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Saturday Night Live’s Seth Myers tackled the whole Michael Phelps smoking a bong scandal on his “Really!?!” segment yesterday. And he hit the nail right on the head. Bravo Seth, bravo.

The Billy Ripken 1989 Fleer "Fuck Face" baseball cardIt’s an iconic image in the baseball card world, and one of the most well-known cards outside it. It’s quite possibly the only area where Bill Ripken’s fame actually outshines his brother Cal’s. And until recently the story behind it was something of a mystery. Well, almost 20 years after he made “Fuck Face” a household term among teenage boys, Billy Ripken reveals how that phrase got on his 1989 Fleer baseball card.

Turns out it was a simple mistake. Ripken got a shipment of bats from Louisville Slugger that he wasn’t happy with. Rather than waste the whole batch he decided to use one of them for batting practice. To tell it apart from his game bats he wrote “Fuck Face” on it. Then one fateful day in Fenway Park, during batting practice, Fleer’s photographer asked to take his picture. Not thinking twice about it he grabbed his bat and posed. Amazingly the photographer didn’t see the writing. Neither did whoever developed the photo. Nor did anyone at Fleer, or the printing plant. So the card made its way into normal packs of 89 Fleer cards.

Once they hit store the shit hit the fan. What should have been an eminently forgettable card instead became hot commodity and a lighting rod of criticism. Instead of just admitting it was a mistake Ripken blamed his teammates. He told the Baltimore Sun’s Tim Kurkjian (now one of ESPN’s top baseball reporters) “It appears I was targeted (by teammates). I know I’m kind of a jerk at times. I know I’m a little off. But this is going too far.” That’s pretty low if you ask me.

But Ripken’s admitting to the mistake know, which is commendable. And he’s apparently got a sense of humor about the whole thing. He got copies of the cards from Fleer, signed them, and gave them out to his groomsmen.

The Boss Will Play The Super Bowl

Bruce Springsteen
Well, it’s not Aerosmith with ‘N Sync, but I guess it’s not too bad: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play the halftime show of Super Bowl XLIII. Bruce joins Tom Petty (2008), Prince (2007), The Rolling Stones (2006), and Paul McCartney (2005) in the procession of “Male Performers Who are Old Enough to Know How to Keep Their Clothes On”, after Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004.

All kidding aside, Bruce kicks ass, so this is a good thing. Time for a poll:

[poll id="11"]

RIP – Paul Newman

Paul Newman as Cool Hand Luke
Actor, race car driver, and food pioneer Paul Newman died Friday at his home in Connecticut. He was 83. Newman starred in such classic movies as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, and The Hustler, but it was his role as Luke Jackson in Cool Hand Luke that cemented his legacy for me. Newman’s Luke is a pop culture icon, standing as the acme of stoicism, the ne plus ultra of manhood, and the epitome of cool.

Here he is singing “Plastic Jesus” in Cool Hand Luke, after learning of his mother’s death:

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Charles Barkley Pulls a Ron Burgandy

Just like Ron Burgandy in Anchorman, Charles Barkley will read anything you put on a teleprompter.  His co-host knows this, and hilarity ensues:

That’s tuuurrible.

Whoo Hoo! Bryant Gumbel Got Fired!

Bryant Gumbel is the worst football play-by-play announcer ever

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

Bryant Gumbel, the worst football play-by-play announcer EVER has been fired by NFL Network.

What made him so bad?  Watch this:

Notice how he screwed up the sponser of the postgame show AND he called Tony Romo “Rick”.  Adios Bryant.  You won’t be missed.

RIP Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel
Evel Knievel, the only daredevil to transcend sideshow spectacle and penetrate the national consciousness, has died at age 69. Probably best know for his spectacular successes and failure on Wide World of Sports, Knievel never failed to entertain. Check out some of his best and worst performances:

The Funniest Teammates in College Football

WVU Teammates Dingle and Berry
I’m so happy this is WVU…

Bill Walsh
Former San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh died of Leukemia today at age 75. In addition to leading the 49ers to three Super Bowl victories in the 90s Walsh is arguably the most influential modern football coach. He is credited with popularizing the West Coast offense and many of his assistant coaches have gone on to be head coaches in their own right. (click on the chart below for details).

Bill Walsh Coaching Tree

Walsh will be missed, but his legacy will be felt in the NFL for decades to come.

ESPN has more details here.

Mark CubanIs Mark Cuban, the multi-bazillionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, HDnET, and Landmark Theaters going to buy my beloved Chicago Cubs? Apparently he submitted paperwork to MLB to throw his name (and considerable bankroll) into the ring. How would I feel about the always outspoken Cuban owning the Cubs? After all, he’s rankled other NBA owners and commissioner David Stern. So how would I feel?

In a word? Fantastic. Cuban has proven two things while he’s owned the Mavericks: he’s committed to fielding a championship caliber team every year and he’ll do so while providing maximum entertainment to his fans. Who wouldn’t love your favorite team being run by someone like that?

Alas, Cuban’s not the only bidder. ESPN.com runs down the other potential suitors.

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