In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
With a silver medal in the 200-meter butterfly and a gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay, Michael Phelps now owns 19 Olympic medals, surpassing Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina for the most medals of all time. When reached for comment via telephone, the 77-year-old Latynina couldn't be heard over my loud shouts of, "COLD WAR OVER! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
American swimmer Allison Schmitt won her third medal in London, and her first-ever gold, with a dominant, Olympic record performance in the 200-meter freestyle. She then enjoyed an awkward hot tub bath with a naked Kathy Bates. Hold on … am I thinking of Allison Schmitt, or the movie About Schmidt? It's definitely one or the other …
Here are the most compelling matchups, stories, and personalities in Major League Baseball for the coming weekend.
10. Zack Greinke's Chance for a Classic F-You Game (Saturday, MIL-HOU)
Let me make my case for Zack Greinke as an All-Star. Bear with me, because I'm going to use a revolutionary stat-comparison technique, where I take certain key stats of Greinke's and match them up against the rest of Major League Baseball. So, compared to every other qualified pitcher in the game, Greinke is: Second in FIP. Second in WAR. Hell, how about we just stop there? By two of the most reliable overall pitching metrics, he's the second best pitcher in baseball. Good enough, right? No? Does the All-Star Game just have one pitcher now? They're only inviting Justin Verlander? Ah, you need more convincing? OK: Ninth in HR/FB rate. Third-lowest HR/9 rate. Top 20 walk rate. Top 20 strikeout rate. Top 20 fastball, top 10 two-seam fastball, enough.
As we near the halfway point of the baseball season, only someone with Grays Sports Almanac in their back pocket could have foreseen what's happened to Pennsylvania's two major league teams: The Phillies' half-decade run of dominance is on the verge of collapse, while the Pirates are in the thick of a playoff hunt.
We'll take a closer look at the Phillies, what went wrong, and what they might do as the trade deadline approaches. For now, your 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates, in Five Easy Pieces:
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
Jeremy Lin had 28 points and 14 assists, and his teammate Steve Novak scored 14 fourth-quarter points as the Knicks beat the defending champion Dallas Mavericks 104-97. Hey-oh, looks like we need to hand out some Novak-olades, am I right?! Come on, let's spread it around! Novak-olades! The next big thing. It's going to be great, we just have to get Novak-climated! Wait, where's everyone going? Are we Novak-uating? Mom? Dad?
Kobe Bryant ripped Lakers management for the way they've handled the potential Pau Gasol trade, saying: "If they're going to do something, I wish they would just (expletive) do it." Bryant added that he felt the same way about war with China. "Let's get it on!" he shouted crazily.
After rooting vigorously for A.J. Burnett to fail Saturday so that he might be removed from the rotation for the Greater Yankee Good, I watched it happen in technicolor. The villain of my imagination fared even worse than I could have hoped — 1 2/3 innings, five hits, three walks, two wild pitches, seven earned runs. The Yankees persisted, but the 7-0 deficit was far too much to overcome.
Look, I'm all about Machiavelli. I think he's got a lot of great ideas. Or at least one pretty good idea. I had to read The Prince in college, and the only part I remember is how the "ends justify the means." (That, plus the unforgettable helicopter fight scene.) As a human being with a steady compulsion to do bad things, I've found that philosophy very convenient.