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Embargo Tiger

In February 2007, the Associated Press dared to buck the 24-hour news feed trend and put a one week embargo on Paris Hilton stories.

I think we need to put a similar kibosh on our non-stop Tiger Woods coverage.

That Tiger isn’t shooting under par may be news to some. But do we really need to analyze every waking (and sleeping) hour of this man’s life?

OK, he’s not perfect, in both his personal and professional life. His game has suffered. There, it took all of two sentences to state what the news media has regurgitate in every imaginable way for the past few months.

I would rather hear about Phil Mickelson’s arthritis. Heck, I’d rather hear about Wilford Brimley’s bowel movements or my grandmother’s mah jong games than Tiger’s double-bogey.

So until he makes real news, I’m tuning out Tiger. And I urge you to, too.

Unless of course he starts dating Paris.

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Pinching pennies, wasting millions

A history of lackluster on-ice performance in the playoffs has moved me from a die-hard Buffalo Sabres fan into the realm of a knowledgable follower.

But recent management and ownership decisions that make New York State look fiscally innovative have left me baffled and disaffected.

Yesterday, shortly after Sabres forward Tim Kennedy was awarded $1 million in arbitration, the team waived him. All things told, the difference between what they were looking to offer him and what was awarded in arbitration was about $200,000. A native Buffalonian, Kennedy’s local appeal likely brings in that much money in ticket and jersey sales each year.

I understand that is a business and all about money, but is it worth pinching pennies on a popular product when you waste millions on less popular (and productive) products such as say, another Tim on the team?

Granted, Kennedy’s numbers were middle-of-the-pack, but the guy has a huge heart and plays every shift. Good luck dangling that $200,000 in front of some of the other multi-million dollar half-hearted “marquee” players.

 Oh, and that $200,000? Well if nobody claims Kennedy off waivers, the Sabres can buy out his contract, which can be done at a bargain rate of $333,333. Add in the lost revenue from fans who stop caring, sprinkle in some Enronesque bookkeeping, and you’ve got some real savings.

Hanes, his way

If, and when Washington Redskins lineman Albert Haynesworth passes his conditioning test, I think he should try to line up a new sponsor: Hanes.

Now I know that Hanes has a big-time sponsor in Michael Jordan, but it might want to extend its product line beyond t-shirts, undies and socks.

To something, like, say, adult diapers.

Haynesworth would be the perfect pitchman: “With my new Hanes adult diapers, I was able to pass my conditioning run, comfortably relieve myself without having to find a bathroom, and then pass the run again. Thanks Hanes.”

(And if I could turn back the clock, I’d link up Proctor and Gamble with Manny Ramirez to create “Manny’s adult Mampers.” Because there isn’t always a Green Monster around the corner.)

Cowboys game or a car?

After looking at a recent report detailing the costs of attending NFL games in 2009, economists might want to reexamine foreclosure and bankrupcy data in Dallas.

At about $760 for a family of four to attend a game (food, souvenirs, parking included), you wonder how many second and third mortgages people took out for a few hours of Sunday entertainment. The $5 hot dogs and sodas aren’t as disconcerting as the $159.65 average ticket. Granted, NFL teams only have eight regular season home games per season, but for the price of a ticket, you could feed a family of four … for a week or two.

The Cowboys were the priciest show in the league, while the Buffalo Bills were at the other end of the spectrum. For $303.96, you could entertain a family of four on a Sunday, although the entertainment factor is questionable. The tickets, at an average of $51.24 a pop, were below the league average from 2004, but then again you were mostly paying to watch one team play (the visitors).

Haynesworth’s new digs?

One of the most lucrative contracts ever clearly wasn’t enough to motivate Albert Haynesworth. Most dictators or even countries would settle for such a contract. But it’s not about money, as Mr. Haynesworth wants us to know. He just wants to play. Right.

So, what to do? Well, restructure his contract to cater to his tastes. The Oakland A’s stroked the ‘stache of Rollie Fingers with a clause that gave the pitcher $300 for growing a mustache and, get this, $100 to purchase mustache wax.

The Redskins should consider letting Haynesworth have his own little stadium where he can warm up before games:

The Snackadium.

Haynesworth Field

Now I know that Haynesworth has dropped some weight, but if the Skins want him to perform and keep his mouth shut, all they need to do is provide two of these “practice” fields (one for pregame and one for postgame) each Sunday.

The model above may not be perfect (where is the blimp made of marshmallows or the pigs in a blanket parachuting in during the national anthem?), but I’m sure Ben’s Chili Bowl or Ray’s Hell Burger can construct a similar edible edifice.

I’m still working on a JaMarcus Russell Syzzurp Bowl …

Kovalchuk to collect social security

Ilya Kovalchuk might not have been up for tenure, but he just found it. The New Jersey Devils signed the winger to a Rick DiPietro-like contract, locking him up for just under a score of years (17) for a bit more than $100 million.

The contract is more of a mortgage or a biblical bondage covenant than an employment agreement. When drawing this up, the Devils likely used amortization tables and the pages of the Wall Street Journal to calculate expected inflation from 30-year T-Bills.

As strange as such a contract may sound, it actually isn’t a bad deal for both sides. Even though he could have signed for more money per year under shorter terms, Kovalchuk can live like an incumbent politician in a safe district: as long as he doesn’t say anything too dumb and refuse to apologize or cheat on his wife multiple times and life about it, he’s going to collect a paycheck. Contract-year performance? Ha! All he needs to worry about is his 401K allocation.

The Devils are taking somewhat of a risk, but the contract is front loaded, freeing up cap space in the later years. Russian players are often like those canned goods in your nuclear shelter; they might not get appreciably better as the decades go by, but they aren’t going to get any worse (see Slava Fetisov). While inflation rates are a bit low right now, who knows, th eU.S. might appoint Robert Mugabe as the head of the Federal Reserve. And no matter how poorly Kovalchuk plays in the first 16 years, the Devils management can always adopt the Chicago Cubs mantra of “there’s always next year.”

Of course, this all could be a grand scheme employed by Islanders owner Charles Wang to make his DiPietro signing look slightly less insane. Only time will tell. Lots of time.

LeBron goes east … far east

Everyone has assumed that free agent LeBron James will sign with one of several NBA teams in the running for the “LeBronstakes.”

But we shouldn’t count out the possibility that King James takes his show overseas. Some European and Asian leagues have no salary caps or maximum contract stipulations. And some leagues, well, they may have incentives beyond money.

Let’s just say for a moment that LeBron cares more about being a worldwide superstar than just money. So being in a hip city with All-Star teammates would take a back seat to what’s best for humankind.

I’m not suggesting LeBron join the Peace Corps; I’m going 15 steps further. I think LeBron should demand a trade to North Korea, home of the basketball-crazed Kim Jong-il.

King Kim would be so caught up in his one-on-one games with King James that he wouldn’t have time to pursue his nuclear ambitions. OK, despite Kim Jong-il’s claims of super human powers, the dude will eventually need to rest – schooling LeBron might cause King Kim to break a sweat. We need halftime entertainment.

So, Justin Beiber, get ready, you’re really heading to North Korea along with the Lakers’ girls.

Done and done.


Croppaganda’s Twittin’