Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Heartbreak

Tonight's Likes

Heat (+6) at Pistons
Hey, remember a few weeks back when I said I didn't like the Heat anymore and that Pat Riley is overrated? Well, I take it back. And I was wrong. They were playing the Bulls and I was very emotional. It happens.

I like the Heat again. It was never going to be a long time before I got backing to liking a team that features Shaquille O'Neal and Dwayne Wade. More importantly, any team that toys with the Pistons is A-OK in my book.

This Pistons team is beginning to remind me of the 1991 Pistons who were swept out of the playoffs by the up-and-coming Bulls. You keep thinking they're going to fight back because they're so good, or at least had been so good, but they never do. They continue to look lifeless. Rasheed Wallace's act isn't so funy anymore when he's getting his butt whooped, and Flip Saunders is looking exactly like the coach with the third-worst road playoff record in NBA histoy, which he is.

Personally, I'd love to see the Heat give the Pistons one last beatdown tonight.

And next year the Central Division belongs to the Bulls.

May record: 18-16

Dirty, Cheating Italians


With the start of the World Cup just nine days away, I've been trying to work up some animosity towards the first round opponents of the U.S., which isn't easy. I mean, how can you feel any ill will towards the Czech Republic or Ghana? What have they ever done to piss anyone off? I guess I could be greedy and berate the Czechs for not providing the world with even more Petra Nemcovas and Eva Herzigovas, but I'm just not working myself into a lather here, to be honest.

So thank God for the Italians. The dumb, dirty, cheating pretty boy Italians. I'm fairly certain that unless you're actually Italian, you're not a fan of the team and, more than likely, derive some joy out of its failures. Like in the final of EURO 2000 when they were seconds away from the title only to see France score an equalizer in the dying moments and then win in extra time. Yeah, that was funny. Or in the 2002 World Cup when they were ousted after the ref did everything in his power to help South Korea, which was playing on home soil. That was even funnier. Or when Roberto Baggio his missed his penalty kick against Brazil in 1994. Or when the Swedes and Danes conspired against them. It's always hysterical.

Point is, it's easy to dislike Italy. Why is this the case? Well, let's count the ways.

1) They're boring.

The first thing you think of when discussing Italian soccer is usually their penchant for playing arguably the most defensive, you-ain't-scoring-on-us soccer on the planet. Give them a 1-0 lead and you can rest assured that all eleven players are going to be behind the ball for the rest of the match come hell or high water. Give them a 2-0 lead and if their striker crosses midfield into the opposing half of the pitch, somewhere a pig will take flight.

The sad part is that, when so inclined, the Italians actually can play attractive, free-flowing soccer. They can be creative. They can be a joy to watch. When so inclined. Unfortunately, such occasions occur about as often as Ricky Williams passing a piss test. It's in their nature, in their blood, to hang back and, basically, play a game of chicken to see which team cracks first and allows that one dreaded goal, and if Italy scores that goal, the game will ultimately end 1-0, most likely. Sure, this philosophy has served the Italians well for a long time, but few teams are more sleep-inducing.

2) They cheat.

As even non-soccer fans have probably heard, the entire Italian soccer league is under the huge, dark cloud of a match-fixing scandal at the moment. The details are too boring and, of course, too nauseating to delve into, but, ultimately, the fallout should result in Italian soccer being rocked to the core.

Or maybe not.

You see, this is actually nothing new to the greasy, sneaky Italians. In fact, one of their greatest ever World Cup heroes, Paolo Rossi, was also an infamous cheat. Hell, the Italians thrive on being underhanded and corrupt. It's what they do. They wouldn't be Italian if they weren't fucking someone over.

The last time Italy had the shroud of a scandal overhead heading into a World Cup was in 1982. Star forward Rossi was in the center of - you guessed it - a match-fixing scandal and was coming off what was supposed to be a three-year ban from the game, which was mysteriously lifted only weeks before the World Cup by an Italian team that apparently thought he was punished enough. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.


Paolo Ross, the typical Italian: a cheater and a hero. All at once.

Rossi ought to have been entering the final 12 months of a three-year ban during the finals. Implicated in a betting scandal then considered the worst in Italian soccer, it involved charges against 33 players, three club presidents and two gamblers. Accused of fixing a game for a syndicate after being overheard to say to an opponent "2-2, if you want..." before scoring twice for Perugia in a 2-2 draw with Avellino in 1980, Rossi protested his innocence throughout and was not found guilty by the Italian courts. Allegations his lawyers had offered hush money to a prosecution witness were never substantiated.

But Italy scoring only 11 goals in eight qualifying games meant Rossi's misdemeanours were suddenly seen in a more forgiving light as the finals approached. Conveniently, his suspension was lifted five weeks before the country's first game in Spain, leaving the former pin-up of the Italian game relieved but also concerned he would be the face of the wanted posters in the event of the country failing.

What happened? Rossi ended up leading the 1982 World Cup with six goals and Italy won the final. Of course.

Many American fans are now holding out hope that the current scandal will have a negative effect on the Italians' World Cup campaign, but I'm not so sure. Come on, they're Italians! If anyone can shake off their shady misdeeds and not even worry about the embarrassment of having been caught - or even wear it as a badge of honor - it's a bunch of pretty boy Italians who are to being corrupt what the Irish are to being drunks. I doubt the current scandal affects Italy much. In fact, they're probably thinking of new refs to bribe next season as we speak.

3) They're pretty boys.

By and large, the Italian team is usually comprised of a collection of dudes who look like they're straight out of a Gap ad. Seriously. The likes of Francesco Totti and Gianluigi Buffon are so pretty I'm almost attracted to them. As a teenager, I was forced to question my burgeoning sexuality every time I watched the legendary but now retired Paolo Maldini play. (Oh, come on, the dude was attractive.) Shit, I'm sure most any Italian soccer player - all by himself - pulls more tail than an entire roster of Minnesota Vikings on a cruise ship.

4) They bitch. Incessantly.

Italian players tend to flop around looking for calls, fight with opponents, whine, bitch, moan, and bicker with refs more than Naomi Cambell functioning on no sleep. In other words, they're prima donnas and aren't afraid to whine constantly to prove it. They're obviously comfortable with being insufferable bitches. Which is admirable, I suppose, in a way.

If anyone sums up the typical Italian player, it's Totti, whose most famous moment on the field came at EURO 2004 when he spit directly in the face of a Denmark player and it was caught on film and instantly zoomed to all corners of the globe. Like I said, whiny bitches. All of them.


Totti spits in the face of Denmark's Christian Poulsen. An Italian being an asshole. Gee, shocking.

5) Italian fans are horrible.

Have you watched many games from the Italian league? If not, don't worry. Neither do many Italians, apparently. It's amazing that despite being one of the most powerful leagues in the world, attendance is often awful. Turn on any game from Italy, even a game featuring mega clubs such as Juventus or AC Milan, and you'll most likely see plenty of empty seats. This is in stark contrast to the leagues in England or Spain or France or anywhere else in the world, really, where seats are harder to come by than a Barry Bonds fan. Hell, watch old tapes of the 1990 World Cup, which was played in Italy, and even then empty seats were abundant at many games. That's just pathetic. Pathetic! Italian supporters are the Atlanta Braves fans of the world. No heart. No soul.

Even worse, racism is rampant among Italian fans, who have been known to greet black players with bananas and monkey howls. Despicable fucks.

6) Paolo di Canio.

This asshole, who celebrates goals with a fascist salute, makes John Rocker look warm and fuzzy.

7) They're dirty.

Watch any Italian game and you're certain to see several heinous, filthy fouls, many of which will clearly be meant to injure an opponent. Once you've seen an Italian player fly in from behind and take an unsuspecting opponent's legs out with malicious intent, you've seen it a thousand times. And when said opponent is on the ground in obvious pain, the Italian player will look at the ref and give his best "Who? Me?" impression. It's an old act by the Italians and so, so predictable.

The Italian motto: If you can't beat an opponent (or fix the match via the ref), take his legs out.

8) They have horrible names.

Gianluigi? Francesco? Luigi? Fillipo?

Dorks.

So there. I hope that helps. I hope that when the U.S. and Italy meet on June 17 in Kaiserslautern, you can look at your television and say with meaning, "Fuck Italy."

You won't be the only one.

So What Are You Trying To Say Exactly?


This anonymous scout should tell us how he really felt about Mark Prior's first rehab appearance.

"There was nothing right with him," the scout said of Prior, who is recovering from right shoulder soreness. "No velocity (Prior hit 90 mph on just one pitch). No command. No movement. No missed bats. No consistency — his stride was never the same and his arm was slow. If he wasn't Mark Prior, I'd say he was at the right level (Class A ball). I have no idea what happened to him."


It's hard to tell, really, but I guess the scout wasn't all that impressed. Or am I reading in between the lines too much?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Book The Ukraine For The Semis


Ukranian coach Oleg Blokhin has assured his players that if they reach the semifinals of the World Cup, they will be allowed to have sex with their wives. What a swell guy. Of course, I'm guessing a few of the Ukranian players might have been wishing Blokhin said "other players' wives" considering star Andriy Shevchenko's wife is Kristen Pazik (above). If that were the case, Ukraine would be a lock for the final four.

Elsewhere, in possibly the most stupid thing I've heard in a long time, the New York Red Bulls have supposedly offered Ronaldo $120 million for his services over ten years, which he turned down.

First, even though making a move from Real Madrid to MLS would be akin to leaving the Lakers to go play for a team in the Euroleague, I actually am a bit surprised Ronaldo said no. Over in Spain, he has battled injuries recently and has even been booed by Real Madrid fans who think he's overweight and disinterested. He's not young anymore, and this is most likely his last World Cup. Point is, he's entering the twilight of his career and has accomplished pretty much everything he can at both the international and club level, so why not settle down in the Big Apple and get paid a salary that would make any NBAer or NFLer proud? I mean, he had to at least consider it, right?

But the more important aspect here is the sheer stupidity it takes for MLS to offer one dude $120 million when the annual team salary cap is $1.6 million. Granted, the Beckham rule may allow for one cap exception per team, but still, Enron had numbers that made more sense. The Red Bulls play to sparse crowds in the enormous Giants Stadium and have no new stadium plans officially underway as of yet. To think that throwing out money with a verve to rival the major American sports is a good idea in a league still trying to get its footing is absurd, and possibly suicidal.

Even worse, as good as Ronaldo has been, MLS doesn't need guys who choose to play in the league solely as some sort of lucrative semi-retirement. Fuck that. MLS won't become successful by making it some sort of circus show. (Come behold the once great Ronaldo! Once he was even fit!) Get young, hungry dudes who want to improve and win. American dudes. They're our future, not aging Brazilians who are a few meals away from retiring back to the beaches of Rio. I'm too young to remember the NASL very much, but I do know that the league thought it was a good marketing plan to pay big bucks to some of the biggest names in soccer history. The likes of the legendary Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and Johan Cryuff all faded into oblivion in America after their careers had peaked and were ready for the downslide. So they came to America and made a few bucks to, essentially, go through the motions, at least compared to the level of play they were used to.

And we all know how things worked out for the NASL.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Cleveland Silenced


Being the famously classy guy that he is, I doubt Jim Thome was overly interested in vengefully sticking it to the fans in Cleveland who booed him a few weeks back during the White Sox' first stop through town and continued to boo him today. But it still must have felt good to belt two home runs in an 11-0 rout.

Just as important, Javier Vasquez pitched his best game of the season, allowing just two singles in six innings. Even Juan Uribe, he of the horrid batting average, has been solid at the plate the last two days. Maybe he's coming around. It's been long enough.

Overall, it was a great start to a tough four-game series with the Tribe, not to mention the most complete team victory in a while. As if anything other than a resurgence could be expected following Ozzie's expletive-laced tirade following Saturday's loss. Mark Buehrle and CC Sabathia go tomorrow in what is one of the better pitching matchups you'll find. The Indians have too much talent to be below .500. They still scare me. And we saw what they did in the second half last year. So a few more wins here would be huge.

Incidentally, with the Tigers still 1 1/2 games up on the Pale Hose and currently hosting the Yankees, I've been forced to root for the Yankees for the first time...well...ever. And I don't like it. I don't like it at all. I feel dirty.

These Kids Are Awesome


I wish I had the balls to try a prank like this back in high school.

Two students have been charged with giving a high school’s employees marijuana-spiked muffins in a senior prank that sent 18 people to the hospital and triggered an FBI and terrorism investigation.


Classic.

However, this is a bit disturbing.

Walker, an honors student at a nearby Catholic school, and Tellini, 18, were each charged with five felony counts of assault on a public servant, each of which carries penalties of two to 10 years in prison. Because of the presence of illegal drugs, Dallas County prosecutors are seeking an upgrade to the charges that could raise the maximum sentence to 20 years, district attorney spokeswoman Rachel Raya said.


Twenty years? That's a little excessive, no? Especially in light of these facts...

As of 2005, drug offenders accounted for 55 percent of the federal prison population. About 45 percent of them were in prison for possession, not trafficking.

The number of people incarcerated in federal prisons for drug crimes rose from 14,976 in 1986 to 68,360 in 1999.

It costs U.S. taxpayers $3 billion per year to keep drug offenders behind bars in federal prisons.

Drug offenders have accounted for nearly half the meteoric growth in prison populations since 1995.

About half the population of U.S. jails and prisons are nonviolent offenders, more than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska.

Forty percent of the more than 1,000 state prisons in the U.S. opened in just the last 25 years. The state of Texas alone has opened an average of 5.7 new prisons each year for the last 21 years. Despite this, about half of federal and state prisons operate over capacity.

Total U.S. inmates numbered 488,000 in 1985, 1.3 million in 2001, and number 2.2 million today.

According to survey data by human rights groups, one in five U.S. prison inmates has been sexually assaulted.

According to federal sentencing guidelines, a man would need to possess 50 times more powder cocaine (prefered by white users) than crack cocaine (prefered by black users) to earn the same prison sentence.

Blacks represent about 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 48 percent of the prison population. They represent just 13 percent of drug users, but 38 percent of those arrested for drug crimes, and 59 percent of those convicted.

When convicted of the same drug felony, blacks are about 50 percent more likely to be sentenced to prison than whites.

A black woman's chances of spending some time in prison over the course of her life (5.6 percent) is about equal that of a white man (5.9 percent). For black men, the odds are nearly one in three (32.2%).

Before Congress passed mandatory minimums for offenses related to crack (but which didn't apply to powder cocaine) in 1986, the average drug-related sentence for blacks was 11 percent higher than for whites. After that law, the disparity jumped to 49 percent.


This isn't any worse than spiking the punch bowl at a dance. A slap on the wrist is all that is deserved. Hell, they should be commended for sharing their stash. That stuff ain't cheap.

My favorite part of the story?

Ian Walker’s mother, Caroline, said she first heard about the tainted muffins while watching the news with her son.

“My first thought when I saw it, because I am a mom, was, ‘My heart goes out to the mother of that stupid kid,”’ she said.


Classic.

Next Stop Germany


The U.S. wrapped up its schedule of pre-World Cup friendlies with a ho-hum 1-0 win over Latvia in Hartford. They looked impressive in the sense that they dominated possession and never looked threatened in the slightest. However, Latvia looked so bad that the small margin of victory was a bit disturbing.

Latvia looked like they hadn't played a game since their last World Cup qualifier, which would have been last fall. It appeared they quickly scrapped a squad together to head over to America for a few days. I'm also guessing they made the short trip from Hartford to New York City to do some sightseeing. You didn't get the feeling Latvia was overly interested in this game other than to see some new players and get a little vacation time.

In a game so thoroughly dominated by the U.S., it's hard to pick a single player who stood out, but Eddie Johnson looked energetic and active for the second consecutive game. This is good. A lively Johnson has the potential to be a nightmare to opposing defenses with his blazing speed.

Brian McBride was his usual self, meaning that if the crosses are made, he'll get to a few and probably find the back of the net, which he did.

Cubs Are So Bad It's Humorous


The Cubs were swept by the Braves over the weekend, but on the bright side, at least they're offering some fine comic relief.

Friday - Carlos Zambrano loses a no-hitter in the seventh when Jaque Jones drops routine fly to right field. (I still don't know how this wasn't ruled an error, by the way.) Cubs lose in the ninth on a "two-run sacrifice fly" when Neifi Perez makes two errors on the relay.

Saturday - Lose 2-1 on a bad relay throw. Again.

Sunday - Lose 13-12 in 11 innings when Aramis Ramirez is hit on the noggin on a routine pop-up. Cubs give up eight home runs. Eight.

Cubs are 5-21 in May.

Kerry Wood is supposedly having more shoulder pain.

Cubs fans, I'm not doing this to make fun of your team. But I've been following Chicago baseball for a long time, and as bad as they usually are, this is the most comically awful I can remember the Cubs being. Sure, they normally lose more than they win, but I can't remember a pure Keystone Cops stretch like this. I'm actually following the North Siders a bit more than usual just for shits and giggles. This is like a movie about a really, really bad baseball team. You can't make this stuff up.

By the way, Wrigley Field had its largest crowds since 1978 each of the last two days. Business as usual.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Better



The U.S. looked much better last night in a 2-0 win over Venezuela in Cleveland. Granted, it should be pointed out that a) almost any effort short of not getting off the team bus would have looked swell compared to the debacle against Morocco and b) Venezuela is to South American soccer what Northwestern is to Big Ten hoops.

But a win is a win and the vibes are obviously better heading into the final warmup against Latvia on Sunday. Which is good.

Bobby Convey was probably the best best U.S. player on the night, which is interesting because he's likely a backup to Demarcus Beasley on the left flank. But damn if Convey didn't cause all sorts of chaos down the left side. He needs to be on the field somewhere at some point. Playing in the Premiership is obviously helping.

Brian Ching scored the opener (on a cross from Convey) and Clint Dempsey, who makes rap videos on his off days, and even performs them live, scored the second.

Carlos Bocanegra started and needs to start more. Sure, I'm a bit biased because of his days with the Fire, but I will not dispute this. I don't know if I've ever seen a game where Bocanegra didn't look solid back there. Interestingly, Corey Gibbs has suffered what is probably most any players' worst nightmare. He was knocked off the roster due to injury two weeks before the World Cup. He has four long years to wait. As bad as the injury sucks for Gibbs, there is one more potential starting spot open on the backline now.

Of course it would help if Bocanegra didn't get booted from the game with two yellow cards.

Eddie Johnson looked dangerous and active up top, which isn't always the case. He needs to bring that every night.

Interesting note: How good could the Fire be right now if they hadn't lost Beasely, Bocanegra, and Damani Ralph to Europe? Scary thought.

Speaking of the Fire, they play Chivas tonight. Saturday night in Little East LA. Ariba! Ariba!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tonight's Likes


Suns (+8) at Mavs. Mavs hould bounce back at home to even things up, but Suns should keep it close.

May record: 17-16

Let's Get Invisible


Think of the possibilites this would be good for...

"Yes, you could actually make someone invisible as long as someone wears a cloak made of this material," said Patanjali Parimi, a Northeastern University physicist and design engineer at Chelton Microwave Corp. in Bolton, Mass. Parimi was not involved in the research.

Such a cloak does not exist, but early versions that could mask microwaves and other forms of electromagnetic radiation could be as close as 18 months away, Pendry said. He said the study was "an invitation to come and play with these new ideas."

"We will have a cloak after not too long," he said.

The
Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency supported the research, given the obvious military applications of such stealthy technology.


An invisibilty cloak? Hell, maybe Jay Mariotti can make his way to the White Sox clubhouse someday after all.

Or spend some quality time in a library.

If Only This Ticket Was Real

They'd have my vote.

Fire On Fire


The Fire is quietly on a six-match unbeaten streak, which is all the more impressive considering all the games have come on the road. Hell, it's the longest unbeaten streak in team history. How impressive is that? How many people saw this coming when initially faced with the daunting task of nine straight road games to open the season? Talk about best case scenarios.

Tomorrow night they'll take that streak to Los Angeles to face Chivas in what is their second to last road game before opening up their brand new Bridgeview Stadium. Here's hoping that the Fire's current from, not to mention the consistent success they've enjoyed since joining MLS, results in some large, festive crowds on the South Side this summer.

Stop Whining


As I mentioned following our horrid performance against Morocco the other night, I'm not feeling real optimistic about the U.S.'s chances in Germany. And this isn't helping. Claudio Reyna is not happy about the seeding process.

The 33-year-old Manchester City midfielder said: "FIFA claim their rankings are done by computer, that they have some sort of formula which takes into account each country's results, strength of opponent and the competitiveness of every fixture. Well, if that is the case, why didn't they use them for the draw?"

He added: "We have beaten Mexico eight times out of nine, we beat them in the last World Cup and we finished ahead of them in our qualifying group.

"No one, not even the Mexican media, could make a case for them being seeded above us, yet somehow it happened.

"It just raises the old question about what FIFA is doing. I am sure they want the US at the World Cup, but I think they look on Mexico as a big footballing nation, believe they should be seeded and then come up with a formula to satisfy their requirements. It is so frustrating and irritating."

Unless this quote was taken from ahile ago - like maybe in, oh, I don't know, December when the draw took place - I don't understand why Reyna is whining about this now. Granted, I agree with him. You would think that considering the U.S. won CONCACAF's qualifying stage ahead of Mexico and currently hold the Gold Cup (CONCACAF's championship) and beat Mexico in 2002, we'd be seeded ahead of our rivals to the South. The fact that we aren't makes no sense.

That said, it's ridiculous for Reyna to be complaing about this now with less than three weeks to go before the World Cup kicks off. Maybe he should worry about getting his hammy healed up or the poor performances by the U.S. against Germany and Morocco in our last two friendlies or the prospect of playing powers like Italy or the Czech Republic, not to mention a talented Ghana team.

Don't be an ugly American, Claudio. What's done is done and crying about it isn't going to help. Let's not forget the in-house bickering that took place with the 1998 team that embarrassed itself in France.

The U.S. plays Venezuela tonight in Cleveland in the second to last warmup before Germany.

Mariotti Still Sucks

Funny video here of AJ Pierzynski on PTI as he calls out Jay Mariotti followed by Kornheiser and Wilbon laughing as they distance themselves from anything to do with the Doofus King of Chicago media. Good stuff.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

George Best Would Be Proud

Wow. Check this site for numerous pics of the scantily-clad wives of World Cup players. Good lord. Luis Figo's is my favorite. Portugal may routinely be a disappointment in major international tournaments, but that hasn't slowed down Figo off the field in the slightest.

I really should have been a pro athlete.

Where Did It All Go Wrong?



Is there a bigger sleazeball, no-talent-hack than Kevin Federline?

Enjoy

Urgent

Help this guy out.

Tonight's Likes


Heat (+6.5) at Pistons. How hot is Flip Saunders' seat right about now?

May record: 16-16

America, You Disappoint Me


If there is one thing I can't stand it's American Idol. If I want to watch karaoke, there are plenty of bars I can find it. And chances are, I'll even find a decent singer or two. Hell, give me a few drinks and I may just plow through a version of Rebel Yell myself, and let me tell you, I can nail that puppy.

Point is, I couldn't care less about the show in general or Taylor Hicks winning, nor do I find his cheap imitation of an old school soul singer to be the least bit genuine or entertaining. It's an act, and a poor one at that. I cringe at the craptacular "original" music he'll now unleash on an unfortunate world. I didn't watch a single epsiode this season - honest! - and other than Kelly Clarkson, whom the Unknown Column is madly, deeply in love with, American Idol has yet to produce a single genuinely talented artist.

It's all garbage. Garbage!

That said, I'm deeply disturbed that Katharine McPhee didn't win last night. (No, I did not actually watch.) Not that she's any more talented than Hicks - hell, she's probably less so - but with 63 million people voting, do you mean to tell me that at least half of those people didn't vote for the lovely McPhee, if for no reason other than because she looks like she does?

America, I thought you were so much more spectacularly shallow than that. I'm disappointed in you. Come on now.

Katharine, I would never vote, nor watch, but if I did, you'd have my support. I promise.

And for the love of God, what is Prince doing besmirching his good name by appearing on this crap? I guess he really, really misses the spotlight. It isn't 1987 anymore, you know.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Straight From The "Give Me A $#@% Break" Dept.


What is wrong with people? In particular, this clown? He thinks Burger King's ice cream cone lids are an affront to Muslims. No, I'm not making this up. Read the story.

The Enlightenment happened at half past 12 a.m. in Burger King, Park Royal. I had ordered my food, and a French guy got talking to me and asked, “Are you Muslim?” He said, “Look at this,” and he showed me the cone. I saw it and I thought, “Wow,” like anyone would. He said, “Turn it around.”

I was thinking of my stomach. I was hungry. I would have loved to eat an ice cream. When I saw it, my mouth fell open. I dropped the ice cream. I canceled my order. That was the defining moment of my life.

The Burger King logo is there in Arabic. “Allah” is spelled exactly how it is there, and the Burger King logo is where the ominah should be. Why, there is no way it could be a coincidence. How can you say it is a spinning swirl? How does it spin on something that is static? You cannot spin it around unless you have a mechanical device. You spin it one direction, to the right, and it is offending a billion people.

I’m not talking about Muslims in the Park Royal vicinity, or in the U.K. I’m talking about globally. Everyone who sees this is going to be offended. If you put a different symbol on there, you’re offending Jews, Christians, Sikhs, or Hindus. I am going to try my best in life, so that these people do not operate in a single Muslim country again, so that we get an apology to every single Muslim on this planet in their language, in their country, on a national TV station: “Sorry. We, as an American company, are sorry. We didn’t mean to offend you.”

...

In a way, I’m glad he did this to me. It has opened my eyes. The fear of God, the love of God, the love of not letting anyone disrespect God. Even though it means nothing to some people and may mean nothing to some Muslims in this country, this is my jihad. I’m not going to rest until I find the person who is responsible. I’m going to bring this country down.


Um, my friend, here's the thing: IT'S A FUCKIN' ICE CREAM CONE! Eat it and shut up. For fucksake.


Mavs (-6) vs Suns. Dallas is over the hump and sailing downhill at this point, at least until the finals.

May record: 16-15

Edmonton Needs Beer Pronto


There is a very serious situation brewing in Edmonton, whose Oilers are one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since their dynasy years: The city needs beer and it needs it fast!

As for beer crisis, bar owners on Whyte Ave., the city's party strip, are saying they're running dangerously low. Oiler fans have consumed so much alcohol that the bar owners have sent out emergency keg requests.

And when it's dubbed an emergency keg request, you know it has to be serious.


No beer? Yes, that is very serious. I'm getting shivers just thinking about the horror of it all. Hell, I go into straight-up panic mode in the seventh inning of a baseball game when last call is being served.

Incidentally, count me as a big fan of the Oilers finally being back in the championship mix. It's been too long. It's also nice to see a Canadian team assumedly heading to the finals. There should be some sort of rule that at least one of the teams in the finals is from Canada.

And for the love of god, bring back the Winnipeg Jets! I demand it!

UPDATE: This site has the lowdown on what has been going on in Edmonton during the playoffs. (Hat tip, Oiler.)

Nelson Makes Debut


Quick shout out to Jeff Nelson, who made his first appearance for the White Sox last night in a 9-3 wn over the A's. The dude's a little on the old side, but he has plenty of success in his past, and if he can help the middle of the bullpen, which has been shaky at times, then this was a great pickup.

He also brings to the Sox the hint of a mustache, which has been sorely missing in the clubhouse ever since Jose Valentin left town.

Good News


Well, this is good news if you're a pot smoker, which, of course, I'm not because that would be illegal. Nooooo, siree. I don't break the law. Never. And I assume, dear reader, that you don't smoke pot, either. Do you? Of course not. Fine, upstanding citizen that you are and all. You'd never be caught with pot on you, oh, let's just say, right now. Correct?

No, seriously, you got any?

Pot smoking does not cause lung cancer.

While a clear increase in cancer risk was seen among cigarette smokers in the study, no such association was seen for regular cannabis users.

Even very heavy, long-term marijuana users who had smoked more than 22,000 joints over a lifetime seemed to have no greater risk than infrequent marijuana users or nonusers.


22,000 joints? Wow. That's like two joints a day for about 30 years and it's still safe. I'm going to have to pick up the pace.

The moral of the story: White Sox fans need not fret about Freddy Garcia. He's the picture of perfect health.

We May Be In A World Of Hurt


Does this look like a team that can go on a nice run in Germany in less than three weeks? Well, if last night's 1-0 loss to Morocco is any indication, probably not.

First, yes, I realize it was only a friendly, but we looked awful. No creativity, no spark, no fire, no nothing. To make matters worse, Claudio Reyna, supposedly the midfield maestro, left the game with a hamstring injury. But then, Reyna is always injured so this shouldn't be a surprise. Besides, with that gray sneaking into his hair, he's beginning to look like Taylor from American Idol.

Meanwhile, Reyna's partner in the middle of the midfield, John O'Brien, has only recently returned from injury, meaning our midfield workhorses may not be able to do nearly the amount of work that is going to be necessary. Listen, Ghana is our best chance for max points in the first round, but their midfield studs of Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah are going to make us look silly if last night is any indication.

Try as I might - and I've tried - I just don't like Landon Donovon. I don't know why. Maybe it's his tendency to disappear for long stretches of time if things aren't going his way. Maybe it's his balding head. Maybe it's his munchkin voice. (Actually, I think this is it.) The bottom line is that it pains me something awful to have to admit that Donovon is probably our best player. Yeah, when he looks good, he looks very good, but if we're depending on him to be our catalyst, well, good luck.

Josh Wolff looks like a guy whose best days have passed. Brian McBride is useless unless someone is creating opportunities behind him, which wasn't happening last night. DeMarcus Beasley seems to be missing something. And our defense looks as shaky as ever, which is nothing new. Sure, we surrendered just the one goal, but one crack, one moment of weakness, can be a team's demise, especially when playing the likes of Italy or the Czech Republic.

This quote from Bruce Arena disturbs me...

"We weren't sharp. I think we're a little bit leg-weary. We're a little bit overtrained at this point. We didn't do a good job creating chances. Our last pass was poor. Our crossing was poor."


Les-weary? Overtrained? What the hell? Considering a large percentage of the team plays in MLS, which just started its season six weeks ago, the U.S. should be the most rested team in the entire World Cup. Leg-weary? This is laughable. Maybe Arena should take a look at the rosters of other countries whose players are just finishing seasons that began last August/September. Leg-weary? Don't make me laugh.

Who knows? Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic, but I have a bad, bad feeling about things.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bulls To Draft Second


The NBA draft lottery was held tonight and the Bulls won't be picking number one overall. They'll pick in the exact position they were expected to: second. Toronto lucked into the first pick while the hapless Trail Blazers, despite having the most ping pong balls, fell to fourth. What in the name of Clyde Drexler is going on in Portland?

In a weird way I'm actually glad the Bulls didn't get the first pick. Let me explain. The Bulls own the Knicks' first pick next year as well, and with Isiah "I Ruin Everything I Touch" Thomas running the team both in the office and now possibly on the bench as well, it's quite conceivable that the pick will have just as good a chance to be the No. 1 overall as this year's did, maybe even moreso if Isiah's incompetence comes to the fore as it usually does. The only difference between this year and next is that it's very possible Greg Oden will be coming out next year after playing his mandatory one season at Ohio State. Oden would be the consensus top pick, not to mention a center teams salivate at the thought of building around.

This year there is no consensus stud who everyone agrees should be taken first overall. There is no can't miss. There is no Lebron James. The Bulls could draft first, second or fifth and we'll still be left to hope that whoever they select (Tyrus Thomas? Adam Morrison? Lamarcus Aldridge?) turns out to be a difference maker. There is no certainty with any them.

Point is, if the Bulls had won the first pick tonight, then in the grand scheme of the universe, that somehow would have lessened their chances of winning the top pick in 2007. Follow me? What are the chances of a team winning the draft lottery two years in a row, right? Well, by losing out on the top pick this year, the Bulls have increased their odds of winning it next year when it will likely be even more important (i.e., Oden).

Does this make sense? I hope so.

Regardless, the young Bulls have several pieces in place and a solid core to build around. John Paxson has plenty to work with. The future looks bright.

The only humorous moment of the proceedings occurred when Dan Patrick asked Paxson if he would take Eddy Curry back in exchange for the Knicks' pick and Paxson did his best to answer the question politely without blurting out, "NO FUCKIN' WAY!" A lesser man may have failed miserably. I know I would have.

Jay Mariotti Is Still A Worthless Tool


"I don't like myself very much and was picked on extensively in high school. And my penis is abnormally small. Please shoot me."


If there is one thing White Sox fans and Cubs fans can agree on it's that Jay Moronotti is a gutless, wretched dimwit who writes nothing but drivel that very few take seriously.

A.J. Pierzynski has been in Chicago less than two years and he's already figured it out. From his appearance on PTI yesterday...

[Pierzynski says] “Your guy Jay Mariotti wrote an article about me the other day saying how it was all my fault. So Jay, here’s an open invitation to come to the clubhouse and say ‘hello’ to me. If you want to write an article about me, then come speak to me face-to-face.”

Both Kornheiser and Wilbon immediately burst into laughter, with Tony responding, “He’s not my guy!” and Wilbon jibing at his cohort, “Tony will love that!”

Pierzynski added that as far as he knew, Mariotti had never been inside the White Sox’ clubhouse. Tony Reali (aka ‘Stat Boy’) did not deny that fact near the show’s finish, but did say that Mariotti was in the interview room when Pierzynski was speaking to the press after the game.


It's a well-known fact that Moronotti rarely attends White Sox games because he's chickenshit of the abuse that would surely be hurled his way by players and management alike. This is not the first time someone has "requested" him to make an appearance at the Cell face to face like a man. Hawk Harrelson has been all over the loser for his gutless ways for years. Moronotti has yet to show up.

Dickbag. Unliked, despised, hack dickbag.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Jay, listen, my friend. Chicago doesn't like you. It just doesn't. (Neither does the rest of the country, but I'm only worried about Chitown.) So why don't you do everyone a favor and just leave? You suck.

By the way, here's a link to the article Moronotti wrote on Pierzynski follwoing the melee. What a fuckin' douchebag.

USA vs Morocco


The United States national team will play Morocco tonight in Nashville in a warmup match for next month's World Cup. We're getting close, my freinds. In that vein, I scoured YouTube for some soccer vids...

Short preview with some dramatic, inspiring music.
Giving me goosebumps.

A solid ten minutes of highlighst from the last World Cup in 2002. More goosebumps.

This one is solely U.S. highlights from 2002.

Long video with goals from all 32 qualified teams, one team at a time.

This one is my favorite: British soccer announcer Alan Partridge (aka, comedian Steve Cogan) commenting on a series of goals. It's short, but I was laughing my balls off.


Jim McKay previews the World Cup for ESPN.

I don't know who Lee Hyori is, but she's Asian, saying something about soccer, and smoking hot. Check her out. You'll be impressed.

Great goals from several World Cups - with Japanese announcers going nutty, which is always hysterical.

Highlights from the 1998 World Cup.

Just Call Me 'Teach'


Despite hailing from soccer-mad Colombia, Shakira admits to being no expert on the game.

The singer, 29, admits: "I have no idea what a penalty is, but I'm going to learn because I understand the feeling football generates. It's similar to a feeling of adoration in these modern times and the passions that awake people."


I'd be more than happy to teach Shakira whatever she wants to know. I'd also be more than willing to be an attentive student, and judging by the way she shakes her hips, she could definitely teach me a thing or two. Got it bad, got it bad, got bad...

Color Me Shocked...And Pleased


I have to admit, I was convinced the Mavericks were going to choke their series away against the Spurs. I thought so before the series even started. I thought so when they were up 3-1. And I most certainly thought so during Game Seven last night when their once large lead had completely dwindled away.

So color me shocked and impressed. And pleased. I've been a pseudo-Mavs fan ever since Mark Cuban bought the team and instilled it - nay, the entire NBA - with the genuine, child-like excitement of a pure fan that is seen way too infrequently from the greedy, cold businessmen that normally comprise the fraternity of professional sports owners. You can't help but feel happy for Cuban because you know he wanted that win last night more than anyone else. And you know if the Mavs had lost, he would have been bitching away about the refs (or who knows what else) just like some nobody on a barstool whose team has just broken his heart. Which is awesome.

It's easy to be happy for Dirk Nowitzki, who has quietly been Larry Bird-esque for years now yet has been labelled as a dude who doesn't play defense or play with heart. Supposedly, he's soft. Hogwash! Nowitzki may not be Ben Wallace on the defensive end, but he shows up night in, night out, and his three-point play near the end of regulation to tie the game when it appeared the Spurs had finally overcome may just be the biggest basket in Mavericks history, not to mention about as clutch as clutch can get. Besides, there are few things more unintentionally funny than a Nowitzki interview, what with that German accent. One of my favorite moments of this postseason thus far was Nowitzki's postgame interview with Lisa Salters following Game Four with the Spurs. If you remember, Jerry Stackhouse almost gave that game away when he failed to hit the rim an on intentionally missed free thow. When asked by Salters about the scene, Nowitzki looked at her incredulously and his thickest German accent replied bluntly, "Well, I was wondering what the hell he was doing." Hilarious.

It's easy to be happy for Jason Terry who spent several years in NBA purgatory (i.e., Atlanta) and was forced to miss Game Six while serving a suspension. He was once forced to pay his way into playoff games as a fan because the Hawks suck. Now he's in the big time. Good for him.

It's easy to be happy for Avery Johnson, a little dude with a pipsqueak voice who was told he couldn't play in the NBA yet won a title as a starting point guard, and now has done as a coach what was once thought near impossible: he got the "soft" Mavs to play defense and to play gritty ball in the playoffs when all the chips are on the line. The longer the Mavs are alive, the more chance we have of hearing classic quotes from Johnson. And when Johnson is fired up, his quotes are classic. Maybe not quite Ozzie Guillen-esque, but they're splendid, nonetheless.

Finally, it's easy to be happy for fans of the NBA who'll get to witness a Mavericks-Suns conference final. In a postseason that has already been the best in recent memory, this series, on paper at least, looks wide-open and fanatstic. Should be fun.

The pick? Mavs in six.

Incidentally, remember all that "Kobe Bryant was robbed for MVP" talk? Well, let's take a gander at the other players on the this year's short list of MVP candidates:

- Steve Nash: Just helped win a second Game Seven this post season by posting 29 points and 11 assists against the Clippers.

- LeBron James: We all know what he (almost) did against Detroit.

- Dirk Nowitzki: 37 points and 15 boards last night...in a Game Seven...at San Antonio.

- Chauncy Billups: Back in the Eastern Conference finals for a fourth straight year.

- Tim Duncan: 41 poinst, 15 rebounds and six assists in a Game Seven last night.

My queston: Where's Kobe? Probably at the Gap purchasing sweater vests in lavender or pink. Or text messaging Charles Barkley.

Sky Home Opener


The Chicago Sky will play it's first-ever home game in the WNBA tonight at the Pavilion.

I'm thinking of attending and sitting behind the Sky bench while holding a sign that reads, "Marry me, Stacey Dales!" Do you think she'll go for it?

Beautiful Night All Around


Who says White Sox fans have no class?

Frank Thomas returned to the Cell last night and upon his first trip to the plate was greeted by a loud, warm standing ovation from the sellout crowd. It was a moment of pure love and appreciation and it was good to see. Sure, Thomas had plenty of questionable moments while on the South Side, but Sox fans are smart and know what he meant to the team and remember all the good times and aren't afraid to let some rough waters pass beneath the bridge.

Heck, Jim Thome was roundly booed in his return to Cleveland a few weeks ago and he's considered to be just about the nicest, most liked guy in all of baseball. Fans can be finicky, assholes even.

So kudos to White Sox fans for showing the world how it's done. Cubs fans should take note. Not that Cubs fans have booed a returning player lately, but they're a vile, depraved lot just in general, aren't they?

Once the standing ovation was complete, Big Frank hit a solo home run - a towering shot to left field just as he had done so many times in a Sox uniform - and it somehow made perfect sense. You had to smile. Yeah, it sucked for the Sox, but you had to tip your hat and hand it to the big guy as he hobbled around the bases.

Of course, when he hit another solo shot in his next at-bat it wasn't so fun anymore. In fact, it was kind of weird. And the boos poured down. But that's perfectly acceptable. There's a division to win, right? The South Side isn't runnng a charity show for aging sluggers here.

But whatever. The Sox overcame a 4-0 deficit and yet another shaky outing from Jon Garland (what the fuck, Garland?) to win 5-4 in the tenth inning. The Super Subs, Rob Mackowiak and Pablo Ozuna, played vital roles, Mackowiak hitting a two-run homer off of Huston Street in the eighth and Ozuna beating out an RBI-bunt to win it.

Fireworks. Big Frank's return. And a dramatic Sox win. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Oh, and Ozzie was ejected, which is always fun.

Monday, May 22, 2006

German Dreams



In case you can't make out the television, it says "World Cup Final 2006. Germany 5 England 0"

A dream, indeed.

Excellent Point

I haven't commented on all the controversey over immigration lately because, well, because I don't really care, to be honest. However, I stumbled upon this photo and decided that it pretty much summed up my feelings...



Amen.

The thought of no more countless burritos joints within a short distance - and, damn, if Chicago doesn't make some fantastic burritos - makes me cringe at how lost I would be. Quite frankly, I don't know if I'd have the will to carry on. Give me a big, fat, greasy steak burrito with everything (extra sour cream on the inside) and I have a little piece of Heaven.

God bless the Mexicans.

Big Frank Back In Chitown


Following the drama of the White Sox-Cubs series, there will be no letdown of emotions at the Cell tonight when Frank Thomas makes his first visit back to the South Side as a member of the A's.

Considering Big Frank is currently batting .178, it can't exactly be dubbed a triumphant return, but Sox fans have plenty of history invested with the guy so it should be interesting. Will he be booed for his persistently petulant attitude, not to mention the war of words he engaged in with Kenny Williams upon his exit? Or will he he be applauded for the many years of solid - and at times, amazing - production he put in while here?

My guess is that it will be a mix of both.

I'm sure all parties involved will say all the right things in the coming days, but I would pay to be a fly on the wall when Ozzie and Williams discuss Thomas in private. That, my friends, would be priceless.

Tonight's Likes


Spurs (-3.5) vs Mavericks. Much like the Cavs, the Mavs really, really needed to wrap up this series in Game Six at home. They didn't, and now I'm having a hard time imagining the Spurs losing a deciding game on its home court. No way that happens, right? Nah. Granted, the Mavs were severely handcuffed in Game Six by the suspension of Jason Terry, but if there is a moral to the story here, it's never, ever throw a punch, no matter the situation, no matter how inconspicuous it seems at the time. It's sad, really. During one game I heard a story about how when Terry was on the Hawks, he was so anxious to experience the playoffs - something that we all know can never happen in Atlanta - that he would attend numerous games just to soak in the scene. One year alone he took in 30 playoff games. It was a nice story and one that had me happy for Terry and pulling for the Mavs, but the Spurs at home with elimination on the line is a situation not to be messed with.

Suns (-4) vs Clippers. All goood stories must come to an end eventually, and so it will be for the Clips tonight. They've had a nice run and with several solid pieces in place, they may just be back here again next year - that is, if the universe doesn't have some law about the Clips never being a playoff team two years in a row, which is quite possible - but Steve Nash and his tired gang, playing a second Game Seven this postseason, have had several days to rest. That's precisely what the doctor ordered.

May record: 15-14

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bad Blood, Good Times


First of all, I'd like to thank both the White Sox and Cubs for engaging in fisticuffs on the same day Barry Bonds tied Babe Ruth with his 714th home run. Perfect timing, fellas. I mean it. Sadly, it wasn't enough to completely stop the national media from fellating Bonds (something the earth colliding with the moon probably couldn't prevent), but it did distract from it, if only slightly. Hey, at this point, everything helps.

Here's hoping Bonds hits his 715th quickly so he can forever disappear into the muck where fallen idols fade away, because he isn't passing Hank Aaron. No way.

Anyway, it's safe to say that the Sox-Cubs rivalry will never be the same after the A.J. Pierzynski-Michael Barrett free for all, and here's guessing it changes for the better in a bad, bad way. Make sense? What I mean is that it will now be a genuine conflict of passion with real hatred, animosity, and venom. People are pissed. Fans, players, everyone. Which can only be good. In the past, the rivalry was mainly amongst fans. Sox fans hate the Cubs and their arrogant, alarmingly clueless followers, Cubs fans hate the Sox and their following of pure class and grace, and nothing in life is more simple.

That said, the rivalry among the players and coaches has never been anything to get all that excited about. All it ever produced, really, was the standard quotes about how the Crosstown Classic is awesome but no more important than any other games and both teams will try their damndest to win and the fans should enjoy themselves. Blah, blah, blah. Boring. Neither team talked trash, threw at anybody's head or dared employ Pierzynski. Hell, there seemed to be a - gasp - mutual respect between the two clubs.

Respect? Hogwash! What fun is that?

Well, no more. The moment both dugouts cleared on Saturday was the exact moment the rivalry jumped to a new level. Now there is bad blood. Now there is history. Now there is no going back. Ever.

And the Unknown Column, for one, is all for it. Now we get quotes like this Ozzie gem on Rich Hill: "Tell that Triple-A fuck to shut the fuck up. Tell him to start throwing some strikes or he's going to get Dusty fired."

More please.

I already loved interleague play, despite the bashing it takes. Granted, I'd cut it back and limit it to series that provide natural rivalries (i.e., Sox-Cubs, Yankees-Mets, Giants-A's, etc.), but I find the two Crosstown Classic weekends to be two of the most ejoyable sports events on the calender. Period. The thought of the Sox and Cubs players truly disliking each other with a passion only makes it better.

If there is one thing both sides of town can agree on, it's that brawls have at times served to solidify teams. The Cubs can hope that is the case following Sunday when they played their best game in a while. Of course, any game the Cubs manage to score two runs in is considered a good showing. Yeah, they're that bad. At this point, my guess would be the baseball gods took pity on them for one day.

Sure, the Cubs bounced back from the savage, thorough embarrassment they suffered on Friday and Saturday to salvage a 7-4 win in the series finale, but, to be fair, the win was as much the result of the Sox fucking up as the the Cubs being all that good. Three errors from an uncharacteristically shaky Sox defense - most notably from Juan Uribe - squandered what had been a splendid return to the mound by Jose Contreras. Uribe's error in the eighth on a would-be inning-ending double play opened the doors for a four-run frame, and worse, allowed Barrett to make some amends for his childish antics the day before by belting a triple. That was a particularly tough pill to swallow and should have never have been allowed to happen. (That said, Pierzynski responded as well with a home run and a single. Dude showed up strong the day after the melee and nothing less would be expected.)

Jaque Jones had a two-run homer. Between his time with the Twins and now this, I've seen enough of that dude.

Naturally, notorios hothead Carlos Zambrano was unable to get through the game without engaging in pure madness. Following Pierzynski's home run, Zambrano immediately began signalling to anyone in his general vicinity that he was pissed as hell, crazy, and about to bean someone. And he meant it. I have to admit, this was freakin' hysterical. Umps and coaches all over the place and Zambrano being talked down from doing something stupid as if he was on a ledge. Hysterical.

Whatever. Bottom line? The Pale Hose took the series. One series at a time. Forever.

Contreras pitched well. Naturally, he looked a little shakier than before his short DL stint, but he pitched well. This is important. And I'll tell you what, if the Sox were going to unleash the 1906 duds, which they did, Contreras was the dude to have on the mound. In those old, old, old school uniforms, Contreras, and also Jim Thome, totally fit the bill of some ancient ballplayer in a black and white photo.

Quick shout out to Oak Lawn native Rob Mackowiak, who grew up a Sox fan and got to start in center field on the South Side on Sunday in a Crosstown Classic. That must have been awesome for him. He hit an RBI-double in the eighth.

Incidentally, Hawk Harrelson was absent from the Saturday Afternoon Fights telecast because the game was on FOX. Too bad. I would have payed to hear him call that spectacle. Hawk did manage to call out Jay Moronatti for his latest pile of drivel during Sunday's game. Nailed Moronatti for the doofus he is to a T, as usual. That's always fun. Hawk should do that more often.

All in all, it was a fun and interesting series, so in the name of Pierzynski, Cheers! (I love how Ozzie's kid is lurking in the background of this photo...)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Anatomy of a Brawl


A.J. Pierzynski plays some good ole fashioned baseball by taking out the catcher in a play at the plate. Nothing wrong with that. Right, Michael Barrett?


Barrett wonders what hit him.


Pierzynski tags the plate, making sure to be just emphatic enough to make it easy on the ump. That Pierzynski, always thinking of others.


Pierzynski, being the perfect gentleman that he's famous for being, tries to innocently head to the dugout, but Barrett stops him. Hmmm...


Barrett thinks he's tough now. Pierzynski replies with, "What's that you say, dear fellow?" Pierzynski, always the model of charm. Always.


Oops. Barrett proves to be a giant douchebag and hits Pierzynski with a cheap shot straight to the grill. It should be pointed out that Pierzynski was hardly phased.


Scott Podsednik steps in and takes Barrett down. Pierzynski tries not to laugh. The expressions in the crowd: priceless.


Barrett's embarrassment continues: Podsednik easily takes him out and holds him down, barely breaking a sweat in the process. You gotta love Scotty Pods. He jumps right in the middle of a mellee, takes a dude out, breaks up a fight, and then manages not to get booted from the game. That's smooth. No wonder he's married to Lisa Dergan. Meanwhile, Joey Cora and Dusty Baker get in the middle of things, prompting Cubs fans everywhere to yell, "Look, Dusty is alive! He's alive!"


Behold the exact moment the Crosstown Classic rivalry reached new levels. There's no going back after this.


The funniest aspect of the whole melee has to be the involvement of one Brian Anderson, who hit the sacrifice fly that ignited the whole debacle. Now, the rookie hasn't been able to hit...at all. He's been struggling mightily. But that didn't stop him from throwing a straight-up haymaker at John Mabry. If you see the highlights, you'll see a slow-motion replay of the entire thing. Anderson, caught red-handed. Hysterical. The poor kid has been having it rough and now there's undeniable evidence of his misgivings heading straight to the Commissioner's Office. That just makes me laugh. I guess Anderson figured if he can't help much at the plate yet, he might as well brawl for the good of the team when necessary.


Hell, yeah, A.J. Hell, yeah. Pierzynski's riotous return to the dugout was truly inspiring.


Pierzynksi and Anderson, triumphant.


Barrett is left to ponder what a vagina he is.


The final word: Two batters after the brawl, Tadahito Iguchi laughs last and laughs loudest by belting a grand slam. He would later add a two-run homer. The Gooch.


Meanwhile, Freddy Garcia pitched a gem. If he keeps it up, the Cy Young talk won't be far behind.

Pale Hose win. 7-0. They go for the sweep on Sunday. Oh, and Jose Contreras returns to the mound tomorrow.

Good times, good times.