Monday, June 30, 2008

Struggling Konerko To Start Swinging When Chatter Instructs Him To Do So

Chicago, IL. (Jun 30) - Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, struggling all season to keep his batting average above .200, announced that he's trying a new tactic.

"Whenever I'm told to swing, I'll swing," Konerko told reporters gathered around the batting cage prior to yesterday's interleague game against the crosstown Cubs. "That includes infielders who are making some chatter, and any fans who I can pick up chanting in the stands."

Konerko referred specifically to the age-old mantra of "Hey batter, batter, batter, batter -- SWING!" and said that he's willing to take that advice now.

"I've tried just about everything else," said the 32-year-old Konerko, currently batting .215 and set to return from the disabled list this week. "I've tried hypnotism, smearing hot peppers on my socks, and kissing a photo of Jessica Alba," Konerko said. "All without any real success.

"What's the worst that could happen"," he reasoned.

Konerko said he got the idea from watching a rerun of the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which includes a scene with Ferris's friend Cameron shouting the mantra at a Cubs game.

"Then it hit me: does anyone ever really swing when that's said?," Konerko asked reporters. "When I was in Little League, no one ever did. I think it's about time someone did. And that someone is going to be me."

Konerko then took batting practice, but not before rubbing teammate AJ Pierzynski's head and licking his ear, explaining the odd behavior as another way of breaking out of his slump -- something that Pierzynski said was news to him.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Woods: I Also Played U.S. Open With A Broken Arm, A Damaged Pelvis, And Other Internal Injuries

Aspen, CO. (Jun 25) - Adding to his legend, Tiger Woods revealed yesterday that in addition to winning the U.S. Open with a badly injured left knee, he also played with an assortment of other injuries, ranging from a broken arm to internal bleeding.

"Whenever you'd see me grimace, it could have been for any number of reasons," Woods told reporters as he began a summer of rehabilitation in this Colorado resort town. "My knee? Possibly. But there were other things. Other, very bad things," Woods said, his voice dropping and turning menacing.

Woods then listed his ailments -- the ones bothering him at the Open two weeks ago.

"A broken right arm," he said. "Yeah, I broke it. It was a clean break. I suffered it earlier in the week, playing with my daughter. Hurt like hell, especially on tee shots."

Woods somehow manages to laugh with Rocco Mediate after the 2008 U.S. Open, despite a broken arm, a damaged pelvis, a Charley Horse, an asleep foot, internal bleeding, severe headaches, blunt force trauma, and a kidney stone

Woods continued, looking around, not making eye contact with reporters as he listed off his physical problems.

"I was in a minor traffic accident the day before the Pro-Am and messed up my pelvis pretty bad," Woods added. "Then, sometime during the second round, a fan's umbrella jabbed me in the side, and that evening I had some pain. Turns out I had internal bleeding."

Woods wasn't done. He added severe headaches, blunt force trauma to his left shoulder, a "pretty bad" Charley Horse, and said his right foot "fell asleep" while waiting to tee off at no. 16 during the fourth round. "That was worse than you think," Woods said.

Woods said that, given his maladies, that it was "a no-brainer" to skip the rest of the season with knee surgery.

"Gives me time to recover from everything else. Kill nine birds with one stone."

With that remark, Woods added a kidney stone to the list, saying, "I almost forgot!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

No One In Yankees Organization Has Heart To Tell George Steinbrenner That Tampa Bay Rays Have Better Record

New York, NY. (Jun 23) - New York Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner, in seclusion due to poor health, has been mercifully withheld from the news that the Tampa Bay Rays have a better record and are in second place behind the Boston Red Sox.

"We just don't see the point" in bothering Steinbrenner, 77, with the troubling scenario, said Mary Steinbrenner, one of George's nieces. "It would only...make things worse."

The elder Steinbrenner has left the day-to-day running of the team mostly to son Hank.

The Rays are currently 44-31, 1 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees are 41-35, five games out. And three-and-a-half games behind the usually poor Rays -- which is unheard of in late June.

Aides to the patriarch Steinbrenner say that he is shown sports pages from the early-2000s, and is told that the team has reacquired such former stars as Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, and Tino Martinez -- or that they've been coaxed out of retirement.

"Sometimes we just run videotaped highlights from 2001," Mary Steinbrenner said, "and tell my uncle that they're from last night or something."

But the biggest secret the family and aides are keeping from the elder Steinbrenner is the fact that usually terrible Tampa Bay has risen to second place, ahead of the history-rich Yankees.

"That would be the killer blow," one aide said. "It might just shove the old coot over the edge," he added on condition of anonymity.

The move to shield Steinbrenner from the Tampa Bay news had old-timers recalling other similar moments, like the Kennedy family withholding news of John's death from father Joe in 1963, and elderly Vancouver Canucks owner Seymour Knox not being shown the team's new gold and black and brown uniforms in 1979.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Longtime Stalker Of Minor League Players Losing Hope That He'll Get Called Up To "The Show"

Portland, OR. (Jun 17) - For veteran baseball player stalker Vernon Harrison, time is running out -- on his dream, on his goals.

"It's not easy to see everything you've hoped to attain crumble away," he says with a sigh.

Harrison, 57, has been stalking ballplayers since the early-1980s, but has never risen above stalking players at the AAA level. And he fears he may never get that opportunity.

"You beat around the bushes for as long as I have, and you see others move to the next level, it's hard NOT to think, 'That should be me,' " Harrison says as he focuses his powerful binoculars on Portland Beavers center fielder Les Gorensen during the sixth inning of a recent game. The observing of Gorensen, and the subsequent moving down to a closer seat when he takes his position in the on deck circle so a "decent" photo of the player can be snapped, is all prelude to the following home of Gorensen after the game, which will be accompanied by the placement of a twisted wreath of baseball memorabilia and obsessive rants on Gorensen's doorstep.

But Harrison feels "tapped out" when it comes to stalking minor league players.

Veteran baseball player stalker Vernon Harrison

"I'd love to send chilling notes to Ryan Howard or Chipper Jones thru an unsuspecting clubhouse attendant," Harrison says of his aspirations to stalk big league players. "But I might have to accept the fact that it's just not in the cards.

"It's mainly who you know, not WHAT you know," a bitter Harrison added.

According to the latest research, stalkers of athletes is at an all-time high, and that means the pie gets cut into that many more slices. Which means veterans like Harrison get edged out by younger, "luckier" stalkers.

"The dudes who could be my son -- those are the ones they like now," Harrison said, referring to the ASS -- Athletes Stalkers Society -- which determines which minor league stalkers will be granted home addresses, phone numbers, and contacts of big league personnel who can be compromised in order to better stalk prey. Harrison is a cautionary tale -- the one of the has-been stalker who never got the call-up -- and there are others like him.

"Vernon Harrison's story is, unfortunately, not an isolated one," said ASS director Charles Palmer. "It's all about timing. And, frankly, time is running out on the Vernon Harrisons of the world. It's a shame, because Vernon really is a good stalker. He did quite a number last year on Perry Simmons of the Southern League's Montgomery Bears -- even drawing a restraining order in the process, and getting physically removed from the players-only parking lot on one occasion. But he's 57. All the MLB stalking jobs are going to men half his age.

"It's a shame, but it's the harsh reality," Palmer added.

Harrison, though, isn't going to just "mail it in" while he continues to work the minor league circuit.

"Look," he says, displaying Gorensen's girlfriend's photo. "She's gonna get a dead rat in the mail.

"I'm still giving it 100%. Maybe that call will come, after all."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Randolph: Take This Job & Shove It -- MAYBE

New York, NY (Jun 16) - Embattled New York Mets manager Willie Randolph stormed into the office of General Manager Oscar Minaya yesterday and told his boss what he could do with his job -- only to rescind moments later.

"I won't be left twisting in the wind anymore!" Randolph yelled to Minaya, according to sources who put their ears against the door. Then, moments later, Randolph added, "I mean, unless that's for the good of the team."

Then, seconds after that, Randolph flip-flopped again.

"You wanna fire me? FIRE ME! I don't give a s***!"

But then he quickly added, "I mean, I GIVE a s***, I just don't...I'm tired of...look, about if I just go now?"

A visibly confused Mets manager Willie Randolph, shown minutes after his almost-tirade in GM Oscar Minaya's office

Randolph then emerged from Minaya's office as the sources yanked themselves away from the door abruptly and pretended to engage in other Mets business.

Randolph's future with the Mets has been in question all season as the team has languished below .500, after being predicted to be a World Series contender. Speculation over Randolph's job status is beginning to take its toll, as yesterday's combination outburst/about face indicates.

"This situation has gone on long enough," Randolph told reporters gathered outside Minaya's office. "I can't manage this way. I mean, I probably CAN manage this way if the situation DOESN'T change, but I'd rather it change, because I'd prefer NOT to manage this way.

"You know, if circumstances warrant that. I guess what I'm saying is, all things being equal, I'd PREFER not to manage this way," Randolph added to his meandering comments.

Minaya utilized his office's trap door to slide down an underground tunnel, which carries him directly into the driver's seat of his car at speeds of over 25 mph. He was thus unavailable for comment, as the trap door had just swung shut when reporters entered his office.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hulk Vows He Will Smash If Celtics Don't Win NBA Finals

Los Angeles, CA. (Jun 12) - The Incredible Hulk, flanked by throngs of Boston Celtics fans and supporters decked in green, issued an ominous threat to NBA officials and anyone else who would be unfortunate enough to get in his way if the Celtics didn't emerge as league champions.

" thing," Hulk said in his familiar halting, Neanderthal-like tone. "If Celtics no win, it make Hulk want to SMASH," he added, pounding his powerful fist, driven by his 224-inch biceps, onto the top of a nearby UPS truck, collapsing the vehicle instantly.

Longtime Hulk observers said that this is the first time the genetically-modified creature, whose legal name is Bruce Banner, has ever openly thrown his support to any professional sports team.

"Clearly, it's the whole green thing," said Celtics fan Rodney Banner (no relation). "Everyone knows about the Hulk's affinity for green. So it makes sense."

The Incredible Hulk makes his way to the podium prior to his impromptu meeting with reporters yesterday outside the Staples Center

Sources say the Hulk became enthralled with the Celtics after a late-season game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Boston -- a game that was halted for nearly 30 minutes due to a rampage by the Hulk during the third quarter in the arena.

"Banner was at the game, and became enraged at beer prices," confirmed the source. "Before friends could escort him out of the arena and out of harm's way, he transformed," the source said, referring to Banner's unique trait of turning into the 35-foot tall, menacing green monster whenever he becomes very angry. It was during this incident, the source said, that the Hulk noticed all the green being worn in the crowd.

"From then on, he's been behind the Celtics," the source added.

Bruce Banner, aware of the Hulk's like of the Celtics, regularly watches games, in case a well-timed transformation occurs -- hoping that the sight of the Celtics on TV might calm the beast.

In addition to his warning remarks yesterday outside the Staples Center, the Hulk said, "Kevin Garnett...he a brute that cannot...WILL stopped. No can stop can stop Paul Pierce...," he said before emitting a spontaneous loud roar. Then he added, "Lakers better not THINK of winning O'Brien Trophy...that make Hulk VERY mad!"

At that point, the Hulk kicked over a small TV production truck and ran away at speeds estimated at being over 100 m.p.h.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cubs Fans: No, Really -- What Have You Done With Our Team?

Chicago, IL. (Jun. 9) - Long-suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs have indicated that they're tired of this little practical joke that's being played out and would like to know -- SERIOUSLY -- what has happened to their team.

"OK, it was cute for awhile, but this has gone on long enough," said fan Jeremy Spachtel, 36, of Evanston, Ill. yesterday. Spachtel spoke tiredly of the 2008 Cubs and their NL-leading record of 40-24. "It's like, we get it -- ha-ha, wouldn't it be funny if the Cubs led the league -- but enough, already! Let's just bring our real team back and get back to normal."

Spachtel is just one of a growing number of Cubs faithful who are weary of the season-long joke being played on them and their emotions.

Cubs fans want a return to normalcy as soon as possible, as depicted here

"This is getting really repetitive and monotonous, all this winning," said Richard Gruber, a Cubs fan since "the Ernie Banks days" who's been waiting for the revelation of the joke's source and punch line since "early-May." Gruber said that he, like a lot of Cubs fans who've rooted for the team through decades of losing baseball, doesn't particularly care for the joke.

"It's like when they pretend some ugly girl is pretty and they make a big deal over how 'beautiful' she is, when it's so obvious that she isn't. I mean, after awhile doesn't that just make fun of the ugly girl? I think so. So all this winning Cubs baseball -- it's only making cruel fun of our suffering," Gruber added.

The Cubs, led by manager Lou Piniella, have combined clutch hitting, good defense, and decent pitching along with a confident attitude to leapfrog over everyone in the National League. And their supporters say enough is enough.

"Who are they kidding?" asked celebrity fan and actor Bill Murray. "I'm in the comedy business and I know that the cardinal sin of comedy is drawing a joke out too long. This is a classic example. Bring back our lovable, bumbling Cubs!" Murray said at an impromptu gathering outside Wrigley Field, flanked by fellow actors Jim Belushi and George Wendt.

Cubs spokesman Jim Gerrity said that the current edition of the team is "genuine" and that "no joke is being played out -- honest."

But Gruber isn't convinced. "Look, the fact that they came out with that statement is, in of itself, a joke. Now they're just f***ing with us."

Perhaps Spachtel said it best.

"It's just not funny anymore. Period."

Monday, June 2, 2008

WNBA Allowed To Play Another Season As Long As They "Clean Up After Themselves"

New York, NY. (Jun. 2) - The National Basketball Association has apparently allowed the womens version, aka the WNBA, to play its 11th season -- as long as it "cleans up after itself and promises to put everything back the way they found it", according to NBA management.

"Look, it's only fair," said NBA spokesman Larry Lariviere as he announced that the WNBA has, indeed, begun another season. "All that we require is that if the WNBA is going to use NBA arenas, that they pick up after themselves. Is that too much to ask?"

Plastic signs with "Your mother doesn't work here" and "I'm not your maid", with the NBA logo on them, have begun to appear in WNBA locker rooms.

Just Saturday, New York Liberty coach Pat Coyle was scolded for "all this tape!" and "how many times have I told you where the basketballs go?" after a team practice, by NBA Director of Building Operations Charles Pugh.

"He (Pugh) was pretty pissed," Coyle admitted of his dressing down. "I thought the tape had been thrown out, but I think Ashley Battle missed the trash can," Coyle sighed.

The NBA has apparently told the WNBA that, in 2008, it will take a "zero tolerance" approach when it comes to building maintenance.

"If we've told them once, we've told them a thousand times: when you're done with the Gatorade jugs, dump them down the drain in the utility room. I mean, HELLO?," added Lariviere. "And if I hear of one more rolled up program wedged between seats I'm going to scream."

Other edicts include making sure the lights get turned off, no car left in the parking lots overnight, and putting the dry erase markers in their proper places.

"Simple stuff," said Lariviere. "It's nothing more than we'd ask of ourselves."

The WNBA will be re-evaluated in about a month, at which time, Lariviere said, it will be determined if the womens league is "taking all this seriously, like their big brother does."

Until then, the games will continue -- as long as that one storage closet doesn't get left open for the "billionth" time.