A League of Her Own

Friday Cubs Headlines: The Vikings Fail Again

Sometimes, non-baseball things are way too hilarious to be ignored.

 

Congratulations, Vikings fans! You managed to come up with a "fight" song even lamer than T-Pain's Miami Dolphins "fight" song.

 

At least you'll be number one at SOMETHING this off-season!

First off, I want to thank everyone at Rockit Wrigley last night for an absolutely great night of food, drinks, and Chicago sports fun last night. And thanks to everyone who stopped by. It was great meeting all of you and I hope to see many of you around this site more!

And guess what? I got some inside dirt on the Jermaine Dye situation last night from a source "close to the Cubs." Are you ready? Here we go (try to stay with me):

Jermaine Dye's agent contacted Alfonso Soriano's agent this off-season, and asked if Soriano would be willing to move to 2nd base. Soriano's agent said that Soriano would "love" to move to 2nd base. Dye's agent then called Jim Hendry and said that Soriano was willing to move to 2nd base and that Dye was interested in playing OF for the Cubs.

Hendry apparently replied that the Cubs would never, EVER consider putting Soriano at 2nd. Dye's agent then contacted Fukudome's agent, because apparently 2nd base was Fukudome's original position, and asked if HE was interested in moving to 2nd base. Apparently there was some kind of positive response, because now the Cubs are interested in Jermaine Dye. And it sounds like they're interested in him not only as a 4th OFer, but as a starter.

Also, Ben Sheets is NOT coming to the Cubs.

Taaa-daaaa! Waddya think? Not of the idea of Dye as a starter, but of my information? Mad props to the "source" who gave it to me. And you know who you are. . . .

I'm sick to death of talking about Mark McGwire, but this headline made me laugh out loud this morning: Mark McGwire Ready for Everyone To Move On.  In other news, Tiger Woods, Mark Sanford, and Jay Leno announced they are also ready for people to move on.

Speaking of Mark McGwire, add Fergie to the list of indignant ex-ballplayers who would like 5 minutes alone in a room with Big Mac:

The Hall of Fame ace sent an open letter to the Associated Press this week, telling the former home-run king: "You have not even begun to apologize to those you have harmed."

"How many pitchers do you think he ended their careers by hitting numbers of home runs off them?" Jenkins said during a telephone interview Wednesday.

Jenkins also maintained he would have known how to handle the bulked-up McGwire, who hit a then-record 70 homers in 1998 and followed with 65 the following year.

"It's tough to hit a home run off your back," Jenkins said. "In my era, Seaver, Gibson, Drysdale, Carlton, there were so many guys that would have probably knocked him on his butt. He wouldn't have hit home runs the way he did in that era."

(snip)

"You have yet to apologize to all the pitchers you faced while juiced," Jenkins wrote. "You altered pitchers' lives. You may have shortened pitchers careers because of the advantage you forced over them while juiced. Have you thought about what happened when they couldn't get you out and lost the confidence of their managers and general managers? You even managed to alter the place some athletes have achieved in record books by making your steroid-fueled run to the season home run record."

Fifty-one pitchers gave up a total of 57 homers to McGwire in what turned out to be their final major league seasons, according to STATS LLC, among them Bert Blyleven, Orel Hershiser, Dennis Martinez, Charlie Leibrandt and Donnie Moore.

Jenkins said in his letter that McGwire needs to apologize to several constituencies.

"You need to apologize to your family for depriving them of your presence as time goes on because you are likely going to die earlier than if you had never relied on andro to carry you to all your successes," he said.

WOW.

That's all I've got for this morning. Twenty-six days and counting until pitchers and catchers report!

Finally, if you're looking for something fun to do today, check out the new blog The Chundria & Nikia Nichelle Show. I had a chance to meet these ladies last night, and they are a big pile of awesome. Congrats on your blog launch, girls! 

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plamorte said:

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Fuk to 2nd? Dye to OF? No Sheets? Worst Cubs news on a Friday EVER.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Yeah. . . it was a lot more entertaining last night after many gin & tonics.

plamorte said:

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Well I hope it gets more entertaining for me too, I've left work and I'm heading to the first bar I see is open.

dat cubfan daver said:

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Glad to see that you're confirming alcohol was involved. I'd like to think it would take at least a fifth of Crown Royal to get Lou drunk enough to consider putting Kosuke Fukudome at second base and Jermaine Dye in right field full-time.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm not saying it's TRUE. I'm just saying it was told to me.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Let me rephrase: I do think it's true that these converstaions tooks place, because I trust the "source," who shall henceforth be known as "deep throat." Whether anything will ever come of it, I have no idea.

flyball said:

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don't those conversations kinda remind you of high school "you tell his friend that I think he's cute, but only if he thinks I'm cute"

ok maybe junior high

gravedigger said:

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College.

gravedigger said:

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Whoa, I skipped over that part for some reason. That is an absolutely, outrageously terrible idea. I agree -- it is time to start drinking.

plamorte said:

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Also, Fergie's smackdown on Big Mac was great, it feels like the Cubs equivalent of Bob Barker beating the sh*t out of Happy Gilmore. "Now, you've had enough... bitch."

Max Power said:

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Why, why, why??!?! If the Vikings actually DID listen to that song before the game, they'd lose 500-0 and I'd cry like a baby for weeks.

flyball said:

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don't be too sad, every team I've rooted for this postseason has lost their first game, and as Favre is the only player that I cannot actively cheer for I'm sad to report that the Vikings will probably win the Super Bowl

MN Pat said:

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I have to hold out hope that someone will stop them. As a Packer fan living in Minnesota I cannot abide the thought of that man winning a Superbowl with the Vikings. I'm praying for a good old-fashioned smiting.

David Funk said:

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LOL at the Vikings fight song. I don't think it will be winning a any type of music award soon.

gravedigger said:

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Pitchers careers were ruined because McGwire hit home runs off of them.

Okay...

That's kind of the point, Ferg.

AndCounting said:

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I can't remember or imagine too many pitchers getting fired because they gave up home runs to the greatest power hitter in the game. Probably as many as the hitters who were banned from baseball after striking out against a roided-up Roger Clemens.

gravedigger said:

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Julie, I met Kathy Griffin last night! :)

JulieDiCaro said:

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What?!?!?!?!

Tell!

gravedigger said:

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Well, she did a book signing here. The SO and I went, waited 4 hours to see her. When we got there we were star struck. It's funny -- I see John Kerry, John McCain, and the like frequently and make small talk like it is no big deal, but Kathy Griffin talks to me and I'm stunned speechless like a small child, totally overwhelmed.

Even after she'd been there almost 5 hours signing things, she was super nice and friendly. She asked how we heard about it and I said Facebook. She said her mom really does run her Facebook page, but that she still calls it "faceplace" and was proud that the event "went viral." It partially took so long because she actually took pics and talked with each and every person in line. she's awesome.

spiney said:

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Do you think Kathy would go out with me? I'm male, married, sober, 6'4", 200 lbs., brown hair/blue eyes. I'd chuck all of those things (that I could actually chuck) for one heavenly night w/ Kathy!

"but only if she thinks I'm cute."

gravedigger said:

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She says she's a whore, so who knows. Also, she doesn't drink, so the sober part there might get you somewhere.

gravedigger said:

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Also, and I hate to say this because I love her and there's more to life than looks, but up close she is one haggard woman. She uses a lot of foundation and hair extensions to great effect, but it doesn't hide everything.

spiney said:

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Uh, on second thought, I'm fine right here...I need to call my wife.

spiney said:

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I'm going to write her a letter and profess my love for her. Nothing you say could stop me. I cannot live without her!

Max Power said:

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To be fair, you have more reason to be afraid of Kathy Griffin than John Kerry, so the overwhelmed feeling is totally understandable. (I'm not sure which one that insults more.)

DustyBaylor said:

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Lol..time to start drinking?? If they're considering Fukudome at 2B...they are WAY ahead of us..

JulieDiCaro said:

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He can't be any worse than Miles.

Dmband said:

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I for one am looking for Fukudome to focus more on hitting. I think if we tried to transition him to second, his already medicore hitting would suffer ever more. Plus, IMO he is an above average defensive outfielder. I do think J.Dye would be a great addition. Ultimately, he needs to realize that no matter how badly he thinks he's a starter, the market will determine if he is or is not.

AndCounting said:

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I'm going to start spewing random thoughts because there's just too much to respond to cohesively. Prince is massively talented, but a weirder dude you will not find. He makes Virginia McCaskey look masculine and foreboding, so the idea of a Prince fight song for a football team makes me weep with a thousand different emotions.

AndCounting said:

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The scoop you got from DT, Julie, is amazing. That's a priceless bouquet of information.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Of course, it's entirely possible that he was a plant.

Doc said:

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It's just a way for Jim Hendry to hate you more than he already does.

DustyBaylor said:

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Hell I couldn't be any worse than Miles...

Doc said:

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That's not saying much.

AndCounting said:

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That said, if you think Cubs fans are ridiculously optimistic with no sense of realistic thought whatsoever, sports agents put them to shame. Jermaine Dye and Alfonso Soriano pay their agents real good money to be full of crap, and I would have paid big money to hear them talk about their clients' defensive abilities and preferences (thanks, Julie, for the free version . . . it really is dynamite). And something tells me Dye's agent might have misinterpreted the response from Kosuke's agent. I don't know Japanese, but something tells me that in certain dialects, "Yeah, that's an interesting idea," sounds remarkably similar to "Are you out of your Fukudome mind?" Just a guess.

Still, this is by far my favorite rumor of the offseason. I only wish its ridiculous nature precluded it from coming true . . . but this is the Cubs. I'm putting the odds at 3:1 that Kosuke joins the 2B platoon.

plamorte said:

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"Are you out of your Fukudome mind?" is my favorite new Cubs phrase since @Aisle424's "Fontenot's" dollar conversions.

Dmband said:

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I cant help but be reminded of the classic Dave Chappelle skit in which Prince challenged Charlie Murphy to a game of basketball. Hilarious...

"Good game Charlie Murphy"

Dammit that show was great.

Doc said:

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The best part was when Prince served them pancakes after the game.

Charlie Murphy should have just started his own show with skits like that.

DustyBaylor said:

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...then he made us pancakes...

AndCounting said:

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And (last one) Fergie Jenkins is so full of crap. I mean, on the issue of steroids, every former and current ballplayer is full of crap. Hearing their opinions and reactions is interesting, but none of them are unbiased. Asking Fergie if he thinks McGwire belongs in the HOF is like asking Glenn Beck if Obama belongs in the White House. These are guys who made a living competing against each other, and I don't think any of them have ever learned to stop.

You've got players talking like they've never cheated (Fisk and Fergie). You've got other Hall of Famers talking like they understand because they did cheat (Schmidt). Then there's McGwire being all sad and guilty but not willing to say it helped. Palmeiro did his Bill Clinton finger-wagging bit (followed by his "I don't know who stained that dress" denial . . . wait, I'm mixing up my lies, crap!). And then Grace the hornball speaks out about abstaining from 'roids to preserve the integrity, not of baseball, but of his junk--and that's probably the closest to true, unbiased honesty any player has gotten in this steroid discussion.

I'm still waiting for the one player to channel Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men and just say, "You're damn right I took steroids."

gravedigger said:

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Well, Canseco kind of did that.

AndCounting said:

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How in the world did I forget about him?

AndCounting said:

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How in the world did I forget about him?

AndCounting said:

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Ha, I almost praised Chicago Now for not deleting my comment when there was an error submitting it, but I'll go ahead and retract that thought.

gravedigger said:

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I've been getting parsing errors all day.

Max Power said:

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It took me 45 minutes to realize we weren't talking about that woman from the Black Eyed Peas. Coincidentally, according to my sources, she is also in the running for 2B.

gravedigger said:

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I don't know if I'd exactly call that Fergie a "woman. I'm not sure what to call it, really.

Max Power said:

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All I know is that she appears to hate McGwire.

DustyBaylor said:

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Please compare any level of cheating to that of physically altering your body, making yourself stronger, with more stamina to work out, allowing a player to stay strong throughout the season.

gravedigger said:

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Cheating is cheating.

Especially when nobody seems to give a shit when its happening.

AndCounting said:

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You've just described the effects of working out and staying in shape in general, so I'm gonna need a little more to go on. But as the comment is on its face, doing things to your body to stay strong is not cheating. So . . . um, yeah.

As for other forms of cheating, altering your bat against regulations to make the ball go farther could have a similar effect (say, if you painted an aluminum bat to look like wood . . . that would be dangerous). If you scuffed the ball to make it break more and harder to hit . . . that would be cheating. If you made it illegal for players of other races to play in your league, that wouldn't be cheating per se, but it would be wrong and grossly skew every record you could possibly have set during that time. If you illegally took amphetamines to give you more energy, that would give you an advantage. If you spit on the ball or put Vaseline on it to make it move differently, that would be cheating. If you used a camera mounted in the outfield to steal signs and relay them to the batter, that would be an unfair advantage. If you built a robot that looked just like you but was twice as strong, that would be cheating. Oh, or if you told everyone you knew voodoo and that you could break their necks if they didn't groove fastballs to you, that would be cheating and really, really, mean whether it was true or not. Or if you slept with another player's wife to make him mad and get him off his game when you told him about it while he was in the batter's box, that would be cheating in a number of ways. Um, how many different types of cheating do you want me to address? Right now, working hard to get stronger is seeming like the tamest form. Help me out here.

Max Power said:

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I don't mean to pick a fight, but I am sick and tired of all this robot bashing. We're still in agreement on our anti-voodoo stance, but, dammit, leave the robots alone!

AndCounting said:

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I apologize for not being clear. Robots have every right to play, and their exclusion is an indictment of all organics, rendering the record books all the more meaningless. What I meant to say is that it's wrong for a human being to use to pass the robot off as himself--the robot should be proud of its identity and get the credit for its own accomplishments.

Dmband said:

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Doc-

Nice blog about Naples v. Mesa...some good points in there I didnt even think of...

I can tell you the folks who were the most excited were the bartenders down there..(who I found myself conversating with quite frequently). Apparently, we Cubs fans have a bit of a reputation for liking "grandpas cough medicine"..

I cant imagine where they got that idea.

Doc said:

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As I stated in the blog, I wasn't too strong either way...but for me, I personally like the swamp more than the desert.

Dmband said:

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Regarding Jenkins:

Shouldnt the same arguement apply to Clemens. I mean, Jenkins makes it sound like only hitters took 'roids. In that case, "the rocket" needs to apologize to all the hitters who's careers HE ruined. I like Jenkins, but, honestly, thats just dumb.

gravedigger said:

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Jenkins should apologize for being Canadian.

gravedigger said:

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Also, I agree with you.

Dmband said:

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So far, to me the best remarks I've heard from a former player regarding the steriods era, and what people knew or didnt know came from Doug Glanville. Here is an exceprt of his NY times piece that is a really compelling read:

"At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, there was a section deep beyond left centerfield with the retired numbers from Cardinals history on waving flags. Now, I am not sure how far away from home plate those flags were, but they were nowhere near reachable off any bat I have ever seen swung. Yet McGwire would hit them like he was playing rocket golf, or some twisted form of croquet.

I knew that what I was seeing was impossible. When you play the game long enough, you develop a sixth sense for the realm of the possible. You learn your body’s limitations (and your opponents’ bodies) in short order, because knowing is integral to your longevity. Sure, limits are pushed, but it doesn’t happen overnight. I played centerfield and had to know that when Chad Kreuter or Todd Zeile hit a ball, there was a good chance it would come off their bats with no spin, making it dance unpredictably while I was trying to catch it in the outfield. I could tell from the angle of Vladimir Guerrero’s bat and the location of the pitch when the ball was going to slice away from me. From bat-ball contact I could tell to a fine degree where a ball would end up long before I got there. As the Phillies announcers always used to say to me, “I knew right away when you had the ball in your sights, and then you would just be there.”

That’s because it was my job to be there — to know the field, the wind, the conditions so well that I could take the ball out of the equation after contact, and get to where it was supposed to be. I had all the data I needed without relying on my eyes exclusively. I could run to the spot and wait for the ball while getting into position to throw to the next base (should a runner be on base).

The first time I questioned those instincts was during a game against the Kinston Indians and Manny Ramirez in 1992. It was my first full minor league season with the Winston-Salem Spirits of the famed Carolina League. I was in centerfield and Manny hit a line drive into the gap in right-center. No problem, I thought. I’ll run at an angle and cut the ball off near the warning track. Even if can’t quite get there to catch it, maybe I can hold him to a double.

Well, the ball hit part-way up the light tower, well over the fence for a home run. I could not believe my eyes. Up until that moment, I’d never seen anyone who could hit a home run to the opposite field, let alone a missile like that. It was stunning. As far as I knew, this was pure hitting ability. Ability that none of my college opponents had possessed.

Fast forward to my major league career, by which time I was a science student of the game. Ballistics, anticipation, planning — all were part of it.

Then I saw Mark McGwire and I had to adjust my eyes once again.

As before, I chalked it up at first to the evolution of baseball, even as I wondered about its legitimacy. But enhanced or not, it was happening, and I still had to figure out a way to compete. My sixth sense had tapped me on the shoulder and said, “This is not right.” But that was not evidence in a court of law. It is sort of like finding out a co-worker might be doing something shady, yet knowing that you still have to do your job. And, in the outfield, I had to do mine."

AndCounting said:

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Doug Glanville is a really smart guy, but he and a lot of people (myself included for a long time) overlook one nagging question, and it's this: Is it possible for a human being to get as strong, quick, durable, and powerful without illegal PEDs as they can with them? I don't know that anyone's ever answered that question definitively, although most everybody seems to conclude the answer is no.

Look at Lance Armstrong. He dominated a sport where, even with advanced and meticulous testing, PED abuse runs rampant. His accomplishments have been called into question, but the truth is unknown. Did he cheat? Is his level of endurance humanly possible or was it in some way chemically achieved? Only Lance really knows, I would guess.

What bothers me is the assumption that steroids are magical. I agree wholeheartedly that they affected the game at varying levels within every player who used them or competed alongside or against those who did. But what happened really happened. It wasn't fiction or fantasy or special effects. McGwire didn't take a magic potion that made us think we were seeing balls travel into the stratosphere. He used a substance that made him stronger . . . but no one knows how much stronger. No one knows how strong he would have been without them. I'm not saying he didn't cheat, but the impact of steroids on the game is the most indiscernible of cheating methods. I agree, no one can deny (legitimately) that PEDs didn't give him and others an advantage. But to dismiss that advantage as some out of this world miraculous transformation is a lie. It also sustains PEDs as an almost irresistible temptation for competitors. "Yes, Johnny, don't take PEDs. They make you stronger than any human being could ever hope to be." I don't think that would be a wise warning to a young athlete, nor do I think it would be true. Yet somehow, it's the foundational truth of almost every criticism against steroid users. I don't get it.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Lance Armstrong's results aren't just "in question." It's basically common knowledge amongst just about everyone but Americans in denial that he doped. Even some of his former teammates have given tesitony to that effect.

Dmband said:

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Sorry, here is the full read. Seriously, check it out

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/seeing-is-disbelieving/

Dmband said:

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AC-

This is an interesting point you raise. From what I've heard, the biggest net gain from using PED's is bad speed, and recovery time. I dont think anyone can argue that you have to already be a pretty damn good hitter. Seemingly, aging players were able to have career years well into thier late 30's, when players typcially are experiencing declining years. Clemens is a great example, people forget the Red Sox got rid of him because his performance was declining. They had felt his best years were behind him. Then all of a sudden, he wins back to back Cy youngs right around the same time its "alleged" {gag} that he took steriods. While its nearly impossible to quantify the benefit, its my opinion that players were able to sustain and extend thier careers far beyond what they would have otherwise been able to do.

Also, in response to the warning to young atheletes...I think the same concept applies to drugs. We've had a history of scare tactics in this country since the days of "Refer Madness". Clearly that doesnt work because kids try drugs, find out that everything that was told to them was a lie, then think "what else are they lying about" (or Maybe steroids are not that bad for you).

In my opinion the BEST deterrent, whether is for illegal drugs or otherwise is honesty. Tell kids, yes Steriods will give you a short term performance boost. No doubt, but the long term impact it will have on your body will be terrible. Same with drugs...yes...its a fact, they make you feel GREAT. But what are the consequences? What does it do to the people around you that care about you? I can remember a anti drug commercial a few years ago that showed kids smoking weed, then accidentally shooting his brother. WHAT!?!?!?! Come on...you cant help but thinks its BS when you see that...In the end, kids and thier parents are the only ones that can control what decisions are made.

Dmband said:

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of course that should read "bat speed" not bad speed. Dammit

Doc said:

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Stupid job recruiter...

I got a phone call at work today from a job recruiting company about a contract position that opened up (a contract that would lead to a permanent position).

He e-mailed me details about the position and the company info.

The company just laid off 10% of their work force a couple weeks ago, their 3 round of layoffs in a year. How do I know this? Because I have a number of friends that work at that company (some of whom no longer work for that company due to said layoffs.)

Nice attempt...try again. Not leaving a decent, stable job to work in a company that is on the verge of going under.

Max Power said:

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The Florida Marlins called you?

Dmband said:

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hahahahaha. Zing!!!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Phillies sign Jose Contreras. I know some of you thought he would be a really good fit here after his quasi-resurgence last year in Colorado. However, I know that if we signed him, he would have reverted to his 2008 suck.

Dmband said:

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God Bless the Onion:

CLEVELAND—Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal suffered a frustrating setback during his team’s victory over the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night, when he was sidelined for the entire second half of the game with a pulled pork sandwich.

O’Neal, who scored 12 points and grabbed three rebounds during the first half of the game, returned to the bench at the beginning of the third quarter, clutching at the pulled pork sandwich and informing trainers that it was incredibly tender. A member of the Cavaliers’ medical staff said that when he attempted to examine the pulled pork sandwich, O’Neal flinched away and grunted sharply

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