Friday, December 14, 2007

Mitchell Report for Dummies

If you want to read the whole entire Mitchell report, you can download it on It's 409 Adobe pages. Double spaced. Mitchell report.

This link is a very comprehensive analysis of the investigation by Howard Bryant. It will take about 20 minutes to read, but very worth it. Howard Bryant article.

This is a breakdown of some of the key listed, who they are and what the report says about them. Thumbnails of key players.

This is a list of all the players named. All the players named.

It is hard to open any web page today and not see an op-ed piece by some columnist taking shots at the report or the people around it. So I will do my best to avoid that. The report is more than just the name-listing that is making the headlines. It outlines MLB's previous drug policies and events that occured concerning MLB and all drugs, not just steroids. It lays out a timeline of steroid related incidents that led ultimately to this report.
It also gives recommendations as to how to go about fixing the problem and implement a stronger drug testing system.

The juice, pun intended, of the story comes from two former Team employees. Both "testified" with law enforcement present because both are believed to be facing charges stemming from their activities. Not exactly the forthcoming volunteers Mitchell and his crew were probably hoping for.

Op-ed (couldn't help it): We will no doubt read headlines of denials. Similar to the ones we heard from Pete Rose and Marion Jones (and CJ Hunter) . And to a lesser extent, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi and Michale Vick. You really can't believe anything anymore, unless it comes from The Loop and The Lou. We have fact checkers workinng around the clock.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

R.I.P. Chip Reese (1951 - 2007)

Poker great David "Chip" Reese died of a heart attack at age 56 last week (as usual we're breaking the story).

Some facts about Chip Reese:
  • The casual fan has most likely never heard of Reese. Although he played for years in the biggest cash games in the world, he preferred to avoid the spotlight (for the most part, spotlight = tournaments). This was mostly due to the fact that a) he cut his teeth in a Las Vegas with a heavy mob influence; a town in which you tried your best to hide your winnings, and b) he's always found the cash games more profitable (I once read a story about Chip using the dinner break of one of the rare tournaments he played to jump in a cash game. He won a pot in the game that was bigger than first prize for the tourney). He entered a few tournaments later in his career for his children, who wanted to see him on TV.
  • Reese went to Las Vegas in the early 70's on his way to Stanford Business School after graduating from Dartmouth. He arrived with $400 and planned to stay the weekend. After 5 weeks he and a partner had built their bankroll up to $60,000. It was at this point that he noticed some of the best of the best (Doyle Brunson, Puggy Pearson, Johnny Moss) playing a game of Stud Hi Lo Split. Having played a lot of this game in college, he noticed that the pros weren't playing that well - at least he thought he could beat them. He convinced his partner to let him take most of the bankroll into the game (the minimum buy-in was $30,000). He bought in on Thursday afternoon and didn't leave until Sunday night. With $364,000. Suffice to say, he never made it to Stanford.
  • Many of the top pros consider Chip to be one of the best players to have ever lived.
  • He was known for his ability to keep his cool. He had excellent "steam control". He also knew how to push it when he was winning (it wasn't unheard of for him to play multi-day sessions), and leave when he was losing (he once left a game when he was $700,000 behind to go see his son's Little League game).
  • I heard Reese tell the story of his longest session ever - 5 days. At the end of the marathon session, he called his girlfriend up to cash his winnings and drive him home. As he hit the winter air on the way out to the car, he got a 16th wind and took his girlfriend out to dinner and a movie.
  • He had a 13,000 sq ft house in Las Vegas (as well as other homes around the country).
  • For all his success in poker, he and Brunson had many business ventures together that failed. Fortunately for them, they always had poker.
  • He won the 2006 H.O.R.S.E. tournament. H.O.R.S.E. stands for limit Hold'em, pot-limit Omaha, Razz, Stud, stud Eight or better. The games rotated every 40 minutes. The diversity in games as well as the $50,000 buy-in made for probably the most elite tournament field of the year. 1st prize netted him $1.8 million.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Putin to Chavez: Don't Be Player Hater

In recent news, Russia and Venezuela both held democratic elections for new dictators. Russians enthusiastically elected Vladimir Putin to an indefinite period of dictatorship, but a similar post was not awarded to dictatorial candidate Hugo Chavez by the Venezuelan public (or as Chavez refers to them, "los estupidos").

Asked if he would ever consider relinquishing any power, Putin chuckled, "It will be warm day in Siberia before that happen, comrade."

When asked for thoughts on Chavez's defeat, Putin mused, "How can he expect to be dictator when he can't even fix election?" Asked if Putin had any words of advice for Chavez, Putin reflected for a moment, then offered, "Start with basics. Kill journalists if they question you. Poison rivals in other countries. Rewrite history and make your country hate United States."

"Done, done, working on it, and done," responded Chavez while feeding his pet bird Pancho Villa. "These things take time, man." Asked how he was taking the defeat, Chavez sighed, "You know, man, you take it one day at a time, man. Senor Ahmedinejhad gave me a call and told me a couple Bush jokes. I watched some episodes of Bill Maher I had Tivo'd. I executed my campaign manager. You know, man."

"But it's not over. There will be another dictator election in a few years, maybe next year if my death squad does its freaking job."

Until then, most of us can rest assured that Venezuela will not be an autocracy in the near future, and that alone may push the light sweet crude down to dirt cheap levels of $85 / barrel. Thank you, citizens of Venezuela, thank you. (Thank you means Gracias).