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Another tough one for Idiot of the Week. The Kobe-Karl Malone feud calls out for a winner, but it's very he said/she said, so it's hard to know who's telling the truth. What's indisputable is that Malone was at the game in a cowboy hat and boots --whether or not he said he was hunting "a little Mexican girl" (Kobe's wife is half-Mexican) is apparently debatable. I'm not going to convict a man on hearsay -- though I do find it ironic that Kobe now gets to play the role of the aggrieved husband.
Mike Tyson was another possibility, for his car-jumping antics. (Good line from Conan last night: something to the effect of Tyson attacking a car and then, not surprising, the car knocked out Tyson in two rounds.) But Tyson's got it rough these days, kind of boxing's answer to Bernard Kerik, whose life gets more circus-like by the day. (God bless you, New York tabloids!)
So here's the winner: Clay Aiken. In a nutshell, he big-timed some junior high kids and got a teacher suspended because she had the gall to e-mail gawker.com and tell them how abhorrent Aiken was. Clay, you're an idiot.
Some quick thoughts
The air in the office was filled the other day with the Massachusetts-accented curses of colleague Chris Mannix. Look, I understand it's tough for Sox fans to see Pedro Martinez walk. But you just won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Enjoy it for a little while, guys, before you give yourselves ulcers.
Besides, it's not like the guy is invincible any more. Call me crazy, but his numbers won't be much better than David Wells'. Without that extra hop on his heater (God, I love sportswriting), he'll suffer. And I'm guessing hitting is not going to agree with Pedro. Memo to the Mets equipment guy: make sure his earflap is reinforced.
Wells, on the other hand, relies on being crafty, and it's a well-known fact that lefties can pitch forever. I'm guessing the whole Yankees rivalry thing isn't going to get to him.
But here's what I like about Pedro leaving: We're going to see what Theo Epstein is made of. He's in the same boat Brian Cashman is. He's desperate for a starter and he doesn't have a whole lot of trade bait, so he's probably going to have to swing a three-way to make something work.
I like Epstein, and I'm really eager to see how he addresses his squad this year. He did a great job piecing together his everyday lineup, but a lot of cash goes a long way in doing that. Getting starting pitching, especially established starting pitching, is an entirely different deal, since there's so little of it out there.
I'm not sure how hard he's working to get Tim Hudson, but here's one thing he'll have in his favor: He and A's GM Billy Beane have similar sabermetric tastes, so perhaps he's drafted a couple of guys Beane had his eye on at some point. Anyone who read Moneyball knows how much Beane loved Kevin Youkilis.
I'm on record being anti-NBA, but I'm very pro-LeBron. So I dished out 180 bucks for the NBA package last week. The Cavs promptly got thrashed by the Bulls and Spurs. Their record before I shelled out big bucks: 12-6 (.667); since: 1-2 (.333). Same thing happened when I bought the second-half baseball package right before Cleveland's series with the Twins when the Indians were just two games out of first. Tribe was 61-55 (.526) before; 19-27 (.413) after.
How's this for a grudge? Bum Bright, who owned the Cowboys during their mid- 1980s decline, passed away. Check out the first line of this obituary from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Pretty bad when you're the third person mentioned in your own obit.
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As discussed in an earlier blog, I was very excited to see The Life Aquatic, which opened in New York last Friday. I saw it after work at 11 p.m. Sunday. The film was amusing, but not as amusing as the hipster element at the theater. (During the two hours of the movie, the strains of Franz Ferdinand were not heard in a single dorm room.)
You see, it's only playing on one screen (limited release), so the filmgoers were die-hards -- in other words, about 90 percent NYU or Columbia students, virtually all of whom were sporting some sort of ironic headwear. It wasn't just knit hats, which are so '03. No, there were porkpie hats, newsboy hats, beefeater hats and even one of those stuffed gopher things Brezhnev used to wear.
There were also some odd scarves, a couple of which might have qualified as cravats, and plenty of hoodies. By far the most ridiculous get-up was a woman in line at the concession stand wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and, I swear to you (you can ask fellow blogger Steve Cannella), a motorcycle helmet. You're inside. It's okay to take it off. If a meteor crashes through the roof of the theater, the helmet's not going to help.
Anyhoo, the movie's good. It's like a Monty Python movie in some ways (but not nearly as wacky): lots of set pieces situated in almost-normal environments with quick one-liners. And in typical Wes Anderson fashion, great closing scene/credit roll. In Rushmore it was accompanied by the Faces' Ooh La La; here it was Bowie'sQueen Bitch.
From the mailbag
Florida's Kristina Bennett has a challenge for the Browns. "Does anyone want to play football in Cleveland? I will coach the team for nothing, plus I bet Randy Lerner both my MBNA credit card balances I can win with the team against the Chargers. First off, take [William] Green, give him a new baby, tell him it is a football and don't drop it because it hurts." I think you'd do it the other way -- take a ball and tell him it's a baby--but we get the picture. Mr. Lerner, you've been challenged. Give Kristina a shot. It can't be worse than the last three weeks. (I have to believe the Browns are pushing the NFL record for most points allowed in a three-week span.)
On that note, I'm off. As always, stay classy.
Mark Bechtel covers NASCAR for Sports Illustrated and SI.com.