Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
5. David Wells suffered from a mild case of gout.
David Wells, he of perfect game fame (hurled against the Minnesota Twins in 1998), was said to have been drunk for the entirety of his pursuit in leaving an impression on baseball's history books. Apparently, not even a drunken stupor could compromise his assault on an achievement only reached in Yankee history by David Cone (one year later against the Montreal Expos) and Don Larsen (who hurled his perfect game in the 1956 World Series, an event commemorated on the same day that Coney threw a gem of his own). Prior to this historic season, in which Wells finished third in Cy Young voting, Wells developed a nasty case of gout, a disease normally associated with laziness and boozing; essentially, gout brings on immense swelling and pain to a sufferer's extremities, sometimes resulting in amputation. Think gangrene of a lesser degree. Although this condition deprived Wells of a large portion of spring training sessions in 1998, Wells would later miss starts during stints with the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres, clubs blessed to have a control pitcher who contrarily epitomized the lifestyle of a fatso. Like Manny, Wells was never truly known for rigorously training in the offseason.
4. Reggie Jackson was the self-proclaimed 'straw that stirs the drink.'
Our man Reggie, an import from the Oakland Athletics, was the Yankees' first million dollar man. Jackson, in many ways, defined the very idea of a big free agent signing, taking the Bronx by storm and pissing off the likes of manager Billy Martin and owner George Steinbrenner with his flashy accolades. In an pre-season interview conducted by SPORTS Magazine's Robert Ward, Jackson made a comment he thought was off-the-record, stating that he was 'the straw that stirs the drink,' a quip that enraged current Yankee catcher Thurman Munson, whose abilities earned him a title not given since Lou Gehrig last retained it: Yankee captain. And like Reggie before him, Manny remarked in an interview that he could play baseball anywhere and be happy, even if that place were Iraq; this sit-down was said to have been the final straw that resulted in Manny's 'amiable' exodus to LA.
3. John Rocker swore off the Number 7 train.
While at his apex as Atlanta Braves closer in 1999, John Rocker produced media fodder quintessentially associated with rags of the National Enquirer mold. While sitting down to a Sports Illustrated interview, Rocker eloquently summed up the city of New York by stating, "It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing." And if that weren't enough, the bigoted lout called his black teammate Randall Simon (who once took a bat to a racing bratwurst in Milwaukee years later) a "fat monkey." Sure, Rocker had every right to blast New York; after all, Met fans at Shea Stadium once threw batteries at him, resulting in a hocked loogie into the stands from a rankled Johnny Boy. Although the rage may be somewhat understood, Rocker truly revealed himself as a neanderthal in the interview and his legacy was supplanted as a man who tarnished the Braves franchise, not helped it with his fire-hurling capacities. Although not as disgusting, Manny once opened a door to the scoreboard in Fenway's Green Monster and relieved himself inside, all in the midst of an inning that was still in progress.
2. Rickey Henderson declared himself 'the greatest of all-time.'
Rickey Henderson holds the records for most stolen bases in a year (130) and a career (1406), runs scored in a career (2295), walks (2129), and games led off with a homerun (81). After breaking Lou Brock's long-standing stolen base record, the game in which he broke it was suspended so that Henderson could deliver a speech. Ever the attention whore, Henderson gave thanks to Billy Martin, his favorite manager and close friend, and emphatically touted himself as 'the greatest of all-time.' As far as what he was the greatest at (sure, the aforementioned remarks were outstanding, but he DID play 25 seasons in order to obtain them, the most in major league history), baseball fans aren't entirely sure. One thing is for certain though: Rickey's selfish ways were only met in baseball history by one Manny Ramirez. In the same interview about hypothetically playing in a war zone, Manny proclaimed, "The Boston Red Sox don't deserve a player like me."
1. Roger Clemens took the first half of the season off on numerous occasions.
In a moment that defined Yankee radio personality Suzyn Waldman's career, the Yankee organization welcomed Roger Clemens back for his second stint in pinstripes with a hero's welcome in May of 2007. This acquisition reportedly cost the Yankees an astonishing $28 million, a figure that was pro-rated to pay Clemens for his efforts throughout the second half of the season. Prior to this undertaking, Clemens performed this stunt only a year before for the Houston Astros, who allowed Roger to stay home on days he was not scheduled to pitch. Call it the "Clemens Precedent" (better yet, call it the "Brett Favre Precedent"); Roger, on two separate instances, held an organization hostage, knowing that the franchise in question was pining for his services and each was at his will. Now that we know where Clemens is heading, we can only wonder where Manny's is heading now that he will effectively be a free agent in the offseason; although teams will gauge Manny by his skills at the plate, teams should REALLY be looking at Manny for giving up on his team on a number of occasions, even blaming a phantom knee injury for not appearing in a portion of his last series against the Yankees in Fenway. Then again, that's only 'Manny being Manny;' why forsake him?
- Mike Piazza called a press conference to state that he was not gay.
- Babe Ruth performed on a diet of beer and hot dogs.
- Mickey Mantle was a Hall of Fame boozer.
- Pete Rose once ruined a catcher's career...in an All-Star Game collision.
- Ty Cobb, the game's dirtiest player, received criminal charges for...*ahem*...murder.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Seriously, forget having a trained monkey, I want a trained otter that can catch fish for me. I'm not even joking about this one. The Chinese affixed ropes to the legs of otters which could wrangle schools of fish into the waiting nets of Chinese seamen. So much for running out of food. The Chinese would launch these animals from flooded compartments in the holds of the Junk ships, which leads me to my discussion of Chinese ships and our next amazing fact from 1421.
Much like revelation number five, this is gross. I'm going to turn it over to wikipedia to describe, and unlike other wiki entries, this one is real. Think of it as ancient Viagra.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
5. The Entourage Application
While virtually every fan of the show is bound to organize their own Entourage of friends, it is a bit far reaching to think that one person could "roll with" over two hundred individuals. There are few people of historical significance that "rolled" with hundred of people simultaneously, and if one is comparing himself with Jesus, Gandhi, or Louis XVI, then they are delusional. I have no problem with this application, but seriously it should be limited since nobody travels, eats, and arrives with over two hundred people to one place with regularity.
4. Lil' Green Garden Patches
Stop sending me plants for a fictitious garden patch. Also, please stop sending me "pieces of flare" and fish for a fake aquarium. I hate accumulating garbage trinkets in real life, let alone allow them to clutter up my Facebook page. Some people really dig these applications, but I don't understand them. What is the allure of the garden patch? Is it aesthetically pleasing, or does it make one feel good that somebody thought enough of them to send them a fake plant? I guess it's the thought that counts.
3. What ________ character are you?
When I first arrived in the Facebook community I was drawn into these faux tests which can correctly predict what character you would be on your favorite show/movie from a questionnaire. After completing approximately two of these assessments, I realized what a pile of dung they were. Any twit with half a brain can manufacture the outcome of the test to say whatever it is they desire. Very few males want to be diagnosed as Marge from the Simpson's test, so they will fudge a few answers to become Homer or Bart. They should rename these applications "what character from ___________ would you like to be?"
2. The "V" List Live Feed Widget
The V List widget could be the biggest pile of trash in the Facebook application catalogue. In fact, it could easily be the number one on this list, but it pisses me off slightly less than the next entry. This widget took about fifteen minutes to customize using a combination of two websites and some html language. The final product was an application that will not run automatically when the page loads up. It shows that the widget is a movie (which in fact it is not) and then asks the person to click play. Upon clicking on the widget it will take you to another page where a 3 inch widget is set in the middle of a gigantic page, and has a feed of our articles and movies. What a rip off! Facebook should give me the freedom to at least develop an aesthetically pleasing widget that works. Curse you and you half assed developers kit, because now my application is being listed by some site in the blogosphere as one of the worst on Facebook.
1. Mob Wars
I am all about online gaming, however please don't pretend Mob Wars or Vampire Slayer are games, because they are not. There are thousands of other flash games that would be better suited for Facebook, but these two "games" are the most annoying applications out there. I don't mind people sending me invites, but at this point, I could literally be in about 15-20 different "families" if I had clicked the accept button. As a student of Godfather and Goodfellas, I would have been whacked several times over for betraying the advice of Michael Corleone. Everybody knows you never go against the family, something which I would have done some fourteen times over. I also tried vampire hunting and superheroes, but those "games" become equally mundane after a week. I you want to play some serious games, look me up on xbox live and we can do some real damage. As for the Facebook crap that they call entertainment. I'll pass.
5. Green Bay Packers
4. Miami Dolphins, Number One!
3. Fly, Eagles, Fly!
2. Pittsburgh, Here We Go!
1. Da Bears' Super Bowl Shuffle
Monday, July 28, 2008
1. Take Me Out to the Ballgame
5. George Bush: The Next Commissioner of Baseball?
Our nation's 43rd leader, Mr. George W. Bush, will go down in history as America's most disgraced commander-in-chief, whose last act in the Oval Office may involve pardoning a self-proclaimed criminal (see Marion Jones). Prior to his tremendously awful tenure in the White House, Bush served as an adequate 'managing general partner' of Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers, who, under his watch, brought a thrilling close to Nolan Ryan's illustrious career. Speculation behind Bush's potential as baseball's leading man rose long before his stint as governor of Texas, as one-time commish Fay Vincent discussed the possibility of Bush serving as baseball commissioner in the 1990's. Upon leaving the White House, baseball commissioner would be an ideal position for W (unfortunately, it is a dream that will be put on hold due to the extension of current commissioner Bud Selig's contract). With Bush at the helm, who knows what would be in store for the game of baseball?
4. Mark Cuban: The Next Cubs Owner
With July dwindling to a close, Mark Cuban, boisterous owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Internet tycoon, has made the final cut (out of three others) as potential principal owner of the Chicago Cubs, a franchise bolstered by fans in love with the North Side's lovable losers. Imagine the Friendly Confines of Wrigley visited constantly by the NBA's most raucous (and most fined) owner, whose antics often earns the ire of referees and fans alike? Imagine a franchise of tradition (Harry Caray, outfield ivy, the post-game Go Cubs Go sing-along, the raising of the white W flag after each Cubs win, and the 7th inning celebrity Take Me Out to the Ballgame rendition) suddenly infused with new, albeit 'far-from-customary,' blood? Say what you will about Cuban's unorthodox ways (he, not his coaching staff, is often the one jeering at referees), Cuban has pumped enough money into the Mavericks to make them relevant again (they were a game removed from taking home the 2006 NBA championship after spending countless decades as the league's doormat). It's one thing to own an NBA franchise: it's a whole other to man one of baseball's most storied organizations. Mark Cuban may be the next man behind the curtain for Chicago.
3. Albert Pujols: Going Against Doctorly Advice....and Dominating
Prior to the 2008 MLB season, Albert Pujols came face-to-face with a career-altering decision: would he forgo the 2008 campaign for surgery or play through unbearable pain in order to continue his monstrous career and, perhaps, put the Cardinals back in the playoffs? The scenario that medical experts conveyed was rather imposing: Pujols, by agreeing to play, would be one errant swing away from shredding, perhaps even separating, the tendon that holds the elbow joint intact. Second opinions further suggested that Pujols could play, although he would be beset by gut-wrenching anguish. Ever the fiery competitor, Pujols opted to play this season, a juncture that has the Cardinals within 6 games of the NL Central-leading Cubs, all thanks to Albert's .353 average, 20 homeruns, and 60 RBI's, including a recent dinger that bested the New York Mets in 14 innings (on Saturday, July 26th). Now that is baseball legacy in the making.
2. Jeff Samardzija: The Cubs' Next Big Thing
Bo Jackson's turn as a two-sport athlete was logical, when you consider Bo's positions (running back for the Raiders and leftfield for the Royals) were dictated by his blazing speed. While contributing swimmingly in both sports, Jackson paved the way for the likes of Deion Sanders, who starred for the Atlanta Braves and Dallas Cowboys, among other NFL clubs. Unfortunately, Jackson endured a hip injury (later resulting in the condition avascular necrosis, which results in a shortening of the blood supply to the pelvic region) that abruptly ended his career in both sports. Enter Jeff Samardzija. In 2006, Jeff Samardzija helped deliver a 10-win season for Notre Dame, ending his career as an All-American wide receiver for the Fighting Irish. Due in part to Samardzija's success, Brady Quinn became a top-20 NFL pick, the heir apparent to Cleveland Browns quarterback Derek Anderson. Many NFL analysts thought Samardzija was pegged for a spot on an NFL roster, seeing as how his footwork was complemented by a set of hands that could reel in any ball thrown his way. But there was the matter of Samardzija's true passion: the sport of baseball. Putting a prestigious past behind him (Jeff holds multiple Notre Dame receiving records), Samardzija ended up signing a $16.5 million incentive-laden contract with the Cubs in 2007. Due to numerous circumstances (stellar Cubs closer Kerry Wood is on the disabled list with a sore blister and Carlos Marmol cannot get a handle on his location), Samardzija was called up to join the Cubs in their most recent series against the Marlins at Wrigley, a time when Jeff compiled his first major league save with an overpowering fastball and slider. Could this be the Cubs' answer in the bullpen that delivers the Cubs their long-awaited World Series victory? Manager Lou Piniella and a legion of Cubs fans sure hope so.
1. Rick Ankiel: From Bust to Boom
Ask your grandfather: what Rick Ankiel has accomplished has never happened in the history of the sport. At the age of 20, Ankiel began his career as a major league hurler, compiling an 11 - 7 record with a 3.50 ERA and 194 strikeouts, good for seventh in the league. Then came the 2000 playoffs. In spite of his outstanding stuff (Ankiel possessed a 97 MPH fastball and devastating curveball, both of which could deliver a strikeout), Ankiel faced the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs and threw seven wild pitches, five of which were hurled in one inning (the first time that had happened since 1890). From that day forward, he was never the same. The tumult continued in 2001, as Ankiel was sent down to AAA to work on his control. As fate would have it, Ankiel would never pitch in the majors again. By 2005, Ankiel opted for a drastic change to his career: he wished to channel Mickey Mantle, so as to become a power-hitting centerfielder. By 2007, Ankiel was brought up by St. Louis in a late August call-up. His major league experience would continue through 2008, where he is hitting .278 with 22 homeruns and 56 RBI's, wielding a glove that is worthy of best-in-the-league status. Human-growth-hormone controversy aside, Ankiel has proven his value in the mythology of treasured baseball lore.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Instead of rushing around like a headless chicken take the time and sit down for a double shot of espresso. Go sit in a park, sip the beverage slowly, and take time to appreciate all the natural beauty of this country. If you want to feel especially cultured and have the chance, go to an art museum for a double dose of culture. I recommend sitting on a park bench, if only to watch others rush about their busy lives. Sometimes the one thing we forget to do in this country is sit back and appreciate the gift of life. That's something we can do better, and because of economic security (when compared with other nations) we have more opportunity than most to sit back and smell the roses. The first step is to get reconnected to the world and all the small wonders it holds.
While this was much easier a few weeks ago when Eurocup was being televised a few weeks ago, there are still some exhibition games that one can catch on television if they look closely enough. While many Americans don't understand "soccer" and would prefer the NFL or MLB, I would invite them to take the opportunity to sit down with an aficionado of the game and truly learn its nuances and complexities. One will discover that there's a reason why most people around the world love it. There's nothing like watching a closely contested soccer match. World Cup, please return soon.
Skip the summer blockbuster and instead take in a foreign film. You can earn extra bonus points if you watch the movie sans subtitles. Perhaps as a part of the experience you can cook cuisine in the style of the film and invite a few friends over. There are so many films from other countries that will not only broaden your horizons, but will entertain the crap out of you at the same time. This author recommends Pan's Labyrinth to begin your journey into the world of foreign film.
One of the most beautiful Constitutional rights is the guaranteed freedom of religion that we have in this country. So this weekend take advantage of that freedom and attend a religious ceremony. I recommend going to another type of religious celebration other than your own. If you're catholic, take the opportunity to attend a synagogue. Call ahead of time and coordinate a discussion with the church elder or priest. Tell them you want to learn more about their religion firsthand, and what would be the best way to go about it. Maybe your shy and don't want to jump right in, but sit down and have a discussion with somebody of another religion and listen more than you talk. It will be a great experience to hear about somebody else's faith, while remaining firmly rooted in your own.
5. Our girls won't let us.
You all may not know it, but despite our cromagnon looks (see sidebar) and annoying senses of humor (see 98% of our posts) Mike, Marc, Brian, and I all have committed relationships. And not just to our XBOX, but to women. HOT women (see cultural example, right). There was going to come a time when this constituancy was going to win out over even you our readers. Let's be fair though, how many nights is any self-respecting woman going to split time with a laptop? We needed to be reigned in and we love our ladies for it.
4. Carbon footprint
We are nerds and were incredibly excited for the Dark Knight. Then we saw it and Heath Ledger's joker scared the living poop out of us. Now I know it's just a movie, but that's just what the nefarious Joker wants us to think before he launches another horrifying plot just for the fun of it. We had reason to believe all our bat-worship posts might have been us on the Joker's radar. So we decided to slow it down, play it cool, and wait for the man in the purple suit to find new prey.
2. It's summer!
My laptop gets quite warm when it's been on for awhile...my apartment is not air conditioned. I live in New York City. I am lucky to be alive, let alone blogging most night at my apartment. So while we love the v-list (psst, brian the "b" list my underground vigilante!) we also love swimming, and the beach, and driving, and going to the park and doing all the other things warm weather allow. So maybe we're taking a little impromptu vacation from the list...it's only because....
1. We have lives too.
WE ARE V-LIST!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
5. Joe DiMaggio's 56 Game Hitting Streak
Pete Rose came the closest to DiMaggio's impressive mark, stringing together 44 consecutive games in which he was able to reach base via a hit (quite fitting, when you consider Joltin' Joe beat out Wee Willie Keeler's one-time record of 44-game streak of hitting safely). Upon going hitless in the 57th game of the streak, DiMaggio went on another 16-game hitting streak, which calculates to hitting safely in 72 of 73 games in 1941. During this season, perhaps DiMaggio's best, the one-time Mr. Coffee would not win the MVP; that distinction was instead held by Ted Williams, holder of another outstanding record for the ages.
4. Ted Williams's .406 Season
Arguably the game's greatest hitter (and the anti-thesis of quitting), the Splendid Splinter was going into the final day of the season having amassed a batting average of .3995, which would have effectively rounded up to .400, the first time the feat would be accomplished since 1930, when Bill Terry did so. Williams, as recommended by many Red Sox personnel, could have sat out the the doubleheader slated for that day in order to achieve this aforementioned exploit. Instead, Williams played both games, going 6 for 8, raising his collective batting average for the 1941 season to .406. Although George Brett and Tony Gwynn came awfully close, nobody has hit .400 since Williams accomplished the astounding deed in a year that would later live in infamy (the Pearl Harbor bombing would occur months after Williams's greatest summer). As his career average would suggest (.344), Williams was the master of the art of stroking the baseball, a testament to his poise and uncanny sense for dominating opposing pitching like nobody else could.
3. Nolan Ryan's Tandem: 5,714 Career Strikeouts and 7 No-Hitters
Ryan's efforts are ahead of DiMaggio's and Teddy Ballgame's for the sole reason that, in the modern era (post Bob Gibson, who compiled a a record 1.12 ERA in 1968), the game favors the hitters. When you consider (1) the mound has been lowered and (2) the fences have been pulled in through the construction/renovation of many contemporary ballparks, what Ryan did was extremely unfathomable. Randy Johnson most recently passed Roger Clemens on the all-time strikeout list, hoarding an upwards of 4,600 K's. In order for the 44 year old Johnson to pass Ryan, he would have to average 300 strikeouts per season for the next three years (something he hasn't done since 2002). What's more impressive are the seven occasions in which opponents could not register a single hit off of Ryan, the latest of which came in 1991, his 25th season in the bigs. His 292 losses (to his 324 wins) are not indicative of his prowess; for instance, in 1987, Ryan led the league in ERA (2.76), but compiled a win-loss record of 8 - 16, suggesting that Ryan was often the victim of poor run-support. At times, Ryan has been criticized for being erratic (he once walked over 200 batters in his season; in fact, his wild ways earned him a one-way ticket out of New York and California), but his ability to embarrass hitters was truly tremendous.
2. Cal Ripken's 2,632 Consecutive Games Played Streak
Consider this for a moment: the most recent player to come close to Ripken's streak since Cal broke Lou Gehrig's old record was Miguel Tejada, who played in 1,151 games consecutively, some 1,500 games shy of the mark Cal ended up setting. For Ripken to shatter the Iron Horse's record by some 500 games is a testament to Cal's immense capacity to play through bangs and bruises that have made mortals of lesser players. Perhaps the game's greatest shortstop of all-time, Ripken played the game with the ultimate sense of grit and determination that defined the outstanding ballplayer he was. For many, Cal was Mr. Baseball in Baltimore and beyond, the game's truest ambassador whose place in Cooperstown was well-deserved (an honor held in the same year, 2006, by San Diego Padres great Tony Gwynn, the modern-day equivalent of Ted Williams, minus the power numbers).
1. Cy Young's 511 Career Wins
During a time when homeruns were as rare as blue moons in the night sky, Cy Young (for whom the award for the annual best pitcher in the National and American Leagues is named) did things as a pitcher that will NEVER be accomplished, namingly his 749 complete games (Roger Clemens's 118 is nowhere near Young's mark) and 815 starts in a career. Through the use of five-man rotations, bullpens, specialist pitchers, and closers, and the restriction of starts made by pitchers (hurlers may reach 35 starts tops in an injury-free season), Young's feats have truly become a thing of the past, especially his career win total (guys like Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens, the best pitchers of the past twenty years, have only won 350 and 354 games respectively). Despite losing the most games in baseball history (316), Young's standard for winning ballgames is the most unbreakable record in baseball. PERIOD.