Nothing peeves like excess
Yankees annoy with annual bauble show, BC shows some sanity, and more items of disinterest
One of baseball's truly warming winter traditions is the Yankees torquing people off with their public displays of wretched excess. This year, they made a lot of folks hot under the collar by rolling out $423.5 million worth of free agents at their introductory press conferences.
There was the usual moaning and groaning about how unfair it is that the pinstriped printing press can buy any star it wants while the poor such as the Royals and Pirates go hungry (utter nonsense given that the Rays rose from the ashes and teams with considerably smaller payrolls have been winning most of the World Series jewelry since the turn of the century).
But this space will concede that this year's bauble bash in the Bronx seemed even more gauche than usual, given the dire economic times and growing grumbles about cash-strapped New York City coughing up another $260 million in tax free bonds to help complete the new ball orchard (which is running a price tag of $1.36 billion), not to mention putting the town's own $850,000 luxury boxes up for sale before CC Sabathia's first pitch is even thrown.
Yes, no team reflects a nation that has spent itself into a well of red ink quite like the Bronx Bombers, who according to one report, are leaking cash themselves now. So if you want to nauseate -- or hearten -- yourself at their frequently Jokerish incineration of mountains of cash, here's a photo gallery of the Yankees' most pricey baubles acquired via trade or free agency and rolled out before the roaring hot stove since 1975. Ah, memory lane never looked quite so green...
For Their Own Protection
Quite the hub-bub about Boston College booting Jeff Jagodzinski for talking to the New York Jets about their vacant head coaching gig. Whether he had a no-talk clause in his contract is immaterial to this space. We're convinced that BC wisely decided it wanted nothing to do with a man who would even consider coaching the Jets, who are the NFL's Bermuda Triangle.
Yeah, the perennial doormat Lions just went 0-16 and the buswreck Chiefs have been seeking a return to the Super Bowl almost as long as the Jets. The Saints can't get over the hump. Neither can the Vikings. Yadda yadda. Your team here. But the Jets just have an uncanny way of raising expectations and deflating them in the most cruelly undignified ways. This season's prompt puncture of the Super Bowl hype balloon with losses to the 49ers, Seahawks and the clincher -- Chad Pennington's Dolphins -- was just the lastest in a long mystifying saga that has defied the best efforts of minds like Dick Steinberg, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, coaches like Lou Holtz, Walt Michaels, Joe Walton, Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll and Parcells, and such grand old gridiron gladiators as Freeman McNeil, Joe Klecko, Boomer Esiason, Curtis Martin and Brett Favre.
One assumes that a man like Jagodzinski would know enough to stay the hell away, but his courtship of Gang Green obviously brought his judgment into question.
Speaking of Fruitcakes...
Chances are you're pondering what to do with all that leftover fruitcake Aunt Myrtle laid on you. It's a thorny problem. You certainly can't eat it. Hotdog-scarfing champion Kobayashi tried and failed two weeks ago to ingest 4 pounds 14.25 ounces of the stuff in 10 minutes. We hear that the foundation of the new Yankee Stadium is mostly fruitcake and that NASA is experimenting with using it as a heat shield tiles for the space shuttle. Heaven knows, it has a shelf life like plutonium. Archeologists digging in an ancient battlefield in Germany found some perfectly preserved that was apparently used by the Romans to club the Barbarians into submission.
In other gustatory news, Guinness Rishi has been having fun with food, including guzzling in just 39 seconds a 490-gram bottle of something the Reagan Administration once classified as a vegetable for the purposes of school lunches. It's an amazing world.
The Voices of Miserable Experience
NBC seems to have a fondness for collecting spectacularly-failed GMs in its broadcast booth. You may have seen the news that Matt Millen, principal architect of the history-making Detroit Lions, has been hired to do Super Bowl pregame blather. Millen joins a stable that includes Mad Mike Milbury, who will forever cause agita among Islanders fans for his spectacularly outspoken 12-year reign of error in New York. No doubt, Lions fans will be reaching for the antacids on Super Sunday the way Isles fans do during NBC's NHL broadcasts, especially if they recall the following Milbury pronouncement:
"We're rolling the dice here a little bit. Roberto Luongo is going to be an excellent goaltender in this league. He is a class act and a kid I know we would have been happy to ride with. But hell, I've gotta send him off."
"I didn't know the league allowed cannibalism," is one of the more memorable statements to come out of the NHL. It was uttered by Jim Peplinksi of the Calgary Flames, who had one of his digits bitten by Claude Lemieux of the Montreal Canadiens during a scrum in Game 4 of the 1986 Stanley Cup Final. "Hey, doc,'' Peplinski yelled as he held up his bloody digit. "That SOB bit me! Do I need a tetanus shot?"
Apparently, Jarkko Ruutu of the Ottawa Senators took Peplinski literally and chowed down on Andrew Peters of the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. Ruutu was then given two games off by the league in order to contemplate his lack of table manners. Meanwhile, Toronto's Jeff Finger was heard sighing with relief that the league's latest version of Jaws has been muzzled, at least temporarily.
Hooray for Rory
With NHL All-Star voting a hot topic among puckheads, you may recall the spirited write-in campaign of two years ago in which a fan named Steve Schmid set up a website to get nondescript journeyman defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick of the Vancouver Canucks selected to the Western Conference team. The Vote For Rory campaign nearly succeeded and, in the process, caused the NHL to draw fire for allegedly rigging the vote in order to keep Fitzpatrick home. He received 550,177 votes, but finished third for one of the two starting blueline slots.
Praise be, Rory, who now toils for the Rochester Americans, has finally gotten his glory: he was chosen as the playing captain of the PlanetUSA team in the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic set for Jan. 25-26 in Worcester, Mass. And he didn't need a perversely mischievous fan base to do it. Captains were chosen by the league's president in recognition of outstanding leadership and service to the AHL. Memo to self: check if the AHL president's last name is Schmid...
Unfounded Rumor of the Week
We hear from our customarily reliable sources on the floor down at the Pixilated Otter Sports Bar that actual contact has been made with extraterrestrials and they're weighing in on the weekend's NFL playoff action around the clock via certain cable television frequencies. Herewith, classified photos purloined from the smoking lounge at NASA's SETI facility in Pistol Thicket, Louisiana. We fully anticipate panic in the streets and a worldwide re-thinking of religious tenets. As always, you read it here first...and last.
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