The Hot Corner: Zack Greinke, Lionel Messi, Roger Ebert

Contributors: Eliza Bayne, Zach Pennington, Stephen Arenholtz, Atman Thakrar, Glen Hentz

The hottest topics for the week of December 9, 2012 …

Welcome to the neighorhood, Zack! The place where all your dreams come true!

Greinke who stole Christmas: The Los Angeles Dodgers signed pitcher Zack Greinke for $147 million – giving the Dodgers the highest payroll in baseball. They heard the phrase “fiscal cliff” and decided to go at top speed, Thelma and Louise-style.

More Greinke: Some have speculated that Zack might not be mentally tough enough to pitch for a major-market team like L.A. But I defy you to name any one person ever who came to Los Angeles with dreams of success in their chosen profession and experienced any difficulty whatsoever.

Ryu kidding me? Dodgers also reached a six-year $36 million agreement with South Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. Along with pop sensation PSY, it’s been a pretty great year to be South Korean – except for all other South Koreans. Oppan Gangnam Style!

More Ryu: The Dodgers beat out the Rangers for negotiating rights – preventing the Rangers from pairing him with Yu Darvish and wrecking their Jimi Hendrix-based marketing campaign: “Are Yu or Ryu Experienced?”

All in: The Royals acquired James Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays for prospects, confirming a “win now” mentality in Kansas City – a change from their former “avoid contact with eyes” mentality.

Into the wild: Robin Yount shot Dale Sveum during a quail hunt. When asked what led to the accidental shooting, Yount replied, “He’s stuck managing the Cubs.”

Financial planning: The Angels signed Joe Blanton to a two-year deal worth $15 million. It was a contentious decision: That money had been earmarked for being lit on fire in the outfield on opening day.

Tale of two cities: The Phillies traded for third baseman, professional hitter and all-around good guy Michael Young. In a related story, the Rangers managed to dump the defensively challenged, weak-hitting clubhouse cancer Michael Young.

Inflation: The average Major League Baseball player salary climbed to $3.2 million last year. Do you even know how many PEDs that can buy?

Performance issues: The Mariners have been unable to extend King Felix Hernandez. But there’s hope; they’ve placed an order for a case of Cialis.

Extra Innings

Have mercy: In a surprising twist ending on last night’s “Hawaii 5-0,” the Seattle Seahawks scored another touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals.

Hooked on phonics: Stephen Jackson sent a tweet to Serge Ibaka which read, “Somebody tel serg Abaka. He aint bout dis life. Next time he run up on me im goin in his mouth. That’s a promise. He doin 2 much.” He later apologized to Serge Ibaka and to the English language.

Soccer? I don’t even know her: Lionel Messi broke the record for most goals in a calendar year with 86. Soccer fans haven’t been this excited to buy tickets at the Football Ticket Pad since The Notebook was released on DVD.

More soccer: “We are actually talking about soccer,” explained a reporter from ESPN.

Even more soccer: Obviously 86 goals in soccer is a lot for one year – to get an idea how exciting that is, just imagine any one NFL game.

Yet even more soccer: After breaking the record, Messi is assured to be Player of the Year – though no word yet on what kind of dress he’ll wear to the award ceremony. [This series of soccer jokes also serves as a belated birthday gift to my friend Michael.]

The golden child: Insanely good-looking Tom Brady and insanely good-looking Giselle had a baby girl – just in time to prevent the Mayan apocalypse.

Menace 2 society: Rick Ross canceled his remaining tour dates because of gang threats. Nicely done, gangs. Now get to work on Justin Bieber.

Hipster movies: Film critic Roger Ebert was hospitalized last week when he broke his hip. Joe Girardi offered to have Raul Ibanez pinch-write for him. But don’t worry, Yankees fans, he’ll be back to work in no time.

In theaters soon: They called it “Les Miserables.” But really they should have called it “More Miserables.”

Off TV soon: Saying goodbye to “The Office” will be like watching your friend who’s been sleeping on your couch for six months finally get his own place.

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