There were a few years there where most of the world was convinced that Roger Federer wasn’t even human. Instead it was pretty much accepted that Federer was a robot from the future sent back in time to win all of our tennis trophies because in the future tennis trophies are used as fuel for cars from the future. Okay, so maybe I was the only one who thought that was the case, but you have to admit the man was pretty robotic.
Well yesterday my theory came crashing down all around me. You see, robots can’t cry, yet after losing the Australian Open in five sets to his arch-nemesis Rafael Nadal in a four and a half hour marathon match, Roger couldn’t help but let the disappointment overcome him. And what else can a man who is not a robot and just lost another grand slam title to Nadal do but cry?
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?
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.
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 Levinhas Fitzgerald Sr.’s past work to prove it.
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?
Didn’t we all know that this was going to happen? As soon as a Joe Torre tell-all but hits the edge of the horizon, the former Yankees manager immediately backpedals off his statements, reaches out to New York GM Brian Cashman in (alleged) friendship and throws the paper that ran with his pinstripe trashing under the bus.
(Oh boy. This is getting awkward.)
Good luck with that, NEW YORK POST. See what happens when your reputation precedes you?
In fact, the more quotes you read, the more it becomes clear that Joe Torre’s ‘tell-all’, “The Yankee Years”, isn’t anything close to a tell-all. Instead, it’s a former employee bitching about a few uncomfortable situations and hardships he had to overcome. So who’s responsible for this book being blown into the stratosphere of hype and expectations? A combination of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writer Tom Verducci, who first connected the phrase “A-Fraud” with Torre, and the NEW YORK POST, which had the lack of editorial discretion to run an unattributed assertion as an enormous, splashed back page headline.
It’s an absolute journalistic joke on both fronts, and Torre knows it. That’s why he reached out to Cashman with an apology and request to maintain their friendship. That’s why he’s now saying that he’ll always be close to the Yankees organization. That’s why the final result of this whole brouhaha will almost assuredly be a POST retraction.
And that, dear friends, isn’t a good thing for newspapers or the book industry. Though it will help sell copies of “The Yankee Years” for sure. And that means, in the end, the big winner may be Torre after all. Some people just have all the luck, don’t they?
Not Micah Grimes. He doesn’t have any luck. Then again, he’s not exactly helping his own case these days. Remember the Texas high school girls’ basketball coach who authorized a 100-0 win last week? Well, we can now officially call him the “former Texas high school girls’ basketball coach”, after Grimes was officially fired by Covenant High School on Sunday, hours after he disagreed with a public apology issued by the school in the midst of a firestorm of sportsmanship controversy.
Really, there should be no controversy here. If Grimes had the pluck to call out his administrators for apologizing, than he has no right to call himself a self-respecting coach. Winning 100-0 is bad enough, trying to defend it to the ends of the earth is much worse.
Yet, the deeper you read into this DALLAS MORNING NEWS article by Barry Horn — which we found from a nice tip off by the ONLINE SPORTS GUYS — the clearer it becomes that a small school girls’ basketball coach was obsessed with being right, not providing a decent platform from which his athletes could learn about competition and themselves.
For the record, here’s exactly what Grimes said about the concept of apologizing for his team’s audacious, 100-0 victory:
“I respectfully disagree with the apology, especially the notion that the Covenant School girls basketball team should feel ‘embarrassed’ or ‘ashamed,’ ” part of his blog’s post on FLIGHT BASKETBALL says. “We played the game as it was meant to be played and would not intentionally run up the score on any opponent. Although a wide-margin victory is never evidence of compassion, my girls played with honor and integrity and showed respect to Dallas Academy.”
Yikes. Well, good luck on the job hunt Senor Grimes. At least your resume has something no one else’s will right at the end: A 100-0 win.
And before you think we’re all doom and gloom here at SbB this morning, we’d be absolutely remiss if we didn’t address Shaun White’s latest feat of snowboarding history. The Flying Tomato put together a sick final run in Aspen to win Superpipe gold at X-Games 13, proving that he could overcome just about every jinx possible to win back-to-back gold medals, becoming the first snowboarded (man or woman) to pull off the feat in the process.
How’d he do it? With tenacity, final run gumption and a healthy dose of whirling 1080s. White was literally on his final shot to come back from last place in the finals. He fell on both of his first two runs, and conditions kept deteriorating, to the point where TV shots that weren’t closeups seemed clouded in snow.
No matter. White still put together his best run of the night — the best run of the entire competition, as it turned out — with his back against the wall, edging out an outstanding silver medal-winning performance from Kevin Pearce, who looked like he’d finally reached the moutaintop before the man who just doesn’t feel pressure came and knocked him off.
It’s more than we can say about Gretchen Bleiler, though, with the photo below, there’s plenty more to say. There’s always plenty to say about the lovely Ms. Bleiler.
Ahh, time for some links with the morning coffee. Let’s start with some hoops, shall we:
Just when it looked like the Spurs were poised for a run back up the Western Conference standings, along come the Lakers and Andrew Bynum. J.A. Adande seems to be the first columnist pointing out that Bynum’s 15 points on Tim Duncan Sunday were more significant than his monster game against the woeful Wizards last week. No matter. Eventually everyone will get that, and it’s pretty stinking significant. It really is.
In case you missed it, Lionel Hollinsis officially the Grizzlies coach … again. Only this time he doesn’t have the interim tag. All of which raises a fascinating question: If he gets hired, but accepts a demotion to assistant coach, can he then succeed the next inevitable Memphis firing as an interim coach for a third time? It might be worth it for historical significance.
Wait a minute: The Browns hired a GM and he’s a close personal friend of new coach Eric Mangini? What ever happened to hedging your bets, anyway?
What would you say if we told you the woman below — Portugese TV host Isabel Figuera — had 1) already had a child and 2) was back on the free agent market? Seems like a worthwhile investment, doesn’t it? How does she relate to sports? Oh pipe down, she used to be married to a Portugese soccer star (César Peixoto), of course.
Hooligans: they aren’t just for soccer anymore! In what’s becoming a regular occurrence at the Australian Open, scores of ethnic Serbs and Croats have chosen a tennis match as the tableau to act out their anger in their centuries-old rivalry. The occasion on Friday was the third round match where Serbian Novak Djokovic beat Bosnian-born American Amer Delic. The SYDNEY HERALD SUN reports that at least 30 people were kicked out of Rod Laver Stadium, and one woman was knocked unconscious by a chair.
As you can imagine, alcohol was partially to blame. THE TIMES OF LONDON notes that the beer was flowing on the tennis grounds bright and early thanks to one of the tournament sponsors, always a guarantee to fuel bad blood. Let’s see: a bunch of drunken idiots hurling lawn chairs at each other until the cops show up to break it up? Sounds like every frat party I ever went to in college, except with the added bonus of racial strife and undercurrents of genocide.
Someone finally had the nerve to expose Venus & Serena Williams for who they were. Um, wait, check that - someone finally had the nerve to expose themselves during a Venus & Serena Williams match.
(Fellas, it’s never a good sign when ladies laugh at your naked body)
REUTERS reports that a streaker strutted his stuff during an Aussie Open doubles match between the Williams Sisters and Aymui Morita & Martina Mueller. The man showed the world what he’s made of down under for a good 14 seconds before security took him away.
So how did this nude net fan court the crowd’s attention for so long?
Hey, readers! Time to jump into another SbB Clever Caption Contest!
Today we take a walkabout Down Under, where the Australia Open is well underway in Melbourne. And lo & behold, we happen to come across this:
An explanation is definitely necessary. So please help us out by submitting your suggestions into the comments section linked below. Winner will be announced in the end-of-the-day recap, with a chance to gorge yourself on a lifetime supply of free vegemite, fermented in the finest tanks New South Wales has to offer.
Good luck & good writing! And remember - Foster’s lager is brain food.