Sunday, May 29, 2005

Carrilo-McCarver Syndrome

There seems to be a never-ending stream of star athletes or wannabe star athletes who feel it is their post-athletic career duty to squawk on national television as a commentator. In most cases, this sense of duty is a selfish desire to stay involved in the game and impart their vast wisdom to the viewing public. Also in most cases, fulfilling this duty is a mistake that causes many TV spectators either to become intimate with the mute button, or to stick a fork in their eyes. The following hacks are the folks who most inspire me to search for a cure for the Carrillo-McCarver Syndrome.

1. Mary Carillo - This woman may be a big proponent of women in sports, but her voice is grating, her analysis is obvious, and she's so obnoxious that I've had to learn to enjoy tennis without being able to hear the ball being thwacked. I'll only listen to a match that Carillo is anouncing if John McEnroe's sarcastic and thoughtful banter is around to counteract her.

2. Tim McCarver - Clearly a talented baseball player in his day, but he needs his mouth to be stapled shut while the camera is rolling. Who awarded this man 3 Emmy Awards for "Best Sportscaster/Analyst"? His mom?

3. Bill Walton - I'll put Bill on the list in honor of the conversation that inspired this post in the first place. Honestly, it's the man's toothy smile that drives me batty more than anything else.

4. John Madden & Pat Summerall - Since they're a team and all, they get ranked as a team. They deserved each other. But, I'm glad to hear Summerall's found Christ. The "Lost Christ" flyers posted in my neighborhood were getting annoying.

There are certainly more horrifyingly bad sports commentators, but I'm going to go watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Jams and Gams

I think I have finally recovered from Martha Wainwright's brilliant and goofy performance Monday night at Iota: Recovered from her searing vocals that at points bordered on bursting your eardrums. Recovered from the stunning renditions of some of my favorite tracks from her new CD, including "When the Day is Short," "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole," "Factory," and "Ball and Chain." And recovered from the adorable black tennis dress that left her standing on stage "half naked," as she described herself. When's she coming to town again?

Oh yes, and don't forget to go vote for her bro as "Best New Act" in the Mojo Honours List. If only to mock the fact that his first CD was released seven years ago in 1998!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Down Under Vaccine

Australian scientists have developed a vaccine to protect women from cervical cancer and expect it to be available late next year.

Cervical cancer is one of the few human cancers known to be directly caused by the viral infection, human papillomavirus (HPV) and up to 70 per cent of sexually active women become infected during their lifetime.

HPV causes about 470,000 cervical cancer cases worldwide a year, killing 274,000 women.

Trials of the drug Gardasil reported in the British medical journal Lancet Oncology reported it cut HPV infection rates by 90 per cent.
--From a Courier-Mail article

Hot damn this is good news! Shouldn't this have been the lead story or editorial in every newspaper over the weekend?

Monday, May 02, 2005


If you want to prove your diamond knowledge, take this test and submit your answers. If you get more than 34 points (out of a possible 36), you are a bigger baseball nerd than Jon, who is currently in first. [Honorable mentions go to Eli (33 points) and Alex and my Uncle Ben (31 points each).] And no looking up answers or calling my former coaches to dig up the dirt!

1. Going into the 2004 baseball season, which team had gone the greatest number of years without winning a World Series?
a. Boston Red Sox
b. Seattle Mariners
c. Pittsburgh Pirates
d. Chicago Cubs

2. Which team did the Washington Senators become in 1961?
a. Seattle Mariners
b. Milwaukee Braves
c. Minnesota Twins
d. Montreal Expos

3. What does it mean to “put a shift on”?
a. Garb oneself in a loose dress
b. Move the catcher to the inside half of the plate
c. Move fielders from their normal field position in a certain direction to account for a hitter’s tendency to hit to a certain part of the field
d. To send the runner on first during a “first and third” situation

4. Which Yankees jerk was roundly criticized during the 2004 ALCS for knocking the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove when Arroyo attempted to tag him out on his way to first after he hit a weak ground ball?
a. Derek Jeter
b. Jorge Posada
c. Bernie Williams
d. Alex Rodriguez

5. What is “the hot corner”?
a. Third base
b. First base
c. Homeplate
d. Second base

6. Who is the greatest St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher of all time, having compiled a 1.12 ERA during the 1968 season?
a. Bob Forsch
b. Bob Gibson
c. Dizzy Dean
d. Cy Young

7. Which former Vice President’s collection of autographed baseballs and other memorabilia has been showcased on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota campus?
a. Al Gore
b. George Bush
c. Hubert H. Humphrey
d. Walter Mondale

8. Which baseball team plays its games at Camden Yards?
a. St. Paul Saints
b. Toronto Blue Jays
c. Florida Marlins
d. Baltimore Orioles

9. Which current Red Sox first baseman used to play for the St. Paul Saints?
a. Bill Mueller
b. Kevin Millar
c. David Ortiz
d. Trot Nixon

10. What is statistically the hardest hit to get when trying to “hit for the cycle”?
a. single
b. double
c. triple
d. home run

11. In what city is the College World Series played in?
a. Tampa, Florida
b. Austin, Texas
c. Reno, Nevada
d. Omaha, Nebraska

12. Who won the 1918 World Series?
a. Chicago Cubs
b. Boston Red Sox
c. New York Yankees
d. Brooklyn Dodgers

13. What was the name of the Washington, DC Negro League team?
a. The Senators
b. The Nationals
c. The Grays
d. The Capitols

14. What is the “clean-up hitter”?
a. The batter with the most RBIs in the game
b. The batter who agrees to sweep the clubhouse after each game
c. The batter who hits fourth in the lineup
d. The batter who hits after the pitcher (in the National League)

15. Which team defeated the Red Sox in the ever-so-painful 1986 World Series?
a. The New York Mets
b. The Philadelphia Phillies
c. The Pittsburgh Pirates
d. The Fiendish Jerks

16. When Sarah was 8 and played on the Farm League team Mailloux’s Furniture, what was the only position she did not play during her All-Star season?
a. Pitcher
b. Shortstop
c. Catcher
d. Hell Raiser

17. Which popular Pittsburgh Pirate died in a plane crash in 1972?
a. Tim Wakefield
b. Nolan Ryan
c. John Kruk
d. Roberto Clemente

18. What is the last name of the baseball brothers known for throwing knuckleballs?
a. Niekro
b. Tricky
c. Smith
d. Marshall

19. What is a “set-up man”?
a. The batter that hits before the “clean-up hitter”
b. A relief pitcher that pitches before the closer
c. The fielder that gets the first out in a double play
d. The player from the home team that has to go on a date with the visiting team’s starting pitcher

20. Which awesome baseball movie stars Robert Redford and features a bat with a lighting streak on it?
a. Bull Durham
b. A League of Their Own
c. Cobb
d. The Natural

21. Which Minnesota Twin won the Cy Young Award in 2004?
a. Shannon Stewart
b. Torii Hunter
c. Johan Santana
d. Bert Blyleven

22. Which future Hall of Fame pitcher is nicknamed “The Rocket”?
a. Roger Clemens
b. Randy Johnson
c. Greg Maddux
d. Pedro Martinez

23. Who is the most famous baseball player to hail from Woonsocket, Rhode Island?
a. Clem Labine
b. Rocco Baldelli
c. Nap Lajoie
d. Canuck Perrier

24. In 1969, which team did awesomely named starting pitchers Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter play on?
a. Oakland Athletics
b. Detroit Tigers
c. Los Angeles Dodgers
d. San Francisco Giants

25. Which former Red Sox player is the greatest traitor of all time?
a. Babe Ruth
b. Roger Clemens
c. Wade Boggs
d. Pedro Martinez

26. Which former White Sox first baseman was nicknamed “The Big Hurt”?
a. Edgar Martinez
b. Seymour Bruise
c. Frank Thomas
d. Ryan Klesko

27. In what city is the Minnesota Twins AA team, the Rock Cats, located?
a. New Britain, CT
b. Portland, ME
c. Wilmington, NC
d. Iowa City, IA

28. Which former baseball player – known for having a ball bounce off of his head into the bleachers while he was playing outfield – recently released a “tell-all” book on steroids in Major League Baseball?
a. Mark McGwire
b. Jose Canseco
c. Bo Jackson
d. Cal Ripken

29. What does it mean when a baseball player “paints the corner”?
a. Just barely hits the corner of a base while running the bases
b. Hits a ball into the far corner of a ballpark while hitting
c. Spits tobacco juice into the corner of the dugout while riding the bench
d. Just barely nicks a corner of homeplate while pitching

30. What is Sarah’s favorite position to play?
a. Third base
b. Center field
c. Shortstop
d. Pitcher

31. Which Twins Hall of Famer battled it out with Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski for the home-run lead during the 1967 season?
a. Dean Chance
b. Harmon Killebrew
c. Kirby Puckett
d. Bob Allison

32. How many innings must a starting pitcher complete in order to be credited with a win?
a. 3
b. 4
c. 5
d. 6

33. Who was the 2004 American League batting champion?
a. Bill Mueller of the Boston Red Sox
b. Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins
c. Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees
d. Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners

34. Name one of the three oldest baseball stadiums still being used for MLB games.

35. Sarah had two of the nicknames below when she played fast-pitch softball. You only have to pick one to get a point for this question. {Two points if you get ‘em both!}
a. Hoover
b. Smiley
c. Hot Pants
d. Crazy Legs
e. Butch
f. Hippy

36. Who do you predict will win the World Series in 2005?