Not too grueling a work shift for the judges, who had to sift through just one week's worth of comment for this week's medals.

The bronze goes to Richie G., for arguing the merits of signing pitchers like Rich Harden and Ben Sheets.

Ken, last year, you talked about how it's OK to overpay for one year because its such a low risk. I know Sheets was HUGELY overpaid, but I really think the risk/reward was huge. Same thing with Harden.

Just look at the Red Sox. They took a couple of failed gambles last year and they are fine. Yes they are a better organization, but the point is even if they weren't, the signing of Smoltz and Penny isn't hurting them.
 

--The silver goes to Islander505, who, having lived a rich life, responded to Bill Lee's latest comments with a personal anecdote:

I had the pleasure of facing Bill Lee in an MSBL game in PHX a few years back. Lined a base hit to center 1st time up. Being the 3rd baseman for my team that day, and a LH'ed hitter....when I got to 1st base I yelled over to him..."That was for Graig Nettles!"

Next time up, he drilled me (as much as us old guys can "drill" anyone at our age) in the buttocks. When I got to 1st base, he yelled over to me, "That was for the helluva it!

--And the gold goes to NaOH. This was not an easy decision, I'm told by sources. Never in the Olympics' great, grand history has one person won two golds in one season, and NaOH won this year's opener. But after a heated debate, the judges decided to break precedent, because NaOH's parable about the two New York teams was just that good.

"Okay, who's next?" says the man behind the deli counter.

Two men start to order at the same time. The short man with bags under his eyes and a receding hairline gestures to the gray-haired Hispanic gentleman. "Please, go ahead. I can wait."

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The Hispanic man steps forward. "I'll take the Cora on rye. But go easy on the batting average, on-base percentage and the slugging. Really, I just want a little cheese in the middle. And a really, really thin schmear of defense."

He turns to the baggy-eyed man and continues speaking, "You know, it's time to eat, but I'm not really hungry. It's like I just feel as if I should get something even though it's not something I need. Eh, whatever. Company's buying. No big deal."

"And what about you?" says the deli worker to the baggy-eyed man waiting patiently.

The man thinks to himself, trying to decide. He has very little money to spend, and he knows that this meal, while not his last, is an important one. Then he notices the chalkboard with the daily specials.

"May I have a Winn Club, please. As you usually make it, with a decent amount of meat, and topped with a touch of on-base percentage, batting average, and power. Actually one small adjustment, please — top it with a little defense, too."

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As the men wait, the cashier rings up their bills. "That'll be two million for each of you," she says.

The baggy-eyed man takes out his wallet to pay. The Hispanic man is in another world. He hasn't heard the cashier because he saw the newspaper rack has another back-page article about his employer. As has become common, everyone in the organization is being mocked and derided.

The man behind the counter wraps up the sandwiches. "You guys want pickles?"

"Yes. Thank you," says the baggy-eyed man.

The Hispanic man remains lost, transfixed, even less hungry than when he placed his order a short minute ago. He can't believe his employer, for whom he has proudly spent the last five years as a product manager, has become a laughingstock. Everyone in the company has worked so hard.

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Oh, sure, a few guys had to take extended sick leave, and maybe the recruiting fairs the past couple of Junes weren't too productive, but it's not like these people don't take pride in their work. And the new office space they moved into last year is beautiful. It should help with client meetings. And the vending machines! If people only knew what went into getting food like that on site. And the grand lobby is another great lure to the office.

"Nobody understands," he thinks to himself. But now, today, only one question remains: Does he want a pickle?

All anybody knows is he's in a pickle — well immersed, acidic and filled to the gills in whatever homemade brine he's concocted. Recipe? No one's ever seen one, but he claims it's perfect, and after five years, no proof exists.

The man behind the counter is getting antsy. He doesn't have time for this. The baggy-eyed man notices. "I'll take his pickle."

And with that, the baggy-eyed man secures his second deal of the day, all in less than five minutes.

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--Here's my story from today about the Mets and John Smoltz.

--Meant to link this a few days ago: Keith Law's organizational rankings, regarding minor-league talent. Check out his comments about (and ranking of) the Mets.

--Interesting piece here about Andre Dawson's relationship with the Cubs. It's too bad that Dawson is unhappy that he will have an Expos hat on his Hall of Fame plaque. Being a skeptic, you wonder how much, if at all, such a decision will hurt Dawson's wallet. After all, being a Cubs Hall of Famer has to be more valuable than being an Expos Hall of Famer.