Thursday, August 28, 2008

Local Man Rooting For Yankees To Make Playoffs Just So He Can See Them Lose In Them

Findlay, OH. (Aug. 28) - Baseball fan and Findlay resident Matt Garces, according to friends and family, desperately wants the New York Yankees to qualify for the playoffs, hoping beyond hope that the storied franchise can make up a seven-game deficit in the season's final weeks.

The reason? So Garces can see the Yankees "go down" in the post-season.

"The Yankees haven't missed the playoffs since 1994," Garces told his brother, Mark, the other day at dinner. "They haven't won the World Series since 2000. I love it when the Yankees make the playoffs and lose. It rocks," Mark Garces told reporters of his 24-year-old brother's remarks.

Mark Garces, 22, said that Matt's sentiments are that "it's just not the playoffs without the Yankees in it, under-achieving and being upset by a weaker opponent." Mark said his brother reveled in last season's charge, in which the Yankees played superbly after the All-Star break and made the playoffs as the American League Wild Card. Then, to Matt's delight, the Yankees were eliminated by the Cleveland Indians in the Divisional Series, 3-1. The year before that, Matt threw a party after the Detroit Tigers beat the Yankees, 3-1, in the ALDS.

"He just hates the Yankees so much," Mark said. "It goes back to when he was a kid and we went to an Indians game, and the Yankees won in extra innings. That, plus, well, who DOESN'T hate the Yankees, outside of New York?"

Matt Garces, shown during his 2006 party after the Yankees lost to the Tigers in the playoffs

Mark Garces says that his brother is in "scoreboard watching mode", tracking the Boston Red Sox -- who lead the Yankees for the Wild Card spot -- and going through all sorts of rituals, hoping the Red Sox will lose and the Yankees can overtake them.

"He was up all night yesterday, crafting a crude Mike Lowell voodoo doll," Matt's father Richard confirmed. "He now has voodoo dolls of almost all the Red Sox starting position players. In September he'll work on the pitching staff."

Richard Garces says that Matt holds no ill will against the Red Sox.

"It's not an anti-Boston thing, just a pro-Yankee thing -- until the playoffs," Matt's father said.

Mark said that his brother has gotten "accustomed" to seeing the Yankees fail in the playoffs and/or World Series, and considers the team's fall failures of recent years "comfy and cozy."

"Matt says that it just won't be fall without the Yankees crushing their fans' hopes in the playoffs," Mark said. "That, and he hates Rudy Giuliani."

"That's another story," Richard Garces said of the Giuliani thing, rolling his eyes. "You don't want to hear it."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Giants To Ask 1986 Team To Come Out Of Retirement, Just To Be Safe

East Rutherford, NJ (Aug. 25) - Stung by the loss of defensive end Osi Umenyiora for the season to injury, and with the pressure to return to the Super Bowl mounting, the New York Giants have not only asked DE Michael Strahan to come out of retirement, but are on the verge of asking the entire 1986 team to do so as well.

The '86 Giants, who routed the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI, are seen as the "safest" backup plan, with injuries mounting and continued distrust in quarterback Eli Manning festering.

"Given the events of the past few days, and with young Eli still trying to prove to his detractors that last year was no fluke, we feel that the 1986 Giants offer a solid, trustworthy fortification to this year's squad," Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said in a statement released this morning. Tisch added that '86 QB Phil Simms "has way more credibility", at this juncture, than Manning, and that Simms elicits more trust in his teammates than Manning. "But this is no slap in Eli's face," team spokesman Dennis Ribant said. "This will take a lot of pressure off Eli. He can learn from Phil."

The '86 Giants will assume pretty much all roster spots for now, until head coach Tom Coughlin and his staff "have a better comfort level" with the '08 squad, according to Ribant.

Strahan, who retired after the Giants' Super Bowl upset over the New England Patriots last February, agreed to consider coming out of retirement after Umenyiora suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Jets over the weekend. But while Strahan mulled it over, sources say that Tisch decided to go "one step further" and bring back the 1986 championship squad.

"Steve doesn't do things half-ass," said friend Barry Heller. "If he's going to start bringing Giants players out of retirement, then you can bet he'll bring the best of the best. No pussy-footing around," Heller said of the resurrection of the '86 Giants.

Current Giants running back Brandon Jacobs says he welcomes the input of new teammate Joe Morris, 47, the team's leading rusher in 1986.

"How can I NOT learn from someone like Joe?," Jacobs told reporters in the locker room yesterday. "Why, just a few minutes ago, Joe was telling me things about fluid on the knee and post-concussion syndrome that I had no clue about. And I'm sure that when he called me 'Honey', it was just a term."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Report: Area Kid About To "Put Someone's Eye Out"

DeKalb, Ill. (Aug. 19) - According to sources close to him -- namely, his mother -- local 12-year-old Brian Martin is "about to put someone's eye out", unless he stops playing stick ball in the alley behind their apartment building.

"I'm telling you, that boy just doesn't listen," an exasperated Marie Martin told reporters gathered in front of the family's apartment building on Russo Street, just north of Maple. "The way he swings that stick...," she said before failing to finish the sentence, shaking her head.

Stick ball, a bastardized version of baseball, is played with a large stick, which is swung, baseball-bat style, at a hurled object. In Brian's case, he and his friends have been using a hollow plastic ball they found in the Dumpster behind the Rexall Drugs.

Brian Martin, engaging in another activity that's not "mother approved"

Martin and four area youngsters were engaged in the stick ball game around two o'clock yesterday afternoon when Martin's mother saw them as she took out the trash. Once she saw the haphazard way the boys were swinging the stick -- a broken branch from a nearby maple tree -- Marie Martin immediately called a halt to the action, an act which embarrassed Brian "like crazy", according to his friends.

That's when Brian's mother made the inference that someone's eye would be "put out", indicating that the stick would be flung, fly out of the boy's hands, and impale itself into the eye socket of one of his friends, thus robbing the victim of vision in that eye, which would then have to be removed and replaced with a glass eye.

Though no recorded instances of such a thing actually occurring exist, Marie Martin refused to retract her warning when asked by reporters.

"The stick swinging is too dangerous," she said. When pressed as to why, she responded, firmly, "Because I said so."

Speculation arose that Brian Martin may seek an injunction against his mother's stick ball ban by appealing to his father, but Louis Martin is divorced from Brian's mother and thus only sees him every other weekend. So, any hope for an overruling will have to wait until this Saturday, at the earliest.

Louis Martin could not be reached for comment, according to his friend, Misty Summers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Area Man Attends Ballgame, Doesn't Care If He Ever Gets Back

Kansas City, MO (Aug. 12) - Kansas City Royals baseball fan Martin Pierson continues to remain at Kauffman Stadium, nearly 48 hours after the conclusion of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Twins.

"Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!," Pierson demanded from stadium employees who tried to remove him yesterday, more than 18 hours after the Twins' 4-1 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. "Then we'll talk."

But then, after team officials were encouraged that Pierson would leave if provided with the requested snacks, the 28-year-old fan threw another wrinkle into the situation.

"I don't care if I EVER get back," Pierson said, apparently referring to his suburban Kansas City home.

Pierson, who, according to his ex-girlfriend, is a musician, attended Sunday's game with his brother-in-law Phillip Mooney and his nephew, Skip. But Pierson had driven separately, and told Mooney and his son that he would be "along in a minute." Mooney told police that the plan was for Pierson to follow Mooney home for a post-game meal.

Pierson on Monday at Kauffman Stadium -- about 24 hours after the Royals' loss to the Twins on Sunday afternoon

"But he never showed up," Mooney said, according to transcripts of his interview with Kansas City police.

Mooney, when reached by reporters last night, said that Pierson was enjoying himself, "as usual", and nothing seemed amiss.

"The only thing that was odd was when he said, 'If the Royals don't win, it's a shame', " Mooney said of Pierson's cryptic comments in the eighth inning, the Royals trailing by three runs. "Because Martin is a die-hard Royals fan. But he said it casually, and with almost a twinkle in his eye."

When Skip Mooney, 5, asked his uncle why Royals catcher John Buck was headed back to the dugout, the bat in his hands, Pierson said, "Because it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ballgame," according to the elder Mooney, after Buck had struck out in the sixth inning.

Police said they hope to remove Pierson from the stadium in time for the Royals' next home game, August 22 against Detroit, but it wasn't clear how they would accomplish that without using force.

"He's actually a nice guy," said police spokesman Leonard Hoffman. "I hope he just leaves on his own volition. But boy, he can pack down the peanuts and Cracker Jack."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yankees, Red Sox To Merge, Form "Mega Team"

New York, NY. (Aug 6) - Realizing that their nearly century-long rivalry has become counter-productive, MLB's New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox announced that they will merge by the end of 2008 and become a more fan-friendly "mega team".

"It's time to bring out the peace pipe," said Red Sox owner John Henry, flanked at a press conference in front of MLB offices in Manhattan by Yankees vice chairman Hank Steinbrenner. "After many long, hard years -- indeed, decades -- of trying to best each other, we felt that our forces are much more powerful and intimidating when joined," Henry added.

"So it is with great pleasure that I announce to you the formation of the New York/Boston Yankee Sox," Henry said as a crowd of pre-selected well-wishers applauded and cheered.

Steinbrenner echoed Henry's sentiments.

"Why get at each other's throats when we can just slice those of our competitors?," Steinbrenner wondered aloud.

Under the merger, the Yankee Sox will play half their home games at Fenway Park in Boston, and half at the new Citi Park in New York, which is set to open in 2009. They'll combine rosters, coaches, and even ushers.

"It's an amicable joining -- 50/50, right down the line," Henry said. Current Yankees manager Joe Girardi will skipper games played in New York, while Red Sox manager Terry Francona will take the reins in Boston games. Current star players like Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and Derek Jeter "will just have to come up with some sort of schedule" as far as who plays which games at which positions, Henry said. But Henry conceded that the merged roster will be "a joy" for Girardi and Francona to manage.

"Now, Joe or Terry can rest Jason Varitek at catcher and play Pudge Rodriguez," Steinbrenner said. "Or remove Mike Lowell for a pinch-hitter, which could be Jason Giambi.

"The possibilities are endless."

Henry said the idea for joining forces came out of an innocent phone call he placed to Steinbrenner after a recent Yankees-Red Sox game.

"I had had a few, I admit," Henry said, chuckling. "But I just said to Hank, 'Even I'm sick of the Red Sox and the Yankees. Why don't we shake things up a bit?' It just took off from there."

Steinbrenner, himself admitting to having had "3 or 4" gin and tonics by that time, suggested a merger.

"I don't know if he was serious or not, but I said, 'F**k yeah -- why not?', " according to Henry.

The next day, the two men met at a Starbucks "about halfway" between New York and Boston, and scribbled the preliminary plan on a "small, college ruled notebook" that Henry had brought, "just in case."

Henry shared the scribbled notes with reporters, holding it up then passing it around. On it were randomly scrawled words such as "Red Yankees?"; "Bosyork?"; "New Boston?"; "red pinstripes?"; and "TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION", which was written in bigger letters and followed by several exclamation points.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig issued a statement that read, in part: "Major League Baseball, while saddened that the famed Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is now a thing of the past, is nonetheless eager to see this new 'mega team' formed by this merger. Mergers are becoming more of the norm in today's society, and we urge baseball fans to embrace this new partnership. If nothing else, it'll make it easier for those fans who hate both the Yankees and the Red Sox -- since now they'll only have to spend their energy hating one team."

Selig's office admitted, however, that the merger might have a short-term affect on television ratings, as there will no longer be anymore Yankees-Red Sox games to televise. However, there is early talk of airing great Yankees-Red Sox games of the past.

Also announced was a combining of the two storied franchises' histories -- with re-worked tales of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams fishing together in the mid-1940s being "worked on" currently. Future stories will include hilarious, wild antics of Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Doerr, and Johnny Pesky carousing together in alcoholic stupors.

To bring the American League back up to 14 teams, MLB announced that the Tampa Bay Rays would be broken up into two teams -- the Tampa Devils and the Bay Rays. That suggestion was also made by Henry and Steinbrenner, the news of which didn't surprise baseball analysts. At press time, Henry was trying to make that change effective as soon as next week, or at least before the end of the regular season.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Groups Of NFL Players Start Their Own "Fantasy Office" League

Allen Park, MI. (Aug. 1) - It's becoming a more normal sight -- small groups of NFL players huddling together, but this time huddling off the field. They gather together in their dorm rooms after the day's training camp practices are finished, about to engage in the newest phenomenon in the league: fantasy office.

More and more NFL players are spending their free time drafting and trading office workers across the country, and they are finding this new game to be quite addictive.

"Aww man, you have no idea!," said Detroit Lions linebacker Paris Lenon yesterday as he got ready to settle down with four teammates to discuss possible trades. "The other day I got my aggression out on the field after my boy in Pittsburgh got written up for excessive tardiness," Lenon said of Pittsburgh assistant public relations coordinator Jeremy Lucas, an employee of Weinberg and Associates, who Lenon has as his "sleeper" pick on his fantasy office team, The Staplers.

Lenon and his teammates "own" office workers throughout the country in a variety of fields, ranging from marketing to retail to the recording industry. The workers "cost" varying amounts of money, and each week points are accumulated based on a variety of categories: copy machine knowledge; e-mail efficiency; subordination; promptness; and a special stat called TWO, or Total Worker Output, which is a very complicated statistic that can only be gotten with a specially-programmed computer -- not unlike the quarterback rating in the NFL.

The "holy Grail" for NFL players involved in Fantasy Office leagues is when a worker they own has what is called an Office Busting Week -- one in which the employee scores perfect 10s in all categories. Lenon says he's never had such a week from one of his workers, but added that Memphis, TN office manager Crystal Hennesey came close, with only a "9" in telephone courtesy ruining a possible Office Buster.

Lions player Mike Furrey joined Lenon at the table and was very excited about his recent pickup.

"I found that Matthew Ellison had been cut a few minutes earlier," Furrey said of the 27-year-old tech support assistant manager at Telmix, a software firm in Bakersfield, CA. "I knew that Ellison was very good at Problem Solving, which can carry your team in a bad week. So I snatched him up," Furrey added, although he was saddened to have to cut Gainesville, FL cashier Mary Willingham, who Furrey described as an "up-and-coming" worker. "But you gotta give up something to get something, ya know?", Furrey said.

It pained Furrey to have to cut Gainesville cashier Willingham (above), but had no choice in order to make room for Ellison

Lenon was disgusted by his league's rule that says all workers must be in place and on rosters by 5pm Friday, or else their stats won't count for the following week.

"Everyone knows that things can happen over the weekend," Lenon groused. "A guy could go drinking and get too hungover to come in on Monday, or he takes a three-day weekend and you lose him for Monday. I think 9am Monday would be more fair." Lenon says he plans to take his concerns to league commish Jeff Backus, who also functions as the Lions' starting left tackle.