Commentary

Page 2 Power Rankings: Tiger edition

Originally Published: August 3, 2009
By Patrick Hruby | Page 2

Welcome to another edition of Page 2's weekly Power Rankings, where the confusion of a world in which Michael Crabtree's threatened season-long NFL holdout and playing for the San Francisco 49ers are somehow considered two different things is replaced by the clarity of making a list:

1. Tiger Woods

Supplier or denier?

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Credentials: Was it Tiger? Caddie Steve Williams? Television commentator David Feherty, as anonymous sources claim? Was it Professor Plum in the library with a flatulent noisemaking iPhone app? In the wake of the gaseous sound heard as Woods stretched his legs on the 18th fairway at the Buick Open, the sports world wants to know: Did Tiger cut the cheese?

A PGA spokesman says no. More than half of the 80,500 voters in a TMZ.com poll say otherwise. Lost in the who-dealt-it? hubbub, though, is a more serious question. Namely, was it wet or dry?

Dry emissions are laughable, the stuff of pull-my-finger and "Shrek" movies. No harm, no foul. Wet ejections are another matter -- messy and shocking, unexpected and unwelcome, a silent (figuratively speaking) national scourge to rival Ed Hardy T-shirts. The GI tract affliction that dare not speak its name -- hint: rhymes with "chart" -- can strike anywhere, anytime, especially after fast food tacos, leaving victims dazed and distraught and in desperate need of a washing machine and a shower. Even when eruptions are more smoke and ash than bubbling lava, the mere threat of a wet one functions like mental terrorism, turning commonplace stomach rumblings into tortuous Russian roulette: Should I let one go now to relieve the pressure? Or should I painfully wait until I find a toilet, just to be safe?

With their long shifts sans bathroom breaks, professional athletes -- especially golfers -- seem particularly vulnerable to moist pop-offs, and therefore uniquely qualified to speak out against this menace. Which is why Woods and Williams' laughing reaction to the flatulence noise was so disappointing: They squandered, as our president might put it, a teachable moment.


2. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Like "Transformers," without the art house pretentiousness

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Credentials: Studio refuses to screen toys-to-film adaptation for critics prior to release, postponing potentially negative reviews. Of course, the wonder isn't that Hollywood would attempt to pull the curtain over a movie featuring Sienna Miller lambasting her own acting and Marlon Wayans as a gun-toting action hero -- it's that the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions don't pull the same stunt on their fans during training camp and the preseason.


3. Paula Abdul

She goes. Seacrest stays. God is dead

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Credentials: It's official -- a money dispute means the supremely-loopy former Laker Girl is not coming back to "American Idol." How will the show carry on? How will the Republic carry on? Actually, just fine. Here's the thing: nobody watches "AI" solely -- or even primarily -- for Abdul, anymore than they watch SportsCenter for a particular anchor. And Abdul isn't Michael Jordan leaving the Chicago Bulls; she's Asante Samuel departing the New England Patriots. The show will go on. The circus will continue as planned. And if "AI's" ratings slip, it won't be because the nation misses Paula -- it will be because Americans have finally gotten bored with glorified "Star Search"


4. LenDale White

Next on his to-lose list? Ten boxes of limes, sixty pounds of rock salt

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Credentials: Tennessee Titans running back claims he lost 30 pounds over the last six months by eliminating tequila from his diet. Um, Page 2 didn't go to medical school -- nor have we played a doctor on television -- but we're fairly certain that if your off-season weight loss regime consists solely of cutting out booze, shedding pounds may not be your No. 1 health concern.


5. Megan Fox

Future Web boycott candidates: electricity, oxygen

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Credentials: A promised one-day Internet boycott of the "Transformers" uberbabe by a consortium of men's Web sites flounders as some sites fail to follow through and others spend the same 24 hours celebrating Fox. To commemorate the occasion, Page 2 presents the following match game -- pair the item in Column A with the appropriate item in Column B:

Column A
Internet boycott of Megan Fox
Maginot Line
"Emeril!" the Sitcom
Matt Millen making football decisions
15th Century China burns entire fleet
Garth Brooks is Chris Gaines
Smoot-Hawley
New Coke
Any land invasion of Russia

Column B
Patently absurd
Preposterous
[Expletive] nuts
Laughably ill-advised
Straight-up idiotic
Painfully dumb
Insulting to morons
Brilliant by Isiah Thomas standards


6. Lane Kiffin

Leader of manly men being, um, manly

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Credentials: University of Tennessee football coach rewards players who stayed in shape during the offseason -- presumably by lifting weights, as opposed to swearing off hard liquor -- by letting them pose shirtless around an orange Lamborghini for the official team poster. Which is absolutely nothing like bikini girls splayed across car hoods on the covers of hot rod magazines, and much more similar to macho, red-blooded exercises such as Brady Anderson's 1997 baseball poster.


6a. Vladimir Putin

Lane Kiffin's next recruiting target

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Credentials Russian prime minister goes shirtless to ride a horse, swim in a lake and break cords of wood with his bare hands during a Siberian mountain vacation, sending home nation press into an adoring tizzy. The American media would never be so vapid.


7. John Hughes

Don't you forget about him

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Credentials: Sudden death of '80s teen movie auteur makes one thing clear -- Hughes was a much better writer and director than he was typically given credit for, the equivalent of a mid-major college basketball coach who molds high school recruiting leftovers into Final Four clubs. Consider the personnel Hughes worked with:

The Breakfast Club: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy.

Sixteen Candles: Ringwald, Hall, the dude who played Jake Ryan.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Ben Stein.

Let's add things up: that's one guy responsible for the worst team name in pro hockey history, the star of "Maid to Order," another guy who lasted one season on "Saturday Night Live," the star of "Godzilla," three actors who have never done anything else of consequence, a guy who quit acting to become a carpenter and Stein, who is probably the biggest star of the bunch. The upshot? If Hughes' movies were an NBA draft, they'd be the one where Kenyon Martin was the No. 1 pick.


8. Richard Gasquet

Screen-door alibi

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Credentials: International Tennis Federation appeals an independent tribunal's decision to allow Gasquet to compete after the French player tested positive for cocaine, then claimed that he inadvertently ingested the drug by kissing a woman in a nightclub; meanwhile, the woman in question denies using cocaine and files a defamation suit. Poor Gasquet: he should have said he was kissing Martina Hingis.


8a. Rashard Lewis

Blamed it on a tainted supp -- CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE THE 1,000TH ATHLETE TO INVOKE TAINTED SUPPLEMENTS! PLEASE ENJOY THESE BALLOONS!

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Credentials: Orlando Magic forward suspended 10 games after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance, DHEA, that leading anti-doping scientist Dr. Gary Wadler dubs "not very effective." In related news, Dr. Gary Wadler has seen pictures of Rashard Lewis' biceps.


9. Josh McDaniels

Looking for e-mail in his post office box

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Credentials: Despite being 33 years old, Denver Broncos rookie head coach claims he doesn't know what Twitter is and that he doesn't "know MyFace, Spacebook, Facebook stuff. I don't know what that is, either." The good news for Broncos fans? McDaniels is so single-mindedly devoted to football, he'll never be distracted from preparing the next game plan. The bad news for Broncos fans? Stress from the impending Y2K disaster and the realization that 8-track tapes are no longer manufactured may force him into early retirement.


9a. The Twitter

Not with a bang, but with a tweet

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Credentials: The San Diego Chargers fine cornerback Antonio Cromartie $2,500 for complaining about training camp food via Twitter. Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith closes his Twitter page after several of his tweets are written in a manner associated with the Bloods street gang. The NFL reportedly is working on a Twitter policy to be completed in the next few weeks. Even ESPN now has strict Twitter guidelines. Enough! Doesn't everyone understand the next new digital revolution power-to-the-people maxim that information wants to be free? Otherwise, how are the Page 2 Power Rankings online aggregators going to link to said information, add a few clever barbs and charge for advertising against it?


10. Mr. Belding

Into the memory hole

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Credentials: Dear Amnesty International,
It's one thing for People Magazine to leave Screech out of their "Saved By the Bell" reunion story, going to far as to crop him out of a 1989 cast photo. The dude made a sex tape; he's a D-list reality show regular; he's reportedly writing a tell-all tome about his years on the show. Plus, his voice is epochally annoying. But to leave out Mr. Belding, the jocular authority figure -- nay, moral compass -- of Bayside High? No. No. A thousand times no. A "SBTB" get-together without Belding is like Van Halen without David Lee Roth, "Star Wars" without Han shooting first, Allen Iverson on the cover of an NBA magazine without his tattoos. It is a crime against humanity, a violation of the natural order. It must be stopped.

Please investigate this matter posthaste so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice and nothing similar happens ever again.

Sincerely,
The Page 2 Power Rankings


11. Coin Tosses

Thumb-wrestling, Rock, Paper, Scissors still free from scientific analysis

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Credentials: Recent research reveals that the outcome of coin flips is not actually random -- instead, physical laws ensure that the chance of a coin coming up on the same side it started is about 51 percent. Which only proves that the short-lived, unlamented XFL had one thing right: dump the pre-game coin flip, and let two guys scramble for the ball!


12. Mr. Met

The bigger the head, the wetter the tears

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Credentials: Injury-riddled New York Mets see hot-hitting second baseman Luis Castillo sprain his left ankle while attempting to avoid stepping on a glove on the dugout step, then watch rookie pitcher Jon Niese collapse with a right hamstring injury while throwing a warm-up pitch. At this rate, the only fitting end to the Mets' season would be a dugout-clearing walk-off grand slam celebration at home plate, interrupted by the Madden Ambulance.


13. Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor

America's Team, now more than ever

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Credentials: Shaquille O'Neal set to compete against Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists for his "Shaq vs." realty show; if O'Neal loses, he has to walk two beachfront miles wearing a pink Speedo. Godspeed, ladies.


13a. NCAA Beach Volleyball

Best news for sports blogs since invention of electricity

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Credentials: Sand volleyball reportedly being considered as an addition to the NCAA's list of emerging sports for women, a move that would provide: a) more opportunities for female athletes; b) exponentially more opportunities for college-age female athletes to be ogled, especially online. Look, not to sound all fuddy-duddy here -- we like fit women in bikinis as much as anyone -- but the NCAA needs to realize they'll be creating a bunch of slightly-older potential Allison Stokke, and that for every young woman who happily scores Internet fame/a Maxim photo shoot/a microphone-holding job on TV, there's going to be another woman who finds the whole thing kinda creepy. And that's without mentioning actual real-life stalking, which is less creepy than flat-out scary. Be careful. That's all we're saying.


14. Television

Still healthier than cigarettes!

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Credentials: A new study of children ages 3-8 finds that among sedentary pastimes, watching television has the strongest correlation with significantly higher blood pressure. Who knew children ages 3-8 enjoyed Glenn Beck?


Also receiving votes:
• Los Angeles Clippers forward Mark Madsen being an active Internet domain name speculator. Life at the end of an NBA bench is even more boring than we thought.

• Hank Aaron wanting Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame, the release of the 104 names of MLB players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and a pony.

The Arena Football League's indefinite shutdown due to troubled finances, which means Jon Bon Jovi will now have more time to act and record music, which means this recession is even more devastating than first believed.

Never receiving votes:
• Prince Fielder's "charging" toward the Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse in supposed search of Guillermo Mota. Somebody stop him before someone else holds him back from possibly opening the door!

The Dallas Cowboys' selling standing room only "Party Pass" non-seats to their new stadium. If we wanted to stand around on Sundays with a lousy view of the game, we'd stay home and clean the bathroom.

Appalachian State starting quarterback Armanti Edwards injuring his right foot in a mowing accident. And Brett Favre thinks his body isn't ready for football?

Patrick Hruby is a columnist for Page 2.