Speed Read: Phils Win Game 1, Free Tacos For All

With a runner on and one out in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series at Tropicana Field last night, Chase Utley attempted to push a bunt through the vacant left side of the infield but it went foul. Five pitches later, he crushed one into the right-field seats for a 2-0 lead that the Phillies would not relinquish. Can we just but this whole bunting-is-a-good-idea nonsense to rest? At least in the first inning?

Chase Utley Game 1 home run

Cole Hamels threw seven innings to pick up the win as the Phils beat the Rays 3-2 in what was a rather uneventful Game 1, despite the close score. Tampa Bay never really threatened Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge in the final two innings. Some of the many Phillies fans who were in the Trop revealed to the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER that the Rays set up their games like a “party” for fans while Phils fans are all business, if “business” means getting drunk and flipping off children wearing Rays jerseys. The TAMPA TRIBUNE found little to talk about, other than Akinora Iwamura’s big night.

The most important thing that happened all night anyway was Jason Bartlett’s stolen base in the fifth inning, which entitled all of America to a free taco from Taco Bell next Tuesday. Although, the only way we weren’t getting a free taco at some point is if nobody stole a base during the entire series. Tacos are available from 2 to 6 p.m., which means that all of America should be in the bathroom by 7.

Taco

Just because both his current and former team are eliminated, you didn’t think that Manny Ramirez was just going away, did you? SI.COM’s Jon Heyman says that the Dodgers are willing to pay him market value, but are hesitant to give him a long-term deal. Manny is thought to be seeking at least a four year deal, and maybe as many as six years. This from a guy who a couple of years ago said he might just retire when his contract was up. Heyman quotes a source that tells him that the team may consider paying Manny a yearly salary in the range of Alex Rodriguez’ $27.5 million, and possibly even more if he agrees to a two-year contract. Expect this to get dragged out, especially since Scott Boras is involved and will have to generate some sort of bidding war.

The most famous knee in New England is not healing particularly well, according to the BOSTON HERALD’s Karen Guregian. Tom Brady has already had three arthroscopic procedures done on the knee in the last week to clean the wound and battle infection. Doctors are worried that the grafted tendon that replaced his ACL may break down, necessitating a whole new surgery.  I know that athletes generally recover well from these surgeries, but it can’t be good for his long-term health to go through one procedure after another. You might want to prepare for a Cassel-led 2009 team, Pats fans.

Enough of this “news” crap. Let’s get to the nudity:

• You don’t need to comb through photoshopped pictures of Sarah Palin to see scantily-clad women with funny accents holding guns:

Canadian Biathlon team

These are the women of the Canadian Olympic Biathlon team, who are doing the whole naked-calendar thing to raise awareness about naked biathletes. The biathlon isn’t exactly as salacious as it sounds. It’s an event comprised of half target shooting and half cross-country skiing, and is huge in Europe but not so much anywhere else. The Canadian squad is hopeful for a medal on their home turf in 2010. Bios of the ladies can be found here. Find out which one hates shoveling manure at home on the ranch!

Ryan Howard still gets an allowance from his parents, writes BLOOMBERG’s Scott Soshnick (via CHINA POST). He heaps praise on Mr. and Mrs. Howard for instilling a solid work ethic and respect for money in their son, but doesn’t say anything about it being a bit unhealthy for your mom to be doing everything for you when you’re 28.

• Celtics rookie Bill Walker has kicked off his career in style by trying to start a fight with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady in a preseason game. This might have something to do with why his ESPN.COM profile page said he was male genitalia this week (thanks to BASKETBAWFUL for the story).

Colt McCoy told the SPORTING NEWS that he’s going to return for his senior season (via ESPN).

• NBA.COM gave every GM a survey and has published the results. Any guesses on who thinks Robert Swift “does the most with the least talent” or picked Toronto to win the Atlantic Division?  Anybody?

• OK, is anyone buying this OCTOBER GONZO thing? I’m not even sure what MLB’s angle is. All I know is that this thing is being written by an MLB.COM intern who knows nothing about baseball. Or Steve Phillips. One or the other. In one post, Gonzo contends that “many” of the 2004 Red Sox who overcame a 3-0 ALCS deficit were still with the team. I guess five constitutes “many” to him (and one of those, Kevin Youkilis, didn’t even play in the ALCS or World Series).

• For an actually entertaining baseball blog, go to FIRE JOE MORGAN, which breaks down ESPN’s ridiculous point/counterpoint article about the World Series, where Jim Caple calls Joe Maddon an “experienced manager.”

• For as much crap as Isiah Thomas takes for running the Knicks into the ground, Michael Jordan has mostly escaped widespread criticism for his terrible personnel decisions with the Bobcats. YAHOO!’s Adrian Wojnarowski has a fascinating look at what is actually the most dysfunctional team in the NBA, especially now that Larry Brown is around to complain about everything.

• The L.A. Galaxy are looking to recoup some of that cash they spent on David Beckham by renting him to AC Milan for the winter. They have to return him by April, though, or face a $2 late fee. The DAILY MAIL seems tired of Becks’ act.

• Anti-doping giant Dick Pound says that unlike China, Canada was filled with “savages” 400 years ago. CTV suggests that Dick Pound should apologize. Dick Pound.

Who will Manny Ramirez ultimately sign with?

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Dick Pounded: EPO Tests Don’t Work, Says Study

A study to be published today in the JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSIOLOGY completed by a respected lab in Copenhagen shows that the test for EPO (used in endurance sports, like the Tour de France cyclists and marathons) used by the World Anti-Doping Agency does not work in WADA’s own labs.

ELO

(Maybe WADA thinks they’re testing for prog rock?)

The Copenhagen lab had eight strapping young lads take EPO and then provide urine samples. The samples were sent off to two labs used by WADA to be tested for EPO. Under WADA’s testing protocol, none of them men would have tested positive for EPO if they were athletes. Some came up positive (or “suspicious”) at each lab, but neither lab found the same samples to be suspect.

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Viagra Makes Cyclists Ride Longer and Harder?

Dick Pound and the World Anti-Doping Agency continue to expand their purview in the most ironic way possible for Mr. Pound: funding a study to see if Viagra helps cyclists’ endurance at high altitudes. We would be shocked and saddened to find that the study discovered no correlation between the two as we already have our “Dick Pound Bans Viagra From Peddlers” lede written.

Cyclists claim no “kickstand” issues during the tests because they stay focused on the task and are surrounded by photos of mountain peaks and Lance Armstrong. Sadly, we must disagree as we’ve found one of those posters:

Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow

We became sufficiently distracted before we noticed Lance was standing next to someone. Heavens. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, indeed.
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Some Athletes’ Genes Built to Beat Doping Test

The NEW YORK TIMES takes note of a study completed in Sweden that puts the lie to Dick Pound yet again: large swaths of people in the world have a genetic disposition that allows them to beat the urine test for testosterone. So much for declaring the sanctity of doping testing and the self-assuredness of the performance enhancing police, eh?

Beijing Olympics mascots

There’s a darker side to the results of the study, which found that some people do not have copies of a gene that converts injected testosterone into a detectable trail in urine. Among that group of people rests two-thirds of the world’s Asian population. The Chinese government has been building an Olympic program geared for victory since they won the Games.

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