LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 26: Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin at Lucky is held by hot walker Jose Moralles while being bathed after morning exercise at Churchill Downs on April 26, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Sports Meme Power Rankings: Kentucky Derby Would Like You To Stop By And Say 'Hello'

Spencer Hall's Sports Meme Power Rankings list the top ten most-discussed sports stories on the internet and beyond each week. These are determined by a rigorous process that incorporates a complex formula involving none of your business.

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Sports Meme Power Rankings: Kentucky Derby Would Like You To Stop By And Say 'Hello'

ONE: UP LIKE A LEAPING DEER AND DON'T BE TOO IMPRESSED THEY JUMP IN FRONT OF MOVING CARS ALL THE TIME: The NBA Playoffs, "Fear the Deer," and Preparing For the Evental Mascot Dunk-caused Death.  

The Durantula is alternately on the prowl or being blown out by Kobe Bryant (who in this casting would be the Durantula Hawk, I guess), Kevin Garnett is probably berating a Starbucks' barista for their lack of intensity in making his quadruple latte during his wait for the second round, and Lebron James' elbow is staying busy Tweeting about how doctors smell like apricots. Every doctor I've ever had smelled like gin and Swisher Sweets, but I make a policy of never paying more than $75 for an uninsured doctor's visit. (This life lesson brought to you by The Wisdom of Ron Artest, or "How I Quit Being a B**** And Learned To Be A Boss."  Available in stapled form from Ron Artest. Mail him like 20 or 30 bucks, and he'll get you one in one to 80 business days. He's busy, man.)

The real story, besides fevered speculation about Lebron James' eventual whereabouts, is a nation watching as an athlete stretched himself to the limit, defied the commonly accepted bounds of human performance, and did what had been thought impossible. I speak, of course, of Bango the Buck and his amazing ladder dunk. 

Bango went there, but did he have to? Has he now inspired a series of ever-more-dangerous mascot stunts and dares? Should the federal government step in before an NBA audience has to watch a mascot rip an arm or leg off in the basket? Mitch Albom will ask all of these questions in an important, can't miss column, and Skip Bayless will blame the mascot's weak connective tissues and bones as well as his lack of character for the accident. Because of both the repellent commentary the tragedy will generate and the impending daredevil death of an NBA mascot, this will end in tears. 

TWO: BOUNCING UP LIKE A FLUTTER OF FANCY HATS: The Kentucky Derby. Horse racing, or at least following horse racing like a proper sports fan, is something you only have to do once a year. Think of it like a visit to a deranged, terrifying old relative who likes guns, liquor, and off-brand Indian pharmaceuticals purchased off the internet: chances are you'll come out of the experience terrified, excited, and with plenty of good stores to share around the ol' water cooler the following Monday. 

Maybe "crazy relative" is a bad comparison here. Sports' gun-toting unstable auntie is boxing, while horse racing is more like your charming great-grandfather who woke up wearing a full suit with bowtie. Just drop in on him, okay? He likes the company, it's only two minutes or so of your time gone, and the rest of the year you can go back to the Common Sports Fans' Racing Interest Cycle: 


This year's Derby has been ramped up to "legitimately intriguing" by a storm of confounding factors: the huge 20 horse field, the scratching of Derby favorite Eskenderya due to an injury this week, and the drawing of the post position for current favorite Lookin' At Lucky. The last Derby winner to run out of the post to victory was Ferdinand in 1986. Just skip the Billy Bush red carpet and NBC pre-race until the last second, and the whole thing will be painless, we assure you, especially after one or eight juleps. 

THREE: UP LIKE A HIGH STICK TO THE FACE: The NHL Playoffs, or "The Dessert Course Of the Washington, DC Sports Misery Feast." The sporting misery of the Greater DC area, already exacerbated by Daniel Snyder's ongoing whoring of every atom of the Redskins' franchise, the flailing Wizards, and the pleasantly lifeless Nats (their 12-10 start will only make things more painful later), hit a newfound low Wednesday night with the Caps' Game 7 loss to the Canadiens. 

/marks this on the graph we keep of DC sports misery

/instantly blocks rhetorical attempt by Boston fans to claim that no one has experienced misery like theirs 

/bow to your sensei

It's not even like this was a collapse by a one seed to a seven seed in the playoffs; no, this was a long surprise-turned-horrorshow, the equivalent of a pleasant afternoon cruise on the water gone horribly wrong. And when the rescue boats got in sight, the sharks showed up, and the Caps could see their salvation taunting them on the horizon as they took their last breaths. Losing in four straight would have been simple collapse, but losing in seven after being up 3-1 is extended, agonizing failure illustrated. 

We jump on that wound enough? Salt added? Good. Citizens of DC, take heart: you at least have a crushing hour and fifteen minute commute through hellish traffic to look forward to, and that will surely take your mind off the idle fantasy of killing someone just to feel alive. 

FOUR: UP LIKE THE RATES YOUR MOTHER IS CHARGING, AM I RIGHT? Your mother: has she ever thought about being a prostitute?  I've been asked some odd and invasive questions during job interviews. Once, during an ill-fated flirtation with the CIA, I was asked if we'd ever been a member of a domestic terrorist organization, whether I was willing to spend several months out of contact with my family working in dangerous situations, and whether I thought I could do things I thought were morally repugnant in the name of my country. The CIA has killed people. They have to ask these kind of things. 

They never, ever asked me if my mother was a prostitute, because nowhere in the vast array of things you might have to do for the CIA do they mention "catching a football at an elite level." You may have never heard of it, but the very contact with a prostitute causes a medical condition known as "whorefingers," a debilitating condition severely impacting the ability of an adult to catch a football. In Bryant's case, it could have been inherited, and Ireland was simply doing due diligence for the Dolphins by asking. 

This message brought to you by the Whorefingers Awareness Association of America, and by The Bill Parcells School of Football: Hating The Game With A Burning Passion Since 1941. 

FIVE: UP LIKE THE NEEDLE OF A SCALE SCREAMING FOR MERCY: Jamarcus Russell Hangs By A Thread (Made Of Bacon.) At 300 pounds and climbing, Jamarcus Russell is well on his way to becoming the biggest bust in the history of pro football by weight, though if he just adds another twenty pounds his career as a lineman could flourish if only Oakland would open their eyes and see the budding left tackle they have in their hands. An achievement like this calls for a cocktail: The Jamarcus Hustle. 

Take a 32 oz Big Gulp cup, fill with crushed ice, and add the following: 

  • 5 parts vodka
  • 3 parts banana liqueur 
  • Top with whole heavy cream 
  • Garnish with entire Cinnabon on rim of cup, whipped cream on top, and bacon bits sprinkled on top.
Serve cold and enjoy. For extra verisimilitude, have Tom Cable punch you in the face in between sips. Suggested sale price? $34 million dollars each. 

SIX: UP LIKE TWO MIDDLE FINGERS: Jose Mourinho taunts an entire stadium. Inter Milan defeated Barcelona on the hallowed soil of Camp Nou to advance to the Champions League final, but not before Jose Mourinho, Inter's manager, had a Vince McMahon moment in front of the Barca crowd. 


Ahh, sportsmanship. We should all be happy this situation was not reversed, because Inter fans like to throw both heavy things and things what make fire. Inter will play Bayern Munich for the title. Don't weep for Barcelona, btw: they turned the sprinklers on during Inter's celebrations. 

SEVEN: UP LIKE THE SLOW WALK OF AN OVERPAID ANCIENT DH: Major League Baseball continues its struggle to make the All-Star Game relevant EVEN BETTER THAN IT ALREADY IS!  Now they'll allow the use of DHs for both teams and include other measures to protect pitchers, which is just part of a long slide into the All-Star game being a lineup of nine DHs who can barely walk hitting long fly balls off a pitching machine. As absurd as this sounds, this is how MLB determines homefield advantage in the World Series. No, seriously, they're still doing that. George Will's head just exploded, and it was the most boring head explosion you will ever see. 

EIGHT: UP LIKE JOHANNESBURG HOTEL RATES: The World Cup Approaches, and With Ample Parking.  The customary jitters over attendance have already begun, but minus the normal panic over whether facilities are ready. According to SA officials the stadiums are all in working order, meaning the graft-ish overages on construction finally turned corruption into rapid productivity. This may sound odd, but it's the same dynamic that has been keeping New Jersey roads in working condition for over a hundred years now.  

FiFA also announced their official World Cup song, which turned out to be an odd choice, and nowhere near as awesome as Fat Les'  "Vindaloo," the gold standard for all soccer songs ever. 

AND WE ALL LIKE VIN-DA-LOOOOO. Keep trying, soccer bards. The bar remains set at a lofty height. 

NINE: UP LIKE THE REGISTERED AND CORRECTED AGE OF A GUANGZHOU GYMNAST: China Loses Bronze Medal. It took ten years, but Dong Fangxiao's 2000 gymnastics bronze has been stripped by the IOC after it was confirmed that she was underage at the time of competition. Just typing "underage Chinese Gymnast"  makes us feel Chris Hansen dirty, but this story does remind you of a legitimate point: the Chinese are evil cheaters when it comes to sports, something Americans would never, ever do. Also, seriously, Chris Hansen wants you to sit down and have a discussion with him in the kitchen. 


TEN: HOLDING STEADY LIKE THE HANDS OF A GARDENER/FORMER PRO BOWL QB: The Orbiting and Ever Present Brett Favre PR Death Star/ Country Bear Jamboree. Did someone actually write a Brett Favre story this week when the quarterback/land baron was at home spraying weeds? You're damn right someone did, because a week without a Brett Favre story is a week without sunshine for the sad, tired journalists of this world. 

Exiting this week: Big Ben, anything golf-y, hammered Jerry Jones. 

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