Because you got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to use the damned hand soap...
A hearty welcome back to all you Cottage-heads out there. Let's have a hand for the new house hygiene technician, Kenny Rogers.
Get Your Hands Dirty, A: Rogers landed in the national spotlight this week after Fox cameras showed a suspicious foreign substance on his pitching hand during the second game of the World Series. Rupert Murdoch immediately announced plans to package the footage with Alien Autopsy and Did We Land on the Moon? as part of a three-hour network extravaganza. Michael Moore will host.
Get Your Hands Dirty, B: The Detroit lefty identified the mystery spot as a clump of dirt. Other observers said it looked much more like pine tar. A preliminary U.S. intelligence report was inconclusive, but failed to rule out the possibility that the substance was in fact enriched uranium.
Get Your Hands Dirty, B.1: If you can figure out how to work Valerie Plame and Mark Fainaru-Wada into a pithy follow-up, you get to write next week's filler.
Get Your Hands Dirty, B.2: And if you can get Jim Leyland and Saddam Hussein into the same sentence...that's just weird.
Get Your Hands Dirty, C: Tony LaRussa wasn't buying Rogers' explanation, and it's hard not to respect the opinion of so venerable a baseball icon. After all, anyone who managed to turn a blind eye to Mark McGwire's two-decade transformation into the Incredible Hulk obviously knows a thing or two about cheating.
Get Your Hands Dirty, C.1: Speaking of which, is it possible to reference 'pine tar' and 'Incredible Hulk' in the same column space without mentioning George Brett?
Get Your Hands Dirty, C.2: Apparently not.
In less pressing matters, American ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad laid out an ambitious series of goals for the floundering Iraqi government this week. Some experts called the ambassador's plan—which includes provisions for disarming militias, quelling insurgents, and reaching an accord on the distribution of oil revenues within the next twelve months—grossly optimistic. Khalilzad responded by saying that he is as sure of his plan as he is of his preseason Super Bowl pick, the Oakland Raiders.
Speaking of desert boondoggles: When pressed on the issue, Khalilzad reiterated his faith in the leadership skills of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Dennis Green immediately submitted a resume to the embassy in Baghdad.
Back in Washington, President Bush qualified his rhetoric on the war, saying that his insistence on 'staying the course' has been widely misinterpreted by the American public. 'Stay the course,' he explained, never actually meant stay the course; it meant, well...it meant something else. When asked for further comment, the President immediately ended the press conference and referred all subsequent questions to his new press secretary, Kim Etheredge.
Elsewhere on the home front, Barack Obama hinted that he's still open to the possibility of running for President in 2008. Obama, of course, would be the country's first black Commander-in-Chief. Early reports were that the Illinois congressman would look to bolster his racial profile by hiring Shane Battier as a campaign consultant.
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And because we're already through the looking glass on this one: Political analysts were divided as to how Obama's candidacy would affect Hillary Clinton in her bid to become the first WNBA-endorsed President of the United States. The New York senator issued a press release stating that, Barack or no Barack, she's still got next.
Finally this week, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association came to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. At press time, George Mitchell was investigating claims that negotiators on both sides had consumed copious amounts of coffee in hammering out the final draft of the deal. Details to follow.
Frappuccino, anyone?: Only kidding, obviously. Those Starbucks executives are way too well-dressed to be drug dealers. Just like Jeffrey Skilling is way too well-dressed to be a thief.
But of course: The beat goes on.
And that's all for now, Bleacher Bums. Stop in again next Friday, when we'll have Mel Kiper in the studio for a special Election Day preview. 'Tis the season...