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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Baseball Players and HGH: You’re Doing it Wrong . . . Try LSD

We have all done some amazing things while under the influence of inebriating substances. Whether if it is finding the courage to streak naked covered in peanut butter across town after bars, or eating an entire extra large pizza by yourself, we all have our accomplishments. However, these men have gone above and beyond the duty of outperforming their sober alter egos. Forget what the officials say about the effects of HGH in Major League Baseball, these players prove the real secret to baseball glory lies in the techno colored bliss of playing when intoxicated.

Mike Cameron:

In a recent interview, the Brewers’ Mike Cameron admitted to hitting the field while drunk during his time as a Mariner. He stated:

“Sh-t, I’ve played drunk.”
When?
“New York City.”

But he had no shame, because according to sources he batted his best game against the New York Yankees that day. He amazingly went 4-4 from the plate, with 2 homeruns, and 8 RBIs. It’s only fitting that he ended up with the Brewers. While most men find difficulty hitting the urinal while at the bar, Mike found ease in making contact with a 90 mph fastball.

Sure batting perfect from the plate while drunk is amazing, but what about throwing from the mound?
David Wells:

He pitched a perfect game in 1998 against the Twins, but he only admitted to being “half drunk” in his book “Perfect I’m Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches & Baseball”. I’m not going to bore anyone with the circumstance surrounding this event, but no one got on base. And he was half sober. The end. There was nothing special about that since he could see the plate.

But judging from the reaction of Steinbrenner and Yankee nation, you would have thought the man committed murder for admitting he was 1.5 sheets into the wind. Wells was fined $100,000 for the truthful comments he made in his book. That’s right, a 6 figure fine for admitting to accomplishing one of the greatest triumphs in sports while a little tipsy. It is this teetotaler mindset that has probably prevented him from hurling a no hitter again. If the power hitters of the MLB can take “legal” steroids to boost their performance, let a man pitch drunk. It worked out well last time.

While Wells spent one game drunk, the next player spent his entire career under the influence of alcohol.

Wade Boggs:

There are some players that get drunk before one or two games. Then there was Wade Boggs. The man’s career reeked of day old Budweiser and stale corn chips. This was the type of man that could clear a frat house of all beers, literally. In what has been deemed by many as an urban legend, reports have surfaced about Wade drinking over 60 beers in the span of a 7-hour flight.

While I would like to believe Boggs is not lying, I can’t. Drinking 64 beers on a cross-country flight is something that should go in the record books, not denied. Even if the slightest rumor revealed I completed such a fete, you had better believe I would admit to the achievement. His former teammate Jeff Nelson contested to Wade’s addictive personality, stating in an interview that:

“Wade was the kind of guy who was always the first one at the club house […] and he’d bring a six pack with him. He’d be there drinking a beer when someone showed up, and as we were all packing our stuff up out of our lockers and getting our bags ready for the trip, Wade would sit there and drink that whole six pack.”

And when asked about the legendary 64 beer performance, he added:

“I’ve never seen anyone drink as much beer as [Boggs] did in my life…I’d say, on a typical road trip, east coast to west coast, say a road game to Seattle……Wade would drink anywhere between 50 and 60 beers…I know how crazy that sounds, and I wouldn’t believe it myself unless I saw him do it…..numerous times. And he drank nothing but Miller Lite.”

Why should we believe Nelson over Wade? Because if a man decides to drink 64 beers in 6 hours, he will either die or lose count after the 27th can. Boggs should have no shame in being a human brewery, it’s something lots of men dream of accomplishing. Oh yeah, being a MLB star is a great perk too.

Our next player, however, experienced the Jimi Hendrix of MLB experiences. While tripping on LSD, this Pittsburg Pirates pitcher threw a no hitter. Yes, he was fully engulfed in the side effects of acid when he hurled the no hitter.

Dock Ellis and the No Hitter:

While our three previous major leaguers were throwing back the booze, this man wasn’t joking around. The year was 1970 and Dock Ellis was at the peak of his career. Assuming that he had the day off, Ellis ingenuously took LSD while with some friends at noon. He explains that:

“I was in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in San Diego, but I didn’t know it. I had taken LSD… I thought it was an off day, that’s how come I had it in me. I took the LSD at noon. At 1pm, my girlfriend and trip partner looked at the paper and said, “Dock, you’re pitching today!”

In a hurry, Ellis took a direct flight to San Diego for a little less than $10. The game started at 6 that night. He arrived to the stadium at 4:30 and proceeded to prepare himself for the start. I can only imagine the chaos going through his head.

“I can only remember bits and pieces of the game. I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria.”

If only he would have known the glory that awaited him later that night. Under circumstances that would have left most of us wondering the town in search of Twinkies and things that felt fuzzy to the touch, Ellis attempted to pitch in a regular season MLB game.

“I was zeroed in on the (catcher’s) glove, but I didn’t hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters and the bases were loaded two or three times.”

But that never stopped Ellis as he persevered, although he was freaking out at times. He summed it all up by asserting that the occurrence really freaked him the Hell out:

“The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, and sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit hard and never reached me.”

One thing is for certain, the MLB will never admit to Ellis’ triumphs on the field. Forget watching Chipper bat above 0.450, or the Bonds breaking the HR record, I would have paid good money to see a pitcher tripping on acid, diving out of the way of a bunt that didn’t even reach the mound. That’s the kind of humor you see in Harold and Kumar movies, not in the MLB. Perhaps Bonds and the rest of the human dumptrucks have been trying the wrong drug this whole time. Under the effects of perfomance DEhancing drugs, these men excelled in their efforts. While the regular man boasts about being better at beer pong after 14 beers, these guys can brag about throwing no-hitters in an MLB game . . . or playing their entire lives drunk. With the exception of John Daly, you just don’t see these results in any other sport. Baseball: America’s sport.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

The 50 Hottest Female Athletes Of All Time


When we made a list of the hottest female athletes earlier this year, we realized there was something missing. And that something was all the hot female athletes that came before the 2000’s. Sure they might not have bared quite so much skin, but there were tons of foxes playing sports back in the old days when the Olympics were still the highlight of an entire year.

Sure we still have plenty of modern day athletes on our list (you can’t beat the present for hot female athletes ultimately, just look at the LPGA today vs. 20 years ago), but we tried hard to remember all the gems from decades past.

We stopped at 50, but could have easily gone to 100, and we were faced with tons of tough choices. Ultimately physical attractiveness was the number one requirement for inclusion, but we also tried to look at career success and historical import a little bit as well. We at PopCrunch hope you enjoy the list.

Browse The 50 Hottest Female Athletes Of All Time

All-Time Hottest: 50-41 ->

All-Time Hottest: 40-31 ->

All-Time Hottest: 30-21 ->

All-Time Hottest: 20-11 ->

All-Time Hottest: 10-1 ->

What's Hot At PopCrunch

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Rooney's rage 'threatens team-mates' warns Capello


Getty Images

Wayne Rooney stamps on Ricardo Carvalho during the 2006 World Cup quarter-final against Portugal

Wayne Rooney's temper and volatility on the pitch are worrying Fabio Capello to the extent that he will speak to the England striker about curbing his aggressive tendencies. Indeed the England manager had to talk to Rooney at half-time during the 2-0 victory over the United States on Wednesday evening, telling him to calm down after a reckless first-half challenge that could have led to a dismissal.

The warning went unheeded, however, and Rooney was cautioned after the break for another tackle before being withdrawn, in a substitution that was planned before the game, after 79 minutes. However such is Capello's concern over Rooney that he admitted afterwards that the Manchester United striker has even endangered team-mates in training.

As the 22-year-old prepares for his stag party in Ibiza – he did not travel with the England squad to Trinidad yesterday – Capello conceded that the temper that Rooney claims is under control again threatens to derail England. As Rooney approaches the second anniversary of his stamp on Ricardo Carvalho that brought him a red card in the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal, Capello, although generally happy with the player he regards as England's special talent, said that his petulance had to stop.

There is also confusion around the readiness or otherwise of Michael Owen to play in the two end-of-season friendlies, including Sunday's game against Trinidad and Tobago. The Newcastle striker had withdrawn from the squad on Friday with what was described as a "contagious virus". However, he was present with his wife Louise at Wembley on Wednesday to watch the USA game. The Football Association received a doctor's report two weeks ago about Owen's health and it was decided it would be too dangerous for him to train, and possibly infect, his team-mates.

However Owen has clearly recovered since then and Capello was aware of his presence at Wembley. Tellingly however, having ruled him out of his plans, the manager had no intention of calling Owen up which appears to indicate that the 28-year-old is not central to England's future and may be relegated to a peripheral role. Although he failed to score, Capello is understood to have been pleased with the performance of Jermain Defoe, who played as the most advanced striker, with Rooney behind him. The Portsmouth forward's movement and link-up play impressed Capello as did his pace. It is likely that Theo Walcott will also be given an opportunity against Trinidad & Tobago.

The England squad was trimmed yesterday before it flew out for that friendly fixture, with seven of the Champions League final players – Rooney, Owen Hargreaves, Wes Brown, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Ashley Cole – left behind because of their exertions in Moscow. Rio Ferdinand did make the trip, partly because he was desperate to remain in the squad and is keen to continue to stake his claim to the captaincy, as did Wayne Bridge who did not play in the European Cup final.

Capello is also understood to have been very pleased with the contribution of Steven Gerrard on the left side of midfield. While he accepts that Frank Lampard's performance was hampered by tiredness it appears the Chelsea midfielder has an uphill task to force his way into the team, especially as Gareth Barry again impressed. Capello was happy with the overall performance and England's ability to put pressure on opponents who, though poor, were, the Italian believes, made to look poor by his team and tactics.

As for Rooney, Capello would at first only admit that he "did one very strong tackle, nothing more", presumably referring to the first-half challenge on Ricardo Clark that could have warranted a red card but which Greek referee Kyros Vassaras chose to punish only with a free-kick. Later he agreed that Rooney's behaviour had to change.

"Yes, I have to keep him on the pitch for 90 minutes and so I have to speak with him," he said. "I have to speak with Rooney and explain to him that he mustn't do these tackles. Yes, sure, of course I will speak to him. Not now, but in time. The next time I see him [August], I will talk to him."

The second challenge, on Frankie Hejduk in the 76th minute, did earn Rooney a booking to which he responded with an angry gesture towards Vassaras. "I saw the same thing from him in training," Capello said. "On Tuesday in the last session, it was the same. It is normal for him and I told him that. I was worried for the other players."

It was not entirely clear, with Capello now conducting his press conferences in English rather than Italian, to what extent he was worried about the threat to his other players, but the message was blunt enough. England's training sessions are known for their full-bloodedness but it seems Rooney has exceeded the limits. Capello's defence of his player's essential, committed nature led to him also admitting that the two challenges were probably worth a sending-off when combined.

"You cannot play without commitment and when you need to play, with that commitment, you tackle very hard," he said. "That is something I think he showed. He did very, very hard tackles, both possible yellow cards, but neither of them worthy of a red card. He got a yellow at the finish. I think it is a normal game for him."

Capello compared Rooney to the Real Madrid veteran Raul who he said he worked with as a young player during his first stint with the club in the 1996-97 season. It was not immediately obvious what similarities he saw between the two players, his main point being that he encountered both of them at crucial moments in their development.

"I think that when you are a manager or coach and when you see that a player is coming back and trying to do everything, you have to speak with him," Capello said. "He is young and he is a good player."

Asked whether he had managed a player like Rooney before, Capello said: "Only defenders – not forwards. One I can think of is Raul, who was very young when I was in Madrid for the first time. He was different but he was also a good player and when he had a sniff of the goal, he scored. Like Rooney he was a very generous player. I spoke always with the players including him. What you say depends on the moment. This is my work."

Red mist moments: Rooney's costly losses of temper

Portugal 0 England 0 (Aet; 3-1 on penalties; 01/07/2006, World Cup quarter-final, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Struggling for match fitness, a frustrated Rooney damaged England's World Cup hopes after being sent off after 62 minutes for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho, becoming only the third England player to be sent off at the World Cup finals. England lost the game on penalties, and Rooney was suspended for two games and fined £2,400 by Fifa.

Spain 1 England 0 (7/11/2004, friendly, Madrid)

Hauled off by Sven Goran Eriksson after 41 minutes to prevent him being sent off, having already been booked after clashing aggressively and petulantly with Joaquin, Iker Casillas and Carlos Marchena. Upon being substituted, Rooney threw to the ground his black armband worn in memory of the recently deceased Emlyn Hughes and Keith Weller.

Northern Ireland 1 England 0 (07/09/2005, World Cup qualifier, Belfast)

Booked for a reckless challenge on Keith Gillespie, Rooney argued furiously with his captain David Beckham, who tried to calm him down.

England squad for Trinidad

Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Joe Lewis (Peterborough).

Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Stephen Warnock (Blackburn), David Wheater (Middlesbrough), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), David Bentley (Blackburn), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Aston Villa).

Forwards: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Dean Ashton (West Ham), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth).

Released players: John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole (all Chelsea), Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves, Wes Brown (all Manchester United).

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Acupuncture’s Evil Twin: The Dim Mak Death Touch


Image via brtsergio

Enter the Dragon was his last completed film. Six days after it was released, Bruce Lee, one of the biggest icons of martial arts cinema died a sudden and mysterious death. But was he the victim of the legendary dim mak touch of death as many of his avid fans have claimed?

Known in Cantonese as dim mak and in Japanese as kyusho jitsu, the touch of death is legendary among martial arts nuts. The idea behind the death touch is somewhat mysterious: apparently there are several “meridians” or body lines where “chi” or energy flows through. According to Dr Cecil Adams, “A blow or squeeze applied to certain pressure points on these lines will supposedly put the whammy on the victim’s chi, leading to incapacitation or death.” Medical journals have even reported numerous incidents where seemingly mild trauma to the described dim mak pressure points results in disproportionately serious injury. But is this all a load of baloney? Is dim mak real or not?


Never take your eyes off your opponent… even when you bow” Bruce Lee


The guys over at Martial Development, point out that dim mak does not actually signify “death touch” as many budding westernized ninjas would have us believe. In Cantonese it means something more like “press artery.” Their argument therefore is “Anyone can press an artery right?” They then push home their point by stating that dim mak is not synonymous with pressure points, but arteries and that skilled operators who have mastery over their art can use it against their opponent. Dim mak in their eyes therefore, is like reverse acupuncture, its evil twin. It can be use to cure and to kill.Equally, Dr Michael Kelly, graduate of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and author of Death Touch: The Science Behind the legend of Dim Mak has spent years studying the medical effects of dim mak and has found numerous cases to support the validity of the martial art. The book covers delayed deaths resulting from dim mak, knockouts and attacking internal organs, all explained through modern medicine.Are there any Medical Explanations? and where are these points supposedly located?pressure points
Don’t try this at home kids! Images by dimmak.net
Commotio Cordis

Commotio Cordis or cardiac concussion is where the heart rhythm is interrupted by a blow, which isn’t of lethal force, yet nonetheless causes heart failure without any structural damage. To inflict this on an opponent would be notoriously difficult, because of the 15-20 millisecond window in the heartbeat cycle where this would actually work.

Rupture of the carotid artery

This carotid artery is located in the neck and carries blood to the head. Any pressure on the carotid sinus (a very sensitive area) could rupture the artery causing a stroke, paralysis and even death. This can be caused by a karate chop or something minor like playing a musical instrument.

Who practices the death touch?

Dr Kelly argues that in the past, knowledge of martial arts was taught only to the most advanced and trusted students. The true nature of the secret martial art therefore remains shrouded in secrecy. The potential application of knowledge after all is power. Now with the internet and numerous books various supposed Dim Mak masters have emerged. Here is a video of them in action:



Ok, But Could Dim Mak be Fake?

Quite possibly. Some of the Kung-Fu masters, claiming to possess the ability to practice the death touch have been exposed as frauds. I’m still skeptical. After all, although many have claimed Bruce Lee’s death to be caused by dim mak and inflicted by Kung-Fu masters who were angry at the icon for revealing their secrets, a more plausible explanation is that he died of a cerebral edema caused by a painkiller. The myth of the death touch could therefore fuel the legend.

On the other hand, it is quite plausible that with intense practice and knowledge, one could be trained to learn dim mak, but I don’t think it’s the precise art some Kung Fu masters profess it to be.

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Doug Collins to be named Bulls head coach

Doug Collins will become the next Bulls head coach, according to multiple league sources.

A deal is expected to be announced "sooner rather than later," likely after the Western Conference finals series Collins is working for TNT concludes. The Los Angeles Lakers lead the series over the San Antonio Spurs, 3-2, and it could end tonight.

Collins released this statement through TNT: "I have spoken with Bulls management recently about their head coaching vacancy and will resume conversations after the conclusion of my work for TNT in the Western Conference Finals. There is no agreement in place."

Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told WSCR the team will continue to interview candidates. "We had one telephone conversation and one meeting and no agreement has been reached," Reinsdorf told the radio station.

Bulls general manager John Paxson’s statement also belied what sources said is all but a written contract.

"I have been in contact with Doug Collins in regard to our head coaching position," Paxson said. "Contrary to some reports that are currently out there, we have not reached an agreement. Right now, his commitment is covering the Western Conference finals for TNT. When that series concludes, we will continue our dialogue. In the meantime, I will continue to talk to other candidates and review our options.”

A source close to Collins said the statement was window dressing and that Collins had agreed to take over as Bulls head coach. The source said Collins’ son Chris would not be joining his father’s Bulls staff.

Brian James, who has been an assistant to Collins at both Detroit and Washington, would be on Collins' staff.

James, who was last an assistant at Milwaukee, owns 10 years of NBA coaching experience, four as a lead assistant. He has been to the playoffs in five of his 10 seasons as an assistant coach.

The imminent hiring of Collins was the buzz of league coaches and executives at the NBA predraft camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

It surprised some since Collins had rebuffed an overture by the Phoenix Suns to fill their head coaching vacancy created when Mike D’Antoni left to take the New York Knicks job.

"I know Doug's got the itch [to coach again]," a league source said. "I think the Bulls' youth intrigues Doug more than the Phoenix [Suns] situation. He's a teacher first and foremost. That's what he likes to do. He might have been leery about taking on a more veteran team, including dealing with Shaq."

More than one NBA type wondered how Collins would wear on a young team. Collins, as affable and relaxed as any off the court, is known to be emotional and high-strung when coaching.

"If you knew Doug as a coach, he’d make you nervous if you were just standing net to him," one coach said.

The reunion of Collins and the Bulls was first reported late Wednesday by KTAR radio in Phoenix. Collins has a home in nearby Scottsdale.

"The winds were certainly blowing that way Wednesday," a source said Thursday.

Paxson played coy Wednesday when asked about his coach search.

"I’ll probably talk to one new person, other than that, I’m going to talk to a few guys I’ve already spoken to," Paxson said of his schedule this week. "But I’m still looking. I’d like to have a guy in place sooner rather than later and I’m confident I will.’’

One NBA source said he wouldn't talk on the record about Collins until a contract was signed. ``Because knowing Doug, he could change his mind."

Speculation is Paxson will want Collins to hire one of his other coaching candidates as an assistant. Collins could then groom that man to take over as head coach though — James could also grow into that role.

Paxson met last week in Los Angeles with Lakers assistants Kurt Rambis and Brian Shaw. Utah assistants Tyrone Corbin and Jeff Hornacek, former Minnesota head coach Dwane Casey, and Sacramento assistant Chuck Person also interviewed last week. Former Knicks guard Mark Jackson, currently an analyst for ESPN, also interviewed with Paxson. Current Cleveland Cavaliers guard Eric Snow is also said to be of interest to Paxson.

Paxson wanted to hire Collins as an assistant coach in 2003, a move which was vetoed by then head coach Bill Cartwright. It was then that Paxson characterized Collins as a brilliant basketball mind. Reinsdorf also has high regard for Collins, despite having fired him from the Bulls in what was a controversial move at the time.

Besides Detroit, Collins coached Michael Jordan on the Washington Wizards.

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These 10 guys aren't earning their paychecks

You can't be a disappointment without falling painfully short of expectations, and this year's crop of early tank jobs is no exception.

If you want to get specific and toss around culpability, then there are main offenders to be found. Since, in this space, we reputedly love nothing so much as going negative, we're going to take a look at the players who have, to date, most effectively shanghaied their teams' hopes of contention.

In all instances, these are established players who should be faring better than they are. More specifically, these are the players who, while not alone in their offenses, have done their level-best to reduce their employers from national contenders to forgettable also-rans. These are the guys who must step it up in a hurry:

1. Andruw Jones, Dodgers

Yes, Jones is presently on the disabled list after undergoing knee surgery, but that's merely the start of his problems. On the season, he is batting .165, is on pace for just seven home runs, and has played sluggish defense in center. At the time, Jones' signing looked like a sensible value addition on the part of GM Ned Colletti, but it's turned out to be a low-grade disaster. Perhaps it's the knee, perhaps it's a lack of conditioning — whatever the cause, Jones has seriously hurt the Dodgers' chances thus far. It takes a lot to make Juan Pierre look like an upgrade, but Jones has somehow done it.

2. Justin Verlander, Tigers

The Tigers in 2008 have been a veritable superfund site. Expected to contend for "best team in baseball" honors, Detroit is instead languishing at the bottom of the none-too-impressive AL Central. You can point to any number of guys who aren't getting it done, but Verlander, the Tigers' ace, stands out. This season, Verlander is toting around an RA (runs allowed per nine innings) of 5.82, and he's been even worse than that away from Comerica Park. With Dontrelle Willis laid up and Kenny Rogers circling the drain, the onus is on Verlander to improve in a hurry.

3. Travis Hafner, Indians

Think the Tribe is battling a case of buyer's remorse on Hafner's contract? Despite a down year in 2007, the Indians inked Hafner to a four-year, $57-million contract extension with an option for 2013. He's rewarded their faith by performing even worse in 2008. To date, he's hitting .217 AVG/.326 OBP/.350 SLG. Sure, he's been playing despite an ailing shoulder, but unless he starts producing, the Indians are going to have trouble repeating as division champs. Ditto for Casey Blake and Asdrubal Cabrera.

4. Robinson Cano, Yankees

Coming into 2008, Cano boasted a career batting line of .314 AVG/.346 OBP/.489 — quality numbers for an up-the-middle defender. However, this season he's been lost at the plate (.276 OBP). You can point to other reasons for the Yankees' struggles — Alex Rodriguez's injury, the rotation, Derek Jeter's drop in production and customarily poor defense, the lack of reliable middle relievers not named Joba Chamberlain — but Cano's troubling decline has a lot to do with it. Fixing the Yankees is an exercise in triage at this point, but what's certain is that Cano must improve going forward.

5. Brett Myers, Phillies

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Myers doesn't have the best track record as a human being, and this season he's got the numbers to match. His RA stands at 6.34, and, in a related matter, he's coughed up 15 bombs in just 65.1 innings. The Phils were banking on Myers to stabilize the rotation behind Cole Hamels this season, but he has failed miserably. Philly doesn't have much in the way of in-house replacements or trade-able young talent, so it's on Myers to get better.

6. Carlos Delgado, Mets

Delgado declined last season, but a modest production spike in the second half raised hopes that he'd improve in 2008. That's not happening. At present, Delgado is batting .215 AVG/.294 OBP/.387 SLG, while the average NL first baseman has a batting line of .271/.358/.478. As you can see, that's a serious production deficit. Delgado is 36 years of age, so drastic improvement isn't likely. However, the Mets need him to achieve at least adequacy. It's simply hard to win when you're getting such poor numbers from a power position like first base.

7. Eric Gagne, Brewers

As hard as it is to believe this, Gagne has actually been worse as a Brewer than he was as a member of the Red Sox in 2007. The defrocked Milwaukee closer has an RA of 6.98, and he's walked 16 batters in 19.1 innings. Oh, and he's also on the DL with shoulder tendinitis. The bullpen has been a problem throughout Ned Yost's tenure in Milwaukee, and unless Gagne can get healthy and begin finding the strike zone the Brewers won't catch the Cubs, Cardinals and Astros.

8. Brad Penny, Dodgers

Andruw Jones isn't the Dodgers' only problem. Penny was one of the NL's best starters in 2007; this season, however, he's been anything but. An RA of 5.45 at the front of the rotation doesn't cut it, especially when you're trying to keep pace with the Diamondbacks. If the opposite side continues abusing Penny to such an extent, then those numbers aren't going to improve.

9. Jeff Francis, Rockies

The reigning NL champs are struggling, and Francis shoulders much of the blame. In 2006 and 2007, Francis appeared to be headed toward ace-dom, but this year he's taken several steps back. Coors Field doesn't explain away a 6.18 RA, and that's to say nothing of the fact that Francis has actually been worse on the road this season. Unless Francis can do a better job of spotting his off-speed stuff against right-handed hitters, he'll continue to struggle.

10. Trevor Hoffman, Padres

The master of the change-up is having a rough go of it in 2008. At this writing, Hoffman has a 4.86 RA, and that's despite having logged the majority of his innings in baseball's best park for pitchers. For a team as bad as the Padres (they're on pace for 101 losses), there are more than enough demerits to go around. With that said, it's clear that Hoffman's best days are behind him.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Game with One Rule: No Murder

In the small English town of Ashbourne during 2 days a year the people divide to play a sport with the purpose of scoring the “toughest goal”. Sure kicking a ball into the net takes some skill, but even these people would say scoring in a sport such as rugby is only for the weak. Imagine thousands of people, divided by a river, with 2 days to get a ball across town with one simple rule: no murder. That is only the beginning in Royal Shrovetide Football.

The Time:

The game of Royal Shrovetide is played annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in Ashbourne, which is located in Derbyshire, England. The pitch begins at 2:00 pm and lasts until 10:00 pm. If a ball is goaled before 5:00, then a new ball is released in the town centre and play continues. Otherwise, play is over for the day.

The Teams:

Through the middle of Ashbourne runs a river called the Hanmore Brook. People born north of the river are on the Up’Ards and people from the south are called Down’Ards. On opposite ends of the town are two goal posts that are located 3 miles apart. The Up’Ards attempt to score at Sturston Mill, and the Down’Ards at the Clifton Mill, each located in a river. In order to score, the team must move the ball from the town centre, to their mill, and then bang the ball on the wall 3 consecutive times.

The Game:

There is no limit to the number of players the Up or Down’Ard teams can possess. The teams (composed of thousands of people) are encouraged to stay within the confinements of Ashbourne. As a precaution all stores and shops board up their windows and all cars are parked miles away. The crowd gathers at a specially designed plinth in the middle of Town Square to begin the game. Prior to the beginning, they sing Auld Lang Syne followed by God Save the Queen. Shortly after, town (or in some cases actual royalty) figures throw the custom painted ball into the crowd. From there, the chaos begins.

The “Rules”:

The only real official rule to the game is no murder or manslaughter. But a good way to find you in a sticky situation during the game is to:

1) Carry the ball by motorized vehicle.

2) Hide the ball under your coat or in a bag.

3) Run into a cemetery, churchyard, or memorial.

Also, unnecessary roughness is heavily frowned upon, although a common occurrence during the 2 day game.

The Roll of Honor

The roll of honor is an official document, which keeps history of each scorer and the turner-up (the person who threw the ball) during each of the game. If you are a visitor wishing to score on either of the two teams, you are out of luck. Each part of town usually predetermines who will score the goals and thus keep the ball. It is usually respected members or families of the town, for they frown upon visitors getting their names placed in the Roll of Honor.

Here are a few videos of this great brute of a sport unfolding:

Original here

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Football ticket prices up sharply

Niall Quinn
Niall Quinn's Sunderland is playing catch-up on season ticket pricing

The cost of season tickets for next year at Premier League clubs has risen by 7.2%, more than twice the rate of consumer price inflation.

Research by the BBC reveals that the average cost of a mid-priced season ticket has risen to £590.

Premier League clubs are currently benefiting from television revenues which have gone up sharply.

But that has not prevented most of them from imposing substantial increases in season ticket costs.

That average hides considerable variations with some clubs making double digit increases and Chelsea making no change at all.

Some fans of champions Manchester United have complained about hefty price increases since the club was taken over by American owners.

For the next campaign a season ticket in the upper east stand will be £665, a 6% increase on last season, but still a lot less than a similar seat at the big London clubs.

The reasons for sharp increases vary, with Sunderland pointing to previous seasons when ticket prices have not risen at all.

A statement from Tottenham Hotspur said: "In order to progress both on and off the pitch, we need to be able to continue to raise our level of investment in the squad and all areas of the club's operations and facilities."

Season tickets at FA Cup winner's Portsmouth are rising by approximately 5 per cent with the club saying that fans have experienced price freezes in previous seasons.

The BBC compared season ticket prices in middle priced stands between the 2007/8 and 2008/9 seasons.

Original here

Most Valuable Player

Greg Gadson, a lieutenant colonel in the Army's Warrior Transition Brigade, is a natural leader-the kind of guy you'd be looking for on the battlefield. He's also the kind of guy Mike Sullivan, wide receivers coach for the New York Giants, thought could make a difference to his losing football team. The two men had gone to West Point together but hadn't been in touch much afterward, until Sullivan walked into Gadson's hospital room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, outside Washington, D.C., last June. Friends had told Sullivan that his former Army football teammate had suffered serious injuries in Iraq-resulting in both of Gadson's legs being amputated above the knee.
"This man had suffered so much," Sullivan recalls, "yet he was so happy to see me." The coach, who brought his old friend a signed Giants jersey with the number 98 on it, watched as Gadson interacted with the other patients and the doctors and nurses, encouraging them all. "To see the impact he had on these people-the look in his eyes and how they responded-was overwhelming and inspirational."

Sullivan couldn't help but be impressed by Gadson's enthusiasm and lack of self-pity. "He was bragging about me and talking about the Giants, and I was like, 'Hell, I want to talk about you. How are you doing?' "

When the Giants were scheduled to play the Redskins in Washington three months later, Sullivan sent his friend tickets-along with a request: Would Gadson speak to the team before they took the field? Having lost the first two games of the season, the Giants had already given up 80 points and, worse, seemed to be playing with no heart. The coach felt that Gadson was the perfect person to tell the players something they needed to hear about commitment, about perseverance, about teamwork. "A lot of the gu

ys were frustrated and searching for answers," Sullivan says. "And I thought, This is someone who knows about pressure and sacrifice when it's life and death, not just a game."

Teamwork was everything to Gadson. He had played football at Indian River High School in the Tidewater region of Virginia and gone on to become a starting linebacker-No. 98-for West Point from 1986 to 1988, despite his relatively slight build of 190 pounds on a 5-foot-11 frame. Following his graduation, Gadson, the son of a hospital pharmacist and a teacher, planned to serve his compulsory five years and get out. But after tours in the Balkans and Afghanistan, he found himself hooked. "Serving my country is important," he says, "but for me it's about being a soldier, being there for each other in the biggest sense of the word. I love being part of that team."

Last May, in Baghdad, Gadson was returning from memorial services for two soldiers from his battalion when a bomb tore apart the truck he was riding in, knocking him clear of the vehicle and leaving him on the side of the road, bleeding and slipping in and out of consciousness. He awoke ten days later at Walter Reed; a week later, after complications, his left leg was amputated, then his right. "I knew what had to be done even before the doctors told me," he says.

The night before the Redskins game, Gadson spoke with no script, from his heart. "You have an obligation not only to your employer but to each other to do your best," he told the Giants. "You're playing for each other. When you find a way to do things greater than you thought you could, something you couldn't do as an individual, a bond is formed that will last forever." He told the team how much it had meant to him when his friends from West Point rallied around him in the hospital, and reminded them how powerful a team really is and how much stronger adversity would make them. "It's not about what happens to you in life," he said. "It's about what you do about it. It's about making the most of all your opportunities because I'm here to tell you, it can end in a flash."

When he finished speaking, the room was silent. "You could hear a pin drop," Sullivan says. And then it erupted in a standing ovation.

"You see a guy go through the things that he has, and he's in such good spirits," says Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. "I've never met somebody like that. I was like, Wow, I have a little ankle injury. I have to go out there and give it my best."

The Giants invited Gadson to watch the game from the sidelines the next day. When Burress scored the winning touchdown, he ran to Gadson and placed the ball in his lap. "All I thought about when I made that touchdown was that I wanted to find him and give him that football," Burress says.

The Giants went on to win their next ten road games. Gadson joined up with the team at the playoffs in Tampa, and again, they won. Later, at the NFC championship game against Green Bay, the honorary co-captain sat on the sidelines in the subzero weather instead of in the heated box seat reserved for him. This time, it was Corey Webster who gave Gadson a football, after intercepting a pass from star Packers quarterback Brett Favre near the end of the game. The Giants won in overtime, 23-20, and the ball wound up becoming a piece of history. It turned out to be the last NFL pass Favre threw; he announced his retirement in March.

The Super Bowl was next, and the team flew Gadson, his wife, Kim, and their two children-Gabriella, 15, and Jaelen, 14-to Phoenix for the game against the New England Patriots, who'd had an undefeated season and were widely favored to win. The night before the contest, Gadson again addressed the players. And for the crowning touch on what became a legendary season, the Giants won, 17-14, their first Super Bowl victory in more than a decade. "He is a powerful man with a powerful spirit," says Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "And that is really what he gave us: the idea that the spirit rises above all these adverse conditions."

Physically, Gadson is making remarkable progress. He spends four hours a day in rehab, learning, among other things, to use prosthetic legs equipped with Bluetooth technology. Computer chips in each leg send signals to motors in Gadson's artificial joints so his knees and ankles move in a coordinated fashion. He is one of only two double amputees to use this technology, which was designed for single amputees. He uses a wheelchair or two canes most of the time but can also walk without support for short distances.

His family helps him remain upbeat. "I take great inspiration from my wife and kids," he says "I don't always feel good, but I owe it to them to keep on trying."

Gadson isn't sure whether his role with the Giants will continue next season. He hasn't been discharged from the military, and his only official duty is to focus on his rehab. The soldier says he'd like to be there when his battalion comes home.

"I'm living the journey right now," Gadson says, reflecting on all that's happened to him in the past year. "I've come a long way, and I still have a long way to go. I don't believe you ever really arrive in life. You live life." And who knows where that will take you? If you are Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, you could go from the battlefields of Iraq all the way to the Super Bowl alongside the New York Giants-in a wheelchair, but never, ever sidelined.

Original here

Dan Osman - Speedclimbing


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Patrick melds sex and athleticism into Danica Inc.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Danica Patrick dragged into the room, her weary eyes hidden behind thick, black sunglasses.

A gaggle of reporters jockeyed for position around her chair, eagerly awaiting the annual State of Danica address. Maybe she would provide an endorsement in the presidential race. Or come up with a solution for those high gas prices. Or let us in on how she maintains a figure that graced the pages of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, muscling into supermodel territory.

If one wanted to talk with pole-sitter Scott Dixon, step right up. It was just as easy getting an audience with past Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Castroneves and Dan Wheldon. More than a few of the 33 starters in Sunday's race sat alone in their chairs, probably wondering why they bothered to show up for their mandated media appearance.

Welcome to the Danica 500.

Much like Tiger Woods in golf or Mike Tyson in his boxing prime, Patrick is a sporting figure who casts a full-time eclipse over her rivals.

It doesn't matter if they win more races, claim more championships or prove themselves more talented. Danica Inc. is an unstoppable force, carrying a still-struggling sport on her 5-foot-2, 100-pound frame, straddling the line between sexuality and athleticism to create a brand that has something for everyone: little girls who dream of becoming racers themselves, moms who see her as a worthy role model, middle-aged men who know of little more than her racy photos.

"She's one of the hottest commodities in the country right now, and not just in motor sports,'' said Marty Reid, who'll call the race for ABC. "Everybody wants to know what's going to happen with her.''

Patrick's first career victory, in Japan last month, ratcheted up the hype even more. She's more than just a pretty face. She's also a pretty good driver.

"I didn't want her to become someone like Anna Kournikova,'' said Wheldon, referring to the retired tennis player who dominated the Internet with her stunning looks but never won a tournament. "I like that about Danica. She was able to go out there and drive to a win.''

Not that Patrick has ever shied away from showing her off-the-track attributes. Before she even made it to IndyCar, she posed in a men's magazine wearing little more than a bra and panties. She gained more exposure (so to speak) by donning a little white bikini for SI's swimsuit issue. She also did a highly provocative ad that was teased during this year's Super Bowl broadcast but only appeared in full on the Internet.

The 26-year-old Patrick doesn't worry about offending, and it's hard to argue with all the fame and fortune it has brought her.

"She is, by a big chunk, the highest-earning driver in Indy cars. By a big chunk,'' said racer-turned-broadcaster Eddie Cheever. "Do you think she's wrong for doing all that? I don't. Good for her.''

Just look where Patrick is in relation to another of the three women who will take the green flag Sunday.

Sarah Fisher was poised to be the first big female star in racing when she came along while still in her teens. But she's always driven for weaker teams and had to scrape together her own operation for this year's 500, finally landing a sponsor just three days before the race.

"At least I'm not going to have to live in a box,'' Fisher lamented. "I shouldn't lose my house over this.''

Why did Patrick become a pitchman's dream and land a ride with Andretti Green Racing, one of IndyCar's strongest teams, while Fisher struggled just to find enough money to race?

There are obvious differences in their backgrounds. Most notably, Patrick landed a financial backer in her teens, allowing her to go off to Europe for a career-boosting apprenticeship. She's clearly a more versatile driver than Fisher, who came up through the U.S. sprint car ranks with little road racing experience.

There are other contrasts, as well. Long before Danica mania, Fisher was selling herself as a wholesome Midwesterner, aligning herself with the Girl Scouts and reading books to schoolchildren. Contrast that with Patrick, perched provocatively over the grill of a car while wearing red leather boots - and little else.

Here's a news flash: Sex sells.

"We have different brands,'' Fisher said. "My brand is not as publicized as the other brand. I wanted to do girl-next-door type of stuff. But, if she's comfortable with it, that's her brand.''

Patrick makes no apologies for, at the very least, stretching the boundaries of good taste.

"Oh, no, I've never done anything I didn't feel very good about,'' she said. "Those things that push the limit a little bit more, those are things we talk about, as a group, as a family, as a business. But I don't ever do anything I'm uncomfortable with.

"I love doing stuff outside the car that gets across my femininity, that makes women look beautiful,'' Patrick continued. "To me, that's fun. I'm a very feminine person. I remember when I was a kid. Me, my sister and another girl would play, like, beauty shop. I guess that's what we called it. We would do each other's hair and makeup and take pictures. That's pretty much a photo shoot. I enjoyed doing that even when I wasn't getting anything out of it but a wad of pictures afterward.''

She's getting a lot more these days. Although IndyCar is on the upswing after merging with a rival series, there are still plenty of cars longing for stable sponsorship. Not Patrick, whose blue-and-black car is covered in advertising.

"All this stuff enhances the Danica brand,'' she said, sounding very much like a marketing professor. "Sure, it doesn't appeal to everyone. That's fine. But authenticity is the most important thing.''

Authentic is a rather odd word choice. Surely no one believes Patrick normally goes to the beach with her racing gear (she took along her helmet, firesuit and gloves to the SI bikini shoot). But perhaps she's referring to her willingness to do just about anything to enhance the Danica brand. She is authentic in her passion for that pursuit.

Just ask Bobby Rahal, who took a chance on Patrick in 2005. After only one season with the second-tier team, she bolted for a better deal with Andretti Green, one of the series' most successful, well-funded operations.

"She's ruthless,'' Cheever said, his tone reflecting admiration more than condemnation. "She left the team that brought her here. That was a big thing because she went to a team with better equipment.''

As for her driving skills, everyone concedes Patrick has improved steadily during her four years in the IndyCar series, though it's clear she'll never win everyone over. Some columnists and bloggers quickly seized on the fact that her victory in Japan was largely due to fuel strategy, though they blatantly failed to credit her for nursing better mileage out of her car in the waning laps.

Teammate Tony Kanaan said Patrick was eager to learn when she got to Andretti Green.

"She got the help she needed instead of just putting her in the car and letting her drive,'' Kanaan said. "I personally helped her with some things. She has talent, there's no doubt about it. It's just a matter of experience. She would be setting up the car in a way she thought was right. But I would say to her, 'Why don't you look at it this other way?'''

Look what happened at Indy. Patrick qualified fifth, putting her in the middle of the second row - ahead of her three teammates. Kanaan will start sixth, Marco Andretti seventh and Hideki Mutoh ninth.

"When you're on a team, the first thing they do is measure you against your teammates,'' Cheever said. "I'd say she's doing pretty good.''

She's doing pretty good outside the car, as well.

Although the hoopla that accompanied her fourth-place finish as a rookie was a bit overwhelming, Patrick was ready for it this year.

She knew she'd be the center of attention after her victory in Japan, and she's done everything she can to capitalize. If that means getting up at the crack of dawn to labor through two hours of TV interviews, patiently answering the same questions over and over again, bring it on.

"For me, it's an opportunity you just can't pass up,'' Patrick said. "Of course, we do say no a lot. I can't do everything. But you do have to do a lot of stuff for yourself and your brand, and also for your sponsors. I've been fortunate to be exposed to this side of things since I was 13 or 14 years old. This isn't weird to me. It is not nerve-racking.''

It does leave her drained at times, which explains why Patrick is a bit of a homebody when she does come across those rare moments that are all hers. But she's not about to pass up a chance to expose another potential fan - a.k.a another potential customer - to Danica Inc.

Just don't try to trip her up with a query about politics, or ask her to take a stand on some explosive social issue. Taking a cue from Woods, Patrick has decided it's best to shy away from subjects that might offend someone in her fan base.

"I have my own personal thoughts on some things. Some stuff, I don't really follow,'' she said. "I don't think there's any advantage whatsoever to talking about politics unless you feel so strongly about it and want to support it. Otherwise, you're just going to alienate a certain group of people.''

So, while Fisher was endorsing Hillary Clinton before the recent Indiana primary, Patrick had other things on her agenda.

"I didn't follow politics ever,'' she conceded. "It was the only class in school I really almost didn't pass, the government side of things. I don't understand the branches and whatever. I was never interested in it. I do think I'm more interested now because the candidates are doing things for the younger generation, like going on 'Saturday Night Live' and stuff.''

Patrick's fellow drivers have accepted she's always going to be the star of the show. They got their first sampling of it in '05, when she gobbled up the headlines even though someone else crossed the line first. (Quick, name the winner that year. Give up? It was Wheldon.)

"I really disagreed with it the first year,'' Kanaan said. "She finished fourth and got all the attention instead of Dan. Come on, he won the 500 from the 16th starting position.''

No one's complaining now, at least not publicly. Just as Woods has made everyone on the PGA Tour a bit richer, Patrick is doing the same thing for IndyCar.

"Her popularity has helped to grow the sport,'' Wheldon said. "We would not be as strong without her.''

Lady, start your engine.

You'll have 32 others along for the ride.

Original here

Look out golf, tech CEOs are adrenaline junkies

By Franklin Paul

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Golf and tennis not challenging enough? Some of today's hardest-charging technology executives are turning to 100-mile bike races, marathons and high-endurance athletics for the kicks they crave.

The day-to-day thirst for success doesn't end when CEOs and other business leaders leave the boardrooms of their billion-dollar companies, according to guests at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit this week.

"It is usually not a six- or seven-hour day, so part of it is you probably want something to keep you mentally and physically in shape," said Enrique Salem, chief operating officer of software maker Symantec Corp. "You want to do something that is challenging, that isn't about running a business."

Salem owns a Giant TCR C1 bike, which retails for over $3,000, and last year completed a charity ride around California's Lake Tahoe twice -- the second time in under 4 hours. His sojourns don't stop there.

"I skied 19 days last year. When I'm on the slopes, I'm trying to avoid trees and other skiers. So I am not thinking about what it takes to run Symantec. I think it's a bit of mental relief," he said.

Long-distance running offers the same meditative reward for Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar, whose five marathons include Iceland, Portland, Seattle and New York, twice.

"I love setting goals," said the head of the video website owned by News Corp and General Electric Co's NBC Universal. "Life is more interesting when you set goals that are not easy, and having a goal of a marathon ... is a very fun thing that focuses you in a way that just running 3 miles or 6 miles a day does not," Kilar added.

They are not alone. In fact, Denver-based CEO Challenges runs sports competitions designed for top executives, including Triathlons, Ironman, Fishing, Sailing and Tennis Challenges.

HOUR CLUB

Dave DeWalt, CEO of security software maker McAfee Inc, described his goal for the grueling Mount Diablo Challenge, a 10.8-mile bike ride up 3,240-feet to the peak in the San Francisco Bay area.

"There is a race from the bottom to the top," said DeWalt, who also wrestled in college and had been invited to Olympic trials. "I can only compete in the over 200-pound class because there are some really fast riders. But there is the "hour club" -- if you can do it in one hour or less, there is a special club. I can't quite crack it yet but I am working on it."

To be sure, golf courses, tennis courts and myriad other sports -- beloved by leaders of all stripes -- won't go out of business any time soon.

For example, the crop of presidential hopeful has diverse taste in athletics. Sen. Hilary Clinton owns her own bowling ball, Sen. Barack Obama loves basketball, and Sen. John McCain likes to hike around the hills of his Sedona, Arizona, ranch.

Some business leaders aspire to adrenaline-driven jaunts, but are willing to leave the serious challenges to more adventurous peers."

"I don't have a lot of athletic bones in my body. I wish I had more," said AT&T Inc Chief Financial Officer Rick Lindner. "We've got (two) boats ... that we keep on Lake Travis. I will still jump on the water skis from time to time."

"Once or twice a year when conditions are perfect, the sun is shining, it's 90 degrees, the water is smooth. I get up, do a circle, come around and have a beer and say, "By God, I can still do it.""

(For more on the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summits see

(Editing by Gary Hill)

Original here

Friday, May 23, 2008

When Bodybuilding and Steroids Go Too Far

Right or more often the case wrong, athletes have been taking anabolic steroids since the early 1960’s. Many competitive bodybuilders go to excess in taking steroids in order to compete citing that ‘extreme sports require extreme measures,’ using a plethora of various forms for different effects — one might increase muscle hardness while another will improve mass, strength or endurance — thus becoming human walking chemistry sets.

Synthetic anabolic steroids are potent medications designed to mimic the function of testosterone which can even perform better at promoting muscle growth than equivalent levels of testosterone.

Often coined as being juiced or juiced up amongst those who use the drugs, some say “steroids are as American as Apple Pie.”

Hazards of Steroids for Men and Women
While it’s not as common to suffer critical or life-threatening effects, steroids are far from safe, causing potentially harmful side-effects with some being irreversible.

Both genders can experience increased acne on the face, chest and back.

Depending on the drug, anabolic steroids can cause a person’s behavior can change with increased aggression and irritability. Some of this aggression has caused people to commit armed robbery, use force to obtain something, and physical fighting. This would not happen to a naturally calm person but someone who is naturally aggressive would become more aggressive by taking steroids.

Body Builder

Anabolic steroids have also been known to cause behavioral effects including euphoria, increased energy, sexual arousal, mood swings, distractibility, forgetfulness, and confusion.

Bad side-effects on blood pressure and the cardiovascular system can cause heart attacks, enlargement of the heart’s left ventricle and people younger than 30 to develop Cardiovascular disease.

Blood chemistry can change causing blood clots in the blood vessels and potentially disrupt the blood flow, damaging the heart muscle so it doesn’t pump blood effectively. Heart disease can develop because it affects the cholesterol levels — over a period of time the cholesterol builds up and clogs the arteries. Steroids affect the heart only if you have a heart disease to begin with, so it’s very wise to stay away from them if you have a heart problem.

Anabolic steroids are especially dangerous for teenagers, interfering with the normal effect of hormones on a growing body, and premature development of the epiphysis — the end of the bone — resulting in stunted growth.

Tom Platz. fitFLEX

Tom Platz. fitFLEX

Officer Ronnie Coleman. Body Building Universe

Steroids can be taken orally, by injection, with gels, patches and nasal sprays. For the squeamish afraid of needles, it’s not possible to get a doctor to inject you since steroids are illegal, so some resort to the oral method which has the greatest number of side effects.

They have to pass through the digestive system and the liver in order to get into the bloodstream, so they’re designed to survive the process, and require large amounts to ensure that there’s enough left afterwards to have an effect.

The liver’s job is to remove such substances from the body which puts a great deal of strain on the liver and can result in significant liver damage and tumors which in turn can cause internal bleeding.

Some oral steroids can cause stomach distention — the lower abdomen becomes irritated and swollen, you can experience chronic constipation, water retention, and intestinal gas — the latter of which is not pretty if you want to keep your friends.

Franco Columbu. IFBB Pro


Nasser El-Sonbaty. Inside Bodybuilding
Nasser El-Sonbaty Photo Grizzly Boots

Taken in high doses, steroids can also develop jaundice, peliosis hepatitis, and cancer.

Injected steroids are put directly into the blood stream, making them far easier on your liver, but there is much concern over safe injection practices.

Depression is further aggravated if and when steroid use stops with rebound causing extreme depression, fatigue, apathy, and the likes.

Dorian Yates. Photo Muscle-Pro

Dorian Yates. Muscle-Pro


Steroid Hazards for Men
Men can experience a short-term increase in the sex drive, followed by a suppression of natural testosterone output and potential shrinkage of the testes.

They can lower sperm count thus making men infertile, as well as develop gynecomastia — deposits of estrogen in the area of the nipple which can also grow breasts.

Steroid Hazards for Women
A very dangerous irreversible side-effect for women is masculinization due to the effects of testosterone and androsterone, including deepening of the voice, menstrual irregularities, development of facial and back hair, clitoral enlargement and even male-pattern baldness.

Kim Chizevsky. Doctissimo.fr

Kim Chizevsky. Doctissimo.fr

Kim Chizevsky. IFBB Pro

As one man reported to BodyBuilding of his former 3-year relationship with a woman who used steroids, “After my girlfriend made her decision to juice it up, with me as an up-close personal witness to all of her transformations during this time, it changed my mind about women on the juice forever. I saw her go from a hot hard body to a bloated, mental mess.” says Josh.

“My girlfriends’ skin became course and dry; a lot of her hair fell out while it grew on her face, her chest, and down her butt; her voice dropped three octaves; her nose grew; her jaw widened; she got spaces between her teeth; she got acne all over her chest, across her shoulders, and down her back, and she stopped having her period.”

Rampant hair growth is an irreversible side-effect, sprouting up on the chin, chest, around the nipples, and the buttocks — particularly the lower inner glutes and around the anus.

Bodybuilder Bev Francis 17

Bev Francis. IFBB Pro


Bodybuilder Bev Francis 25

Bev Francis. IFBB Pro

Bodybuilder Melissa Dettwiller 23

Melissa Dettwiller. BodyBuilder

“The first thing you’ll notice if you take up with a juiced chick is her heightened level of aggression. When a woman’s aggression is initiated by testosterone, the result can sometimes get ugly.”

In another irreversible side effect of clitoral enlargement from androgen use, he saw his girlfriend’s grow to be 2 inches long and as big around as his small finger. When a woman in this condition becomes aroused, her clitoris becomes erect and sticks out just like a man’s penis, complete with a little head and all.

While the condition isn’t harmful, many women get vaginal discharge, but it will cease once the drugs are stopped.

Another bothersome yet temporary condition for the juiced up woman is the increase of body odor. Josh recalls lying in bed nestled in each other’s arms after some particularly torrid sex that made him wonder if he was sharing the bed with an entire soccer team after a world championship.


Bodybuilder Mustafa Mohammed 24

Mustafa Mohammed. Body Builder


Bodybuilder Mohammed Mustafa 22

Mátra Kupa 2003 Mohammed Mustafa. BodyBuilder


Bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman 21

Mr. Olympia 2003 Ronnie Coleman. BodyBuilder

The Wrap-up on Steroids
Unlike training for other sports, the goal in bodybuilding is to achieve a certain appearance. For competitive bodybuilders, strength itself is not as important as size, symmetry and definition.

Steroids do give the advantage over other athletes as it helps to train with a higher intensity and for longer periods, and can speed up recovery time for the stress on the muscles.

A popular way to take steroids is by cycling, starting the dosage at very small amounts and increasing the dosage weekly, then decreasing it over a 6 to12 week period. Bodybuilders then train without the drugs for 4 weeks and repeat the cycle all over again.

Perhaps the worst mistake most steroid users make is to become steroid abusers. It’s very common to overuse steroids which results in a wide range of health problems, some of which you will be living with for life.

It’s critical when considering taking steroids to do as much research as possible.

Original here





EURO 2008: Raul and Trezeguet among the absent stars at Euro 2008

The prelude to just about every major soccer tournament focuses on who was left off a certain team more than who was included.

At next month's tournament in Austria and Switzerland, there will again be several top players missing, including Raul Gonzalez and David Trezeguet.

Although Raul, Spain's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals in 102 appearances, has never won a major international title, Trezeguet scored the Golden Goal that gave France the Euro 2000 title.

"It's an organizational choice," France coach Raymond Domenech said of Trezeguet after announcing his squad.

If club soccer is any gauge, both Raul and Trezeguet would be assured of places in their teams. Raul scored 18 goals and helped Real Madrid win its record 31st Spanish league title, and Trezeguet scored 20 goals for Juventus.

"I look at players, not if their clubs are first, second or third in the standings," Spain coach Luis Aragones said of his selection process. "There are other players who, in terms of the minutes they have played, have scored more goals and they're not going either."

Raul last played for Spain in a 3-2 qualifying loss at Northern Ireland in September 2006. Trezeguet, who has scored 34 goals for France, has been replaced by more athletic players such as Djibril Cisse and Bafetimbi Gomis.

Two years ago in the World Cup final, Trezeguet missed France's opening penalty kick in the shootout loss to Italy.

Other big-name players missing for the tournament include Italy forward Filippo Inzaghi, Czech Republic midfielder Pavel Nedved, Portugal midfielder Maniche, Turkey forward Hakan Sukur and Netherlands midfielder Clarence Seedorf.

The 34-year-old Inzaghi scored 11 goals in the Italian league this season, and has scored 25 in 57 appearances for Italy.

"The choice doesn't have to do with his age," Italy coach Roberto Donadoni said. "It was exclusively a technical choice."

Nedved played on the Czech Republic team that reached the 1996 final, but he refused an offer from coach Karel Bruckner to return for this event. The 35-year-old Nedved retired from the national team after the 2006 World Cup.

Seedorf, who has scored 11 goals in 87 appearances for the Netherlands, ruled himself out of the tournament and criticized coach Marco van Basten for not giving him room to fulfill his potential.

"Since my return to the national team, the right conditions have not been created to let me perform at my best and to effectively excel as the team member I always strive to be," the 32-year-old Seedorf said. "We have seen from the past that some negative issues with the national team and players are recurring."

The 30-year-old Maniche played a central role in Portugal's run to the Euro 2004 final and the 2006 World Cup semifinals. However, he has mostly been on the bench at Italian champion Inter Milan since moving from Spain four months ago.

Sukur is Turkey's all-time leading scorer with 51 goals, but coach Fatih Terim left the 37-year-old midfielder off the team despite helping the country in the qualifying tournament.

But that's just another example that playing well and helping your team doesn't come with any guarantees.

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NASCAR 101: How to Mullet Hunt and Survive

Since May of 2003, I have made the annual Memorial Day weekend trip home from college with my buddies to visit the Coca Cola 600. Admittedly, I am a redneck from the hills of Aquadale, North Carolina, a community with no stoplights, no post office, one store, and a larger population of billy goats than people. My first NASCAR experience was with my Uncle Peewee in 1998 (the same uncle who refused to wear tuxedo pants in my cousin’s wedding, then threatened to ‘haunt our asses’ if we buried him in anything besides Wranglers). Anyways, I currently work in the big city, but I love sharing tips and information to my northern brethren about how to survive in the South. It’s more than learning to love grits, sweet tea, or how to whistle the Andy Griffith theme song . . . trust me.

If you want to put your Southern skills to the test, go to a NASCAR race. To make it more interesting, I am challenging you to a game that is 5 years in the making: NASCAR mullet hunting.

Taking pictures of mullets is more dangerous than you think. Southern folk do not like to have their pictures taken. Don’t ask me why, but every Christmas my Grand Ma “Grady” sits in the kitchen eating a cheese ball to avoid the camera. In the sport of mullet hunting, you will be pointing the camera right in their direction. To make things worse, alcohol will be heavily involved. On top of that the temperature will be a scorching 90 degrees and your prey will be on the verge of 3rd degree sunburns. So if you think that blatantly taking a picture of a drunken, sunburned mullet bearer in your new Gucci wear is a good idea . . . think again my friend. Please join me as I take you through 4 vital steps to practicing and surviving the sport of NASCAR mullet hunting.

DRESS THE PART

The first step to fitting in at a NASCAR event is to actually look like you belong at the race. This is a tricky situation, because you can either look like a dumbass not wearing enough of the right clothing, or like a Yankee that tried too hard. You do not want to be on either end in this situation. Here are a few pointers for both men and women so you do not stick out like a sore thumb during the race.

What Men Should Wear

FOR MEN: There are only two options for your shirt, if you opt to even wear one at all. If you choose to go shirtless, be sure to have your friends mark you with either a) a tribal tattoo intersecting a skull or b) a Dale Earnhardt Jr. tattoo proudly displaying the number 8 (he changed his number to 88 this season). Both will be conversation starters and you will be sure to see many more tattoos just like yours while trolling for the backyard follicle surprise. EXCEPTION: If you have six pack other than beer resting on your stomach, keep the shirt on. The presence of abs will evoke taunting and it will be obvious that a) you are from the city or b) you don’t drink enough beer. If you opt to wear the shirt, your two options are either a driver shirt or a flannel shirt, both sleeveless. While picking your driver shirt you have to be ultra selective. Remember, the driver you choose to sport exceedingly represents your morals and personality. If you sport the Jimmy Johnson or Jeff Gordon in North Carolina, it is assumed you are either from California or don’t know anything about racing. Do your research and choose wisely, but the safe bets are always the Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, or old schooled driver shirts you can find at your local thrift shop. If you can’t find a driver shirt, the just chop off the sleeves of a flannel and leave it buttoned up half way. For your pants, it’s either jorts or jeans . . . the decision is up to you, but both work.

So Race Hott

FOR WOMEN: Women, NASCAR races are your chance to metaphorically experience the Paris runway. To know you are beautiful and being watched all at the same time is a great feeling. During our initial race in 2003, we noticed a peculiar phenomenon occurring at the time. It made absolutely no sense at all, but at the same time we liked it. Women at the race were wearing outfits that would be deemed illegal in 27 of the 50 states in America. Normal society would turn their heads at the women wearing these outfits . . . because it didn’t matter if they were 105 lbs or 280 lbs, the dress was all the same and it was beautiful. Thus, we coined the term “race hott”. The general definition is: a woman who would be deemed unacceptable in regular society due to her figure or scantily clad clothing is deemed hott while inside the confinements of NASCAR. That’s right, no matter what you wear, if you are showing skin you will always be “race hott” in the eyes of men at the race. So women, you can wear whatever you would like, because at the race the world is yours if a little belly is showing below your tube top.

LIVE THE PART

By living the part, I mean setting up your campgrounds or tailgating area. This is absolutely essential to the sport of mullet hunting, because the slightest error in your pre-race routine can easily blow your true intentions of capturing the best mullets on film. Your camp ground should not contain any of the following: foreign made cars, foreign made beers, a radio blasting the Indy 500 happening earlier that day, tofu, a reference to any college besides a southeastern college, a soccer ball, Frisbee, or any music that sounds like THIS. (Trust me, the music will explain EVERYTHING for you). Instead, try driving a Ford, drinking Bud-heavy, playing the entire 2007 Coca-Cola 600 via cassette on the radio, eating an entire rack of ribs, sporting a UNC or USC college sticker, throwing the football, and listening to Hank Williams Jr. Also, any provocative signs that you can include at your campsite will only heighten your chances of success in fitting into the redneck realm (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the banner in the picture below . . . CLASSY). If you can sit in your site by your cooler with the utmost confidence in your proper clothing, then you’re half way there!

How to Camp

ACT THE PART

Looking and living like a Southerner will get you about as far as a frog in the mud if you don’t know how to properly act. Don’t worry about perfecting a Southern accent because it’s not going to happen overnight and the harder you try, the less you will fit in. Instead, if someone asks you where you are from, simply tell him or her you were raised in (make up a weird name and put ‘Pond’ on the end of it, North Carolina) and that you moved to Raleigh. Through process of reasoning, they will assume your accent disappeared among the city folk, and there’s nothing wrong with that. After your accent has been explained and accepted, attempt to avoid conversations dealing with NASCAR if you have no idea what you are talking about. If you are pulled into one, always say “as long as Gordon doesn’t win” and change topics. For instance:

Man: “The track is recorded at 101 degrees today, they might have some trouble with the tires once the sun sets and it starts to cool off. I hope Martin’s crew members are ready for it”.
You: “As long as Gordon doesn’t win . . .” - It will work every time.

Also, always have a beer in your hand with proper coozie applied. The coozie should be NASCAR relevant, camouflage, or have a reference to beer and no colorful crap. There is no sunshine and rainbows involved in drinking beer; it’s a serious job at the race and your coozie has an essential task. Finally, wave and talk to anyone that acknowledges your existence. This might be hard for people that have experienced the callous nature of the city, but at the race everyone is your friend . . . especially the royalty that boasts backs of necks that have never been blistered by the sun.

THE ART OF MULLET HUNTING

If you have followed the instructions outlined above, then you are well seasoned and ready for the ultimate hunt. There are three rules we always abide by while mullet hunting that you must always keep in mind or your trophy picture will be disqualified.

1. ALWAYS respect the mullet. These men have spent the majority of their lives grooming and tailoring a business in the front, party in the back lifestyle. They are stronger individuals than you, and much more self confident in their appearance. If you can’t sport the hairdo, then respect the men that can.
2. If you are caught taking the picture and can’t lie your way out, then always delete the picture. Save the violence for defending your driver in the grand stands or seeking vengeance for your spilt beer.
3. No taking pictures of kids with mullets. Why? Because dawning a mullet is a life decision and conscious effort that reflects your personality and lifestyle. A mullet isn’t great unless it has been entwined into someone’s life . . . or your skull like Joe Dirt.

The Point System

The mullet hunting point system is rather simple. The location of the picture itself is the first criteria for gaining points.

A mullet from the back acquires one (1) point: There is no skill involved in capturing the mullet from the back. Sure, it shows the style in all its glory, but no guts no glory in this sport.

A mullet from the side acquires two (2) points: I call this style the “Bigfoot” pose. I have found the best way to capture a mullet from the side is by yelling “Boobs” at the top of my lungs. The specimen will begin a prairie dog-like sequence of looking back and forth. The photo opportunities here are endless.

A mullet from the front acquires three (3) points: Only the serious mullet hunters go for this method of photography. There are no secrets or special skills involved in this, you just have to have the guts and ability to capture a mullet from the front.

For each of the following items, add one (1) point: Any woman considered “race hott”, if the man is shirtless, if there is a beer in the picture, if there is a race related tattoo, if there is a tribal tattoo, or if there is a visible “farmers” tan line.

Add two (2) points: If you can include yourself, or another friend in the picture with the mullet.

Add three (3) points: If you are actually touching the mullet in the picture. I have never been able to pull this off, but I am certain there are some natural mullet hunters out there that can.

At the end of the day, view and tally the points for every picture. Your grand total will be the sum of all pictures taken at the race.

CONCLUSION

I love the South, I always have and I always will. For those of you that have never been to a race, or do not think it will fun, this is your answer. For five years I have racked up a total of 1,880 points at a total of five races . . . and I have never placed higher than third. The mullets are there, you just have to go out and find them. There is magic in the air at these races, you just have to ignore the human gases and funnel cake fumes. I look forward to seeing this sport grow as an integral part of the NASCAR pre game ritual.

EDITOR’S NOTE:
Before you call me “spoiled” or “looking down upon these people”, think again. I love my Stanly County home (yes, this is the birthplace of Kellie Pickler . . . she’s even my age) and would like nothing more than to be back there some day. I grew up for the first 8 years of my life with a mullet, before switching to a rat tail for 2 years, then sticking with a bowl cut for three. My baby pictures are even mulletrific. My hair has partied with the best, but fortunately my brain told me it was time to switch to only business. Plus I think it’s against the code of conduct at UNC. Below is a picture that closely resembles the aesthetic beauty my mother instilled at the back of my neck as a youngster:

Here are a few of the mullet pictures taken over the years: