Clemens, the Mitchell report and the mail   

Updated: December 14, 2007, 5:46 PM ET

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We're skipping a traditional NFL column in lieu of a long-overdue mailbag, which was aided by a package I received from Kirk Radomski yesterday. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers.

Q: This is the happiest day of my life. I've been waiting for Clemens to be officially outed as a lying cheater for 10 years, and the day has finally come. How should I celebrate?
-- Marc Lerman, New York City

A: What if I came over to your apartment dressed in a Pettitte jersey, you donned a Clemens jersey, and we injected Winstrol into each other's bare rear ends? Would that work?

Q: Is Dan Duquette going to wear a T-shirt around Boston that says "I TOLD YOU SO!" from here on in?
-- Jeff, Chicago

A: You mean, to replace his current T-Shirt that reads, "I BUILT MUCH OF THE 2004 CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT?" Duquette getting off the hook for the "twilight of his career" comment wasn't even one of the five most fascinating outcomes of Clemens headlining the Mitchell report. In no particular order...

1. Remember when we spent hours analyzing that clip from the 2000 World Series and wondering why Clemens would ever grab the broken handle of Mike Piazza's bat, then angrily whip it at him for no sane reason? 'Roid rage, baby! The riddle has been solved! It's like seeing video of a second shooter in the grassy knoll in Dallas.

2. You aren't even playing the race card if you point out the differences in how Barry Bonds and Clemens were "covered" by the media from 2000 to 2007: Other than Bonds' expanding head, we had just as much circumstantial evidence that Clemens' second prime was extremely fishy, only most people chalked it up to his "legendary" workout regimen. Well, why? Why weren't more people suspicious? Much to my delight, I was always suspicious and even have various parts in my book that prove this. I couldn't be prouder. You never had me fooled, Clemens! Never!

3. Clemens' Achilles' heel as a pitcher (his infamous struggles in big games) was never really "solved" until he allegedly started cycling on steroids as described in the Mitchell report, after which he submitted the following in four World Series starts from '99-01: 3-0, 29 innings, 32 K's, 6 walks, 3 earned runs, 0.91 ERA. Now we can say that he sucked in big games UNLESS he had a little help. This makes me strangely happy. I'm spiteful this way. After all, I'm the same guy who once wrote an entire column in 2001 wondering if Clemens was the Antichrist.

4. The 2000 Yankees had nine Mitchell reporters, including Clemens, and they haven't won a World Series since. Now there's the makings of a legitimate curse: The Curse of the Bambino never made sense because getting sold to the Yankees was the best thing that ever happened to Babe Ruth's career. But the "Curse of Clemens" makes much more sense, doesn't it?

5. The greatest hitter and pitcher of the past 50 years both cheated to get where they were ... and if that's not enough, our all-time hits leader was a convicted felon who bet against his own team. Ladies and gentleman, America's pastime! Is it time to remake "Field of Dreams" and include a scene where Shoeless Joe sells $3,000 of HGH to Moonlight Graham?

Q: In the Mitchell report, why didn't they punish Edward Norton for the illegal supplements he took for his role in "American History X"?
-- Ryan, Hoboken, N.J.

SG: You didn't see that page? They revoked all of his wins in "Fight Club."

Q: Careful naming your son after Josh Beckett. You don't know how you'll feel about Beckett in 10 years. What if you'd named a kid after Roger Clemens in 1987?
-- Aaron K., Charlottesville, Va.

THE WEEKLY POWER POLL

THE ROD RUST DIVISION
32. Miami

THE BRUCE COSLET DIVISION
31. San Fran
30. Atlanta
29. NY Jets
28. St. Louis
27. Kansas City
26. Oakland
25. Carolina
24. Baltimore
23. Cincinnati
22. Chicago

QUIETLY PREPARING FOR 2008
21. Denver
20. Philly
19. Houston

HOPE IS NOT A GOOD THING
18. Arizona
17. New Orleans
16. Detroit
15. Washington

HOUSE OF MIRRORS
14. Tennessee

THE "GOOD" BAD TEAM
13. Buffalo

INEVITABLY IRRELEVANT
12. N.Y. Giants
11. Tampa Bay

THE HEARTBREAKER
10. San Diego

THE BLOOMERS
9. Cleveland
8. Minnesota

THE DARK HORSE
7. Seattle

THE PSEUDO-CONTENDERS
6. Jacksonville
5. Pittsburgh

THE CONTENDERS
4. Green Bay
3. Indianapolis
2. Dallas

THE JUGGERNAUT
1. New England

SG: I received this e-mail in mid-October, right when the Sports Gal and I were considering the name "Beckett" as a first or middle name to reflect that our baby son was born right after the 2007 World Series (if the Red Sox won). Of course, the e-mail put the fear of God into me. What if Beckett morphed into the 1994-2007 Clemens in six years? What then? We couldn't take the chance. Anyway, thanks to Aaron K. You're a lifesaver. I mean, somewhere in Massachusetts right now, there's at least one bitter, under-20 Red Sox fan named after Roger Clemens who's walking around with his fists balled waiting for someone to make fun of him. That could have been my son in 20 years.

Q: Why can't Hank Steinbrenner's nickname be "Kim Hank-il"? The parallel is perfect. Bad hair, chain smoker, evil empire inherited from equally twisted father who is to be remembered only positively under pain of death. Father, while crazy and a brute, knew how to run a dictatorship. Son determined to show how smart he is and simultaneously drive empire into the ground. Lives in a world where everyone bows to his whim, no matter how stupid. Subjects suffer under reign but spout rhetoric of greatness. TV is state owned and operated. And, YES, I am a Yankee fan.
-- Justin R., NYC

SG: You left out one more similarity: They both love Jennifer Love Hewitt. I'm excited to see how Kim Hank-il handles this Clemens thing. Do you think he'll get the Babe's monument in Yankee Stadium spiritually cleansed after all the times Clemens rubbed it for good luck?

Q: I work for a small firm in New York City and the topic of Isiah Thomas came up one day at work. We decided that the equivalent of the job he has done with the Knicks in the real world would look something like this: A CEO in a company declaring bankruptcy after four consecutive terrible years, but if he also harassed a female employee (leading to an eight-figure settlement) and had his other employees booing him and yelling at him to resign throughout the day at work for two or three straight months. Does that seem fair?
-- Dan, Hoboken, N.J.

SG: Yeah, that seems about right. I like the fact that Kim Hank-il is already looming as Isiah's successor as the New York Sports Anti-Mastermind and general whipping boy for the fans in the tristate area. New York just doesn't feel like New York unless the fans are complaining about someone, you know?

Q: OK, I watched "E:60" and something felt really familiar. I finally placed it: The scenes of the reporters sitting around talking about their stories is almost exactly like the fake "story conferences" on "Sexcetera" on the Playboy Channel. I think this is a good thing, right?
-- David, Columbia, S.C.

SG: Please, you totally plagiarized this point from our ombudsman -- she was the first one to point out the "E:60"/"Sexcetera" parallels. Come clean.

Q: I noticed that the Sports Gal went 12-4 last week (wow!) and is now 15 games up on you? You must be so damned proud, yet ... at the same time feel so emasculated. What's that like? Just curious.
-- Phil G., Marblehead, Mass.

SG: Nope, just emasculated. That's really the only emotion. Here's the crazy thing: In 11 years of writing my NFL column (on ESPN.com and for my old Web site), my best record for a single season was 30 games over .500. Right now, she's 24 games over .500 with three weeks to go. It's incredible. Not only does she know nothing about football, she hates football. In a weird way, I should get credit here because, if you harken back to the Week 1 column from the 2006 season, the whole point of this little "experiment" was to see if the whole "the more you know, the less you know" theory was true. And apparently, it is.

(Speaking of picks, here's what kind of year it's been for me: I center my Week 14 picks around the premise that the underdogs will be reigning supreme and the favorites end up going 14-2. You couldn't make this stuff up.)

Q: Is Lo from "The Hills" famous enough to be on "Celebrity Fit Club"?
-- Tim in Chitown

SG: That was this month's "Really Evil E-Mail That Made Me Laugh Out Loud."

Q: Did you watch the "Monday Night Raw" 15th anniversary special? Hulkamania might finally be dead. Hulk looked like a shadow of himself, halfheartedly Hulking up against The Great Khali, culminating in Khali rolling casually out of the ring, and Hulk posing for the crowd with Vince McMahon's illegitimate leprechaun son and shallowly plugging the new installation of "American Gladiators."
-- Rob W., Franklin, Mass.

SG: Yes, I watched it, and yes, Hulkamania is unequivocally dead. Although you could argue that it died two years ago, when he agreed to be the final "arbiter" for celebrity feuds for Us Weekly. You know what's even more fascinating? Hulkamania, the Clemens Era and Ike Turner croaked within 72 hours of one another. See, these things always come in threes.

SPORTS GAL'S PICKS

Since giving birth six weeks ago, I haven't picked up an Us Weekly, read pagesix.com or watched a movie from start to finish. My whole life revolves around nursing my son, or as I like to call it, "giving the boob." (We'll call it the GTB from now on.) With all the diets out there, I'm blown away there isn't a Hollywood Lactation diet. I mean, you lose 500 calories a day -- that's at least one sprinkles cupcake or a large Pinkberry with fruity pebbles on top! How come there isn't a breast pump for non-moms called the "Fat-Sucker" on QVC? If Britney had only known, maybe she would have given up the Vodka Red Bulls post-partem and hit the breast pump.

Unlike some new moms who wake up every two hours, I'm not losing much sleep because I sleep facing my baby. If he gets hungry during the night, I just pop open a button and he's ready to eat. Sometimes, I'll even fall back asleep for the rest of the night this way -- Bill calls it the "24-Hour Drive-Thru." Bill loves making breast-feeding jokes. If the baby is hungry in the morning, Bill shouts, "Give him the boobs benedict!" If he's crying in the afternoon, Bill says, "Give him the boobs marsala!" or the "boobs and chips!"

We have a good sense of humor about GTB in the Simmons family. Even when our daughter lifted up her shirt and tried to GTB her brother once, we thought it was funny and never considered having her see a psychiatrist. Another good thing about breast-feeding: When you leave your house, just bring a nursing frock and you're good to go. I know I'm upsetting the La Leche League here, but I'm in the Barbara Walters school -- you shouldn't GTB outside your immediate family unless you're being discreet. One of my male friends recently watched his friend's wife GTB right in front of him, without a frock, and couldn't even carry a conversation because he was so rattled. I felt bad for him, and not just because Bill would pass out in the same situation. Anyone who GTB's without a frock needs to get over themselves.

Lastly, you can multi-task when you're GTB-ing. In fact, I wrote this whole rant during a GTB session and probably burned 150 calories. Woo-hoo!!! Here are my picks for Week 15: SF +8.5; NO -4; Atl +13; Balt -3.5; Cle -5.5; GB -8.5; Pitt -3; NE -23; Sea -7.5; Tenn -4; Indy -10.5; SD -10; Phi +10; NYG -4.5; Minn -10.

This week: 1-0
Last week: 12-4
Season: 112-88-9

Q: What would you have done had the Sports Gal been a Yankees fan?
-- Leighann, NYC

SG: Not married her.

Q: I saw that you missed the real shot and made the first postgame shot in your "E:60" piece. I guess now you know the difference between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, or David Ortiz and A-Rod.
-- Joe W, Farmville, Va.

SG: Believe me, I'm going to be rehashing that shot for the next 50 years. At shootaround, my first few shots kept falling short before I realized that an optical illusion was screwing me up. Because of the glass backboard and the distance of the seats in the background, an NBA rim looks slightly closer than it is. (After watching this happen firsthand, this has to be why so many half-court shooters end up short with their attempts -- they don't know that they should aim two feet further than they think they should be aiming, if that makes sense.) Once I adjusted for that "illusion" I realized that my maximum distance for a half-court shot with a three-step walkup -- assuming that my form was the same each time -- was the middle of the square on the backboard. I couldn't launch it any further without screwing up my form, which was good because I now knew exactly how hard to push on my release.

That's why I was so confident before the shot, because there were three possible scenarios (swish, back rim, bank) as long as I kept the ball straight, which meant I had a two-in-three chance of making it or coming close. What I didn't anticipate was that my adrenaline from being in front of 15,000 people would push the shot further than any of my shootaround attempts, so when I aimed for the back of the rim, the ball carried higher than I wanted and banked on the top of the square. I missed it by two inches. Although it's probably a good thing -- if that shot went in, you never would have heard the end of it and I probably would have hopped around pounding my chest like an idiot.

Anyway, here's my advice to anyone who ever shoots a half-court shot during an NBA game: Take a three-step/one-dribble jog towards the half-court line; release the ball from your chest and raise your right foot like you're shooting one of those 1950s set shots; and aim for the back of the rim (not the front of the rim). If you keep it straight, you'll have a chance. By the way, I couldn't be more available to film one of those cheesy "How To Make a Half-court Shot" instructional videos along the lines of those shooting videos with J.J. Redick that they always show on NBA TV.

Q: Can we come up with a good nickname for Britney, Lohan and Paris? I was thinking something like the Trio of Tramps would work pretty well.
-- Oscar P., NYC

SG: What about the Loose Three?

Q: Sometime my sister, she show her vazh´n to my brother Bilo and say "You will never get this you will never get it la la la la la la." He behind his cage. He cries, he cries and everybody laughs. She goes "You never get this." But one time he break cage and he "get this" and then we all laugh -- ha ha ha ha ha! High five! Do you realize that Borat's sister represents the Yankee fans and Bilo represents us Red Sox fans? We "get this" ... twice ... ha ha ha ha ha ... high five!!!
-- Ron W., Overland Park, Kan.

SG: And here I thought "Shawshank Redemption" was the best comparison for Red Sox fans finally turning the tables on the Yankees and winning two titles. Isn't it interesting that the best two movie parallels for Red Sox fans involve...

(A) A movie where a man is wrongly imprisoned, then raped for two straight years before eventually escaping through a 500-yard sewage pipe.

(B) An analogy from a comedy where the lead character tells the story of the time his special-needs brother broke out of his cage and had sex with his sister?

Q: What can be done to make Matthew Berry stop using the word "sexy" to describe fantasy football players. It's kind of creepy. Let me know.
-- Eric Gould, Alpena, Mich.

SG: Cut him some slack, he's a single guy living in middle Connecticut. He's just a little confused right now.

Q: Saw your typing style on your "E:60" piece where you went to Upper Deck. Do you mean to tell me that all those running diaries, mailbags, etc. were typed with two fingers? What is the sports equivalent to such success with such poor form? Jim Furyk's herky-jerk swing producing perfect golf shots? Philip Rivers' shot-put throwing mechanics? Dude, take a typing lesson!
-- Murph, Charlestown, Mass.

SG: Look, I've been banging out two-fingered Sports Guy columns for 10 years and counting and never had a problem. It's like Jamaal Wilkes' jump shot -- unorthodox but effective.

Q: I'm glad to see your annual basketball preview finally coming out on ESPN.com, even if it was late. The real question is will you keep the tradition going and for the third year in a row come out with my favorite column, the "Fire Doc Rivers" column. Tradition is tradition and I think it is a must even though the Celts are 18-2.
-- Kevin, Hartford

SG: You mean, Doc Rivers, the coach of the 2008 Eastern Conference All-Stars? I have no complaints so far. Although you have to admit, this has been the perfect storm for Doc: He has three All-Stars keeping everyone motivated; a roster filled with good character guys; a bright assistant (Tom Thibodeau) handling the defensive end; a specific number of decent-to-great players (eight to be exact), which makes it impossible for him to play 11 and 12 guys per game; and on top of everything else, the entire roster is terrified of disappointing KG in any way, shape or form. Could ANYONE coach this team? It's unclear. But Doc hasn't screwed anything up, so that's been a good thing.

(Note: You can read an extended version of the previous paragraph in the December issue of Backhanded Compliment Magazine.)

Q: Have you seen "No Country for Old Men"? It stars Cleveland DH Travis Hafner as a creepy killer.
-- David, Seattle

SG: (Giggling.)

Q: Listen, I am ecstatic that we won the World Series again. But it just wasn't the same without Jimmy Fallon, was it?
-- Karl, Issaquah, Wash.

SG: (Gritting teeth.)

Q: How many people can say they've been given a phone number and challenged to a real fight on their Fantasy Football League message board? Me, that's who.
-- Matt B., Memphis

SG: We're coming closer and closer to the first fantasy football-related murder. Its going to happen this decade, and it's definitely going to be made into a bad Lifetime movie starring Benjamin McKenzie.

Q: Remember on "CHiPs" when, at the end of an episode, they would have someone tell a cheesy joke and then sequentially freeze the shot on several cast members as they over-laughed? That's what your SGW head shot kind of looks like. Your head is slightly thrown back as you chuckle, and SNAP!, there's the photo.
-- Bill B., Fairmont, W.V.

SG: You know what? I'm counting this as a compliment. I loved the "ChiPs" closing! Thank you.

Q: If Jimmy Dolan called to offer you the Knicks GM job, would you accept it? Could you possibly take a job where you would need to go against the Celtics? If you did take the job, what would be your long-term plans to make the team a contender?
-- Name accidentally deleted, Woodland Hills, Calif.

WEEK 15 PICKS

(Home teams in caps)

Bengals (-8.5) over NINERS
SAINTS (-4) over Cards
BUCS (-13) over Falcons
DOLPHINS (+3.5) over Ravens Bills (+5.5) over BROWNS
RAMS (+8.5) over Packers
STEELERS (-3) over Jags
PATRIOTS (-23) over Jets
PANTHERS (+7.5) over Seahawks
CHIEFS (+4) over Titans
Colts (-10.5) over RAIDERS
Lions (+10) over CHARGERS
Eagles (+10) over COWBOYS
GIANTS (-4.5) over Redskins
Bears (+10) over VIKINGS

This week: 1-0
Last week: 5-11
Season: 97-103-9

SG: Are you kidding? What would be better than running an NBA team? Name me a job. I'd turn on the Celtics faster than Mitt Romney switched his stance on abortion. Besides, I play with the Trade Machine all day, anyway. Now I'd be getting paid for it? (Wait, I get paid to play with the Trade Machine as it is -- scratch that joke.) Anyway, to answer your question, I would have five goals as the Knicks GM:

1. Win over Mike and the Mad Dog with as much cookies, candy and Diet Coke as possible. I'd need those guys in my corner from the get-go, even if it means agreeing to a weekly segment where Dog repeatedly calls me "Billy" and Mike says things like, "Bill, you have a huge, hah-yuge rebuilding job ahead of you right now..."

2. Take the normally mean-spirited New York media out to a fancy lunch every other Friday so they'd feel bad about ripping me if any of my moves didn't work out. I'm convinced that every newspaper writer can be bought off with free food and free clothes. They can't resist either. It's in their DNA.

3. Stay away from Kathleen Decker and make sure I'm never alone in a room or an elevator with her.

4. Don't acquire any big contracts that extend past the 2010 season. Why? Because we need to create enough cap space to woo LeBron when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2010. Look, the Knicks aren't winning a title for the rest of the decade. It's not happening. So why not be up front about it? If you took the Knicks' GM job and told the fans over and over again, "Just be patient, I want to be a big-time free agent player in the summer of 2010 and I'm not doing anything to screw that up," the Knicks' fans are smart enough to understand the logic behind this.

5. To that same end, I'd pursue Shaq (expires in 2010) because Miami is hemorrhaging money and needs to dump salary. For instance, this trade works after Dec. 15: Eddy Curry (less than half the price tag of Shaq for the same stats), Stephon Marbury (expires in 2009) and Fred Jones' expiring deal for Jason Williams' expiring deal and $82 million worth of Shaq and Mark Blount (both of whom expire in 2010).

If you're running Miami, you say yes because you're dumping $20 million in salary after the 2009 season AND saving $11 million this season ($5.5 million in salary plus an equal amount of luxury tax money) without affecting this year's team. As for the Knicks, they don't care about losing more money -- as we witnessed the past four years -- and the double-barrelled good will of acquiring Shaq and dumping the sullen Marbury/Curry combo would diffuse the fan base's bitterness by about 35 percent. Maybe Shaq isn't Shaq anymore, but he's not completely washed up yet, and it would still feel like a bigger "event" when he's out there ... and sticking Shaq in the Big Apple would be fun, right? More importantly, dumping Curry's contract creates enough cap room after 2010 to make the aforementioned run at LeBron. Who's the only guy that matters here.

To recap, here's my plan for saving the Knicks: Grease the media; trade for Shaq; be up front with the fans; stay away from any long-term deals past 2010; stick every egg in the LeBron Basket. Vote for Simmons to save the Knicks!

Q: If Boston gets Santana from the Twins, why don't you just take my wife and my 14-week-old daughter while you are at it. Minnesota is truly the farm system for every single Boston professional sports team. I can't wait to watch Brady hand off to Adrian Peterson in three years.
-- Adam W., Rosemount, Minn.

SG: Me neither! Looking forward to it! Speaking of Santana...

Q: What do you think the over/under is on the number of hours Sox, Twins and Yankees fans wasted refreshing their Web browsers during the Santana trade talks hoopla? It's got to be in the hundreds of thousands, doesn't it?
-- Barry W., Fort Wayne, Ind.

SG: Probably in the tens of millions. I mean, there was one afternoon where I was reloading ESPN.com every 10 minutes for five straight hours. It's possible the whole thing was a giant conspiracy to double the traffic for every mainstream Web site that week.

Q: If the typhoon doesn't hit Tome Village in "Karate Kid II" and Sato and Miyagi had their scheduled death match, who would have won? I'm thinking Sato fueled by 40 years of rage destroys Miyagi in less than five minutes. Your thoughts?
-- Vivek, Chicago

SG: Yeah, that had potential to end faster than the Tyson-Spinks fight -- I would have made Sato a -250 favorite over Miyagi. You know what bugs me about that movie? For his entire life, Sato's nephew has to hear his uncle complaining about Mr. Miyagi -- the guy's a scumbag, he has no honor, he stole my girlfriend, don't ever end up like him -- and vowing to fight him to the death if Miyagi ever returns to the village. So Miyagi returns, the death match is all set up, then the typhoon happens and Sato has a change of heart because Miyagi and Daniel-san helped save a little kid, but the nephew still holds a grudge because he's been taught to hate Mr. Miyagi and everything he stands for ... so what happens? Because the nephew won't bury the hatchet, he immediately becomes an outcast in the village??? How is that fair? HE SPENT HIS WHOLE LIFE BEING TAUGHT TO HATE MR. MIYAGI!!!! Was the kid supposed to have an on/off switch? Sato's nephew got a raw deal in that movie.

Q: Does anyone else feel cheated that the Pats-Jets game is going to be derailed by a mammoth nor'easter?
-- Kenny, Milford, Conn.

SG: It's even more disappointing than the typhoon diffusing the Sato-Miyagi death match, especially because the Pats can't deactivate Chris Hanson before the game for the first-ever Eff You Transaction. Then again, there's a 100 percent chance that Pats fans will be chucking snowballs at Eric Mangini for the entire game. So maybe it all evens out.

Q: Isn't it a shame that Allan Houston's comeback didn't work out? If it had happened, his new nickname could have been "The Rule."
-- Kevin, Savannah, Ga.

SG: Can't we call him that, anyway? By the way, I propose a moratorium for any more articles about washed-up NBA players making comebacks. More words have been wasted on this phenomenon than anything with the possible exception of the Mitchell report, which turned out to be 400-plus pages of rehashed information and unsubstantiated "he told me that somebody else told him" stories that would never hold up in court, with the notable exception of the Clemens/Pettitte revelations and the tainting of the Yankees' last World Series team.

(Actually, why am I complaining about the Mitchell report? In the words of Jim Nantz, what a document!)

Q: Did you see the Duncan injury? What's the real-life equivalent of watching your superstar grab his knee in pain?
-- James S., San Antonio

SG: Probably finding out that your daughter made the "Real World," hoping that she didn't disgrace herself, then watching the first episode where she's being videotaped by the bedroom camera as she's about to drunkenly maul someone she met that night. Oh, no ... oh, no ... oh, no ... please, no ...

Q: Billy King's firing must have been bittersweet for you. A part of you must be thinking "Finally!!!!" but another part of you must realize that one of the easiest people to make fun of is gone.
-- Tim, West St. Paul, Minn.

SG: Yeah, I feel a little like Red in "Shawshank" right now after Andy escaped: I have to remind myself that some atrocious GMs aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright ... and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to have them keep screwing up the same franchise does rejoice ... but still, the place you live is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. (Sad pause.) I guess I just miss my atrocious GM.

Q: Does Eric Gagne deserve a refund on the steroids he purchased if they were used in the past two seasons?
-- Donald., Cape Breton, Calif.

SG: And an apology from the manufacturer.

By the way, I've never heard my Dad more giddy about anything this week that (A) the Brewers paid $10 million for Gagne, and (B) we were getting a sandwich draft pick for him. He was cackling on the phone and asking, "Didn't they see him pitch? Do they have scouts? Can they afford scouts?" I think J.D. Drew's $14 million grand slam launched the greatest two-month stretch of my Dad's life: The Sox won the World Series; the Pats are still undefeated; he has season tickets for an 18-2 Celtics team; he ended up with a grandson; he got to root against the Niners every week for draft-pick purposes (one of his favorite things to do as a fan); his least favorite player (Clemens) was besmirched forever by the Mitchell report; and now, the Red Sox are getting a draft pick because someone decided it was a good idea to pay $10 million for Eric Gagne.

Q: While visiting one of our friends in Boston this past weekend, a few of my college buddies and I spent Saturday getting hammered at various bars near Fenway. When we called it a night, we took the T back to the Maverick station, a trip that included half of the train spontaneously singing "Don't Stop Believing." When we got off the train, we decided to step into this bar called Eddie C's, a dive with none other than Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. When we got inside, we encountered a few regulars with the strongest accents imaginable, who asked us if we were Sox fans. We aren't, which was fine by them, until my friend Tommy proclaimed his allegiance to the Yankees. They all gasped immediately, and one of them shouted, while smiling ear to ear, "... let's tie him to a tree!!!" He proceeded to reach into his jacket and, I kid you not, pulled out a 12-foot rope. We went outside and my friend was, yes, tied to a tree, complete with some road cones. The scene was unbelievable. We decided to leave when the same guy showed us his knife and said that he could cut some more rope if we needed it.
-- John, Washington, D.C.

SG: Yup, these are my readers.