With baseball upon us and nothing but lockouts in our near future, chances are pretty good you justcompleted your last fantasy draft for awhile. If you can’t come to grips with that terrible truth, you can always widen your player pool a little bit. Here is a list of the top choices if you and your friends were to hold a fantasy baseball draft full of actual fantasy (i.e. fictional) baseball players.

No. 10 Kenny Powers

Eastbound And Down. Normally you would never draft a closer this early, but depth is a real problem at the position. If you don’t grab Powers here, you are stuck with Rookie Of The Year’s Henry Rowengartner (who is one injury away from being a below average little leaguer) or Major League’s Rick Vaughn (who is absolute murder on your WHIP, plus something tells me that guy is going to turn into a historic head case). Everyone else seems to always magically give up a homer in the bottom of the ninth. Sure, Powers might turn the wrong way and drive the bullpen cart onto the highway instead of the mound, but he did save 49 games one year with a K/9 of 14.2. That’s sick. Plus you get to yell his catchphrase at the end of every game. At least until your wife gets sick of the exuberant profanity and leaves you -- probably for Kenny Powers.

No. 9 Roy Hobbs

The Natural. Sentimentality and our highlight-seeking culture may cause The Natural to get drafted even higher, but let’s be real -- the dude came into the league unusually late in life and immediately blew up. That screams steroids, doesn’t it? His numbers could fall of the cliff if he goes off PEDs to avoid getting caught. Who needs that kind of risk? Plus he’s only gotten it done for a meager half-season. Sure, his production was Bondsian, but you can just draft The Fan’s Bobby Rayburn, who is based on Bonds, instead. If he can finally avoid knife-wielding umpires and playing in hurricanes, Rayburn is in for a big year.

No. 8 Ed

Ed. Ed, the baseball playing chimpanzee from the cinematic opus of the same name, can throw a ball so hard, it causes gloves to literally catch fire. How long do you think it is before he’s switched to pitcher and turns into Sidd Finch? You might be buying low here. Additionally, let’s be honest. You are going to watch your fictional fantasy team play a lot this year. Is there anything you’d rather stare at than a monkey throwing a baseball? If so, stop wasting your time with this article and go back to reading Hemingway, Your Majesty.

No. 7 Leon Carter

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings. Leon Carter is based on Josh Gibson, who batted .359 and hit a HR every 16.1 at-bats during his career in the Negro Leagues. Throw in the fact that he qualifies at catcher and you have a roto stud on your hands. Additionally, you’ll have James Earl Jones on your team and can pretend he freaks batters out by trash talking them as Darth Vader whenever they approach the plate. “Mauer, I find your lack of power … disturbing.”

No. 6 Jimmy Dugan

A League Of Their Own. Dugan hit 487 home runs before retiring at least five years prematurely after falling out of a hotel window to escape a fire he started. That means he was hitting between 40 and 50 homers every year he played, which explains why Mr. Harvey wanted to use him as a draw for his all-female baseball league. That level of consistency makes him golden and we can even move him up a spot or two if he qualifies in the outfield. You might be able to find equal power in the second round, but no one else is as likely to keep the crybabies in line.

No. 5 Mighty Casey

Casey At The Bat. We are starting to reach rarified air here, but drafting Mighty Casey still requires a bit of a leap of faith. Here is what we know about him: He’s very big and strong (hence “Mighty”); he causes fans to lose their minds (the sellout crowd is begging to see him hit); and he’s one of the biggest jerks to ever set foot on a diamond (tips his hat before he even bats, takes the first two pitches in a desperate situation just to showboat, clenches his teeth in hate). He’s like the 1800s version of Albert Belle. But you got to figure he did something to earn the fans’ trust, so he must be capable of putting up huge numbers.

No. 4 Clu Haywood

Major League. Clu, the feared Yankees first baseman in “Major League,” ranks ahead of Casey simply because we know what we are going to get. He became the first player in two decades to win the Triple Crown, going for 48 homers and 121 RBIs while carrying a .341 average. Considering that is basically Albert Pujols’ best-case scenario, he is a special player. Bonus points for having a mustache that looks like it used to be a goatee made completely out of glued-on chewing tobacco, but morphed into a 'stache after he couldn’t resist picking at the chin.

No. 3 Willie Mays Hayes

Major League. Despite Heywood’s dominance, he still doesn’t go ahead of his rival from the Indians. The team was 60-61 when it decided to win the whole thing and quickly ran off a five-game winning streak. At this point, Hayes is shown nailing his 15th glove to his wall, a ritual he engages in whenever he steals a base. At the end of the season, his wall is shown again. This time I count 75 gloves and there could be more out of frame. That means, conservatively, he stole 60 bases in the last 36 games. Holy smoke. He also added the long ball in his second season (as well as completely different facial features) meaning he could become baseball’s first 30/200 player. If he does that, the sequel to “Black Hammer White Lightning” will certainly be in theaters longer than the original’s run of two-and-a-half hours.

No. 2 Bugs Bunny

Baseball Bugs. We’ve only seen him play in one game, but it’s enough to put Bugs near the top of the list. In that game, he scored 96 runs on his own (most likely on 96 long balls). He pitched five shutout innings, while catching for himself, indicating a level of speed that would make him a terror on the bases. And since he plays every position, he would probably qualify all over the field, providing an unprecedented level of value. Even though he played in the most crooked game of all time and would likely face a lifetime ban for participating, he frankly should No. 1. But if I put a cartoon at the top spot, no one would ever take this article seriously.

No. 1 Steve Nebraska

The Scout. See, now this is far more realistic. Nebraska is a pitcher for the Yankees who hurls a perfect game in the World Series by striking out all 27 batters on 81 pitches. He also hits two bombs (the team must have wisely waived the DH rule) for the team’s only runs. To end the game, he rings up the guy who the announcers swear is the most feared hitter in baseball: Ozzie Smith. Yes, the same Ozzie Smith who hit 28 career homers in 19 seasons. Yes, the same Ozzie Smith who hit .199 in the year after the movie came out. And yes, the same Ozzie Smith who is BATTING LAST FOR HIS OWN TEAM. That’s how we know we are in good hands with the creators of “The Scout.” Anyways, with this pick, as long as you can slot him at both pitcher and as a utility batter (got to assume he’s the designated hitter on days he doesn’t pitch), you can lock in close to a thousand K’s, 35 wins, perfect ratios over 300 innings, approximately 1,100 RBI and more than 500 home runs and runs scored. Even if you fill your team in typical Hollywood fashion with nothing but anonymous, generic extras, you are still coming home with the hardware. Congratulations.

Honorable mentions: Chet "Rocket" Steadman (Rookie of the Year), Nuke LaLoosh (Bull Durham), Pedro Cerrano (Major League), Jack Elliot (Mr. Baseball), Lou Collins (Little Big League), Butch Heddo (Rookie of the Year), Stan Ross (Mr. 3000), Jack Parkman (Major League II), Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez (The Sandlot).

-- Toby Mergler is the founder of League of Leagues Fantasy Sports, the first cross-sport fantasy game. Email him at tobymergler@gmail.com.

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This is a busy weekend in sports with the Final Four and the opening of baseball. We will borrow an element from each to showcase the best MLB talent from the four schools basking in the hardwood spotlight.

Butler

Padres pitcher Pat Neshek holds several Butler school records, including most strikeouts in a game (18 v. Detroit in 2001). Known for his sidearm delivery, Neshek had been pitching for the Twins until earlier this month when San Diego picked him up. Honorable mention: Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Dan Johnson played his freshman season for the Bulldogs before transferring and becoming an All-American at Nebraska.

UConn

Walt Dropo, the 1950 American League rookie of the year, played 12 years in the majors for five teams. He was also a star basketball player. He was a first-round pick of Providence in the BAA, the original name of the NBA, and was UConn's all-time leading scorer at the time he finished school. Honorable mention: Roberto Hernandez, who had seven MLB seasons of 30-plus saves, was a catcher at UConn before transferring to South Carolina. Charles Nagy was a three-time All-Star with 129 career wins.

Kentucky

Brandon Webb is a three-time All-Star who won the 2006 National League Cy Young award. He went 22-7 in 2008 but a bad shoulder limited him to one game in the next two seasons. He signed with the Rangers in December but hasn't been cleared to pitch in games yet. Honorable mention: Jim Leyritz hit a three-run homer that was the turning point of the 1996 World Series for the Yankees against Atlanta. Joe Blanton hit a home run and was also the winning pitcher for the Phillies in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series.

VCU

Brandon Inge has spent entire MLB career with the Tigers, starting in 2001. He has played third base, catcher and outfield for Detroit after being a shortstop and pitcher at VCU. "I love the way they do things over there," Inge told the Detroit Free Press of his alma mater. "Their athletic department, it really is tremendous. I’m proud to see them doing well. I don’t have anything to do with it besides I’m just proud of them doing well."

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Chad Ochocinco took to the pitch on Monday as a reserve for Sporting Kansas City of the MLS. Is the football star's flirtation with professional soccer enough to get him into ThePostGame's top 10 list of greatest multi-sport athletes?

No. 10 Michael Jordan

MJ's brief dalliance in the Chicago White Sox farm system is generally regarded as a failure. Compared to his stellar basketball career, it was. But how many 31-year-olds do you know that could drop into Double-A baseball after not having swung a bat since high school and still hold their own in the professional ranks? Jordan's failing wasn't that he was bad at baseball; it's that he didn't give himself enough time to find out how good he could be.

No. 9 Bob Hayes

Rarely has a nickname been so fitting as "Bullet Bob." Hayes earned the title of world's fastest man during the 1960s by virtue of his Olympic sprint medals and world record times in the 60-yard, 100-yard and 100-meter races. One year after his triumphs in Tokyo, Hayes was wearing a star on his helmet, lining up as wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. He would posthumously be named to the Hall of Fame in 2009.

No. 8 Tim Duncan

The two-time NBA MVP started his athletic career as a swimmer, setting Virgin Islands records in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races. As a boy, Duncan hoped to follow in his older sister's footsteps and represent the commonwealth in the Olympics. When Hurricane Hugo destroyed the pool he trained at, Duncan took to basketball. A recruiting trip from Wake Forest's Dave Odom put the lanky teenager on the map. By the time he retires, he'll go down as one of the greatest power forwards in the history of the league.

No. 7 Marion Jones

Before the steroid talk tarnished her legacy, Jones was a multi-sport star at North Carolina. She started on the Tar Heels' 1994 national championship basketball team before quitting to focus on track. The five Olympic medals she won in Sydney were eventually stripped, though she did return to basketball in 2010, playing 33 games with the WNBA's Tulsa Shock.

No. 6 Allen Iverson

As a high school junior, Iverson was named the top basketball and football player in Virginia. He lead Bethel High to state titles in both sports, accounting for 34 touchdowns on the field and 31.6 points per game on the court. You get the feeling that Iverson could have excelled in any sport he tried.

No. 5 Jackie Robinson

Before he became more famous for baseball (and even more famous for his role in the civil rights movement), Jackie Robinson was a multi-talented athlete at UCLA. He was the first athlete in school history to win letters in four sports: Baseball, basketball, football and track. Ironically, baseball was probably his worst at the time. He batted .097 in his one year with the Bruins.

No. 4 Deion Sanders

Neon Deion is still the only man to ever play in both the World Series and Super Bowl. With his characteristic panache, he once played in an NLCS game on Saturday night, an Atlanta Falcons game on Sunday afternoon and then jetted back to Pittsburgh for another NLCS game on the same day. (He didn't see any action in the last game.)

No. 3 Jim Brown

His exploits on the football field are well-known, as Brown is widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL. But he was equally as dominant in another sport: At Syracuse, Brown was regarded as the top lacrosse player in the NCAA. He's in each game's Hall of Fame.

No. 2 Bo Jackson

Bo knew sports. He was the first two-way star to be named an All-Star in two major sports, making the MLB All-Star team in 1989 and the NFL's Pro Bowl in 1990. Jackson was the No. 1 pick out of Auburn after winning the 1985 Heisman Trophy but famously spurned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in favor of a baseball career with the Kansas City Royals. He later signed with the NFL's Oakland Raiders. A 1990 hip injury derailed both careers, but those who saw him in his prime say he was one of the most explosive talents in generations.

No. 1 Jim Thorpe

"Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world," King Gustav V of Sweden said to Jim Thorpe at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Thorpe had just dazzled the crowd with golds in both the pentathlon and decathlon, setting a world record in the latter that would stand for another two decades. Thorpe also excelled in baseball and basketball, but stood out on the football field, where he was named a two-time All-American at Carlisle and made a lasting impression on future president Dwight Eisenhower, who faced Thorpe while captaining Army's team. "He never practiced in his life, and he could do anything better than any other football player I ever saw," Eisenhower would recount years later.

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Making it to the major leagues is an outstanding accomplishment. Earning a start on opening day, a sacred occasion in baseball, is a distinct honor. That said, not everyone whose name is scrawled on the first lineup card of the season is a legend, a known commodity or even someone people will remember five years later.

Using Baseball-Reference’s catalogue of opening day lineups, I went back to the turn of the century and picked out the guys whose careers included the celebrated start -– but not too much else. Let’s give'em another moment in the sun here.

Pitcher: Dewon Brazelton

2005 Devil Rays. Brazelton apparently went through a lot just to get to majors. Once there, the third pick of the 2001 draft from Middle Tennessee State made just 43 starts, but one of them came on opening day 2005, when he pitched decently in a loss to the Blue Jays. Brazelton finished that season 1-8 with a 7.61 ERA, was traded in the off-season to the Padres and has not appeared in MLB since May 11, 2006. Last season he was pitching for the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent Northern League. Honorable Mentions: Runelvys Hernandez (’03 Royals), Ryan Drese (’05 Rangers).

Catcher: Hector Ortiz

2001 Royals. The ’01 Royals gave at least 100 plate appearances to four different catchers on their way to losing 97 games. One of those was Ortiz, a 35th-round pick of the Dodgers in 1988 who had appeared in 30 games for the Royals the previous three seasons. In spring training that year, Gregg Zaun tore a muscle in his calf, opening up the Day 1 start for Ortiz, who collected one of his 75 big-league hits that afternoon. Ortiz played seven games for the Rangers the next year and hung around the minors through 2005. Honorable Mentions: Danny Ardoin (’06 Rockies), Ken Huckaby (’03 Blue Jays).

First Base: Scott Thorman

2007 Braves. The Braves selected Thorman in the first round of the 2000 draft out of Ontario, Canada, brought him to the majors in 2006 and handed the 25-year-old the starting job the following season after dealing Adam LaRoche to the Pirates. Thorman went 0-for-4 in the opener against the Phillies and never found his way at the plate at the big league level, hitting .216/.258/.394 in 307 plate appearances in '07. He has been stuck in the minors ever since, playing last season for the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate. Honorable Mentions: Kevin Barker (’00 Brewers), Lance Niekro (’06 Giants).

Second Base: Jose Ortiz

2001 Athletics, 2002 Rockies. Ortiz exhibited enough potential to start on Opening Day for two teams, but produced so little that he received fewer than 500 MLB appearances in his career. Signed by Oakland out of the Dominican in 1994, Ortiz was the 2000 Pacific Coast League MVP after putting up a .983 OPS for Sacramento. Awarded the second base job the next season, Ortiz went 2-for-5 on opening day but was hitting .179 by April 14 and was demoted. In June, the A’s sent him to Colorado as part of a deadline deal for Jermaine Dye. He played the rest of the season for the Rockies and began 2002 with them, but after hitting .250/.315/.313 in 215 plate appearances, was non-tendered and mostly has plied his trade in Japan since. Honorable Mentions: Bobby Hill (’04 Pirates), Ruben Gotay (’05 Royals).

Third Base: Tom Evans

2000 Rangers. Evans played 19 games for the Blue Jays in 1997-98 and spent all of 1999 at Triple-A for the Rangers. He then found himself battling hot prospect Mike Lamb for the right to replace Todd Zeile at the hot corner to start the 2000 season. A good spring sealed the job for the 25-year-old former fourth-round pick, but that only lasted a few weeks, and Evans went down for the season in May with a partially torn rotator cuff and a torn labrum. He never again played in the majors. Honorable Mentions: Brian Barden (’09 Cardinals), Brandon Larson (’03 Reds).

Shortstop: Brian Bocock

2008 Giants. Injuries force teams to give players proverbial cups of coffee all the time, and sometimes it happens at the beginning of the season. Such was the case with the ’08 Giants, who had to find a way to plug a hole for the first month of the season while Omar Vizquel recovered from knee surgery. They turned to Bocock, a 23-year-old with a .656 OPS between two Class A levels the year prior, because of his defensive reputation. The former ninth-round pick went 0-for-1 with two walks on opening day and picked up his first hit and first RBI the next day. But by the time Vizquel was activated and Bocock mercifully demoted in early May, he was hitting .143/.258/.156. His only big league action since was five hitless at-bats with the Phillies last season. Honorable Mentions: Jose Nieves (’00 Cubs), Luis Hernandez (’08 Orioles).

LF: Kit Pellow

2004 Rockies. As far as I can tell, Pellow holds the distinction of being the only player in MLB history with Kit as a given name. In 2004, he came to Rockies camp as a non-roster invitee who had tasted the bigs with the Royals in ’02 and the Rockies in ’03. He not only won a spot on the team -– his ability to play catcher in addition to the outfield helped -– but drew the opening day nod against Randy Johnson. Pellow wound up hitting .240/.308/.347 in 133 plate appearances, and his role diminished after Colorado called up some guy named Matt Holliday in mid-April. Since then, Pellow’s career, according to Wikipedia, has led him to the independent leagues, China and Mexico, where he won the 2008 Mexican League Triple Crown for the Saltillo Saraperos. Honorable Mentions: Paul McAnulty (’08 Padres), Roosevelt Brown (’02 Cubs).

CF: Eric Reed

2006 Marlins. Florida manager Joe Girardi started six rookies on opening day ’06, including Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla … and Reed. A speedster with little power, the 25-year-old hit .310 in Triple-A the year before but proved to be overmatched against major league pitching. In 68 plate appearances in 2006-07, Reed notched six hits, all singles, and posted an OPS+ of negative-28. That’s the lowest career mark for any non-pitcher with at least 50 PAs. Reed last played in the minors in 2008. Honorable Mentions: Brandon Watson (’06 Nationals), Bo Porter (’01 Rangers).

RF: Brandon Berger

2003 Royals. Berger was a 28-year-old non-prospect with 57 games of big league experience when the ’03 season rolled around. But an injury to Carlos Beltran opened up a roster spot. For the March 31 opener, the Royals were facing White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, whom Berger had smacked four home runs against in 17 previous plate appearances. Those numbers resulted in the opening day nod, but Berger wound up playing only 13 big league games that year and 11 more the next, eventually ending his career with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in 2005. Honorable Mentions: Ron Calloway (’03 Expos), Eric Valent (’05 Mets).

DH: Calvin Pickering

2005 Royals Pickering was the 10th man from the U.S. Virgin Islands to play in MLB. Despite being a 35th-round pick, the hefty lefty walloped his way through the minors and debuted with the Orioles in 1998. He never really found a foothold and bounced around to Cincinnati, Boston and then Kansas City. Heading into the ’05 season, Pickering’s power and patience made him a “cause célèbre” of the sabermetric crowd. Pickering, by then 28 years old, beat out 2004 AL All-Star Ken Harvey for a roster spot as a 1B/DH and won the Opening Day start. He homered that day off the Tigers’ Ugueth Urbina, but the eventual 106-loss Royals lost their patience after just 31 plate appearances, four hits and 14 strikeouts. Pickering went on to play in the independent leagues, Mexico and Korea but was done in The Show. Honorable Mention: Billy McMillon (’01 Tigers).

***

-- Andrew Simon writes the "Hitting The Cutoff Man" blog on SportsFanLive.com. Follow him on Twitter at HitTheCutoff.

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We'd all love to be Kemba Walker or Jimmer Fredette, the stars putting our teams on our backs and soldiering forward to victory. Truth is, though, we're a lot more like Temple Timeout Guy, the unnamed and anonymous Temple player who was first off the bench and onto the court to greet his teammates in Sunday's 2OT loss to San Diego State.

But there's no shame in being a benchwarmer. After all, you made the team, right? You're better than any three other guys in your hometown, right? So buck up, buttercup. Make the best of a benchwarming situation. Here, we'll help you with some handy tips:

No. 6 Wave That Towel

This is your calling card, your hallmark, your raison d'etre. You stand on that sideline and you wave that towel, brother. It's your job to be fired up when the camera cuts to you when your team makes a run. It's your job to clasp your fellow pine-riders arm-in-arm and hand-in-hand when your teammates are shooting critical free throws. Don't let us down, goofy benchwarmers. Play your part.

No. 5 Angle Yourself For Camera Time

The cameras are going to laser in on your star forward, your cold-blooded shooting guard, your behemoth of a center. That means it's your job to greet them coming off the court -– be prepared to give up that towel -- and get right over their shoulder and look very, very interested as they get instructions during timeouts. Remember, the spillover fame from glimpses on camera can net you far more love than you'd ever get on your own.

No. 4 Throw Some Attitude

You're a member of the basketball team, son! Take advantage of that! This is the only time in your life you'll be able to throw off attitude like you're a big-timer. Mouth off to security guards. Slouch in class. Make other people get you drinks. Just make sure you're wearing your uniform at all times, because nobody's recognizing you without it.

No. 3 Foul, Baby, Foul

We all need a skill. And if you can develop the skill to jump on the opposition like a tick and foul within seconds, your coach is going to love deploying you when you're down late. Get in there and grab some loose balls. Bonus: You get in the box score!

No. 2 Observe And Report

Observe and report. Everybody's going to want to know everything about your team and your teammates. Feel free to (carefully!) indulge Twitter and the blogs who'd like pictures of your teammates passed out on piles of co-eds. It's great revenge for what they did to you after practice that day. Of course, if shady fellows show up asking for details on Star Forward's ankle injury, go re-watch “Casino” before acting. Pay particular attention to the buried-in-the-cornfield scene.

No. 1 Remember Everything

This won't last forever, you know. There will come a day when you'll need to entertain your co-workers at the insurance agency/car dealership/high school athletics office with your glory days, and you'll want to have the dirt to dish. Plus, if everything breaks just right, there might just be a book deal, or at least an I-told-you-so appearance on a sports documentary, a decade down the line. Play this right, and you can parlay a four-year bench stint into a lifetime career!





-- Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee and email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com.

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The perjury trial of Barry Bonds is underway in San Francisco. Will the case involving flax seed oil go down as one of the greatest sports trials of all time? Here’s the competition of legendary cases. Murder trials with the likes of O.J. Simpson, Rae Carruth and Ray Lewis are not included because they were unrelated to sports aside from an athlete being involved. Same applies to the Mike Tyson rape trial. The Bonds case originates from an investigation into performance-enhancing drugs, so he would qualify for inclusion.

No. 10 Isiah Thomas

Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders sued Thomas, the club’s GM, for sexual harassment. The jury found Thomas and the Knicks liable, and the team ended up paying her $11.5 million in an out-of-court settlement. Court testimony also revealed that Stephon Marbury had sex with a team intern in the backseat of an SUV.

No. 9 Renee Richards

The U.S. Tennis Association barred Richards from competing in the 1976 U.S. Open after she had a sex-change operation to become a woman. She sued for the right to play and won her case in the New York Supreme Court.

No. 8 Casey Martin

Born with a congenital blood-vessel condition in his right leg, Martin sued the PGA to ride in a cart between shots. The PGA had prevented him from riding because of its rule that required golfers to walk the course. Martin’s case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with him in a 7-2 decision in 2001.

No. 7 Alan Eagleson

Eagleson, the executive director of the NHLPA for 25 years, was found to be cheating those he was supposedly representing. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to fraud and embezzlement charges in the U.S. and Canada. Skimming of money from international tournaments and misuse of pension and disability funds were at heart of the case.

No. 6 USFL v. NFL

The upstart league, which included New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump, filed an anti-trust suit and actually won. Unfortunately for the USFL, it had sued for $600 million but the jury awarded it just $1. Based on anti-trust law, the damages were automatically trebled to $3. Star witnesses for the USFL included Al Davis and Howard Cosell.

No. 5 Pittsburgh drug trial

Eleven MLB players were suspended after this cocaine distribution case in 1985. The players received immunity for their cooperation with prosecutors, and testimony included the dealing and use of drugs at the ballpark. Tim Raines testified that he slid into a base head-first because he kept cocaine in his back pocket and feared breaking the vial with a conventional slide.

No. 4 Al Davis v. NFL

Davis tried to move the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1980. The NFL blocked him, citing its rule that 75 percent of the league’s owners had to approve a franchise reolcation. Owners had voted against him 22-0 with five abstaining. Davis filed an anti-trust suit against the league and eventually won. The Raiders moved in 1982 and won the Super Bowl in their second season in L.A.

No. 3 The Black Sox

Eight members of the Chicago White Sox, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, were accused of fixing the 1919 World Series, which Cincinnati won. The players were acquitted in court, but MLB commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis had enough evidence to ban the players for life. Jackson, for the record, batted .375 in the 1919 series.

No. 2 Ali v. Army

Ali was drafted into the military in 1967. He refused, calling himself a conscientious objector based on his Islamic faith. Ali was convicted and stripped of the heavyweight championship and his boxing license. But Ali prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971 and regained the title in 1974.

No. 1 Curt Flood

Flood filed an anti-trust suit against commissioner Bowie Kuhn in 1970 after being traded from the Cardinals to the Phillies even though his contract was up. Flood ended up losing his case to become a free agent in the U.S. Supreme Court. But the ruling weakened baseball’s reserve clause, which kept players stuck with the same team, and subsequent challenges to it ultimately led to free agency.

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Since 1991, high school players have accounted for only five percent of first-round picks. About 11 percent have been foreign players. That has left a wealth of college talent -- 84 percent of first-rounders -- to flood our NBA teams. So where’s this elite college talent coming from, and which legendary programs are producing the bulk of it? Here’s are the schools with the most first-round picks in the past 20 years.

No. 6 Arizona, UCLA

The Bruins and Wildcats have each produced 12 first-round picks since 1991. UCLA has won a record 11 national championships only one in the past 20 years. Still, from Baron Davis to Kevin Love, the Bruins are well represented in the NBA. Meanwhile, legendary coach Lute Olson developed a pipeline of talent during his 25 seasons at Arizona, taking the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament every year from 1985 until his retirement in 2008. (The ‘Cats won it all in 1997.) Most notable first-rounders to play in Tucson: Mike Bibby, Richard Jefferson and Andre Iguodala.

No. 5 Georgia Tech

Coach Bobby Cremins helped put the Yellow Jackets on the map, and Paul Hewitt, despite his recent dismissal, has kept them there. Georgia Tech has produced 13 NBA first-round picks in the past 20 years. (Sharp-shooting Dennis Scott missed the cut by a year as the fourth overall pick in 1990.) Tech has yet to win a national title, but it has been to two Final Fours and was the NCAA runner-up in 2004 behind Hewitt. Most notable alumni: Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury and Chris Bosh.

No. 4 Connecticut

UConn has had 14 first-rounders in this span. Jim Calhoun brought the Huskies to prominence with a trip to the Elite Eight in 1990, and they returned to the national quarterfinals seven more times since. Calhoun’s resume sparkles with two national championships and a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame. A perennial national contender, UConn continues to put Huskies in the NBA with first-rounders including Caron Butler, Richard Hamilton and Ray Allen.

No. 3 Kansas, Kentucky

We have our second tie. Kansas and Kentucky have produced 16 first-round picks apiece in the past two decades. Kansas has to be good, considering its first head coach (James Naismith) also created the game of basketball. The Jayhawks have a long history of success, including five Final Fours and a national title since ’91. Most notable Jayhawk during that time? Let’s go with Paul Pierce. Kentucky has littered the draft as of late. In 2010, UK saw five of its players drafted in the first round, a feat no other school has ever accomplished. Tayshaun Prince, John Wall, Rajon Rondo and Antoine Walker all played home games at Rupp Arena.

No. 2 Duke

With Cameron Indoor Stadium and Mike Krzyzewski, Duke claims one of the country’s most iconic gyms and one of the all-time great coaches. The Blue Devils have had 17 players selected in the first round in the past 20 years, which doesn’t even do the program’s recent success justice. Since 1991, Duke has been to the Final Four seven times and has cut down the nets after four of them. Its list of first-rounders includes Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Corey Maggette, J.J. Redick, Jay Williams, Shane Battier and Elton Brand. That’s a heck of a resume, but Duke still trails …

No. 1 North Carolina

Carolina tops the list with 20 first-round picks in the past 20 years. The Tar Heels have three national championships (advantage: Duke), including two in the past six years, and nine trips to the Final Four since 1991. After two short-term head coaches, UNC has found a mainstay in Roy Williams to maintain the rich tradition of Carolina Basketball that Dean Smith established long ago. North Carolina’s roll call of first-rounders: Rick Fox, Hubert Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough and Raymond Felton, among others. It’s clear that when it comes to college talent
in the NBA, Tobacco Road is a good place to start.

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“March Madness” is a lot like “Black Friday” – we use it every year at the same time without really knowing where it came from. So while we have a couple of days to catch our breath between rounds, we decided to bring in the man who can best give us the history behind the phrase: iconic play-by-play man Brent Musburger. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about “March Madness.”

No. 1: Brent didn’t make it up, but he did make it famous.



“I worked locally in Chicago,” Musburger says, “first as a writer for the Chicago Daily News and then as a broadcaster. First time I saw the term ‘March Madness,’ it was print, in an ad for a car dealer. It was referring to the Illinois high school basketball tournament. [Ed. Note: the term originally comes from a magazine writer describing the high school tournament in 1939: "A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel.”] When we got the rights to the NCAA tournament in 1982, it was something that seemed appropriate to say.”

No. 2: Brent’s turn of phrase led to a lawsuit.



The Illinois High School Association tried to trademark “March Madness” in 1989. Then, in 1996, the IHSA sued the NCAA in an effort to stop one of its corporate partners from using the term on a CD-ROM game. Eventually, the two sides reached a compromise: the IHSA can use the phrase on the high school level, and the NCAA gets the college tournament.

“However,” Musburger says, “Every year, in any bracket pool I play, I call my team Musburger’s March Madness. And I defy the NCAA to come after me.”

No. 3: Brent doesn’t revel in his contribution to society. Really.



“I just thought it was a catchy phrase that described what was happening with all these teams,” Musburger says. “Then everyone was using it. I didn’t consciously think about it at the time. It was one of those nights where chaos rules, controversy, upsets … it never changes. The Madness part is the fabric of the tournament. That’s what makes it a beautiful event. I don’t sit around and think about it. I just thought at the time it fit.”

No. 4: That said, Brent doesn’t want the term – or the tournament – to get shoved aside.



There has been some talk about pushing the tournament back. After all, the BCS Championship is now more than a week after the traditional Jan. 1 date for big bowl games. Musburger doesn’t want the Big Dance moved, so he’s hoping his phrase can be a firewall. “The term is so identified,” he says, “that they would have a hard time pushing it out of March. I don’t think April Madness has the same ring.”

No. 5: Sorry, Brent did not coin the phrase “Final Four.”



That honor goes to another sportswriter, Ed Chay of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who wrote in 1975 that Marquette was “one of the final four” the year before. The NCAA ran with it. However, Brent has another phrase!

“Actually I do,” he says. “I tried it this year at the BCS Championship game – ‘Playing for all the Tostitos.’ So far it has not caught on."

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If the NFL lockout leads to games being canceled, it could be an opportunity for the new United Football League to make a splash. The UFL hasn't tried to position itself as a competitor to the NFL in its first two seasons, but an extended lockout might prompt it to re-think that strategy. Could the UFL sign a college star like Cam Newton and change the pro football landscape? Probably not, but it's not an outlandish possibility considering that some legends did start their career in the so-called "other" league.

No. 5 Joe DiMaggio, PCL

The Pacific Coast League was never considered a major league, but it came pretty close. Before the Dodgers and Giants moved to California in 1958, there were no MLB teams west of St. Louis. This allowed the PCL to feed off local talent and grow into near-major status. Thanks to a recommendation from his older brother, DiMaggio joined the San Francisco Seals as a teenager. During his second season, he hit safely in 61 consecutive games, a PCL record and a sign of great things to come. The following year, he almost ended his career by tearing a ligament while exiting a bus. A Yankees scout believed that DiMaggio could recover from the injury, so he bought Joltin’ Joe’s rights for $25,000. As part of the deal, DiMaggio stayed in San Francisco for the 1935 season. He made the most of it by winning the Most Valuable Player Award and bringing home a PCL title for the Seals. The PCL continued to attract attention even after losing stars like DiMaggion and Ted Williams to the majors. In 1952, it gained “open” status, which meant MLB teams would have a tougher time poaching its talent. This was done in hopes of becoming a third major league. But it faced a swift decline because of MLB's expansion into the West as well as the spread of televised games.

No. 4 Herschel Walker, USFL

After winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior, Walker wanted to go pro. At the time, neither the NFL nor the USFL allowed underclassmen, but USFL owners looked the other way as Walker signed with the New Jersey Generals. He chose New Jersey in hopes that the proximity to New York would generate commercial opportunities. But he only got one ad spot, a joint promotion for McDonald’s and Adidas. He won two rushing titles in three USFL seasons. He drew attention to the fledgling league but many accuse him of causing its demise. Initially, USFL teams planned to stay under a low salary cap and grow slowly. But after Walker's signing, teams grossly exceeded their budgets to sign a number of stars, including Reggie White and Steve Young. Despite the publicity, teams racked up enormous debt, eventually forcing the league to fold. Walker joined the Cowboys and made the Pro Bowl in 1987 and 1988. Despite his contribution in Big D, Walker is now more famous for being traded to the Minnesota Vikings for five players and six draft picks. The deal helped the Cowboys climb to the top of the NFL while Walker disappointed in Minnesota, never rushing for 1,000 yards in a season.

No. 3 Joe Namath, AFL

Namath was drafted by both the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL and the New York Jets of the AFL. As you know, he decided to sign with the Jets, due in large part to the record-setting $427,000 offered by then-Jets owner Sonny Werblin. Werblin defended the enormous contract (a precursor to the absurd deals inked by today’s rookies) by saying that Namath could be more than a great football player; he could be a star. Namath immediately paid dividends as the 1965 AFL rookie of the year. Of course, his most memorable contribution came in Super Bowl III when he led the Jets over the NFL’s Colts, validating the start-up league after his famous guarantee. His effect on AFL-NFL relations extended beyond that game. Before his decision to join the Jets, the NFL had largely ignored the AFL. After his signing, the bidding wars between the leagues escalated, and teams began to consider signability when deciding on their draft picks.

No. 2 Julius Erving, ABA

Despite his transcendent play, Erving was considered by some as being responsible for the demise of the ABA. While under contract with the Virginia Squires, Erving also signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks, even though the Milwaukee Bucks owned his NBA rights. Chaos ensued, but Erving ended up staying in the ABA with Virginia. After a few years, the Squires were forced to sell Erving to the New York Nets, and he led them to two ABA titles. In 1976, the NBA and NBA merged. Many claimed that Erving was a main reason for the merger, saying that the NBA wanted to Erving and that the only way to get him was to take the whole ABA. Originally, the Nets intended to keep rolling in the NBA with Erving, but the cost of the fees to join the NBA forced them to sell him to the Philadelphia 76ers. Erving helped them reach the NBA finals four times but won just once.

No. 1 Wayne Gretzky, WHA

At the time, the NHL required players to be at least 20, so a 17-year-old Gretzky began his pro hockey career in 1978 with the Indianapolis Racers after signing a $1.75 million contract. He netted his first goal in the fifth game of his career and his second goal came just four seconds later. But he played just eight games with the Racers, who had to sell The Great One to Edmonton due to financial problems. On his 18th birthday, he signed a 10-year contract, the longest in hockey history up to that point, with the Oilers. He was named the rookie of the year after leading the Oilers to the best record in the WHA. Edmonton lost in the WHA finals to the Winnipeg Jets in 1979, the league's final season. The Oilers were among four WHA teams absorbed into the NHL, but some critics questioned whether Gretzky would succeed in the established league. He immediately proved them wrong by winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP in his first season. Gretzky then re-wrote the NHL record book while helping the Oilers win four Stanley Cups in five seasons before the controversial trade to Los Angeles.

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Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, but here are three legends who you might not have figured being able to legitimately trace their family tree back to Ireland.

No. 3 Jason Kidd

Kidd has been a perennial NBA All-Star during his NBA career with the Mavericks, Suns and Nets, and won Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2000 and 2008. He was born in San Francisco to an African American dad and an Irish American mom.

No. 2 Derek Jeter

The modern-day Yankee icon has won five World Series championships and seven American League pennants. In 2000, he was the MVP of the All-Star Game and the World Series. His mom is half Irish, half German. (His girlfriend, Minka Kelly, is also half Irish.)

No. 1 Muhammad Ali

The Greatest has Irish roots. According to Irish American Museum in Washington, "Abe Grady, his maternal great-grandfather, of Ennis, Co. Clare emigrated from Ireland and settled in Kentucky in the 1860s, he went on to marry a former slave. One of their grandchildren, Odessa Lee Grady Clay, gave birth to Ali -- then Cassius Clay -- in 1942 ... In 2009, the former heavyweight boxing champion visited Ennis - where he received a large "homecoming" from town residents - and met distant relatives."

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