Speed Read: Pics Of Gatti’s Wife, Murder Weapons

We mentioned this weekend that former champion boxer Arturo Gatti’s wife Amanda Rodrigues was being held in connection with his death while the couple were on a second honeymoon. While it’s up to Brazilian prosecutors to file the actual murder charges, the police seem pretty sure that Rodrigues is guilty - sure enough to declare that it “technically impossible” for someone else to have been in the room when Gatti was killed, and as YOU BEEN BLINDED has visual evidence of, showcase the bloody strap and knife they say Rodrigues used to kill her husband.

Amanda Rodrigues

We’re also learning more about Rodrigues, like the fact that she’s a 23-year-old former stripper - in fact, they met at an “exotic” club in Brazil. (And I don’t want to know how “exotic” things can get in a Brazilian strip club - I just hope that jaguars aren’t involved.) And she had received a restraining order against him earlier this year that required him to stay 200 meters away from her and quit drinking.

Needless to say, while this is a tragedy, perhaps it’s not a shock. After all, Gatti’s sister is claiming that Rodrigues had planned to murder him and was only in it for the money. Meanwhile, Rodrigues’ lawyers are apparently going to claim that she is “too skinny” to have strangled Gatti to death. Which would make sense if they claim he was conscious when this happened, not passed out after a night of drinking (and possibly getting stabbed in the back of the head).

In less messy and horrific news, you may think the Home Run Derby is at best a pointless exhibition that tarnishes baseball by reducing it to its basest level (MASH BALL HARD) while ignoring the subtleties the make the game so enjoyable. You many even possibly consider it a major factor in the rise of the Steroid Era. Or, you might just enjoy seeing some of the game’s biggest names blast the living bejeezus out of the ball while drinking enough to ignore the infernal booth combo that is Chris Berman and Steve Phillips.

Prince Fielder

While last night’s edition at Busch Stadium didn’t have the transcendent moments of, say, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hitting rubber baseballs with Flubber cores out of Fenway Park, or Josh Hamilton hitting 500 home runs in one round, it was entertaining enough. And while the hometown crowd might have been disappointed with their hero Albert Pujols bowing out in the semifinals, they seemed to enjoy the show that Prince Fielder put on in winning the event.

Maybe the newly vegetarian Fielder was following Pujols’ lead from when the Cardinals slugger blew out the “i” in the “Big Mac Land” sign in the Busch Stadium outfield deck earlier this season - with his goal to bring the whole sign down to punish McDonald’s for their carnivore ways. No matter what the reason, Fielder had enough in the tank to hold off Nelson Cruz (again, I said “some” of the game’s biggest names) in the finals after bombing an event-best 503-foot blast in the semis.

And then there was poor Brandon Inge, who had been so excited to be a part of the Home Run Derby that he said it was bigger than actually making his first All-Star team. I’m guessing he didn’t feel the same way after becoming the first batter since Jason Bay in 2005 to take a donut in the first round - or as my friends used to call it, “Posting a Piazza” (named after Mike Piazza, who went 0-for-his career with blanks in 1993 and 1994).

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers might be ready to make a move that could either turn them into playoff contenders or…OK, let’s be honest, it’s not possible to ruin the Clippers, so what harm could come from Allen Iverson joining the team? Marcus Camby played with A.I. in Denver, and he’s on board with the idea, with PRO BASKETBALL NEWS saying that he’s willing to help recruit Iverson to the team. Even Eric Gordon is OK with it, even if that means losing playing time in a backcourt with Iverson and Baron Davis.

Allen Iverson

The one person not too hip on Allen Iverson right now in Los Angeles seems to be Ron Artest, whose opinion doesn’t matter too much since he’s now playing for the Lakers. Plus, he’s totally nuts. But his Tweet that Iverson is “missing more shots than Muhammad Ali with a sniper rifle” is pretty damned good.

Still, Iverson could provide the veteran leadership and role model that Blake Griffin could use as he establishes himself in the NBA - and he might be a force, based on his NBA Summer League debut of 27 points and 12 rebounds versus the Lakers yesterday. Except for that whole “practice” thing.

More sports news as you ponder if the Tour of Germany will get more interest now that a German brothel is offering discounts for bicyclists:

  • Have you seen Terrell Owens’ ad for his reality show where he’s “artfully” posing nude? EXAMINER.COM has, and it’s “tastefully” making me want to be sick.
  • Nude Terrell Owens

  • Hey kids, want to spend money to get football lessons from Andre Rison? After all, he told the ALTOONA MIRROR that he’ll spend the second day showing you his highlights so he can “really let them know, in my eyes, I was the best to ever play the game.” And parents, if you think Andre Rison is a good role model, I’m coming to your house with Child Protective Services.
  • As usual, more chaos coming from the Oakland Raiders: PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that they’ve cut sixth-round draft pick Stryker Sulak before even signing him to a contract, which a league source says he’s “never seen happen before.” Meanwhile, Raiders blog JUST BLOG BABY thinks that PFT is making a big deal out of nothing.
  • I didn’t mention the Celebrity Softball game that was part of the MLB All-Star festivities. I’ll just show you the final out, where Ashanti managed to make the type of play to end the game that makes coed softball a nightmare for most guys. She should consider herself lucky that Bob Knight didn’t piledrive her at first:

  • David Beckham swears that his spat with Landon Donovan is a thing of the past as Golden Balls returns to practice with the Los Angeles Galaxy. In related news, Landon Donovan was found dead in his Home Depot Center dressing room, with a six-inch stilleto heel in his eyeball as Victoria Beckham was seen leaving.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks want to thank GM Dale Tallon for putting together a team that got to the Western Conference finals this season - by giving him a severance check and making sure the door doesn’t hit his butt on the way out the door. Reports says that assistant GM Stan Bowman will replace him.
  • USA TODAY says that the NFL could lead the fight to stop Delaware from legalizing sports gambling. Looks like Dover’s shot at getting an expansion team just went out the window.
  • Former Tennessee Titans player and HS football coach Reed Diehl has pleaded guilty to defrauding nine people of more than $5 million in a fradulent loan program scam.
  • If anyone is interested in an 34-year-old quarterback who was never really that great in his prime, please call Brian Griese - he’s available after being cut by the Bucs.
  • Former MLBer Billy Koch has been arrested after a 2 a.m. altercation with his next-door neighbor. The ironic part? The neighbor had grabbed a baseball bat in an unsuccessful attempt to defend himself.

Which division-leading team at the All-Star break won’t make the playoffs?

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Speed Read: Married MLBer Asked Out An Intern?

This isn’t what you would call the most eventful week in sports. In fact, tonight is one of the only nights all year when none of the major sports are playing regular-season games (yeah, there’s the whole Home Run Derby thing, but we’ll get to that later). I mean, I’m almost forced to lead with news about Brett Favre exhibiting to the Vikings that he is, in fact, capable of throwing a football. But who cares about that, when we can discuss a blind item about a married baseball player hitting on an intern?

Jenn Sterger Alyssa Milano

(Do either of these two count as an “intern” of anything?)

According to the HOUSTON CHRONICLE, a married MLB player approached an intern who was working for an unnamed media outlet at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, gave her his phone number, then asked her to go out with him to a club after the game. The intern then proceeded to brag about it to everyone she knew by posting the player’s name in a Facebook status update. But CHRONICLE writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz has chosen to be all “ethical” and withhold the name and team, only mentioning that it was in a “recent” game and not a member of the Astros.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that there are some athletes out there running around on their wives. But, there’s nothing else going on so let’s try to figure this out. Our first clue is that the three most recent teams to make a trip to Houston were Washington, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. We should also assume that this player is somewhat famous, because why would somebody brag on Facebook about getting someone like Bobby Seay’s phone number? (That’s just as a hypothetical example.)

Our second clue, as mentioned in the blog post, is that the intern went to a “large, prominent university near his team’s hometown.” To me, the key here is “near.” That eliminates Pittsburgh in my mind (Pitt is, obviously, in Pittsburgh so the “near” part is out, and Penn State and West Virginia are too far away). Washington would make sense because the University of Maryland is close (and even UVA is somewhat nearby), but Detroit also fits the bill, with Ann Arbor just a short drive away. Since Ortiz had time to notify the mentors of the young lady in question about her behavior, and the Nats had just arrived in town on Thursday, I’m not sure this whole story would’ve had time to run its course with a Washington player. I’m leaning toward this being a member of the Tigers.

HOW-EVAHHHH (that’s a little Stephen A. for you), not accusing anyone of anything, but it’s interesting to note that Adam Dunn is a married father who happens to be from Houston and was there this weekend (and is the only member of the Nats anyone has ever heard of). Again, just stating facts.

Moving on, while the Cardinals were splitting a doubleheader with the Cubs in Chicago, St. Louis was hosting All-Star festivities that included the Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball Game. And it all almost didn’t happen. After the World took their turn at bat in the top of the first inning of the Futures Game, the game went into a rain delay…for four hours.

futures game rain delay

(If the rain delay went any longer, these two would’ve been old enough to play in the game.)

When things finally got back underway at about 6:30, it was decided that they’d only play seven innings. The World team rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the top of the final inning and went on to win 7-5. Then it was time for the main event.

The Celebrity Softball Game is one of those things that sounds good on paper, but never really makes for good viewing. Perhaps that’s because MTV set the bar so high with their Rock ‘N Jock games of the mid-’90s. Would it kill you to make Bill Bellamy and Dan Cortese honorary managers, MLB?

Rock N Jock

(I was a big Awayboys fan. Those Homeboys were just so infuriatingly smug.) 

Now, I’ve only seen the highlight package shown on MLB.COM (the game will be shown on ESPN after the Home Run Derby tonight), but it appears as if the game might be able to overcome the hokey commentating of Gary Thorne and a contrived “umpire argument” by NL first baseman Bobby Knight with the notion of getting to watch Jenna Fischer and Annie Wersching play softball for an hour.

Jenna Fischer

(We can only hope Jenna was wearing this during the game)

I’m not sure which team won, or who was on what team, but you know the game is a sham when Vince Coleman (The Juan Pierre of the ’80s) is homering off of Goose Gossage. I’d give Andy Richter and Nelly better odds of going yard than Coleman…oh wait, they both actually homered also. Ashanti apparently celebrated grounding into a fielder’s choice, and Shawn Johnson predictably did a floor routine to first base when Lee Smith walked her.

Vince Coleman

(Admit it, if you’re between the ages of 30 and 35, you had at least one of these in a card protector 20 years ago, and now it’s worth more as a heat source than as a collector’s item.)

While you count down the hours until you can see Billy Bob Thornton turn into an RBI machine, here are some links to get you through the day:

Manny Acta’s All-Star break has just become indefinite, as he’s been fired as manager of the Nationals. When Jason Marquis has won half as many games as your entire team has to this point, that’s probably grounds for getting dismissed.

• Some Cub fans aren’t really happy about Marvin Hudson’s strike zone in the 9th inning of last night’s game with the Cardinals:

Marvin Hudson wikipedia

Dustin Pedroia is going to skip the All-Star Game to spend time with his wife Kelli, who is having some troubles with her pregnancy. Luckily, there was a member of the Rays available for Joe Maddon to pick for the team. And while Carlos Pena is a nice pick and all (he leads the league in homers), the AL now has only one true second baseman on its roster (Aaron Hill’s going to play the whole game?).

• The CHICAGO TRIBUNE has a photo essay of Cubs who have had bizarre injuries, in honor of Ryan Dempster, who broke his toe hopping over the dugout railing the other day. Beware of clicking on #10. I had forgotten about that one, and wish I hadn’t been reminded.

• Let’s give it up for the hot mom who made a spectacular diving play on a ground ball in foul territory at the Giants game in San Francisco yesterday:

• The Mets hadn’t hit a home run at home since June 26th, so perhaps fans should be forgiven for booing when the home run apple didn’t come out of its top hat after Fernando Tatis went deep yesterday.

Phil Ivey and former champions Peter Eastgate and Joe Hachem are the biggest poker names left of the 185 players still alive for the World Series of Poker main event title. They are joined by former minor-league hockey enforcer Eric Cloutier and, of all people, Lou Diamond Phillips. Day 6 gets underway at noon Vegas time, and can be followed at POKERNEWS.COM.

• THE HARDBALL TIMES tackles the myth that participants in the Home Run Derby decline after participating.

• The Derby is really the only thing going in the world of sports tonight, and we should all remember that it might not exist if not for Mark Scott, the broadcaster who came up with the idea back in 1959, when he produced and hosted the syndicated show Home Run Derby — a weekly head-to-head contest featuring two MLB sluggers. The show (which was rerun on ESPN and now is on DVD) is cool, if for no other reason than it’s one of the only ways for people from my generation to actually see footage of guys like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays swinging the bat. It was only on for one year because Scott died from a heart attack in 1960. Here’s part of an episode featuring Aaron and Duke Snider:

Ana Ivanovic is appearing in the August issue of VOGUE, and one photo has been leaked (what’s up with the huge white border?):

Ana Ivanovic

Who ya got in the Home Run Derby?

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Blog-O-Rama: All 28 of Josh Hamilton’s Derby HRs

• For those who want to relive Josh Hamilton’s opening round of the Home Run Derby, here’s the edited video of all 28 blasts.


• AOL FANHOUSE cheers up from word that John McCain’s wife Cindy was once a USC Song Girl.

• The ASSOCIATED PRESS learns that it’s not just male basketball players who like to steal, as a Oklahoma women’s player was caught swiping makeup from a Wal-Mart.

• BLACK HEART GOLD PANTS intercepts a letter of love to the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Co. from Purdue coach Joe Tiller.

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Blog Jam: Chase Utley Has 2 Words for Boo Birds

• THE 700 LEVEL hears Phillies slugger Chase Utley giving a reasonable response to all the boo birds at Yankee Stadium on Monday night.

Chase Utley Home Run Derby

• Meanwhile, REAL CLEAR SPORTS catches Rick Reilly complaining about too many white players participating in the Home Run Derby.

• Speaking of racist chatter, DEADSPIN discovers Reggie Jackson having the chutzpah to call an artist Jewish, just because the two were haggling over the price of a painting.

• On a related note, BUGS & CRANKS raises some interest in presenting their MLB All-Dick Team.

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Blog-O-Ronaldo: Soccer Star Splits From Gal Pal

• WITH LEATHER is saddened to see soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and model Nereida Gallardo flushing their relationship down the drain.

Cristiano Ronaldo Nereida Gallardo

• JALOPNIK (via 850 THE BUZZ) drives up word that Barack Obama won’t be sponsoring a NASCAR vehicle, after all.

• TRIPLE TRI BLOG finds LSU already talking some shirt smack before their season opener with Appalachian State.

• DEADSPIN tees up Charles Barkley comparing his golf game to blogs: “I don’t know what a blog is, but it don’t sound good.”

Read more…

Ryan Braun’s Agent Tries for Second Great Pitch

After Ryan Braun secured his seven-year, $51m contract in May, you’d think Braun would be so thankful to his agent that he might give him the summer off. After all, what else does a young man in Milwaukee need? A hookup for Summerfest tickets?

Arliss

(When we heard there would be agent throwing, we started our own list.)

But no; Ryan Braun is a thankless taskmaster. That’s why he has enlisted his agent, Nez Balelo, to throw to him for the Home Run Derby tonight. It’s not true that Nez has to stand in the sweltering Bronx summer sun in his suit, but CAA (his boss) does require he keep his Blackberry in his glove.
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Blog-A-Roni: Femme Fatales of the Tour de France

• SPORTS CRACKLE POP cycles up some good reasons to pay attention to this year’s Tour de France - all the lovely ladies lining the route.

Tour de France girl

• Meanwhile, EDDIEBEAR suggests this fellow try out for next year’s Tour, if only for the hilarity that will surely ensue.

Kobe Bryant & Joey Gathright must be proud: THE 700 LEVEL jumps at the chance to show this Philadelphia Soul Arena Football player getting some elevation over the opposing kicker.

• The FORT WORTH STAR TELEGRAM fishes up news that golf stud Tony Romo took a tumble into a pond & had to be rescued by Jeremy Roenick.

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Blog Expo-Fest-O-Rama: Various State of Undress

The LADIES… want us to see nude men treated violently. How can we say no?

We suppose we should make this up to you. Here’s women that have a dubious link to golf (link NFSW if you come upon this Monday morning):

Golf babe

(What a lousy grip)

And here’s women that have a rather definite link to synchronized swimming:

Synchronized swimming

(Stop breaking physical laws! Stop it right now!)

And here’s a live blog we recommend: DAME OF EXTRA TIME’s Spain-Italy coverage; match starts at 2:45 pm ET on ESPN. To keep with the theme, we don’t care if you wear pants during the liveblog, but don’t brag about it, eh?

More pandering after the jump:
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Really, No One Reads Blogs; Just Ask The Cubs

Remember our post yesterday about the Cubs’ ill-advised marketing material for Kosuke Fukudome? Baseball blog HOME RUN DERBY points out that the Cubs’ website graphic, however insensitive, looks a lot like the graphic it produced in early December:

Cubs Rip Off Website Graphic From Blog