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2001 Feature Archive
Depending on whether you're talking to an ordinary Joe or a columnist who measures excitement by the number of free agents signed, baseball's winter meetings were either a barrel of knuckles or a barge to Lithuania. Michael Cox again stashes a hidden microphone in John Hart's pina colada.
Also back from his involuntary @home-induced hiatus, Dave Paisley bemoans the dearth of really good trades and wonders what the heck Sandy Alderson was thinking when he blabbed to the media. Oh, wait, baseball official thinking - does not compute, does not compute...
Back from his @Home-induced hiatus, Jason Michael Barker runs down the winter moves to date and wonders why nobody has signed that McGwire fellow to a contract yet. The extra "Re-" stands for "Really, we're just kidding about McGwire."
Field of Incompetence
Let's see...Michael Cox could talk about Bret Boone's free-agent prospects, or how odd it is that all the "Giambi Signs With Yanks" stories suddenly vanished from ESPN.com, but he really hasn't finished with Bud Selig yet. This week, Selig pisses off the government and cooks up some numbers.
Bitter Bud Face
The hits just keep on coming from MLB's fine commissioner and his cast of crazies, but while there are enough issues with Selig to fill a book in agate type, Michael Cox wishes Giambi would sign or Bill Gates buys the Red Sox or something, just to take his mind off the sheer magnitude of Selig's ineptitude.
With his eye on the greatest free-agent courship ritual in the history of free-agent courtship rituals, Matt Bruce finds it all too similar to a Hollywood script. Just which Hollywood script you'll have to find out for yourself, right after you figure out whether the editor chooses to use Matt's thrown-together column titles just for a cheap laugh.
Not So Free
Our intrepid Dave Paisley was all set to slice and dice the free agent signings for your reading pleasure. Then a funny thing happened this week. Bud Selig gets to continue to rule his evil empire for an extra three years. And Todd Van Poppel got signed. Which made our columnist wonder, if they're free agents why do they cost so much?
I Expectorate on the Electorate
If there's anything Michael Cox loves to do more than picking on sportswriters, it's finding ways to embarrass Bud Selig. This week you get both for the price of one, and he even throws in one of those fake swear words done with punctuation marks and symbols. Feel the love.
Hi Ho Silver Lining
Things may seem pretty bleak, what with Bud Selig claiming that the Twins and Expos are naught but dead weight keeping his Brewers from reaping a massive windfall, but Michael Cox thinks there could be a surprising upside to it all. Also: the guy who voted for Sabathia was a silly A-- nawww, that's too easy.
(I Can't Get No)
Crazy Uncle Bud forgot his meds again, and this time it looks like the residents of the Twin Cities will suffer for his delusions of omnipotence. Matt Bruce explains that there's no legitimate excuse for eliminating a profitable team.
The 2001 Strikethree.com
The votes have been tallied (using the highly scientific "tick mark" method), the statuettes ordered, and the orchestra is warming up in the pit. The world-reknowned accounting firm of Ernst and Frank have delivered the envelopes, we've had them sterilized, and we're ready to tell you who you voted for. It ain't Madonna, by cracky.
World of a Series
With the 2001 World Series now two days past, Jason Michael Barker looks back at the series that was and marvels at the end of two of baseball's biggest post-season curses. Sorry, Red Sox fans, that doesn't include the curse of the you-know-who.
Anyone for Desert?
It was a Hollywood screenwriter's dream -- tension, changes in fortune, heroes, villains, and a surprise twist ending. Michael Cox wraps up the Series, and wonders whether the part of Bud Selig shouldn't be recast as a funny fat kid.
With the Yankees making even more ninth-inning comebacks and the Series returning to Phoenix, Matt Bruce is understandably stoked about music. And unrequited crushes. And other things, possibly including baseball.
As the teams prepare for Game Three of the World Series, Jason Michael Barker pens a letter to each club, each with a strikingly different message. See if you can guess which one is which -- I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
With the D-Backs up by two games, Michael Cox can't help but think of all the times the Yanks have been down, only to come back in such a fashion that you'd expect Joe Torre to distract the ump while his team uses a steel chair on opposing baserunners.
How I Learned to Stop
Worrying and Love the Yankees
In his latest missive from the Bay, Matt Bruce recounts how a simple patriotic song turned into sympathy for the oft-hated Bronx Bom- uh, Harlem River Homer Hitters. Note also that we decided not to title his article after a certain Rolling Stones number.
First it was the Yankees, who were almost dead but came back to life against Oakland and then bounced Seattle out of the playoffs. Then we saw Keith Richards looking almost alive on the New York benefit concert. How much longer can these tired old acts keep it up, Dave Paisley wonders...
Recent talk of ridding MLB of two teams has Jason Michael Barker wondering -- why don't they just put the Expos and Marlins on a big boat somewhere and let them duke it out, winner-take-all, with FOX televising the whole thing in prime time? Mmmm.... ratings.
One league champion down, one to go, and Michael Cox recounts an evening of baseball wonderment with added mystery courtesy of MLB's sole broadcast partner: Will all the good stuff happen at once? Will Tim McCarver require a lozenge? What's that pain in my right thumb? All this and Tokyo too...okay, Osaka then.
Four down, three to go. Dave Paisley takes a look at the two League Championship Series and comes to the conclusion that the Braves are as good as done. Ahhh, poor Braves. Meanwhile, he cautions the Yankees not to take one miracle comeback as a sign from God or anything...
In case you missed the first round of the post-season, Jason Michael Barker checks in with a few nuggets of wisdom he took away from the past week. This just in: Bud Selig is still a big goober.
Okay, okay, so the title of Michael Cox' new offering is a little weak. He's here to tell you that it's been a most exciting first round, even if it means Tony Womack will have his name pencilled in at leadoff for years to come.
After a whole day without baseball, and a week late, we finally got that pesky post-season under way. Dave Paisley got to freeze his butt in the chilly shade at Safeco Field, but Bartolo Colon and Curt Schilling made it anything but chilly for opposing batters.
With only alliteration to guide him, Jason Michael Barker dives head first into the first round and finds the end of the road for two post-season teams of yore. And there was much rejoicing. Yea, verily.
Falling neatly between an amazing end to a strange season and the beginning of playoffs that almost seem like a footnote, Michael Cox recaps what was perhaps the most incredible weekend in baseball history, does his best to prognosticate. Don't forget to say "Bless you."
As we begin the season's final week, or as he likes to call it, "the second-to-last week that has now been rescheduled," Jason Michael Barker offers a quick look around MLB and pauses to wonder... Just what in the name of all that is good and pure do Rickey and Barry have to do to get some respect around here?
Support Your Local Pennant Race
It's October -- do you know where your contenders are? While the AL winners fiddle, the NL burns...with stretch-drive fever! Michael Cox knows it'll take more than a little Preparation H to stop that inflammation. Also: hail to the home run king!
The Rest is History
Torn between a trophy and immortality, Michael Cox suggests that the more difficult of the two is really the least appealing option. Find out what the hell he's talking about, as well as his opinions on Carl Everett (wonder what that could be?) and the NL pennant races.
Freedom, Baby, Yeah!
Baseball returned to a full schedule Tuesday and Dave Paisley couldn't help but notice the significant amount of red, white and blue in the seats. Sitting in his armchair at home, he even managed to get in a stanza or two of God Save the Queen.
Do you dare attend your local ballgame before Tom Brokaw has collapsed from exhaustion? Michael Cox goes over the reasons you shouldn't feel guilty. In fact, maybe it's even time for that jumbo dog purchase you've been saving up for.
The War on Stats (Part
Continuing his treatise on gambling, statistics and the media, Derek Zumsteg warns that when RC/25 is outlawed, only outlaws will use RC/25. Don't miss the conclusion of this potboiler, soon to be a Random House paperback (after the lawsuits are all settled).
In the midst of a semi-exciting final month, Michael Cox thought for a while he might have stepped into a time warp to 1997. What's next, an Ace of Base revival? Also: more Barry!
The War on Stats (Part
Gambling on baseball -- it's not just for overrated Hit Kings with bad haircuts anymore, and Derek Zumsteg foresees a day when it will become a tad too conspicuous. A cautionary tale of mixing OPS and over/unders begins here.
Just as pissed at having to work on a holiday as you retail employees out there are, Michael Cox spends this one telling you why you shouldn't fret over a lockout. Or go ahead and fret. But you'd be wrong. Or not. Plus the biggest Yankee myth dispelled, and more.
One Man's Baseball
Some people like baseball. Others love baseball. Some will go to any lenghths to see baseball, while still others will watch baseball until their eyes fall out and their limbs fall asleep from the wonder of stadium seating. Guess which category Jason Michael Barker falls into?
Reading the latest "Bonds is Satan" piece, Michael Cox wonders if perhaps Rick Reilly might have suffered one too many wedgies as a schoolboy. Also, what to do when the fashionable player wants to accessorize without being declared too gaudy. Also also, he'd like to admit that he was wrrr...wrrrrr...
Odds and Ends for
Wherein Jason Michael Barker waffles about Williams, goes silly for streaks and much much more. Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it go...
Make 'Em Laugh
Running down a busy weekend in MLB, Michael Cox looks at midgets, mental midgets, and Rey Ordonez' batting skills. A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants. Yeah, he's a regular Nipsey Russell.
Hands Across the Bay
Strikethree's own Phantom of the Coit Tower returns as Matt Bruce explains the tricky business of selecting a team for which to root in the environs west of the Silicon Valley. And surprise: his choice has nothing to do with just picking whoever doesn't have those infernal drums.
A Fine Pair
Noting how events conspire against those who make rash statements, Michael Cox risks blacklisting this site in NetNanny by using a double entendre in its entirely smut-free sense. Twice. In between, there's a fight, a steaming pile of umpire, and more.
The Dr. is In
You've got questions? Why you wanna go and do that? Er, I mean, that's good, because Michael Cox has Dr. Wacky, who has answers, or something vaguely resembling answers. Caution: have a physician on standby lest your spleen burst with mirth.
New Boots and Errors
With all the excitement about the return of hardball to the Brooklyn shore, folks almost forgot that the only time these guys get on a TV highlight reel is when they do a Wile E. Coyote through the outfield wall. Seth Kolloen reminds us just what low-A ball is like.
Bons Mots Pour Vous
Shedding his usual vitriol, Michael Cox makes nicey-nice with your favorite team, as well as all the ones you don't like. Hell, even the ones he doesn't like. Think of it as Xmas in July. In fact, send us gifts.
Maybe you didn't see the Mariners get shaggy by the baggie or watch the Twins get raked by the lakes, but Dave Paisley sure did. So put down that analysis of the Galarraga trade (Texas still sucks, Andres won't help Giants) and check out his report on the clash of the new titans.
Welcome Back, Baseball:
A Fan Base Grows in Brooklyn
In the second-ever edition of his Brooklyn baseball diary, Seth Kolloen explains that when in New York, it's best to stay in your seat while the game's being played. Seatbacks and tray tables in their upright and locked position, if you know what's good for you.
Bold Words, Again
Using a pointy pen and an encyclopedic knowledge of HTML, Michael Cox explains in the fewest possible words that Minnesotans might want to hold off on that World Series ticket pre-sale, Yankee fans might not even get that opportunity, and that he's bully for the brain scan.
"P" is for
If you don't know a Podsednik from a hole in your head, don't worry -- you're not alone. Luckily Jason Michael Barker is here to hip you to the 4-1-1, lay down the smack-jaw truth, and go on about whatever else those crazy kids are talking about these days. Word!
Never mind that the title is actually German for "one-thirty." Michael Cox stops ranting about King Bud just long enough to tell you why both Rick Ankiel and Donna Summer are wearing those big ol' grins.
Miss the All-Star game? Well Dave Paisley didn't, and he just can't wait to gloat. But then who wouldn't when it was as cool as this?
It's a rough life for Jason Michael Barker, who was forced to check out the All-Star festivities in Seattle this weekend. Read about free stuff, top prospects, why he's never going to get a break as a broadcaster, and much much more...
A Big Mess O' Stars
The Midsummer Classic is almost here, but not before a game featuring the guys who should be playing instead of Cal Ripken and David Bell. Michael Cox also demands that they either find a new nickname or play on the Solstice. Also, Ballotgate, Macgate, and mor...oops, that's all, I guess.
Just when you thought the debacle of All-Star selections was coming to a close, Joe Torre goes and stirs the pot again. Dave Paisley dons the fake mustache and glasses to go undercover and get the scoop on Yankee-gate.
On Brooklyn and Baseball
Short attention span, you say? Well, this is your lucky day, as Michael Cox provides you with a commentary buffet featuring Rocker nibbles, Bell bites, and enough assorted condiments to satisfy even David Wells. Impossible? You be the judge...
Rocker and Mayne and
Eckstein (Oh my!)
Pull up a chair, put up your feet and grab an icy cool lemonade as Jason Michael Barker spins a tale of romance, espionage and betrayal in the Deep South, circa 1850. No, wait, replace "romance" with "pitching" and "espionage" with "clubhouse chemistry" and you'll be all set.
Every Freakin' Year...
If the fans are going to do weird stuff like giving Al Martin 150,000 votes, why don't we let the experts handle All-Star voting instead? Michael Cox warns you that if we have to go over this once more, young man, we'll turn this car right around. Also, why Barry Bonds' home run chase is a double-edged sword, why you shouldn't give Barry Bonds a double-edged sword, and more.
Like a piece of the china your grandma gave you, you fear tinkering with your favorite overachieving team for fear that they'll shatter all over the linoleum. Michael Cox understands your desire to lock them in the sideboard for safekeeping. Also: The Draft, and more.
What's My Age Again?
With "unwritten rules" on everyone's mind, Michael Cox goes over a couple more, finds a parallel with a banished ex-player, and asks that gay player to just come on out already. Well, maybe he doesn't do that last thing all that quickly...
Minor League Hopes
Never mind the pennant races, fuhgeddabout the Mets for a moment, short A season is about to begin! Dave Paisley plays Roger Ebert for day as he fires up the popcorn machine to check out the Willamsport Crosscutters 2000 season. And he asks the question - What the heck is a crosscutter anyway?
Unwritten for a Reason
Why hasn't anyone written down baseball's so-called unwritten rules? Jason Michael Barker investigates and discovers that not only are said rules arbitrary, they're also, well, just plain silly.
Wherein, Jason Michael Barker takes a tour around the majors and finds: "hitting instructor" is French for "scapegoat," that Wells guy is a bit off his rocker, Barry Bonds is still the man, and much, much more. No, wait, forget about that second "much."
At the Quarter Pole
Like reminiscing about the first bites of that warm, glistening cinnamon roll, Michael Cox can't believe the season's 1/4 over. However, there are some things he does believe, like, er,...mmmmm...cinnamon roll...
Much Ado About Nothing
Remember all those blockbuster trades this winter? Jason Michael Barker does, even though all the teams involved probably wish they could forget. Kind of like some of our staffers wish they could forget the 80's...
Now that he's going to be spending the season watching "Matlock" reruns, Michael Cox believes Frank Thomas won't find his paycheck quite so objectionable. Also: Unit's record, Ankiel's psyche, and more.
Resigned to Failure
It's been a tough week in Texas -- and not just for the worst pitching staff in the majors. Dave Paisley takes a look at trouble in the palace in Dallas.
The Week in Crying
There was more bawling than brawling in our national pastime this week, severely disappointing Frank Robinson because he can't suspend anyone for that. Michael Cox makes an oblique Ed Grimley reference.
A Quick One
As we prepare for our freedom, Michael Cox breaks away from HTML hell to bring you a few hot topics from the first weeks of baseball season. Okay, so one or two topics are a little tepid. We'll pop 'em in the microwave like Jim Rome does.
After suffering through a long, cold winter of his discontent, Michael Cox heads to a park where they won't let him on the grass, bites into a skin filled with various beef parts, and watches grown men wearing polyester and swinging sticks. He thinks this "baseball" thing could catch on.
Just in case you thought he was missing in action, Jason Michael Barker checks in from his excursion to the Cactus League and reminds you to never, and he means never, sit on a cactus.
Stark Raving Mad
Matt Bruce has a new idol, and the good news is that he won't be rummaging through lockers like Mark Kiszla. The bad news is that instead of being a "team player" and wearing Jim Ross cowboy hats like Tracy Ringolsby, Matt now firmly believes Bobby Valentine really said all that stuff last year.
It may be snowing where you are, but Michael Cox explains that in the lands of grapefruit and cactus, it's all sunny and nice and...what in the name of Joe are we still doing up here, for crying out loud?
Instead of pretending they're the prom queen and turning their noses up at everyone, Michael Cox suggests that MLB look to the newest sports league for inspiration, and to a slow boat to Antarctica for Bud Selig.
Do Not Pass Go
Scooping the entire Internet, Michael Cox gives you the first sneak peek into MLB's new "portal" idea, and how this innovation could change the way companies like Disney do business. (Sarcasm intended.)
Assume the Position
As the baseball off-season draws to a close, there's nothing like sitting in front of a roaring fire with a cozy drink. But for many of baseball's bad boys (and girls), their lives are nothing like that. Dave Paisley takes a peek at the underbelly of baseball's dark side.
Now that football is mercifully over -- and no, the XFL doesn't count -- it's about time you make your plans for spring training. Jason Michael Barker has all the info you need to see games in Florida.
Michael Cox takes a look at the week's news and sees no need to find out the details. Any resemblance between this and the work of actual sportswriters is purely coincidental.
Cactus League Primer
With less than a month until spring training 2001, it's high time you make your plans for the annual trip to see rookies and washed up veterans alike compete for roster spots they'll never win. Let Jason Michael Barker hip you to the Arizona scene.
Return to Alcatraz
Yes, he survived the Y2K+1 bug, and Michael Cox is back with grudging welcomes for the new Hall of Famers, derisive laughter at Da Boss, and the usual Bud Selig dartboard. Don't tell him there wasn't a Y2K+1 bug...
Hall of Lame
Another year, another 365 days of blind ineptitude by the voters of the BBWAA. Dave Paisley takes a look at the same old story, verse 43. But this time it features a plucky, likeable veteran with an eye condition...
Mike and the Fat Man
After a month off doing who knows what, Jason Michael Barker returns to fill you in on the latest David Wells sighting and share his thoughts on last week's three-team trade. Come on, admit it -- you know you missed him.
City by City
In his look at how MLB fits into the sports picture in these major metropolises, note exactly how little Matt Bruce refers to the NBA.
Money For Nothing...
Yeah, those baseball players are overpaid. Dave Paisley's ass they are. Read further and discover that the tags on those owners' rags say "Barney's."