Artist Depicts Full Stands At New Marlins Ballpark

Fun fact about the new Marlins Stadium, for which officials broke ground on Saturday near the old Orange Bowl in Miami: The $515 million ballpark will have the lowest seating capacity in the majors at 37,000, and probably won’t be completely paid for until 2052. By which time baseball will most likely be replaced by some form of mixed martial arts/indoor football hybrid, where Jeff George will still be making an annual plea that he should be allowed to play.

So the Marlins’ 15-year quest for a new, baseball-only home seems to be at an end, and not a moment too soon. They’re renaming their current park almost on a weekly basis — today it’s LandShark Stadium (seriously) — which I’m sure is why attendance is low. The team will move in for the 2012 season, at which time they will be renamed the Miami Marlins of Anaheim. Read more…

Speed Read: Another McNair Mistress In Minny?

Speculation has been rampant that one of the reasons that Sahel Kazemi decided to kill Steve McNair was because she suspected that McNair was involved with yet another woman who was not his wife.

Sahel Kazemi Photo Steve McNairs Girlfriend Photo

And now, the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS says they have discovered that McNair was involved in what they characterize as a “longtime affair” with a stripper in Minneapolis. But was it really an “intimate” relationship, as claimed by DAILY NEWS sportswriter Michael O’Keefe?

His only source for the story is the former business manager of an unnamed strip club, who asked remain anonymous for the story. This guy says McNair was a frequent visitor to the club and had an ongoing affair with a dancer that lasted for six years. Here’s what he had to say:

“She liked money and athletes,” the former business manager said on condition of anonymity. “She went out with athletes before. She was one of those girls who said, ‘You’re married? You have kids? So what?’ Lets have fun.

“I can tell you that she was very upset when she learned that he had died,” the former business manager added.

I don’t doubt that McNair may have visited this club every time he was in Minneapolis, and that when he did he sought out the same woman. But was there really a relationship here? Maybe he just liked to see the same stripper every time he was in Minnesota? Did he have a different woman in every city he went to?

Minneapolis

(What about this city was so alluring for McNair?)

But how often would he have occasion to go to Minnesota? Since he played only for AFC teams, a search of PRO-FOOTBALL-REFERENCE.COM shows that McNair only went to Minnesota to play against the Vikings three times: in 1995 (as a rookie when he wasn’t even a starter), 2001, and 2004. That’s only one game there in the last six years. He was from Mississippi and lived in Tennessee, so I’m not sure why he would be making frequent trips up to Minneapolis, unless he was good friends with some of the Vikings who were on that sex boat.

If there’s anyone out there in Minneapolis, what club would be the choice of athletes?

So while it might make sense for the woman in Minnesota to be sad (perhaps more for the loss of a customer), it doesn’t make sense that she would be completely distraught, unless she traveled to see McNair. Kazemi reportedly saw another woman leaving McNair’s condo days before the shooting, but it’s far-fetched to think that it could be the Minnesota stripper. Which makes you wonder exactly how many women he was involved with in some way.

While McNair had a very public memorial service yesterday, Kazemi’s funeral is scheduled for today in Jacksonville, Fla.

Moving on, Lenny Dykstra continues to try and keep up with Darren Daulton in the race to be crowned the “looniest guy who played for the 1993 Phillies.” In an interview with CNBC’s Jane Wells that is not done justice by this accompanying article, Dykstra rambled (often incoherently) about his financial woes that has led to him filing for bankruptcy. Here’s the video, and it’s worth all 18 minutes of your time:



Dykstra claims that Washington Mutual perpetrated fraud against him on a mortgage that he can no longer afford, and that he is simply filing in order to deal with foreclosure proceedings (he points out that it is his corporation filing Chapter 11 in order to “reorganize”). He even goes as far as to call out a specific Wamu employee, even mocking his stuttering. Of course, Dykstra also stumbles over his words, so it’s unclear when he’s pretending to be the stutterer and when he’s just being himself. He also claims to not be very smart, and to not really know how all the paperwork works in any of this. So how is he so sure that he was taken advantage of in his mortgage? His attorney says he’s worth around $50 million, but Dykstra won’t go as far as to even give a ballpark figure of his net worth. When Wells informs him that the bankruptcy paperwork indicates his assets are no more than $50,000, he doesn’t really have any answer that would lead you to believe otherwise. This despite boasting that he’s “111-0 in the stock market” (which, if you steal other people’s stock advice, maybe that isn’t that hard).

Lenny Dykstra

The only evidence Dykstra could offer of his net worth still being in the millions (it was reported as $58 million in 2008) was that his failed venture at a lifestyle magazine for athletes (called “The Players Club”) was being reorganized into a company that I think is also supposed to help pro athletes manage their money. And, in his words, “will someone be interested in that later, and want to give me $10 million? I don’t know, but what I have is exactly what’s stated.” Oy. So, basically, it looks like he’s got a few businesses that aren’t worth anything or aren’t profitable, like his private-jet airline called Legends Air, and he’s just hoping that someone will want to give him millions for them later.

The interview took place at Dykstra’s home, which he bought from Wayne Gretzky two years ago. Just after the 8:00 mark, when Dykstra claimed that it was his primary residence, Wells starting losing her patience, pointing out that there was no furniture in the house (with a great “wtf is wrong with you?” look), to which Dykstra responded that the house was undergoing a “remodel” as if that was supposed to be apparent.

Lenny Dykstra's house

(The home in question, which is supposedly worth $25 million)

Please, someone get Dykstra and Daulton together for an interview. Or just tape them talking to each other for an hour. That would be better than anything I’ve ever seen on “E:60.”

Alright, before I go on any more Dystranian tangents, let’s get to today’s links:

• You thought Yankee Stadium was expensive? The total cost of the new stadium for the Marlins in Miami is going to run at least $2.4 billion because the county is going to take an insane amount of time to pay back its loans. Because it can’t afford a new stadium. And they’re still going to draw 8,000 fans a night. Has there ever been a worse idea than this?

Marlins Stadium

(This is an early rendering, missing the tarp over the unused top deck)

Tim Lincecum finally gave up a run after more than 29 scoreless innings. He actually took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Padres last night, but gave up three runs in the inning. No worries, though, as the Giants still won 9-3.

Things got ugly last night during a soccer match between Mexico and Panama in Houston. There were fights in the stands, and apparently a Panamanian player fell off a stretcher when he got pelted by debris from Mexican fans. I guess it all started when the Mexican coach thought it would be OK to try and kick one of Panama’s players:

Rickey Henderson’s jersey is going to be retired by the A’s on August 1st. Rickey, of course, just thinks they’re reserving the number for him when he makes his comeback.

• FANHOUSE discusses a little-known fact about NBA salaries. Due to a clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, all NBA players had to give 9% of their salaries back to their teams. All of this money went into an escrow fund, and is being redistributed to every team equally, in the sum of $6.3 million per team.

• San Diego State fired football coach Chuck Long back in November, but he’s continued to show up for work every day because his contract guarantees him his salary of more than $715,000 per year if he keeps coming to the office. What exactly he’s doing, nobody knows. SDSU can’t force him to leave, but the SAN DIEGO TIMES-UNION says the school is paying a consultant $125 an hour to try and mediate a settlement with Long and get him to leave (thanks the WIZ OF ODDS for the tip).

Chuck Long

(”How’s that Pensky file coming along, Chuck?”)

• A group of Canadians are working on an offer for the Phoenix Coyotes, and they totally want to keep the team in Phoenix. I mean, what group of Canadians wouldn’t want the team to keep failing in when they could be selling out a new arena in suburban Toronto every night?

• The D-Backs were crusing through five innings last night, leading 7-0 over the Marlins. It was still 7-4 after seven. Then the eighth inning happened. 13 hitters, eight hits, two errors, and a passed ball later, Florida had scored a franchise-record 10 runs in the inning.

• The Nats and Astros resumed a game last night that was suspended on May 5th with the score tied at 10. The Nats, the home team on the scoreboard, only took seven minutes to push the winning run across — in Houston. Even stranger, the winning pitcher was Joel Hanrahan, who now plays for the Pirates.

Ron Artest has worn a different number everywhere he’s gone, so it’s no surprise that he’s changing it up again with the Lakers. According to INSIDE THE LAKERS, Ron-Ron’s going to wear #37 — because it’s the number of weeks Thriller was the #1 album. Top that tribute, Griffey.

• Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar just played poker for the first time two weeks ago, but he’s still alive in the main event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Of the 6,494 players who started the tourney, only about 1,500 are left going into today’s play (and 648 will get paid). While it’s still way too early, Farmar would face an interesting dilemma if he were to make the final table. That table won’t be played until early November, which is during the NBA season. Would the Lakers let him miss a game or two to finish a poker tournament? Actually, I’m really rooting for this to happen so we find out. First place, by the way, is more than $8 million — much more than Farmar makes at his job.

• Speaking of poker, ex-WWE star Torrie Wilson also played in the main event, but busted out early (and often!):

Torrie Wilson

Torrie Wilson

How would you characterize the alleged relationship between Steve McNair and a stripper in Minnesota?

View Results

Speed Read: End Of The Road For Chris Chelios?

In case you hadn’t noticed, and after these many years it’s okay if you hadn’t, Chris Chelios has been around forever. For-eh-vur. The 47-year-old has literally spent a majority of his life as a player in the NHL, breaking into the league with Montreal during the 1983-84 season. Yeah, back when “Jump” was the hot new sound from Van Halen. That’s how long dude’s been around.

Chris Chelios Weightlifting
(Of course he stuck around this long because of hard work. What did you expect? Prayer?)

And while injuries and the unrelenting assault of time on an aging man’s body have kept Chelios from the legendary Gordie Howe’s all-time record in games played and other marks of longetivity, Chelios is still a colossal freak of nature. Look no further than at (it bears repeating) the age of 47, Chelios is finally being released by the Detroit Red Wings. As the DETROIT NEWS reports, though, he still might not be done:

General manager Ken Holland met with Chelios Monday afternoon and, as expected, gave him the news Chelios will not be re-signed.

“It was kind of understood last summer, after Cheli signed, that the 2008-09 season would be the last one for Cheli as a Red Wing,” said Holland, noting the need for the Wings to bring in younger players. “He wants to play another season and I believe he can still play.”

Perhaps Chelios has a year or two left in him as a swan song in Chicago, or maybe he wants to see if he can hit 50 in an NHL uniform, a stunning accomplishment that really has zero bearing on the world at large. Don’t get us wrong, most guys don’t make it to 30 in the league, much less tack two more entire decades on the odometer, but at no point is Chelios ever going to be a catalyst for great things anymore.

Which is fine, of course. Guys stick around in professional athletics for a few years too many on a regular basis, and few (if any) have earned the privilege as much as Chelios. It’s just that at this point, the list of teams who might pick him up are those who really don’t even need the help to begin with.

Speaking of Chris Chelios (WARNING: this segue makes no sense), let’s talk about women fighting each other. You might remember last week where Cris “Cyborg” Santos choked out a reporter who foolishly questioned her ability to finish a submission move against a fighter, y’know, like how real men do. Well, being that Santos is going to fight SbB favorite Gina Carano in Carano’s post-EliteXC return to the Octagon, one display of lady-on-gentleman brutality can’t go unreturned before the fight, right? Right:

Nighty nighty, talker man. The question isn’t where are you, as Santos’ victim asked when he came back to Earth, but what are you: that would be lucky as hell, lucky that someone strong enough to turn the lights out with such ease also possesses the capacity for mercy, which is pretty much the only thing that has saved your brain’s regular functions.

If ladychoking is the next salvo fired in the War on Equality, then so be it, because strong women are clearly capable of winning that fight against weak men. And sure, a man can still probably choke out a woman, but anyone willing to make that case, even hypothetically, probably isn’t someone worth your time in conversation. Avoid accordingly.

Last, speaking of choking, let’s talk about USC. In the wake of Tim Floyd’s shame-splattered resignation and allegations of selective rule enforcement in the case of Reggie Bush, former Heisman hero and current athletic director Mike Garrett demands to be judged by his record and his legacy. For example, he hired Pete Carroll. Also, he hired, um… uh…

Pete Carroll USC Song Girls
(The Song Girls aren’t really hired, per se, so that doesn’t count. The white-haired guy in the middle does, though.)

Turns out, as the LOS ANGELES TIMES points out, he doesn’t exactly have a track record of success to fall back on, despite his boasts. So while Carroll’s hire is to Garrett as the Emancipation Proclamation is to Abraham Lincoln (seriously, Abe, what else did you accomplish, other than monopolizing the top hat?*), the rest of the resume seems to be, ahem, lacking. The worst hire, in retrospect, seems to be Floyd, who may have crippled the Trojans’ basketball program for years to come in order to secure one year of service from O.J. Mayo. And let’s hope that mistake doesn’t happen again…

Who’s the next big star from O.J. Mayo’s family?

View Results

So above all else, Garrett’s resume suggests that success is but a random decision away, a call to be made by livestock choosing to address one of several piles of food, each festooned with a different logo. Blew it on that up-and-coming coach from Southwestern State back in 2003? Hey, what can you do; Ernie the Carnivorous Pheasant clearly indicated he was due by way of which chum pile he devoured, and in any case, we saved the $12 million a barely-competent would have demanded over those same six years.

Some extra links to consider while you keep the horse off the launchpad…

  • J.R. Smith and Eddy Curry were apparently webcasting online as they were pulled over for the all-too-common D.W.B., as INSIDE HOOPS reports. No charges were filed and no video seems to exist, which is precisely why you’re reading about it here and not blaring at the top of a morning post. [UPDATE: Smith’s unequivocally calling bullfeathers on the story, though it seems so oddly specific we’re not sure why they would make any of that up.]
  • OPPOSITE DAY: The worst GM in at least the last 30 years, Steve Phillips, is allowed to make assertions about baseball that go routinely unchallenged. This is like giving Karl Rove his own political column… oh wait.
  • A word to Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido: there are many, many opportunities for somebody to make self-deprecating jokes to the press. A recent DUI arrest and your mugshot, for example would probably not be the best opportunity to do so. Just something to keep in mind going forw–well, I see we’re too late.
  • Joakim Noah will join Mickael Pietrus and Jean-Shaquille L’Oneal (we made up the last one, of course, but not the first two) on the French national team for upcoming international play. Vince Carter was seem chuckling, sizing up Noah’s dimensions, and dialing his time machine back to 2000. It’s been a while since he abused a giant Frenchman, you see, and these desires just never seem to go away after you indulge them once.

  • Tony Hawk got to visit the White House, then skateboard through it. And you know what? You can do the exact same thing if you spend 20 years getting famous for being better at one thing than anyone else in the world, and no, we’re not talking about what you do three times a day whenever the wife’s not around. In that case, practice makes pervert. Now pull up your pants and keep reading.
  • No, University of Illinois, Ron Santo was not trying to get into med school (not as anything but a discount-level test dummy; get some toes, then we can talk full price).
  • Bet you don’t know who just beat out Jason Jennings for the franchise lead for most victories. Did you guess Aaron Cook? Well, you probably cheated.
  • Some eight-grader does a flip and throws the basketball in a hoop from almost a full court. This is actually less related to competitive basketball than dunk contests, which we didn’t even think was possible.

(What’s next, trying to shoot it out of a cannon into a hoop? What does this have to do with actual basketball? God, we’re old.)

*We’re addressing him in the first person because we have it on good authority that Abe Lincoln and other dead Presidents read SbB with astonishing regularity in the afterworld. Heaven has great wi-fi. Which seems appropriate, if you think about it; how good could heaven really be if the wireless sucked?

Fmr Yankees Reliever Admits Alcoholism Problem

Mariano Rivera has given his life to Christ, even marking his glove with Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who is strengthening me.”  In that spirit, he approached fellow (then-)Yankee reliever Scott Proctor and urged him to clean up his act.  It took a few years, but Proctor (now out for the year for the Marlins) finally took Rivera’s advice and joined Alcoholics Anonymous for his drinking problem.

Scott Proctor and family

In a conversation with THE NEW YORK TIMES’ Tyler Kepner, Proctor admitted that he partied too hard and drank far too much to be his best at all times.  He also told the TIMES that he doesn’t remember many family events washed away by booze.  He’s now recovering from elbow surgery and alcoholism, rehabbing from both with the same intensity.

Read more…

Selig Exults Over MLB’s Luxurious Elbow Room

To reference a certain “Star Trek” captain, baseball commissioner Bud Selig does not believe in no-win scenarios. He looks at a half-empty stadium and prefers to see it as half full, and said as much when addressing baseball’s significant attendance dip at the owners meetings in Manhattan on Thursday.

Dolphins Stadium

Overall major league attendance is down 5.3 percent from last season, with an average of 28,693 fans per game, according to Baseball-Reference. That’s rather striking considering that the Mets and Yankees are both in new stadiums — the Yanks showed a decrease from last season of 6,823 fans per game. Of course those no-shows could all be corporate clients afraid to show their faces in $2,500 seats after accepting TARP money. Read more…

Professional Ball-Catcher… Or Ransom Collector?

Our older readers likely know The Rule, used to calculate whether a relationship with a large age difference is creepy. A sexual relationship is acceptable if the younger person’s age is at least 7 plus half the elder’s age. 30 can pull 22, for example, but any younger and you’re a total perv.

Nick Yohanek home run ball ransom

(”Also, I want Antonio Alfonseca’s extra fingers. He’s still around, right?”)

We bring this up because while there’s no single universally accepted age at which it stops becoming acceptable for fans to bring a glove to a baseball game, it too follows a pretty consistent formula: as long as your age is no higher than 12 plus half the amount of years you played Little League, you’re safe. This, of course, necessarily excludes adults from ever bringing a glove to a game, mainly because only adults could pull the underhanded behavior of Brewers fan Nick Yohanek, who gave himself the Orwellian nickname of “The Happy Youngster.”

As the DETROIT NEWS reports, the Marlins’ Chris Coghlan made the mistake of hitting his first home run to Yohanek, who demanded unholy amounts of loot in return for the ball. Read more…

Noah Chillaxes In Caribbean w/Half-Naked Gal Pal

• We’re quite Bullish on Joakim Noah’s bare-breasted beach bunny:

Joakim Noah topless girlfriend

• The Game 7 finale of the fantastic Penguins-Capitals series turned out to be a pretty boring blowout.

Sam Young’s burgeoning NBA career may have been screwed up by a loose screw.

• Two strokes aren’t stopping an ump trying to get back to the Big Show.

• Citi Field’s first streaker took eight years to plan out his magical run.

Read more…

Florida Marlins Pair Up To Battle Wisconsin Ghosts

Compared to rest of this nation’s major sports, baseball is somewhat of an odd duck. Whether it’s the irregularly-shaped field of play or the leisurely pace of play, it’s always stood out from its less pastoral brethren on the sports scene. Its players come in all shapes and sizes, from all over the world, and with all manner of odd quirks. In fact, baseball players have a long and illustrious history of bizarre superstitions and traditions.

Hanley Ramirez with Ghost

(Yes, Hanley, the ghost came from the sky.)

The 1908 White Sox were scared of shaving. Turk Wendell was scared of the foul line. Craig Biggio was scared of washing his helmet. Today we add a new bizarre superstition to the list: the Florida Marlins are scared of ghosts.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

Toss From Marlins Player Almost Takes Out Regis

There he was - Regis Philbin tossing out the first pitch for the Marlins on Monday. The TV talk show host came down to show support for the South Florida baseball club that he says he’s become a fan of.

Regis Philbin Hanley Ramirez

And what thanks does Regis get for coming out to the ballpark and cheering on the Marlins? Almost a trip to the hospital, courtesy of Hanley Ramirez.

Read more…