Speed Read: Fielder Storms Dodgers Clubhouse

It seems like only yesterday when Dodger pitcher Guillermo Mota was plunking Mike Piazza, then scampering away into his own dugout like George Costanza fleeing a fire to escape the slugger’s wrath. That was 2003, but Mota — in his second stint with the Dodgers — was the sacrificial lamb once again in last night’s 17-4 win over the Brewers in L.A.

Guillermo Mota

The Brewers had hit Manny Ramirez earlier in the game, presumably for being Manny and admiring a slump-busting home run he hit as part of the Dodgers’ biggest home scoring outburst since 1979. So, with Ramon Troncoso warming in the bullpen with a 13-run lead and two outs in the ninth, Mota beaned Prince Fielder. Mota was tossed immediately and a befuddled Fielder had words for him as he left the field. Troncoso came in for the last out, but the situation was far from over.

After the game, Prince decided he wanted to go have a friendly chat with Mota and the rest of the Dodgers, so he tried to storm their clubhouse. Like, actually go in there and try and throw down, I guess. Fortunately, a combination of security guards and Brewer teammates were able to keep him out. Prince was soon safely in his regular spot in front of the postgame spread. Mota, once again displaying mighty courage, was nowhere to be found afterward and left Russell Martin to speak for him.

Prince Fielder

This is the sort of thing that happens all the time in baseball, but two aspects were troublesome: One, obviously, is Fielder’s attempt to actually go in the opposing clubhouse and get in a confrontation. Baseball has always had their “codes” and all that, but it’s supposed to stay on the field. Fielder’s choice to escalate the situation showed pretty poor judgment. But I don’t think Joe Torre is off the hook here. Hittting Fielder wasn’t the problem. But the Dodgers should’ve at least preserved the conceit that the whole thing wasn’t pre-planned. It’s hard to say “it just got away from him” when you have a pitcher warming up in the bullpen with one out remaining in a complete blowout. Clearly this was not only permitted by Torre, but presumably was encouraged, which may earn him a suspension.

*UPDATE* CBS 2 in L.A. has video of Prince’s attempted post-game visit.

Guillermo Mota Mike Piazza

(I don’t think Mota wants to run into Piazza at a Dodger reunion any time soon)

Meanwhile, things may have finally hit rock bottom for the Mets this year. Francisco Rodriguez blew a two-run lead in the ninth, then Albert Pujols hit a granny in the 10th to lead the Cards to a 12-7 win at CitiField. It was Pujols’ fifth grand slam this season, and he has hit six homers in his last 11 at-bats with the bases loaded. Even more frustrating for Mets fans, pitcher Sean Green hit the previous batter, Mark DeRosa, with the bases loaded to allow Pujols to come to the plate. This with two out in a tie game. To add injury to injury, as the Mets have been doing all season, Luis Castillo sprained his ankle on the dugout steps.

Albert pujols grand slam

(”Hey Albert, up here. Up top, bro. Do you see me here? No, dude, not the guy in the white shirt.”)

Horrifying news coming out of the Pittsburgh area last night, as a man opened fire at an LA Fitness gym in the southwest suburb of Collier, killing at least three people and wounding at least 10 others. At this time, it’s assumed that the gunman then killed himself. The PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW has the scary details:

Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said the gunman may have fired 50 shots at the 20-22 women inside the room at the time before turning one of his guns on himself and taking his own life. There were perhaps another 50 people in various other parts of the facility at the time.

Moffatt said the gunman left a note inside his gym bag that indicated he expected to die in the carnage.

Pittsburgh gym shooting

From all accounts, this seems like the sort of attack that is nearly impossible to stop. The 49-year-old gunman, who has not been identified as I write this, was a member of the club who was able to gain access simply by swiping in. It could, however, not be as entirely random as it looks now, as he specifically went into a room where an aerobics class called “Latin Impact” was taking place. He only shot women who were in that room, then apparently killed himself.

Despite the chaotic scene, a number of people lent whatever help they could:

Richard Walker went to the gym to play basketball with a group of friends. Two of them left carrying shooting victims, both women, over their shoulders, Walker said.

They got 50 yards from the gym’s side entrance, and took cover between cars as soon as they reached the edge of the parking lot, he said two hours after the shooting, his Oklahoma All-State T-shirt covered in dried blood down its right side.

“They were like losing blood and almost freaking out,” said Walker, 23, of Carnegie, who recently moved from Tulsa. “I just knew you put pressure on the wound.”

Thoughts go out to all the victims. Let’s hope all of the wounded are just that, and don’t take any turn for the worse.

Pittsburgh gym shooting

On that note, the show goes on:

• NBA schedules are out, and the Celtics host the Cavs in the marquee matchup of opening night.

• Because nobody asked, Clinton Portis wants you to know that he’s not gay:

I don’t think there’s a woman in the United States of America that would say I’m gay. So, you know, I don’t hang around men.”

• Based on this video posted by NESW SPORTS, I don’t think LeBron James would even be a top 5 pick in my Monday night pickup game. At least he doesn’t have to worry about getting dunked on again:

Joe Posnanski is the newest senior writer at Sports Illustrated. He’ll still write for the K.C. STAR on occasion, but the exodus from traditional print outlets continues.

• The PHOENIX NEW TIMES has dug up records suggesting that the city of Glendale and the NHL have essentially been preparing to hand the Phoenix Coyotes over to Jerry Reinsdorf for months, well before the team began looking for a new owner. Such a deal is bad for the owners, who could make much more money selling the team to a group that would move the team to Canada.

• Once the most talked-about guy in baseball, Roy Halladay is now just another guy losing to the Yankees.

Drew Carey is excited about tonight’s FC Barcelona-Seattle Sounders match at Qwest Field. But the real gem is at the end of the story: Seattle midfielder Freddie Ljungberg says he missed a penalty kick in the MLS All-Star Game because of a migraine triggered by eating food with red wine in it. Oh, soccer players.

red wine

(When you need a guy to miss a penalty kick, accept no substitute)

 • Predictably, it looks like the NFL is going to be the first major league to draft a policy addressing the use of Twitter by its players, according to the WASHINGTON POST.

• Stolen golf carts. Guys peeing on trailers. No, it has nothing to do with Donald Trump. It’s just your average week at the (no longer) Buick Open.

• I think Jennifer Love Hewitt would probably be the #1 pick in my Monday night pickup hoops game if she showed up wearing this:

Jennifer Love Hewitt

If you could have one current MLB player up with the bases loaded, who would it be?

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Bruce Pearl Set To Ring Out Wedding Bells Again

Bruce Pearl has Volunteered his heart for marriage once again, as the UT coach announces his engagement to the quite tasty Brandy Miller.

Bruce Pearl Brandy Miller

Jessica Simpson gets so worried when Tony Romo is on the field that she texts everyone to pray for his protection.

• Sorry, folks, tonight’s Yankees game has been called on account of rain. Oh, it hasn’t? Well, too bad - you’re still not getting back in.

• The Green Bay Packers warned us about this sinister swine flu epidemic - over 30 years ago!

Regis Philblin is almost murdered by a menacing throw from the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez.

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Steelers Fan Bids $69 on ‘The Price Is Right’, Wins

PITTSBURGH SPORTS AND MINI PONIES trots out a fun little story about Dr. Michael Bummer. The good doc is a Pittsburgh-area gynecologist and avid Steelers fan. And he recently made the trip out west to CBS Television City to appear on “The Price Is Right” - decked out in a Steelers jersey.

Steelers Fan The Price Is Right

During the show, Bummer was asked to bid on a lovely diamond necklace. Since he was the last of the four contestants to give his answer, Dr. Mike could have gone the safe & easy (and really annoying) route of bidding $1. But he decided to get clever - and bid $69, dude!

And he won. Video is after the jump.

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Speed Read: A Very Sane Start To March Madness

If the early games in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday were kind of a bust (except for the Memphis vs. Cal State Northridge game; sorry, no love for the “scrappy underdogs” - way to blow it, Matadors!), then the late games were … marginally more exciting. There was an actual upset, with No. 12 Western Kentucky taking down No. 5 Illinois, 76-72.

Western Kentucky celebrates win over Illinois

But then again, most experts were predicting that Western Kentucky would win this game ahead of time, due to the loss of the Illini’s starting point guard Chester Frazier with a broken hand, and the return of Hilltopper’s mascot from a broken right … orange blobby thing.

Western Kentucky mascot

No, the late games were more notable for the near misses than the upsets. Take No. 6 UCLA, which almost fell apart completely against Virginia Commonwealth, nearly blowing a 10-point halftime lead and having the ball in the hands of Rams star Eric Maynor with time expiring and a chance to win the game. (Not the person you want with the ball if you’re UCLA - just ask Duke) Fortunately for the Bruins, Darren Collison came to the rescue, forcing a hurried, off-balance miss from Maynor to hold on to a 65-64 win.

Darren Collison of UCLA and Eric Maynor of VCU

Speaking of blowing a lead … poor American. Just like their namesake economy, their 14-point second half lead against Villanova went into a deep recession, and there was no bailout package coming from the government. Playing in front of a partisan Philadelphia crowd (thanks, seeding committee!), the No. 3 Wildcats rallied later to survive a scare from the No. 14 Eagles, 80-67.

(Note to American University: nice try in attempting to gain our sympathy with your name: the American Eagles. Why don’t you just call yourself the American Heroes Who Died On 9/11 Who Will Weep In Heaven If You Root Against Us? It’s about as subtle.)

Not having trouble advancing was No. 2 Oklahoma, who trounced No. 15 Morgan State 82-57 behind 28 points and 13 rebounds from star Blake Griffin. However, Griffin did have one moment of problems: specifically, when the Bears’ back-up center Ameer Ali decided to practice his armbar takedown on Griffin after they got tangled up together:

It should go without saying that Ali was ejected, and then immediately escorted to St. Louis for the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Ali says the whole incident was unintentional and “a misunderstanding,” which I would only believe if I was Billy Packer and he was a Duke player who just shattered Tyler Hansbrough’s face.

(Not only has Griffin had to deal with this and sustaining a concussion a few weeks ago, but remember the cheap shot he received from USC’s Leonard Washington at the start of the year as well. Either Griffin in such a pacifist than he makes Gahndi look like Genghis Khan or he’s going to snap and pummel someone to death with his sneaker by the end of the tournament. Maybe this explains why he feels the need to lash out at society by peeing in bushes.)

For those of you who are part of the 80 percent of American males who managed to come down with a 48-hour bug starting yesterday morning, your slate of games today look good enough to help you cope with your “debilitating illness”. There are several games that have “Upset Special” written all over them, which probably means that the games will go chalk all day.

In other sports news from last night you might have missed as you polished up your…ahem…resume for a Rhode Island strip club’s job fair:

  • Martin Brodeur might be the winningest goalkeeper in NHL history, but the CBC reports that he might be the losingest ex-husband in the history of hockey: an appeals court ordered him to pay $500,000 a year in alimony to his ex-wife Melanie DuBois until 2020.
  • Martin Brodeur

  • It might be a sport played by drunk men with pot bellies, mullets and porn mustaches, but damn it, you must respect the rules of etiquette in bowling! The SACRAMENTO BEE reports that a dispute about who had right of way to bowl turned into a brawl at a Rocklin, CA, bowling alley featuring one man knocking out another man’s tooth with a bowling ball. <RUN FUNCTION TO READER: INSERT “BIG LEBOWSKI” JOKE HERE>
  • BUGS & CRANKS is focusing their considerable hatred on Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, and his decision to spend Spring Training living on a houseboat. Apparently, if there was ever a movie made about Arroyo’s life, it would star Matthew McConaughy. And it would probably suck, but your significant other would drag you to it because he’s so “dreamy” and “laid back.”
  • Your semifinals for the World Baseball Classic are set (yes, that’s still going on) after Japan’s 6-2 victory over Korea. The defending champion Japanese will take on the U.S. in one game on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, while Korea faces off against Venezuela.
  • Speaking of the WBC and your apparent apathy to it, LARRY BROWN SPORTS says that Red Sox slugger Kevin Youklis is very upset with American fans for not showing up to the team’s games at the World Baseball Classic. This means you, Joe Six-Pack: even if you’ve lost your job, your house is being repossessed and your kids are being forced to share the same pair of shoes, that’s no excuse for not coughing up $45 a person for cheap seats.
  • How about a hearty welcome to the MLS for the Seattle Sounders, as Drew Carey’s expansion team drubbed New York Red Bull 3-0 in the team’s inaugural game. But I don’t care how many games this “new” Sounders team wins: I doubt they’ve have a music video of their highlights as cool as this collection of highlights from the NASL team in 1975 set to “The Hustle”:

  • I know he’s only been on the job for a couple of months, but here’s a friendly bit of advice to President Barack Obama: it’s probably not a good idea to make jokes about the Special Olympics, as the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR says you did on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” last night.
  • I guess they are teaching Hawaii Warrior football players to not quit on a play, but this is ridiculous: the HONOLULU ADVERTISER says that cornerback JoPierre Davis was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting the same female student twice within a four month period, and then knocking her unconscious at a nightclub. Big surprise: this isn’t his first run-in with the law.
  • While we wait to find out what athletes named come up as clients in the Houston prostitution ring, the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER has news of another brewing scandal: a secret, late-night warehouse that offered sex, drugs and high-stakes card games to its clients. When the club was raided, at least one former NFL player was there, and other athletes are said to be “frequent patrons.”
  • Yawn: another day, another LeBron James triple-double, going for 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. His feat led the Cavaliers to a 97-92 overtime victory over Portland as Cleveland tied an NBA record by committing only two turnovers - and one was at the end of overtime.

Which team has the most fans at Dodger Stadium for the World Baseball Classic this weekend?

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