Pirates GM Feebly Tries To Explain McLouth Trade

For a decade and a half, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of the worst teams in professional sports. While lots of finger pointing and laughing has been spent on small-market jokes, the Pirates’ unprecedented run of futility has gone largely unnoticed and unmocked, even as the Chicago Cubs - among others - used the Pirates as their own private farm system.

Nate McLouth

(PNG at PNC.)

That seemed to change last week when the Pittsburgh Pirates dealt their only legitimate All-Star, Nate McLouth, to the Atlanta Braves this week for a handful of prospects. The Pirates were maybe sorta kinda starting to look like a real Major League Baseball team for the first time in years, and McLouth was seen as the team’s backbone and leader. Sensing a growing public relations disaster, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington “penned” a letter to his team’s few remaining fans. Turns out, Huntington’s as good at PR as he is at putting together winning baseball teams.

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Cuervo Girls Spiked From AVP Tour Appearances

• AVP fans will no longer be able to drink in the sights of the Cuervo Girls.

Cuervo Girls

(”Wait - we’re out of a job?!?!”)

• Brewers fans will finally get to see some great baseball at Miller Park - they’ll be showing “The Sandlot” in the stadium parking lot.

Michael Irvin sued for stealing reality show idea. Aren’t all reality shows stolen from something else anyway?

Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his macho fashion sense by sporting a pink cap on his head, a flower in his hair & pearls around his neck.

• Let the Lakers & Magic have their NBA Finals. Tony Parker will be just fine with a bikini-clad Eva Longoria in the French Riviera.

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Speed Read: Braves Get Their Man (& Ditch One)

Credit the Atlanta Braves for knowing how to manage a news cycle. They flipped three prospects to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Nate McLouth to answer the need for outfield help (which they failed to answer correctly the first time by not signing Adam Dunn in the offseason), and called up Tommy Hanson (pitching phenom) and sent down Jordan Schafer (outfielder phenom) and look at all the exciting news!

Nate McLouth

(Nate McLouth: interstate man of mystery no longer)

And, oh by the way, they cut local hero Tom Glavine so they wouldn’t have to pay him up to $3.5 million to throw weaker than Jamie Moyer in a headwind when they don’t really need a farewell tour but more of a starting pitcher. But look! Nate McLouth! All-Star!

Braves GM Frank Wren swears it’s not about the money - which always means it’s about the money. McLouth is actually fairly inexpensive through 2011 with a club option for 2012 if he’s worth $10 million, but the team is replacing three minor league salaries with a major league one (roughly speaking).

Glavine will look for another job and has a decent chance of finding one if the price is right for a desperate franchise. However, no franchise has shown enough desperation to hook up with Sammy Sosa since Baltimore began its bizarre fascination with Chicago Cubs outfielders in 2005 and Texas took Sammy out around the block in 2007.

Sammy Sosa getting hit in head

Therefore, he’s announcing his retirement officially this week… sometime. As always, Sammy has to get an extra swing or two in before finally connecting, so his actual retirement will be later this week. Possibly.

Some will celebrate their last chance to moralize about him before his Hall of Fame eligibility kicks in. Others will tell Sammy to put a cork in it because they’re sick of him. The best recommendation? Smash a boom box with a baseball bat. It’s like an aural piñata!

Finally, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team squirted the bed in a simply filthy manner last night in San José, Costa Rica. The U.S. squad gave up two goals in the first 15 minutes of a World Cup qualifier to Costa Rica at the notoriously difficult Saprissa Stadium (banned: alcohol, batteries, and coins) on their way to a 3-1 thumping that wasn’t remotely that close.

Costa Rican Superman

(A Costa Rican Superman? Well, that explains a lot)

The bastard out there at ESPN that thought it would help ratings if they jammed Jon & Kate Plus 8 in front of U.S. keeper Tim Howard instead delivered a showing that led the Galavision announcers to chastise the Costa Ricans for not stomping on the throats of the Americans even more and to compare one goal in particular to stealing candy from a baby.

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Plus Tim Howard

(Actual photo of attempted defensive wall)

Because of two silly yellow cards received by two U.S. players, the American team will be short two people when they play against Honduras at Soldier Field in Chicago Saturday, in what promises to feel like an away game with maybe 25% of the 60,000 fans cheering for Uncle Sam’s boys. If the U.S. doesn’t earn three points with a win, there’s a very real chance they could miss next year’s World Cup in South Africa.

If U.S. coach Bob Bradley is still looking for a left back that has never played there before in a crucial situation, why not call on Tom Glavine? He’s available; he’s a winner; he’s looking for a job. At worst, he can help heave batteries back into the crowd at a gentle 83 mph.

And now a hail of sapphire bullet points of pure love for the Queen of the Blues on her passing

  • One old baseball man who tabled his moment in the sun: Randy Johnson. His first attempt at 300 wins in D.C. last night got washed out by Mother Nature (whom Randy went to elementary school with) and will be played today at 4 pm ET with Mr. Unit on the mound.
  • Carlos Zambrano continues to show disrespect to inanimate objects by blowing off the team jet to Atlanta (and not for the first time). Needless to say, this story doesn’t have legs if the Cubs aren’t splashing around .500 still.
  • Also filed under “not living up to expectations and therefore open to criticism”, please note the Serena Williams entry created when she lost in the quarterfinals. She showed up to the French Open out of shape mentally and physically, choosing to wear outfits that accentuated the latter and threw snit fits that proved the former. The only person this “athlete/actress” is cheating is herself.

Serena Williams at the 2009 French Open

Jose Lima Wife

How did the Braves’ efforts yesterday affect the NL East race?

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Speed Read: Tony Parker Drops A Double-Nickel

I knew that Manu Ginobili’s injury would lead to a few more scoring opportunities for Tony Parker this year. But I don’t think anyone thought he’d be putting up 55, even if it was on the T-Wolves. The Spurs needed all of those points too, as they struggled to get by Minnesota 129-125 in double OT.

Tony Parker Eva Longoria wedding

Parker’s big night overshadowed Amare Stoudemire’s 49-point performance in Phoenix’  113-103 win over Indiana. He became the first player in 34 years to have at least 49 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals in a single game. He was 17-of-21 from the field. LeBron James was the third member of the 40-point club on Wednesday, putting up 41 in a 107-93 win over Chicago after showing up to the arena in a Barack Obama t-shirt. This guy who was at the game also likes Obama, and links him to another national symbol of change (remember when Derek Anderson was popular?):

Obama/Quinn fan

Ball State got to showcase its football program on national TV for the first time this season last night, pounding Northern Illinois 45-14 to go to 9-0 on the season. The Cardinals are 17th in the BCS standings right now, with three fellow BCS-busters standing in their way (Boise State, Utah, and TCU). But should the others falter and the Cards find their way into the top 12, they could still potentially get into a BCS game. They got a big lift from injured receiver Dante Love (pictured below), who was with the team for the first time since his career-ending spinal inury and took part in the coin toss. Even if the Cards miss out on the BCS party, this has been a season of unprecedented success for the school in Muncie, Indiana.

Dante Love

Now, moving on to football teams that are having the exact opposite of unprecedented success, the Raiders have decided the key to turning things around is to cut a guy they just signed to a seven-year, $70 million contract after eight games. DeAngelo Hall won’t be getting anywhere near that much money from the team due to the nature of NFL contracts, but Al Davis did have to give up second and fifth-round draft picks to acquire him from the Falcons. The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS’ Tim Kawakami has had a hate-hate relationship going on all year with the Raiders, and he runs with yet another opportunity to unload on Davis.

• So, that Patriots cheerleader who was booted from the team for allegedly anti-Semitically marking a friend with a sharpie? She told TMZ last night that she’s not the one who drew on him, and that being a “passed-out drunk guy with a bunch of stuff written on him” was actually his Halloween costume. She also says she didn’t see any of the offensive things drawn on him. She’s still apparently out of a job, but I’m sure she’ll have a real tough time finding new employment if she walks around wearing this:

Caitlin Davis

• A 13-year-old Chelsea soccer fan was tragically killed in Rome on Monday when a tree fell on him during a thunderstorm on his way to a Champions League match, according to the DAILY MAIL. He was supposed to die in a violent clash with Milan fans when he was 34, not like this.

• The Sex Cannon may be returning to the bench as soon as this weekend. PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that Kyle Orton thinks he might be able to play this weekend against the undefeated Titans.

• ESPN 1360 in Cincinnati quotes Carson Palmer as saying that he’s “slowly getting closer” to making a decision about whether or not he’ll play again this year. He thinks it should take him about eight more weeks. He’ll definitely know by then.

Jason Varitek had a horrible year at the plate and will be 37 in April. So, naturally, Scott Boras is asking for somewhere in the neighborhood of four years and $50 million for his services. FANHOUSE says the Sox are unlikely to offer anything close to that (wisely), and may have to part ways with their team captain.

• CBS4 in Denver says the Broncos took a day off from talking trash to reflect on the Obama election. Brandon Marshall manages to not call out Obama for his dancing style.

• Florida sophomore point guard Jai Lucas has decided to transfer, just as the season is about to get underway. Lucas, the son of ex-NBAer John Lucas, was the starter last season for the Gators and was expected to have the same role this year.

• Buried in this Ken Rosenthal piece about the baseball offseason is how the ludicrous four-year, $48 million deal Carlos Silva signed with the Mariners last year will haunt teams in negotiations this winter. Basically, any starting pitcher who can throw the ball over the plate without dying will want at least that much, since Silva’s basically the worst possible guy you can have on the mound to start a baseball game. Oliver Freaking Perez is going to end up getting $15 million a year because of this.

• This may be stretching it a bit, but baseball and softball officials believe that the election of Barack Obama might help get the two sports back into the Olympics in the future. Reps for both sports say that “anti-Americanism” was a factor in being voted out of the 2012 London games, according to ESPN.

• RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER is ecstatic that Nate McLouth won a Gold Glove. I mean, the words “Pirates” and “award” don’t usually appear in the same paragraph. But then comes the realization that by most fielding metrics, McLouth was one of the worst outfielders in all of baseball this year.

• And finally, it’s not that impressive that a jogger in Prescott, Arizona jogger ran a mile. It is impressive, however, that she ran a mile with the jaws of a rabid fox attached to her arm.

Which of these teams is going to crash the BCS party this year?

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