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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Updated: April 8, 9:38 AM ET
Bracket mania: Rocket vs. A-Rod

By Patrick Hruby
Page 2

One is a record-setting baseball player whose time in New York and Texas is defined by steroid scandals and tabloid tawdriness. The other is Alex Rodriguez. For much of the last year, Rodriguez and Roger Clemens have dominated the news cycle -- not to mention C-SPAN -- for all the wrong reasons. Yet which individual most deserves your mocking, barely concealed scorn?

Without further ado, let's go to the brackets:

Steroids Region
First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1. Third Ear
16. Pressure of Ginormous Contract
Greatest straw man in steroid denial history vs. lame, possibly true excuse. No contest.
1. Third Ear
8. Cousin Yuri
First you take steroids, next you have to trade all your earmuffs for knit caps. And who wants that kind of hassle?
1. Third Ear
5. Debbie Clemens Under the Bus
Just imagine how fast Ben Johnson would have been without all that extra forehead drag.
1. Third Ear
Other little-known steroid side effects: antlers, retractable adamantium claws, unicorn horn, sonar.
8. Cousin Yuri
9. Brian McNamee
Wait -- you mean A-Rod's cousin is actually real?
4. HGH
13. Boli
Good enough for NFL players, Olympians and Sly Stallone? Good enough for us.
5. Debbie Clemens Under the Bus
4. HGH
Oddly enough, the license plate on the (double-decker, extended-accordion-cab, loaded with lead cannonballs) bus reads H-G-H.
5. Debbie Clemens Under the Bus
12. Product of a Loosey-Goosey Era
Hey, at least the Rocket didn't roadkill his yellow Texas rose on national television & oops.
3. Congress
14. ESPN Confession
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) made the Worldwide Leader look like the lead interrogator at an overseas CIA blacksite.
14. ESPN Confession
11. Three-Piece Suits in Hotel Lobbies
The last time pro ballplayers actually wore three-piece suits in hotel lobbies, handlebar moustaches were the rule, not the exception.
11. Three-Piece Suits in Hotel Lobbies
7. Squishy Confession
Because the primary concern in a sport of chaw-spitting and cup-grabbing is & looking good.
11. Three-Piece Suits in Hotel Lobbies
6. Selena Roberts Stalked Me
11. Three-Piece Suits in Hotel Lobbies
Dear GQ: Is a three-piece suit too formal for a federal perjury trial?
7. Squishy Confession
10. Bullheaded Denial
Unlike Clemens, Rodriguez apparently learned something from teammate Jason Giambi.
7. Squishy Confession
2. B-12 and Lidocaine
Note to athletes: When crafting a steroid defense, better to avoid substances previously invoked by Rafael Palmeiro.
2. B-12 and Lidocaine
15. Young and Naive
A-Rod neither young nor naive during supposed steroid years; B-12 and lidocaine largely useless for purposes claimed by Clemens. Still, the latter sound impressively pseudoscientific.

Baseball Region
First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1. The Month of October
16. The Years 1993-1996
Playoff futility the only thing New York sports fans won't forgive. Well, that and Isiah Thomas.
1. The Month of October
9. Thrown Bat Shard
A-Rod says he has seen a therapist; Roger "thought it was the ball."
9. Thrown Bat Shard
12. $4.5 Million a Month
Watch the replay closely, and you can see the foam flecking off of Clemens' mouth.
9. Thrown Bat Shard
8. Glove Slap
9. Thrown Bat Shard
Both were silly, but at least Clemens was silly in semi-manly fashion.
4. Ejected from 1990 Playoff Game
13. Batting Eighth in 2006 Playoff Game
Eighth? Really? How about using a batting tee?
13. Batting Eighth in 2006 Playoff Game
12. $4.5 Million a Month
Clemens had to show up to the office only once or twice a week. Throwing up yet?
5. $275 Million for 10 Years
12. $4.5 Million a Month
And to think: This item has nothing to do with AIG's financial products division.
3. Stranded Postseason Baserunners
14. Hit Batsmen
Kudos, Rocket: At least you're hitting something.
14. Hit Batsmen
6. Sore Hips
Quickest way to ouchy hips is a 95 mph fastball.
14. Hit Batsmen
2. Clean Successor to Hank Aaron
Gentlemen, start your asterisks.
2. Clean Successor to Hank Aaron
Oh, well. There's always Sadaharu Oh.
6. Sore Hips
11. Bad Hamstrings
Both hurt. Only one makes us think of Shakira!
7. Home Runs
10. Strikeouts
Best-loved play in sports. Pitchers excluded.
7. Home Runs
2. Clean Successor to Hank Aaron
Combine the above categories, and you're halfway to a Barry Bonds haiku.
2. Clean Successor to Hank Aaron
15. All-Natural Heir to Nolan Ryan
Fun while it lasted.

Tabloid Region
First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1. Madonna
16. Paulette Dean Daly
Madonna's worldwide notoriety too much for Daly's what-the-hell, no really, what-the-hell? factor.
1. Madonna
8. SI Swimsuit Shoot With Wife
The only winner in all this? Guy Ritchie.
1. Madonna
13. Crushed Beer Cans as Evidence
One-way ticket to US Weekly.
1. Madonna
8. SI Swimsuit Shoot With Wife
9. SI Swimsuit Shoot With Ex-Wife
If sultriness was a state, the Rocket's half-unbuttoned Yankees jersey would be Puerto Rico.
4. "Anonymous" Tests as Evidence
13. Crushed Beer Cans as Evidence
Hopefully the FBI ran DNA tests on those slam-dunked footballs, too.
13. Crushed Beer Cans as Evidence
12. Kabbalah
Tough one since both contain crushed spirits ...
5. Kabbalah
12. Random Waitresses
Kab-ba-lah: from the ancient Hebrew for "punch line."
3. Toronto Strippers
14. Buttocks Abscesses
Best part of the congressional hearings. Besides Rusty Hardin's hair.
14. Buttocks Abscesses
11. Comparing Implants at Canseco's Backyard Barbecue
Could explain why Clemens was so grumpy on the mound.
14. Buttocks Abscesses
7. New York Post Headlines
Sounds like a Monty Python character.
14. Buttocks Abscesses
Our duly elected officials couldn't get enough. Neither can we.
6. Mirror-Kissing Pics
11. Comparing Implants at Canseco's Backyard Barbecue
What else you gonna do at a Jose Canseco barbecue? Read Voltaire?
7. New York Post Headlines
10. New York Daily News Articles
Of course, The Trentonian's Clemens steroids headline -- HE TOOK IT IN THE BUTT -- still trumps all.
7. New York Post Headlines
2. Mindy McCready
A-R*D, A-FRAUD, ALL A-LONE, A-HOLE. And that's in the span of 48 hours!
2. Mindy McCready
15. Eliot Spitzer's Madam
Thereby giving McCready at least two albums' worth of songwriting material.

Absurdities Region
First Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1. Slam-Dunking Footballs
16. Shirtless on Letterman
Wait -- that's why you're taking PEDs?
1. Slam-Dunking Footballs
8. Canseco Right About 'Roids
Seems more appropriate for a Bo Jackson commercial.
1. Slam-Dunking Footballs
5. Good-Boy Mr. Rogers Sweaters
Never mind Clemens -- what was Andy Pettitte thinking?
1. Slam-Dunking Footballs
8. Canseco Right About 'Roids
9. Canseco Wrong About Marital Fidelity
Jose clearly didn't see Paulette Dean Daly coming, either.
4. Suzy Waldman
13. "Supportive" Yankees Teammates
Goodness gracious! With a rooter like Waldman, who needs teammates? Or fans?
4. Suzy Waldman
5. Good-Boy Mr. Rogers Sweaters
Nobody who hangs out with Ana Platypus could ever tell a lie.
5. Good-Boy Mr. Rogers Sweaters
12. News Conference Water Bottles
In the immortal words of Ice Cube: Who ya foolin'?
3. Soliciting Career Advice from Katie Couric
14. Children's Names All Starting With "K"
Even George Foreman would consider this dumb.
14. Children's Names All Starting With "K"
6. Scott Boras
Kompletely Unkool.
14. Children's Names All Starting With "K"
2. Hot Liniment on Testicles
Squirt enough hot liniment down your shorts and you start doing crazy things -- like starting all your children's names with "K."
2. Hot Liniment on Testicles
After viewing 3,427th replay on ESPN, we noticed the basket wasn't even 10 feet high. FAIL.
6. Scott Boras
11. Rusty Hardin
Could get Ted Williams' frozen head four years at $5 million per.
7. Oblivious Narcissism
10. Self-Immolating Stubbornness
On second thought, giving all your children "K" names also falls under narcissistic.
7. Oblivious Narcissism
2. Hot Liniment on Testicles
Either way, you're looking at sizeable psychotherapy bills.
2. Hot Liniment on Testicles
15. Jeter Isn't a Real Leader
Obvious attempt to distract from buttocks abscesses pain.

FINAL FOUR

Semifinal: Third Ear vs. Clean Successor to Hank Aaron
A-Rod-as-clean-HR-king talk makes all of us look stupid; third ear talk only makes Clemens look stupid.

Semifinal: Buttocks Abscesses vs. Hot Liniment on Testicles
Either way, you'll need new underwear.

Championship: Third Ear vs. Buttocks Abscesses
No wonder Clemens donated $3 million to a medical center; it's the abscesses in a rout.

Patrick Hruby is a columnist for Page 2.