Your morning roundup for July 22, the day we learned Kim Jong Il orders in from McDonald's. H/T to Kyle for the photo, which he snapped during a practice round at the RBC Canadian Open in Vancouver. Got any stories or photos for us? Tip your editors.
What we watched: There was a rather hilarious quality to all of that breathless coverage that initially seemed to indicate a deal was done last night to lift the NFL lockout. After all, that's what the league wanted everyone to believe after the owners gave things their OK. Of course the players needed still to approve a new CBA (wink wink), and of course they probably would, since the owners had locked them out and everyone involved really wants to get back to the business of getting along and playing football. Of course.
But what was really funny was this idea that the "pressure" was now on the players to get something done, lest the "public" begin to "blame" them for holding up anyone's plans to squeeze football-watching activities into autumn's Sunday afternoon drinking schedule. Fact is, if there's one lesson from all of this labor strife between really rich people involved in the playing of games for a living, it's that Michele Bachmann is more likely to pick a gay running mate than for either side to cave to anything on the order of "public pressure." Ask yourself: If the lockout were to end today, or in September, on in November, are you really going to not watch football once it's been brought back to you? The owners know this. The players know this. By now, we really should know this, too.
Errant bats are a valuable commodity in Kansas City: When Jeff Francoeur of the Royals failed to control his bat, it flew into the stands, where it met the hands of a lady who failed to grip hard enough to prevent a younger lady from seizing it, and laughing with a pair of even younger girls about the whole to-do. [Pitch]
The Chiefs do away with a job perk: "The workers say that the team has, in the past, allowed them to stay and watch the games at Arrowhead Stadium for free after they finish their duties. But Steve Warner, who has worked for the team as a ticket taker for 13 years, says that the team told them that would not be the case this year." [Fox4KC]
Your Russian Folk Dance Interlude:
A Queens goodbye: "So no, Beltran didn't win it in a walkoff. I wish he had. But I wished a lot of things for Beltran that never happened. I wish he'd sent one up the gap off Adam Wainwright and been carried off the field by his giddy teammates, who refused to let his feet touch the ground until Detroit. If that's too much to ask, I wish he'd hit a long drive that was caught, rather than been frozen by an unhittable curve and have to hear about it from talk-radio sluggers. None of those things happened, and Beltran's final home game may well turn out to be a run-of-the-mill loss. But he was out there at the end, in the new position he'd volunteered to play, during a scorching day game after a night game, doing his best. He didn't get the standing ovation he deserved, but those of us who knew what was going on applauded. But that's always been the case. And if that's Beltran's epitaph, at least it's a fitting one." [Faith and Fear in Flushing]
If the Longhorn Network brings down the Big 12, who survives?: "For Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas State, none of this matters. Texas is Willy Wonka, and they are Charlie Bucket. They're just happy to be there. Kansas is closer to those three than it is to Oklahoma, but it has some juice thanks to its basketball program and probably could snag a Big East invite if things went sideways. Missouri would find a major-conference home, too, thanks to two large media markets within the state's borders. Meanwhile, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech had a chance to change conferences last year. Texas A&M and Oklahoma were courted by the Pac-10 and the SEC, and a sizable portion of Texas A&M's fan base remains angry the Aggies didn't jump to the SEC." [Sports Illustrated]
In praise of the Chicken: "After all these years, I still get a charge when I first spot the San Diego Chicken - that same visceral reaction you get when you see a very pregnant woman walking down the sidewalk - her innie now an outtie. You poke whoever's next to you - 'Hey, look!' - as if you're about to witness a miracle, pay attention. I don't know that this overstuffed bird quite qualifies as a miracle, but he is a blessing, a gift and - when turned slowly over a spit - one of the tastiest summer meals you could ever hope for." [LA Times]
This matters to a lot of people: "For nearly 80 years, Lou Gehrig has held the American League record for the most RBIs in a season with 184 in 1931. In 1937, Tigers Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg had 183. But dedicated baseball researcher Herm Krabbenhoft says the record books have it wrong. He says one of baseball's longest standing records should be amended: Gehrig and Greenberg should share the mark at 184." [Detroit News]
Behind the wedding dress: "Huddled in the outfield seats Saturday night at Turner Field, Ryan Woody's cousin proposed the dare — as if wearing a wedding dress to a baseball game wasn't bold enough. The 26-year-old Decatur resident thought about it a good 30 minutes before turning to his cousin: 'You got my bail, right? 'And with that Georgia's second-most famous runaway bride climbed the outfield fence — fortunately he eschewed matching heels — and leaped onto the warning track to cheers from the near-sellout crowd. [AJC]