Man Crush of the Week: Jim Thome

Just felt it necessary to acknowledge Thome and his accomplishment. Hitting 600 home runs is not an easy task. I love that he hit 599 and 600 in back-to-back at bats, which has never been done before. He’s now part of a club that totals 8 people:  Barry Bonds (762 HRs), Hank Aaron (755 HRs), Babe Ruth (714 HRs), Willie Mays (660 HRs), Ken Griffey, Jr. (630 HRs), Sammy Sosa (609 HRs), Alex Rodriquez (active, 626 HRs and counting). It’s sad that he’s already being thrown under the steroid bus because 3 of the 8 may never get to Cooperstown for the connection to PEDs. Either way, it’s an amazing feat. The best description that I’ve heard of his 600 HR accomplishment, “17,000 have tried, and only 7 others have succeeded.”

-bp

 

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Poor Old Guy…

Seriously… how bad do you feel for this dude? One day you’re living on Cloud 9 because one of the greatest TV shows in history is named after you… the next day you find out you’ve been sticking all your love letters directly into a pile of dog crap. Look at the bright side, Alf, all your high school buddies you’ve been sending mail to… the ones you assumed were dead because they never wrote you back… could still be alive.

-bp

[via imgur]

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The U(gly) Truth

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

This is the investigative story about “The U” that you’ll hear too much about for the next few weeks. It’s long, so I’ll put up a few clips from the article followed by a few comments.

Yahoo! Sports – A University of Miami booster, incarcerated for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, has told Yahoo! Sports he provided thousands of impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes from 2002 through 2010.

In 100 hours of jailhouse interviews during Yahoo! Sports’ 11-month investigation, Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro described a sustained, eight-year run of rampant NCAA rule-breaking, some of it with the knowledge or direct participation of at least seven coaches from the Miami football and basketball programs. At a cost that Shapiro estimates in the millions of dollars, he said his benefits to athletes included but were not limited to cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play (including bounties for injuring opposing players), travel and, on one occasion, an abortion.

In 15 prison interviews with Yahoo! Sports and hundreds of telephone and email interactions, Shapiro laid out a multitude of reasons for blowing the whistle on his illicit booster activity. Chief is his feeling that after spending eight years forging what he thought were legitimate friendships with players, he was abandoned by many of the same Miami athletes he treated so well. He told Yahoo! Sports that following his incarceration, he asked multiple players for financial help – either with bail money, or assistance to individuals close to the booster. Shapiro admitted some of those inquiries included angry letters and phone calls to players whom he provided benefits.

Multiple sources say this photo was taken in Nevin Shapiro’s VIP section at Opium Garden nightclub in Miami Beach in 2003. From left to right are Devin Hester, Shapiro and Vince Wilfork. (Special to Yahoo! Sports)

“Some of those players – a lot of those players – we used to say we were a family,” Shapiro said. “Well, who do you go to for help when you need it? You go to your family. Why the hell wouldn’t I go to them?”

Now feeling outcast, the booster said his goal is to rip away the façade of ‘The U’, and reveal an ugly truth about one of the country’s most celebrated college football programs.

The booster told Yahoo! Sports he had a number of individual payouts for “hit of the game” and “big plays.” He also put bounties on specific players, including Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and a three-year standing bounty on Seminoles quarterback Chris Rix from 2002 to 2004, offering $5,000 to any player who knocked him out of a game.

In one instance, Shapiro described taking a player to the Pink Pony strip club and paying for a dancer to engage in sex with the athlete. In the ensuing weeks, Shapiro said the dancer called one of his security providers and informed him that the player had gotten her pregnant during the incident. Shapiro said he gave the dancer $500 to have an abortion performed, without notifying the player of the incident. “I was doing him a favor,” the booster said. “That idiot might have wanted to keep [the baby].” Due to the sensitivity of the allegation, Yahoo! Sports has chosen not to name the player allegedly involved.

Nevin Shapiro and a second source said this photo of the booster and Kellen Winslow Jr. was taken in Shapiro’s VIP section of Opium Garden nightclub in 2003.

“If they had hired a private investigator for a day, it would have been the easiest job that guy ever had,” Shapiro said. “It would have been over in five minutes. You would have had all the information you needed. Follow me to a nightclub or a strip club. Lunches. Dinners. The boat. Hotels for parties. All the outings at Lucky Strike. These guys were at my house. There was all kinds of (expletive) going on in. Gambling. Pool tournaments. Prostitution. Drinking.”

One day, you’re a University of Miami graduate playing in the NFL, the next day, your past comes back to haunt you. There are some big names being thrown out there in this one. Vince Wilfork, Andre Johnson, Devin Hester, Kellen Winslow Jr., Antrel Rolle, Jon Vilma…the list goes on. Most of this story isn’t shocking at all. College athletes at The U got tons of money, booze, women, and benefits beyond their dreams. Not surprising. The in depth documentation of the events is pretty surprising though… how deep it went, and how often it happened. Then, there is of course… the abortion. That one’s bad. Real bad. Deciding to not absolutely ruin a life, Yahoo chose to not reveal names… which I support. Sadly, not everybody does, and my guess… we should know by the end of the day which player it was because of stories like this by Deadspin. Leave it alone, guys. What good is gonna come from that? This story will certainly go down and biggest and most damaging to the NCAA in a summer that has been littered with blemishes to their validity and reputation. NCAA is going down along with U of Miami. Mark my words, although they might not be as high profile, there are hundreds of Shapiro’s out there just sitting on stories just like this one…about your alma mater. Brace yourselves…

-bp

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Double Unicorn!

Sometimes I promote things here, not because I’m getting paid to, but because I think they are awesome. This, my friends, is one of those times. The double unicorn t-shirt from Busted Tees. Yes, that’s a unicorn with a little baby unicorn for a horn. Yes, I support this. Get yours here. Fun for boys and girls.

-bp

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The Padres Have 99 Problems

If you havin’ girl problems, I feel bad for you son…I got 99 problems, but that pitch ain’t one. Saw this at the Padres game last night. Clever. Padres hit a home run, he held up the sign. I chuckled. Another thing about this picture, (click on it to enlarge) it captures the “Q” signs that this usher hangs over the railing that stand for “Quick Out”. My guess is that 99% of average baseball fans have no clue what that Q stands for and once they see it stands for Quick Out, they have no clue what that means. It’s just when the pitcher gets the batter out in 3 pitches or less. (I think? Correct me if I’m wrong). Anyway, the sign reads “WE ESCHEW THE ‘K’ THEY TAKE ALL DAY EFFICIENT OUTS IS WHAT WE’RE ABOUT” Punctuation aside, it’s a decent little saying, but again, 99% of people don’t even know what “eschew” means. It means ‘to avoid, keep away from‘. Whatever. When I read that, it makes me think that ‘they’ think they’re better than me. I don’t even know who ‘they’ are. But ‘they’ are somebody, I know that. The “Q” signs are certainly an original idea, at least I’d never seen it before…so that I like. But honestly, although their meaning represents good baseball… I think they are dumb. Who cares what I think though, this guy has fun doing it… more power to him. For the record, I’m not talking down to anybody about a) their baseball knowledge, or b) their vocabulary. Years ago, when I first saw those Q signs, I had no clue what they meant, and if it wasn’t for context, I wouldn’t have known the definition of ‘eschew’ either. Ok, done with that. Back to 99 Problems sign.

I know it’s not a new twist put to the 99 Problems lyrics, I’m sure folks have been holding up signs like this at ballgames since the mid-90’s. Just the first time I’ve seen it. Cue readers: The mid-90s, bp?! You idiot, that’s Jay-Z! Came out in 2004, then got crazy popular in 2009! Pfft…mid-90s. Clown. Sure, he made it popular… popular enough to be #2 on Rolling Stone’s 2009 list of the 50 Best Songs of the Decade. I get that. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Ice-T, 1993’s Home Invasion album. Know THAT, suckas. Jay-Z was sampling Ice-T. Don’t believe me? Go read up on wiki. Oh, and for the record, I am talking down to you about your 90s rap knowledge. But who are we kidding… the real reason I’m posting this little “99 Problems” rant? Just one more reason to post the greatest soda fountain dispenser in the history of modern day restaurants…and I’m spent.

-bp

[shoutout to the RyDogg for snapping the poster pic]

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A Least His Parents Didn’t Name Him “Gamey”…

On the subject of great names in sports… I offer you Rusty Kuntz. That is all.

-bp

[lobbed by The Body]

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