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Game Plan

What smart fans should do this week
Author:

• READ
The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac
Ever wonder what would happen if Bill James and Mars Blackmon got together? Produced by the writers of the hoops blog FreeDarko, the illustrated Almanac combines player analysis with witty cultural commentary (whose jersey should you wear to a wedding?). Welcome to the 21st-century NBA, where style counts as much as stats.

• SEE
Back Back Back
Jose Canseco's acting career hasn't taken off, but you can see him onstage. Sort of. Playwright Itamar Moses's off-Broadway play follows Raul, Kent and Adam (thinly disguised versions of Canseco, Mark McGwire and onetime A's teammate Walt Weiss), who wrestle with the morality of steroid use and how it strained their friendship. Until Juiced: The Movie drops, this has to do.

• WATCH
Alexi Lalas pay off a bet
During the MLS playoffs, former player/exec and ESPN analyst Lalas said that if the New York Red Bulls beat Real Salt Lake, he would shotgun a can of the beverage that gave New York its name. They won, and he did—but first he made a funny video documenting his training for the explosive moment. (Watch it at Goal.com.) Remember, kids, shotgunning is 50% mental and 60% physical.

• FOLLOW
The winter meetings
Shotgun marriages, big paydays, regrettable decisions—what took baseball's off-season bazaar so long to get to Las Vegas? The meetings begin in Sin City on Monday; when they wrap, CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira could have new teams. With round-the-clock coverage on XM (radio) and MLB.com (video), what happens in Vegas won't stay there.

• WATCH
Conference title games
The SEC (Alabama-Florida), Big 12 (Missouri-Oklahoma) and ACC (Boston College--Virginia Tech) settle championships on Saturday. Is 'Bama beatable? Does Mizzou have a chance? Will BC ever run out of Fluties? Former QB Doug's nephew Billy Flutie helped the Eagles get into the ACC final with a TD pass on a fake field goal against Maryland last Saturday.

The Pop Culture Grid

How do sports stars fit in?

First pet

Most I'd pay for front-row inauguration tickets

My signature cologne is ...

______ is hazardous to my health

Craziest thing I ever ate

ELTON BRAND Sixers F

A dog named Frederick

$10,000

Fahrenheit by Christian Dior. Old school

Television

Caviar (top)

GARY BRACKETT Colts LB

A mutt named Battlecat

$100

Bond No. 9

Smoking

Liver

DAN ELLIS Predators G

Of all the disgusting things, an albino gerbil

$1,000

Baldessarini by Hugo Boss

A puck to the head

A fly

RODDY WHITE Falcons WR

A blue pit bull named Psycho

It's priceless; it's like Genesis

Versace. It lays the women flat out

Cigarettes

A rib dish by my personal chef

INSIDE THE GRID

BRAND knocked back the tiny fish eggs with his agent, David Falk, and Brackett, who grew up in New Jersey, partook, reluctantly, of his father's wild game. "My dad used to hunt," he says. "He'd fry things with the food, and he always had the liver going. I was never a fan." But why did the goalie swallow the fly? "I had a bet when I was younger to eat one, and I took it down," Ellis says. "It was a little crunchy, but you get through it."

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JOEL SARTORE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/GETTY IMAGES (FLY)

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JAMES LANG/US PRESSWIRE (WHITE)

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KYLE TERADA/US PRESSWIRE (ELLIS)

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JOHN BIEVER (BRACKETT)

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DAVID E. KLUTHO (BRAND)

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LAWRENCE MANNING/CORBIS (NO-SMOKING SYMBOL)

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KOKI IINO/MIXA/GETTY IMAGES (GERBIL)

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WESTEND61/GETTY IMAGES (CAVIAR)

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©2008 JOAN MARCUS (PLAY)

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ANDREW MCCLOSKEY (RED BULL)

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MARTYN GODDARD/CORBIS (VEGAS SIGN)

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MIKE ZARRILLI/GETTY IMAGES (FLUTIE)

TWO PHOTOS