September 9, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Mets hopeful they can maintain 15-game lead over Nationals for 4th place
After back-to-back Septembers that saw them choke away huge leads in the division, the New York Mets are growing confident that this September will be different. "I am proud to see how this team has put the past two years behind them," said manager Jerry Manuel. "We vowed before the season that we wouldn't let 2007 and 2008 happen again and we've been very successful in doing that." With just 24 games to play, the Mets have a 15-game cushion between themselves and last place and the Washington Nationals. Despite all the pressure and fan expectations, the Mets have played some of their best baseball of the season of late, winning four of their last 10 games. Even with that surge, Manuel thinks the NL East race won't be decided until the last week of the season. "We play the last three days of September in Washington," he said. "I have a feeling that's going to be for all the last place marbles. I'm confident we'll be ready."
AVOID: Brady Quinn, QB, Browns If you're looking for a backup quarterback in the late rounds of your draft, it may be tempting to draft Brady Quinn, the presumptive starter in Cleveland. But remember Quinn hasn't been officially announced as the Browns starter. Eric Mangini is keeping it a big secret. But this isn't the good kind of secret. This isn't your girlfriend or boyfriend keeping it a secret about where you are going for your anniversary. Or you not knowing exactly how big your year-end bonus will be. This is a bad secret. Like being told that someone played a prank outside your front door and you not knowing if it's a flaming poo bag on the welcome mat or a rotten fish shoved in your mail slot. Either way it's bad. So whatever you do, don't draft this poo bag. (Quinn is the poo bag, of course. Duh! Derek Anderson is totally a rotten fish.)
It has worked for the Ravens defense.
Now Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron hopes it will work for the Ravens offense.
Bounties, that is.
"I'm tired of this team being so imbalanced between our great defense and punchless offense," said Cameron. "The Ravens have been in this town for 13 years and their offense has sucked every one of those years. Maybe these guys need some extra impetus to score."
So just as the Ravens defense has posted bounties on the heads of certain opposing offensive players in the past, Cameron is posting bounties of his own this year. On the end zone.
"Get in the end zone, score a touchdown, I will personally give you $2,000," said Cameron. "It's pretty simple. I hope I'm out a lot of money at the end of this year. But with these guys' track record, I'm afraid I won't be. I am more than willing to be surprised, though. It's on them."
Cameron's end zone bounty offer isn't as simple as he makes it sound.
"Yeah, there is some fine print," he said. "Well, basically it's just one thing. These have to be legitimate offensive touchdowns that we create all by ourselves as an offensive unit. Like, an actual drive like you see good teams have. I'm not giving anyone any money if Ed Reed picks off a pass and runs it back 60 yards to the 2-yard line and then we punch it in. That doesn't count. That's pretty much how we score all of our offensive touchdowns. I'm sick of it. It's embarrassing."
Under those narrowed terms, Cameron estimates he would have been out $4,000 last year.
"Two drives. Two real, NFL-quality drives. All season," says Cameron. "That's pathetic. And I think both of them came against the Browns. I don't know if I would pay out for touchdowns against the Browns. Those are cheaper than the ones set up by Ed Reed."
Portuguese deep-sea diver Poreto smashed the world record for unaided deep-sea diving today, diving over 600 feet down into the Pacific Ocean, despite numerous pleas from his boat crew to return to the surface with fresh lobsters for all.
Poreto broke his own personal best record of 595 feet with the dive, surviving underwater for nearly 30 minutes without the aid of supplemental oxygen.While underwater, Poreto slowed his heart rate to an incredible 50 beats per minute, and never once considered foraging around for shrimp, clams, oysters, or any other kind of delicious seafood that would make for a fabulous clambake.
“I don’t get it,” said boat captain Mike Durant. “He’s down in that water for nearly half an hour while we wait. The least he can do is grab us something to eat.”
“I heard there are squid down there too,” Durant added. “Mmm… calamari.”
Poreto dismissed any complaints from his crew about returning to the boat empty handed.
“Deep sea diving is not about hunting. It’s a communion between man and the sea," he said. "When I am down there, I have to keep my body disciplined. There cannot be a wasted movement, not even a stray glance. To do so would break the harmony that the ocean and I share at such depths.”
Durant remained unfazed.
“He’s always pulling that New Agey crap. Sometimes, he’ll stay down in that water for 30, even 45 minutes. We get hungry up here. I think he comes back without lobster just to be a dick about it, frankly. He knows damn well he could grab a couple five-pounders while he’s down there. You got a couple five-pounders, you got yourself a feast.”Durant added: “Imagine if we had some fries to go with it. Jesus, that would be good. Too bad potatoes don't grow underwater.”
Deep sea diving is regarded as one of the riskiest sports in the world. Just last year, three professional deep sea divers drowned when their zip lines failed to return them to the ocean surface in time, killing them, and leaving their crews bereft of any juicy, tender lobsters that could be boiled alive right in the boat galley and served with drawn butter and lemon.
“People die more often in this sport than you think,” says Dr. Mikhael Levin, of Harvard University. “You’re talking about people deliberately cutting off the oxygen supply to their brains, and subjecting themselves to any number of decompression sicknesses at such extreme depths. And they do it with no intention of ever finding a nice piece of halibut to enjoy later on with a glass of Chablis. It'ssenseless, when you think about it.”
For his part, Poreto plans to keep on diving, and to further break his own records.
“This is about pushing the limits of what the human body can withstand. It’s the ultimate gauge of our evolution. And I will keep doing this until the day I die, whenever that may come," he said. "Regardless, if Mike Durant wants fresh octopus tonight, he can jolly well go buy some at the fishmonger before we set out to sea.”
September 8, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Stanford player's trash talk includes Yeats references
Stanford beat Washington State 39-13 on Saturday and, in the process, gave the Cougars an education. "Their players really like to yap," said Washington State receiver John Monroe. "But their trash talk really isn't like anything I've heard before. There's a lot less cursing. It sounds almost like a foreign language." Stanford cornerback Donte White says he chose to quote from the selected works of W.B. Yeats on Saturday. "'One should not lose one's temper unless one is certain of getting more and more angry to the end'," said White, a physics major who says he dabbles in poetry. "Or: 'But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.' That sort of thing. Next game I think I'm going to go with some Kingsley Amis."
They’ve done College Co-Eds. They’ve done Island Orgy. Same with Wet T-Shirt Strip-Off, Doggy Style, Dormroom Fantasies, and Finally 18. But finally, after 77 “GirlsGoneWild” editions, the DVD series will feature all of the hottest, hardest, sweatiest, moan-inducing fouls from the WNBA’s 13 years.
“This is the most aggressive, hardcore ‘GirlsGoneWild’ DVD yet,” said franchise founder Joe Francis. “Thesegirls hold nothing back and want to get it on with each other. We turned the cameras on and they wanted to go at it all night long.”
Francis also said the newWNBAedition features some of the most diversegirls ever included in a “GirlsGoneWild” DVD.
“There’s someone for everybody, every freakish fetish,” he said. “Tall ones. Skinny ones.Girlswho are all muscular. Jiggly, beefy ones. Even a few with mustaches. I can guarantee that there is at least one player on there that will make every guy want to whip out his balls and stroke it. And I mean that both as a euphemism for masturbation and because there is a lot of good, fundamentally-sound basketball shown that could motivate you to go out and play some hoops and practice your jumper. You know, after you’re done whacking it.”
The soft-port titan also claims that many of thegirlson the video are lesbians.
“And I’m not talking the kind that are in college and get drunk and kiss each other like on our other videos. Those aren’t real lesbians,” said Francis. “I’m talking real, 100-percent, hardcore ones that want to get married to other lesbians. I mean, usually I hate monogamy. But when we’re talking two chicks who are totally into each other forever? Oh yeah!”
WNBAcommissioner Donna Orender says she supports the release of the DVD.
“We are constantly looking for ways to expand our fanbase and I think this DVD will help do that,” said Orender. “Hockey and football have highlight DVDs of all of their hard hits, so this is our version. I don’t necessarily understand the decision to add a ‘70s bassline over the highlights, but my specialty isn’t video production. I just was told about some company wanting to feature ourgirlsin a highlight DVD and I signed off on it. After that, things were kind of out of my control.”
Even longtime critics of the “GirlsGoneWild” series have praise for the new WNBAedition.
“While this DVD still shows lots of skin of the arms and lower legs, it thankfully does not show full nudity,” said feminist writer Wendy Burkle. “This is positive news for all those who fight the continued exploitation of the female body. Coincidentally, it is also positive news for all those who are in favor of the continued exploitation of the female body because – let’s be honest here – there are very fewWNBAplayers that anyone wants to see naked, fouling one another or not. I hope this DVD doesn't cause viewers to seek out more adult content to try to forget what they've seen.”
DRAFT: Matt Forte, RB, Bears Forte was last season's breakout rookie, totaling 1,238 rushing yards, 477 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns. And this year, with Jay Cutler in the fold, Forte should face fewer eight-man fronts. Granted, there is some growing concern in football circles that the former Tulane star is more a numbers guy than a legitimate force on the football field. They point to the fact that Forte averaged less than four yards a carry last season and only broke 100 yards three times in 16 games. Most surprising of all, there are apparently people who value actual football ability over the ability to post meaningful fantasy stats. Weird!
The story of the US Open has been 17-year-old sensation Melanie Oudin, who has shocked the field by making it to the quarterfinals.
Who is this girl? Here are some facts about Melanie Oudin.
The young phenom advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova.Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has reportedly mailed her radioactive poison.
Melanie Oudin was born September 23, 1991 in Marietta, Georgia. She is 5-foot-6 and weights 130 pounds. I just included that last bit there because 17 year-old girls love it when their weight is published for the whole world to see.
Oudin says her hero is Justine Henin because "she proved you don't have to be tall to win things." Poor Melanie. She is completely unaware that all of the good trophies are kept high up on shelves where she can't see them. Sad.
Oudin has a twin sister, Katherine, who attends public school, while Melanie is home schooled so she can focus on her tennis. Friends of the family know Katherine as the sister with lighter hair and braces, while Melanie is known as the one without a childhood who will have a lifetime of regrets.
Oudin's father, John, is of French descent. This is probably why Oudin often plays back at the baseline and doesn't advance to the net. Get it?! Because she is scared. IT'S A JOKE ABOUT FRENCH PEOPLE BEING PUSSIES! Man, good stuff there. Enjoy.
Oudin plays right-handed. And she has a two-handed backhand.
Oudin's favorite singer is Chris Brown. Really. So she must be a huge fan of two-handed backhands.
Her nickname is "The Oudini." She is so-dubbed because she is often able to escape tight situations in her matches. However, so far she has been unable to escape being given horrible pun nicknames.
Most kids who love sports dream of hitting the game-winning shot or throwing the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl or crushing a home run to win the World Series. But Tyler Stallman is not most kids. He is much larger than most kids.
"Fat" you could even say. "Morbidly obese" if you were trying for accuracy.
"For as long as I can remember, since he was a little boy, Tyler has dreamed of being an offensive lineman," said his mother, Jackie. "And I think he can do it. Look at him. He's a tub."
Most days Mrs. Stallman can find her son outside in the yard of their trailer home imagining himself throwing the winning block in the Super Bowl.
"And Peyton Manning drops back to pass but they are blitzing him!" Tyler will say. "Who will block for him? Oh! It's Tyler Stallman! What a block! It's the play of the Super Bowl! Also, a touchdown was scored on the play."
"He would be out there for hours every day," said his mother. "But usually he gets winded pretty quickly and comes inside for a snack and a nap. Or he'll just collapse in the yard and wake up and drag himself in later when he gets hungry."
Stallman's bedroom is a testament to his desire to be an offensive lineman one day. Its walls are covered with drawings of great linemen.
"Nobody sells posters of linemen, so I have to draw them myself," says Tyler. "This one over here is William Roaf. I traced the body from a Santa decoration we put up at Christmas."
If Tyler keeps working hard at the dining table, some think he has a legitimate chance of playing in the NFL one day and living out those dreams.
"He's only a kid now," said Jack Riggins, head coach of the local high school team. "But he definitely has the girth I look for in a lineman. I like to build my teams from the line out, and I have my eye on this Stallman kid. I've tracked him since his birth announcement in the paper said he was 13 pounds. If he can stay fat for the next three years and not fall prey to society's pressures to be slim and healthy, I think he can be a star."
For now, though, his football career will have to wait, as none of the youth league uniforms or helmets fit his enormous body.
Tyler says he won't let anything stand in the way of his dream.
"Look at this," he said, opening a container of Oreos for dinner.
"I'm so proud of my boy," said his mother. "He's going to be rich one day and get me the new house and stomach stapling I've always wanted."
"Grmupfh," promised Tyler, his mouth full.
NFL rosters have been cut down to 53 players. Some bigger names didn't make it. I spoke to my sources to find out why.
Jeff Garcia, QB, Raiders Coaches says Garcia did everything asked of him and provided just the veteran leadership they wanted. He just wasn't a good fit with the team because it turns out many of Oakland's plays have S's in them and Garcia's lisp confused play calls at the line of scrimmage.
Ian Johnson, RB, Vikings It was a numbers issue with the former Boise State star in Minnesota. There were just too many quality backs already on the roster. But Johnson may have earned himself a spot on the practice squad with a dramatic proposal to head coach Brad Childress.
Carey Davis, FB, Steelers Davis has been a solid contributor for the Steelers and had a good camp. But Pittsburgh wants to limit distractions this year while trying to repeat. And some coaches worried his first name was a subtle request for more carries.
David Tyree, WR, Giants Tyree struggled catching the ball in camp and coaches were not open to his idea of wearing helmets on each of his hands.
Alex Smith, TE, Patriots Alex Smith was hurt again by sharing the same name as that piece of crap 49ers quarterback. He struggles to break through those expectations no matter how well he plays.
Andrew Walter, QB, Patriots Bill Belichick got a hankering to cut someone and Walter just happened to be nearby at the time.
John David Booty, QB, Vikings Booty lost his job because some old turdbag simply can't move on with his life.