Phils Fans Tried To Spike Giants Food With Ex-Lax

Yesterday I reported the news that Yankee fans had recently grossed out the wife of Cliff Lee, to which Phillies fans reacted with universal glee. But did Philly really think it’d escape the week scot-free?

Phillies fan on Pat Burrell sighting

(Suspect, perhaps?)

PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS gossip Dan Gross recently had this chestnut about similarly sick behavior from *gasp* Phillies fans:

A table of women at DelFrisco’s (15th & Chestnut) asked a server to put Ex-Lax in the food of Giants Pat Burrell, Brian Wilson and several of their teammates who sat in the main dining room Friday night, while the Toronto Maple Leafs were also in the house. Shane Victorino turned up later that night in a large party.

We get no follow from Gross about the incident, which, since we’re talking Philadelphia, didn’t even merit the lede in his daily gossip column. Read more…

Speed Read: Stay Off Of Tom Watson’s Lawn

While you snored loudly all snug in your bed last night (and I hear it really was annoying, I’d look into that if I were you), the British Open got underway in Turnberry, Scotland. And who’s the early leader? Not favorites Tiger Woods or Padaig Harrington … and neither is it Charles Howell III (“Gilligan! Drop that coconut!”). It’s Tom Watson, who will turn 60 in two months. Yes, a man who spends more time in the restroom than on the greens owned a clubhouse lead after a 5-under 65 in the first round (at least he was at 4 a.m. PST when I wrote this).

Tom Watson

Watson birdied the first hole and had another birdie on 3 to keep just ahead of Mark Calcavecchia and Lee Westwood, tied for second one stroke back. Watson, of course, won the “Duel in the Sun” over Jack Nicklaus in Turnberry’s first Open in 1977, and to demonstrate how long ago that was, Elvis Presley was still alive. So how great would it be to have Woods and Watson squaring off for the title 32 years later? This is why I like golf; in what other sport can an athlete who turned professional in 1971 still be a major factor? It’s like if Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn made this year’s All-Star team. Here’s the leaderboard, which I check every 15 minutes just so that I can quietly say to myself the words Briny Baird.” Whether you like golf or you don’t, it’s the only game being played today, my friends; unless you count elephant polo or falconry.

Woods had a later tee time and is currently 1-over after 17 holes, tied for 50th place. And he did just about as well at Wednesday’s ESPY Awards, as Michael Phelps ended Tiger’s five-year dominance as Best Male Athlete, taking that title as well as Best Record-Breaking Performance, Best Championship Performance and Best Male Olympian. Tim Tebow won the 2009 Best College Athlete Award, becoming the only two-time winner in the category. Afterward, ESPN announced that the trophy would be modeled in his image. Charles Barkley won for Stupidest DUI and Shortest Prison Stay, narrowly beating Donte Stallworth in the latter category.

She’s refusing to do any actual interviews, but Amanda Rodrigues, the wife of former boxing champion Arturo Gatti who is accused of his murder, has written a letter from prison proclaiming her innocence. So that should clear that up. Rodrigues, being held in the Brazilian city of Recife, said that she awoke Saturday morning in their rented apartment to find her husband dead. Excerpts:

“This is a pain that has become inexplicable and intolerable, this loss and this malicious accusation,” Rodrigues wrote. “I lost my husband!”

“I’m innocent and I know that this will be proven in a few days.”

“The people most important to my life, who know us, know the size of our love. What hurts me is knowing the suffering of my family and friends. What hurts me is to know that my husband will not be in my house waiting for my return.”

“Junior — soon mama will be at home!”

Facing slightly better odds than Rodrigues are my San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are both 10-2 with ERAs below 2.40, Jonathan “Dirty” Sanchez just threw the team’s first no-hitter since 1975, and Kung Fu Panda is destroying pitchers and thrilling the ladies. The Giants were 20-23 on May 24, but have gone 29-16 since to take the wild-card lead, trailing the Dodgers by seven in the NL West. But all is not well. Why? Because the Mohawk craze is sweeping the clubhouse.

Brian Wilson

Closer Brian Wilson initially sported the look, and pitching coach Dave Righetti briefly joined in with a faux version when he lost a bet to Wilson. Jonathan Sanchez followed Righetti’s lead after throwing a no-hitter Friday, while infielder Juan Uribe and reliever Sergio Romo went with the real thing.

Manager Bruce Bochy has vowed to be next if the upstart Giants — who come out of the All-Star break with the National League’s third-best record — put together 10 wins in a row. He doesn’t cherish the prospect.

“Can you imagine this thing shaved, with the size of my head?” the manager says, pointing to his famously prominent noggin.

Cute when the Tampa Bay Rays went through their Mohawk phase last season, but you’ll notice that none of them are wearing World Series rings — and where are they now in the standings? Please Giants, no adorable gimmicks, OK? If I see a cowbell at AT&T Park, I’m not responsible for what I may do next.

And now, links to ponder after ironing your bulletproof shirts:

  • Brett Favre says that he’ll make a final decision about playing for the Vikings by July 30, and Minnesota head coach Brad Childress has no problem with that. And Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Paul Hornung predicts that when Favre finally does join the Vikings, all will go well: “(Favre) ain’t going to win in Minnesota,” Hornung told revelers at a Wisconsin sports banquet on Tuesday. “I’ll bet on it.”
  • Hey I almost forgot; the Tour de France is also going on. Your Stage 11 winner on Wednesday was Britain’s Mark Cavendish, whom the French riders congratulated by charging that he taunted them with racial slurs. That’s a switch. How can we not love you, Tour de France? You’re the only sport that requires skin-tight pants and a map of the Alps.
  • Letterman: Sonia Sotomayor is getting more and more confident with each passing day of the confirmation hearings. Today she showed up wearing the yellow jersey.”
  • Apparently Steve McNair left no will, causing the wife of the slain ex-NFL quarterback to file an emergency petition in a Nashville court asking that she be allowed to oversee his estate. A judge granted the request. Mechelle McNair listed herself and her two sons, Tyler and Trenton McNair, as the heirs to the estate. McNair also has two other sons from a previous relationship.

  • Yes, I’m having a hard time believing that this girl caught this fish. Supposedly, 11-year-old Jessica Wanstall, who weighs 84 pounds, landed this catfish, which weighs 194 pounds, in the Ebro River in Northeast Spain. Not shown: Jessica’s 8-year-old brother Trevor, who was used as bait. And yes, after this picture was taken her dad threw it back: They were holding out for a really big catch.
  • The ratings are in: The MLB All-Star Game posted a 10.4/18 overnight rating in metered markets, down 5 percent from a 11.0/18 for the first nine innings of last year’s 15-inning game in New York. The pregame show drew an 8.3/15, also down slightly from last year’s 8.4/15. But the big news still seems to be President Obama’s ceremonial pitch, which FOX failed to show win its entirety. And when they finally did show it the following morning, they screwed that up as well.

  • But the real gem of that DAILY SHOW clip is above. Jon Stewart: “Actually [President Obama] was there to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the ballgame, much in the same way that in England, the Queen will throw the first punch at a soccer riot.”
  • A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced former Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry to three years in prison for running a drug ring in Montana and Colorado.

Who will win the British Open?

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Speed Read: Brady Haters, Today Ain’t Your Day

Woe upon anybody who turned on “NFL Live” on ESPN yesterday, as the Worldwide Leader had fantastic news for everybody: Tom Brady’s knee is doing great!

Tom Brady Blingee
(Wheeeee yayyyy Tom Brady!)

This wasn’t particularly newsworthy, mind you; everyone knew Brady would be back for the start of the 2009 season. Then his surgeon and golf partner, Neal ElAttrache (that’s a fake name if I ever heard one; what’s Brady hiding???), gave his first post-surgery interview to the LOS ANGELES TIMES, and with quotes like these:

“With regard to his recovery of strength, I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” said ElAttrache, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. “With an average person, it would have taken probably twice as long to get range of motion and strength back.”

Said ElAttrache: “Let’s face it, guys that are athletes like him, they’re strung together different. By and large, they follow the same biologic rules as the rest of us. However, they’re able to do things with their neuromuscular control and their strength gains and how they respond to exercise a little bit differently.

…it was only a matter of time before ESPN pounced and showed that amateur Peter King what a real ball-washing looks like.

Speaking of comebacks, it’s time to welcome back another target of unbridled man-crushery: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović, the fearsome MMA fighter. He set the world on fire a few years ago, mainly via YouTube videos of him kicking people in the head, before an uninspiring 1-2 stint in UFC sent him back to fighting in Japan. But rest assured, I didn’t forget the kicking in the head:

As UFC.COM reports (and they’d know these things), Cro Cop is set to face Mostapha Al-Turk in Germany in UFC 99. According to FANHOUSE, that means even more good news; with that addition, UFC is planning to show six pay-per-view fights instead of the regular five. There’s no indication that they’re moving the PPV price from its regular $50, which makes the announcement even better.

And yes, $50 is awfully steep for one person to watch an event, but if you’re watching a pay-per-view by yourself, there’s something very wrong with you. Pay-per-views are the flimsy excuse you need to have a social event, one that often involves healthy amounts of imbibition. It’s probably not very hard to find a sports bar showing the event, after all. But if “drunk guys in Affliction shirts” isn’t your thing, no worries; 1) Giants pitcher Brian Wilson doesn’t care for it either, and 2) just invite a half-dozen friends or so over and do it like that instead. But yes, six fights in one night is most certainly choice. Figure out a way to make it worth your while and make it happen.

And finally in more news of welcome returns, Phil Mickelson has apparently set a date for returning to the PGA Tour: June 11, for the St. Jude’s Classic in Memphis. Of course, the timing has everything to do with the U.S. Open the following week at Bethpage Black, right in Phil the Thrill’s haunt in New York.

John Daly pink pants
(Also, per public sympathy guidelines, these will be mandatory for the rest of the league.)

He’ll have an even more sympathetic crowd than the already boisterous fans at Bethpage, considering wife Amy’s recent cancer diagnosis. But as GOLF.COM explains, after these two tournaments, he’s probably not back for good:

Mickelson first thought surgery for his 37-year-old wife could happen as early as a few weeks since the announcement, but that has been pushed back for another month.

Her treatment and recovery will dictate whether he plays in the British Open, or how much he plays at all the rest of the summer. Mickelson already has won twice this year and is No. 5 in the FedEx Cup standings.

It’s both easy and tempting to say things like “Amy Mickelson is good reminder that life is more important than sports,” but that’s like saying “an apple is tastier than an aircraft carrier.” Well, yeah, but the two things don’t share the same useful metric. Of course life is important; nobody ever disputed that. But we’d be stunned if Phil’s return was spurred by anything but Amy telling him to get back on the course.

Other things to ponder while you learn the art of cat yodeling

  • Embedding is disabled, tragically, but you’ll get a pretty good sense of the surreal fanaticism of the SEC when you watch this 4-year-old little lady talk up the Gators.
  • Proving she’s not a three-program robot (1: drive car fast, 2: make non-threatening remarks, 3: wear bikini), Danica Patrick ruffled some feathers recently by telling Dan Patrick (not the same person; not even related, as a matter of fact) that taking PEDs isn’t cheating if you’re not caught. Was that wrong? Should she not have done that?
  • Cheer up, Nike: there’s still a way to salvage your precious Lebron/Kobe puppet campaign!

Which athlete looks the least like Conan O’Brien?

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Speed Read: It Looks Like The NHL Is Finally Back

Two Game 6 classics in one night? An OT winner from the Caps that guarantees an Ovie-Crosby grudge match on Wednesday night? A 12-goal outburst in front of an insane crowd at the United Center that cemented the Blackhawks’ return to relevance once and for all? Sorry NBA, Monday night was owned by the NHL.

Blackhawks celebrate

First, in Pittsburgh, Dave Steckel’s sweet tip-in of Brooks Laich’s wrister from the point 6:22 into OT saved the Capitals’ season and silenced an Igloo crowd that was ready to celebrate a return trip to the conference finals.

Sidney Crosby’s tying goal with just over four minutes left in regulation gave the Penguins the momentum back after blowing a lead earlier in the period. But in the end, Marc-Andre Fleury was just a little too shaky. He only stopped 19 of 24 shots on the night while his Washington counterpart Simeon Varlamov outplayed him yet again, turning aside 38 of 42. The NEW YORK TIMES sums it all up better than I can:

Five one-goal decisions in six games, three overtimes and 41 goals, with Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby striking for 13 and assisting on 10 others. The Capitals and the Penguins have played a marvelous Eastern Conference semifinal series, and after Washington’s 5-4 overtime victory Monday, it will continue, fittingly, to Game 7 at Verizon Center on Wednesday.

That just about says it all.

Caps celebrate

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Vancouver rallied from a 3-1 deficit to take leads of 4-3 and 5-4 in the third period.  The Canucks thought the last lead might be enough to force a Game 7, but the Blackhawks went nuts in the final seven minutes, scoring three times to take a 7-5 win and advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1995. 21-year-old Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored twice, and 20-year-old Patrick Kane’s rocket of a backhander with 3:43 left gave him a hat trick and sealed the deal for the Hawks (Kane actually overslept on Monday and missed the morning skate). Think this team has a bright future?

As recently as two seasons ago, the Hawks were a failing franchise that could barely fill half of the United Center. Now, there isn’t a tougher ticket in town and the team went over the million mark in attendance for the season last night. As if all this isn’t enough, they’re likely going to be facing the Detroit Red Wings in the next round (provided the Wings can win one of two against Anaheim). And, I’m just going to throw it out there now: if they do play the Wings, I’m saying there’s a 50% chance that at least one fan is going to die in an incident directly related to that series. I’ve been to regular season games between those teams at the UC that have seen near riots in the 300 level. I’ve heard Hawks fans start a rousing “De-troit sucks” chant during a game against the L.A. Kings. They’ve been waiting for this for years.

Oh yeah, the NBA playoffs were on the schedule last night, too. The LeBrons finally put the Atlanta Hawks out of their misery with a ho-hum 84-74 win to wrap up another sweep. It actually was a pretty close game, and guys like Delonte West and Mo Williams stepped up with big contributions down the stretch to hold off a scrappy Atlanta squad that just didn’t have enough healthy guys to compete. The Cavs are 8-0 in the playoffs, with all of the wins coming by double digits.

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki had 44 points (one for every alias used by his fianceé), including 19 in the fourth quarter, as the Mavs shook off a crapload of technical fouls and stayed alive with a 119-117 win over the Nuggets. Dallas trailed by 10 at halftime and for much of the second half as well, but finally took the lead on a Dirk jumper with less than three minutes left. Nowitzki’s heroics overshadowed Carmelo Anthony’s 41 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 steals. Denver’s still up 3-1 and doesn’t look all that beatable at home against the Mavs, so don’t look for this one to be coming back to Dallas.

• At this point, I think the possibility of getting taunted on YouTube would be more of a deterrent than a yellow card for taking a ridiculous dive in soccer. West Ham’s David di Michele boned a breakaway against Liverpool on Saturday so bad that he had to act like someone tripped him, and nobody was buying it (he needs to attend the Drogba School of Diving). THE SPOILER has the video.

Randy Johnson gave up three homers in five innings but did enough to earn his 298th career win. If he can squeeze two more out of his arm before it falls off, he may just be the last pitcher to ever reach that mark. (Do you see CC Sabathia winning 15 games a year until 2022? Me neither)

• The duo of former Miami Dolphin cheerleaders came up just a bit short in their quest to win the Amazing Race. Jaime and Cara would’ve been the first all-female duo to win, but they finished second to the Asian brother-sister lawyers.

Dolphins cheerleaders Amazing Race

Chipper Jones loved Shea Stadium so much that he hyperextended his elbow on Sunday so he didn’t have to play at Citi Field last night. Larry even claimed last night that the two seats he purchased from Shea before it was a pile of rubble never made it to him in Atlanta, but the Mets countered that the chairs had indeed been delivered and signed for by a Mr. Jones, according to the NY DAILY NEWS.

• Giants closer Brian Wilson (not the guy who stayed in bed for two years) is a bit miffed at Casey Blake. Blake, who’s not a big fan of showmanship by other players, mockingly made the gesture that Wilson makes after a successful save after he took him deep on Sunday afternoon. Well, it turns out that Wilson’s seemingly brash gesture is a tribute to his Christian faith and to his late father. Not only does this make Blake a bit of an a-hole, but Aubrey Huff’s fists pumps after taking Joba Chamberlain out of the yard were way funnier.

• The silly scheme to keep Rachel Alexandra from running in the Preakness Stakes has been squashed, and the filly will run with the big boys on Saturday. Incidentally, Rachel Nichols‘ maiden name was Alexander, so expect Rachel Alexandra to start following around a horse named Brett Favra sometime next week.

• While John Calipari has trees exhumed from his new yard, the Kentucky Wildcat cheerleaders recently got back from spring break. And, by the looks of these photos (courtesy of UNCOACHED), they had a pretty good time:

Kentucky cheerleaders

• A New Jersey teenager has been suspended for hosting an NCAA Tournament-style bracket to pick his high school’s hottest girl. Must’ve been brutal to end up in the play-in game in that one.

David Cone is now on the phone personally trying to sell the expensive seats at Yankee Stadium, according to CAN’T STOP THE BLEEDING. I suppose that means he can get his wife into the ballpark, unlike some Yankee legends/broadcasters.

• Guess who Peter King says is the best team in the NFL going into next year? It’s not the Steelers.

Who ya got in Game 7?

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Erin Andrews Gets Caught In A Cosby Sandwich

Erin Andrews spends the NFL Draft surrounded by Cosbys (Quan & Dr. Bill, respectively), and hilarity ensues.

Erin Andrews Bill Cosby Quan Cosby

(Can’t you just feel the excitement?)

Jacoby Ellsbury steals home, Red Sox steal three straight from Yankees.

• It seems that NASCAR won’t be happy until somebody gets killed.

• Beer pong? Budweiser wants in on the upcoming table tennis craze.

Kobe wanted complete creative control over Spike Lee’s day-in-the-life documentary about him.

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Giants Closer Twitters About Tangling With Locals

One of the knocks on modern professional athletes is that they’re too removed from the fans, that they live their lives in ivory towers unconcerned with the devotion and concerns of the common man. Recently, however, that’s begun to change. While mainstream journalists still love to pretend that social media is the exclusive domain of basement-dwelling dweebs, many athletes and celebrities have embraced things like blogs and Twitter in order to connect with their fans. Now, plebe and celebrity alike can look like dopes while hunched over their BlackBerries, punching in poorly-written updates on the minutiae of their daily lives.

San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson

One such athlete is San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, who discovered the joy of Twitter last month and has been Tweetin’ strong ever since. While most of his updates are predictably banal (he likes linen pants! and Chuck Norris jokes!), a couple of updates from Saturday were pretty interesting indeed.

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Melo’s DUI ‘Extreme’; ESPN’s Bondy Bans Obama?

Can’t wait for the day when the daughters of SEC coaches sing about us.

• Here’s all you wanted to know about Carmelo Anthony’sExtreme” DUI.

Carmelo Anthony LaLa Vasquez

At least his gal is enthusiastically standing by him.

• Sure looks like ESPN president George Bodenheimer wants to bar Barack Obama from his network.

• Golfers go under the knife: Tiger Woods needs his knee treated, while John Daly stomachs a muscle tear.

• Could next year’s T-Wolves tickets go for $1 a piece? That still seems a bit steep.

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Christian Rock Intro Cued Up For SanFran’s Closer

Before the season:

Brian Wilson, we’re thrilled to have you back as the closer for the San Francisco Giants this season after your September promotion to the position. We know that there was a bit of roughness back then, but we’re pleased to have you here… mostly because you already knew how to get to the park, but still.

Brian Wilson Christian Rocker

(Don’t Idol Worshippers BURN IN HELL?!)

“We’d like to give you the opportunity to select your entrance music to fire the half-dozen or so fans left at AT&T Park for our few save opportunities this season. Here’s a list approved by the organization. We’ve removed those used by other closers, those associated with failed Presidential campaigns, and any Menudo songs. Best of luck out there!”

Game 1:

Good Morning Vietnam - Robin Williams

“GOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING SAN FRANCISCO! TIME TO ROCK IT FROM THE EMBARCADERO TO HAIGHT-ASHBURY! HOLD ON, I’M COMIN… TO THE SOUNDS OF CHRISTIAN ANTHEM ROCK!”
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