In yesterday’s Speed Read, we mentioned how it was obvious that the Australian Open was a little hotter this year, based purely on the gallons of sweat dripping off many of the top seeds. Well, yesterday the year’s first tennis major officially jumped the shark and morphed into an episode of Survivor, with Andy Roddick outlasting Novak Djokovic in sweltering 130-degree heat.
Yes, you read that correctly: 130 degress. Fahrenheit (if it was Celcius everyone would have burned up in the stands). It was so hot that Djokovic could barely force himself back onto the court midway through the second set after a six-minute break, but even the pride that motivated that didn’t last long; he retired after being trounced in each game after that.
Roddick deserves praise for weathering the conditions (all horrendous puns intended), but something more serious needs to be done in the future. As global warming makes both summers and winters more severe across the globe, the Aussie Open is going to keep getting hotter and hotter. Serena Williams has already called for air conditioning earlier in the week, and as crazy as it may sound to play tennis in an air conditioned dome at a global major, it may not be that far away.
There’s sure to be plenty of knee jerk criticism of such a drastic and unorthodox move, but there’s a lot about it that we should all love. First on the list? A chance to see more of the beautiful Brooklyn Decker, who just so happens to be engaged to Monsieur Roddick. What, you thought she was going to brave 130-degree heat to support her beau? Not a professional lady of leisure.
(Someone go get air conditioning in Melbourne! Pronto!)
So, was the heat that Roddick and Djokovic faced in the wee hours of Tuesday worse than the metaphorical heat Jon Gruden was up against during his ouster? Yeah, it probably was. Still, Gruden faced plenty of criticism in the days leading up to his shocking dismissal, and now it’s becoming clear that a disturbing amount of it came from Tampa Bay fans themselves. According to THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES’ Bucs Beat blog, the Malcolm and Bryan Glazer — the team’s owners — “took the pulse of the fans” before dropping the axe on Chucky’s NFL head coaching career.
According to the blog’s author, beat writer Stephen Holder, fans were absolutely irate that the team collapsed down the stretch, costing them a playoff berth in a wide-open NFC in a season where the city was hosting the Super Bowl.
(E tu’, Bucs fans?)
And don’t underestimate just how much the fan feelings may have played into getting rid of Gruden. Just look at the Glazer’s once irascible relationship with Manchester United fans — the family also owns that storied soccer franchise — and it becomes clear that they’ll cow-tow whenever they feel enough pressure to do so.
Here’s what Bryan Glazer told the blog:
“We talked to a lot of people, but we not only talked to the players, but (also) out in the community getting a feel for the team,” Glazer said. “We get opinions and we mix them all together. We just took our time making that decision.”
Asked further about the community feedback, Glazer said, “Our fans are our stockholders. They’re what we play for — the people in our stadium and the ones that watch on TV. That’s what it’s all about: winning and how they feel about the team. If they don’t feel good about the team, then there’s something wrong. . . I think you all know the sense that’s out there. It was time for a change.”
Hmmm. Sounds like a cheap way out when things start to go wrong with Raheem Morris next year, doesn’t it?
While the Glazer’s are busy hedging their bets, former slugger turned baseball analyst David Justice is doubling-down and going all-in. The former hot head told ESPN late tonight that recent on-camera allegations by former Mets clubhouse attendant and steroid peddler Kirk Radomski are pure rubbish. Except his words were a lot stronger than that.
Here are Justice’s full comments. Pretty aggressive:
“He has never been in a car with me,” Justice said. “He didn’t take me to the airport. He’s going to call me a liar and that’s his information? That’s a bald-faced lie. … Who was in the car with me? Give me some specifics. What was the day like? Why didn’t [Radomski] put that in the Mitchell report? … You don’t remember taking me to the airport then? Now you wrote a book and remember? He has nothing.”
Well, he has something: A book deal. And the more this issue gets talked about, the better that book deal is going to look. Talk about free PR. Justice said he’s not going to take Radomski to court for that very hypocritical reason, though that in itself is sure to cast aspersion on his own assertions that he’s never sat in a car with the man. And what did Doc Gooden have to say about Radomski’s claim that he twice peed in a cup for him?
Here was Gooden’s text-message response: “LOL”
Uggggh. The steroid story spins on … and on and on and on.
- Remember when the PLAYBOY party during Super Bowl week was the hottest ticket of the year? Well, now it’s not a ticket at all, thanks to that whole recession deal.
- Everyone get excited. British soccer WAG Cheryl Cole may be on the verge of netting a reality TV show in the States.
- All the deification of Larry Fitzgerald Sr. — by Rick Reilly and Michael Wilbon, among others — has been a little over the top. How do we know? Because SLATE’s inimitable Josh Levin has Fitzgerald Sr.’s past work to prove it.
- Chris Paul is absolutely ridiculous. Latest proof? A near quadruple-double.
- The BIG TEN NETWORK has a ways to go before it reaches anything more than Larry Fitzgerald Sr. status.
- In case you missed it, Andy Pettitte just took a one-year deal for about a third of the money he made last year. And he’s not the only facing a huge cut or no job at all. We’re talking about you, Jason Varitek.
- Sure, the Super Bowl party scene may be taking hit, but will the slow down affect the strip clubs? It’s a legitimate question … or at least legitimate enough that the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES is asking it.
- College baseball coaches aren’t the only ones who drink and drive. Players do, too. So, if Augie Garrido got a four-game suspension, how many are Stephen Locke going to miss?
- Oh come on! When will the promotional stunts end already! Mickey Rourke really needed to wrestle at Wrestlemania XXV to promote “The Wrestler”? A little bit overkill, no?
- If a Brazilian pro soccer player scores a goal that doesn’t go between the goalposts, is it still a goal? Judge for yourself at the 6:05 mark of the video below.
- Michael Ballack has always had a nice shot from range, but who knew he had the Randy Johnson pigeon killing gene in him?