By Patrick Hruby
Special to Page 2

Welcome to another edition of Stump Page 2, where you don't need special commissions and blacked-out memos to get to the truth ... or even a politically expedient version of it.

Dear Stump Page 2,

Do NBA players have clauses in their contact that say they can't play basketball in the offseason?

-- Adam Gutteridge

No. Though Oliver Miller's waistline and chicken-wing triceps look an awful lot like evidence to the contrary.

Dear Stump Page 2,

If the beverages at sporting events (beer, soda, etc.) sold by vendors are, in fact, "ice cold," wouldn't they be frozen?

-- Mike Jirkans

Send in your question!
Got a sports or celebrity mind-bender you just can't figure out? Stump Page 2 is here to help. Send your questions to and check Page 2 for the next "Stump Page 2" column.

Not necessarily. Though pure water under normal conditions will begin to freeze at 0 degrees C, other liquids have a lower freezing point -- including the alcohol in beer. Hence, a mixture of alcohol and water (i.e., beer or the bottled vodka in your freezer) can remain liquid at "ice cold" temperatures.

Moreover, dissolving any foreign substance in water will cause a freezing point drop. Example? According to, the sugar in Coke Classic causes it to freeze at a slightly lower temperature than water.

Also keep in mind that the pressure in an unopened bottle or can of either soda or beer will cause the freezing point of beverage to be even lower. (Coincidentally, this is why ice sometimes forms in a just-opened bottle of very cold club soda -- removing the cap decreases the pressure, increasing the freezing point).

Of course, we can only speculate as to what this means for the green stuff in Mountain Dew.

Dear Stump Page 2,

Why do 7-11 and other stores open 24-7 and on all holidays have locks on the doors?

-- Name Withheld

To keep marauding UConn fans and the fast-moving zombies from the "Dawn of the Dead" remake out. Seriously. Just ask marketing guru Dave Lakhani, whose firm represents a number of 24-7 businesses.

"[I once] represented a door manufacturer and have actually been asked this exact question," says Lakhani, president of Bold Approach, an Idaho-based consulting firm. "In the event of a crime or emergency where the building must be closed down, the door must be locked. And there are normal kinds of events that may cause short closures, like inventory or the inevitable middle of the night bathroom break with no backup attendant."

Better question: Is shatterproof glass sturdy enough to keep hundreds of celebrating Huskies fans out of a Circle K? (For that matter, could it really keep thousands of bloodthirsty zombies out of a Wisconsin shopping mall?)

Dear Stump Page 2,

I have to disagree with you about a hot dog being a sandwich. The best buns (i.e. the ones at major-league ballparks) are made of one piece of bread. Does this negate the definition of the sandwich you gave in your last Stump Page 2? If so, is a hot dog still a sandwich? Please help.

-- Ryan Babb

To put it bluntly: no. And yes. Surprisingly, we received dozens of similar letters; apparently, our readers were too busy wiping relish off their keyboards and mustard off their chubby, pockmarked cheeks to read our previous answer.

As we said before: "... according to the American Heritage dictionary, a sandwich is ... a partially split long or round roll containing a filling." Hot dog buns, even the "best" ones, qualify as partially split long rolls. And a dog fits the bill as a filling.

Speaking of the "best buns" -- since when did hot dog buns become a hoity-toity foodstuff? Is there an upscale/downscale bun market that we're unaware of? Do collectors have special bun cellars? Did we miss this month's issue of "Bun Aficionado" on the newsstand?

Note: those are rhetorical questions.

Dear Stump Page 2,

What happens to all the hats that are thrown on the ice after a hat trick? Do they go to the arena lost and found? Do the referees bring them home to their kids?

-- Steven Ulitto

For an answer, we turn to Washington Capitals spokesman Kurt Kehl.

"Well, we actually didn't have any hat tricks this year," Kehl says. "In the past, we just collect the hats and drop them off at Goodwill."

What does this mean for all the other hockey teams in North America and around the globe? Frankly, we don't know. Despite Page 2's staggering budget and all-encompassing investigative reach, we didn't have time to call them.

Dear Stump Page 2,

If Kobe Bryant and Mark Chmura went on a double date, would there be any chance that the girls' names wouldn't be Mary-Kate and Ashley?

-- Jay Van Wassenhoven

Actually, the women in question would be named Vanessa and Lynda, since both Bryant and Chmura are happily married men. What makes you think otherwise?

Dear Stump Page 2,

Instead of pulling pitchers completely for lefty/righty situations, could you not have your pitcher play first base, bring in the relief pitcher, then when he is done have a backup first baseman come in and send your starter back to the mound?

-- Paul A. Alvarado

Yep. And you don't even need an oversized, Billy Beane-shaming cranium to pull it off. According to Baltimore Orioles spokesman Bill Stetka, the above switcheroo is not only legal, but also has been employed more than once.

"It's been done a couple times," Stetka says. "I think last by the Mets with Roger McDowell and another pitcher alternating at second base one inning back, maybe in the late '80s.  I think the White Sox may have done it also back in the '60s or '70s."

Moreover, Major League Baseball rule 3.03, which deals with player substitutions, in part states, "A pitcher may change to another position only once during the same inning; e.g. the pitcher will not be allowed to assume a position other than a pitcher more than once in the same inning."

Since the pitcher in our hypothetical switch is returning from first base to the mound, he isn't technically "assuming a position other than a pitcher" more than once in the same inning. Making things nice and above board.

Hope that helps with your MVP 2004 dynasty.

Dear Stump Page 2,

Who would win in a cage match between Karl Malone and Charles Barkley?

-- Joel Sherlock

Ultimately, it depends on the preference of whoever is writing the script. Our best guess? Malone, on the basis of prior rasslin' experience.

Dear Stump Page 2,

How long of a drive is it from New York down to Boston?

-- Jacob Simpson

According to Yahoo! maps, New York is approximately 215 miles south of Boston (estimated driving time: Four hours).

That said, anyone in the Northern Hemisphere would probably consider it a drive "up" to Boston, not "down." Do you live in Australia or Argentina, by any chance? (And if not, are you related to Jessica Simpson?)

Dear Stump Page 2,

Why is it that if a defensive player in the NFL applies his hands to an opponent's face, he is either called for a hands-to-the-face penalty or a facemask penalty, while if an offensive player applies a hand to an opponent's face (i.e. running back stiff-arming a defensive player), no penalty is called?

-- Greg Giacinto

Because football, like life, is full of unfair rules.

Dear Stump Page 2,

You recently responded to the question about using an extremely large goalie to simply stuff the goal mouth. While your answer that few 500-pounders are steady on their skates is likely true, there's more to it than that.

One, he'd be covered in bruises and more than likely a few broken bones. Why? Because rule 21 of the NHL rulebook (and similar rules exist in the NCAA and USA Hockey rulebooks) lays down the maximum acceptable size for various pieces of goaltender equipment.

Leg pads can be no wider than 12" (soon to be 10") and no longer than 38". The chest and arm protector can be no more than 7.5" wide at the elbow. The clavicle pad can be no more than 7" wide. The thigh pad in the pant leg can be no more than 11" wide. Those limits leave a lot of unpadded flesh on your average Akebono, waiting for a 100-mph slap shot to say "hello!"

Two, a combination of rules seems to implicitly prohibit the big fat guy from the game. Rule 13 states that all players must wear similar jerseys, and that "altered uniforms of any kind, i.e. velcro inserts, oversized jerseys, etc. will not be permitted. Any player or goalkeeper not complying with this Rule shall not be permitted to participate in the game." Rule 21 lays down the maximum dimensions of a goalie jersey. The max circumference of the jersey at certain points of the body:

Chest: 58"
Waist: 60"
Arm at shoulder/bicep/elbow: 28"
Arm at wrist: 18"

Given that no alterations or oversized jerseys are are allowed, the biggest goalie you could use would have to be one that could fit into this shirt, and preferably with a chest and arm protector on underneath. A shirt of these dimensions would be like spandex on Akebono.

-- Ricardo Dodge, sub-500 pound goalie

Excellent points, and also the longest, most detailed letter we've ever received. Were you by any chance bedridden or waiting in line at the DMV when you wrote it?

That said, consider:

1) Sumo wrestlers are used to getting smacked around; moreover, excess flesh acts as natural body armor for "hello!" shots;

2) Sumo wrestlers also are accustomed to performing in diapers. So a stretched n' torn jersey wouldn't be a big deal. At the very worst, Akebono could wear it around his neck, like a choker.

For those reasons, Page 2 stands by its original answer.

Dear Stump Page 2,

If a rival company was running a smear campaign, trying to demonstrate that Levitra is ineffective, is it safe to assume they'd pick Kordell Stewart to throw passes at the hanging tire?

-- Dan Fennell

Yes. But only if Ryan Leaf showed up too drunk to, um, "perform" in the commercial.

Dear Stump Page 2,

Just so you guys know: It's "Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-Start" ("Select can be inserted just before "Start" for multiplayer modes of Contra and Life Force). I was so disheartened that you let that "Kevin Smith" guy's post get on your article when he erroneously inserted an extra "B-A." C'mon ... I hold Page 2 with the highest esteem, so I expect more from you guys.

-- Andrew

Page 2 regrets that you hold us in the highest esteem. We also regret the error, particularly for anyone still trying to beat "Contra."

Dear Stump Page 2,

Why doesn't an NFL team draft a NBA-sized person to play wide receiver, especially for the Red Zone? Not thinking Manute Bol body type, more like a Mark Madsen, just with more hops and athletic ability. Even if they get bumped within five yards, a 6-9 power forward can outjump a 5-11 cornerback. You got stumped.

-- Name Withheld

Because anyone "like a Mark Madsen, just with more hops and athletic ability" is already playing power forward in the NBA. Better pay, longer career, less punishment

Oh, and you got served.

Dear Stump Page 2,

At the end of Eric Neel's column, it reads that he is a contributor to Page 2 and nothing else. Does he have another job other than writing for Page 2 or is he just a bum?

-- Hartley Andrews

Our colleague Eric Neel was kind enough to contribute the following answer:

"This kind of ignorant, potshot stuff really ticks me off. I work hard, day in and day out. And why? To bring quality Internet content to the people, that's why. And this is the thanks I get? I swear, I ought to ... hang on ... uh, listen, let me get back to you. There's a re-run of "Columbo" coming on. It's the one where George Hamilton guest stars as a psychiatrist who hypnotizes Leslie Anne Warren. It's a great one."