Saturday, November 27, 2010

OH, NO! NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! AAAAAHHHHH! OH, THEY'RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAAHHHHH! AAAAAGGHHH! Warning -- this montage contains the type of language you might expect Nicolas Cage to use to express distress:

EVEN INCLUDING THE BONUS FOR BEING A "TRUE YANKEE":   I'm all for recognizing a premium for Class, Mystique and Aura, but an offer of $15M per year for the ages 37-39 seasons of a shortstop who hit .270/.340/.370 last season and doesn't field well, to me, reflects an appropriate premium.  A fourth season?  Sure, what the hell.  It's Yankee money, which prints itself.

But Derek Jeter's reportedly asking for $23-$24M per year over the next 4-5 years is pretty damn ridiculous.  Jeter can't claim that his existing 10y/$189M contract underpaid him, and I hope the Yankees play hardball at this point. It's in Jeter's own interest not to be seen as the mercenary who could (or did) leave the Bronx to seek fortune as an Oriole, Dodger or (!!!) Red Sock, and everyone knows it. Calculate the value you expect him to provide going forward, and the number of productive years you believe he has left, and round it up a little because of his True Yankee -- winding up pretty close to the Yankees' existing offer.  Can anyone defend what Jeter's reportedly seeking here?

Friday, November 26, 2010

THERE ARE TOO MANY STATES NOWADAYS; PLEASE ELIMINATE THREE:  The Royal Spanish Academy has decreed that "ch" and "ll" are no longer letters in the Spanish alphabet.  In addition, "i griega" is now "ye," "Qatar" is now "Catar" and "Iraq" becomes "Irak" because no longer will "q" signify a "k" unless it's "que" or "qui."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THE ONLY TIME THIS YEAR YOU'LL SEE A SQUASH HIGHLIGHT ON ESPN:  PTI presents its Turkeys of the Year in the world of sports:

TUR-DUNKIN!  Ten ways you're probably not making your turkey.

I'm once again going with old reliable:  sage-roasted turkey with caramelized onions and sage gravy.  Simple and extraordinary.

added: Via CNBC's Darren Rovell, a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a pig.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

HELL NO.  I DID NOT LEAVE THE SOUTH SIDE FOR THIS:   Tim Meadows speaks candidly about building a post-SNL career: "I had a period where I had to make a choice: Am I going to continue to do this, or am I going to get a job working at a J.Crew? And I really did just put my head down and said, I’m going to take whatever jobs I get offered. I’m not going to be judgmental or choosy. I’m just going to work and provide for my family and myself and get through this."

Also, he was up for the role of Desmond Pfeiffer.
I WANT TO SEE COOKIE MONSTER'S MICHAEL MCDONALD IMPRESSION: Justin Timberlake rather famously hosted SNL in rapid form last year, and now Cookie Monster is following suit.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE: Burlesque opens tomorrow, which raises an interesting question: how many people will go to see a remake of Showgirls without nudity?
THINK OF IT AS A '70S THEME PARK, BUT WITHOUT GANGS OR MUGGERS OR HOOKERS ROAMING AROUND ... VERY FREQUENTLY:  Tom Scocca and Choire Sicha ask you to appreciate the "delightfully ill-lighted, incomprehensibly organized, low-ceilinged, viewless labyrinth" which constitutes New York's Penn Station.

Monday, November 22, 2010

BECAUSE I DON'T MICROANALYZE ADVERTISING ENOUGH AT WORK: I'm cleaning out the DVR while packing tonight so am not as aggressive as I might be about fast-forwarding through commercials, and caught a commercial for Eat Pray Love on DVD. I was struck by some of the language in the commercial, which referenced the director's cut featuring "scenes from the bestselling novel" that you didn't see in the theatre. I'm no scholar of the book, but wasn't the entire point of Eat Pray Love that it was a memoir rather than a novel? Has there been some sort of fabrication scandal I wasn't aware of?
BINKS HATES PUPPIES.  BINKS KILLED GRANDMA:  How to talk to your children about Star Wars.  (HT: Kim.)
NOTICE TO VACATE THE PREMISES, MIKE SCHMIDT: We keep coming back to this same debate about steroids in baseball, and whether players who used steroids (or who we're reasonably sure used steroids, or who we just think might have used steroids because we didn't really like them) should be denied entry to the Hall of Fame and stricken from lists of the greatest players of all time. Pro says "steroids are banned, players knowingly using banned drugs are cheaters, and we [cannot evaluate them properly/should not reward them for cheating]." Anti says "who cares?" I'm anti, obviously.

For the sake of this debate, let's agree that steroids were specifically banned beginning in 2002 and ignore that it was a toothless ban until 2005. Before 2002, they were banned by commissioner's fiat, but only in the sense that all illegal drugs -- cocaine, marijuana, thalidomide -- were banned.

So let me make an argument to you: Mike Schmidt, the darling of our Phillies-loving crowd, should be evicted from the Hall of Fame and ignored on all lists of great players. That's because, according to Schmidt himself, Schmidt used amphetamines -- that is, illegal performance-enhancing drugs:
There were a few times in my career when I felt I needed help to get in there. I'm [not?] a victim; I admit to it. I'm not incriminating myself or players I played with to say we were on amphetamines our entire careers. I just wanted to see what they would do. It was a lack of willpower. You had an impressionable young kid, and someone says, 'Man you want to feel good?'
According to the article (by Murray Chass, so I feel dirty quoting it), Willie Mays and Willie Stargell also took amphetamines. Howard Bryant's book on Hank Aaron claims that he used amphetamines for performance-enhancing reasons (though Aaron himself claims in his autobiography that he used them only once).

I have never once heard anybody say that Schmidt (or Mays, Stargell, Aaron, or Ruth) shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. Is the difference that we trust the power of steroids more than the power of amphetamines (debatable, given that amphetamines were being used to combat the grind of a nine-month season of all-night partying)? Or is it just that amphetamines seem like a quainter kind of cheating committed by men much older than us?

And, as a surprise gift for people who have read this far, I will never again speak of steroids on this blog, at least until I break this promise.
STAN AND THE MEN:  In honor of 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Stan Musial's 90th birthday yesterday, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Derrick Goold lists baseball's ten greatest living former players:  Aaron, Berra, Bonds, Henderson, Koufax, Mays, Musial, Robinson, Seaver, Schmidt.

[My list: replace Seaver with Clemens, Robinson with Maddux, and I'd hear argument on Pedro or Unit over Koufax.  Indeed, Koufax's presence on the list at all depends on what attributes you're incorporating within Greatness as a preliminary matter.]