There are only a few days until the start of the MLB playoffs and SportsPickle is previewing each playoff team. Today: Philadelphia Phillies.
October 2, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Teams preemptively banning players from using Google Wave
"I don't really know what this Google Wave is," says NBA commissioner David Stern. "But it sounds like some unholy combination of blogging, Facebook and Twitter. So, basically, the worst thing ever. I can't have our players communicating without a filter to the outside world. Banned." Google Wave, a cross-platform, web-based communication tool that is currently in beta testing, is the talk of the Internet and the greatest fear of coaches and league executives. "To me Google Wave sounds like change," says Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach. "And i fear change. At least any change that is not within the structure of the spread offense." But some others disagree. "I can't wait to get my hands on it," says USC head football coach Pete Carroll. "I don't know what the hell it is, but I bet it's pretty cool. If it's fun enough, I'll let my players screw around with it during games."
October 2, 2009 Column
Tweet of the Week
Tweet of the Week
From @terrellowens AKA Buffalo Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens
With only three games left in the regular season, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer is within reach of baseball immortality. If he can string together a few hits in the final weekend of the season, Mauer can be the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams in 1941.
"It won't be easy," says Mauer, who will need to go 28-for-28 in the three closing games against the Royals to get it done. "But hitting .400 isn't easy."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says the toughest part for his young catcher will be getting off to a good start.
"If he can open the series with a nice 10-for-10 or 11-for-11 game, I think everything else will fall into place," said Gardenhire. "But we have to help him out, too. We have to put him in situations where he is getting good pitches to hit. Also, we have to play 20-inning games."
Mauer enters the series hitting .367 on the season, needing to up his average only 33 points over the final three games to reach the milestone.
"Back at the start of the season I raised my average from .000 to .700 in three games," says Mauer. "I know I can do something like that again. In fact, .400 might even be a conservative goal."
While Mauer and the Twins are eyeing history, the Royals say they don't want to be the team Mauer achieves history against.
"No one wants to be the pitcher who let a guy hit .400," says Royals ace Zach Greinke. "And absolutely no one wants to be the pitcher who let a guy go 11-for-11 off of them. Although I don't know if my arm has enough in it at this point in the season to throw 20 innings."
At the end of the weekend, Mauer will either reach .400 or he won't. And he knows it. The pressure is on.
"I'm honestly not too nervous," he says. "There is room for error. I don't have to be perfect. I can foul some pitches off. Or I can go 29-for-30. I'll be okay."
There are only a few days until the start of the MLB playoffs and SportsPickle is previewing each playoff team. Today: Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jan Hummel, a German exchange student at Valley Meade High School in Wisconsin, has shown very little interest in athletics in his one month at the school and reportedly isn't even very good at soccer.
"It's a huge disappointment," said Kip Davis, Valley Meade's boys' varsity soccer coach. "We've never had a foreign kid who hasn't at least been good enough to be a serviceable backup on the team. And usually they're our best players. At the very least, their accent makes us feel more like a real soccer team."
Without its annual foreign recruit, the Rovers have struggled to a 4-7 record so far this season, making it the first Valley Meade squad to be without at least one player from overseas since 1984.
"I just want to come to U.S., learn better English and get ready for my further studies at university," says Hummel. "I do not really like to play the game you here call soccer. I do not mean to disappoint my new school and hopeful new friends, but it is a thing I must do."
Hummel claims he never played soccer while growing up in Germany.
"Lies. Pure lies. I don't buy it," says Coach Davis. "He's from another country. Of course he plays soccer. You know, I looked in on his gym class the other day and they were playing soccer. He's not a superstar, but he's definitely better than some of the kids I have playing and he would contribute. He should be on my team. The administration should force him to be."
But Hummel maintains he never played and doesn't want to start, even though many of the girls at Valley Meade say he looks and sounds like David Beckham.
"Honestly, I do not lie about this thing," he said. "I watch some soccer as I grow up as a boy on television, but I never play. Watch only."
Coach Davis has scheduled a meeting to review Valley Meade's exchange student program with the school principal and superintendent for next week.
"If we're going to have these foreign kids come over here, give them a place to stay, feed them, and give them an education, the least they can do is play soccer for us," says Davis. "There's no benefit to our school to have them if they're not playing sports. Just think of the foreign kids who could use this opportunity foreign kids who just happen to be dominant strikers or midfielders with great vision. Goalies even. These are the kids we should have here. This Hummel kid is abusing the system. It has to stop."
Everything that appears on SportsPickle is great. But some is even more great. Here is what you the disgusting, unwashed, halitosed masses liked best in those heady days of September 2009.
Enjoy! (And take a shower, masses.)
Oh, and yeah that's the Pulitzer up there. Uh-huh.
In a sign some see as confidence in his team's postseason chances, and others see as evidence he still has yet to hit puberty, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby revealed today that he has already begun growing his playoff beard, some six months short of the start of the playoffs.
"I need to start now if I hope to have any hair visible come April for the playoffs," Crosby said. "In past years I started right after the New Year and it was too late. Way too late, as you probably saw."
Crosby, now 22 years-old and beginning his fifth season in the NHL, says he is sure his new approach will give him a full beard in time for the Stanley Cup Finals.
"No one will mock me anymore," he says. "For that specific thing, at least."
But those close to the superstar doubt that not shaving for the entire regular season will produce the results Crosby is expecting.
"I remember how it was back when I was a kid," says veteran Penguins right wing Bill Guerin. "You want that facial hair, you want to look like a man, so you never shave. But all that does is create a whole lot of peach fuzz, which is really more humiliating than no facial hair at all. You have to shave a lot to build up a good beard. The more you shave the thicker it gets. It's kind of counter-intuitive, but that's how it works."
Crosby isn't buying it, though.
"I've tried that approach and look," he said, dropping his towel. "Still no armpit hair and still no pubes. Some day, though. Some day."
October 1, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Reports: Obama traveling to Denmark in support of Kenya 2016
According to reports circulating widely throughout right-wing blogs and talk radio, President Obama is flying to Denmark to make a last-ditch pitch to the IOC for Kenya 2016 not Chicago 2016 as the White House stated. "Michelle Obama may be there for Chicago because, as far as we know, at least, she is from America," reads a post on the influential right-wing blog PerfectPundit.com. "But it's all smoke and mirrors stuff. It's cover for Barack HUSSEIN Obama to really campaign for Kenya 2016. In addition to destroying America, it's been his lifelong goal to bring the Olympics to his homeland. That has long been obvious to anyone with a brain. And with America now near ruins because of his actions, he is moving onto his second goal of the Olympics in Kenya." While the blog entry stated that Kenya does not have an official 2016 entry, commenters quickly noted that only further confirms the real truth. "Everything HUSSEIN does is in secret," wrote commenter Freedum76. "If he's not going to admit the big stuff like how hes a TERRORIST, hes not goin to talk about the small stuff like wanting to bring the olympics to his home country of africa either." The PerfectPundit post has been quickly picked up by larger right-wing news outlets who have all noted that the White House has "curiously" not responded yet to the reports. Meanwhile, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has begun promoting her upcoming book, stating in an interview that Obama's link to Olympians deeply concerns her. "There he goes again, pallin' around with drug users," she said.