When Red Sox owner John Henry, 59, married 30-year-old Linda Pizzuti in July, it seemed like your standard old-rich-guy-lands-hot-young-wife situation. No, it wasn’t exactly a Anna Nicole Smith situation but let’s be honest - if Henry weren’t made of cash, he probably wouldn’t have landed a hot young wife. We should all be so lucky…and so rich.
Red Sox fans might have gotten a bit of a kick out of their team’s owner landing a hottie, but they were probably unprepared for what’s happening to the happy couple now. Not content to just lavish his bride with gifts and his undying love, Henry has now installed her as the team’s vice president for planning and development. Rachel Phelps thinks it’s a questionable move.
Sure, there will be Rachel Nichols following his every move at practice for a while, then everyone will get all excited when he breaks off a 14-yard run from the Wildcat formation in a preseason game. But then he’ll fade away for a while as he serves his suspension, and by the time he is eligible to play in week six or so, he’s just going to a backup who comes on for a gimmick play every once in a while.
Philly was one of a long list of teams that reportedly had no interest in Vick as he was seeking a new job. In fact, many theorized that he’d have to resort to signing with the new UFL to have a chance to play. After all, what NFL team was going to be willing to absorb the PR hit, be willing to wait out his suspension, and be able to actually use him? The Eagles seemed unlikely on all fronts. They’ve already got two decent backup quarterbacks in Kevin Kolb and A.J. Feeley.
(You know things don’t look good for this league when they’re disappointed that they didn’t get the dog killer.)
So why add Vick to a team that doesn’t really need him? Andy Reid talks about wanting to give the guy a second chance, and even mentions the plight of his own children as a factor in the decision. The Eagles did use DeSean Jackson in the Wildcat on occasion last year, so maybe they want to expand that facet of their offense. Maybe they’ll try to turn him into a receiver, kick returner, or both. But can he learn to do those things at an NFL level in a matter of weeks?
None of that seems important right now, as most of the attention will be focused on the moral implications of signing a guy who just got out of prison two weeks ago for killing dogs. The PHILLY INQUIRER’s John Gonzalezsums up the struggle, and gives a very reasonable argument in favor of giving Vick another chance:
If you’ve already dug in and joined the anti-Vick camp, I won’t blame you or try to change your mind. People love dogs. I’m one of them. I’m a sucker for just about any animal, but the ones that roll over and play fetch and slobber all over me - even when I’m not at my best (which is most of the time) - are by far my favorite. What Vick did to those dogs was cruel and terrible and indefensible.
But I’m not going to kill the Eagles for signing him, and I’m not going to attack Vick or ascribe some pejorative label to the guy. I don’t know the man. I don’t know why he got involved with dogfighting. But I do know that he went to prison, and he lost his job, and he’s been beaten up quite a bit over the last two years. He’s been beaten up almost endlessly. And for good reason. Don’t get it twisted, he deserved his punishment - all of it. But after doing his time and losing almost everything he’d worked so hard to achieve, hasn’t he paid the price required of someone looking to purchase a second chance?
Ultimately, I think NFL fans will be OK with Vick. Everything he’s said and done recently indicates that he’s remorseful about what he did and that he’s committed to rebuilding his image. But for now, even the fans in Philly are split on this – a poll on PHILLY.COM shows that they are about 53-47 against signing Vick.
Ironically, Landon didn’t pick up the illness in Mexico, where the latest epidemic of the ol’ H1N1 originated. Instead, he got it from two staff members of the L.A. Galaxy, Donovan’s MLS team. The L.A. TIMES reports that the staff members picked it up during the Galaxy’s match with the New England Revolution in Foxboro. That’s right, Pats fans. Swine flu is just stewing in your stadium. Good luck with that, Brady.
(”So, if there’s swine flu on Bernard Pollard’s helmet…”)
Donovan admits that he felt crappy during Wednesday’s game, but chalked it up to the elevation and poor air quality in Mexico City. He is unlikely to play in the Galaxy’s home game tomorrow against Seattle, and more unlikely to ever come within 25 feet of David Beckham the rest of this season (which isn’t much of a change — he just has a medical reason now).
I suppose it’s shouldn’t be surprising if we hear of athletes starting to come down with the virus. MLB pitcher Vicente Padilla came down with it a couple of weeks ago, and as many as 1 million people nationwide have probably been infected at some point. While there is little danger of any serious repercussions (Donovan is sick, but nothing beyond your average flu bug), it could be devastating to a team if multiple players were to suffer from the illness at the same time. NFL teams in particular need to be careful, or at least plan on catching it the week they play the Lions.
• Quentin Richardson has been traded — for the fourth time this offseason. The T-Wolves sent him to Miami yesterday for Mark Blount. That means he has now been swapped for Darko Milicic, Zach Randolph, Sebastian Telfair, Mark Madsen, and now Blount. That’s a lot of headcases and one terrible dancer.
• The DAILY MAIL has a story today about Kirsty Gallacher, girlfriend of rugby player Paul Sampson, daughter of golfer Bernard Gallacher, and former Sky Sports personality. Just wanted to establish a sports-related reason to run this photo:
You’re allowed to be a little self-centered on your wedding day — it is your wedding day, after all. But the owner of the Red Sox, who got hitched this weekend at Fenway Park, crossed that fine line from egocentricity to megalomania.
(Is it daddy-daughter bobblehead night? Oh.)
John Henry and his blushing bride handed out as a gift framed photos of the happy couple posed in front of the Green Monster and the World Series trophies, which would have been fine had it ended there. But as you can see from the photo, it didn’t end there.
This is a tale of a dedicated Yankees fan, a Phish concert, contraband smuggled inside of a man’s pants, and of course a Vermont “Hooters.” It all adds up to a baseball prank which is either brilliantly inspired or monumentally stupid, or perhaps both.
Meet Ian Ferris, a Yankees fan who has been gnashing his teeth ever since a Red Sox fan attempted to curse the Yankees by burying a David Ortiz jersey within the new Yankee Stadium during its construction in 2007. (How’s that jinx working out, by the way?). Determined to get his revenge, Ferris devised a diabolical plot; with the relevant elements pictured above. Read more…
Yesterday, we brought you the insanity that is the new Yankee Stadium, with its ridiculous amenities that make it almost certainly the most luxurious sporting venue in the world. Meanwhile, the Red Sox still play in the old bandbox known as Fenway Park, and with the boatloads of cash the Yanks are going to be pulling in on their new digs, wouldn’t it make sense for the Sox to at least consider a state-of-the-art ballpark?
Apparently not, as Boston CEO Larry Lucchino has said that he expects the team to remain at Fenway for another 50 years. The Yankees can apparently have all their shiny bells and whistles. Fenway was waterproofed in the off season. Take that, Steinbrenner. There’s no doubt that the old yard has a ton of character, but some are saying it might be time to let it go.
Despite the thousands of entertainment options available on a Friday night in Los Angeles (many of which involve drunk attractive girls with low self-esteem), 12,000 Angelenos decided to make the trip to Chavez Ravine to watch the debut of Manny Ramirez in Dodger Blue.
LOS ANGELES TIMES reports “In the 30 hours that followed the announcement that the Dodgers had traded for Ramirez, the team sold more than 30,000 single-game tickets as well as almost 300 season-ticket packages for the remaining home games, according to chief operating officer Dennis Mannion.”
Manny’s debut in friday night’s game, a 2-1 loss to Randy Johnson and the first place Diamondbacks, was sold out with more than 12,000 of the tickets purchased after the temperamental slugger became a Dodger.
This is what happens during a rain delay at Fenway, as fans were treated to a video of Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen getting their Rob and Fab on, cranking out a remix of Milli Vanilli’s “Blame It On The Rain” while waiting for play to resume between the Red Sox and Cardinals (video thanks to the BOSTON GLOBE’S EXTRA BASES blog.)