Speed Read: Manny Being Manny Being Ejected

The Manny Ramirez Traveling Salvation Show hit a snag last night in New York, thanks to an umpire with a hair trigger. Well, it’s hard to call anything about John Hirschbeck’s fifth-inning ejection of Ramirez “hair trigger,” since it took roughly 15 minutes seconds from when Hirschbeck rung Ramirez up on a called third strike to when he tossed Ramirez from the game for throwing his helmet, bat, elbow guard, cleats, socks and jock strap into the air in disgust.

Manny didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, since “I was playing only five innings, so I was leaving anyway.” Which came as news to Dodgers manager Joe Torre. Not that it mattered much - with Ramirez going 2 for 4 with three RBI and Clayton Kershaw throwing six shutout innings, the Dodgers cruised to an 8-0 win over the Mets. But it did give Los Angeles residents driven nutty by the Michael Jackson Circus a chance to remember the other, ridiculously overblown media circus in town.

If you are a college football fan who hates the current BCS system, you had reason to celebrate yesterday as Sen. Orrin Hatch ordered up a can of whoop-ass with a side of hash on the football elite during a congressional hearing about the college football playoff system, and the Senate cafeteria was all out of hash. Specifically, he said that “the Justice Department ought to be looking at this” because he believes the system violates antitrust laws.

(Play the BCS off, Keyboard Hatch.)

Which is great, until you realize that Hatch was the only member of the subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights to actually attend any significant portion of the hearing. But there were plenty of junior staffers there, fresh out of college and probably the only people outside of Hatch and Barack Obama who care about college football in Washington D.C.

Also, you have to understand that Hatch is from Utah, where the majority of the state is still steaming about the undefeated Utes being left out of the BCS Title Game last season, so there’s certainly an element of “playing it up for the home constituants” going on here. So you basically had Hatch grilling the President of Nebraska University, who was acting on behalf of the BCS Backers, which is kind of sad when you realize that Nebraska is roughly one zillion percent less likely to play in a BCS Title Game in our lifetimes than Utah.

Meanwhile, you might remember a small link we had yesterday about U.S. National Soccer Team midfielder Michael Bradley being suspended following a red card and subsequent confrontation with a referee at the end of the team’s shocking 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederations Cup. And it turns out that he will be suspended for three games, although it’s perhaps the weakest three-game suspension in sports history.

Michael Bradley

Ever get mad when a pitcher receives a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl, which only means that his next start gets pushed back one game? This one is even worse. FIFA has suspended Bradley for three games, all right - three games that he was never going to play in. The suspension will be served during the group play stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is convenient for Bradley since he’s not on the roster for the tournament.

Which means that Bradley will be available for the U.S. next game that matters, a World Cup qualifying match at Mexico on August 12. Somewhere in Mexico City, a Mexican senator is preparing a special committee hearing.

Other sports news that happened while you were fighting for the rights of busty mannequins everywhere, especially if they turn into Kim Catrall:

  • DEUCE OF DAVENPORT knows that the only thing better than Erik Estrada drunkenly butchering “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during a Cubs game is him giving an interview in the booth during the game that somehow works in child porn and Ron Jeremy. A master class in awkwardness in two parts: First the singing…
  • …and then the interview:

  • Lance Armstrong has moved to within a second of the yellow jersey after his Astana team cleaned up during a team stage during the Tour de France. Which I’m sure no one in America cares about, but it has to be irritating the French more than a canceled Jerry Lewis movie marathon, and that’s always a good thing.
  • When playing for Russian side CSKA three years ago, Yuri Zhirkov didn’t take the advice of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to learn English. Which is a problem, since Abramovich signed Zhirkov to a a huge deal on Monday, and the winger will have to deal with struggling to communicate with his teammates.
  • When GM Joe Dumars fired Michael Curry as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, he claimed that the team needed a more experienced hand at the helm. Which makes it curious why he eventually decided to give Cavaliers assistant John Kuester his first crack at an NBA head coaching job. Couldn’t have anything to do with both Doug Collins and Avery Johnson bailing from the gig? But Kuester has been a head coach at Boston…University, which is close to the Celtics, right?
  • Another depressing sign of the economic times: the NBA salary cap will decrease next year for only the second time in 26 years. The cap number next year is $57.7 million, down almost one million dollars from last year. So when Dwayne Wade lashes out at the Miami Heat for failing to land a big free agent again, they have a ready-made excuse.
  • Reports are circulating that Mike Krzyzewski is going to be coming back to coach Team USA at the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Because as he showed in Beijing, he clearly could handle coaching with limited talent.
  • If you had forgotten about it in the wake of the Michael Jackson Media Overload, just a gentle reminder about swine flu: IT’S GOING TO KILL US ALL! Swimmer Kate Ziegler had to pull out of the U.S. Nationals with swine flu, which is also sweeping through the World University Games in Belgrade. If Ron Weasley can’t use his Muggle magic to stave off the swine flu, no one is safe.
  • In case you were wondering if there was any bad blood between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir ahead of their heavyweight title unification rematch, CAGEWRITER answers with a resounding “yep” after watching the two trade barbs during the “Countdown to UFC 100″ on SPIKE. Also, Lesnar thinks the referee of the first match is an idiot, and really, really hates doors.

  • Meanwhile, if you were curious, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is still insane. He’s not crashing an SUV with his name and picture on it after a wild car chase this time, but SPORTS RUBBISH says he is dry humping unsuspecting reporters during interviews.

  • Interesting news about “aspiring rapper” Keith Norfleet, the ex-boyfriend of Sahel Kazemi. Not only was he the person who picked her up after she was popped for a DUI in Steve McNair’s car, but he also emailed a local newspaper the following: “Pretty interesting news about our golden boy McNair…You would be pretty amazed at the fact of who he was actually with, which I really don’t think his wife would like it too much either.”

Which story do you want to go away and never hear about again?

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Speed Read: Phillies Destroy Reds Like It’s 1892

The Cincinnati Reds have been playing baseball for nearly 120 years, but never had they been beaten as badly as they were last night by the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Back on July 26th, 1892, the Phillies blasted the Reds 26-6 at the Baker Bowl. That would stand for nearly 107 years as the franchise’s worst loss, until Dusty Baker’s Reds were bowled over by the Phillies again last night, this time by a 22-1 margin.

Johnny Cueto

The Phils dropped 10 runs in the first inning and just kept piling on. Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto came into the game with a 2.69 ERA, but after allowing nine runs while recording only two outs, that mark soared to 3.45. Even more shocking, Baker actually took him out of the game. By the time the eighth inning rolled around, backup shortstop Paul Janish was serving up a grand slam to Jayson Werth.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels probably said it best: “When you put that many runs up, it makes it uncomfortable for the other team.” Kind of like the back of a Volkswagen.

Reds shortstop gives up grand slam

(”I’m not even supposed to be here today”)

The Cubs beat the Braves, as Aramis Ramirez returned from the DL, but their fans are still probably beating their heads against a wall after watching Jason Marquis throw yet another shutout for the Rockies. Colorado’s 1-0 win over the Nats was just the eighth 1-0 game in the history of Coors Field.

Pablo “Panda” Sandoval hit the game-winning grand slam as the Giants held off the Marlins 5-4 last night, and I’m happy to report that the big guy is currently leading in the voting for the last All-Star slot.

Pablo Sandoval

Apparently, you no longer need to be tagged out to be called out in baseball. Well, we’ve long suspected that, but umpire Marty Foster actually told Derek Jeter that it didn’t matter that he avoided Scott Rolen’s tag at third base — he was out because the throw beat him there. This is the same guy who called a Yankee out at home plate yesterday even though the catcher tagged him with an empty glove. Joe Girardi didn’t like the explanation and got tossed, and crew chief John Hirschbeck actually kinda threw Foster under the bus after the game. Hirschbeck has even said he will sit his crewmates down for a talk about other erroneous calls in the Yanks-Jays game yesterday.

Marty Foster

(Nearly every photo of Foster on the Internet looks something like this.)

Thankfully, there is some good news for future patrons of Yankee Stadium. Those of you who have to pee during the seventh-inning stretch can now do so without the risk of being thrown out of the yard. The Red Sox fan who was ejected for trying to go the bathroom during “God Bless America” also is getting a settlement of more than $10,000 from the City of New York. What I find funny about the whole thing is that when I worked in the press box at the old Stadium, media members often used the long break to take care of business. Heck, Bob Sheppard’s whole spiel before they played Kate Smith’s rendition of the song was taped, and he was usually on the way to the men’s room at the time.

Yankee Stadium urinals

• As if Phil Mickelson needed any more bad news, word comes that his mother has also been diagnosed with breast cancer. We probably shouldn’t expect to see much of Phil on the golf course anytime soon.

• WASTING AWAY IN WRIGLEYVILLE says that Erik Estrada has seen a lot of child pornography. How could they make such an absurd claim? Maybe it’s because when Estrada appeared on the Cubs-Braves telecast last night, he said “I’ve seen a lot of child pornography.” You know it’s a strange interview when a mention of Ron Jeremy’s wang isn’t the highlight. Video is up for now (see it while you can!)

• When a photo like this is out there, there’s just no excuse NOT to run it. Yes, this is the mug shot of “Three’s Company” star Joyce DeWitt, who was booked for DUI on Saturday:

Joyce DeWitt

The sports angle? Uhhhh, remember that one episode where Mr. Furley thinks Jack’s gay and Jack gets hit in the face with a door and there’s some really crazy misunderstanding that could’ve easily been averted? And it was at…the Super Bowl? Remember? I got nothing.

• The World Series of Poker’s main event is under way, and while nearly 6,500 players entered, there were hundreds that were shut out yesterday because the Rio reached its capacity.

Darren Rovell is a little surprised that Lacoste ran a full-page ad on the back of the NEW YORK TIMES sports section…congratulating Andy Roddick.

• I don’t even really know what to say about this, other than there’s a new world’s strongest vagina. If that isn’t solid late-night programming on The Ocho, I don’t know what is.

• Remember how the Nets were supposed to supposed to be moving into a brand-new fancy arena in downtown Brooklyn this year? Yeah, they haven’t even broken ground yet. The NY DAILY NEWS says the earliest an arena could be finished is 2012, and it might take much longer than that — if it happens at all.

• The Royals have taken a bit of a beating lately about the relative quality of their medical/training staff. So I suppose it’s only fitting that they took Ryan Freel’s word that he’s “100% healthy” when they acquired him from the Cubs.

• THE GOOD POINT went out and recruited a bunch of basketball bloggers to recount their favorite memories of the 2008-09 season.

• Now that the Cubs have been sold, is Wrigley Field going to undergo some sort of makeover?

• Everyone’s favorite fake cheerleader, Hayden Panettiere, visited David Letterman last night to talk about swimming with dolphins (that’s more of a sport than poker, right?) and to promote her new movie where she plays (shockingly) a hot cheerleader. Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that Heroes has finally given up and is just fishing for ratings by having her go girl-on-girl in the upcoming season. Here she is before her Letterman appearance:

Hayden Panettiere

Jackson Arrested After Auto Rampage Through OC

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson certainly lived up to his nickname on Tuesday, as the UFC fighter was arrested after a SoCal car chase that resulted in a few damaged vehicles.

Quinton Rampage Jackson pickup truck

(Quinton will have to do a few more PPVs just to pay for gas)

The ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER punches up news that the incident began around 1:30 p.m. in the O.C. town of Costa Mesa. Jackson’s vehicle - a lifted Ford F-250 pickup featuring large images of himself on the sides - smashed into two cars near the end of the California 55 freeway.

And that’s when the motorized mayhem really began: Read more…