2002 Feature Archive

News, Opinion, and Humor

Rose-Pun-Free Zone

Because the fans (not you, those other fans) asked for it, Michael Cox revisits the whole Chuck Hustle issue and suggests a solution that should keep him from having to ever discuss it again.

Arbitrary? Perhaps

After a few weeks of quiet bleakness, the hot stove action is heating up again in MLB. Michael Cox implores all concerned to at least occasionally clean the flue.

Future History
With the excitment of Jim Thome's signing sending warm ripples through Santa's heart ("Hey, maybe Philly fans won't boo me this year," he's thinking) Dave Paisley decided it was time to make his own news. Or at least figure out what's going to be the big news of the next 8 years or so in the baseball world. And no, it's nothing to do with the Hundley-Karros-Gruszielanek deal. As if...

Cursed, Or Just Cursing?

Caution: this column contains themes that may make some readers uncomfortable: voodoo baseball-speak, bad street magic, and David Bell. However, Michael Cox does get through the entire column without once referring to that line from The Sixth Sense.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

No, he's not talking about the band with the drummer from Wisconsin. Michael Cox instead offers a lament regarding the loss of his mojo, but not to worry, for he has since got his schwing back.

To Beane Or Not To Beane

Unable to find TV coverage of a touring all-star team from one of America's major sports, Michael Cox hopes New Englanders didn't get their hopes up too high, then leaves to buy a wheel of gouda.

The 2002 Strikethree.com
Baseball Awards

Finally, the counting is done, so let the finger-pointing and recriminations begin! We're giving out hardware to the best, worst and weirdest of the year, as selected by our loyal readers! Come see where MLB got the idea from!

They'll Manage

This week Michael Cox makes the horrific discovery that when Tony Muser stopped managing the Royals they didn't take him to a big farm where managers chase rabbits all day. Also: Boss baaad, and how can we miss Barry when the press won't let him go away?

Every Mouse Has Its Day

Barry may have sp...er, punished the Monkey a few times, but the Halos are going to Disneyland. Michael Cox offers to walk over there with them. Just make the annoying voices stop.

It's a Mad, Mad World (Series)

With this year's Fall Classic underway, Michael Cox can't help but shout, "Washburn, you fool!" Also: Separated at birth - Johnny Knoxville and the New York papers; and konnichi wa!

Barry vs. The Monkey
In his combination NLCS recap and World Series preview, Jason Michael Barker asks the tough questions, like "Will the Angels pitch to Bonds?" and "What, are they crazy?" and "What's the deal with Tim McCarver?" Read on, as he answers "Yes," "No," and "Doofballs," though not necessarily in that order.

D'You Haff a Lahcenze For Zat Minkey?

With one half of the World Series determined and the other imminent, Michael Cox feels for those of us who don't have two pieces of inflatable plastic to bang together. Also: Sweet Lou past his expiration date, and predictions!

The Problem with Predicting
If there's one thing Jason Michael Barker learned this week, it's this: he's bad at making post-season predictions. So why would he even bother offering up his picks for the ALCS and NLCS? All we can surmise is that he's a glutton for punishment. Either that, or he has a direct line to Peter Gammons. Nah...

It's Raining Frogs

Recently Michael Cox had a dream: two of the teams competing for the World Championship would be from "small markets," a third would say it was, and the fourth would be a team previously mocked for its postseason failures. However, he did not dream the Rally Monkey.

Plentiful Post-Season Predictions
Our own Jason Michael Barker consulted the tea leaves, and lo and behold, discovered that the Red Sox and Cubs were destined to meet in the 2002 World Series. Wait, sorry, that's the 3002 World Series. Our bad.

Dubious Playoff Prognostications

Tired of those in-depth, player-by-player postseason previews? Michael Cox paradoxically guarantees both the dodgy nature of these predictions, and that they're better than Dave Campbell's.

Fighting Tooth and Mail
Read on, as Jason Michael Barker answers email from you, you, you and that guy over there. No, not you, him. To the left. In the red hat, sitting underneath the big maple tree. For the love of... OK, you too, smart guy.

Lazy, Stupid and Ignorant

Sometimes you analyze, and sometimes you just say "what the hell." Guess which Michael Cox is doing this week. Also, by his calculations, Newsday has wasted a total of eight hours of his time this year, and now he has the unique pleasure of squaring their account.

Bud's Nightmare

Seeing the Twins wrestle each other to the ground in division-title-inspired glee was nothing compared to the scenario conjured by the vivid imagination of Michael Cox. No, there are no bikini models or savory riblets involved. Also: Phil's phinger, and ain't that a punch in the head?

Stretch Jive

Observing and admiring the hot Western pennant races, Michael Cox avoids the urge to coin the millionth "Spahn, Sain"-like jingle in reference to the D-Backs (okay, except for this one: "Schilling, Johnson, then try not to trade for Sidney Ponson"). Also: Fight! Fight!

Not For Nothing

Exhausted by the bluster, bleating, angst, sträng und durm, and general ill will, Michael Cox lashes out at Middle America, partly because it's so easy to do from Upper Left-hand America. Also: Was it worth the hassle? That is, the hassle in 1981?

Labor Pains
For the life of him, Jason Michael Barker can't figure out why anyone would support the owners in this whole mess. I mean, have you seen Bud Selig lately? Plus: MLB is no NBA or NFL, and we mean that in the good way. Sorry NHL fans, we haven't a clue what's going on there.

Any Sport in a Storm?

Left without September pennant races, will baseball fans really go rushing into the arms of John Madden? I mean, at least without making him shower first? Michael Cox says "ick." Also, our hidden microphones catch the labor negotiations in a rare gassy moment.

Grandpa Forgot His Meds

It's a fine line between really smart and clinically insane, and Michael Cox watched helplessly as an esteemed colleague forgot there even was a line. Also, Jacobs Field declared a free-ass zone (hey, simmer down now), and more.

Steeeerrrrike... Averted?
Just when you though the labor situation couldn't get any worse, Jason Michael Barker says, "Don't worry, be happy." Well, that's what he would have said had he not been out dancing in the streets. Trust us.

Induced Labor

As this young man's attention turns to a strike, Michael Cox sets out to correct a few commonly-held myths. Now if he could only get the commissioner to stop holding them. Also, snapping Barry, and more.

Living In A Fan-tasy

Hey, fan! Yeah, you! Did you send a message to baseball today? What? No? Michael Cox would like you to know that you're not alone. Also, the commish does more silly things, and more.

Oops, They Said It (Again)

Deciding that he's made a big enough fool of himself lately, this week Michael Cox leaves the talkin' to others. Gammons gets irresponsible, Charlie Hustle gets smart, Steinbrenner gets himself in Dutch with half the country, and the proverbial "more."

Strike, Too
Fed up with miserable strike talk? So is Dave Paisley but that doesn't stop him from continuing the misery. And we all know misery loves company, so get clicking and help him out here. Oh, you know you can't resist...

C'mon, Get Happy

So, if we all love baseball so much, why the flamin' heck are we so grumpy? Michael Cox isolates the virus and writes you a li'l prescription for contentment that can be filled without waiting next to a woman with a hacking cough.

Yeah, Bud

Be thankful your company isn't run by a man who says you won't be getting a paycheck today. Michael Cox watches the Commish try on his latest cologne, "Desperation." Also: an All-Star follow-up, the Ted Williams freeze-up, and more.

Prospect Report:
Talking To The Future

Fresh from an appearance in the showcase that is the Futures Game, Sean Burnett talks pitching with David Cameron, while crossing his fingers and hoping he won't be referred to as a "crafty lefthander." At least, not until he's 28 or so.

All-Star Lame
In a special bonus tirade, Michael Cox points out that never before have so many kvetched over so little. Well, maybe they have, but not over something other than politics.

This Bud's for Ewe
Well, if Bud Selig didn't make a fine horse's rear end of himself at the All-Star game, he at least did a pretty spectacular impression of the rear end of a sheep. Dave Paisley wonders if baseball has been berry, berry, bad to the current Commish. We can only hope so.

Homers for Nothing
(And a House for Free)

In addition to commenting on this year's Home Run Derby -- and we're still waiting for that Sammy Sosa blast to land -- Jason Michael Barker also notes that when three clubs go a-dealin', only two go a-stealin'. Plus: What do Meatloaf, Coolio and Kevin James have in common? No, besides that.

Breakin' Too

As the Midsummer Classic approaches, Michael Cox laments that this year it's gonna be a little less entertaining -- exactly one Unit less. So why isn't it a big deal? Also: Futures, fans, and one sportswriter who would work better as a puppet.

Prospect Report:
Ready, Willing and A-Ball

Enjoying the bounty of farm clubs in the southeastern US, David Cameron literally looks over some touted (and not-quite-so-touted) prospects and finds some surprises. Good thing too.

Milwaukee Talky

With the All-Star rosters set (sort of), Michael Cox reads 'em and weeps. It's not you, it's him. And Bud. And Joe. And Bob. Also: interleague thoughts. Do not read while operating heavy machinery. (That's just a good all-around idea. We're only trying to help.)

Prospect Report:
Park Property

This week David Cameron turns his attention to home/road splits in the minors. Then, after looking at the park-adjusted stats of Brewers farmhand Corey Hart, he starts humming an off-key rendition of "Sunglasses at Night."

Hither and Yon
In his latest installment, Jason Michael Barker reflects on a somber week that was in Major League Baseball. Plus: Why ballplayers like Luis Castillo and Alan Embree have it so tough, the poor babies.

Random Notas

Back from a rehab start in the New York Post, Michael Cox tries his ailing hand at needling Barry, icing the Streak, squeezing OJ, and more. And you thought the Devil Rays-Royals series was a stinker.

Take Your Stars and Shove 'em
So you think you know how you're supposed to use that All Star ballot, do you? Jason Michael Barker argues that yes you do, and not only that, if you don't like it you can make up your own rules, mister. Plus: Baseballhead, Burkett and Dibble -- oh my!

Prospect Report:
Both Ways

He went to see the number one minor-league prospect, but David Cameron ended up getting more than he bargained for as he witnessed the latest trend on the farm. No, it didn't involve giant flashing shoe logos, substances with names ending in -endenerone, or Billy Blanks.

Take Interleague Play (Please)
In case you haven't noticed, your favorite American League club played a team from "that other league" this weekend. The same thing happened if your favorite team is in the National League, unless of course you're a fan of the Pirates or Brewers, in which case Jason Michael Barker can't help you.

Interleague Interval

It's cross-pollination season again, and this year Michael Cox decides to take some antihistamines for his allergy. Operating heavy machinery? No problem! Also: Buh-bye to Buck, drafty drawers, and more.

Interview With The Draft Hire
Fresh off his selection in the MLB First Year Draft, first-round supplemental pick Matt Whitney spoke to David Cameron even before cracking open that celebratory Mountain Dew Code Red. Apparently Crash Davis is one of his advisors.

Surprise, Surprise
Just when you were ready to concede another AL East title to the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox are running around like it's 2001 all over again, except that this time Jason Michael Barker means that in a good way. Honest. Plus: The Buck stops here for J.P. Ricciardi.

The Juice is Loose

You'd think MLB had enough on its hands, but no, this curious year of anti-marketing continues with the revelation that, er, one player definitely did steroids. Michael Cox outlines the corpse of the dead horse in chalk before adding a few lashes of his own. He also would like to apologize for blackballing Canseco.

Full of Sound and Fury, Yet...
Over in the National League East, two teams made quite a bit of noise this off-season. Lo and behold, they're winning the division as well. But would you believe all those players they added have nothing to do with it? Jason Michael Barker would, because he's the one who discovered it.

Quarter-Pole Quarry

Looking at the best and worst of the season so far, Michael Cox concludes that it needs more dogs in bandannas. Also: Billy Beane, Billy Bean, Mr. Bean, Orson Bean, and Guillermo Frijole. Okay, so he gets a mite carried away.

Do The Evolution

Before you start hand-wringing over the potential of a theoretical possible fall player strike, do yourself a favor and read Michael Cox' reasons the players are too smart to let that happen, then be thankful they're not owners. Also: the chips are down, no way, Jose, and more.

The Great Unknown

What if you walked out of your office every day to find a mob of people with no muscle tone and few social skills pointing microphones at you and repeatedly asking how you feel? Michael Cox hopes you never have to find out. Also: Manny's owie, Denver's ball spa, and more.

It's a Shame About Rob

It isn't every day that you notice one of your favorite scribes looking as out of place as Dan Rather on TRL, but instead of complaining, Michael Cox finds imitation the sincerest form of contrast.

Kwik Kwipz

Short attention span? No problem! In a breakthrough for modern journalism, Michael Cox uses bullets and really short paragraphs to discuss the Lowe no-no, the Lilly oh-no, the New York fans' pro bono, and more.

How Suite It Is
Ever wondered how the other 0.01% live? Dave Paisley sure did, and jumped at the chance to sample the suite delights of Safeco Field. Not to mention the equally delectable delights that digital cable now offers the baseball fan. Dang, we went and mentioned it anyway.

Mixed Media

As he feverishly switches between three games on TV and four RealAudio feeds on the stereo, Michael Cox points out that with an unprecedented array of viewing and listening options, suddenly there's no time for bathing. Okay, perhaps we pointed that out for him.

Balls, I Say

In the history of mankind, there has never been anything that has robbed mortal men of their ability to reason like collectible memorabilia. Michael Coxpoints out one guy who should let his wife make the household financial decisions from now on. Also: reporters just love saying "groin," and more.

Spring Cleaning
We know the economy and job market are rough right now, but jeez, six games into the season? Jason Michael Barker reports that not only did Phil Garner and Randy Smith get the proverbial ax, they should have seen it coming. Caution: Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.

Forbes Feeled

Looking back at the first week of actual for-keeps 2002 baseball, Michael Cox looks at the good, the bad, and the highly profitable. Also: A lesson teams should learn, and what the heck, a gratuitous Pokey Reese joke.

Opening Day Redux
It may have been some sort of bastardized Opening Day on Monday, but Jason Michael Barker was there. And by "there," we mean at all ten baseball games on the schedule. Don't ask how, just believe. Now stop hitting me. Ouch! Stop that!

Hot Damn! It's Baseball!

While he feels that Tom Arnold is one notch below Carrot Top on the comedy food chain, Michael Cox cannot abide what the MLB censors have done with Roseanne's ex-husband's show. It's a combination of activism and valuable prizes. Also: don't worry, be...I can't say it.

Taking a break from his prospecting duties, this week David Cameron mines for predictions, and sets a Claymore or two under the feet of the Cubs. Fire in the hole.

Q&A Session
We wouldn't go so far as to say Jason Michael Barker mailed this one in by letting his readers fill out his column, but we will admit those envelopes and stamps sitting over there are a tad suspicious. Today's column sponsored by the US Postal Service.

Rumor With a View

Turning his attention to the trade gossip that has already used vats of ink and billions of electrons, Michael Cox can't get over all that stuff about John Nash. Huh? What? Oh, yeah. Find out whether a couple of deals can save the Rangers from I-Rod's "fat Elvis" period.

Spring Back, Fall Forward
Worried about your beloved Mariners, Yankees or Braves stinking up the joint this spring? Don't panic - just sit down and listen to Uncle Dave Paisley as he tells you why spring training records aren't worth the Best Buy receipt they're scribbled on.

I Believe

Although Michael Cox may hold these truths to be self-evident, you may not understand what the tarnation he's talking about, and he didn't even include his usual statement that Moon Pies are the greatest snack food of all time.Plus: after the brawl, Beane green, and more.

Oh, Oh, Oh, It's Magic
Tired of all those over-analytical pre-season predictions? Ready for a little fun with an odd ball? No, we don't mean Dave Paisley. But we every easily could... Check out the Magic 8 Ball predictions for the National (Enquirer) League this year.

Every Little Thing It Does Is Magic
There's nothing quite like a warm spreadsheet in the cold months to keep your baseball fever alive. However, Dave Paisley finds it just as satisfying to hang out with a mystical little friend for prognostications. And no, he doesn't mean Willow from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"...

Junior and the Duke
Let Jason Michael Barker tell you a little story 'bout a man named Jed... well, perhaps not about Jed, but about a pair of fellows who have been much maligned in recent years. Is Ken Griffey Jr. really a horrible guy? Is Dan Duquette a selfish little man? And why won't Peter Gammons return my phone calls? All this and more.

The New Age Revolution
Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably noticed that baseball players are getting older and older these days. Is it something in the water, or is there something more sinister at work here? Whatever it may be, Jason Michael Barker suggests prune juice and a good wrinkle cream.

Back in the Spring of Things
Pitchers and catchers may have reported last week, but that doesn't mean Jason Michael Barker is resting on his laurels with nothing to write about. No sir! In fact, he's got your laurels right here, mister, along with his opinions on a developing mess in Montreal.

As Young As You Feel
Taking stock of the various and sundry teams of MLB, Matt Bruce uses himself as a yardstick. Having not viewed him personally, the editors cannot unequivocally state that he is in fact thirty-six inches tall, but if he is, we have a job for him in about a month.

East Bread

In the first of his series of 2002 predictions, Michael Cox presents to you an alternate reality. One in which "ghosts" and "tradition" mean nothing, people suddenly forget "how to win" and fear the name "Don Mattingly." But it's all just a dream...or is it?

Greasy McNuggets
He hasn't won an Emmy for Web Excellence yet, but Matt Bruce smells glory in the air as he welcomes the newest member of the Giants family. Wait -- that might not be glory he smells after all. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to understand, but if you are, does he have a lobotomy candidate for you...

Snow Day

With some rare white powder falling on Strikethree Towers, Michael Cox once again wonders what kind of powder our Commissioner might be using, then conjures a scenario that sends him scurrying to the medicine cabinet for some effervescent ivory crystals. Also: Are the Yanks the shrewdest team in baseball or what? And yet more.

The Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes

Amongst all the last-minute arbitration-avoiding signings, Michael Cox finds a nugget of utmost importance: new uniforms! Don't risk showing up at the ballpark in last year's duds -- read up. Also: When D. Fehr talks, and, oh yeah, all those signings.

The Wages of Hubris

Just when you think it's safe to read the baseball news, our fearless Commissioner goes and shows us just how little fear he has. Michael Cox hopes he develops at least an aversion to scandal. Also, Sox don't come clean, Calista and the Fat Man, and more.

Communication Breakdown

It's a new year, and it's gotta be better than the last one, right? Well, you might want to sit down, because Michael Cox isn't so sure. Then again, it just may be. Also, the hot dog vendors of New York rejoice, and more.

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