Barry Zito's got nothing on Paul Maholm

Barry Zito's got nothing on Paul Maholm
April 4, 2013, 7:00 pm
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Is Barry Zito capable of one-upping Paul Maholm with a 57 mph curveball in the Giants' home opener? (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Ed Rush, we knew you well. You had a long and largely distinguished NBA career, and you took on the valuable task of changing Pacific 12 Conference officiating standards. But comedy is hard, so comedians have said, and bombing is a transformative event for any performer.

In other words, boom.

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Barry Zito’s lawyers are reaching out to the Atlanta Braves after learning that lefthander Paul Maholm struck out Chase Utley on a 58-mph curve ball in the fifth inning of Atlanta’s 9-2 win over Philadelphia. Yes, 58. Five-eight. He took 15 miles an hour off his normal curve ball. Yes, 15. One-five.

Zito doesn’t stand a chance here, but game on anyway.

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When Neither Winning Nor Losing Will Help: The running logic of whom the Warriors would least like to face in the first round of the playoffs took a bizarre turn when Denver lost Danilo Gallinari to a crumpled knee. The Los Angeles Clippers, against whom the Warriors have had the most success, are apparently more interested in bickering than reasserting themselves, and Memphis is just plain weird.

In short, here’s what Warrior fans need to root for in the final several games: Not letting Houston finish sixth. Whatever happens beyond that is essentially unfathomable. Which is just the way Mark Jackson and his rearview mirror like it. 

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If you got excited for the release of the NFL practice game schedule, seek help. Immediately. No, right now. Drop whatever you’re doing and find an in-patient clinic, and demand the Toughest Love You’ve Got package. Even if the insurance won’t cover it. Yes, it’s every bit that bad.

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Washington’s Jayson Werth is using “Werewolves of London” as his walk-up music, proving if nothing else that you cannot restrain hip. We mention this because the A’s and Giants are still living off the Bernie Lean and Gangnam Style. On this, Washington wins in a rout, and the Bay Area should be ashamed. Yes, ashamed. As in, hang your heads and apologize to the baby Jesus. That level of ashamed.

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The Big East is now going to call itself the American Athletic Conference, thus creating a patriotic smokescreen for the real conference name, which is The Landmass Of Misfit Toys. But it represents a blown opportunity as well, because it could have called itself the American Athletic Universities Group, appropriated the acronym AAU, and run wild in recruiting.

At least until the lawyers turned up.

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Meantime, the Catholic schools who bolted the Big East for safer ground (namely, reforming as the Big East) passed on the obvious name for their new conference – The Big Cross 10. We were going to go for Big Crucifix, but not this close to Easter. It’s not so much the bad taste as much as it is you don’t want to pick a fight with a cranky deity if you don’t have to.

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The NFL wants to put cameras in locker rooms to show to stadium crowds in an attempt to “improve the game day experience.” This is, of course, stupid, as the first unrobed player will prove. But, chaos fan that I am, I am now going to stand strongly on the side of rampant pregame frontal and backal nudity (or maybe even visible PED use) so that the next time the NFL wants to “improve the game day experience,” it considers lowering ticket and concessions prices below the home loan threshold. Naked men or more cash in your pocket – you make the choice.

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And finally, Mark Emmert’s pre-Final Four presser was about as bad as Roger Goodell’s pre-Super Bowl presser. You wonder why commissioners aren’t good at these state-of-the-kingdom gabbers any more and then you realize why they aren’t: They forget that they have public jobs, and being in the public square means learning to be effective in the public square. Goodell has deteriorated in that role over time, and Emmert . . . well, let’s just say he’s running a combination sweat shop/brokerage house, and it’s hard to make that look good even if he juggled cleavers with a leggy assistant at his side.

I mean, if a leggy assistant is the sort of thing you go for.