobody knows if you’re a real ballplayer or not – they just ask for your autograph if you’ve got a jersey on. I figured some of those Arizonan beauty queens would want me to sign their midriffs, and I would comply, on many lovely conditions. I was going to be fawned over and loved upon. Instead, nobody was even there – not even the damn grounds crew. I couldn’t even get into the utility shed to take a joyride on the infield tractor thing.

I thought maybe I got the wrong time, so I waited around until 6:30 p.m. hitting baseballs off a tee into the Tempe afternoon. I’m not gonna lie, bitches, I got lonely. DeJuan does not do lonely. Chasing after those 15 balls got damn annoying after a while.

So forget this. I’m flying back to Cali where I can follow Spring Training in the newspaper just like everyone else. Now that I know all baseball players are lazy and don’t actually report to Spring Training when they’re told, I think my opinion of the game has changed. Screw that. It’s NBA All-Star game for me, bitches.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My appreciation for tradition runneth deeper than yours

By Dr. Charles P. Ipswich IV
University Professor


From where I sit, here in my oaken, naturally-lit office here at this Ivy League institution, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of volumes of great literature and periodicals, working in my position of molding young minds and hearts and spirits, I find much of American culture to be silly.

I find your customs of gorging on greasy fast food, treating every day of your lives like Saturnalia, disgusting. I do not understand American football, with all of its grunting and sweating. Your celebrities are all vain and as drunk as Bacchus. New JerseIy is a terrible place and, despite its nickname, I cannot find a garden anywhere in its borders that satisfies my tastes.

This silliness is constantly swirling around me, much like the winds of Wellington, and I must hold my tongue in check so as to not appear socially inept! Despite my odiums, I must confess that I do dearly love one American tradition, which will come about Thursday, on Saint Valentine's Day.

Yes, I am referring to the tradition of pitchers and catchers reporting to those grassy green baseball fields, littered throughout the colonies of Arizona and Florida, beginning the leagues of cactus and grapefruit. Oh, those sweet fruits, how they produce the sounds of cracking wood and smacking leather!

Verily, the site of these men is merely a symbolic display, but to these eyes, which have traveled across millions of lines of the most fanciful prose ever crafted, it is a sight of staggering beauty. From this, we know that warmer weather lie just around the proverbial bend. We know that Americans will soon gorge themselves on beer and hot dogs, and wash that down their gullet with a plastic tray of corn chips dipped in processed cheese. They will feign patriotism before the start of games, and sing a strange jingle in the middle of the arbitrarily-assigned 7th inning.

The tradition of the sport is what draws me. As you surely are aware, I am a great historical mind and I have therefore developed a much better appreciation for tradition than you have. And baseball hath have a great tradition than any other sport in this land. The juxtaposition of past and future in baseball is what gives the sport its appeal. As the ghosts of the past look down upon the current landscape of baseball, we feel ... well, we mostly just feel creeped the hell out because we are being watched by ghosts.

Forgive my collapse into colloquialism. As you can understand, pitchers and catchers reporting ranks up there with the great American holidays. As we wonder which American baseball team will rise above all others this season, much like the Phoenix rising after death, its breathtaking gold and crimson plumage fluttering in the air, ready to take down any competitors who dare compete against it in competition.

Behold, my friends -- baseball is just around the bend. As they once said in the great Mongolain empire: Huzzah!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

From the vault: Gone batty

Baseball is ready to renew us in this February void, and even though days remain before pitchers and catchers report, it's never too early to start thinking about the green grass of Spring Training. The crack of the bat, the snap of the leather, those annoying sounds that come out of John Rocker's mouth -- it's all within our grasp. Looks like Johnny got a head start.

Flotsam has never survived through a full baseball season (hell, it's because we're too busy watching baseball), but in preparation for what's ahead, we present the closest thing we have to a baseball post.



By Agatha Moonfry
Staff Writer


Baseball bats have always had a special place in my cold, black heart. The video portraying Devil Rays uber-prospect Delmon Young throwing his bat at an umpire is delectable, perhaps one of the year's funniest moments -- though Young will get suspended despite throwing the bat such that it hit the umpire TWICE, once in the chest and then up in the face. I call this circumstance fantastic aim and I call Delmon Young a hero.

It reminds me of so many other times when a bat has brought me some form of glee.

May 20, 1989: As a haunted eight-year-old in Ohio, my parents felt one potential way to make me play better with others was to start me in a softball league. In my first at-bat, I watched three pitches go by, all strikes, and started crying when the umpire told me I had to go back to the bench, where those nasty sluts that called themselves my teammates would make fun of me. In my distress, I swung the bat for the first time. The umpire needed three dental surgeries, but he's fine today.

August 2, 1997: High school boyfriend Zeke decided on this day that it would be advantageous to sleep with Marcy O'Brien, a blonde, disgusting cheerleader who drove a sports car to school. Though my days as a softball player were brief, I never forgot how to swing a bat, and I gave the car some new window treatments before giving Zeke's kneecap something to consider. God I am luscious when I'm maniacal.

September 25, 2000: Ah yes, Brad Stapleton, roach hotel on the outskirts, queen size bed with pale yellow sheets, and two nights that will never be matched. I believe a baseball bat was involved, but I can't be sure. There were many objects involved. Of course, when Brad strayed from me, I didn't use a baseball bat to break it off. I used arsenic. And bleach.

March 11, 2001: I purchased my first bat, Buster, from the local zoo. Since, Buster has grown fond of the upstairs attic in which I keep him, and he has become life partners with my second bat, Marguerite. They have two bat children, Puggsley and Wednesday. I love them like children.

August 14, 2005:A baseball bat was again the weapon of refuge when a stranger broke into my house. He had to go to intensive care after his battle with the Moonfry. Of course, by "stranger," I mean "man who cut me off on the interstate on-ramp" and by "broke into my house" I mean "opened the door to his own house while I eagerly waited inside."

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

I'm getting LEI'ed!!!

By Bandwagon Burt
Wind Sock

When I was a little boy, I would watch the Pro Bowl very, very carefully. I would keep track of all the rosters, and make my own Pro Bowl roster predictions each year, and I would have imaginary conversations with myself like I was a television announcer analyzing the game!! Haha, I loved the Pro Bowl.

Man, that was a long time ago. Today, things have changed. Now I do WAY MORE in preparation for football's most exciting game.

I'm so pumped for the 2008 NFL PRO BOWL (This one counts!!). There is NO OTHER GAME where you can get all this talent on the same field. Everyone gets excited for the Super Bowl, but no Super Bowl has ever had Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Wayne, and Lofa Tatupu all on the field AT THE SAME TIME. And it's in Hawaii, so everyone is relaxed and awesome and wearing fun shirts with sunglasses and NAMASTE! I don't know what that means, but I think it's Hawaiian for "West Coast Offense." Haha, I'm kidding!

I don't really know what it means, though. I think it means "How's it going." I'm almost positive it's Hawaiian.

I have my flow charts ready, and statkeeping software and all my friends are coming over and we're totally going to make sidebets, like who wins the coin toss and what company is going to have the first commercial. I LOVE THE PRO BOWL COMMERCIALS.

The best part about it is that it comes one week after the Super Bowl -- there's no two week layoff between rounds. The media frenzy is really intense, but there's totally less anticipation. I LOVE HOW THEY ALL HAVE THE SAME JERSEY BUT DIFFERENT HELMETS. It's so cool! And the bragging rights are HUGE in the NFL. You better believe that the Patriots in this game feel like they can atone for the loss in the Super Bowl by helping to win the Pro Bowl. Logan Mankins, I'm talking to you!

With all that talent, the level of play doesn't get better than the PRO BOWL, baby! ALOHA MEANS HELLO.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

I support Kevin Hart's imaginary friends

By Dakota Brezinski
Seven-year-old

Poor Kevin Hart. I know how you feel.

I used to have friends like Kevin's special recruiting friend, Kevin Riley. Eric Thunderstorm and Mr. Invisible Andy used to play with me at recess all the time. We laughed a lot together, and went down the tornado slide! I love the tornado slide, but I didn't always like it when Eric Thunderstorm tried to go down with me at the same time. Eric Thunderstorm is a fatso.

There were many reasons why Eric Thunderstorm and Mr. Invisible Andy were such good friends. They never made fun of me, they always liked doing the same games as me, they always let me win when we played basketball, and they were fake. Fake friends aren't as weird as real friends, and they promise awesome things!

Mr. Invisible Andy once said he knew that my teacher, Mrs. Randolph, had a huuuuuge bucket of cotton candy behind her desk. I love cotton candy. I have always wanted to have some at school, and Mr. Invisible Andy said if I sat on top of the jungle gym and never came down until I got what I wanted, then Mrs. Randolph would give me the cotton candy. So I did. Mr. Invisible Andy always had great ideas, except for the one time he told me to pee all over the kindergarten bathroom floor.

I did not get cotton candy though. Mrs. Randolph got the principal, Mr. Bill, and he came and got me and called daddy. My dream of cotton candy at recess was shattered. And also, I don't think there even WAS any candy. I think Mr. Invisible Andy lied to me!

That was why I stopped being friends with him, and then Eric Thunderstorm, too (I never really liked him anyway, but I let him play with us, because he didn't have any other friends). I guess I started liking real friends better, like Tanner. Maybe I am a bad friend. I hope they aren't mad at me, but I never really see them anymore. I think they play on a different playground. Maybe they flunked first grade. They weren't very smart.

Kevin Hart is a better friend, I think. He never gave up on his friend Kevin Riley, who was fake. Instead of knowing where the cotton candy was, Kevin Riley knew how to get Kevin Hart to a special college. I think it's funny that they had the same first name. One of the nice things about invisible friends is that you get to name them. I don't think Kevin Hart used his imagination very much.

Everyone thinks Kevin Hart is a stupidhead for talking about these things his imaginary friend promised, but I don't think he's that stupid. He is a good friend.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Freddy's Fantasy Flotsam

Freddy Baird
Fantasy Expert


Folks, I am back. Yes, it was a scary time for me after the Brian Westbrook debacle in December. But after some long counseling sessions, I believe that I have returned as a better man with more balanced priorities in life. I still enjoy fantasy sports, but hopefully I will not allow it to consume me as it has in the past. Flotsam has graciously allowed me to return to spread my fantasy seed among the masses, and I truly hope you will enjoy reading my column as I yet again try to get my life back in order.

On to your questions!

Hey Freddy! Can you believe how that Super Bowl ended? I never thought the Patriots would lose. Do you think this will impact Tom Brady's status as the top fantasy quarterback heading into next season?
- Ted Lehman, Munster, Ind.


Are you stupid? Tom Brady threw for 4,806 yards and 50 touchdowns this season. Who else would you choose as the top quarterback? Someone stupid like you probably would pick Alex Smith. God damn, you're a moron. What a stupid question. By the way, I predicted the Giants would beat the Patriots. I won $300 on a bet than Eli Manning would be the Super Bowl MVP, which I promptly turned around and donated to Ron Paul's campaign. You'd be wise to do the same, if you value your FREEDOM.

Yo, Freddy. i was wunderin what you thought of the shaq trade to phoenix. whats it going to do for marion and o'neels value? i have both on my fantasy team.
- mark d., tacoma, washington


Well, I sure hope your league doesn't count free throw percentage if you own Shaq. In fact, I hope your only league categories are field-goal percentage, rebounds and fat centers who star in terrible commercials. You'd be in first place in that league.

Clearly, this move is a hit to both players' value. Marion can't create his own shot and with a slower offense, there won't be as many rebounds for him to grab. I think you might see more points from him, but his other stats will probably drop, especially his percentages.

Shaq is probably going to die from exhaustion after his first few fast breaks, so I'd probably trade him while he's still breathin. If you're good, you'll package him along with someone like Royal Ivey and get yourself Deron Williams. That's what I would do.

Do you think the trade to New York will help Johan Santana this season? Shea is a good pitcher's park, and a new league will probably have trouble adjusting to him. Just my thoughts.
- Rick Manheim, Arlington, Texas


Did I ask for your thoughts? Who's giving the answers here? Christ, yes, it will help Santana to move to the Mets. Duh. But, then again, I've always known about Santana's value. Back in 1999, after the Marlins took him in the Rule 5 draft, I picked him in the third rounder of my main keeper league draft. While it didn't pay any dividends for nearly three years, it was the right move. Plus, my team was so flipping awesome that year that I didn't even need his services.

So, yes, expect Santana to completely dominate. I expect him to win 12-24 games, and put up an ERA between 1.40 and 3.95. He'll also strike out some batters. You can take that prediction to the bank.

That's all the time we have today, folks! I'll be back soon with relevant answers to your pertinent questions! Best wishes and have a blessed day!

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The sports calendar's coldest month

By Agatha Moonfry
Staff Writer


Now is the winter of our discontent.

The intelligently dreary William Shakespeare wrote that once, and no fewer than three previous lovers have used that line to send gleeful chills down my spine. It's a morbid, yet beautiful fragment of verse, and it reminds me of all my fondest childhood memories.

This is February, my serpents, a dire time for us all. The Super Bowl has left us, and baseball remains a distant pursuit, as fans crazed for true sport allow their hearts to bleed all over the snow as they eagerly anticipate the arrival of pitchers and catchers.

They're arriving, all right. To do butterfly curls and wind sprints. That might be enough to satisfy a cheerleading enthusiast, but it's a far cry from baseball.

I didn't make the cheerleading team. It was then that I knew I was destined for a life of witchcraft.

Sports fans try to latch onto that national basketball atrocity, where large men with foreign names join forces with child-siring bling exhibitions, playing some variety of driveway defense, only to ultimately succumb to the Spurs, Lakers or Pistons.

These fans try to throw themselves into the manufactured underworld of college basketball as provided by ESPN, which tells us when "Rivalry Week" is upon us (really, a series of undercard matches leading up to a Duke-North Carolina game, during which Dick Vitale participates in a sequence of orgasms reminiscent of my experiments with Richard VanLandingham in 1997). They pretend that those silly regular season games mean something, with the only true substance of the season unavailable until March.

What is a sports fan to do? There are options.

1. When I'm down, I take a one-way flight to Los Angeles and picket with WGA strikers. If someone asks, I've written for several top television programs, including Heroes, the X-Files, Lost and How I Met My Mother. Also, this gives me excellent cause to shout obscenities at Deal or No Deal contestants. My god, you stupid people, don't you understand odds? Of course you don't, else you wouldn't be selected for that show. Here's a special surprise: there is no actual "banker."

2. In winter, I love to build snowmen, then strategically assemble props and pour cherry kool-aid over the scene, to make it appear as if the snowman has been stabbed to death.

3. Following National Signing Day is always fun. This will be my second year in the Recruit Corruption pool with some friends on the black magic message boards. We each choose one of ESPN's top 150, report to campus, pose as college students and do what we can to give them a first-rate "education." The first one to cause scholarship loss wins.

4. Oprah.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Gonna bust out

Kwame Brown
NBA Superstar


You know, I was sort of enjoying my life. I was chugging along, playing a part for the Lakers in Hollywood. I was pleased with my life, my career. Everything was good.

Then the world came crashing down around me last week, when I was traded to Memphis for Pau Gasol. I had to listen to people say things like, "Christ on a bike, why would the Grizzlies want Kwame Brown?" and "Man, that Kwame Brown turned out to be a bust. Can you believe he was the No. 1 pick in that draft?" and "Man, I hope they have cake in Memphis."

Now just hold up a god damn second, all right? What's all this bust talk? Why is it so hard for all you people to believe I was the first pick in the NBA Draft? You know who picked me first overall? Michael Jordan. His Airness. The greatest to ever lace them up. He chose me above all others, and I think that's worth something.

I was looking at some of the players picked after me in that draft, and really, who the hell would you have taken instead of me? It's like clown college. Amateur hour. Nerf ball, dude. Check out some of these pretenders that were drafted after me, and tell me with a straight face they would have been better choices at No. 1:

Tyson Chander: This dude has the smallest hands I've ever seen. Do you really want an NBA center who can't palm an orange?

Pau Gasol: Well, clearly, the Grizzlies think I'm better than he is, since they traded him for me. And they should know -- they saw him play every day for years. Also, he's a terrible cook. His chorizo tastes like a hot dog with AIDS.

Eddy Curry: You know how they set up chairs as defenders during NBA Draft workouts? From now on, they're just going to use Eddy Curry. Aww yeah! Burn, bitch!

Jason Richardson: Everyone talks about how much of a bust you are if you don’t light up the world after being taken first overall. What about the expectations for a guy who has won two NBA Slam Dunk titles? Nobody’s clamoring about his underwhelming ass being a bust. I look at him, and you know who I see? Harold Miner.

Shane Battier: Sharpei head.

Eddie Griffin: Who would you rather have manning the low post -- Kwame Brown, or a dead guy? That's what I thought.

Joe Johnson: If you play for the Hawks, you're not a star. Period.

Vladimir Radmanovic: Trust me, dude. I played with this cat for the last few months, and he never, ever showers after games. He just puts on some leather pants and an open-collared shirt and leaves. It's gross.

Kirk Haston: Does anyone even remember if he existed? That right there is an excellent cautionary tale about why you don't enroll in college for four years.

Zach Randolph: Two words: marshmallow man. Did you know that the dude has 300-plus field goals this season, and only TWO dunks? He's 6-foot-9, and he can't even get his fat ass off the ground to jam more than twice all year. If I wanted to watch a bunch of layups, I'd go to a WNBA game. Not that I can anymore, since Memphis doesn't even have the WNBA.

Brian Scalabrine: Pasty white with red hair. That has never, ever worked.

Tony Parker: Eva Longoria said he's only slept with, like, three women in his life. I get more tail than that in a week, just by wearing an Armani suit and telling women that I'm Amare Stoudemire.

Gilbert Arenas: Back in 2004, I started a trend of shouting "Green Egg!" every time I shot a free throw. Why the hell does "Hibachi!" catch on and not my idea?

So, as you can all see, I hold up pretty well to the competition, and that I was the right choice in that 2001 draft. I just hope Memphis knows how to support and please an NBA icon like me, because I'm ready to bring a championship to Tennessee in 2008. Bring on the barbecue! Green Egg!

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Bowl wrap-up



Marv Blackstone
Editor-in-chief


Man, even after shaking off my Nyquil and Becherovka-induced slumber, I'm still stunned by last night.

I hate sports cliches like chiggers in my denim shorts, but that game brought to mind several of the most well-known:

"That's why they play the games."

"Defense wins championships"

'Never give Eli Manning 2-plus minutes, while trailing, at the end of a game."

Shit, hombres. Wrap your fuzzy little gourds around that one. Eli Manning is a Super Bowl MVP. He joins illustrious company such as John Elway, Joe Montana, Bart Starr and Fred Biletnikoff.

Back on December, when I was live-blogging the first Patriots-Giants game, I kept highlighting how much Cris Collinsworth hated Ellis Hobbs. In a fairly lame joke, I ended up blaming Ellis Hobbs for everything that happened in the game.

Well, Ellis Hobbs got torched last night by Plaxico Burress, who played with a sprained ankle and a mildly-torn MCL.

Again, I blame Ellis Hobbs. Tell me, Ellis -- what the hell am I supposed to do with this?

You can send my reimbursement check to:

Marv Blackstone
That cabin in the woods, you know, the one with the flamingo sex scene in the front yard
Montana, US

Last night is why we love sports. We love that we never know what will happen at any given time. We love that, sometimes, underdogs come out on top. We love improbable catches on top of player's helmets. We love that, sometimes, our bowels cooperate with that fried-chicken and bratwurst chili and we only need to make one trip to the outhouse during the game, and when we get there, we find out that we actually DO have toilet paper.

Sometimes it's a good day like that.

For the Patriots, I think this loss is only going to get tougher as time goes on. Some are saying that it will only make them more hungry for next season. But how much hungrier can they really be? They reeled off 18 straight wins and pretty much smacked the snot out of the NFL for five months. That's not happening again next season. Pursuing perfection is far too exhausting.

I should know. Back in 1996, I attempted to achieve perfection on NBA Jam for Super Nintendo. I fancied playing as the Seattle SuperSonics, with Detlef Schrempf and Shawn Kemp. The mix of speed and power, shooting and dunking, pasty white and very, very black was perfect. As my prowess progressed, I began to learn how to steal nearly every inbounds pass the opposing team would make. I began winning game by obscene scores. 164-11. 171-8. 194-6.

That's when I decided that I would try and completely shut out an opposing team. I laced up my sneakers as Schrempf and Kemp and I went to work against the Sacramento Kings, the patsies from California. Using the unlimited turbo that I maintained through all of my "on fire" stages, I staked a 38-0 first lead. That lead expanded to 79-0 at halftime. By my count, Mitch Richmond had 39 turnovers. I was a machine. Kemp had 64 points on 32 dunks. It was a glorious span in my life. At the buzzer of the third quarter, Schrempf swiped the ball -- his 44th steal of the night -- and drilled a three-pointer from the corner to make it 117-0. Perfection was within my grasp.

At this point, I decided to take the air out of the ball. After I would retain possession, I used the entire shot clock before taking my own shot. With 38 seconds left, I did a front-flip dunk by Kemp that pushed my lead 132-0. I rose from my couch in anticipation.

On the Kings' next possession, Kemp dove for the steal on the inbounds pass and missed. I switched to Schrempf who floated back on defense. Then, in the blink of an eye, Richmond fired a bullet pass cross-court, and Wayman fucking Tisdale hit a short floater from the paint. With 34 seconds left, the score was 132-2 and my hope for a perfect game was gone. Done. I fired my controller into the television, kicked my SNES across the floor and stormed out of the cabin, driving 74 miles to shoot a few shotgun blasts at my next-door neighbor's dog.

And because of that, it felt good to me to see Bill Belichick run off the field before the game was officially over last night. Everyone knows he's a cold-hearted dick, but seeing him abandon his team while they were still on the field -- there couldn't have been a more perfect ending to the season. As much as I loved them, Kemp and Schrempf were only digital renderings of actual people. Wes Welker is a real person. And surely, his Hobbit-like blue eyes misted as he watched his coach abandon his team on the field.

If Tom Coughlin had any stones, he would have tried to score another touchdown when the Patriots only had about seven defenders on the field, just to to run up the score. I don't think anyone would have blamed him.

I certainly wouldn't have. I was too busy lighting Wayman Tisdale's latest jazz album on fire.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Super Bowl prediction time



Marv Blackstone: I just am not going to allow myself to choose Eli Manning as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Look at him. I plan to sit back and watch Eli line up behind right guard Chris Snee no fewer than six times, fumble at least two snaps, throw at least two picks and get a wedgie from Osi Umenyiora on the sideline. And I will laugh and coat my chest hair with Gold Bond and picante salsa. Patriots 34, Giants 10


Curtis Woodsworth: I am really hoping that the Giants don't wear those awful red jerseys during the game. They just end up looking like cherry tomatoes, and what football player wants to look like sweet little balls that you pop into your mouth? Plus, those jerseys color-clash with Tom Coughlin's face. Get you some moisturizer, boy! Patriots 30, Giants 0


Vern Beedle: You're asking me for my prediction, man? My prediction is that a government plot to expose the link between Barack Obama and Giants' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will come to light. You're going to learn all about how Obama is in cahoots with Dennis Rodman and Tori Spelling to inflate oil prices to more than $40,000 a barrel. And it's all coming out after a post pattern to Amani Toomer. That's my prediction, man. Also, Giants 24, Patriots 23

Dr. Charles P. Ipswisch Ah, the American football Super Bowl! It's one of my favorite sporting traditions, ranking right up there with the Egyptian Croquet Federation Championships and the ICC Cricket World Cup. I will eagerly be watching to see if Tom Brady's superior diction and reasoning ability, along with his muscular right arm, will be able to carry his Patriotic men to a victory over the Giants from New Jersey. Deductively, I think that they will be able to triumph, asserting their dominance, much like the late-1970s West Indies cricket squad. Oh, what a chess match this one shall be! Patriots 108, Giants 2

Harvey McGuffin:
I remember when you had to earn perfection. The 1972 Dolphins created their empire on grit, determination and heart. There were no pretty faces getting hounded by TMZ, no cornrows and certainly no white wide receivers. They were football players, damn it. Hell, I remember when the key to getting to the Super Bowl was a black head coach and black receivers, all of them gritty. These teams are as bland as cornflakes served in malt-o-meal. If Brian Billick had just saved his timeout, what storylines would we have to pursue? We haven't had a legend play in a Super Bowl since Otis Anderson. God damn it I'm angry and it's almost bedtime. Giants 24, Patriots 21.

Bandwagon Burt:
THE PATRIOTS ARE GOING TO BE UNDEFEATED. Dude, did you see that Hitler video online where he's all mad about Dallas losing? THAT WAS HILARIOUS, and then he's like "Well at least I can watch the Patriots go undefeated, at least that's something." EVEN HITLER KNOWS that a dynasty is brewing. I have loved the Patriots since I was a little boy, but this is the crown jewel of my sporting world. Super Bowls are nothing if you don't go undefeated! The Giants won't possibly stand in their way, but I like little Eli and love how they've built all this momentum in road games. That defensive line is incredible, and they played New England SO TOUGH at the end of the season. After that last sentence, I think the Giants have a real chance!!! Prediction: Patriots 68, Giants 67 (9 OT).

Dakota Brezinksi: I don't want to go to bed before the end of the Super Bowl! You promised, daddy, that I could watch. I never get to watch! It's not fair. Every year I only get to see the first half, and I miss all the really good stuff after you make me go to bed. I'm sorry I called Caitlin a bad name when she said, "Who cares if they go undefeated, it's just a game." I'm sorry that I kicked her in the knee and threw her dolly into the pond. I was trying to look like Tom Brady! Tom Brady is my hero! I want to see him win the Super Bowl! THIS HAPPENS EVERY YEAR! I hate you. I hate you and mommy. Patriots 35, Giants 14.

Brenda McDonald: So my older brother is throwing this, like, Super Bowl party, and I'm totally debating whether to go or hang out at Kimmy Dykstra's house. Like, there's going to be beer and stuff, but last time I hung out with my brother's friends, I totally got hit on by his smelly college roommate. I made out with him, of course, but it was kind of awkward and ... I don't know, like, smelly. I don't understand why people love the Super Bowl so much ... I mean, they have one every year. Plus everyone thinks Tom Brady is so hot, but oh my god, have you SEEN Wes Welker's eyes? Patriots 10, Giants 3.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Super Bowl drive time



By Rob and Rick
Morning Radio Show Hosts


Rob: Okay, Rick, let's talk about that big game coming up on Sunday.

*presses fart noise button*

Both: Hahahahaha

Rob: Seriously, though, it is a big game. Get your beer and wings ready.

Rick: Boobies.

Both: Hahahahaha

Rob: Okay, let's go to a caller out there. We've got Jason on the line. Jason, how's it going, you homo?

Jason: Uhhh. Fine, I guess.

Rick: *burps loudly*

Jason: I was going to ask if you guys had any opinions on the best place to watch the Super Bowl. I've got a few buddies coming into town and we were looking to --

Rob: Be gay together?

Rick: Heyyyyy ooo! *presses fart noise button*

Both: Hahahahahaha.

Rob: Ballsack.

Jason: I'm going to hang up now.

Rob: What a queerburger. Anyway, let us take this chance to remind you of our contest that we're running here at WMMC. We've got two free tickets to the Super Bowl to give away down here. And we are going to give them to the first girl to come down here to the station and show us her jumblie-wumblies in the studio.

Rick: *presses boing button to signify an erection*

Rob: So all of you ladies out there in radio-land, if you'd like to come down here and show us the goods, you can get two tickets for Super Bowl Forty-Two in Phoenix, Arizona!

Rick: You could use one ticket on each boob. *make a sound that simulates a motorboat*

Both: Hahahahahaha

Rob: And, don't forget, another thing about the Super Bowl that is so great is that you get to drink a lot of beer on a Sunday. I mean, not that I need an excuse to drink beer on a Sunday, but it's always ...

Rick: Hahahahahaha

Rob: ... good to have that built-in reason to buy some ice cold Bud Light.

Rick: ICE COLD!

Rob: Folks, it's the greatest weekend of the year! Rick, aren't you excited for the Super Bowl?

Rick: Yes. I'll, like, masturbate and fart on my leather couch.

*five-second clip of that "Numa Numa" song plays*

Rob: Hell yes! Rick and Rob will be right back with more Super Bowl coverage, right here on WMMC, 97.3, The Tit.

*26 minutes of commercials*

Rob: And we're back, bringing you Super Bowl coverage! We've got an exclusive interview here with Patriots' coach, Bill Belichick. Bill, how are you doing today?

Bill Belichick impersonater (in fake robot voice): I am good. Are you good?

Rob: Well, I'm not wearing any pants. And I just got rid of my Chipotle burrito from last night, if you know what I mean.

Bill Belichick impersonater (in fake robot voice): I do not know what you mean. Human excretion is not a concept I understand. I do not have time to defecate.

Rick: Poooooooop!

*presses fart button*

Rob: Oh, man. That is great. So Bill, do you ever check out players in the shower?

Bill Belichick impersonater (in fake robot voice): Yes. Randy Moss is terrifying.

Rob: Oh my god that's SO GAY!

*clip of "Anchorman" heard where Brian Fantana says, "You know, desire smells like that to some people."

Rob: OK, we've had enough of this guy for one day. Later on, you robotic retard!

Rick: Hahahahahahahahahaha

Rob: Hahaha

Rick: *shits his pants*

Rob: And here's a little Aerosmith for all you Bostonites out there, right here on WMMC, 97.3, The Tit.

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