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Cam Martin

Video: Youkilis Pairs Up With Biz Markie

The walk-up song for Kevin Youkilis has long been “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie, a little play on words as “Youuuuuu got what I need” easily becomes “Youkkkk….got what I need.” It was probably just a matter of time until someone got the two together for a little duet, which is what Boston area car dealer Herb Chambers did in a new ad for his dealership.

Dodgers Evaluating Scully's Announcing Ability

Vin Scully, 83, has been with the Dodgers since 1950, has seen everything that can basically happen on a baseball field (for better and worse), and entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 as the recipient of the Ford Frick Award, given to venerated media members for service to baseball. Nevertheless Scully is a Dodgers employee, and so the people running the Dodgers’ organization into the ground felt compelled to send a survey to Dodgers season-ticket holders, asking them to rate Scully’s announcing abilities in six categories.

A season-ticket holder emailed the survey to TJ Simers of the Los Angeles Times. He wrote, “On a scale of 1 to 5, They wanted my opinion of Vin Scully in the following eight areas: 1. Knowledge of baseball; 2. Knowledge of Dodgers organization; 3. Objectivity; 4. Accuracy of calls; 5. Storytelling ability; 6. Focus on the game; 7. Style; 8. Overall performance.”

Regardless of how you score Scully, the more pertinent issue is what the Dodgers intended to do with the results of the survey. From the response they gave to Simers, the answer appears to be nothing, as Simers wrote, “a team spokesman said Vin’s job is his as long as he wants it.’”

Then why bother with the survey?

NFL.com Fantasy League Offering SB Tickets to Winner, only $2250 to Enter

A familiar complaint about the Super Bowl is that the neutral-site venue and exorbitant ticket prices assure that average diehard fans are priced out of the market, while fat-cat casual fans and corporate suits fill the seats. Doing their part to further this dynamic is NFL.com, which is giving away a four-day, three-night deluxe package for two including Super Bowl tickets, $500 cash and free travel accommodations to the winner of their “Ultimate Experience” fantasy game. The big catch? You need to pony up $2250 to enter the 10-person league.

Personally, I can’t quite afford it. But even if I could, why would I want to? Why would I spend that much cash just for the chance to win Super Bowl tickets, some cash, some tickets to some clinics, and a few gift bags — all of which has a retail value of $9500? If I had $2250, I think I’d take the safer bet and just buy the tickets outright beforehand (as long as they’re not from Jerry Jones and the seats actually exist).

NFL.com has a series of different fantasy games you can enter, all with varying fees and prizes. In one league, you pay $5 and win — wait for it — an official on-field flag. In another, pay $20 for the chance to win an authentic autographed football. I guess it’s better than nothing. Still, it’d have been nice to see a random drawing or something that allowed average people to enter leagues that rewarded them with Super Bowl tickets — instead of hoping some rich guys are going to fork over $2250 for the chance to win $9500 after a 16-week fantasy season.

So far the league has one entrant.

Phillies Announcer Matthews Calls Mets 'Crybabies'

You don’t earn the nickname “Sarge” by being a laid back sycophant who doesn’t voice his opinions and own them without regret. Consequently it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews, who was nicknamed Sarge during his playing days for his take-charge attitude, was brash in his denunciation of the Mets during Wednesday’s game, calling them “crybabies.”

The comment stemmed from an incident in which Placido Polanco of the Phillies was nearly hit by a pitch from the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey. Polanco wears an elbow guard, and Pelfrey got hot because he thought the guarded-up Polanco purposely leaned towards an off-speed pitch. Everyone’s backs went up, including Matthews’, who’s seen enough vitriol between these two hated rivals in the last few years to feel right at home in denigrating the Mets with some good old-fashioned name-calling.

After his on-air comments, a reporter with the Daily News (N.Y.) spoke with Matthews outside the booth and asked him about it. Matthews, as you’d expect, didn’t shy away from what he said.

“Tell them Sarge said it – the Mets are crybabies,” Matthews said. “That’s why they lose.”

Ouch. After Matthews and the reporter separated, Matthews reportedly doubled back. He closed his fists and made crying motions under his eyes.

“Make sure you have tears, like this,” he said.

It bears mentioning that Matthews’ son, Gary Matthews Jr., was waived by the Mets last year. 

Orioles Announcer Flanagan Reportedly Commits Suicide

Former Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan, a longtime pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles who later ascended to a top executive position with the club and in recent years served as a television commentator, reportedly committed suicide Wednesday afternoon, “despondent over what he considered a false perception from a community he loved of his role in the team’s prolonged failure,” according to WBAL-TV sports director Gerry Sandusky.

Good lord, that’s heartbreaking.

Flanagan’s body was reportedly found outside his home in Monkton, Md. The cause of death has not yet been announced. A member of the Orioles Hall of Fame, Flanagan won 167 games over an 18-year career, including 23 games in his 1979 Cy Young campaign.

From 2002-08 he shared or held the top baseball executive position in the Orioles organization. During that time Flanagan, according to those closest to him, struggled with not being able to do the job the way he wanted to do it, Sandusky said.

Orioles Managing Partner Peter Angelos issued the following statement last night.: “It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of my friend Mike Flanagan earlier this evening. In over a quarter century with the organization, Flanny became an integral part of the Orioles family, for his accomplishments both on and off the field. His loss will be felt deeply and profoundly by all of us with the ballclub and by Orioles fans everywhere who admired him. On behalf of the club, I extend my condolences to his wife, Alex; and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall.”

RIP, Mike.

Bleacher Report Raises $22M in Venture Capital

Bleacher Report, the polarizing yet increasingly relevant website that Time magazine recently named one of its 50 best websites of 2011, has just received a $22 million investment from Oak Investment Partners.

“Sports is a big opportunity and no one has gotten it right yet,” said Fred Harman, general partner of Oak Investment. “People are clearly as passionate and opinionated as they are in politics, and they are less inhibited to express their opinions. I’d argue Bleacher Report has done a far better job of embracing the capabilities of the online medium than the big sports name brands have.”

Bleacher Report recently hired five new “lead writers” to spearhead the site’s sports coverage, a move that Larry Brown of Larry Brown Sports derided as “window dressing.”

(Bleacher Report is) a widely mocked sports website known for extremely low-quality content that is gamed to dominate Google’s search engines. They have a reputation for spelling errors, typos, and slideshows created in poor taste…

(H)iring four new high-quality writers doesn’t outweigh 5,000 (or however many other) poor quality ones who are published. They can throw the well written columns of their new writers on the front page, bury the low quality writers on back pages, and still rake in the pageviews. That’s what I mean by window dressing. Just because the stuff doesn’t show up on the front page of the site doesn’t mean it does not exist.

Want to make a high-impact change that will gain the respect of the sports community? Stop gaming Google.

Redskins' Brian Orakpo To Appear In Geico Ads

So easy a Redskin can do it? We’ll soon see, as Geico is unveiling a new advertising campaign featuring Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, Sports Business Daily reports. The first of three national television spots will air tomorrow night on ESPN during the Redskins-Ravens preseason game, and will feature Orakpo alongside the Geico caveman.

“We look on him as a bonafide star in the league,” said Bill Brower, Geico director of advertising.

The three spots will together tell a story, though Brower did not release exact details.

“The spots are very funny and you will see Orakpo and the Caveman have a unique relationship, is what I would call it,” he said.

CAA Football marketing agent Howard Skall, who represents Orakpo, said two of the spots play off Orakpo’s last name, which is pronounced “Orakpo,” in case you were wondering.

Maryland Football Unveils New Turtle-Themed Helmets

Before you go knocking the turtle-shell designs on one of Maryland’s new football helmets, a nod to the school’s Terrapin mascot, consider first the iconic winged helmet design of the University of Michigan, which looks less like wings and more like the deformed horns of a ram. People are so used to it by now that the look doesn’t give them pause. That’ll eventually be the case with the University of Maryland’s new look(s).

Maybe.

Or maybe they’ll simply become the next Oregon, who change outfits as often as an extra on Saturday Night Live.

Yeah, it might have been cool if this turtle-design helmet were the only new aspect to the Terrapins’ uniform. But the football program (via Under Armour, which is based in Baltimore) will now have 16 different combinations of jerseys and pants in red, black, white and gold – to go along with two different helmet variations.

“I know this: the kids are very, very proud of those uniforms,” said new Terps coach Randy Edsall. “I told the captains, you’re the guys that are going to have to decide what we’re wearing because there are too many options for me.”

“I’m not looking forward to it all,” linebacker Kenny Tate told the Washington Times. “With all these combinations, I don’t know. We could be sitting there arguing. We can come out every week and have something new just looking good and trying to come out and perform very well. We’ll consult with the team, see what we want to wear, make a decision and go play football.”

Audio: Charlie Manuel Drops F-Bomb on Philly Radio

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was taping his weekly radio show on 610 WIP on Monday afternoon when he seemed to forget the show was live. Manuel was discussing Roy Oswalt’s last start when he sprinkled in an f-bomb, which for some reason wasn’t bleeped. Here’s how it reads:

“You know what I liked the other night? The command of [Oswalt's] pitches. He established his fastball then started throwing his changeup. Then he threw a fuckin… threw a few uhhhh… flippin uhhh… breaking balls.”

Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano of WIP just laugh it off.

(H/T to Meech at The Fightins)

Toothless Flyers Player Lands Role in Apatow Movie

Judd Apatow, the comedic font behind Superbad, Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, has tabbed Philadelphia Flyers winger Ian Laperriere to play a key role in his upcoming film, This is Forty, starring Megan Fox and Wyatt Russell.

Why was Laperriere selected for the bit? Because he has no teeth.

Apatow’s movie features a scene in which some hockey players adjourn to a bar after a game. The group — which will feature Laperriere and Flyers teammates Scott Hartnell, Matt Carle and James van Riemsdyk — end up dancing, grab-assing and playing with Laperriere’s fake teeth.

“I made a fool of myself, but it was fun,” Laperriere told Philly.com. “I like to try different things.”

Will his work rise to the Oscar-worthy level of Cam Neely, aka Seabass, in Dumb & Dumber? We shall see.

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