Thursday, July 31, 2008

Baseball In The Trade Time: Just Shoot Me Right In The Dick

So of all the days I could pick to stroll back by the House, I have to go with this one. The one when my favorite baseball team decides to part ways with one of the twenty best hitters in the history of wood bats, and in exchange get...Jason Bay.

Jason Bay. He of the Canadian national team in the World Baseball Classic. Where he was a teammate of Stubby Clapp, don'tcha know. Proud veteran of zero postseason at-bats. That Jason Bay.

But wait, there's less! Your defending World Series champions also traded away Craig Hansen. Hansen is a reliever on a team whose biggest weakness is getting bullpen outs. They also shipped out promising young outfielder Brandon Moss and agreed to foot the bill for the $7 million in salary that Manny Ramirez is still owed this season. And there's still a little paperwork left to do and some physicals to be passed, but I think Tommy Lasorda gets to come fuck my wife next week. Sweet trade.

You can find all the details on this monstrosity on this little thing I call The Google. What you need to know is this: the Red Sox wanted to get ManRam off their roster very, very badly. You could compare the deal to the one Theo Epstein whipped up back in '04, when Nomar Garciaparra's dog shit attitude and prima donna persona were poisoning the clubhouse. That deadline trade netted Orlando Cabrera (essential to the Series-winning effort) and Doug Mientciewicz (have you seen my baseball?). Bay is better than either, but this trade still blows.

Take a random sample of 100 pitchers, managers, front office executives and broadcasters. Ask them this: Late inning situation, playoff game, tied up, two on, who do you want to face? Manny or Bay? I think 100 would go with Bay. Heck it may be 106. Point is that trade sucks.

Theo picked the wrong day to start sniffing glue. Or start, I never remember how that joke goes. Was the point to improve clubhouse chemistry? Manny is not vehemently disliked among the Sox, not like Nomar was (or Kevin Youkilis is now). Teammates tend to hang with a guy who wins a lot of games, and Manny won a lot of games. He won two rings in a town that hadn't seen a title in 86 years. What I'm saying is, that's an awful trade.

Was it time for Manny to go? Probably, but not under these circumstances. Look, I know Manny is a loon. He takes vast stretches of the season off, he has the emotional maturity of a second grader, he treats the press and the fans with utter disdain. I get it. He loafs. His appearance is revolting. He's often blatantly insubordinate with the gentlemen that pay him $20 million a season to play baseball. He can't come around on a fastball like he once could. All of it true. Still, bad trade.

Almost all of my past apologism regarding Manny has evaporated. I used to defend his defense, saying he knew the Green Monster as well as anyone and had underrated reflexes. That's all hogwash, of course, Manny's no good in the field. He takes bad angles and throws like a bitch. But two rings is two rings, and a career OPS of .990 is among the best of all time. Horrible trade, Theo.

I'm just sort of taking it as a given that this is now a lost season, thrown away to prove a point to a weirdo with three-foot-long dreadlocks. The weaknesses of this team were not addressed. Jason Varitek is hitting .215, Pudge Rodriguez was available, and he went to the Yankees. The pen is porous, Damaso Marte was available, and he went to the Yankees. The starting rotation is a little shaky, the centerfield platoon of Jacoby Ellsbury and Coco Crisp is turning sour, and we're now relying on J.D. Drew. Let me say that again. Red Sox fans must count on production from J.D. Drew to have a successful season.

Let me leave you with one last thought before I bury my face in a bucket of rye. The Dodgers just traded for Manny Ramirez, and didn't give the Red Sox anything (a LaRoche brother and some pitcher went to Pittsburgh). Theo couldn't have extracted one player from a Dodger roster that is absolutely loaded with productive players under 27? No Russ Martin? No James Loney? No Chad Billingsley? No Jonathan Broxton? No Andre Ethier? No Matt Kemp? The Sox should have ended up with Kemp and Ethier, if for no other reason than to force LA to start the world's most overpaid outfield--Manny, Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre. Now that would have been a good trade.
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Baseball In The Trade Time: Snot On The Ball

Hey there folks, this is Old No. 7 checking in. I'm required by my parole officer to post once a month. But I'm not actually going to write anything, I've delegated the heavy lifting to my distant relative Anachro Capitalist. With the trading deadline in MLB just a couple hours off, AC weighs in on the Mark Teixiera (pronounced "Renteria") trade by his beloved Angels. This is the first in a soon-to-be-forgotten long-running series called "Snot On The Ball," in which Anachro will pumble you with baseball. Lots and lots of baseball.

A few weeks back, two handsome trades occurred in the National League Central Division. Cecil wrote about one here, and Old No. 7 wrote about one here. Today is my turn to discuss the third major trade that occurred just yesterday (no offense Humberto/Casey Blake). The trade I speak of involved the Angelitos de Los Anaheim and the Team of the Nineties- your Atlanta Braves.

Due to many reasons, mostly including injuries to key starters, the Braves have surrendered their season and given up on any attempt to sign Mark Teixiera to a long term deal. At this time of the season, this makes the Braves “sellers” in the trade circuit. In contrast, the Angels came into this week with a commanding division lead and the playoffs on their collective horizon. With many baseball pundits claiming that the angels were missing one piece to get to the glory hole land. By all accounts, this piece was “another big bat in the lineup”. This, my friends, would make the Angels “buyers”.

Among the rumored teams that were courting the services of Mark Teixiera, the Angels had the distinct advantage of being able to offer up an everyday replacement at first base, as well as a host of prospects. This year, however, the market has changed. Gone are the days of yesteryear when a team would literally sell their arsenal of future stars to “rent” a proven stud for the last months of the current season. Just like the embattled housing market, this year’s MLB trade deadline has become a buyers market.

While the details surrounding how the Casey Kotchman/Steve Marek for Mark Teixiera actually went down are unclear, it is apparent that sometime between the text messages while sitting on the throne and instant message chats, Angels GM Tony Reagins put an end to the days of not dealing before the trade deadline. In the past, Ex-Angels GM Bill Stoneman had been reluctant to trade away anybody to rent a player for the postseason run. With this move, Reagins sent a message to the Angels faithful that management wants to win it all, and win it now.

At first glance, this trade makes a ton of sense for both teams. The Braves acquire an exceptional defensive first baseman with a good bat. While Kotchman will never compete with Texiera in sheer power, he has proven himself as a quality contact hitter who does not strikeout. Kotchman is a young talent, and with more at bats, he should turn into a player of Don Mattingly’s caliber. The Angels will be able to give Vlad Guerrero much needed protection in an already potent lineup. The 1-2 punch of Guerrero/Texiera will be an ample anecdote to the Ortiz/Ramirez 1-2 in Boston that has been devastating to American League pitching for quite some time.

Turn the page to next season and this deal will leave many Angels fans with unanswered questions. Teixiera is an unrestricted free agent after the season and has no Southern California ties. In fact, Teixiera has expressed interest in playing for his home town Orioles. Scott Boras, noted super agent, represents Teixiera- a fact that is troubling for any team hoping to sign him. Despite the fact that Rex Hudler, Angels color man on TV, has noted that in private conversations with Teixiera he has expressed interest in playing for the Angels, there is no certain future for him with the Halos. If attempts at signing Texiera to a long term deal after the World Series fail, the Angels will have the services of unproven Cuban defector Kendry Morales at 1st base and a compensatory draft pick. Pair this with the Angels recent domination of their once-nemesis Boston Red Stockings, and you may be left shaking your head.

Fear not, Halo fans. The most important objective of the season is winning a World Series ring. Let the chips fall where they may regarding the signing of Teixiera to a long term deal. The point is, there is new blood in the front office and it doesn’t want to sit on its hands any longer. Sure, the media will still focus on the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets, but it doesn’t matter much when they’re watching the Angels beat the Cubs in the World Series.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We Are Hot Chicks Wednesday: Buddy System, the Sequel

Nearly 12 months ago to the day, we delivered our first WAHCW buddy system post. In that post, there were many pointers associated with the mantra that having good friends and good people around you can get you through most anything in this affair called life. It's an understatement to say that times have changed, even in a year, and they haven't gotten any easier. Continued wars, worsening markets, peaking unemployment, political propagandizing, and skyrocketing gas prices indicate that "now more than ever, you can't stand alone." We, of course (Editor's Note: "Of course" couldn't be more ridiculous of phrase choice in this instance.), bring the evidence. After the jump, of course.

Emily & friend

Emily, along with her friend, are always side by side.

It's a matter of choice, rather than need; they choose to always have each other's backs.

Erica & Rachelle

These twins, like most every set, have been buddies since birth.

Whether they've selected matching outfits or not, they're sisters in arms for the long haul.

Their love recognizes blood, and transcends it into a special friendship.

Ann & Annabelle

Good friends are practically readers of one another's minds.

Whether there's a relation or not, they frequently think alike, dress alike, and, well, like the same things.

Blondes & Brunettes

Blondes and brunettes often make the best of buddies. If one loses something, the other's there to help search,

and the favor never goes unrecognized; a Sparky Anderson "atta girl" is all but guaranteed.

Charley Chase & Amy Gates

This pair, or C.C. & A.G. as they've been called only this one time , are the perfect example of friends sticking together. We'd offer even more detailed evidence of how, but frankly, we can't.

Marlie & Morgan

Not only are these bestest of friends never seen apart, they're always smiling.

Happy, humble, and hugging are the H's they use to describe their friendship.

Sophie Howard & Lucy Pinder

Sophie & Lucy might just be the famousest of buddies on the House of Georges this afternoon. We'd include more links, but the same aforementioned principle applies.

Peaches on the piano

This duo demonstrates how the word education has become too narrowly used and defined.

As friends, we can teach one another a skill, and it always comes back around, oftentimes in varying forms.

Veronika Fasterova & friend

Everyone's got that great buddy they've done crazy things with, like late-night dipping in public fountains, etc.

Such spontaneous events are always a splash,

and if the man comes a-questioning, it's crucial to cover for one another.


The token yearbook-signing tag phrase "BFF," or best friend forever is often giggled at, but it should be taken seriously.

Calling someone your best buddy is heavy stuff, a concept that takes the commitment of both parties.

A BFF is the kind of friend you know, without saying that he or she will wash scratch your back, and you'll return the favor.

That's today's lesson. Feel free to vote for the original or the sequel in the comments. Or don't. If you don't though, you should don a Gorilla Mask and consider yourself cast into the sea of Daily Niners.
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Baseball in the Daytime: 7-30-08

The theme of today's BitD feature is "home is where the heart is," or something quite trite like that. There's some day games happening, and they all have a comforting little scent of home about them. We'll examine a few kids stepping into the spotlight on semi-familiaresque soil, and a couple of squads that used to inhabit the same municipality, but, uh, one grew up and moved away; the other stayed put. Believe me, it's good, heartfelt times. Tune in below the jump for the details.

Rays @ Jays, 11:37: Our first contest is an AL East matchup, and it happens north of the border this fine pre-noon, or morning as some folks call it. First place Tampa Bay pays third place Toronto a visit for the early go; Edwin Jackson and Scott Richmond tangle in this test of righties. The visiting Jackson takes the mound with a 6-7 record, while the home starter is actually at home (sort of) starting his major-league career. Translation: it's his debut, and he's Canadian, meaning he grew up watching/rooting for the Jays. Glorious. Apparently, the DirecTVs and the XMs don't care about heartfelt, warm-and-fuzzy Canadian stories, 'cause they ain't carrying the game. So I guess you'll have to shell out some dollars to, or whatever.

O's @ Yanks, 12:05: In a handful of clock ticks, there'll be more AL East action, this time it'll consist of the New York and Baltimore clubs. Thrilling. Let's see, the Yankees have lost three straight, but they'll send their newest beloved douche bag, Joba Chamberlain, to the hill. He'll encounter Dennis Sarfate, who -- you can't make this stuff up -- is from Queens, and this is his first start at Yankees Stadium. Isn't that swell? Either way, he brings a 4-1 record in to the soon-to-be-dynamited ball park, and his O's have won three straight. They'll be hungry for a fourth as it would give them a sweep of the 'Stripes. Chamberlain enters the dual at 3-3, with a 2.30 E.R.A., which ain't too shabby. I hear that's pretty good for a third-place team with a $220 million payroll. Your DirecTV O's feed is on 722, your Yanks one digit higher. Listening on XM? That's a 176er.

Modern KC @ Historic KC, 2:35: A couple hours after those East Coast ball games are underway, there's an afternoon tilt on the Pacific side, and it features the Kansas City Royals, who look to redeem the sweep broomed upon them by the Oakland A's in mid-April. Now, the Royals never called Oakland home, but the A's used to call Kansas City home, and it's a getaway day, which sends the Royals -- mmm-hmm -- home after the contest. Anyway, Monday night, Zack Greinke went seven innings and logged 11 Ks, as the visiting team netted the W, and Gil Meche delivered equal inningage and 8 Ks of his own last night for the second Royal win. Today it's Brian Bannister and Sean Gallagher. While Greinke and Meche evened their records at .500 this week, Banny will need more than a win today (7-9) to do the same to his. Gallagher comes in at the 4-4 mark, and his club has their work cut out for them if they intend to leapfrog Texas and try to chase the Angels. Catch this one on XM 182. That's why I be like: F**k DTV.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tradition Tuesday: Your Token Division Preview, the 2008 Denver Broncos

The rough focus of this blog touches on the rivalric animosity between the Chiefs of Kansas City (revered by bankmeister) and the Broncos of Denver (beloved by Cecil and old No. 7).

Eight years ago, we started The Tradition, which is a two-part ordeal. Part one involves matriculation from Kansas City to Denver, where the Chiefs faithful take in a visiting-team loss. The other is a Bronco pilgrimage to Kansas City, and that one's kind of a toss up. What both games have in common are proportional inebriation, occasional spousal invitation, and trash-related oration.

Thus, we have Tradition Tuesday, our weekly state-of-the-rivalry address, where we pick a Chonco-related topic, and discuss. For the next four weeks, we'll inspect the four AFC West clubs as part of a month-long endeavor to see just how this division will shake down. When we're done, maybe we'll pretend to care about the rest of the league conference, and cram all those clowns into one run-on sentence type post. Then again, we might not.

The Denver Broncos
We spend a pretty good chunk of time talking Denver pigskin around here, and I'd say now's as good a time as any to be doing so. Now, Shanahan and company have avoided the "rebuilding" terminology that Herm has semi-proudly danced around over in Kansas City. They're "re-tooling," or something like that that's meant to imply something better, but actually means the exact same thing. For instance, it's possible that the 2008 Denver Bronco draft will pan out to be at least twice as successful than that of the '07 variety. Not only did they have more picks, they addressed more positions, and arguably more crucial positions. Add to that they lost their all-time receiving leader in Rod Smith to retirement, cut both Travis Henry and Mike Bell, and are having to deal with Brandon Marshall serving timeouts in the corner of the commissioner's office. They also discovered that their quarterback is diabetic.

That's enough stuff for three offseasons. And that's not even all of it. Anyway, I suspect that their season will shakedown pretty okay, all things considered. If there's one thing Mikey can do, it's rally his troops when adversity stands in front of them. Like I prognosticated here, I imagine that the Broncos will open the second quarter of the season with a 1-3 mark. Alas, it will only get better for them afterwards. After the KC game, the Broncos will host a Buccaneers squad that is still a few slices of pie away from being the whole shebang; they handle the Bucs for their second consecutive home win, but allow Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars to pummel them again the following Sunday at InVesCo. After that disappointing loss, however, an invigorated Denver club takes to the streets and edges the Pats in a tight tilt at Foxboro, pumped as they head into the bye.

Coming off of their rest, Denver's 3-4, and hungry to prove just what this team can do. What better a stage than to host the hapless Dolphins, then travel to Ohio to manhandle an overrated Browns team. Hey-hey -- 5-4 ain't so bad. Another road game in Atlanta, followed by a home game versus the Raiders leaves them 7-4, primed to peak. Though they struggle against the Jets in New York, they come out victorious, and stretch that momentum into a victory at home against the Chiefs in early December, stoked to be sitting at 9-4. An annihilation of of the Panthers in Carolina has all the Salisburies and Hoges taking the Broncos as their sleeper pick for AFC Champs, but the hype reaches to and through the team as well, and they overlook a developing Buffalo squad, falling to Marshawn hit-and-run Lynch, at home no less. In pure disappointing fashion, they lose to the Chargers in San Diego to wrap the season, but they sit at 10-6, poised for the playoffs, and maybe even a division title.

How, though, (you want to ask) House of Georges, scribes, will we know if they are actually poised for the playoffs, and possible winners of a division title? Well, my friends, those are pricey questions; they cost time. And so, you must tune in each of the following three Tuesdays for the awaited sequels to this post, and see, once and for all, who wins this fierce battle (Editor's Note: If you're strapped for time, just tune in in three weeks when we get to the Chargers. Yeah. Alphabetical. That's how we roll. Sometimes.)
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Miscellany: 7-28-08

It's Monday. We're working hard/hardly working, and bored. To pass the time, here are a few fun sound bytes to listen to while we hurl a bunch of completely random barrels at our readership. I've never understood the concept of using a hammer to bash anything other than a nail. It just seems odd and fruitless. An easier solution seems to be to simply jump.

CBS Sportsline is re-visiting their Top 50 Jerkiest Athletes of All Time list from last year with an updated version. Good calls include: Art Modell, Bill Romanowski, Terrell Owens, Mike Tyson, Ron Artest, Adam Jones, John Rocker, "Ko-Me" Bryant, and Mike Vick.

Not so much: Michael Irvin gone from the list? O.J. Simpson replaced at number one by Roger Clemens? Reggie Jackson higher than Bonds, Bryant and Jones? Tommy Lasorda's more of a jerk than George Steinbrenner? What will Humberto and the Dodgers' faithful say?

(Props to The Big Lead for delivering the links, and for this story, which makes me wonder if Peyton was around.)

Kissing Suzy Kolber has been previewing each division in the NFL. Their latest is the AFC North, which they apparently don't think too highly of. Freaking hilarious.

Joe Morgan accepted the first Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award in Cooperstown this weekend. The award itself is an honor, and Morgan is clearly deserving of it. The article, however, is very confusing as MLB HOF president Jeff Idelson presented the award to O'Neil's son Warren, who presented the award to Morgan? On behalf of the O'Neil family? Though The Kansas City Star article's sub-header and photo caption are confusing, it's clarified in this video by Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Marketing Director Bob Kendrick; O'Neil's family received the first award, in honor of the late Buck, then handed one to Joe Morgan, as this year's recipient.

Fire Joe Morgan thinks that the Dodgers G.M. is crafty. I mean, his name is Ned after all. He must be.

Elsewhere in the world of craftiness is the guy that made this sign:

(image courtesy of Babes Love Baseball)

Those crazy Red Sox. When they're not belting tunes with Chesney, or cooing Manny, they're looking back at some of their club's best 'staches of the past. Or at least we are.

Be it AL East, NL West, or NL Central, trade talks continue to circulate, and Mark at Bugs and Cranks thinks that the rumor mill regarding the Rockies might be changing.

Of course there are always rumors. Some are more believable than others. Some are just plain shocking. Like the one that suggests that ESPN might replace Barry Melrose with Matthew Barnaby. The former Sabre and Penguin did have a knack for logging penalty minutes (2562 for his career next to 113 goals and 187 assists), but I doubt he can outdo the mulleted master of pinstripe-suit-wearing white guys. Come. On.

(shizams to Going Five Hole via Awful Announcing)

And for no apparent reason, I'll once again link to the article known as "The Chase." Just because it's that good.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Baseball in the Daytime: 7-25-08

Time to talk Cubs baseball. It's Friday, you ain't got no job, and you ain't got sh*t to do. Indeed. Wrigleyball is our lone BitD topic today, so take me out to the ball game you worthless chump.

Florida @ Chicago, 1:25: The loner feature today pits Mr. Ryan Dempster of the solid 11-4 mark against the fresh-off-Tommy John-surgery Josh Johnson. This is the Marlins youngster's third outing since his recovery, and he'll be looking for a decision in this match, as he's yet to earn one.

The Cubs still maintain their first-place NL Central lead, but the Brew Crew has won eight freaking games in a row, and now only sits one game behind them. Likewise, this match will be important for Florida, a mere two games behind Los Mets in the East, so pitching will be key. The Cubs could use some solid work from the mound, having sent Kerry Wood to the DL yesterday for the 12th time in his 10-year career.

Also sent to the DL was Kansas City Royal Joey Gathright. Team sources say Gathright has a shoulder bone bruise. I call it a horrible case of permanent suck.

Dear Dayton Moore: His speed on the basepaths is a stupid desire because he never gets on base. The outfield is in great shape without him; he's never going to amount to a hill of beans. Just cut your losses. Please. I'm begging you.

Anyway, Cubs-Marlins. Catch it on DirecTV 722, or channel 186 on XM. Whatever you do, kill da' ump!
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mas Dumpage

It's time once again to bring you a collection of ThumbTubes and YouNails, only without the YouThumbs, or the TubeNails. I'm not sure which. Lots of good reading after the jump, though, so hop to it.

Not only did we already know that that the New York Yankees organization is gay in the mouf, and its fans are assholes, With Leather shows us how barbaric and unruly they can really be.

Deadspin -- who apparently now owns a nation -- via the Chicago Bull, shows us a nomination for Name of the Year.

Chiefs Nation, on the other hand, is um, being scrutinized by some random, scarcely dressed gal.

(clip courtesy of Arrowhead Addict)

Awful Announcing has compiled some interesting Favre photos.

Bugs and Cranks has another installment on the Bonds v. Ruth series.

Homerun Derby has one final, fond look at the last snapshots taken of Harry Caray at Wrigley.

More Brodie Croyle "analysis":

(link courtesy of Chiefs Gab)

The Onion has some precious rap-rhymin' ideas.

Gotta offer kudos to the Missouri Southern alum, occasional fourth-string Broncos quarterback. He was one of few Broncos I always respected.

(clip courtesy of Bronco Talk)

HercRock is convinced #80 won't wind up in Canton.
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Baseball in the Daytime: 7-24-08

We've got a trio of matches slated for this fine day of late-July baseball. One of today's games feature league leaders, while the other two tend more towards the bottom of their respective divisions. Of the three, two are of the National League variety, while the lone AL contest features a guy looking to keep up with the Mussinas in the double-digits wins category. I'll give you a hint: he hails from Denver, CO and boasts 1200+ strikeouts in his career. That, and he just might be the cat pictured here on the left, but I can't give away any other details. Find out more on this mystery man after the jump.

Phillies @ Los Mets, 11:10: The first on the docket today is a slugfest between the tied-for-first-place-in-the-NL Central clubs that call Philadelphia and New York home. The Phils send lefty Jamie Moyer to the mound, he of the 9-6 record and winner of his last two starts. His opponent will be the also-southpaw Oliver Perez, who currently sits at 6-6. The Mets took yesterday's contest 6-3, likely angering the Phanatic and all baseball fans in Philly. Check 722 for your Philly DirecTV feed, 723 if you root for Los Mets. XM calls the pitches on 189.

Blue Jays @ Orioles, 11:35: Twenty-five minutes later, 11-win Roy Halladay and the Canadian Blue Jays take on Daniel Cabrera and the Baltimore birds. Both of these righties are on the positive side of .500 for their personal records thus far, and both clubs likely don't enjoy their spots at the bottom of the AL East. The Jays are 10 games behind the Rays, while the O's have another half game to whittle away. DirecTV's got the match on 724, and XM will hook you on the 178.

Capitals at Giants, 2:45: Later in the afternoon, it's a war between the coasts, as two more righties square off in the form of San Fran's Matt Cain and Washington's Tim Redding. Both pitchers have their E.R.A.s above four, and will seek to lower them in the Bay Area. Nats feed over on DirecTV is 725; Giants is one digit higher. XM delivers the broadcast 183-style.

That's what's in store for BitD today. Now get out there and gripe about that strike zone!

(Update: It just occurred to me that this post didn't get published before I left the house this morning -- a.k.a. prior to the start of these games -- which certainly had nothing to do with the fact that I was still drunk when I woke up, which renders this post totally useless. Annoying? I'm in agreeance. I blame Al Gore.)
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weekday Whippoorwill: 7-23-08

Yes. That's right. Two "original" posts in one day and we're back to the link dumpage. Wanna fight about it?

Kidding. There're a few sports items to gloss over, and not one of them has to do with cell phones or Brett Favre. We'll get after it, just after the jump.

The zany intern Bill over at The Big Lead has uncorked an Oakland newspaper columnist that questions the mantras of one Billy Beane.

All Balls has compiled a top 10 list. The topic? Best athletes whom have posed in Playboy.

Baseball reflections has a handy list of the week (thus far) in MLB transactions.

Rumors and Rants has a great read, a piece of guys who went out on top. Yes. John Elway is in there. Why? I'm not sure. I always thought he liked being on the bottom.

End Zone Buzz is running through NFL divisions and previewing them. Here are their thoughts on the AFC West. In a shocking display of unexpectedness, they think the Chiefs have no shot at the division.

Major League Jerk gifts us this video of two (alleged) playmates interviewing Bronson Arroyo:

Finally, with all of the NFC North chatter going on, it seems as though everyone has forgotten about the Bears. Deadspin thinks the job of quarterback may lie in the fate of a coin flip, while Sports by Brooks informs us that that wicked return specialist Devin Hester seeks more jack.
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We Are Hot Chicks Wednesday: Makin' Some Racket

Every once in a while, we get requests for specific material here in this House of Georges, and even more seldom, we honor it. This is one of those occasions in which we deliver. Rest assured, they will not become a regular occurrence, unless of course kindly asked for in the comments. Take heed, however, for we may appear calm and benign behind our words, but under the surface, we resemble exactly what you feel when you look at this man leaning up against his pick-up truck.

Nasty, huh? Let's jump away from that poisonous image, and on to something more soothing.

Anna Kournikova

It's only fitting that we kick this post off with the poster child of hot tennis.

Feel free to take this opportunity to insert your own tagline about how Anna never won big matches,

or how she likes to bang hockey players, 'cause I ain't doin' it.

I've never had a beef with the lovely Russian.

When active in the Women's Tennis Association,

she was a pleasure to watch. And hey -- she still is.

Gabriela Sabatini

Buenos Aires, or "good airs."

It is from the Argentinan city of pleasing oxygen from which Miss Sabatini hails.

Some hailed her as the hottest tennis icon ever.

I wouldn't argue either side of that one.

Tamira Paszek

Miss Paszek calls Austria home,

home is where the heart is,

and apparently in Austria, they like to show off the door to the house.

Jelena Dokic

Blond pony tails seem to be an everlasting stamp of approval in the WTA.

Throw in some Australian out back, and it's a mega-hit.

I hear the mates around front are inviting as well,

regardless of whether they're in All Blacks,

or All Reds,

or All Whites,

or in mid-colour change.

Jelena Jankovic

From one Jelena to another,

the red-and-black theme sticks around,

reaching from the Great Barrier Reef

to Serbia.

Anna Ivanovic

Miss Ivanovic has undeniably taken over the role of the most popular racket-wielding Anna in the game.

Her game is on. Her look bares mentioning,

her style unmistakable.

If I were a ratings guy -- and I'm not --

I'd bet those numbers are higher when she's on the court.

Like the Anna before her, she seems to have embraced her iconic role in today's tennis world,

an undertaking for which we can all be thankful,

whether she's on the court or not.

Maria Sharapova

Maria has somehow fallen in between Annas I and II.

This is not to say that either Miss Sharapova or Miss Ivanovic has a better game than the other,

or that one is stronger,

or more evocative.

I posit that they are equally important.

Each has her place in the hubs of social networks, and for now,

perhaps Maria has the edge in the marketing department.

Either, I'm sure, could sell some sand to a Saudi Arabian at a ridiculously high price.

Nicole Vaidisova

And of course we musn't leave out the wonderful Czech Republic.

In addition to great hockey players and remarkable pilsners,

they give us Vaidisovals at the baseline,

and at the net.

Marta Domachowska

Marta calls Poland home, and has obvious social graces.

She's also been graced with quite an overhand,

admirable flexibility,

a keen knack for storage,

a lovely studious look,

a ripped-and-defined figure,

and a hip, welcoming smile.

Sania Mirza

Miss Mirza was thrust into the tennis world from India.

She brings her sense of Eastern sleekness to the game,

and it's visible wherever she goes, be it with racket,

or with good old-fashioned fashion.

Daniela Hantuchova

Another dynamite Czech, Daniela looks good without color,

or in her Sharapovaesque look.

She's also got a look all her own,

one that boasts an amazing physique,

and an eye for the definition of hot.

Iveta Benesova

The Czechs have taken over,

they've made their mark,

and will take no prisoners.

Their dominance in the world of hot tennis only looks up from here.

Maria Kirilenko

The Russians, however, won't give in easily.

They've got tradition in the game, and remain a force on the court,

and a sweet surprise away from it.

Ashley Harkleroad

But alas there remains at least one American.

They will not go away, ever-competitive,

downhome, seemingly innocent, and really good at one thing in particular:

Getting. Naked. Advantage: USA!

(All images -- save our mulleted friend -- courtesy of Hot Female Tennis Players)
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