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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4. Give me Raiders and quarterback for $100And 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
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.
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.
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.
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.