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This is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. You got it?
Joe Riggins manager in Bull Durham (Trey Wilson)

The dumbest things

As a patron at any baseball outing, you need to prepare yourself to sit with thousands of people who get charged up about the dumbest things.
  1. Any sort of giveaway
    Tote bags, umbrellas, key chains-& Are any of these worth getting to the stadium two hours early? Do yourself a favor and hit up eBay if you really need that bobblehead doll of your team's backup middle infielder.
  2. Trivia on the Jumbotron
    Note to everyone sitting around us: The giant scoreboard can't hear you and we're not impressed that you knew the correct number of fans at tonight's game. So stop yelling.
  3. Fireworks Night
    Let's see-&stay in your uncomfortable seat after a four-hour snoozefest to see some pretty sparklers or beat the traffic out of the lot? We know which one we're picking.
  4. The T-shirt launch
    The cornerstone of any good crowd frenzy are the geniuses in the upper deck who must think the T-shirt cannon was designed by Lockheed Martin. If you want a free shirt at the ballpark, do it the right way and sign up for a credit card using a fake social security number.
  5. Getting a foul ball from the ball girl
    The ball girl picks up a foul grounder, places it in some douche's glove, and he turns to the crowd triumphantly. Way to go, big guy! Can't believe you didn't pull a hammie on that one!
  6. Ground crews that dance
    We're way too compassionate to enjoy such humiliation. Can you imagine that job interview? "Well, Mr. Smith, your ability to water down dirt is exceptional, but we have one last question: Can you do the Macarena?"
  7. Marriage proposals
    Call us old-fashioned, but it's hard to find the romance in a proposal that takes place in between the whiny kid eating ice cream out of a batting helmet and the fat guy with three decades worth of collector's pins on his hat.
  8. The Kiss Cam
    It's the proposal's ugly little sister, featuring some lame couple sitting together passionless until the hyperactive crowd forces them to share a peck on the cheek. Wake us up when someone invents the Blow Job Cam.
  9. "Charge!"
    Does that octogenarian organ player think everyone in the crowd is sheep? Oh, wait. They are. We're pretty sure this is what Germany looked like in the '30s.
  10. The Wave
    We just paid $25 for a nosebleed seat and eight bucks for a warm beer. Now if you'll pardon us, we're going to sit on our ass and let the rich guys on the field do all the moving.
  11. Peanut vendors who throw the bag
    Every section's got one and, somehow, every section is filled with people who are impressed. Go ahead and whoop it up for the 50-year-old man in the neon shirt whose only skill is throwing bags of snacks accurately, but we choose to pity him.

NBA Top Divisions

  1. Atlantic (1980-81): World champion Boston and Philadelphia both went 62-20 while third-place New York somehow still managed to win itself.
  2. Pacific (1999-2000): The seven-team division had five playoffs teams. Portland won 59 games, yet finished eight games behind the 67-15 Lakers.
  3. Central (1996-97): Atlanta won 56 games while Charlotte and Detroit each won 54, yet all finished well behind champ Chicago, which was 69-13.
  4. Midwest (2003-04): All seven division teams had winning records, led by the 58-24 Minnesota Timberwolves with the 42-40 Utah Jazz occupying the cellar.
  5. Midwest (1970-71): All four division teams were above .500, led by the champion Milwaukee Bucks at 66-16 with the 45-37 Detroit Pistons in last.
    1. In each of the past two seasons, the five-team Southwest division qualified four playoff teams that averaged 50-plus wins per year in San Antonio (110 wins); Houston (108); New Orleans (105) and Dallas (101).
    2. In 2002-03 and 2005-06, San Antonio and Dallas each had 60-win seasons within the same division.
    3. In 2005-06, all five teams from the Central division qualified for the playoffs, including 40-42 Milwaukee.
    4. In 1997-98, the Lakers and Seattle both went 61-21 in the Pacific Division. Yes, the Sonics.
    5. In 1994-95, San Antonio and Utah both won 60 games in the Midwest division.
    6. In 1977-78, all five teams in the Pacific division finished above .500 with 43-39 Golden State in the cellar.
With all the good, there also came some ugly:
  1. In 1972-73, Boston went 68-14 and finished 59 games ahead of the last-place Philadelphia, which still owns the worst record in league history at 9-73.
  2. In 1971-72 and 1975-76, Baltimore and Milwaukee won their (dis)respective divisions with 38-44 records and both had a two-game cushion.
  3. In 1966-67, Philadelphia won 68 games and Boston won 60. The third-place team in the Eastern division won 39.
  4. In 1956-57, there was a three-way tie for first place in the Western division at 34-38.

All-American Bastards

If Vernon Maxwell ever asks you to go to the weight room, run away. Fast. Don't take our word for it, just ask Carl Herrera or Gary Payton. When Maxwell was with the Houston Rockets in 1994, he once swung a free weight at Herrera, who needed 30 stitches to close the gash in his head. Mad Max reprised that scene during practice, brandishing iron against Gary Payton, who picked up a chair in self-defense. Horace Grant, who rushed in to break up the scuffle, suffered a shoulder injury in the fray. Hey, way to take one for the team!

You might say that impulse control is not Vernon Maxwell's specialty. In 1995 he was hit with one of the biggest fines in NBA history-$20,000-for going into the stands in Portland and punching out a 35-year-old home-products salesman. That same year he was arrested for allegedly waving a loaded pistol at a motorist who honked at his Porsche. And while Maxwell scored the most points in the history of the University of Florida, don't look for him in the record books. Due to a series of shifty drug-, money-, and alcohol-related offenses, the NCAA doesn't recognize a single basket he scored in his last two college seasons. Norm Sloan, the Gators' coach at the time, is no fan either. Sloan still suspects that Maxwell fixed a game after his star player failed to score a single basket in the second half of a two-point loss to the University of Tennessee. "It's amazing that no one has killed him or he hasn't ended up in prison," says Rich Lord, host of Sports Talk on KILT-AM in Houston. "I'm sure his mother is very proud."

Which is the real OSU?

There can only be one OSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, or Oregon State, hold a nearly identical place in college football lore. (The losers will have to change their names to Oral Throbberts University and Texas Tech after this.) I conducted a lot of exhaustive research on the matter and dressed it up in this super-official table for officiality.

Ohio State Oklahoma State Oregon State Edge
First Year 1889 1901 1893 Ohio State
All-Time Record 771-300-53 475-497-48 460-510-50 Ohio State
Stadium Capacity 101,568 50,614 35,362 Ohio State
Record v. Other OSUs 4-0 0-2 0-2 Ohio State
National Championships 5 0 -2 Ohio State
Home State Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Oregon State.
No, wait,
Ohio State
This one was much closer than the score indicates, but ultimately Ohio State retains rights to the acronym "O.S.U." But despair not Oklagon State fans: R-O-F-L-M-F-A-O-U is still up for grabs!

Some coaches inspire locker rooms with their visionary remarks. And some say stuff like this.

“On this team we’re all united in a common goal: to keep my job.”
—Lou Holtz

“We’re not eating, we’re not sleeping. We’re like Gandhi.”
—Pete Gillen, former Xavier U. hoops coach

“When I coached at Marquette, I told the players we go first-class. We don’t take the towels from the hotel rooms. We take the television sets.”
—Al McGuire

“All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.”
—Bobby Knight, on sportswriters

“I looked in the mirror one day and said to my wife, ‘How many great coaches do you think there are?’ She said, ‘One less than you think.’”
—Joe Paterno

“Working for Lou was pretty good. But the problem was, every morning he’d make the coaches kiss his ring, and he kept the ring in his back pocket.”
—former University of Wisconsin football coach Barry Alvarez, on working for Holtz

Animal House

Who needs a bad coach when your mascot’s a freak?
Big Red (Western Kentucky University)
Fur flew in 2002 when WKU sued an Italian media giant whose character, Gabibbo, looks just like this symbol of toothless hillbilly partisanship. And nothing like a Hilltopper.
Keggy the Keg (Dartmouth College)
This unofficial replacement for the un-PC Indian has been pumping up crowds since the fall of 2003. Social!
The Billiken (Saint Louis University)
Legend has it this Billiken Company of Chicago symbol so resembled SLU football coach John Bender, he became the mascot.
Scrotie (Rhode Island School of Design)
You have to be kind of a dick to become the head cheerleader for the RISD hockey team, known as the Nads.

Hey, I forgot somebody. I tell you who was pretty good in his time - Buck LeGrand. He's got to have been the toughest man ever to go down the road. Look at all those hookings he took and got up and come right back the next night. Don't know what happened to him.
Skipper Voss

In June 1994: Diana Nagy of West Virginia filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the maker of the golf cart that her husband was riding just before he died. After drinking himself stupid, he fell out, snapped his neck and died. The widow, who claimed that the cart should have had seat belts and doors, also sued her son, who was driving. Mrs. Nagy is everything that’s wrong with this country. And West Virginia, too.

In November 1994: Massachusetts golfer Emil Kijek, 79, dropped dead moments after hitting the first hole-in-one of his life. Apparently the shock was too much for him. After sinking the shot he giddily approached his next tee, rolled his eyes, said, “Oh, no” and keeled over from a massive coronary. At least he died doing something he loved: keeling over.

In May 1995: Water hazard? Try death hazard. Elderly golfer Jean Potevan threw his golf bag into a lake after a particularly annoying round in Lyons, France. Realizing that his car keys were in said bag, Potevan dived in fully clothed, got wrapped up in the weeds on the lake bottom and never came up. His final words: “Oh, look—my keys!”

In August 1996: As David Bailey, 40, hunted for a lost ball at Dublin’s Cradockstown course, a rat ran up his trouser leg and peed on him. His friends encouraged him to take a shower, which he did—eventually. But not before rubbing his leg, finishing the round and smoking a cigar. Two weeks later he died when his kidneys collapsed, a symptom of rat-borne Weil’s disease. As for the rat? He went to the clubhouse and got wasted on Michelob!

Sliced it again? Time for the ol’ heave-ho. “Use a 3-iron,” says Maryland club pro Mark Russo. “Most people can’t hit that club.” For maximum distance, grip with your dominant hand, step forward, and sling sidearm so it helicopters down the fairway. Fore-shizzle!

A missed green calls for a pickax-style hack into fairway turf. Bring the club up over your dominant shoulder, then swing it back downward with force. The head will sink deep into the sod. Pull the club out, then tamp down the hole with your spikes, envisioning your boss’ face.

“The green is sacred,” Russo explains. Thus, the best option for a Blown Putt is to snap your putter over your knee. For a clean break, make sure it has a steel shaft (graphite splinters), and, for safety, wear slacks, not shorts. Practice with old clubs beforehand so you don’t just bend it, weakling.

If you hit, say, 112, toss your bag in a dark closet and bolt the door, says Mark Clouse, director of golf at the Dominican Republic’s Guavaberry Golf and Country Club. A few days “in the hole” should set it straight. Unless you just suck at golf, which, obviously, isn’t the case.

If you love beer, hate exercise, own a hideous wardrobe, and love the squeak of Naugahyde, its time to hit the lanes! After sanitizing your rental shoes with a blowtorch and kerosene, find yourself a decent globe.

“Above all your ball should fit your thumb,” says top-ranked Pro Bowling Association bowler Chris Barnes. “It should barely touch the side of the hole.” If you don’t own a customized ball—in other words, if you aren’t from Milwaukee—choose a rock that weighs as close to the legal maximum of 16 pounds as you can comfortably handle without ripping your arm out of its socket. Your middle fingers should be just snug enough so that you don’t drop the ball on your foot when you hold it at your side. And for the love of God, don’t use a pink ball.

Approach the lane with an easy swagger—now go back and get your ball, smart guy—and stop about 15 feet behind the foul line at the second set of locator dots (all lanes have them). Place the instep of your right foot on the dot just to the right of center. Put your weight on your left foot, a few inches ahead and about an inch to the left. (Reverse directions if you’re a cursed-by-God southpaw.) Make sure your hand is dry (that’s what the air blower is for) and put your fingers in before your thumb. Your wrist should be straight but not rigid, and your thumb should point toward 11 o’clock. Now bend your knees, stare menacingly at the pins, and hope your teammates don’t spot your panty line.

The number of steps you take will depend upon how tall you are—and upon how tightly your pants fit—but it’s the last three that are most important. The first of these should be with your left foot as you let the ball swing back past your right calf. Your next, or “power,” step should shorten slightly as the ball reaches its peak at shoulder height. On your final stride, your left foot should slide as you bring the ball forward and release it close to the floor. Aim between the second and third arrows (from the right) on the lane, and follow through by bringing your right hand up to your right ear. Stee-e-e-rike! But when celebrating, sir, keep in mind that uncouth behavior has no place in a bowling alley.

August Zimmerman, America's first cycling world champion, helped lead the sport out of the prevailing gentlemen amateur class to blaze the professional trail. In his book, Hearts of Lions: The History of American Bicycle Racing, Peter Nye discusses Zimmerman's years as an amateur cyclist, including remarks from the cyclist himself about those early days. They originally appeared in the Newark Evening News in 1912: The racing in those days [1887 to 1893] extended over a greater part of the country. Nearly every state and country fair had bicycle racing as an attraction. [Most often, the athletes] rode principally on dirt tracks-trotting tracks-and we made a regular circuit, going from one city or town to another and riding practically every day. It was often the case that the riders after spending several hours on a train would be obliged to go immediately to the track where they were billed to appear, and without any warming up go out and ride. This happened day after day.

While track bicycles operate with a single gear, road bicycles require multiple gearing for climbing and descending hills. The multiple-speed rear-wheel sprockets that enable cyclists to vary gears up and down hills are known as derailleurs. They first became popular in the 1930s when Frenchman Lucien Juy finally improved upon fellow Frenchman's Paul de Vivie's original concept. Back in the early 1900s, de Vivie had invented a derailleur system that was operated manually, with the cyclist stopping to lift the chain by hand between what was then a choice of two rings (or gears). It was used primarily by recreational cyclists, rather than by racers. Peter Nye, author of Hearts of Lions, explains how racers handled hills before Juy improved the derailleur in 1928.

Racers preferred riding in hilly races with rear wheels that had a sprocket on both sides of the hub. One sprocket had the standard fixed gear on track bikes, which did not permit the rider to coast; the other sprocket permitted the rider to coast. Standard practice in road races was for everyone to stop on an arduous climb, remove the rear wheel by unfastening wing nuts that held the wheels to the frame, turn the wheel around for the free wheel which had a smaller gear for pedaling up grades, then coast down the descent. Later they would stop again and revert to their fixed gear.

In a match held at the Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973, Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in three straight sets 6-4, 6-3, and 6-3. By 1971, for sure, Billie began having affairs with women. (Riggs should've demanded a rematch with a woman.) In 1998, Billie Jean King finally came all the way out of the closet. Women who can, do. Those who can't, become feminists. - Bobby Riggs

Hunting fees, licensing and seasonal restrictions may vary from state to state. For more detailed information, directly contact the state where you plan on hunting, big game, small game and migratory birds. Fishing continues to be a favorite pastime in the United States. In 2001, 16% of the U.S. population 16 years old and older (34 million anglers) spent an average of 16 days fishing. Freshwater fishing was the most popular type of fishing with over 28 million anglers devoting nearly 467 million angler-days to the sport.

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