1. STANDING TALL WITH 'HELLO MY NAME IS SWAGGER': The World Series (Last week: 1). The World Series and its universal appeal continue to reign this week in the SMPR, extending its reign geographically from New York all the way to Philadelphia, a whopping distance encompassing all of 95 miles or so of American territory. Unfortunately for you, the national sports fans, the bundle of nerves encompassing a good bit of our country's nervous system lies in the space surrounding this area, and here we are paying undue amounts of attention to the 19th century's hottest pasttime, including Nick Swisher's advertised swagger:
The Fightins', who in case you did not know it happen to be slightly enthusiastic Philly fans, have this retort to Swisher's swaggerlicious lockerroom graphics.
Just for your amusement, check out Nick Swisher’s swaggerlicious career postseason numbers: A .162 avg in 23 games? Holy f---, that’s swagger! Howsabout a nice THREE runs batted in? SWAGGER! .265 SLG%? I’m surprised he hasn’t OD’d on swagger yet! Stupid mohawk? TRENDY SWAGGER!!!
They might be biased, but you decide for yourself. Between Tim Kurkjian analyzing the Brett Myers/Cole Hamels feud like Christiane Amanpour breaking down an internecine Fatah/Hezbollah tiff, the New York Post continuing its slow slide into printing news using only photoshopped pictures without words ("New York's Only Post-Verbal Newspaper!"), and A-Rod's centaur fantasies.
Thankfully, our national nightmare ended Wednesday night with Yankees win, saving us from Bud Selig arbitrarily deciding to end it sometime in December with a home run derby in the bottom of the 12,873th. Enjoy the offseason now that your brain is paralyzed by the idea of Alex Rodriguez prancing in a morning meadow, eating steroid-laden oats with Kate Hudson on his back. Good luck sleeping with that vision in your brain.
2. UP AND PREPARING TO FIRE: The Orbiting and Ever-Present Brett Favre PR Death Star/Country Bear Jamboree (Last week: 7). And now, Jon Gruden on this week's rise of the NFL's favorite undead storyline, the childlike orbital death station that is the myth/man named Brett Favre.
"You gotta love Brett Favre. He's a PLAYER. He likes THROWING THE FOOTBALL. For him to play FOOTBALL at this age is JUST WOW IMPRESSIVE. Good football players THROW THE BALL and DON'T MAKE TURNOVERS. Right here he THROWS THE BALL FOR A COMPLETION and DOESN"T MAKE A TURNOVER. He's SOMETHING ELSE."
Jon Gruden, professional broadcaster and man capable of speaking in all-caps out loud. You can try to kill the Brett Favre Death Star, but it only makes him stronger, or at least until many Bothan spies die to discover his weak spot, which happens to be "throwing the ball wildly into triple coverage in big games despite having an amazing defense and pounding running game behind him." Which, when the time comes in this storyline, he will do.
3. UP AND LOOKING FOR VISINE: Brandon Spikes and the SEC's Hottest New Trend, Eye-gouging (Last week: NR). Florida linebacker and aspiring optometrist Brandon Spikes was caught on replay attempting to gouge Georgia running back Washaun Ealey's eyes out during a contentious Georgia-Florida game. This shook loose a veritable pinata of predictable responses: Florida is out of control, "they did it first," and then the only surprise in the entire situation, the contention by the gougee, Washaun Ealey, that Spikes did not deserve any sort of suspension for the incident whatsoever.
Spikes is suspended for this week's matchup against Vandy. He will spend the week in the meantime considering the harm his actions have caused and the new possibilities he has in the field of competitive wrestling.
4. DROPPING LIKE A POTENTIAL INTERCEPTION IN CARLOS ROGERS' STONE HANDS: Dan Snyder and the Agony of Being the Washington Redskins (Last week: 2). Down this week but not forgotten, the Raiders of Prince George's County fall down the rankings, but not without help from their owner in keeping their misery somewhat in the spotlight.
I feel sorry for the fans," Snyder said. "And we're very, very appreciative of our great, loyal fan base. And I'm understanding. I mean, we just feel terrible. We're disappointed and we're embarrassed. And we hope to get it going soon. We're disappointed."
Snyder then asked the reporter for his standard $4,000 per minute appearance fee and left in a huff when his demands were rebuffed. The news crew was then asked to leave. Shortly afterwards the hounds were released, and the journalist was devoured on site. A bill for the cleanup has been sent to the journalist's family.
5. UP AND KNOCKING FOOLS OUT OF THE OCTAGON: FEDOR OMG FEDOR -- Fedor Emilanenko's Upcoming Appearance on Strikeforce (Last week: NR). Fedor Emilianenko is fighting Saturday night versus a guy who, as recently as April, was changing tires at a local Sam's Club. This means a couple of things. You may want to consider any disputes over billing at your local Sam's Club tire shop a bit more carefully than before, and that pay-per-view numbers will be through the roof as Fedor probably beats the mohawk off Brett Rogers.
Evidence of Fedor's immortal badassness follows:
Abundant subplots surround the fight, not the least of which being Fedor's ongoing relationship with Strikeforce and UFC's unsuccessful negotiations with M1 this summer to bring the "Scary Russian Mike Tyson Who Can Choke You and Kick You Unconscious, Too" to UFC. As Bloody Elbow says: if you can't beat them, use them to promote your fight on a rival circuit. The five spot may seem high for a Strikeforce fight (as opposed to a UFC bout), but if it does, then you're a wuss who doesn't pay attention to MMA and maybe you should speak to our associate Mr. Bas Rutten ... KICK TO THE GROIN DANGITY DANG DANG DANG.
6. UP AND TALKIN' BOUT PRACTICE: Allen Iverson Is A Ball Of Emotions Trapped In A Glass Box of Discontent (Last week: NR). Allen Iverson continues to be an emotionally healthy man deeply in touch with his feelings, already expressing his deep discontent with being a sixth man in Memphis. This is already being tamped down by team officials, but don't worry, Memphis Grizzlies: this being 2009, Allen Iverson being discontented is the Saw 6 of storylines -- repetitive, in it for the cash, and another illustration in the law of diminishing returns.
7. DOWN WITH COUNSELING AND TRYIN' TO MAKE IT WORK, BABY: Larry Johnson (Last week: 5). Last week's five-spot sinks to seven this week as Larry Johnson, Twittering gay-basher and one-time beloved Chiefs running back, is now the subject of a petition to prevent him from becoming the franchise's all-time rusher. When asked to comment on the petition, Johnson turned all formal press inquiries over to his spokesperson Drew Gooden.
8. UP AND WAITING AT THE GATES OF ESPN IN A MARDI GRAS FLOAT: The Saints Imminent Undefeated Season (Last week: NR). Get on this investment opportunity early, and beat the rush to the gates, since despite being the team of the moment in pro football their name does not appear once on ESPN.com's NFL page. Get on the ground floor before Drew Brees supplants Brett Favre in ESPN's Hall of Lofty Names, which should only happen when he's five years past his prime, clearly in decline, and living off accomplishments made 15 years ago. THEN you can begin talking about how unqualifiably incredible he is as a quarterback.
9. UP LIKE THE HAIRSPRAYED BANGS OF A CASINO BRAWLIN' WOMAN: Tim Floyd, Peacekeeper (Last week: NR). Tim Floyd, keeping the peace by stepping in and almost getting clocked over the head with a chair in a fight in the Morongo Casino, showing that he's on his way to redemption by breaking up one white trash dispute at a time across this fine nation of ours. (As long as they're located in casinos.) (Which is still quite a lot of fights.)
10. INTO THE LIST LIKE A FRESHLY APPROVED CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION: Meb Keflezighi, American (Last week: NR). Both Darren Rovell and SBNation's own Sean Keeley noted the recent American-ness of NYC marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea, but became an American citizen in 1998. Rovell called Keflezighi "a ringer," Keeley suggested "I suppose if you can't beat'em, naturalize them," and everyone dealt with the legitimate question of whether American track has to import overseas talent in order to compete in international marathons like civilized, rational adults. WE KID. Rovell and Keeley are obviously both despicable nativists who deserve to be covered in bacon and then thrown into a pit of hungry minks, obviously.
FALLING MERCIFULLY FROM THE LIST: Steve Phillips, presumably having a quiet cup of coffee by himself in sex addiction rehab and no, ma'am, you may not sit down here ... SEC Officiating Conspiracies, assuming that they now have better things to do like rig the Federal Reserve's interest rates for the Illuminati ... Andre Agassi and his methscapades ... Bob Griese's insensitivity to the culinary preferences of Colombians ... and Chris Berman's Outdated Cultural Palette, mostly because we didn't have the stomach to watch him this week.
JUST MISSING THE LIST: FK Rubin Kazan's ongoing run through the Champions' League ... John Kruk's Beard of 58 Huge and Unruly Hairs.