Speed Read: Red Sox Continue Ownage Of Angels

I’m starting to get the impression that the Angels don’t like playing the Red Sox in October all that much. The supreme ownage continued last night as the Sox took Game 1 of the ALDS 4-1 at the Big A. Boston has now won 10 consecutive playoff games against the Angels, a streak that has spanned three different incarnations of the Angel franchise even though they’ve played in the same stadium the whole time. The first game in the streak was the infamous Dave Henderson/Donnie Moore Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS. Incidentally, the Angels took eight of nine from the Sox during the 2008 regular season.

Mike Napoli is bumming

The biggest problem for the Angels? This guy is always the home plate umpire:

It's Enrico Pallazzo!

His strike zone is always brutal in the top of the seventh inning.

New England columnists are singing the praises of Jon Lester and Jason Bay, while So Cal writers are bemoaning the gaffes of Gary Matthews and Vlad Guerrero, who curiously tried to go first to third on a ball that was hit 150 feet. One writer wonders if the Angels will ever beat their arch-rival.

Meanwhile, the Cubs extended a streak of their own. They’ve now lost seven straight in the postseason dating back to the 2003 NLCS. James Loney’s grand slam stunned the Wrigley crowd and sent the Dodgers on their way to a 7-2 win. Joe Torre had a plan to make Ryan Dempster work hard, and it paid off with L.A. drawing seven walks off the Cubs starter. Dempster had few answers for tying a career-high in wildness.

The Phillies won their first playoff game since 1993, surviving Mitch Williams‘ ceremonial first pitch and discarding the Brewers 3-1. Brad Lidge wasn’t exactly on top of his game, but he got the job done in the ninth inning. The Crew didn’t go very far in earning respect in Philly.

If you thought that the 2005 NBA Finals between San Antonio and Detroit was exciting, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! The WNBA apparently uses a multi-game format to decide its champion, and the Shock of Detroit dispatched the Silver Stars of San Antonio in Game 1 of possibly a best-of-five series. The best thing about all of this is that we get to see Russian/South Dakotan Becky Hammon in action for a few more days:

Becky Hammon

Kendra Wilkinson

  • Pirates broadcaser Lanny Frattare has decided he’s seen enough, according to USA TODAY. Frattare was in the booth for the 1979 World Series title, but should’ve just gotten out then. Instead, he’s been the voice of 16 straight losing seasons.
  • When Ryan Braun hit his game-winning home run against the Cubs on Sunday, this lady jumped up and down so vigorously her water broke:

Brewer fans with baby

The MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL’s Jim Stingl has all the excruciating details, including the phrase “it was more like the ground-rule double of amniotic fluid.”

  • ┬áTrail Blazer fans are just a little paranoid about Greg Oden’s health, notes the COLUMBIAN’s Brian Hendrickson. Oden suffered a immensely mild grade-one ankle sprain but that’s no consolation to a base that suffered through Sam Bowie and are facing another year of Joel Przybilla if Oden gets hurt again.

Who’s the worst member of TBS’ baseball play-by-play announcing crew?

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Ex-NHLer Sent Up The Frozen River For Extortion

We have an update on the story of Larry DePalma, the former journeyman NHL player who was arrested and charged with trying to extort $1 million from a parent of a junior hockey player he coached: He and his brother were each sentenced on Wednesday to one year in jail after pleading no contest to attempted extortion. Which goes to show that while success in sports may not always translate to other fields, being a lousy athlete might lead to you becoming a lousy criminal as well.

Larry DePalma ex-NHL player and extortionist

To recap the DePalma Brothers’ foolproof plan: Several years ago, they had tried to convince W. Bruce Knight to let them take his son, whom they coached in junior hockey, to Russia for additional training. When the trip failed to materialize the DePalmas, desperate for money, called Knight and said that “the Russian mafia” was very upset with Knight for canceling the trip, and that unless he paid $1 million (deliverable to the DePalmas, of course), Knight and his family would be killed.

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U.S. Coach Questions Russian Ringer’s Patriotism

We earlier told the tale of Becky Hammon, an American basketball player who’ll be getting big bucks for playing for Russia in the Olympics. And now the U.S. women’s coach speaks out on the commie traitor.

Becky Hammon Anne Donovan olympic women's basketball

Christine Brennan of USA TODAY shoots up some tsk-tsking from Anne Donovan, who’ll be leading the American ladies in Beijing. When chatting with ESPN last week, the coach called Harmon’s loyalty into question:

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American Basketball Player Defects To Russia

Becky Hammon has played in the WNBA since 1999. Last season, she was second in that league’s MVP voting. But when the United States went to build their team, Hammon wasn’t even invited.

Becky Hammon

And that’s when Hammon issued her own code red. Read more…