Sunday, May 18, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

By the way, did anyone see this story in the New York Daily News yesterday? I'm not sure if the News is the paper that broke the story, but that's where I saw it—this is so gross that I just had to post it. Any reaction, anyone? Yuck!

Jason Giambi and his magic gold thong

The key to turning the Yankees' season around could be under Jason Giambi's pinstriped pants.

The Yankee slugger revealed Friday he slips on a gold lamé thong with a flame-line waistband when he's trying to get out of a hitting slump—and he's shared it with his teammates.

"It works every time," Giambi told the Daily News after his secret was outed on

Derek Jeter agreed that Giambi's thong works, although "it's so uncomfortable running around the bases."

"I had it over my shorts and stuff," he said. "I was 0-for-32 and I hit a homer on the first pitch. That's the only time I've ever worn it."

Johnny Damon also admitted donning the golden panties "probably three times."

"I may need to wear it again soon," said Damon, who is batting a mediocre .255.

What is the secret of Giambi's golden thong?

"You're not worrying about your hands or your balance at the plate," Damon said. "You're worried about the uncomfortable feeling you're receiving."

In the earlier interview with, Giambi claimed he also hung his thong in the lockers of teammates Bernie Williams, Robin Ventura, and Robinson Cano when they had trouble generating runs.

"I only put it on when I'm desperate to get out of a big slump," Giambi said.

The News showed its support for the sagging Yankees by delivering 26 golden thongs to the clubhouse—one for every player on the team and manager Joe Girardi.

Damon accepted his with a smile, saying, "I will definitely wear it if I can."

The Yanks need something—they scored just six runs so far this week and are mired in the cellar despite having the biggest payroll in baseball.

Giambi—whose 2008 salary, $23.4 million, is the second highest in the majors—is struggling. He's hitting .181 with 7 homers and just 20 RBI.

While Giambi's silky secret may come as a shock to his fans, it wasn't news to his teammates.

"Whoever is on slumps, puts it on," catcher Jorge Posada admitted yesterday. "I don't know if it works. I haven't worn it yet."

Posada added that "a lot of players have worn it," but he didn't name names. Asked if the thong got washed between wearings, he gave a cringe-worthy answer. "Ask Jason," said Posada. "Jason is a little strange."

Yankee outfielder Bobby Abreu recoiled and threw his arms up in the air when a reporter waved a variation of Giambi's shiny underwear in his face.

"I don't know anything about that," Abreu insisted, though his bulging eyes said otherwise.

The question that appeared to get Abreu's boxers in a bunch made Mets catcher Brian Schneider chuckle before last night's Subway Series opener was rained out.

"There's no thongs being passed around the Mets," Schneider said. "Everybody's got their own lucky charm."

Giambi said the thong gets washed between wearings and he's had it since 1996, when he played for the Oakland Athletics. He said the company that provided him with undergarments made it for him as a joke—and he's been sharing the joke with his teammates ever since. The lucky undies were hanging in his locker yesterday.

"You've got to come and ask for it," he said. "That's the way it works."

Giambi's performance-enhancing trick ranks as one of the flashiest in a sport rife with superstitions, but the 37-year-old slugger is probably not the first ballplayer to boost his game by wearing offbeat undergarments.

Baseball lore is rife with stories about superstitious players wearing lucky boxers, or lucky T-shirts, or lucky socks—over and over again.

In the movie Bull Durham, up-and-coming pitcher Nuke LaLoosh (played by Tim Robbins) was talked into wearing a black garter belt.

That way, LaLoosh explained, he can "keep one side of my brain occupied when I'm on the mound, thus keeping the other side slightly off-center, which is where it should be for artists and players."

In the interview, Giambi didn't explain his thinking behind the thong, but then that's not his style.

The hard-partying, heavy-metal-loving, strip-joint-frequenting, Penthouse-reading Giambi said he is a Yankee cut from the Mickey mantle mold.

Giambi bragged that his teammates called him a "modern-day Mick because I could play all day and party all night."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

There is so much going on in sports right now, I don’t even know where to begin! So maybe a little salt and pepper...

SEASONINGS: The whole Spygate saga is like a train wreck to me. I almost can’t bear to look, but I can’t tear my eyes away. On the one hand, I am averse to these types of stories that are so blown up by the media that they take on a life of their own. I mean, really, now that it’s over, does it really matter anymore? I appreciate Senator Arlen Specter’s concern (rumor has it that he’s really just a bitter Eagles fan who can’t get over Philly’s loss to the Pats in the Super Bowl in 2001), but can you imagine congressional hearings over cheating in pro football when there are so many other things wrong in this country that really need to be addressed? I just imagine the dialogue on Capitol Hill:

“Do you think we should do something about the rising price of oil, the lack of health insurance for a huge percentage of Americans, the war in Iraq, the mortgage crisis, the massive deficit, or the horrible economy?”

“Nah, let’s hold hearings on football.”

On the other hand, I can’t stand the Patriots and would love to see their long string of success turn sour from a historical perspective due to real, hard, factual evidence of cheating. It surely would explain how one team could be SO dominant for so long in this era of salary caps, free agency, and parity. I have a hard time really hating Bill Belichick since he helped my favorite team, the Giants win their first two Super Bowls as defensive coordinator, but I have to admit he comes across as having about as much personality as a wet blanket—and that’s when he’s happy!

If the NFL wants to hold an independent investigation, as Commissioner Roger Goodell has been prodded to do, I am all for it. I’d be psyched to see Tom Brady and Co. taken down a notch or two. But I don’t think I want to see that at the cost of taxpayer money. It’s hard enough to watch my tax money sucked into the insatiable maw of the Iraq War—now I have to watch it go to hearings on football because Goodell doesn’t have the guts to do the right thing and get to the heart of the matter?

So the Knicks and Donnie Walsh chose Mike D’Antoni as their new coach. Immediately thereafter, the organization was slammed all over the media for hiring a coach who 1) has never won a championship; 2) does not coach defense; and 3) can’t use the players he now coaches, including the plodding Zach Randolph and the not-exactly-fleet-footed Eddy Curry to execute his run-and-gun offense. Not only that, but D’Antoni was slammed for “going for the money” in New York, rather than settling for less cash but a better roster for his style of play in Chicago.

But I say give the guy a chance. There no way he could be any worse than what Knicks fans have become used to over the last seven years. D’Antoni insists that he can tailor his offense to the players he has, and you can bet that the roster will change during his tenure as coach. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that D’Antoni has won an average of 58 games a season for the last four years with Phoenix. Rumor also has it that the new coach might bring in the Big Fella, Patrick Ewing, to assist with his frontcourt players—although Ewing doesn’t want to become known solely as a big man’s coach, there’s no denying the great work he’s done with Yao Ming and Dwight Howard in Houston and Orlando respectively. Maybe Ewing can work some “magic” with Curry—and chances are that Randolph won’t be in New York too much longer anyway.

Certainly, there’s not as much excitement over New York’s first Subway Series of the year as there has been in the past. Who cares about a fourth-place team and a last-place team except for New York fans who are looking for bragging rights? Last night’s rainout only added to the anticlimactic feeling, and even though the Mets won today, I repeat, who cares? Let’s check in again when the teams play in June and see if the games are worth watching by then.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Will Jones Ever Get his Mojo Back?

What on earth has happened to Andruw Jones? That is the question that has been haunting the Los Angeles Dodgers this season and there doesn’t seem to be a suitable answer anywhere in sight.
The Dodgers spent a ton of money on Jones and at the time I thought it might be a mistake. Joe Torre is sticking with him right now, but how long can that last?
There is going to be a point sometime during the summer when Torre realizes that it may be time to bench Jones. With four outfielders, Jones is pushing a more deserving player (Andre Ethier) to sit on the bench.
So far, the Dodgers are playing hot and cold. After winning eight straight, they lost five in a row. Right now, they sit one game above .500. An extra hot bat in the lineup might just be one of the things they need to get on another roll. And Jones surely isn’t wielding that bat, at least not currently.
What will happen to this $36 million mistake? Here is baseball writer Eric Gouldsberry’s ( take on the whole Jones debacle:
Andruw Jones and the Temple of Doom
The vultures are beginning to circle around center field at Dodger Stadium, where Andruw Jones is currently trying to call home. The Dodgers knew they were taking a moderate risk on Jones, signing him to a two-year, $36 million contract despite a dreadful 2007 campaign in Atlanta where he hit just .222.
At least the power (26 homers, 94 RBIs) was there then; but right now, nothing’s there—not the average (.170 through Sunday), the slugging (one homer and just five RBIs through his first 36 games), or the clutch game (1-for-27 with runners in scoring position).
The reviews are in for Jones, and they’re not good. T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times: “(Jones is) a Tubbo (248 pounds) and clueless, which really isn’t a good combination for the player with the highest annual salary in Dodger history.”
Seth Livingston of USA Today: “Is it possible Jones has lost it? Temporarily? Maybe forever?” The fans at Dodger Stadium: “BOO!” And what does Jones have to say about the catcalls? “I don’t care,” he repeatedly told Simers after Friday’s game in Los Angeles, “that’s (the fans’) problem.”

Thursday, May 8, 2008

McCovey Cove Has Lost Its Balls!

McCovey Cove used to be one of the really fun things about going to AT&T Park and seeing a San Francisco Giants game. With all the boats and activity, it was like a big pool party. I hadn’t seen that many drunks on the water since my last booze cruise or since the annual houseboat trip I take to Lake Shasta each summer.
It was a raucous crowd in rowboats, kayaks, floating dirigibles, ski boats – I even saw a guy one time floating around in a wash basin. The interplay among the sea faring revelers was one of the most fun aspects of the whole affair, especially when Barry Bonds came to bat.
We met one gentleman last season that made quite a nice little career out of kayaking in McCovey Cove and retrieving Barry’s home run balls. Known to everyone as “Kayak Man,” he was out there every game, day or night, and had captured more than his 15 minutes of fame for getting some of Bonds’ more celebrated homers, including #660. People would notice him on the streets of San Francisco and his chest would puff out. He even made a little side income producing “Kayak Man” t-shirts and bandanas.
But, now all that is dead. Bonds has been blacklisted out of baseball and McCovey Cove is just another body of polluted sea water. As if on cue, even the seagulls are staying clear. The other day, I did see a sea lion in McCovey Cove…taking a dump. Even the sea mammals of the bay know when a place has been relegated to The City’s “B” List.
The state of the Cove is really indicative of how the whole season is going for the Giants. They’ve been losing games in droves and Barry Zito, their big star pitcher, hasn’t won a single game. It’s sad to see how far the team has fallen since Barry left town.
Yes, it’s true—McCovey Cove (and the SF Giants) has lost its balls.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Did Eight Belles Die in Vain?

When I saw Eight Belles put down Saturday at the Kentucky Derby after breaking both of his front ankles, I swore off horse racing then and there. I used to be a big fan of the sport, and believe me, I have given the track a lot of my cash over the years, but when I saw that incredibly beautiful animal being killed, it broke my heart. These scumbags will never get another penny from me, that's for certain.
Two years ago, the world was shocked at the Preakness by the awful shattering of 2006 Derby winner Barbaro’s right hind leg. They tried to save that horse but failed. And now this.
And then, when they interviewed the Eight Belles’ trainer, some clown named Larry Jones, this is what he had to say: “These things are our family, you know. We put everything into it that we have and they’ve given us everything they have. They put their life on the damn line, and she was glad to do it!”
What a complete a-hole this jerk is. How does he know that Eight Belles was glad to die for a sport where she is repeatedly beaten by a jockey so that she’ll run faster? Do you think the horse really gives a damn whether she wins the race or not? What a ridiculous and uncaring remark to make. I’d like to saddle up Jones myself and whip his ass for a mile and a half and see how much he enjoys it.
Now PETA is in on the whole thing, calling for the suspension of Eight Belles’ jockey. Me, I want the trainer to go down. I think he is just as responsible.
PETA does some crazy stuff on behalf of animal rights, but when I heard about how many horses get destroyed like this throughout the country every year, it made me ill.
Here are the facts: The Washington Post reports that there are 1.5 career (and life) ending equine breakdowns every per 1,000 starts, which comes out to about two per day. USA Today reports that there were 55 equine deaths at one track alone, Del Mar near San Diego, between 2004 and 2006.
These animals are forced to perform for our entertainment. And when we push them too hard or they run into some bad luck out on the track, we kill them. I won’t accept it any longer.
I doubt that the sport of horse racing will cease to exist just because I’m not throwing down my little $10 bets anymore. But, if enough of us step away from the betting window—it just might.
Here is what AOL Sports reported about the incident today:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is seeking the suspension of Eight Belles' jockey after the filly had to be euthanized following her second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Gabriel Saez was riding Eight Belles when she broke both front ankles while galloping out a quarter of a mile past the wire. She was euthanized on the track.PETA faxed a letter Sunday to Kentucky's racing authority claiming the filly was "doubtlessly injured before the finish" and asked that Saez be suspended while Eight Belles' death is investigated."What we really want to know, did he feel anything along the way?" PETA spokeswoman Kathy Guillermo said. "If he didn't then we can probably blame the fact that they're allowed to whip the horses mercilessly."Guillermo said if Saez is found at fault, the group wants the second-place prize of $400,000 won by Eight Belles to be revoked.Saez, a 20-year-old Panama native, was riding in his first Kentucky Derby. He frequently rides for Eight Belles trainer Larry Jones.A call to the jockeys' room at Delaware Park, where Saez raced on Sunday, went unanswered.Eight Belles, the first filly since 1999 to run in the Derby, appeared fine until collapsing while galloping out after the finish.The letter to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority also sought a ban on whipping, limits on races and the age of racehorses, and a move to softer, artificial surfaces for all courses.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

Well, approximately one-sixth of the baseball season has now passed. All teams have a month of games on the books. I know I’m not the only one who is surprised by the way the standings have looked so far. In fact, it’s pretty refreshing to see the way some things are shaking out. The question is: Are we seeing the beginnings of some real new trends, or will the same old postseason players come storming back over the rest of the campaign to make the playoffs yet again?

Let’s look at the AL East. As I write this, the Tampa Bay Rays have slipped to second place after being percentage points ahead of the Red Sox for the division lead yesterday morning. No, you are not on anything—it’s just the truth. It’s also the latest in a season—yep, the beginning of May—that the Rays have been in first. Baltimore got off to a torrid start and has since cooled a bit, but even so, the Orioles are tied with the Rays, ahead of the under-.500 Yankees in fourth. What about all those predictions that said this was Toronto’s year to finally keep up with the Joneses in the division? Right now, the Jays are in last place—I wonder if they could use a slugger like, say, Frank Thomas right now, but he’s back with Oakland and starting to swing the bats a little better. The Blue Jays are only 4.5 games out of first, but they better get crackin’, or the deficit will become insurmountable.

In the Central, the division-leading White Sox are only one game over .500, and the rest of the teams are at or below it. How sad. After coming out of the box very poorly, the Tigers have won 8 of their last 11, and even though they are in fourth place, they are only 1.5 games out of first. The Twins started poorly also, but not as poorly as Detroit, and they are also coming back, but not as strongly as Detroit. Minnesota is in second place with a .500 mark, only a half-game ahead of the Tribe. Kansas City is taking the opposite tack from the Tigers. After a hot start, the Royals have lost 7 of 10 and are back in their usual spot—dead last.

In the AL West, I’m sure everyone expected the Angels to be doing well, and it’s no surprise that poor Ron Washington’s Rangers are in last and sinking. But how about them A’s, who have matched the Angels game for game, are tied with them for first, and own the best collective ERA in the majors? This was supposed to be a “rebuilding” year, as far as that goes in Oaktown, since almost everyone is always a youngster there, but instead, the A’s are off to their best start in quite a while. At least, it feels that way, though I don’t have the numbers handy. I’m used to seeing the A’s bomb early and then fight back and surge ahead by the All-Star break. This hot month of April is something new. And what happened to the M’s? Early scouting reports from spring training had the Mariners being the team to beat in the division, but Seattle seems as if it’s just limping along at the moment at four games under .500.

Over on the Senior Circuit, in the East, the Marlins—the Marlins?—the Phillies, and the Mets are all clustered within a half-game of each other at the top, while Atlanta struggles (despite Larry Jones hitting over .400) and Washington is too streaky to figure out its own way. The Marlins are overachieving, the Mets are underachieving, and the Phillies are playing about where they should be, despite injuries—this could be a fun race to watch, but it’s doubtful the Marlins will be able to maintain the pace over the bulk of the season. The way the Mets are playing, if they don’t get it started soon, the race will turn into a cinch for Philadelphia.

Lo and behold! In the NL Central, the Cubs are playing well! While they aren’t in first place, they are right behind the Cardinals at the top of the division, and the expectation is that they will be strong the whole year and compete in the postseason for their first World Series title in 100 years. The Milwaukee Brew Crew is also playing well, in third place. Next, Houston is under .500. The Pirates were expected to do better, but—hey!—here they are in second-to-last place. Only the Reds are worse, and they fired their GM last week.

The Diamondbacks are the surprise of the West, no doubt, as they chug along at a .690 clip. It could be revealing who wins the series this weekend between the Snakes and the Mets, since Arizona is clearly the cream of the National League, and the Mets are trying to show they belong up there while ridding their collective nostrils from the stink of last season’s collapse. (The Mets won last night’s game, 7–2.) Joe Torre’s Dodgers started off slow, but they’ve reeled off seven wins in a row now and are threatening to show the D-backs that the division isn’t won yet. Predictably, the Bonds-less Giants are doing poorly, and former ace Barry Zito, his huge contract, his 0–6 record, and his 7.53 ERA have been banished to the bullpen for now. Unpredictably, both the NL-Champ Rockies and the Padres are badly struggling, already 9 and 9.5 games respectively off Arizona’s pace.

So that’s where the standings are today. Any guesses who will catch fire and who will fizzle? Is it too soon to start thinking about the wild card? (Maybe not in the NL West!) I’ll keep my eye on the division races and report back again sometime soon!