"Countdown": The MLB Offseason Version

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I can only imagine Keith Olbermann's opening monologue covering these topics. Enjoy.

Tonight on Countdown. . . .

Story No. 5: With Major League Baseball's arbitration hearings approaching, Phillies' first baseman Ryan Howard asks for an 80 percent pay raise. That's right, 80 percent. So much for tightening your belts, America.

Fans can't afford to go to the games and you hit .251 last year and struck out 199 times. Yet you still have the audacity to ask for $18 million which happens to be $4.2 million more than the guy who beat you out for the MVP last year: Albert Pujols. Yes, that Albert Pujols. He of the .357 batting average and only 54 strikeouts playing the whole season with a bad elbow.

Story No. 4: Commissioner Bud Selig says he's proud of where the game is at. Really? With the Yankees paying $423 million for three players, no payroll cap, free agents out of work, fans not being able to afford tickets, and saying you have no comment on competitive balance and performance enhancing drugs is being proud of the game? I guess we should re-name the new ballpark in Queens "Taxpayers Field" and then come back and ask if you have any opinion then.

Third: President Bush does something right. That's right—he didn't pardon Roger Clemens. The man who's at the heart of the Mitchell Report, a Congressional hearing, and a federal investigation into lying under oath didn't get a pardon. Guess that's another thing he and Barry Bonds have in common besides 'roids, extramarital affairs, no job in baseball, and a public image in the toilet.

Our second story in tonight's Countdown: Where have you gone John Smoltz? To Boston, that is. Not to win a World Series, but because the $11 million you collected while sitting on the bench while the Braves lost last year, coupled with an incentive-laden contract of about $7-$8 million, meant Atlanta was doubting you. Just when you thought maybe there were still a few classy, devoted players who got it in professional sports, Mike Hampton turns out to be only the first Braves pitcher who took his money like Lee Raymond and ran.

And finally, in our top story, Jay McGwire bench presses brother Mark under the bus—sort of. Apparently, andro wasn't enough for the retired slugger, who probably can debate with former teammate Jose Canseco as to who had the most juiced home runs in their careers. Last I checked, Mark, you dodged the questions under oath in Congress four years ago, so you had plenty of time to clear things up. It's not Jay's fault you only got 21 percent of the vote for the Hall of Fame last month. Are you listening Buster Olney?

That's tonight, on "Countdown."

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