Speed Read: Roddick Wins Survivor Aussie Open

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.

andy roddick aussie open

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.

Brooklyn Decker
(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.

  • 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.

Now that defending champ Novak Retir-ovak is out, who will win the Aussie Open?

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Speed Read: Celtics Fall Again; May Not Top East

Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Celtics were going to challenge the ‘96 Bulls for the best record ever? Yeah, you can pretty much put that possibility to rest. The C’s continued their strange descent on Tuesday night, dropping a game to the lowly Bobcats, 114-106 in overtime. Boston has lost five out of seven games following a 27-2 start, and now faces the real possibility of not winding up with the best record in the East at the end of the season. Orlando is 27-8 after beating Washington last night, and the idle Cavs sit at 27-6.

Bobcats Celtics

There was a huge bowl game last night too. I mean, all the best games happen after January 1st, right? Oh, it was just the GMAC Bowl. And what better company to be bringing us a bowl game this year?  It actually wasn’t a terrible matchup, as both Tulsa and Ball State took undefeated records deep into the season before faltering late. In wet, sloppy conditions in Mobile, the Golden Hurricane rocked the Cardinals 45-13. BSU was once ranked 12th, but will probably not end the season in the rankings. It’s a shame former Cards coach Brady Hoke, who left for San Diego State, couldn’t have stuck around for this one since he needs some experience in losing games by that margin for his new job.

In your New Yankees/Old Yankees news, Mark Teixeira was introduced in a press conference yesterday, Andy Pettite rejected the Yanks’ one-year, $10 million offer, and Jason Giambi is on the cusp of signing a one-year deal with the A’s.

Mark Teixeira

(ugh)

See this guy?:

Corky Simpson

His name is Corky Simpson, and he might be the only member of the Baseball Writers Association who didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson to be in the Hall of Fame. Henderson, who is among the all-time leaders in a number of categories and considered by many to be one of the 10 greatest players ever, is up for election for the first time this year. HOME RUN DERBY has tracked down the ballots of 31 writers so far, and all but Simpson’s contain Henderson’s name. And it’s not like Simpson was being stingy with his votes. He voted for eight players, including Tommy John, Tim Raines (the poor man’s Henderson), and — get this – Matt Williams! HOME RUN DERBY further analyzes Simpson’s insanity.

Today’s links are brought to you by Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp:

• The whole dating hockey players thing has worked out well for Elisha Cuthbert and Hilary Duff, so Carrie Underwood has apparently jumped on that train as well. REALITY TV MAGAZINE reports that Underwood is dating Ottawa’s Mike Fisher, as she was seen watching the game from a suite with Fisher’s parents this past weekend.

Carrie Underwood

• Somebody dressed as a security guard took a hockey stick from a teenage fan that was given to the kid by Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg during the New Year’s Day game at Wrigley Field. The “guard” said that the stick would be available to be picked up at the customer relations booth. There was no stick at customer relations. The kid is crushed, and nobody knows who the guy is that took the stick nor where the stick went. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s Jon Yates has the odd story.

• Reminding us that there’s nothing more pressing going on in the world than the state of postseason college football, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is considering launching an investigation into the BCS and possibly bringing antitrust charges, according to the DESERET NEWS.

• Speaking of the Utes, their fans are currently spamming AP writers such as the RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER’s J.P. Giglio, who says he’s received more than 100 emails urging him to put Utah #1 on his final poll ballot.

• Your strange video of the day comes courtesy of the NHL, where Ottawa’s Jarko Ruutu thought it was a good idea to bite Buffalo’s Andrew Peters on the hand.

The best part? Peters is the one who got a penalty.

• In a time when the NCAA Division I ranks continue to swell, the University of New Orleans is considering eliminating its athletic program altogether, says the NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE. The school, which is a part of the LSU system, is a member of the Sun Belt Conference but doesn’t have a football team.

•  A San Francisco couple with too much time on their hands are in the process of suing the 49ers for patting them down before entering Candlestick Park, saying that it’s an invasion of privacy. The SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE has the arguments from both sides.

• The Orioles have signed 34-year-old Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara, according to the BALTIMORE SUN. I guess the O’s just feel left out of the Japanese pitcher phenomenon.

• In a stroke of genius roster management that would make Isiah Thomas proud, Tottenham Hotspur sold striker Jermain Defoe to Portsmouth last January for £9.0 million, and now have decided they want him back. The price? £15 million. Well played, Spurs.

• Finally, I have to include this story about the Indians signing Carl Pavano. Is it huge news? No. It’s just an excuse to run a link to an article penned by the incomparably-named Chris Assenheimer of the MEDINA COUNTY GAZETTE.

Who will end up with the best record in the NBA this year?

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The Yankees Have Broken Roger Clemens’ Heart

If you tuned in to ESPN’s coverage of the final game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, you saw a lot of tribute videos and interviews with famous New Yorkers who told you all about what the stadium meant to them.   Of course, it wasn’t just us regular folk who were watching, as there were even some former Yankees watching at home.

One of those players was Roger Clemens.   Clemens was at home in Houston watching on a battery powered television (like a lot of people in Houston, Clemens doesn’t have power), and when he saw one tribute video in particular, it broke his steroid-pumping heart.

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Mike & Mike Get In A Lather For Soap Opera Scene

Mike Golic & Mike Greenberg bust their acting chops in “Guiding Light“:

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on Guiding Light

Wonder if they’ll bring Dana Jacobson along to the Daytime Emmys?

A-Rod is pumped at the thought of his daughters marrying Andy Pettitte.

Knicks teammates Zach Randolph & Nate Robinson exchange words - then some water & towels.

The Big Cactus needles Kareem & Wilt The Stilt about a lack of respect.

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