Your morning roundup for June 6, the day we learned the value of Bernie Madoff's underwear. H/T @bubbaprog, proprietor of mocksession.com, for accurately predicting what might tickle us this morning (and others for sending in their own grabs).
What we watched: There is a strange sensation to watching a tennis match in which Roger Federer is considered the underdog, and that was certainly his role in the French Open final yesterday. It felt premature for the commentators (and the fans) to develop the narrative that we were watching a man past his prime attempt to take down younger, more powerful players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. For most of the past decade, Federer's prime has seemed eternal. But even as he dropped an early 5-2 lead to lose two close first sets (5-7, 6-7 (3)), and even as he stretched the third set in the final against Nadal to 12 games, the 29-year-old constantly appeared a step and a thought behind the 25-year-old, who covered ground in the 6-1 fourth set just as effortlessly as he had in the first three.
Tennis has never been especially tolerant of aging, but for Federer, the man with the most Grand Slam titles in the sport's history, we want it to be just another point he can finesse his way through. The Swiss has a summer left to showcase the game he brought to Paris these past few weeks, and perhaps some more seasons ahead — but yesterday made it clear that if in fact he must leave, then he deserves an exit worthy of his remarkable career. Perhaps like the one that Sampras crafted for himself ten years ago. (Emma Carmichael)
What we're watching: As you read these words, Inmate No. 09R3260 at a prison facility in Upstate New York is finishing his breakfast. He will have his oatmeal, toast, milk, coffee, and apple juice, perhaps eating slowly to savor the taste, perhaps shoveling it down in a hurry. Because when he finishes eating, he will be escorted to an on-site processing center where he will be given a change of clothes — civilian clothes. He will be handed $40 plus whatever's left in his prison account. He will be unceremoniously shown out the front door, to a waiting car with his lawyer and family. He will be wished the best, and neither he nor the Oneida Correction Facility hope they will meet again.
He will not be home-free yet. He must satisfy stringent requirements for his parole, including regular counseling and drug testing. He will immediately need to begin the search for a job, as gainful employment — or at least an honest, sustained attempt — is a must for the parolee. That could be a problem for the former inmate No. 09R3260, Plaxico Burress, because his chosen profession isn't hiring at the moment. (Barry Petchesky)
Our very own Polk Panther's Tressel/Wal-Mart photoshop is now the icon of OSU schadenfreude everywhere: "It has been fascinating to see the spread of this thing among the blogs, from Weed Against Speed's Sportstress of Blogitude (an honor) to the deplorable MGoBlog, which consisted of a humorous number of Wolverine fans wondering if Woodley was spending his locked-out offseason creating Photoshops. They also created a rip in the space-time continuum when one of their readers commented on my creation, while having the same avatar as me. I don't even know what to make about that. Clearly I'm most proud of a West Virginia fan using the occasion to remind us that Jim Tressel is a huge homosexual, on account of the vest. And finally, somebody wrote a fucking ARTICLE out of this for TheSpoof.com. It is not worth your time to read." [PolkPanther]
Bay's theorem: "One day after Terry Collins dropped the slumping $66 million left fielder from the cleanup spot to sixth in the batting order, Bay was omitted from the Mets' lineup altogether for Sunday night's series finale against the Braves. 'He kind of brought it up, and judging on the results lately, I really wasn't in a position to say "no,"' said Bay, who entered the game hitless in his previous 17 at-bats to sink his batting average to .216. 'I don't think it can hurt. Like I've said to you guys 1,000 times, I understand the theory in a lot of things, and sometimes you just have to try it out and see what happens.'" [NY Daily News]
Drew Rosenhaus is a confident man: "Unlike Michael Vick, released in 2009 from a federal term for dogfighting, Plaxico Burress doesn't have a league waiting to bid on his services. But 'he will play in the NFL this year'" Drew Rosenhaus, Burress' agent, said in an email to The Associated Press. 'Many teams want him. He will be a top free agent. He is healthy and ready to go. He will be signed shortly after the lockout ends.'" [Boston Globe]
Cubs pitcher: Cubs suck: "'The problem wasn't Pujols,' Zambrano said. 'The problem was [Theriot's] at-bat. We should have known better than this. We are playing like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team and the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassing, that's the word for this team.' 'We should know that Ryan Theriot is not a good fastball hitter,' Zambrano yelled after turning in the direction of Marmol's then-vacated locker. 'We should know that as a team. We should play better here. We stink. That's all I've got to say.'" [ESPN Chicago]
At last, the definitive anthropological survey of NBA halftime shows: "Lilia Stepanova has it, too. She's cute. She's bubbly. She can handstand on canes while operating a bow and arrow with her feet. An NBA halftime regular, she once shot an apple off Jimmy Kimmel's head. She appeared on 'America's Got Talent.' David Hasselhoff loved her." [ESPN]
Your morning freestyle canoe interlude:
We are all Dave McKenna CXXII: Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's excellent "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting until Snyder's dumbass libel suit goes crawling back into the ass from which it was pulled.
And there was the Pat Riley wax figurine, too: "The Heat used the visitors' hockey dressing room at American Airlines Center on Sunday night, not the basketball locker room - because that is what Miami did five years earlier, in this same building, in the clinching championship game of the 2006 NBA Finals. Five years later, it could have been superstition, or perhaps a search for any available little edge of inspiration. Whatever. It worked. There was leftover magic in that room. Almost forgot. There was something else in that room that might also have helped just a little bit: There was Dwyane Wade, channeling 2006 again." [Miami Herald]
Mexico hearts Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., new WBC middleweight champ:"There were no knockdowns. Nothing even close. The two moved to the center of the ring, came together, leaned on each other and flailed away. At first, Zbik got the best of it, landing more punches until the seventh round, when Chavez Jr. took over. He landed an incredible 124 body punches, and by the end, Zbik had trouble just walking back to his corner after the 11th round. In reality, Zbik had little or no chance. Not only was Chavez Jr. bigger and stronger, but he now is in superb shape, thanks to the Freddie Roach camp and conditioner Alex Ariza. Once Chavez Jr. started to land his big punches, Zbik was reduced to countering and running, and that never convinces judges of much." [Los Angeles Times]
If we owned an NBA team, we would do this all the time: But Mark "Cuuuuuuubes" Cuban is probably the only one who does, right? [TwitPic]
She also has better hair than Timmy: "After Brittany Lincicome hit one of the best chip shots of her career at the 18th hole with the championship of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in the balance, all she had to do was try to calm her nerves on the winning putt the best she could. It wasn't easy. ‘My hands were shaking so bad,' she admitted. But Lincicome steadied herself enough to drain the five-footer for birdie Sunday to finish in front of a three-way chase for the title and win the event on the Bay Course of Seaview Resort, her first victory since early in the 2009 season." [Philadelphia Inquirer]