Chris Chambers’ Stalker, Divorce Lead To Release

People around the league were slightly surprised by the outright release of Chris Chambers by the San Diego Chargers earlier this week. While the veteran receiver’s production was down significantly, releases in the middle of a season don’t happen that often, and the whispers were that there had to be something more going on.

Stacey Saunders Chris Chambers' Stalker
(It’s a pretty woman’s mugshot. In the middle of a sports story. That’s never, ever a good sign.)

Boy howdy, was there ever. The woman shown above is one Stacey Saunders, a San Diego woman who, according to the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, has allegedly been intent on ruining Chris Chambers’ family for the past few months. In police reports and divorce proceedings, Chambers and his soon-to-be ex-wife claim that after a brief affair with Chambers, Saunders has been harassing him and his wife over the phone and via text message, to the point that it led to a divorce and disrupted his ability to perform on the field. So off you go, sir.

If this sounds all a bit familiar, well, it should.

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Alyssa Milano’s MLB Exes Finally Find Success?

• Has the Curse of Alyssa Milano finally been lifted from MLB pitchers?

Curse of Alyssa Milano

• What better way to kick off the college football season than by trading really bad rival-bashing songs back and forth?

• Green Bay Packers LB Nick Barnett shares his shopping habits - such as getting his wife a Thumper.

Tony Kornheiser talks about all the quivering he did during his “Monday Night Football” days.

• Chelsea FC will have to wait awhile before signing any new players.

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Nowitzki’s “Pregnant” Ex-Fiancee Is Not Pregnant

One of the stranger aspects of the Dirk Nowitzki/Cristal Taylor saga - aside from the fact that she was engaged to an NBA player until he ran a background check on her and found more red flags than Tienanmen Square - has been the media’s willingness to accept her claims, even as she’s being held on suspicion of fraud.

Dirk Nowitzki, Cristal Taylor
(Smile, Dirk! But not like that, please. Never like that.)

So when, for example, Taylor claimed to be pregnant, there were plenty of tuts and moans to go around when Nowitzki essentially washed his hands of her. See the POST, HUFFINGTON, for example. The actual foolish behavior, though, would be having taken Taylor at her word.

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Michael Beasley Checks Into Rehab Post-Pot Photo

• After a purported pic of pot pops up on his Twitter account, Miami Heat player Michael Beasley has been checked into a rehab facility.

Super Cool Beas Michael Beasley tattoo

• Car accidents? Plane crashes? Stranded in the Canadian wilderness for days? Junior hockey coach Punch McLean has survived it all.

• Will American sports teams soon follow their European counterparts and start banning unruly fans from their games?

Ron Zook takes exception to Urban Meyer’s recent mutterings about the Zooker’s alleged terrible treatment of Florida freshmen.

• ESPN plans on showing this season’s USC-Ohio State football match-up in 3-D. Cringe in terror as Jim Tressel’s sweater vest engulfs you!

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The Curious Case Of Cristal Taylor Ends In Prison

You remember Cristal TaylorDirk Nowitzki’s ex-fiance, who says that she’s pregnant with his child — yeah, that one. She was sentenced to five years in prison this morning in a court in St. Charles, Missouri, on a 12-year-old forgery and theft case.

Dirk Nowitzki, Cristal Taylor

It’s never a good sign in a relationship when the man you want to marry (allegedly) hires investigators and turns you in, having you arrested in his own house. That happened in May, and now the 38-year-old St. Louis-area native is going to the Graybar Hotel for a number of transgressions, mostly forgery and writing bad checks.

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Week in Review: The Soon-to-be Sharapova of Golf

• Meet Maria Verchenova, the swinging Russian sweetie who hopes to do in golf what fellow countrywoman Maria Sharapova has done in tennis.

Maria Verchenova

Glen “Big Baby” Davis makes Magic fans cry by hitting a game-winning shot - then bowls over a young courtside spectator. Of course, the kid’s dad isn’t very happy with the Raging Luna-Celtic.

• A Baltimore-area stripper claims that there’s nothing Michael Phelps likes better than sex & spitting tobacco.

• That Nuggets-Mavericks series certainly was a fierce one. If it wasn’t Mark Cuban getting into it with Kenyon Martin’s mom, it was Carmelo Anthony’s fiancee LaLa Vasquez jawing with Dallas fans.

• But Dirk Nowitzki steered clear of any such confrontations, since he had his own problems with his own fraudulent fiancee. Hey, Dirk - Tony Banks feels your pain.

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Dirk’s Troubled Fiancée Dated ex-QB Tony Banks

When the story broke about Dirk Nowitzki’s fiancee, Cristal Taylor, being arrested at his house on outstanding warrants, one seemingly benign detail that got us salivating was her age: 37. That told us one thing: there’s more. Women don’t turn criminally manipulative in their mid-30’s; it usually hits by puberty. So considering that Taylor’s had nearly two decades as an adult to pull some wild stunts, we knew more crazy stories were en route.

Tony Banks

On that note, enter Tony Banks (the one shown above, not the dude from Genesis). Remember when he was quarterbacking the St. Louis Rams before Kurt Warner showed up? Remember how he wasn’t very good? Well, apparently he was good enough back in 1997 - good enough for Cristal Taylor, anyway. Banks shared his bizarre story with the DALLAS MORNING NEWS about the best kind of young love: with a noticeably crazy woman. Read more…

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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Nowitzki’s “Pregnant Fiancée” Arrested For Fraud

Today’s headlines have been dominated by Manny, but there’s some weird stuff brewing down in Dallas, where a woman who is reportedly Dirk Nowitzki’s pregnant fiancée has been arrested on fraud charges. Cristal Taylor, who has used at least eight aliases while racking up what appears to be a number of bills that she had no intention of paying, was picked up by Dallas police at Nowitzki’s house on Wednesday morning on an outstanding warrant.

Cristal Taylor

(Clearly, you can see why Dirk was so captivated by this woman)

And it appears that Dirk may have been involved in turning her in. Sources told CBS 11 in Dallas that a private investigator hired by Nowitzki accompanied the arresting officers, along with lawyers who were serving an eviction notice to her (she had been living at Dirk’s house for more than a year). She’s reportedly still in prison needing $20,000 to get bailed out, which is chump change for Dirk. But it doesn’t sound like he’s going to show up.

More strange details after the jump.

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Speed Read: Artest Once Saw a Chair Kill a Dude

Reality used to be a friend of Ron Artest’s. However, it was long before the public met the kid from St. John’s a decade ago. For example, no one would be surprised to find out the new Gatorade/Tiger Woods cartoons seem like mini-documentaries to the Tru Warier because he has secretly considered himself the NBA’s Dr. Doolittle for years.

Ron Artest, Tru Warier

Therefore, we shouldn’t be shocked to find out reality’s been stiffing his calls again. After a questionable ejection in last night’s 111-98 Rockets loss to the Lakers to tie the series at one game apiece, Artest entertained the media with alternating moments of clarity speaking about the ejection and tales about that one time he was in Space Jam II as directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Apparently, this is the first time in Artest’s storied violent past that he remembered a pick-up game where tempers flared and one player snapped the leg off a nearby table and threw it with enough force to pierce the heart of another. By the way, Violet Palmer would only call a flagrant one on that.

One expert on keeping it real is Skip to My Lou himself, Rafer Alston. Eddie House’s yipping dog act (which is only the third-most irritating version on this Celtics squad) wormed its way under the skin of the boy from Queens, causing this rather understandable reaction:

 

The head slap will probably take the Orlando Magic’s only nominal point guard out of an upcoming game, a rather unappealing proposition after the 112-94 posterior-kicking administed by the Celtics last night. Ron Artest would like to know what reality would eject him for chattering with Kobe Bryant about his flailing elbows while a head smack only earns double techs.

He might start by asking the woman found in Dirk Nowitzki’s home Wednesday. Surely, one of the eight aliases she’s used in previous forgery convictions can speak to the matter. Also, maybe one of them is a lawyer that can explain why she was arrested in Nowitzki’s house for theft of service and probation violations.

Dirk Nowitzki

(”No, man… I was just asking if you saw ‘House’ last night.  Why so sensitive?”)

And maybe one of those aliases once killed a man with a table leg from 20 feet. Hey, it’s no stranger than knowing Ron Artest took the Houston Rockets to a plane of existence Tracy McGrady never could: the second round.

Your hail of bullet points today may seem a bit odd, but there’s a reason for that:

Sasha Cohen

Holly McPeak

Philadelphia Union logo

Who will be ejected next in the NBA Playoffs?

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