Speed Read: “Desperate” Plax Faces Grand Jury

As we speak, Plaxico Burress is preparing to testify before a grand jury in Manhattan about shooting himself in the leg last year. And those of you with some familiarity with the legal system might have this reaction to that news: uhhh, wha?

Plaxico Burress

(”I saved the world from having to deal with 19-0. Doesn’t that count for something?”)

In a move that ESPN’s Lester Munson is calling “desperate” and “highly unusual,” Burress will subject himself to questioning in an effort to get the grand jury to consider lesser charges than the felony that is currently on the table. It’s rare for a lawyer to allow this to happen because it can backfire in so many ways. For one, Plax has to be very careful about what he says. If any statement he makes ends up not being true, he could find a perjury charge added to whatever else he’s facing. And, since the prosecutors can ask anything they want, if Burress is forthcoming with every detail, he could basically end up admitting his guilt. Although, as one ESPN commenter noted, Burress really only needs to be asked three questions:

1. Did you have a gun in your possession when you shot yourself?
2. Do you have a permit to have that gun?
3. Do you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in New York?

If the answer is “yes” to #1 and “no” to the other two questions, that’s basically all they need to make their decision.

Lester Munson

(Things aren’t going well if this guy’s talking about you)

So why do it? Munson and fellow analyst Roger Cossack seem to think that Burress’ lawer, Benjamin Brafman, might be using this as a means to encourage a plea bargain. But Munson says that they don’t have any leverage here, since they’re the ones facing all the downside related to Burress’ testimony. The term “bluff” is being thrown around, but what’s the bluff? Why would the D.A. be worried about Plax testifying?

The only reasonable theory being offered is that maybe Plax can charm the jurors into thinking he’s a good guy who didn’t know the law and just wanted to protect himself. But he’ll have to do all of this without his lawyer, who won’t be allowed into the courtroom.

On Monday, Manhattan D.A. Jack McCoy Robert Morgenthau spoke publicly about the case, saying that Plax was OK with doing a year in jail, but that the people won’t accept a deal that involves less than two years in the clink. Morgenthau even suggested that he’s looking at charging Antonio Pierce for his role in the incident, something Cossack claims was “out of bounds” for the D.A. to talk about publicly, and certainly meant to bait Burress into a deal.

None of this looks particularly good, and one wonders if that two-year deal from the D.A. is still on the table. And I think it’s safe to say it would be the worst two-year deal any NFL free agent would be signing this year.

Robert Morgenthau

(When the guy with the huge ears says you’re doing time, you’re doing time)

Mark Buehrle made his first start since his perfect game, and for an hour and a half or so at the Metrodome, the awesome gift-giver looked like he might have a legitimate shot at the utterly unthinkable. Buehrle retired the first 17 Twins he faced on Tuesday night, before it finally all fell apart and he gave up five runs and five hits.

Despite the eventual unraveling, Buehrle set a major league record by sending down 45 consecutive batters. That’s 15 consecutive innings without allowing a baserunner. The previous record was 41, held by two players, including Buehrle’s teammate, Bobby Jenks (who did it in three-batter increments as a closer).

Mark Buehrle White Sox

Elsewhere around baseball, Ichiro did something he’d never done before — end a game with a hit. That’s right, none of his previous 1,952 hits were of the walk-off variety, by far the longest such active streak in baseball. To give you an idea, Alex Cora now holds the active record for most hits without a walk-off at 742.

Ichiro Suzuki Seattle Mariners

(”You know, maybe if you didn’t have Yuniesky Betancourt hitting in front of me for four years I would’ve done it once or twice.”)

It’s been a good year for the Dodgers, but things took a turn for the embarrassing when Mark Loretta had to come on to pitch with two outs in the eighth inning at L.A. trailing 10-0 to the Cardinals. Loretta was the first position player to pitch in a game for the Dodgers since 2004, and after drilling Matt Holliday with a fastball he got Ryan Ludwick to fly out to end the inning. In other words, he did way better than Chien-Ming Wang had done this year. The Yankees finally Old Yellered him and are sending him to have surgery that can’t possibly make him any worse. Wang’s future with the Yanks is in doubt, as the team must offer him at least $4 million to keep him next year or lose him to free agency.

Chien-Ming Wang  cheerleader

Jessica Simpson is no longer welcome in Tony Romo’s neighborhood. She’s taking the high road, though, by not asking Romo to give her back the boat she bought him.

• Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen isn’t anywhere near the man he used to be. He’s much less. 95 pounds worth, to be exact.

• Because everyone’s been asking for it, here are those long-awaited highlights of the touch football game played by NFL legends before Super Bowl X in 1976. If you’ve ever wanted to see Paul Hornung make a gay joke, watch a bunch of guys try and cop a feel on Phyllis George, and hear why Johnny Unitas likes to drive Pontiacs, look no further:

As you can see, Bill Murray and Christopher Guest had nowhere to go but up.

• OK, Jason Marquis has been pretty good this year, but the DENVER POST’s Mark Kiszla has to settle down. Kiszla says that because Marquis has been on a heater for 19 starts this year that he deserves a long-term contract from the Rockies. Because those other nine years Marquis pitched must have been some kind of aberration.

• BASKETBAWFUL wonders why it’s so hard to keep score of a pickup basketball game, despite using the theoretically easier 1-point/2-point scoring system.

• DEADSPIN has the strangest overreaction to the whole Erin Andrews mess that has been published so far.

• Yes, this is in fact Garth Brooks tossing a coin into his own face before an international soccer match (TMZ is covering something other than Michael Jackson these days):

Garth Brooks tossing coin into own face

Homeless man starts passing notes to Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. Penguins win Stanley Cup. Coincidence?

• The Cowboys will play at the Chiefs on October 11th in Kansas City, and the home team will be wearing a helmet with a big picture of Texas on it.

Vin Scully has announced that next season — his 61st as broadcaster for the Dodgers — will be his last.

• And just because we can, here’s some pictures of Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis getting ready to kiss each other:

Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis

Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis

Bill Murray Brings Some Carl Spackler to US Open

Boy, that was some U.S. Open last week, wasn’t it? Eh, all anyone will remember is how much it rained and that neither Tiger nor Phil won it. (No offense, Danny Lucas Glover.) But while Bethpage Black became Bethpage bath, Bill Murray stopped by to soak in all the fun - literally!

Bill Murray then & now

But you may ask yourself, what does Bill Murray have to do with golf? And if you do ask such a question, turn in your man card immediately. And if you’re a woman asking this question, your husband/boyfriend must rip up their man cards post haste. Why Mr. Murray was one of the seminal pieces of the greatest motion picture ever made about life on the links: Tin Cup…er, Caddyshack.

Yeah, Bill’s gettin’ older and doing more serious film work, trying to ease away from slapstick lowbrow comedy. But he’s at a freakin’ golf course - couldn’t he give us a least a smidgen of Carl Spackler?

Read more…

Mark Sanchez Turns on the Sex Jets for GQ Shoot

• New Jets QB Mark Sanchez struts his stuff in a new photoshoot for GQ:

Mark Sanchez GQ

• Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger is hoping that Formula One star Lewis Hamilton will soon be driving her to the wedding chapel.

• Nice to see the 1962 Mets show up at Dodger Stadium Monday night.

Michael Strahan is all set to fill in the gap of Fox sitcom programming.

• Vancouver’s sex workers are getting some tips on how to deal with the upcoming Olympic media onslaught.

Read more…

Cubs Owner Asking Famous Chicagoans For Help

In a sales process that should wrap up right around the time baseball has evolved into Blernsball, TD Ameritrade scion Tom Ricketts continues to drag out the purchase of the Chicago Cubs to extract more concessions from Sam Zell and WGN on advertising cash and to look for more $25-50 million loans from the local rich.

Jeremy Piven Chicago Cubs

(Guess who feels left out?)

Of course, as we mentioned last month, those loans have been gussied up in the form of stakes in the Chicago Cubs that you have to give back in 15 years when Ricketts pays back the loan with slim interest.  It’s now known that he’s schmoozed famous Chicagoans Bill Murray, Jim Belushi, and John Cusack to buy in. Frankly, it’s difficult to understand a world where Jim Belushi has over $25 million in net worth.

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Bill Murray’s Golf Skills Could Use A Little Work

Actor and comedian Bill Murray loves golf. He’s done movies about golf (Caddyshack), made TV series about golf (The Sweet Spot), written books about golf (Cinderella Story), and opened golf-themed restaurants (Murray Bros. Caddyshack). Even when Murray gets a DUI, he gets it in a golf cart (in Sweden). As you might expect from a golf fanatic with nothing but time and money to burn, Murray plays in a lot of celebrity pro/am-type golf tournaments, including this weekend’s Outback Pro/Am in Tampa, Florida.

Caddyshack gopher

Unfortunately for Murray, however, he doesn’t seem to be very good at the game in which he’s invested so much of his life. Murray was playing the 9th hole of TPC Tampa Bay when his errant tee shot sailed across the street and hit innocent bystander Gail DiMaggio in the head as she stood in her front yard.

Read more…

Bill Murray, Muslims Offer Answers to 0-2 Cubs

One loss away from another season without a championship, the faithful Cub fans don’t seem all that faithful; just scour through some of the more popular Cubs blogs and you’ll find words like: “I guess this means it can be done. But not by this team, not the way it’s playing.” and “What should the Cubs priorities this offseason be?” Ouch.

Bill Murray

Who could blame them though, after 100 years losing can get a little old. Not everyone in their fanbase is ready to call it a year, though. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that 100 Muslims will “pray for Allah to change the team’s dim fortunes” outside of Wrigley Field today. One Muslim scholar told the paper that Muslims usually do not pray to Allah for matters that “do not have any element of human suffering.” He clearly is not a Cubs fan.

The Muslims are not alone, Bill Murray, possibly the Cubs’ most famous fan is offering his favorite team some advice and words of encouragement. In an interview also found in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE the actor suggested skipper Lou Piniella make some adjustments to the lineup, “Against Derek Lowe, only the left-handed hitters have a chance because of the way he pitches.Read more…

Rick Sutcliffe: Stole Case Of Beer For Bill Murray

Fresh off Rick Sutcliffe’s recovery from colon cancer, Bill Reiter of the KANSAS CITY STAR pens a lengthy profile on the local legend - interviewing Sutcliffe in his KC-area home.

Rick Sutcliffe

It’s a good read, and the best story is saved for last - which has Sutcliffe spinning a yarn that had him stealing the first base of his career - spurred by an on-air bet between Steve Stone and Bill Murray. Read more…

Murray: Cub Broadcast Gig “Cool Retirement Job”

Bill Zwecker of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES reports some potentially catastrophic news for all you Pat Hughes fans out there.

Bill Murray Cubs Broadcast

Bill Murray apparently has his bloodshot sights trained on the Wrigley Field broadcast booth. Read more…