The Heavy Burden Of Red Sox SS Alex Gonzalez

As we begin the ALDS showdown between the Red Sox and Angels tonight, please take a moment prior to the opening pitch to channel some good thoughts toward Boston shortstop Alex Gonzalez. He could use them right now.

Alex Gonzalez

Whatever it takes for a professional to get into the right frame of mind to play the game of baseball at this level day after day, multiply that by about a hundred for Gonzalez. The Boston shortstop has had a lot on his mind the past two years, as his 3-year-old son, Johan, is in a coma in a Florida hospital, doctors holding out little hope that he will ever recover. But somehow, his father carries on. Read more…

383-Pound 8th Grade Football Player Dies On Field

The death of a child in any circumstance is a horrible tragedy to be avoided at all costs. The world, unfortunately, is a random and cruel place where horrible tragedies occur with terrible regularity. Sometimes, these tragedies are unavoidable - cancer strikes or a freak genetic condition rears its ugly head. Much more often in this country, though, they are at the hand of another - car accidents, suicide, murder.

Anthony Troupe

This is, or rather was, 13-year-old middle school football player Anthony Troupe, Jr. Troupe died last week on a surburban St. Louis football field during practice. Again - unavoidable tragedies happen all the times, even to youth athletes. But here’s the kicker with Anthony: he weighed 383 pounds. In 8th grade. Could his death have been avoided?

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Boxer Vernon Forrest Shot, Killed By Carjackers

Another weekend, another opportunity for the celebrity death train to keep on rolling grimly down the tracks. As children of the 1980s, we were saddened to learn of the death of You Can’t Do That On Television star Les Lye on Friday. Well, he died Thursday, but we learned about it on Friday. He was 84, so luckily he had the opportunity to live a full, rich life.

Vernon Forrest

Former champion pro boxer Vernon “The Viper” Forrest, sadly, did not. Only two weeks after former champion boxer Arturo Gatti died/was killed/committed suicide/shuffled off this mortal coil, Forrest was shot and killed Saturday night during an attempted carjacking in Atlanta.

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Unexpected Performance Enhancer Kills HS Athlete

Of all the reasons to disapprove of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, one of the most compelling is the concern over the effect they may have on youths in sports. There’s no question that a teenager has no business injecting themselves with powerful steroids or other enhancers that could have unforeseen adverse effects on their still-growing body. In addition, an impatient kid is unlikely to cautiously heed the directions and dosages for use. It’s a dangerous combination.

For 16-year-old high school track athlete Joseph Loudon, it was a fatal one. Loudon died at a high school keg party after a combination of booze and performance enhancing drugs caused him to fatally choke on his own vomit. But Loudon wasn’t juiced up on HGH or steroids - his blood was found to have high levels of the erectile dysfunction drug papaverine.

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Legendary Boxer Arturo Gatti Murdered In Brazil

Another weekend, another sad sports death. Boxer Arturo “Thunder” Gatti has been murdered at the age of 37. According to news report, Gatti was smashed in the back of the head with a blunt object at a condo he and his wife were renting in Brazil for a second honeymoon. What a way to go.

Arturo Gatti

Gatti, who retired in 2007, was one of the most exciting boxers in recent memory and is perhaps best remembered for his epic 2001-2003 trilogy of fights against Micky Ward. That trilogy managed that rarest of feats in modern times - getting casual sports fans to take notice of boxing. Remembrance after the jump.

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Kazemi’s Sister Believes ‘A Third Person Involved’

Obviously, the details will end up shaking themselves out in the coming days and weeks, but the past 24 hours have seen a confusing mess of conflicting details regarding the murder of Steve McNair and the as-yet-unclassified death of Sahel Kazemi.

Sahel Kazemi Photo Steve McNairs Girlfriend Photo

Many high profile murder-suicides (if that’s what this is) tend to feature troubled, unhappy relationships and disturbed individuals (think Chris Benoit or Phil & Brynn Hartman). But if Sahel Kazemi’s family is to be believed, nothing could be further from that profile. That leaves one possibility, in the family’s mind: there must have been a third person involved.

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Phil Mickelson Leaves PGA Tour To Attend To Wife

PGA golfing superstar Phil Mickelson takes a lot of grief from sports fans and bloggers, and deservedly so (FIGJAM!), but the announcement that Mickelson is taking a leave of absence from the PGA to attend to his breast cancer-stricken wife Amy is no laughing matter.

Phil Mickelson and wife

Mickelson, a three-time Major winner (and boy does that still feel weird to say) is not sure when he will return to the Tour, but we assume Phil was relieved to hear that he wasn’t the one afflicted.
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