Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"ESPN The Magazine" To Launch "ESPN The Network" In 2009

Bristol, CT. (Apr. 30) - Citing enthusiastic reader and online response, ESPN The Magazine announced today that it plans to launch ESPN The Network in early 2009.

"This is in direct response to what our readers have been clamoring for," said ESPN The Magazine spokesman Barry Watkins at a press conference this morning. "So beginning in 2009, ESPN The Magazine will proudly launch ESPN The Network, for those fans who have an unsatiable appetite for the sports coverage we provide at ESPN The Magazine -- both the print and online versions."

Watkins said that ESPN The Network will offer readers the same in-depth, provocative look at the world of sports that ESPN The Magazine provides, but on television instead of in ink.

Popular ESPN The Magazine and online writers like Bill Simmons will appear on ESPN The Network; Simmons' segment will be called "ESPN The Magazine's Online's Bill Simmons The Podcast The Network"

"Imagine a world where you can turn on the television and see the ESPN The Magazine logo on the screen and know that you're about to be treated to a moving video version of sports coverage," Watkins said. "And I can assure you that we'll leave no stone unturned when it comes to covering the sports we address in our magazine. Even hockey."

Watkins added that ESPN The Network will feature many of the same writers whose words appear in ESPN The Magazine, except that "now, you'll be able to HEAR these words, instead of just reading them," Watkins said. "I have chills just talking about it."

ESPN The Magazine, spawned by the success of ESPN, a sports-only cable network, promises that ESPN The Network will "in no way, shape, or form compromise its quality just because we're now doing a TV network," according to Watkins.

ESPN 2, ESPN Classic, and ESPN U are all considering launching magazines as well. They would be known, respectively and not surprisingly, as ESPN 2 The Magazine, ESPN Classic The Magazine, and ESPN U The Magazine.

Also announced was the change of ESPN anchor Chris Berman's name to Chris The ESPN The Anchor.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Donnie Walsh Politely Rejects Isiah Thomas's Request To Act As A Reference

New York, NY. (Apr. 28) - Just days after being asked not to talk to New York Knicks players for fear of having a bad influence on their feelings about the next coach, former coach and current employee Isiah Thomas was dealt another blow over the weekend.

Thomas was denied the use of current boss and front office veteran Donnie Walsh as a reference for any future job searches, sources say.

"I'd really rather you didn't," witnesses say Walsh politely told Thomas when asked if Isiah could use the new Knicks executive as a professional reference. "OK?"

To solidify his position on the matter, Walsh then changed his mobile phone number and didn't give Thomas the new number.

"I still think Isiah can be a productive contributor to the Knicks," Walsh said in a statement to answer the reference rumors. "What that may be, I have no idea at this time. I'm sure there's something around here he can do." Then, addressing the reference issue head on, Walsh's statement said, "Isiah is free to use whomever he wants as a reference, of course. But some references might not be too happy about it. I might be one of them, but I'm not confirming that."

Thomas, who lost his job as team president when the Knicks hired Walsh, then lost his coaching job after the season ended, has been hanging around Madison Square Garden, waiting for Walsh to give him something to do, according to the sources.

"They pass each other in the hall, and it's so uncomfortable," one Knicks employee said. "Isiah kind of nods his head, and Walsh pretends he dropped something and looks toward the floor. The other day they both ended up in the men's room, and Walsh left before washing his hands. At least I hope he usually washes his hands."

Thomas, according to friends, will abide by Walsh's wishes, and will instead use Knicks Chairman James Dolan as a reference. At press time, it was unclear if Dolan has been informed of Thomas's intentions, or if Thomas plans on disclosing the move to Dolan.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors Apparently Playing Each Other in the Playoffs

Toronto, ON. (Apr. 25) - Rumors continue to persist in this Canadian city that the National Basketball Association entry from Toronto, nicknamed the Raptors, are engaging in some sort of a post-season tournament against their counterpart from the southern Florida city of Orlando -- whose team is nicknamed the Magic.

"That's what I keep hearing," said Toronto resident Mitch Basham, who was among a small gathering of curious people who were congregating outside the Air Canada Centre, as word spread that the Raptors, who play at the Centre, might indeed be participating in the NBA playoffs. "I mean, I was having lunch in the park and I overheard a bunch of people talking about the Raptors and Magic. So naturally I thought there was some kind of cool magic show with reptiles going on," Basham added. "But then I find out it's basketball. Is this true?"

League officials wouldn't confirm nor deny the rumors.

"The Raptors, like every one of our franchises, is a valued member of the NBA," a statement from the NBA read. "Confirmation of the teams participating in this year's playoffs was distributed last week. I urge you to consult that document."

According to sources close to the NBA, the Magic and Raptors had already played two games in Florida before traveling north to continue their alleged series of games in Canada. The sources indicated that the Orlando team won both games in the States, and that the Raptors turned the tables last night in Toronto. Other sources say that the Raptors are NOT, in fact, in the playoffs, and that the rumors to the contrary are "baseless."

Basham said that an "obnoxious, big guy" wearing a Raptors jersey breezed by him outside the Air Canada Centre, yelling, "Raptors Rule!" -- and that the man yelled something indistinguishable when Basham asked him what he meant by that.

"Could that be confirmation of this thing with that Orlando team?," Basham wondered aloud to reporters.

The "deep throats" in the NBA say that a fourth game between the Raptors and the Magic will be held in Toronto "any day now."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Football Pacifists Want NFL Draft Abolished In Favor Of Volunteer Service

New York, NY. (Apr. 23) - National Football League headquarters were protested against this morning, as a well-organized group of football pacifists decried the tradition-rich draft as unconstitutional, calling for the league to adopt a volunteer-based method of replenishing its talent.

"Hell no, they shouldn't go!," chanted the protesters -- mainly made up of long-haired, hippy freaks who burned footballs. Some protesters simply sat, Indian-style, on the sidewalk outside the league offices, wearing football helmets with the word "draft" in a circle with a line through it.

"Football is a GAME, not a war", one picket sign read.

"The draft leaves me cold," read another.

Jonathan Pierce, 47, one of the protest's organizers, said the NFL doesn't need a draft at this time.

"The league is at peace," Pierce said. "The draft is unnecessary. I'm sure there are plenty of strong, fast, athletic young men who would gladly volunteer for NFL service, if they were targeted in a marketing campaign. We see no need for our boys to be torn from their families and thrust into a world of violence and possible career-ending knee injuries. And all for what? The almighty dollar?"

Anti-NFL Draft protesters outside league headquarters this morning

Pierce was among a group of organizers who led a march from the NFL combines in Indianapolis that began in early March. The combines are an annual event that showcases the best young talent emerging from the nation's universities.

"If you could have looked at these kids' faces," Pierce said sadly. "They all had that scared look of doom. These young men knew they were soon to be forcibly entered into a life of million-dollar salaries and endorsement deals. And only a few had agents. The looks I saw ... they were petrified at what a life of embarrassing riches and guaranteed contracts might bring."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello would only say, in a statement, "While we respect this country's right to free speech, the Draft will nonetheless take place this weekend, as planned."

Pierce said he hopes to gather enough signatures -- approximately eight million -- to place the issue of whether there should be an NFL Draft on the general election ballot this November. According to law, Pierce has until a week from Friday to gather the signatures. He said he has "about 400" so far.

"But nothing worth fighting for is ever easy," Pierce said.

Monday, April 21, 2008

David Eckstein Really Just A Kid Filming A New Disney Baseball Movie

Toronto, ON. (Apr. 21) - Major League Baseball this morning is trying to determine how to handle the news over the weekend that pint-sized, scrappy infielder David Eckstein is really a 14-year-old youngster filming scenes for an upcoming Disney baseball movie.

Eckstein, whose real name is Patrick Mathews, has been working on the flick -- working title The Whiz Kid -- since the 2006 season, when his depiction of a big league ballplayer was so realistic that he won the World Series MVP Award. Footage from the Series and moments from the 2007 and 2008 seasons will be used in The Whiz Kid -- an inspirational fantasy of what would happen if an Attention Deficit Disordered kid had the moxy and baseball skills to become a boy wonder on the diamond. Mathews, who chose the stage name "David Eckstein" by combining his father's middle name and the name of a local drugstore, beat out 56 other youngsters for the role three years ago.

Eckstein/Mathews added to the usable footage for Disney when he hit a three-run home run Sunday to help the Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Detroit Tigers, 5-3.

A then-13-year-old Mathews poses as "David Eckstein" in a photo taken by a Cardinals team photographer last year

The revelation of "Eckstein's" true identity came when a Toronto teammate spotted a working film script in the actor/infielder's locker on Saturday. Mathews was confronted Sunday morning by Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, and the teen admitted to the ruse. Mathews told team officials that a film crew had been following him for almost two years, posing as a crew working for MLB. He added that his heroics in the 2006 World Series were "unscripted", and that his performance in the Series was largely improvised. The director liked it so much, Mathews said, that it was kept in the film.

MLB officials would only say that a decision as to whether to allow Mathews to continue to play for the Blue Jays as Eckstein would be made "soon."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Philanthropic Tiger Woods Feted For Giving Masters To South African Player

New York, NY. (Apr. 18) - Hailed as "just another great act by a great man", Tiger Woods was honored yesterday for his benevolence in donating the 2008 Masters tournament to little-known South African golfer Trevor Immelman.

"Your generosity in sharing just a tiny portion of your vast golf wealth is certainly appreciated," PGA Honorary President Roger Warren told Woods at a press conference held at the newly-opened PGA Experience in Manhattan. "It's wonderful to see you helping out those less fortunate."

Woods was cited for his sandbagging during last weekend's Masters, when, despite proclaiming he would win the tournament several weeks ago, Woods hung back and allowed Immelman to be this year's Cinderella story.

"Tiger Woods showed what kind of a person he truly is," Warren said as Immelman flanked him, wearing the green jacket that is customary of all Masters champions -- a jacket that he would not be wearing without Woods's assistance. "There was every indication that we were going to see yet another late round charge by Mr. Woods to pull out victory from the jaws of defeat. But he decided instead to take that victory and hand it to Mr. Immelman. A real class act."

Woods explained the reasoning behind his decision -- made, he said, overnight between rounds three and four.

"I certainly could have won this year's Masters, and I had every intention of doing so," Woods said as he looked at Immelman, who nodded submissively. "As you all know, few things get my juices flowing better than coming from behind and stealing everyone's thunder at a major. But then I looked at Trevor when I got to the course Sunday morning, and he just looked so scared and unsure of himself. That's when I thought, 'Let the kid have this one.'"

Woods explains his decision to donate the 2008 Masters to Trevor Immelman

So Woods put on a mini-rally, coming from six shots back to creep within three before "pulling back on the reins", as he put it.

"I scared the poor guy half to death," Woods said, smiling, as Immelman chuckled nervously. "But in the end, I know I did the right thing."

Woods added that, despite several requests from other golfers, he may not donate any more tournaments in 2008.

"I can't say yes to everyone," Woods said. "I maybe should have said no this time, but Trevor didn't ask. This was a donation from the heart. Anything else, going forward, would be too contrived."

Woods and Immelman then embraced, at which point Immelman began sobbing, repeatedly saying "Thank you" as cameras clicked madly.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Area Woman Overcome As Husband Proposes Divorce On JumboTron Scoreboard

Atlanta, GA. (Apr. 16) - In the end, she couldn't say no.

Suburban Atlanta woman Melanie Hudson was unable to resist the creativity of her estranged husband, Richard, and agreed to a divorce, in front of 16,000+ fans at Philips Arena during last night's Orlando Magic-Atlanta Hawks game.

"Melanie, Will You Divorce Me?", read the message flashed on the JumboTron scoreboard during a timeout in the second quarter. As the fans cheered and chanted, "YES! YES!", Melanie turned to the man she's been married to for six years and separated from for three months and, tears welling, cried, "I WILL!" before flinging herself into the arms of her friend, Gabrielle Malvais. Richard Hudson was then seen pumping his fist as the crowd roared.

"It was soooo sweet," gushed fan Cynthia Betters, who was sitting several rows behind the unhappy couple. "To think that that woman, Melanie, had been suffering through a bad marriage for so long, then to have her dreams come true, in front of all these people ...," Betters said before being overcome with emotion.

Overcome with emotion, Melanie Hudson cries on the shoulder of friend Gabrielle Malvais after estranged husband Richard's divorce proposal flashed on the scoreboard at Philips Arena

Melanie Hudson, who friends say has been threatening an end to her marriage for "several years now", agreed to attend the Hawks game with her soon-to-be-ex only under the condition that she be allowed to bring Malvais, and that they drive separately, along with the stipulation that Richard leave the arena with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, and that he not know where Melanie parked. After satisfying those demands, Richard satisfied one more.

"He nudged her and pointed to the scoreboard," Malvais told reporters. "Melanie scowled at him, because another condition was that he not touch her. But he pointed again, and when she finally turned her head upward and saw the letters in lights, she lit up brighter than that darn scoreboard!"

After Melanie emphatically agreed to the divorce to the cheering crowd, Richard Hudson then produced pre-drawn up divorce papers that he had picked up from his attorney's office on the way to the game.

"It was a complete surprise. He really pulled it off," Malvais added.

The non-fairy tale marriage will officially end this Friday, when the paperwork is filed.

Neither Melanie nor Richard Hudson were available for comment, under a gag order.

Monday, April 14, 2008

MLB Batboys Brace Themselves For New Tell-All Book

San Francisco, CA. (Apr. 14) - Batboys of each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams are on edge this morning, on the eve of a new tell-all book set to be released tomorrow that threatens to rip the lid off the sacred batboy fraternity.

Entitled I Am Batboy, written by former MLB batboy Trevor Hillman, the memoir chronicles Hillman's three-year stint as a batboy for the San Francisco Giants (2002-2004), and is already being hailed, according to sources who were given advanced copies of the book, as "the Ball Four of batboy work" -- a reference to Jim Bouton's infamous 1970 book that revealed many big league secrets.

In the book, Hillman reportedly writes of wild, unsupervised sexual orgies among batboys and ball girls, along with a method batboys used to get high involving unused pine tar. Advanced readers also tell of excerpts in the book that make reference to cronyism among the batboy industry, and even alleged "clubhouse couches", in which potential ball girls were given jobs based on whether they slept with certain equipment managers.

Hillman, through his publicist, bragged in a statement that "nothing in this book is untrue. This is the stuff that, had I tried to reveal it when I was still a batboy, I might have been killed over." Hillman went on to say that "It's time now. The pipeline of batboy work is a scum-filled one full of some of baseball's lowest form of life. I'm proud to have been the one to finally say what everyone else was afraid to say."

Former Giants batboy Trevor Hillman, right, threatens to jolt the batboy world with his new book

Hillman, now working as a marketing manager for a midwestern software company, says he was hired by the Giants in late-2001 only because he promised to "do" a ball girl who was the equipment manager's niece. "She was ugly, but I said I'd sleep with her," Hillman said in an interview earlier this month. "It was a self-esteem thing for her, I think."

In that interview, Hillman also revealed that when he suggested to Giants personnel that he wanted out of his batboy job in 2003, he was told that he could do that, but that the team had videotape of Hillman and a fellow batboy "tarring", a term for illegally sniffing the fumes of pine tar in a free-based fashion. When told that, Hillman backed off.

"I'm not even sure if such a videotape even exists," Hillman said. "But I wasn't about to take any chances, because I did do some tarring while I was there. We all did it. They still do it today."

The book hits shelves at midnight tonight. So far, there have been no reports of anyone camping out in line in order to get it, a development that friends close to Hillman say "disturbs" him.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Struggling NHL To Change Name Of Sport To "Arena Hockey"

New York, NY. (Apr. 11) - The National Hockey League, taking a cue from the success of the indoor version of American football, plans to call itself Arena Hockey next season.

"Clearly, the Arena Football League (AFL) has been able to ride on the coattails of the NFL for over a decade now," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at a press conference yesterday -- which was purposely held in a local hockey arena called Madison Square Garden to emphasize the symbolism of the league's new direction. "So why can't the NHL ride on the coattails of the AFL?"

Under the new plan, the NHL will now be known by the acronym AH. Bettman explained that the NHL couldn't change to AHL, because that name's already taken by the American Hockey League, a minor league affiliate who would only change if the NHL "ponied up some dough", which it was unable to do.

"Plus, it's easier to say 'Ah,'" Bettman added.

Bettman said that new logos, licensed apparel, and stationery will soon be introduced denoting the league's name change.

Computer-generated peek at what Arena Hockey might look like, according to an image released yesterday by the NHL

AH will also introduce some rules changes to more accurately reflect what Bettman called "the rough-and-tumble, in-your-face nature of the game's new arena version." Those changes will include bodychecking into the boards, players sitting on benches behind the boards, and the option of ricocheting the puck off the boards in order to advance it. When it was pointed out to Bettman that those things already exist in the soon-to-be defunct NHL, Bettman glared at the reporter and said, "Shut up."

The AH will begin play in October with 30 franchises, in towns such as Montreal, New York, Boston, Calgary, and 26 others.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Area Man Finding That His "Fantasy Umpiring" League Just Isn't Catching On

Scranton, PA. (Apr. 9) - Baseball fan Mark Borsch is seriously considering abandoning his fledgling Fantasy Umpire League, friends report.

Borsch, a self-described "officiating zealot", is discouraged that his idea for monitoring the exploits of Major League Baseball umpires through his new FUL (Fantasy Umpire League) just hasn't caught on yet.

"The men in blue are integral to the outcome of every single game," Borsch explained yesterday as he sat in his home office, tabulating the latest numbers for every one of MLB's 77 umpires. "Yet no one seems to think that their abilities are worthy of track-keeping," Borsch added as he studied a self-written computer program that ranks umpires in six key categories. The categories are: Strike Zone Efficiency; Safe/Out Percentage; Positioning; Player and Manager Relations; Game Management; and Command, an admittedly extra-subjective look at various intangibles that Borsch says "separates the men from the boys."

Borsch, thanks to his subscription to DirecTV's MLB Extra Innings package and spending 14 hours per day watching game casts over the Internet, tirelessly keeps meticulous stats on the umpires, as well as serving as commissioner of the new FUL.

"My wife keeps telling me I should look for a job," Borsch, unemployed since last May from his occupation as a meat-cutter, says. "But this is my dream -- to open up a whole new world of baseball stat-keeping for the ardent fan."

Borsch claims to have eight teams in the FUL, who each paid a $15 entry fee -- almost.

Mark Borsch, at his local library, tries to interest casual baseball fan Julie Higgins in why bad Strike Zone Efficiency is harmful to American League West teams

"Five paid me. Two are going to pay me, they promise, and one ... well, I might let him slide," Borsch says. "Maybe he can chip in something for the end-of-the-year party."

Borsch held a draft in early March, in which each "franchise" selected 12 umpires, who were assigned "salaries" based on their success, using Borsch's six categories as the barometer. Each franchise works under a salary cap, and can cut and pick up umpires as often as it wants, as long as it stays under that cap.

"Sunday night, 11 o'clock. That's the drop-dead deadline for the week," Borsch says firmly as he waits for another weekly, 44-page printout to finish spitting out. "After that, no changes. None."

But the FUL is struggling. Four of the franchise owners have already stopped making moves, which is a bad sign, according to Borsch.

"They're like, 'Just play whoever I had last week,' " Borsch says with a sigh. "That tells me that they've lost interest. I don't know; I try to reach out to them and explain why they should look at Doug Eddings this week because his crew is in Boston and Eddings does well with Strike Zone Efficiency in smaller ballparks. But they just don't seem to want to take that stuff into consideration. I mean, that could make or break your week, ya know?"

Borsch vows to keep the FUL alive despite his friends' reports to the contrary, even if he has to assume ownership of the disinterested franchises himself.

"In time, baseball fans across the country will see how an umpire's Game Management rating is directly rated to the won/loss percentages of teams with young pitchers and veteran catchers. You'll see," he says.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Celtics, Pistons To Open Playoffs Against Some Team Or Another

New York, NY. (Apr. 7) - The two best teams in the NBA's weak Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons, are each poised to begin the playoffs in twelve days, being matched up against some sort of bottom-feeding, wretched ballclub.

"I really don't care who we play," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce yesterday. "In fact, I don't know if I'll even bother learning their name," he added, saying that all he might look at it is the other team's jerseys, just so he knows who not to pass the ball to.

The Celtics have a league-leading 61 wins with six games remaining; the Pistons have 55. The two lowest seeds, who the Celtics and Pistons will play, are both horrendous teams who ought to kiss the court that they're even in the playoffs.

"They say upsets can happen," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups before snickering derisively. "I don't know, man....I don't know," he added before breaking into convulsive laughter. Then, after composing himself, Billups said, "This is the best time of the year; when we in the East get to wipe the floor with teams who should be in the lottery."

The potential opponents of the Celtics and Pistons include the Toronto Raptors, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Philadelphia 76ers. But reports indicate that maybe even the New Jersey Nets, the Indiana Pacers, and the Chicago Bulls are still mathematically alive for a playoff berth. Sources say league officials are "crunching the numbers" to see who truly is the least pathetic two teams from among this scum-sucking group. There's even been talk, sources say, of these teams pooling their resources and forming two teams from their rosters who might be able to push the Celtics and Pistons to a fifth game in a best-of-seven series.

Meanwhile, the Celtics tuned up for their first round romp by practicing blindfolded, while the Pistons worked on defensive drills while hogtied.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Rockets' McGrady Goes On Profanity-Laced Rant After Finding Out Team's 22-Game Winning Streak Hasn't Done Much To Improve Its Playoff Positioning

Houston, TX. (Apr. 4) - Prancing around the locker room yesterday, waving his arms and making a range of faces from annoyance to anger to disdain, Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady ranted about the team's no. 6 playoff seeding, despite a recent 22-game winning streak.

"We won 22 straight! Twenty-two f***ing games in a row! Twenty-f***ing-two!! Think about that for a moment. We won 22 G**damn games in a row! And we STILL don't have a f***ing home court advantage in the first G**damn round? F***!!," McGrady screamed, as stalked the locker room maniacally, going from teammates to reporters, sometimes directly into their faces.

"Holy s**t! This is BULLs**t!," McGrady continued, at one point taking a dry erase marker and writing a big "22 wins in a row" on the white board, then adding the words "home court" in a circle, which he then drew a line through, like one of those international symbols. "Look at this! Does this add up? Does this look right to you? HELL NO!," he added before throwing the marker across the room.

McGrady then started banging his balled up fists against his forehead, chanting, "Makes no F***ING sense! Makes NO f***ing sense!" before pacing back and forth, making a series of guttural, animalistic sounds.

As others in the locker room stood frozen with fear and/or confusion, McGrady held up the sports section, opened it up to where the NBA standings were printed, and said, "Y'all watch what I think of this!" and began wadding the page into a ball. He then shoved it into his mouth, chewing and swallowing it.

"Yehmmf righghm!! Righmm hemrmem!" he shouted as he ingested the standings page, pointing to his mouth as his eyes flashed and his eyebrows moved up and down mischievously.

The Rockets are 49-25 and would have to win their division to secure home court in the first round. They're currently three games behind the front-running New Orleans Hornets.

It's unclear if McGrady's outburst would motivate his teammates, as most of them had slipped on headphones and were listening to their iPods by the time his four-minute display was over with.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tensions Rise As No-Name Orioles And No-Name Manager Both Trying To Play The "No Name Card"

Baltimore, MD. (Apr. 2) - Even though the 2008 MLB season is just days old, there's already tension within the Baltimore Orioles, as both the team's no-name players and its no-name manager struggle to each capitalize on their no-name status.

The Orioles, whose roster is made up of 17 players that no one has ever heard of, five players that few have heard of, and three that some have heard of, are now party to an internal power struggle with their manager -- who claims no one has ever heard of, sources say.

"The manager ... umm, don't tell me, don't tell me ... dang, I had it!" said club spokesman John Karding as he began to address reporters yesterday. After an aide whispered into his ear, Karding continued.

"The manager, Dave Trombley ... what? Oh, sorry. Dave TREMBLEY, our manager, is concerned that some of his players are trying to portray themselves as scrappy no-names that can surprise people with their scrappy, no-name play, while Dave also sees himself that way -- as a scrappy, no-name manager who can surprise people with his scrappy, no-name managing style.

"It's becoming a sore spot, for sure," Karding added.

The Orioles manager (we THINK) congratulates one of his players recently; it's unclear if either of them knows the other's name

Orioles players, who didn't have to request anonymity because they already have it, confirmed Karding's words.

"I'll bet fewer people have heard of me than have heard of him," said the second baseman -- or possibly a backup outfielder. "We're going to shock some people because nobody's ever heard of us and isn't giving us a chance. At least with Tremly ... excuse me? Oh, sorry. At least with Trrr-embley? OK, at least with Trembley, people can see that he's managed before and has had success. At least that's what I heard someone say the other day."

A relief pitcher or maybe a catcher said, "We're not going to let that manager's pettiness stop us. He likes to think that he's this underdog dude. Whatever. Look at me. DON'T look at my locker. What's my name? Tell me my Goddamn name, right now!"

When reporters couldn't identify the player, he snickered and walked away.

Trembley, when reached for comment would only say, "I love my players. I fully expect to have all their names memorized by the end of May, thanks to my seating chart in the dugout. But ask around. Who knows ME? I mean, come on. It's not even close, gentlemen."