As a special treat, I flew the judges down here to Florida, where it is absolutely beautiful, to go over this week's submissions.

It was a good week. We had plenty to discuss.

Without further ado...

--The bronze goes to Islander505, who was not pleased to learn of Joba Chamberlain's weight gain.

In the main page article, Cashman opines, ""He says he gained some muscle," while Joba claims that the "gym" (TV room full of clothes hangers?) he added was the "best thing I ever did."

Pitchers/players who come to camp in shape don't wear heavy-duty sweatshirts (tents) the first day of workouts (a la Joba in the accompanying picture from the article). They'll wear a standard jersey to demonstrate,"Hey coach! Look at me!! I'm in shape!!. (a la the other guy - Hughes? - in the picture).

Sad Joba....sad......ya coulda won a spot in the rotation.

--The silver goes to Richie G., who crafted a fairy tale of sorts when we discussed whether Albert Pujols' situation would be a distraction:

It's June 14, 2011. Chris Carpenter has an 0-and-2 count on Alfonso Soriano. Molina calls for a fastball up and in. Carpenter looks in, goes to the windup and starts thinking: "Albert met with the media today. He said he just wants to finish out this season and then decide. Wait, what am I..."

The fastball is down the middle. Soriano lays down a perfect bunt and is safe at first. Lou Piniella, who was re-hired two days earlier, starts going nuts because Soriano bunted with two strikes. However he quickly forgives Soriano as he takes second when he realizes Aaron Miles is not covering the base.

Asked later, Miles says, "Who could cover second when Albert is talking to the media about his future? I know I can't."

99 percent of "distractions" aren't. Now, if his family is ill, if he's personally in legal trouble, etc., then maybe. But if McGwire's drug info comes out, if Pujols gives an interview in every city and says, "I've always liked downtown Kansas City,"...I'm sorry, it will not affect one pitch, one swing, one fielding play the entire season.

--And the gold goes to Steve from South Amboy, a long-time commenter and first-time winner, who addressed the latest with the Wilpons and Bernie Madoff:

Everyone who invested with Madoff should be considered equally responsible for his or her investment decisions. The returns were unrealistic by anyone's arithmetic. The investors were people with considerable assets, and they should not have been that oblivious. The Wilpons are no more responsible for Madoff's actions than the people who are suing him.

--The Mets say their ticket sales are going well. Hmm...

--Rest in peace, Joe Frazier. I'm not quite old enough to remember even watching Frazier manage the Mets. He's probably best known as the answer to the trivia question, "Whom did Joe Torre replace as the Mets' manager in 1977?"

Torre often told the story of how that happened, even though it didn't make him look great: The Mets were in Philadelphia in late May when the team's higher-ups summoned him back to New York, to discuss him retiring as a player and becoming the team's manager. It was a good discussion, obviously.

Upon Torre's return, Frazier told Torre that he knew he wasn't in his hotel room and demanded to know where he was. Torre, rather than giving up his location, simply paid the requisite fine.

--Over in Tampa, Erik Boland wrote about Mariano Rivera and Russell Martin, while Joe Girardi unsurprisingly said the Yankees' open starting rotation jobs would most likely go to Ivan Nova or veterans Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova. The higher-regarded kids - Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman - need more time.


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