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Mel Kiper Jr. and His Spring College Picks
With the NFL draft finally getting underway this Saturday, get ready for ESPN to subject us to Mel Kiper Jr. with his pre-and-post-draft analysis 24/7 for the next week or so. I think we can all agree that more often than not the NFL draft is basically a big crap-shoot, but someone has to do intense over-analysis. Naturally, that makes Mel Kiper Jr. a pretty easy target for mockery, as the above video does with his take on rating college girls.
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By: Jay Tierney Comments (0) Videos, Sports Media, Football, College Football
Ana Ivanovic Works on Her Game
Ana Ivanovic was spotted working on her tennis game a few weeks back in Key Biscayne, Florida. I suspect a good number of our readers might be interested in the photographs of said workout. It's been a tough road for the Serbian tennis star since she achieved the world's top ranking back in early 2008, with various early-round upsets and disappointing grand slam efforts causing her to slide all the way back to the seventh spot. The good news for most male viewers is win or lose Ana still looks very good doing it.
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By: Jay Tierney Comments (2) Tennis, Hot Chicks
Giants & Dodgers Fans Fight at AT&T Park
I just wrote the other day how San Francisco Giants games have become hard to watch, so it's not a huge surprise to see that the fans have taken to entertaining themselves. The above video was filmed on Friday evening during a Giants vs. Dodgers game and presumably these guys are not all backing the same team. Props to the security at AT&T Park for getting on top of this ruckus after... umm... 5 minutes? Also, I'm pretty sure that wasting an $8 cup of beer in a fight is poor management of one's personal finances.
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By: Jay Tierney Comments (0) Videos, Fans, Baseball

USC Song Girls Bikini Up for a Good Cause
The USC Song Girls hit the swimming pool in their bikinis again for the annual Swim with Mike charity fundraiser. I have no idea what the charity is for and I doubt anyone reading this really cares. Anyway, Busted Coverage has a bunch of cheerleader bikini goodness that's worth a gander.
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By: Jay Tierney Comments (3) Hot Chicks, Cheerleading
Tim Lincecum Gets Back on Track
If you're a Giants fan like me, the past several years have been fairly depressing. It's not just that the team has had a losing record for five straight seasons, it's how they lose that makes them so hard to watch. I can appreciate good pitching as much as any baseball fan, but seeing your team lose 2-1 while leaving 10-plus runners stranded on base gets tiresome rather quickly.

Of course, the one shining ray of hope for this franchise and the only player outside of Bonds who has made at least some of San Francisco's games watchable during this stretch is Tim Lincecum. The 2008 season was as dull as it gets, but when Lincecum was on the mound I'd always make sure to tune in. So when the reigning NL Cy Young winner started the 2009 season with the worst two starts of his major league career, needless to say it was more than a little deflating.

Fortunately, reports surfaced late last week that Linecum was suffering from some stomach ailments and would head into his third start feeling much better. Even though he had to settle for a no decision against Arizona as SF ultimately lost 2-0, Lincecum posted 8 shutout innings, allowing only 5 hits while striking out 13. I think it's safe to say he's back on track, so at least Giants fans still having something to feel good about.

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By: Jay Tierney Comments (0) Baseball
Sensitive Journalists Think Tiger Woods is Mean
There are few things more annoying in the world of sports than journalists standing up on their soap boxes to moralize at the very same heathen athletes they cover. This week's theme, in the aftermath of the Masters, has been how Tiger Woods is a bad guy because he's not all smiles and giggles during interviews and occasionally uses some foul language on the golf course.

There are several columns in this vein I could choose from, but the one I found most irritating was Ron Galloway's piece for The Huffington Post, ludicrously titled, Why Tiger Woods is Bad for Golf. Here's a few quotes from the article just to give you an idea:

As I watched the tournament later on TV, Tiger would openly mouth obscenities when he hit a bad shot. You might chalk it up to a bad day, but he has made a habit of this during his career, as well as tossing clubs around on occasion. It's expected behavior for him now. If the FCC fined Tiger for every time he blathered the F-word on national TV he'd probably have $25 million in penalties racked up by now.

Many people, including most fawning TV commentators, celebrate this as "passion" or "competitive drive," as if the rest of the PGA tour do not possess these qualities. The reality is that it that Tiger's "intensity" is simply the d-bag behavior of a coddled bully. This narcissism first evidenced itself a decade ago when he imperiously hung Fuzzy Zoeller out to dry for misinterpreted comments that offended Tiger's sensibilities. If you google "Fuzzy Zoeller," 10% of the responses reference this incident. All Tiger had to do was shrug it off. He chose not to, nearly destroying Zoeller's career.

So just to be clear, it's bad to curse, but making racially offensive comments is perfectly acceptable. Yes, Zoeller's comments were slightly misinterpreted, but he still shouldn't have made them and that's on him. It's absurd to suggest Tiger - barely old enough to order an alcoholic beverage at the time - was a jerk for how he didn't just come out and say what Zoeller said was okay. What a diva! Nevermind that Tiger did in fact make an effort to play down the situation, even though I'm sure on some level Zoeller's comments bothered him.
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By: Jay Tierney Comments (4) Sports Media, Golf
ESPN to Launch Sports Information Site
It's become altogether too easy (and boring) to rip on the World Wide Leader, so I was pleased to learn that ESPN is actually in the process of launching a new product that will basically be the Wikipedia of sports.
Curious where Shaquille O'Neal went to college? How many seasons Mickey Mantle played? ESPN wants to break the Google-to-Wikipedia flow chart that so many sports fans turn to for those kinds of answers.

So, it's set to launch ESPNDB.com (the DB stands for database) -- a site it hopes will serve as a sports encyclopedia-archive- statistical compendium. On one level, the goal is simply an ESPN-opedia -- although the content would be thoroughly fact-checked and would come from professionals. (Like Wikipedia, however, there will be some user-generated aspects.)

ESPNDB will debut sometime in the next few days in what is being termed a "pre-beta" stage. The venture has been in development for more than a year, and its operation falls under ESPN's digital media group.

The rise of a two-click solution for finding sports information online -- via a search on Google and then a click-through to Wikipedia -- cannot be understated as an impetus for ESPNDB.

"It was a significant factor," says Jim Noel, the vice president who oversees ESPNDB. "Wikipedia has experienced tremendous growth over the last five years ... and we believe that we can offer a better, more definitive, more credible resource for finding facts and figures and information than anybody else."

While ESPNDB's number of pages might someday be uncountable, initially it will focus simply on the coming NFL Draft. Still, even with that somewhat limited scope, there will be more than 500 pages, including profiles of 400 potential draftees.

While ESPNDB has two editorial staffers of its own, some of its content will come from ESPN's Stats & Information group. That unit is constantly generating a deluge of profiles, statistical packages and other data for multiple ESPN platforms. But much of its output ends up on the "cutting-room-floor," which could eventually be parked on ESPNDB.

After the draft, ESPNDB plans to build a similar reference hub for the NBA Finals in June. ESPNDB may be able to gain a leg up on Wikipedia and other reference sites with video it can offer culled from ESPN's vast library. (MediaPost)

This sounds like it could be pretty amazing if they don't screw it up, particularly if they decide to include a user-friendly data search option for all of the major sports. Because sometimes you just need to know how left-handed batters on American League teams fared during night games in June of 1972. All joking aside, this could be the best thing ESPN has done in years.
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By: Jay Tierney Comments (1) Sports Media
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