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A Baltimore doctor did a three-year study in which he determined that men will put off emergency room visits until the end of a sporting event. At first I scoffed, but then I thought to myself: Suppose the Jayhawks were about to win the NCAA championship? And suppose I had severed my thumb on a beer can pull-tab? I’d probably pack that sucker on ice and watch the last five minutes, is what.

If you look at the pictures below, you’ll see that this has been an issue for longer than we might have guessed:

General: “My lord, you’ve lost a great deal of blood! We must get you to the palace physician!”

Rasputin: “Whoa, whoa, dude. The Bills are in scoring position! I swear, if Norwood misses this kick, I’m going to jump in the damn river, I don’t care how cold it is.”

Arthur: I told you I had no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight! I fear you will die now. Is there anything I can do to make your final moments more comfortable?

Black Knight: Yeah, move ovah and let me watch Game 6, you retahd!
Ah, for tha love of christ, Bucknah! I ain’t got no arms or legs and I still could have made that catch!
Go ahead and lop my head off, ya limey bastid – it can’t hurt any worse!

Cop: I can’t hear very well with all this blood in my ear canal. Why does he keep repeating “The Giants blend the tenant! The Giants blend the tenant!”?

Soldier: Oy, sir! That lig wound looks pyneful! Shall we get you to a midic?

Officer: Yes, Sergeant, let’s. The Shark is up six strokes on Faldo – he’s got it in the bag now! Only the most epic collapse in golf history could stop Grig from winning this one!

Soldier: As if, mate, as if! Haw haw!

On second thought, if I sustain an injury during any KU first-round NCAA game against a lightly-regarded mid-major opponent, perhaps a quick trip to the ER would save me a lot of grief.

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Whenever you talk backup singing, you have to start with the Pips. What other backup singers were so beloved that fans actually aspired to stand behind the lead? Fans would line up to sing “shoop shoop” behind Gladys Knight.

Here’s the pinnacle, the classic “Midnight Train to Georgia”:

Too much for the man…
He couldn’t make it!

He said he’s go-in’!

(goin’ back to find)

Leavin!

Leavin’ on a midnight train…

(goin’ back to find)

Whenever he takes that ride, guess who’s gonna be right by his side?

I know you will!

Leavin’ on that midnight traiiiin to Georgia…whoo whoo!

(live in his world)

That… world… is his… his n’ hers alone…

(drea-min)

A superstar, but he didn’t get far.

Dreams don’t always come true, nah-ah, no, nah-ah!

Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoooo

Woo-hoo-hooooo-hoo!

Leavin!

Leavin’ on that midnight traiiin.

(goin’ back to find)

Whenever he takes that ride, guess who’s gonna be right by his side?

I know you will!

Leavin’ on a midnight train to Georgiaaaa, woo hoo!

(live in his world)

That… world… is his… his n’ hers alone…

(leavin)

Leavin’ on a midnight train…

(goin’ back to find)

Whenever he takes that ride, guess who’s gonna be right by his side?

I know you will!

Leavin’ on a midnight train to Georgiaaaa, woo hoo!

(live in his worlllld)

Her… world… is his… his n’ hers alone…

One love, all aboard! (repeat x5)

One love, all aboard… Midnight Train to go! (repeat x5)

Goosebumps, baby.

Next week, Hall & Oates.

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jaybus.jpgI had an assignment for a writing class recently: interview someone who does what you want to do. So I chose Jay Busbee, who has been a font of wisdom and encouragement in my general direction for a while now. Our Q&A was truly enjoyable, and I will preface it by saying that I was asking Jay personal questions, so it is not his fault if he sounds like a windy douchebag (by his own reckoning).   You should definitely shoot the messenger on that one.

Those of you who want to write for a living – read up carefully:

What’s the most powerful attribute a writer can develop – style? a thick skin? Sheer, plodding, bloody-minded persistence?

Good question. All three are important, as is a good sense of what makes for a good story, and also what Hemingway called the “bullshit detector”—the ability to know when what you’re writing just sucks, and needs to be put out of its misery. However, of all those, I think persistence is the most important. A writer can get by without a whole lot of style, can get by being overly sensitive—but no writer gets very far without persistence. Even the crappiest Harlequin romance or by-the-numbers spy novel was created by somebody pecking away hour after hour, day after day.

You started out at William & Mary. Did any of your experiences there contribute to your ability or desire to write?

Absolutely. Main thing was writing for the newspaper. I was the sports editor there, and had the freedom to write pretty much whatever I wanted. It was a weekly paper, and I wrote a weekly game-picking column which, now that I think back on it, was really the Cro-Magnon version of what I’m writing these days on Right Down Peachtree—sports knowledge shot through with pop culture references and rampant smartassery. And this was eighteen years ago. Too bad there wasn’t an Internet back then, huh?

You also went to grad school (Memphis?). Do you feel today like that experience honed your skill set?

Yes, and in some unexpected ways. Grad school for writing can have a pretty rigid code of behavior—back when I was there, third-generation Raymond Carveresque nihilistic minimalism was all the rage, and the writing style (fictionally speaking) that I specialize in—black comedy, in the style of Carl Hiaasen—was looked down upon. I spent a lot of time—and wrote a really bad novel—in an attempt to create what I, at the time, thought was “serious” literature. It took me awhile to recognize that just because my talents didn’t run in certain literary directions didn’t mean my stories weren’t worth writing. So, from that side of things, I learned to follow my own voice, even if everybody else wanted me to speak a different language. (Hey, metaphor!)

But that paints grad school in a far too negative light. More than finding my own voice, I got exposed to a full range of others. I dug deep into every kind of literature I could get my hands on, and I got taught its nuances by experts in the field. You might not think that Virgil or Shakespeare or Gabriel Garcia Marquez would have much to do with sportswriting, but it’s all writing, it’s all creation. It’s all using language to craft something out of nothing. It may be an epic tale of love and loss, it may be ten goofball sentences on what Michael Vick and Van Halen have in common. But if there’s truth behind the effort, if there’s style behind the execution, they’ll both pay off. And that’s the kind of insight and instruction that I couldn’t have gotten on my own.

Was your first published piece about sports, or something else?

Technically, my first published piece was in the Atlanta Journal when I was in third grade, but that was part of a school project. (I analyzed school lunches. Deathless prose, it was.)

I think my first published piece outside of school writing (I was on the high school paper) was for a weekly neighborhood paper—one of those kinds that specializes in high school sports scores, garden club meetings, and overheated reports of City Council town halls. I did do sports for them, mainly because the sports editor there was an extremely cool guy and gave me my first lessons in dealing with coaches and players. (Lesson No. 1: They need you as much as you need them. Remember that, even if they don’t. It’s a lesson that’s served me well when dealing with pro athletes.) But I started out writing about high school football and basketball, swimming, track, whatever.

From there, though, I spent an awful lot of time in the “Living” and “News” section of the paper. I spent about six or seven years writing book and music reviews, doing investigative pieces, doing long-form creative nonfiction, stuff like that. Sports always seemed to draw me back, though, and even now it’s the part of my career that’s consistently breaking big.

Good God, this sounds egotistical. I swear I’m not this much of an insufferable bastard in real life.

How much of your daily routine is devoted to contacting editors and pitching stories?

Not nearly enough. I’m fortunate in that I’m at a point in my career where editors come to me with assignments, or I have standing assignments (columns) at multiple locations. And just keeping up with those can be daunting and time-consuming enough that I don’t pitch as much as I should. You’re supposed to spend up to 20 percent of your time pitching for new assignments; I’d say I probably do, at best, half that. God bless the Internet, though; it’s a lot easier dropping an email than the old-style way of mailing a query letter with a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) and waiting three, four weeks for a reply…or none.

How much of your daily routine is devoted to interviewing subjects? actually writing?

Depends on the article for interviewing. For a 1,000-word article with three interview subjects, you’re looking at probably 30 minutes for each interview, 30 minutes of prep time, an hour to 90 minutes per interview of transcription and editing, and another 2-3 hours of compiling the whole mess into a readable article. I probably work about 50-55 hours a week and spend about 35 of that actually involved in physical writing tasks (which includes editing, interviewing, rewriting). The rest is pitching or planning. Oh, and scanning the Internet. That counts as work, right?

I have a list of “dream publications” that I would like to see my byline in. Who’s still on your list? Do you feel like those remaining names are attainable?

Hell yeah, I have a list. Rolling Stone is at the top of it. Sports Illustrated. The New York Times. The print versions of ESPN and Esquire (I’ve made it into the .com versions). And yes, I think it’s possible to get in. It’s a matter of combining good timing, good luck, a good pitch, and a good pipeline to the right editor.

I’m having a hard time envisioning the process of writing a graphic novel. Since most of your deathless prose is turned into visual art and word bubbles, how much background and development do you have to write in order to keep the overall story real & coherent?

Depends on the artist and what I’m trying to get across. “Hero punches villain in the face” is pretty straightforward. But if I’m trying to get across a mood, if I have visual symbols that are necessary to the story, I’ll write a paragraph of prose for each panel in a comic page. All of that doesn’t have to be cute and literary; it’s the equivalent of stage directions in a play. The artist is the only one reading that, but he’s in many ways the most important audience of all, because he’s the one who’s got to communicate my vision to the masses.

Comics/graphic novel writing requires a lot more precision than anything else I’ve ever written—you’ve got to compile your story into 22 pages, 4 to 6 panels per page—there’s not a whole lot of room to get flowery in your dialogue.

How did it feel to score the winning touchdown? (sorry, started feeling like a sideline reporter there).

Well, you know, I first have to thank my Lord Jesus Christ. And I wouldna gotten nowhere without my teammates. These guys have the heart of champions, you know, and when everyone was doubting us, we wasn’t doubting ourselves. We took what they gave us, we gave 110 percent, we played ‘em one game at a time, we…you look so cute. I wanna kiss yew.

You are currently writing a book, with a second on the way. Is there much tweaking of the idea during the proposal process, or did your concept come through fairly well unscathed?

I got incredibly lucky—the book I’m writing on the Georgia Bulldogs was suggested to me by my agent. He was having lunch with an editor who noted that SEC books always sell, but there hadn’t been a good Georgia one in awhile. So I got to thinking, and boom, the idea sort of blew out of my head full-grown.

My agent—who friggin’ rules—knew that the editor wanted the book. So he packaged it as a two-book deal—you want the Georgia book, you take another one by my boy. So I sold the entire Braves book on the basis of a single paragraph in an email.

The proposal itself, for both books, hasn’t changed significantly, no, so I was fortunate in that regard. But it did require a lot of prep work before I was ready to show anybody.

Have you always been good at meeting deadlines, or did you have to develop some new skills?

Decent, yeah, not great. I’m always looking for new ways to streamline what I do. And I’m having to resist the many temptations that are out there—the Internet, the TiVo, the Playstation, the whole bit. My major problem is one of overcommitment—taking on too many projects without finishing off the ones I’ve already committed to.

Interviewee’s choice – Your chance to wax poetic about how your family has inspired/enabled you, and stuff.

Hmmm…how about “Why does someone so devilishly handsome chain himself behind a computer in solitude?” No? So we’ll go with the family one. I was lucky enough to grow up in a very stable two-parent family in suburbia—lucky from a “good psychological foundation” perspective, but bad in the sense that I didn’t get that dark, brooding sense of imminent doom that torments and haunts most artists. However, I came from a large family, meaning that I had to be quick, loud, focused , and funny in order to get heard…all elements that have served me well even today.

Now, I’m lucky enough to be married to an insanely talented and driven wife who’s a partner in a law firm. She’s also an ex-UVa English major, so she knows enough to be able to tell me when my writing is just garbage. She’s completely supportive of my work, and there’s no way I could get as far as I have without her. And she doesn’t even know I’m writing this…but she probably should. It’d get me out of trouble once.

My kids love checking out my writing, but they’re spoiled little punks. I shamelessly abused my press pass to get them down close to the field before a Braves game and got Jeff Francoeur to come over and say hello and sign their stuff. Now, they’re pissed that I can’t get John Smoltz to come to their birthday parties.

So there you have it. I only asked ten questions because Jay’s a busy guy. Maybe some day I’ll grace you with the profile I wrote up for class, but I’m going to let Jay debut that on his own website first.Seek out Jay’s writing. It’s everywhere. You won’t be disappointed.

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Cover Story

If you ever met me in person, you’d know I’m a very quiet, humble guy. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit on stuff like this. It’s just too big of a thrill. My first CSW cover story can be read on page 28 of this week’s edition. Click on the photo for linkage:

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Yeah, we were just joking around in the comments section over at 82 Sluggo Win. Innocently enough. Talking about the most excellent movie “High Fidelity”. Some call it minor Cusack, but I say nay! Have you not seen “Serendipity”? Or his small role in “Con Air”? That is minor Cusack. This is a worthy entrant in the canon.

But then this question floated my way:

jonathantu said 49 minutes ago:

Extrapolator, top five fashion crimes perpetuated by Jimmy Johnson in the ’80s and ’90s. Go. Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great coach for his hair spray sins, is it better to volumize or fade away?

I laughed. But then I actually thought about it. That is a perfect end-of-the-week post, I said to myself, and set about to answer the question through the magic of Google image search.

Here are the answers:

jjmontage12.png

jjnumber2.jpg

jjhat.jpg

So there you have it, J-Tu. Now go back and listen to your old sad bastard music. See if I care.

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am_logo.gifI’ve never even been to Atlanta, but I’ve been waiting with bated breath for this blog to get rolling. It’s Jay Busbee’s new regular blog for Atlanta Magazine, called Right Down Peachtree.

It’s all about Atlanta sports, so you can expect lots of Vick in the early going. I think the Braves might occasionally make an appearance. But he wouldn’t stoop to Hawks coverage…. would he? Drop by and find out for yourself.

I hear I might get to do an occasional minor league report, since I live within driving distance of the Braves’ Rookie-A and Triple-A farm teams. And yet I do not, and cannot ever, endorse the tomahawk chop. That I promise you.

Anyway, drop by and see Jay, because he’s always witty and insightful. Maybe he can even teach me how to spell Teixeira.

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This clip is only really funny if you think of Chris Walken’s character from Pulp Fiction, saying something like “This chicken carried this uncomftable hunk of metal… in its ass“.

Christopher Walken Roasts a Chicken

Bon appetit!

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voodoosabermetricsbanner1.PNGVoodoo Sabermetrics reminds us that our love for the team includes our love of individual players. We usually have a favorite superstar hitter or pitcher or both. But what about those guys that you just… like (or hate)? Maybe someone who pinch hits or steals a base now and then. Maybe an aging vet who is like an extra coach in the dugout. Rather than judge everyone by their stats, we’re going to use unique categories and scoring methods to check out baseball’s characters.

Our High Voodoo Council are:

Jack Cobra from The Cobra Brigade Neighbor Quotient and Scrappiness
Texas Gal from Ladies… Hottness and Behavior
The Goldfish Cowboy and eDayStat from A Pudge is a Sandwich Clutchness
Adam from Bugs & Cranks Atomic Number and Exposure
Sooze from Babes Love Baseball Jollyness
TC from Mr. Thursday’s Curious Mechanism Appearance and Quotability
Extra P. from The Extrapolater Name Quality (including nicknames)

This day had to come. How could we call ourselves professionals (OK, really dedicated amateurs) if we didn’t talk about this guy, now that he’s on the doorstep of baseball’s most hallowed record? It had to be done. TC, ever the contrarian, seems to actually like him. But what I’ve done to Texas Gal is borderline criminal. We pushed her out of the car for Cole Hamels, and then ushered her back aboard for this guy. To quote Joseph Welch from the Army-McCarthy hearings: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”.

Well, I guess I don’t. See what he’s done to American society?

Meet Barry *shudder* Bonds

bondsdurface.jpgName: Barry Lamar Bonds. With the middle name included, it kind of sucks, but when I was a kid, I kind of liked hearing “Barry Bonds”. It had a nice alliteration to it, especially when he and Bobby Bonilla were teammates. Back then, he still wasn’t likeable, but he hadn’t tipped the scale over to “flaming asshole” just yet.

Barry doesn’t really have a nickname, in my opinion. Sports nicknames are usually bestowed via clubhouse cameraderie, or public admiration, and Barry has intentionally and firmly closed himself off from both sources of appreciation. We hear derisive references like “BALCO Barry”, “Barroid”, and “Big Head”, but none of those will appear on his Cooperstown plaque, assuming he ever gets one. My current favorite is Sooze’s sobriquet for the man – Barry Lamar Cheaterface.

I guess I have to give him credit for the alliteration, but that’s it.

2 out of 10.

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adam_godson.jpgAtomic Number: Barry’s atomic number is 5, which if you’re scoring at home, used to be the number for Boron. Now it just called Barroid, which is coincidentally a metalloid that expands over time when bonded with cream (Cr) and clear (Cl). It’s highly reactive, especially to media criticism, and is generally seem as a combustible substance.

300_barroid.jpgIn its most elemental form, Barriod begins small, quick and dangerous. Combined with Jealousy (Je), Barriod is strongly attracted to Cr and Cl, which causes dramatic physical changes most notably the growth of the cranium and feet. Oh, and your balls shrivel up like raisins.

Exposure:

I had never heard of this guy, but that’s because I only know about baseball through video games. The Giants have had some really awesome hitters like John Dowd, Wes Mailman, Joe Young, Dean Gibeau, and Reggie Stocker, but no Barry Bonds. Plus, those guys looked nothing like him.

Besides, Barry is waaaaay bigger than the players’ association , so why would he need to be involved in a half-ass operation like that? How could you capture all of his awesomeness on one baseball card or in one video game, or in any other officially licensed deal? Just not possible. Thankfully, though, he’ll finally get some exposure now that he’s stopped hiding from ESPN and they’ll cover every single at-bat until he either hits three home runs or his face caves in and he decides to host a late night horror show.

Bonds may have been related to some other major leaguers, but I knew him as Bobby Bonds, Jr.’s brother. I was fortunate enough to see BBJ play for the Waterloo (IA) Diamonds growing up and he’s still the only guy I’ve personally witnessed striking out 5 times in a game. A low A-ball game. And he was in his mid- 20s. Now he’s a forklift driver, which hopefully he’s better at. But back to BBJ’s brother.

Apparently it’s in vogue to write books about how Barry Bonds isn’t a very nice guy. Well that doesn’t seem very sporting, does it, kettle? For anyone that watched ESPN from say, 2001-2003, you might remember you couldn’t turn it on without some talking head giving Bonds a verbal BJ. But Bonds’ real exposure didn’t come until the steroids scandal began to unfold. People needed a villain, and no one filled that role better than Barry. Let’s just hope that Barry doesn’t follow his mistress into the realm of actual exposure.

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Neighbor Quotient: I firmly believe that living next to ‘The Left Fielder from San Francisco’ would be very similar to living next to a Meth dealer. You know that he’s doing something illegal next door, but it’s being done in his basement so it will be hard to prove. Every time you talk to him he has the ‘crazy look’ in his eye, which makes you stop from confronting him. Still, you want to kick the living shit out of him every single day, especially since there are little kids around the neighborhood…..-4390 out of 10

Scrappiness: If ‘The Left Fielder from San Francisco’ died tomorrow I have to believe my life would change very little. Because his Father was MLB player, I have to believe he rarely had to work to hard to get ahead in life. While he somehow found a way to cheat his way into the record books, I still don’t consider that scrappy. In my opinion, the only time he’s been close to being scrappy in the last decade is when he was in that dugout altercation with Jeff Kent a few years back…..-86390 out of 10

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texasgal-96.jpgHOTTNESS: n/a

Try as we might, all attempts to contact Texas Gal resulted in dead ends. Then we received the following teletype transmission in the wee hours of the morning (yes, I labor over my telegraph device long into the night, monitoring the status of the system of tubes.  Isn’t technology wonderful?), marked as originating in “Crazytown”:

BARRY BONDS IS NOT HOT. STOP. ATTEMPTED TO CONTEMPLATE SAID HOTNESS IN RELATION TO BONDS- RESULTED IN BEING DRIVEN TO MADNESS. STOP. ATTEMPT SAME AT YOUR OWN PERIL. STOP. REQUEST NON-BASTARD HOTTIE FOR NEXT VOODOO ANALYSIS SO THAT I MIGHT RECOVER. STOP. HAVE MERCY. PLEASE STOP. STOP.

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mrthursday-96.jpgMy numerical scores will correlate to the alcohol contents of various beers. In case you care, here’s the scoring system.

Quotability. Barry comes off like an asshole, like a snake oil salesman, like a shyster, and and like an intelligent, genuine, charming guy, all at the same time. Barry does say what he thinks, though, at any moment. And his thoughts have been twisted and complex enough to warrant a lot of interest over the years. Willie Mays probably gets talked about a lot more now than he did a few years ago because of Barry’s frequent adulation for his godfather. Frank Robinson, too. And all that stuff is great. But I want to concentrate on one, oft overlooked Barry-quote: ” Thursday morning I went to see Star Wars Episode III and I have to say that I really enjoyed the movie.” Now, I saw Episode III in the theaters, twice. But I’m what you’d call a “fanboy” and I’m compulsively obliged to see Star Wars movies. But Episode III features the following lines:

Padme: Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo, so long ago when there was nothing but our love.
———-
Anakin: Love won’t save you, Padme! Only my new powers can do that!
———-
Obi-Wan (to Anakin): Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

I find the third one there especially funny. I mean, Star Wars Episode III is one of the most enjoyably terrible movies in recent cinema. And Barry likes it? Well, that’s okay by me. Barry, have yourself a Victory V-12.

Addendum to Quotability: Since the writing of the above section, Barry Bonds referred to Bob Costas–an arrogant “announcer” who stopped announcing non-Olympic sporting events a decade ago–as a “little midget man” who doesn’t know anything about baseball. This comes on the heels of an episode of Costas show, Costas Now, in which Bonds was lambasted. As the expression goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, and though Costas is not my enemy, exactly, “He who hates what I hate, can have an extra Voodoo Sabermetrics beer on me”. Way to go, Barry.

bondspirates.jpgAppearance. The easy thing to talk about, regarding the appearance of Barry Bonds, is merely how he was so much cooler as a Pirate, with a moustache, than as a Giant, with a bloated, hairless dome. In the 1980 and most of the 1990s, Barry had a lean athletic look, an earring dangling off one lobe, and a strong, neat, moustache responsible for hitting doubles all over the place. Yeah, Little Barry was a sweet looking human.

But I’d rather talk about Big Barry. I’d like to tell you, briefly, my favorite Barry Bonds moment, ever. No, it’s not when he dressed up as Paula Abdul.

In the fall of 2002, I was a freshman in college. My hall–all dudes–was conveniently obsessed with baseball, and so we gathered in our RA’s room to watch most of the playoff games. My roommate–a diehard (and somehow lovable) Red Sox fan–was so overjoyed when the Angels defeated the Yankees, he ran through our small campus in a Speedo and giant rainbow, afro-wig, screaming. Such was his enthusiasm, that the rest of the hall, with no particular rooting interest, developed a minor fandom for the Anaheim Angels, in particular, their wild-eyed closer, Troy Percival. Troy, of course, was never clean-shaven, his clothes hung loosely from his frame, his hat was muffed and hung off his head. He was a relic. But, he also threw 95mph, and the Twins couldn’t touch him in the ALCS.

So, we come to the World Series, Game 2, after the Giant took the first game. The Angels held a two run lead going into the ninth, and Barry is scheduled to hit 3rd. Percival, looking hungover on the mound, induces a couple of sissy flyouts, and so, with no one one, two outs, and a two run lead, Barry Bonds stepped to the plate. Barry looked enormous. He hit 73 home runs the year before. In 2002, more than half his hits were for extra bases, even though Barry couldn’t run. Everything, for a moment that didn’t really matter, stopped.

He was the single most intimating presence I have ever seen in any sport. Pedro Martinez in the late 1990s, when people were lucky just to make contact wasn’t like this. Tiger Woods, a stroke back of the leader on a Sunday during a major, wasn’t like this. Ray Lewis, having been charged with murder, was like that while staring down a QB before the snap. Maybe, maybe, Michael Jordan, with the game on the line, seemed so imposing. But basketball isn’t such a game of moments. There are so many pauses when all the air gets sucked from an outdoor structure just because a guy who was better at his job than all the other guys who ever held his job before. Some idiot in the room, who probably blogs about athletes and offers them beers based on their appearance, remarked, “Troy’s got Barry here.” Naturally, just moments later, Barry hit a home run so far he was rounding second base when it landed.

Barry, you’re not a handsome man, and I imagine 12 years ago, you’d score much higher on the Hotness scale than you do now, but, in appearance, there’s been no one quite as imposing, terrifying, or memorable as you. A Utopias, for you. Enjoy it.

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sooze3.jpg

matthauargue.jpgJollity:

The attitude of Barry Bonds is a complex issue. There’s a formula which has to be precisely followed in order to induce any signs of jolliness in Barry, which include but are not limited to: smiling, chuckling and/or joking around.

First, Barry has to be on his home field. Second, there must be no sign of the media, hot dog vendors or rain. Third, you must never mention steroids, Hank Aaron or Jeff Kent.

All in all, Bonds is one of the most-unjolly players in the game. Actually, he was voted the unfriendliest by players in a SI.com poll this past May. Shocking, I know! I’ll give Barry a Walter Matthau as Coach Buttermaker on the jollity scale. And that’s me being generous.

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tgceday.jpg

Clutchness:

eDayStat: I don’t think any conversation on Bonds should begin without mentioning his most significant trait. The man’s middle name is Lamar.

TheGoldfishCowboy: Well you know I have a fondness for Lamars. Lamar Alexander was a former president at the University of Tennessee.

eDay: I wouldn’t even let Bonds be president of GNC. But I’ll let that one hang. What we’re here to talk about is BB’s clutchness.

whosonfirst.jpgTGC: That reminds me of a time when I was having my clutch repaired and Bonds had blown a tranny. But that’s probably a story for a different time and place. The people really want to know about Bond’s baseball clutchness.

eDay: The only thing clutch about Bonds is what he does to those man-boobs he’s developed from years of needle abuse.

TGC: I don’t really mind the steroid abuse, but the guy is just a dick.

eDay: No actually Richard Bonds is a boxer from Ripley, Tennessee. But in my opinion clutch ratings are a comparitive study. You can compare to the best, but I’d like to compare Bonds to A-Rod because everyone sees him as a horrific clutch player.

TGC: I know I definately think Bonds is a bigger dick than A-Rod.

eDay: Point taken, but A-Rod always gets hammered because of his playoff results. Bonds hits .245 in the playoffs and only .194 in 13 All-Star appearances. A-Rod hits .280 in the playoffs and a shade over .290 in the mid-season classic. Both players have been in the playoffs and All-Star game enough to make those numbers statistically significant.

TGC: How could you even measure how clutch Bonds is when he’s played on a 75 win team most of his career?

eDay: Agreed, in 22 seasons he’s only been to the playoffs 7 times. A-rod has been in the playoffs 6 times in 14 seasons. He’s also hit over .300 4 times in a plaoff series. That’s something Bonds only did once. TGC, what do you think?

TGC: What was that? I wasn’t paying attention.

(editor’s note: for more great sports banter, tune in to the Super Monday podcast every Monday night at 9pm ET.  You can also hear archived casts, including the Extrapolater guest shot from last week.)

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Ordinarily, I (Extra P.) write the postscript, or “coda”, if you will, for each Voodoo Sabermetrics. But during our email exchanges about Mr. Bonds, TC came up with a spectacular conspiracy theory that I believe trumps anything I could have written. Take it away, TC:

Has anyone else noticed that, cranially speaking, Billy Joel and Barry Bonds have aged very similarly?

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I mean, is Billy on steroids? Or is Barry on softrock? The progression is uncannily similar. You can even find pictures from their middle stages of cranium enlargement with Billy circa ‘Storm Front’ and Barry right when he was making the move from Pittsburgh to San Francisco.

Oddly, entertainment value runs a similar course. Figure, years 1 through 6 for both included some impressive stuff, but not overwhelming adoration. Years 7 through 16 brought on possible Hall of Fame comparisons (Gold Gloves and homers for Barry, Gold Albums and Grammys for Billy).

16 through the present brought on immense entertainment through new means for both guys. Barry started walking 200 times a year and hitting millions of home runs while being booed everywhere he went. Billy drank enough to trash his voice, and toured so he could pay his drunk driving fines. Great stuff.

Great Stuff indeed! Thanks to everyone for helping kick a man while he’s undeservedly on top of the world!

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Read past issues of Voodoo Sabermetrics here.

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Yesterday was my day to write elsewhere, so I’m going to pass along a couple of links.

First, I put ACC expansion back on the table over at Losers With Socks. Which teams will be plucked from the Big East?

Second, I finally came out debuted at Epic Carnival, talking about Celebrities who Dabble in Sports.

Read those while you’re waiting for today’s real post.  Thanks!

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At 7:00 a.m. ET on Monday, July 16, 2007 a new blog entered our blogosphere. So now you’re wondering, “What is this new blog about?” Well, what is the blog community? It’s just that: A community. Unlike competitors in the mainstream media, blogs routinely share ideas, content, and offer up ways to supplement each other’s efforts. When we looked around and saw very few blog networks that are truly networked, We said, “What can we do about this?”

EpicCarnival.com is designed to bring some of the more creative independent blogs together under a single umbrella. Call it a “Super Blog” if you will. As legendary philosopher Hilary Duff said, blog networks are “so yesterday.” With writers from New York to California to even the UK, EpicCarnival.com will bring you some of the freshest, most diverse content you’ll find on the Internet in one convenient location.

We’re starting out this venture with writers from 34 authors from 28 blogs, all with diverse backgrounds and writing styles. If one of them doesn’t find a way to entertain or inform you somewhere along the way, well then, you’re just not trying.

Featuring the writers behind blogs such as Winning the Turnover Battle, 100% Injury Rate, Our Book of Scrap, the Blog of Hilarity, Shoutfan, Deuce of Davenport, Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Blog?, Babes Love Baseball and many, many more (including me!), EpicCarnival.com aims to bring daily, unfiltered content from some of the fastest growing voices on the Internet to make a Megazord of sorts.

It is our collective hope that people visit EpicCarnival.com time and again and that each day we make their Internet viewing experience a little better than it was the day before. Come check it out!

I will be posting nightly at Epic Carnival. Thanks a million to Doug from Our Book of Scrap for putting this all together!

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