Drop That Unauthorized Keychain, Or We’ll Shoot!

Canada is no United States, but they’re learning. For instance, what’s the fun in having free speech if you can’t trample on it and throw it in the garbage when the need suits you? The IOC and the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee asked themselves that very question recently, and came up with a devilish plan.

The 2010 Vancouver OOC will be sending roving teams of observers throughout the city before and during the games, but they’ll have the power to do more than observe. Selling an Olympic Teddy Bear with an unauthorized Vancouver 2010 logo? We’re confiscating that (grabs bear, kicks you in shin). But that’s not all. Read more…

Little League WS: Ten Things I Hate About You

Sure, there are plenty of things I like about Little League: For example, it keeps kids off of my lawn. Also it promotes exercise … unless the player in question is in the outfield. But when the final week of August rolls around, I expect to see children in football pads and cleats, or at least in the gym watching girls volleyball.

Luke Ramirez Little League

Take the lad above, for instance. Luke Ramirez is 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, and plays for the Parkview (Chula Vista, CA) Little League All-Stars. He should be hunting quarterbacks right now in some Pop Warner youth program, but instead he’s still terrorizing kids half his size on the baseball diamond — his team is 2-0 in the Little League World Series at Williamsport, PA. ESPN loves the this time of year, of course. But below are 10 reasons to not like it so much … only one of which involves gigantic kids who might kill you with a foul ball. Read more…

Speed Read: Punch McLean Is Tougher Than You

Remember when M. Night Shyamalan made good movies? And I’m not talking about the one with the kid seeing dead people. I’m talking about “Unbreakable”. That’s right, I’m the guy who liked that movie. I’ve stuck to my guns over the years on this on the off chance that the film enjoys a resurgence and I can take credit for being a fan all along.

Unbreakable

(”One hundred and thirty one die. One survivor. He is unharmed.”)

That’s all beside the point. The reason I bring it up is that there are occasionally people who show up in the news who defy all logic and survive in the most dire of circumstances. For instance, there was that 12-year-old girl who survived a plane crash in the ocean a couple of months ago.

But a new candidate for our generation’s David Dunn has emerged, and his name is “Punch”. At least, that’s the nickname former hockey coach Ernie McLean has gone by for most of his adult life. McLean coached at the major junior level for 16 years, and led the New Westminster Bruins to four Memorial Cup titles (that’s the biggest prize at that level of hockey).

Ernie Punch McLean

(Punch once got lost in the pattern of this jacket for three days without food or shelter)

He’s also survived a number of incidents that would’ve killed most mere mortals. The latest came this week, when the 77-year-old endured five days and four nights lost in the wilderness in British Columbia when he fell into a crevice while prospecting for gold (they still do that?). With no food, and subsisting just on stream water, he spent entire days walking and eventually reached higher ground, where he was spotted by a helicopter search team.

Most 77-year-olds couldn’t last a full day without their heart pills and a “Diagnosis Murder” rerun. But this is no ordinary 77-year-old. Says CBC in a story about McLean’s latest heroics:

Reed credited McLean’s legendary toughness, and a bit of luck, for his survival, noting McLean previously survived a plane crash in Saskatchewan, and walked out of the woods alive a few days later despite losing an eye and breaking several bones.

He’s also survived car accidents, being run over by a bulldozer and being stranded on a frozen lake in freezing conditions for several days.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure if you’ve wandered around without an eye for a few days that being a little wet in the forest isn’t going to really phase you. Perhaps McLean should ditch the gold prospecting in the deep wilderness and do something a little more acceptable for an old guy, like going to the golf course with a big net and fishing out Titleists. See if you can turn that into a weeklong “Blair Witch” debacle, Punch. (h/t to the PUCK DOCTORS)

Dease Lake

(I guess being lost in nice scenery is better than being locked in a car trunk for a week)

Perhaps she should be more worried about her husband hanging out with teenagers, but it looks like Danica Patrick has made her decision about where she’ll be racing next year. And while jumping to NASCAR would provide unbelievable marketing opportunities and a much larger audience, both on TV and at the track, it appears that she’ll be hanging around with IndyCar for at least one more year. (I bet the new turbo button had something to do with it.)

Danica Patrick stretching

(Maybe if she stopped holding the steering wheel like this, she’d win a race or two)

MVN’s Christopher Estrada seems convinced from the tweets of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR’s Curt Cavin that Danica is about to sign a new deal with Andretti Green Racing. But all the L.A. TIMES would say on Sunday morning is that the chances of her staying were “more than 50%,” and an AP story from after Sunday’s race in Sonoma made it sound that while a deal was close, nothing was really finalized.

I suppose there’s not too much to be read into any of this. While Patrick visited several NASCAR teams during the year, it doesn’t sound like any real serious offers have been made for her services. Perhaps she’s using the news of her impending new deal with AGR as a last-ditch call for offers from the left-turn circuit. For now, her line of reasoning is, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Danica leaving IndyCar would be a huge blow for the series, to the point where viability would have to become a concern. There’s nothing wrong with Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Ryan Briscoe, but could you pick them out of a police lineup? Ratings are hockey-esque as it is, so removing the one bankable star would be a big problem. Would ABC even want to show races other than the Indy 500?

For now, that’s a question that doesn’t need to be asked.

Danica Patrick bikini beach on all fours

Is IndyCar doomed if Danica Patrick leaves?

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• BASEBALL DIGEST wonders why the Mets acknowledged every other living member of the 1969 World Series championship team during a ceremony on Saturday night (even those that didn’t attend), but completely ignored second baseman Ken Boswell. Boswell played 102 games that year and spent eight years with the Mets, but reportedly didn’t even get an invitation to the celebration.

• A golf course groundskeeper found a 10-pound mammoth tooth on one of the greens at the course he works at in Michigan. Does that count as an immovable obstruction, or do you have to putt around the tooth?

• Well, Michelle Wie has finally won something. Of course, she needed 11 other people to help her do it. The Americans wore some nice matching outfits and took down the Europeans to win something called the Solheim Cup.

Solheim Cup

Jason Giambi’s pulling a Dave Kingman and going to Colorado’s AAA affiliate to play for a week or so before the team plans to call him up for September. Am I dating myself with a Dave Kingman reference?

• NESN is freaking out that Ken Rosenthal supposedly suggested that the Red Sox might acquire Billy Wagner to be their closer next year and then ship Jonathan Papelbon up to somewhere other than Boston. The theory being that they’re grooming Daniel Bard for the closer job and just need a guy like Wagner to bridge the gap. Perhaps this is why Paps isn’t too comfortable with the whole thing. And I’m NOT going to post the dance video again…oh, who am I kidding:

(”Nawt Paps! Who’ll do the rivahdance? Wagnah sucks!”)

• Ravens rookie linebacker Tony Fein was arrested last night after he allegedly shoved a police officer. A security guard at a restaurant that Fein was eating at thought that he saw Fein pass a gun to one of his friends. It was a cell phone. Police arrived and then things got testy. This is why I’ve always said that the Glock Blackberry was a bad idea.

• I thought John Smoltz refused a AAA assignment, so why was he pitching against the Padres yesterday?

• At least 27 Tulane football players have been struck by a rapidly spreading flu bug. It’s not yet known whether or not they have swine flu, but it’s not being ruled out at this point.

• BLEACHER REPORT wonders why the Oklahoma Sooners are playing the first football game that actually means something at the new Cowboys Stadium.

Cowboys Stadium

(I’m pretty sure I could punt a ball into that screen)

• The WIZ OF ODDS says Barrow, Alaska’s high school football team is off to an unfortunate 0-3 start after a 48-13 loss at home on the blue turf on Saturday afternoon. Barrow is the northernmost town in North America and is only accessible by plane. And yes, they start playing in mid-August to take advantage of “summer” temps that soar into the low 40s. For more on Barrow’s team, see this post we did last year.

• The man arrested for stabbing English soccer player Calum Davenport is the boyfriend of Davenport’s sister. Cara Davenport is pregnant, allegedly with the attempted-murderer dude’s child. And now her brother will likely never play soccer again, and her mother is also in the hospital for stab wounds. Yikes.

Canada Frowns On Drug-Running Swim Coaches

What’s the most hardcore thing your favorite coach ever did when you were in high school? Oh, did he yell at a guy? Maybe win a fight? Sorry, but Cecil Russell probably has him beaten.

Cecil Russell the swim coach from hell
(”Good news, kid; you’re alive! I’ll put the gasoline away and help you out of the pool.”)

Russell, if you’ve never heard of him (and we’d be a little worried if you had, to be honest) is a Canadian swimming coach who was given a lifetime ban for his role in a steroid trafficking ring. Oh, and then it gets real weird.

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Paraplegic Hockey Players Get Into Massive Brawl

As if I needed any further evidence that hockey players are tougher than me, it seems that even the paraplegic players are getting into brawls these days. And people want to ban fighting in hockey?

sledge hockey

Sledge hockey is played by people who have, for one reason or another, lost the use of their legs. Instead of skating around, they sit on a specially-designed sled that allows for maximum movement and control. But when it comes to getting into a line brawl, they don’t need any special equipment.

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20 Drinks, A Racial Slur, & A Made Up Rape Charge

If you thought that we got all the good sexual assault trials down here in the States, then you obviously haven’t heard much about what’s been going on in Toronto the last few days. Bernard Williams, a former football player with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, was acquitted today on rape charges stemming from the accusations of a 23-year-old who tried, but failed, to catch on as a cheerleader for the team. Seems that things didn’t quite go down the way she thought they did. It might have had something to do with the fact that she had 20 mixed drinks on the night in question.

Toronto Argonauts cheerleaders

(All because she couldn’t be part of this happy group)

The woman, who can’t be identified because of Canadian law, hurtled a number of racial slurs at Williams after he allegedly started having sex with her while she was passed out. But there was no forensic evidence that any such actions took place, and the woman’s testimony was full of so many holes and changed so many times that the judge concluded that she basically made it all up.

Still, any trial that involves the prosecutor uttering the line “it is ridiculous to say she imagined a phantom penis inside of her” is worth examining a bit further.

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Speed Read: Hey, Does Anyone Want To Be #1?

This year’s NCAA basketball tournament is apparently going to be the first one played without any #1 seeds, because nobody seems to want to claim any of them. This week, Pitt decided to be the latest top-ranked team to tank it, trailing by as many as 20 points in the second half in an 81-73 loss to Providence. The Friars are suddenly looking pretty good for an NCAA bid, with 9 Big East wins and 17 overall. This was their first win over a #1 team in nearly 33 years. Luckily for all involved, Jonathan Xavier was not at the game.

Providence upsets Pittsburgh

Professional golf, which ceased to exist last June when Tiger Woods got hurt, will finally resume today. Nobody’s happier for this development than the other golfers who Tiger will be competing against, whoever they are. Tiger’s first round match at the Accenture World Match Play Championships tees off at 2:02 Eastern time this afternoon. His opponent is someone named Brendan Jones, who just learned how to play golf last week. How confident is NBC that Tiger will make it to Saturday’s semifinals? They’re airing ads promoting Tiger’s appearance on the NBC broadcast this weekend.

Tiger Woods

(He didn’t win anything. This is just the trophy he gets to carry around every day for being Tiger Woods)

Do you have World Baseball Classic fever yet? Does anyone? This WBC seemed like a good idea a couple of years ago, but this year’s rosters are devoid of many of the sport’s biggest stars. Your U.S. roster features such giants of the game like Chris Ianetta, Jeremy Guthrie, and Matt Thornton. The Dominican team is without Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez (who’s from New York City, mind you), but now gets to deal with the distraction that is A-Roid. It’s all moot, of course, since the powerhouse Italians are winning the whole thing. Who can stop Val Pascucci and Nick Punto?

As a reward for winning the title last year, the Celtics get to have 29 players on their roster. Case in point: the C’s have signed the recently waived Mikki Moore, who was playing for the Kings. And now the long-rumored acquisition of Stephon Marbury is about to happen, since Steph was finally bought out by the Knicks. Shockingly, New York was not successful in swinging a trade for a guy whose salary is $21 million and has spent his season hanging out at bus stops and buying tickets to see his own team play.

Stephon Marbury attends Knicks-Lakers game

 • TMZ says that Charles Barkley might have to don a pink prison uniform during his five-day stay in the same jail that houses rapper DMX. Although, it appears as if Chuck has been given “work release” and only has to be in jail from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. So, basically he’s staying in a crappy hotel for five nights and wearing a pink snuggie.

Charles Goldberg of the Auburn blog THE GOLD MINE writes that highly-regarded high school running back David Oku has moved from Oklahoma to Lincoln, Nebraska to be closer to some girl he met while on an official visit to Nebraska. And his parents are OK with their kid taking off to go live on his own and date a college girl. This seems like a great idea.

• Speaking of Stephon Marbury, the poor guy had to accept a buyout of around $2-3 million less than his salary for “playing” this season for the Knicks. But Darren Rovell of CNBC says that Marbury earned enough that he could’ve bought a pair of his Starbury sneakers every nine seconds.

The CFL isn’t recognizing there’s a recession, according to the VANCOUVER SUN. Four CFL cities (all of which are home to teams called the Roughriders) are in the process of securing funds for new stadiums or improvements to their current facilities.

Canada

• Former major league pitcher Rick Helling on steroids: “There is this problem with steroids. It’s happening. It’s real. And it’s so prevalent that guys who aren’t doing it are feeling pressure to do it because they’re falling behind. It’s not a level playing field. We’ve got to figure out a way to address it.” When did he say this? 1998. TIME has the story of a guy who went ignored way too long.

• The SPORTS HERNIA points out that the Mets’ Fernando Tatis missed Monday’s intrasquad game with a rather unusual injury:

Fernando Tatis palm injury

• PRO FOOTBALL TALK says that Eric Mangini and the rest of the new Browns staff is “lukewarm” on Brady Quinn. Which is rather insulting, considering Quinn won all those national championships in college.

• As if there aren’t enough Shulas running around, Dan Shula — son of David and grandson of Don — has been hired as an assistant coach at Illinois State.

• The Supreme Court may be hearing a case that results in a ban on public school coaches participating with members of their teams in prayer or other religious expression, according to the TENNESSEAN. Current precedent doesn’t allow coaches to initiate prayer, but doesn’t necessarily ban them from participating.

• The Oakland A’s have scrapped plans to build a new ballpark in the East Bay suburb of Fremont. San Jose has now apparently emerged as a new contender to rip the team away from the Mausoleum.

• WITH LEATHER says that Jason Giambi has aspirations to be a bouncer at a strip club after he retires from baseball. And Rick’s Cabaret in New York City is first in line with a job offer (link somewhat NSFW).

Every week, the #1 team in college basketball totally craps the bed. What new team should get a shot at #1?

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Hoops Team Rebounds From Tragedy To Win Title

A year ago, seven basketball players from Bathurst High School in New Brunswick, Canada, were killed in a van accident on their way back from a road game. So the school certainly could have been excused for maybe setting the basketball program aside for a year or two while the small community healed from the tragedy.

Bathurst New Brunswick basketball team

But that wasn’t going to happen. Though the school did initially disband its basketball program, a new group came together in the fall to carry on the legacy of their schoolmates. And now, stunningly, they’re New Brunswick provincial champions. Bradd Arsenau, who survived the crash and is the only returning player from last year’s team, scored 25 points in the 82-50 win over Campobello. Arsenau wore the number 7 in honor of one of his fallen teammates and was named the game’s MVP.

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Free NHL Game Not Filled To Capacity In Toronto

Toronto might be the most hockey-mad city in the world, but the hometown Maple Leafs haven’t made the playoffs in three seasons since the lockout and haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Now, they can’t even get a full house for a game that was free.

Maple Leafs fan

With even the club acknowledging that this might be another long year for Leafs fans, they decided to have what was dubbed the Fans First Game, with tickets being allocated for nothing to fans who went online and registered for seats. So why were there so many empty chairs?

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10 Men Attack, Taser Two MMA Fighters in Canada

Two unidentified mixed martial arts fighters and a promoter were attacked by a group of ten men wielding a taser gun early Sunday morning in a robbery attempt at their hotel in Gatineau, Quebec.

Freedom Fight MMA Event

Gatineau police would not identify the fighters by name but did say that they were involved in Freedom Fight mixed martial arts event at the Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau. A third man who was also attacked was identified as one of the event’s promoters.

THE OTTAWA SUN reports, “Yesterday, one fighter was in a medically induced coma at hospital while the other was recuperating from serious injuries. The promoter was only slightly injured.”

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