WBC: It’s a global pop-up (and girls: equal time)

 

Please welcome The Count, the new executive producer of The Countdown, with his twin, Steve Belkin

You would think a strapping half-man, half-bat like The Count would satisfy the women. But no.

  Before our new executive producer, The Count, helps us with this week’s Countdown, a slight disclaimer. The remarkable, stunning and even slightly disturbing popularity of our weekly Babe-o-pedia shot has sparked a new movement among Countdown readers. Specifically, the females. I was accosted a few times this past week by some occasionally humorless women, one of whom lives with me. They are seeking equal time. They want their own eye candy. While I’m not convinced this necessarily will help my page views given the majority of my Neanderthal clickers, I understand their position. So as a tribute this week to women and David Bowie, all the young dudes, carry the news: There are guys pictured below, too. And now, we Count:

10. The WBC(rock)

I love spring training. The weather. The small ballparks. The fact teams bring in like, 12,000, minor-leaguers to work on seven fields as they get ready for the season. And . . . hey, where’d everybody go?

9. Yes, Bud! It’s a great idea!

Thanks to Major League Baseball, the World Boxing Council is not the stupidest WBC in creation. The second World Baseball Classic begins Thursday. I’m not sure why. I guess because there are so many T-shirts, hats and “Go, Venezuela!” banners left from the first “Classic” in 2006 that Bud Selig needed to waste another few weeks of our time to get rid of them. You won’t see much criticism of the WBC on MLB.com or ESPN. On a related note, ESPN and MLB Network will televise all 39 games. They’re leaving the money on Bud’s nightstand.

8. Around the world for no reason

USA catcher Brian McCann. This helps who, exactly?

USA catcher Brian McCann. This helps whom, exactly?

Come on, even pimps have standards, don’t they? It’s difficult enough for players to endure a 162-game season, 81 on the road, over six months with few days off. You have managers who are attempting to figure out rosters, lineups and rotations. I do believe that’s what spring training is supposed to be about — getting ready for the season. That’s why players get paid and you buy tickets and the Cartoon Network sponsors the centerfield playground. Braves manager Bobby Cox admitted he’d much rather have catcher Brian McCann learning to work with his new pitching staff than playing meaningless exhibitions with guys he’ll never see again. I’m guessing he’s also not real hot on Chipper Jones being there. Sixteen teams will play exhibitions over three weeks in Tokyo, San Juan, Toronto, Mexico City, San Diego, Miami and Los Angeles. In the end, the tournament will mean nothing, unless somebody gets hurt, and somebody always does.

7. Somebody definitely married up

Speaking of spring training: Scott Podsednik, a vagabond outfielder for four teams in eight seasons, is back in Colorado’s camp as a non-roster player. I bring this up because it turns out that even guys who hit .253 with one home run can hit the jackpot.

Lisa Dergan fails to grasp the concept of batting practice. And, OK, ladies, here's your equal time -- let your eyes walk over these two beefcakes.

I'm not sure, but I think Lisa Dergan fails to grasp the concept of batting practice. And, OK, ladies: This is what you wanted. Let your eyes take a walk over these two beefcakes.

Podsednik is married to Lisa Dergan, former Playboy playmate and another in a long-line of Fox Sports anchor-twits (Lisa Guerrero, Jillian Barberie, Jill Arrington, Tony Siragusa, whom we will not picture in a Speedo). I have nothing new to report on Ms. Dergan, although it’s my understanding she has an art history degree from San Diego State and speaks fluent Japanese, so maybe she can provide color at the WBC.

6. Leave now! But first, we dance

Raise your hand if you find it a little strange that Falcons owner Arthur Blank is hosting Keith Brooking’s farewell news conference Wednesday at his home office.

5: Stand by your man

You won’t find her name anywhere on it, but a new website supporting Michael Vick is run by his fiancée, Kijafa Frink, according to ProFootballTalk.com. I have no issue with somebody starting such a site, although I wonder exactly what it is she hopes to achieve. No write-in campaign is going to sway Roger Goodell in terms of when the NFL commissioner allows Vick to return to the league. And by the way, excerpts like this one from the website are not going to help Vick’s cause: “He is not the animal hating monster that the media tried to portray him as throughout his trial and harsh imprisonment.” You might want to forward your complaints to the federal government, Ms. Frink. They provided the testimony, not the media.

Sorry, Mrs. Vick-to-be. But you know, there's just some things that people aren't going to forget.

Sorry, Ms. Frink. But you know, there are things that some people aren't going to be quick to forget.

4. Give me Raiders and quarterback for $100

And because we know you just can’t get enough of Vick-talk: BetUS.com, an online sportsbook, provides us with several Vick-related odds, including:
Odds that he returns to NFL
Yes         1/3
No          2/1
 
Odds that Goodell deals an NFL punishment on top of what he has gotten from the gov.
Yes         3/2
No          1/2
What position he plays
QB                          5/2        
WR                         2/1
RB                           3/1
TE                           5/1         
Cornerback         5/1
Safety                   5/1
 
What team he plays for
Cowboys             4/1
Chiefs                   10/1
Raiders                 3/1
Lions                     8/1
Browns                 5/1
49ers                     5/1
Bengals                5/1
Bears                     10/1
Falcons                 20/1
Any Other           2/1
 
Odds to win a Super Bowl
Yes         10/1
No          1/30
 
Odds on another arrest
Yes         5/6
No          5/6
 
Odds to play with the Falcons
Yes         5/1
No          1/10
 
Will Michael Vick win the MVP Award
Yes         10/1
No          1/30

3: Down went Moe, and everybody else

Nice story on Moe Miller by our Larry Hartstein today. There obviously is no excuse for Georgia Tech being 1-and-something in the ACC. But the problems this season started when the Jackets lost their guard to a broken nose and concussion in December. Paul Hewitt and the rest followed with a face plant.

2: The sun was in my eyes

As I approach 50, I can cross another sport off my list: beerpong. Yes, that is I, the picture of determination, flanked by my serious teammate, Steve Hummer, whose stare can bring an opponent to his knees, in last week’s Beer Pong tournament.

For what it's worth, I carried our team. Hummer choked, big time.

Those cups were filled with apple juice, just in case you're wondering. That's Hummer holding up the wall.

 It took place in an undisclosed basement in Kennesaw as part of a going-away party for former AJC hockey writer Craig Custance, who finally sold his house. The Schultz-Hummer team (seeded 16th) faced the Brothers Custance team (seeded 1) in the first round. We took it down to the last cup before falling, but had the satisfaction of scaring the heck out of Craig. Next: skydiving.

1: Obama has company in D.C.

Stan Kasten, once in charge of almost every sports franchise in Atlanta, and I think two Burger Kings and a consignment store, left for Washington to run the Nationals. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But the team stunk last year, the organization was devoid of prospects from bad trades, attendance plummeted after the newness factor wore off (which was quick) and now general manager Jim Bowden has resigned, amid allegations that he was skimming from signing bonuses given to players from the Dominican Republic. Kasten? He has taken over as the Nationals’ GM. ”I’m in charge,” he said. I’m guessing that’s not going to open as many doors as he had hoped.

  Yes, I Twitter: SchultzAJC.

54 comments Add your comment

Hollywould

March 3rd, 2009
12:12 pm

I am putting 10 g’s to one that Vick never plays for the Falcons.
That is my stimulus package.

Caedmon

March 3rd, 2009
1:39 pm

Why is Brooking gone anyway? How does leading your team in tackling for something like the last seven years equate to a dropping off in production? I don’t think 100 tackles a year is exactly “over the hill.” Who will play linebacker next year?
And you are 100% right about the WBC, a ridiculously stupid money maker for the usual suspects. McCann should be working with the three new pitchers to the rotation. And I don’t even want to think about Chipper getting hurt during it.

Ted Striker

March 3rd, 2009
1:51 pm

Jeff: Great column but it would be even better if you moved Lisa Dergan’s photo up above all the words and paragraphs. And maybe made it bigger. — Thanks, Ted.

Notre Don't

March 3rd, 2009
2:24 pm

JS . . . Dude, you are on fire! WBC, totally wack. Vick’s woman, see comment about WBC. If Chipper and Mac run down this year, we’ll know why. Dergan, NOT totally wack. And congrats . . . you were able to put the words “knees”, “Beerpong” and “Hummer” into one sentence and got it published! Well done.

Jeff Schultz

March 3rd, 2009
2:54 pm

## Caedmon: I think the Falcons wanted Brooking back but only at a VERY reduced price. Bottom line: they want to get faster.
## Ted: You’re a pig. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.
## Notre Don’t: Yes. Amazing what I can get published these daze. I mean, days,

Mac

March 3rd, 2009
2:58 pm

Only had time to check in for the babe. Best one yet, Jeff. Thanks. Will actually read the countdown later.

T-Bone

March 3rd, 2009
3:35 pm

Mac, who needs the countdown when you’ve got the babe.

Lisa Dergan

March 3rd, 2009
3:42 pm

Hey, that picture is 7 years old – can’t you do any better than that – though I am not complaining, mind you!

leland

March 3rd, 2009
4:18 pm

Dear Mr. JS–today not funny. Your pal, Leland

StingerSplash

March 3rd, 2009
4:38 pm

So … how much profanity and other blue streak language did Mr. Hummer utter in the round of beer pong?

cursive

March 3rd, 2009
4:44 pm

Ha ha… Want a good laugh? Look at how many words Vick’s fiance misspelled on just the front page of her ridiculous website. She misspelled his name at least twice, and I was just glancing through!

Mac

March 3rd, 2009
6:13 pm

Now he’s Stan “Alexander Haig” Kasten.

See, when Reagan got shot, Haig, who was Secretary of State, and not vice president said, “I’m in charge.” Remember that?

Oh heck, just forget it.

Jeff Schultz

March 3rd, 2009
6:21 pm

## Mac, T-Bone — Are you guys related to Striker?
## Lisa — I’m sorry. I certainly found more recent shots, but you aren’t clothed in any of them, and I do so value my paycheck.
## Leland — I am hurt. Deeply.
## Cursive — I could’ve expounded on the site itself. But I figured you guys would have fun with that.
## Mac — Yes, I remember ol’ Al. Almost pulled out a mugshot for a side-by-side with Stan. But I passed. For some reason.

Glad to Hear

March 3rd, 2009
11:11 pm

You nailed it! The WBC, I mean; not sure about the other.

Chris Broe

March 4th, 2009
12:25 am

If blank doesn’t hire Vick back, he’d be a fool. Vick is a running back who can throw. Behind our great new quarterback, the threat of a Vick pass would be almost too much for any defense to overcome. People forget what a tasmanian devil vick is in a broken field. He can buy yardage better than anyone I’ve ever seen. Two reliable passers in the backfield? Nobody could stand up to that. With Vick we will hold that trophy. We have to forgive Vick. He’s not OJ, okay?

Jefferoni

March 4th, 2009
12:40 am

Jeff, your elbow is clearly breaking the edge of the table, clean up your form!

THWG

March 4th, 2009
1:20 am

Watch the ‘bow, Jeff.

Kurt

March 4th, 2009
1:46 am

Yeah, cause we definitely need Matt Ryan looking over his shoulder all the time. And I’m sure Vick can be easily convinced not be a quarterback. You’d have Vick’s lunatic, die-hard fan base calling for Ryan’s head at the first sign of struggle. Blank would divide the entire fan base again if he brought Vick back. He’d be a fool to bring him back.

We can (and should) forgive him. But we’re moving forwards. It would be a terrible mistake to revisit the past and bring him back. Good luck to him wherever he goes. This is Matt Ryan’s show now. Only Matt Ryan’s show.

Kurt

March 4th, 2009
1:50 am

I do like the WBC though, especially since baseball is out of the Olympics. Why does anyone watch or care about the Olympics? The NBA players take time away from their offseason to go represent their country. Soccer players leave their club teams to play in the World Cup. Spring Training is really the best time to do it. It’s not great timing, but there’s not really another option.

Japan and Korea and all of the other countries don’t whine about this like we do. It’s once every few years and only for a few weeks. Its not like players can’t get hurt in Spring Training. It just sounds better if they get hurt in ST and not in the WBC.

Go tell Mac and Chipper that they’re wasting their time…

scottbravesfan

March 4th, 2009
2:41 am

Jeff,

The WBC is great. It grows the game internationally and gives the players a chance to represent their country. I can’t wait for this weekends games. Plus it’s actual real baseball in March not some crap where players play two innings and then go golfing the rest of the day. And I love how only Americans complain and cry about the WBC. People in Japan, Korea, and the Latin American countries can’t wait for the WBC to start but all the spoiled American sports writers can do is complain about how their precious spring training is getting messed up. No one cares about spring training just as no one cares about pre season football. They both are pointless and just there to get guys into game ready shape.

GermanBravesFan

March 4th, 2009
4:01 am

I agree with scottbravesfan… I live in Switzerland and I think having something similar to the World Cup in soccer can only help promote the game worldwide. However, why not have it every four years and play it in July instead of having the All Star break? I am sure the league can do without that stupid exhibition once every four years… That’s just my opinion, though.

Boo Yah

March 4th, 2009
4:15 am

WILLSTER

March 4th, 2009
4:35 am

JS,YOU ARE GOOD,THE ONLY GOOD THING ABOUT THE WBC IS YOU CAN BET IT,LIKE I DID LAST TIME ON JAPAN IWON,AS USUAL, THIS TIME,NO DIFFERENT,AS FAR AS VICK,THE FALCONS NEED TO TRADE HIM FOR SOME NEW FOOTBALLS,IN ATLANTA SINCE THE ECONOMY IS BAD,BLANK NEEDS TO SAVE HIS MONEY OH WAIT, MY BAD,HE GAVE IT ALL TO VICK,AND RYAN,THE REASON THEY ARE NOT SIGNING PLAYERS IS BLANK IS BROKE,YOU KNOW IF YOU FOLLOW STOCKS,HOME DEPOT IS NOT DOING GOOD,NEITHER ARE SPORTS TEAMS IN GEORGIA.

WILLSTER

March 4th, 2009
4:46 am

js,iput the last statementin bold because im sick and tired of all the loseing teams in georgia you would think that of all the teams in georgia,of football,basketball,hockey,baseball,college football,we have only,3 world championships since before CHRIST,this is why i stopped,going to games,20years ago,and to all you the 3 are,braves,georgiabulldogs,and tech shared one,thats it, as a fan this is absolutely,unexcuseable period,and JS you are a very good writer,keep up the good work,you are the best AJChas to offer.

WILLSTER

March 4th, 2009
4:48 am

Enter your comments here

Michael Smith

March 4th, 2009
6:21 am

I detest the WBC because it is completely pointless and because it interrupts the process of preparing for the regular season. And please note: the preceding statement does not constitute “whining”.

As to the claim that the WBC “promotes the game worldwide” — why on earth should MLB be concerned with promoting the game “worldwide”? What MLB needs to be concerned about is promoting the game to its American fan base — that, after all, is who is ultimately footing the bill for MLB. So what evidence is there that baseball is made more popular here in America by these exhibition games played around the world? I’ve seen or heard no such evidence.

What’s more, what reason is there to believe that baseball is made more popular ANYWHERE by the WBC? I’ve neither seen or heard any evidence of that either.

The truth of the matter is that the WBC is an excuse to cash in on the EXISTING popularity of baseball — for purposes of milking it for a few more bucks. Once it stops making money for its promoters, they’ll drop it in a heartbeat.

Chris

March 4th, 2009
6:57 am

How can you guys complain about the WBC? Its real baseball to watch and to get excited about. Like fans really care about spring training. Ask most players and they would say the same thing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it is at most 7 or 8 games played over 3 weeks (that means making the finals). Big deal. We are talking baseball here not football. If playing 8 meaningful games in March means a player breaks down in the season then they most likely have other issues going on. This is fun to watch and to have some national pride about something. I think those crying about it are bored and need something to complain about. Got an idea…watch the games and enjoy competitive baseball.

BravesFan79

March 4th, 2009
7:00 am

Nothing wrong with a little National pride in the WBC…….and it will help make a very boring spring training go by faster.

What else is there

March 4th, 2009
7:29 am

I like the WBC simply because this is the most boring time of year in sports and its something to get excited about. No football and still 2 months till bball and hockey playoffs start. I guess there is the NCAA tourney but I usually get bored with that (not a big college bball fan though). So with that I’m all for the WBC.

Blizaine

March 4th, 2009
7:36 am

@#$@# off, the WBC rocks. Its baseball in March that means something, the US team is nasty and should be fun to watch, just because your spring training junket is a touch less interesting is no reason to bad mouth the only real international baseball that includes US players. International growth is a worthy reason to have it. WBC should be played every three years and the national teams should get together in the off seasons more to build cohesiveness. Vick will play not in Atlanta, and Posednicks wife is fine to death.

Blizaine

March 4th, 2009
7:57 am

Mike Smith is a total cynic and should take a look at MLB rosters over the last several years. There is a growth in international players in the MLB and it is making the MLB richer in talent. Like Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, Pueto Rico, DR the list could go on and without players from those countries the MLB would not the the best baseball league anymore. So international development is worth alot, plus its good baseball, and the different countries bring different styles to the game. how does it inttruept spring training I guess players get less time to golf and hang out with sports writers.

What?

March 4th, 2009
8:30 am

Blizaine cant agree more. Those who are whining about the WBC and saying it doesn’t help international baseball should go talk to braves pitcher Peter Moylan. His whole existence in the MLB and being on the Braves directly came from him having a good showing the last WBC for Australia.

Hoof Hearted

March 4th, 2009
8:39 am

When, exactly, does a sportsbook or betting service pay you on your bet that Vick won’t: (a) ever play again in the NFL; (b) ever play again for the Falcons, or (c) ever play QB? Do they wait until he dies, or turns 40, or gets sentenced to life? (I know, that last one was a cheap shot).

“the WBC rocks.” I’m not sure I can handle what that person is smoking.

Ted Striker

March 4th, 2009
9:17 am

## Michael: Q: “Why on earth should MLB be concerned with promoting the game “worldwide?” A) International players comprised 28% of opening day rosters in ‘08. International interest spawns exponential growth in the player talent. ”Why?” (part 2) MLB.com’s live game video subscription service – a burgeoning revenue source – accepts legal tender whether a paying party lives in Baltimore, Belize, Beirut, or Botswana. Q: “What reason is there to believe that baseball is made more popular ANYWHERE by the WBC?” A: The 2006 inaugural tournament was broadcast by 48 media outfits into 205 countries and territories around the world. If that doesn’t tell you something, maybe this will: Citing increased international interest, the steering committee is exploring increasing the 2013 tournament field from 16 countries/territories to 24 countries/territories.

Besides all that stuff — have you seen some of the hot chicks who attend WBC games from the Netherlands and Italy?

choctaw

March 4th, 2009
10:07 am

Michael Vick was just a kid who suddenly found himself with a ton of money in his lap an numerous vultures hanging around telling him how to spend it and make more million. He made a simple mistake. What about these a**hole in banking, auto industries and insurance (AIG)…did they kick their butts out of their jobs and lock them in the “Big House”?NO1…They gave them $$$$$$$$$ more to do it again. I say give Vick another shot. He is a master of his trade and certainly deervess a chance more than any of the moronswho are giving out as well as receiving the stimulus monies!!!!!

Shane

March 4th, 2009
10:15 am

I like the WBC and it was a big success last time around. No reason to think it wont be again.
As for Brooking. Yeah he led the team in tackles. The problem is most of them were made 5 yards or more downfield. When is the last time you saw him blow a play up in the backfield the way the big time LB’s do it. Thats right never.

Glenn

March 4th, 2009
10:21 am

Promoting baseball worldwide DOES promote the American fan base. With as small as the world has become, it’s a fantastic idea and I absolutely love the WBC. If baseball would have manned up and taken a two-week break every four years for the Olympics, it may not have been necessary. This is one of the best things Selig has done for the game, though it doesn’t make up for that craptastic interleague play piece of garbage

Shane

March 4th, 2009
10:29 am

AIG didnt drown dogs either. If you can drown a dog then you are one sick human being.

ET

March 4th, 2009
10:31 am

Hey choctaw….

Killing dogs with your own hands because they are not mean enough to fight to the death is NOT a simple mistake. Mike got what he deserved. He spend time in the pokey because he bankrolled a dog fighting ring which is illegal. He lied to everyone in his life who(m) trusted him and got punished for it. Get over it. Justice was served.

GermanBravesFan

March 4th, 2009
10:42 am

MICHAEL SMITH: promoting the game only in the U.S. with players from the Dominican Republic, Venzuela, Cuba, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea… should I go on? I think it is a game played world wide and getting some more kids from other countries interested in playing the game and, possibly, coming to the U.S. to play MLB, to help YOUR favorite team win, can’t be that bad, can it??

And to those who think it “interrupts” Spring Training: puh-lease…. there are 162 regular season games. Missing a couple of weeks of meaningless games can’t hurt that much!!

Bill in VA

March 4th, 2009
11:12 am

Good Piece, Jeff. This WILL be the year someone gets hurt! Watch the comments from guys like BravesFan79 then!!

Soccer Fan

March 4th, 2009
11:54 am

I guess FIFA only puts on the World Cup so that they and ESPN can make money too….

GTSteve

March 4th, 2009
12:04 pm

I agree the WBC is no good, I am going to Tampa Saturday to watch the Yankees and Braves. When I made plans, I forgot about the WBC, so much for seeing the stars this weekend.

Jeff Schultz

March 4th, 2009
12:42 pm

## Chris: I forgive Vick. I support his right to earn a living in the NFL. I just don’t want him on my football team.
## Jefferoni, THWG: Sorry, we had the No. 8 officiating crew in the United Beerpong Association and they weren’t calling any fouls.
## Kurt: While I’m no fan of the WBC, I’d have less of an issue with it if it were held after the season, say October (with non-playoff players) or November.
## Scottbravesfan, German, etc.: That’s the intent, but I don’t think the WBC is growing the game with any significance. The game has grown without it.
## Willster: Thanks. I know things are tighter financially with the Falcons, as they are everywhere, but I believe these decisions were based more on Dimitroff’s perception of the players let go and how he wants to build the roster.
## Blizaine: The WBC “rocks!”? Really? I think you might be in the minority there. But you’re entitled to your opinion.
## Striker: “Besides all that stuff — have you seen some of the hot chicks who attend WBC games from the Netherlands and Italy?” MY MAN!
### Soccer fan: You’re not really going to compare the World Cup to the World Baseball Classic, are you? That’s like comparing the Olympics to a subdivision swim meet.

JSS

March 4th, 2009
1:53 pm

A man (and I use the word loosely) who is still playing pin-up past age 27 is a three letter freak… I’ve said over and over again, and you keep proving that you’re a bold face liar!!!

Michael Smith

March 4th, 2009
1:58 pm

To all of you claiming that the influx of foreign players “proves” the value of the WBC — the fact is that influx PRECEEDED the WBC by many, MANY years.

The REAL cause of the influx of foreign players is the fact that MLB salaries here in the U.S. are much higher than what all those Mexican, Japanese, Dominican, Venezuelan, Cuban, Canadian, and Korean players can make back home. It’s the money that draws players to the U.S. — not the WBC.

So the fact remains, none of you have provided any evidence that MLB is in any way strengthened by the WBC. You’ve provided no evidence that viewership of the game here in America — either by live attendance or by TV — has been increased by the WBC.

MLB doesn’t need the WBC to promote its product at home or abroad. Money talks plenty loud on its own.

Ted Striker

March 4th, 2009
4:01 pm

## Michael: “So what evidence is there?…. I’ve seen or heard no such evidence…. So the fact remains that none of you have provided any evidence…… You’ve provided no evidence….”

You want the truth? You want the TRUTH??!?? You CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!!!

Soccer Fan

March 4th, 2009
5:06 pm

I am by no means comparing the magnitude of the worlds greatest sporting event to the WBC. I think baseball is trying to create something similar to the world cup so they have to start somewhere and I believe they are moving in the right direction on this one. I was just trying to make a point that it is a good thing and people like you should stop whining and bashing it.

Chris Broe

March 4th, 2009
7:36 pm

I want Vick on my team. I love dogs, and I know for a fact that they’d approve of a Vick who’s out there promoting good will toward man’s BFF. I’d take a reformed, grown up Vick who does promo photo-op spots 4 Spot).

I forgive you for forgiving Vick and still not wanting him my team, JS, but I hope we have a Vick in our Bleak and Blank gridiron future.

Joe Fakename

March 6th, 2009
1:45 pm

I think the WBC is awesome. A lot more fun than spring training. Also, I’d like baseball to follow the example of European football and create a truly international leagues. Have the Chunichi Dragons play the New York Yankees for the equivalent of the club championship Europe has every year.

I know it’s a pipe dream, but that would be awesome.