Pardon me for being a soccer purist [If you were really a purist you’d call it “football,” you ass.-ed.], but I remember when it was all about the run of play, the penalty kick shootouts, Diego Maradona, Roy Keane! But not this, Dike, not this at all.
(I guess this is a heroin button. Who knew?)
Hmm? What’s that? No, I’m not using a derogatory term for lesbians; my favorite of those is “Subaru Jockey.” No, we’re referring to the Nigerian soccer player named simply “Dike,” which we would kinda suggest he changes at some point, because c’mon man. Dike was arrested for smuggling heroin into India, which he says he was doing in return for a spot on the Nigerian soccer team.
According to investigative reporters Alan Schwarz and Benjamin Hill, a book called “Odd Man Out”, allegedly a memoir about medical resident Matthew McCarthy’s one season — 2002 — with the Provo (Utah) Angels of the rookie-level Pioneer League, is fraught with errors, as identified by McCarthy’s own subjects in subsequent interviews. While the concerns haven’t reached critical mass yet, the book is already teetering on the edge of becoming a sports version of James Frey’s infamous “A Million Little Pieces”.
Need proof? Check out the disparity between what McCarthy writes about these players, and what they say about their time with the team.
Pitcher Blake Allen repeatedly talks about missing his wife and child back in Alabama; Allen, in a telephone interview last week, said his first son was born Sept. 28, two months after he had permanently left the team. Allen later is quoted saying he met his wife in Oxford, Ala., but they actually met in high school in Alexander City.
Out of baseball since that year and now living in Alexander City, Allen said last week that the more disparaging but less disprovable stories about him — crassly disparaging (Manager Tom) Kotchman, Dominican players and the Mormon citizens of Provo — were just as false. Allen added that a portion where he admitted to faking his injury so he could “just sit back and cash the checks,” which appeared in the Sports Illustrated excerpt, could seriously affect his life.
That, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Neither Viking Publishing’s Carolyn Coleburn, who is in charge of publicity for the publishing house that put out “Odd Man Out”, nor Chris Stone, Sports Illustrated’s baseball editor who green-lighted the excerpting of the memoir, could claim that they aggressively verified facts in the book.
It’s uncertain whether much will come of the new questions being raised about McCarthy’s tome, and the pitcher is already fudging some of the details about his story to make his book more defensible. Regardless, he’s bound to make serious bank on it, which goes to prove what the banking scandal should have taught us already: If someone has two Ivy League degrees, be awful careful before investing in any product they’re selling you.
As soon as India was attacked by terrorists earlier this year, concerns were raised about international cricket and the subsequent tours to be made by European and Caribbean teams to the Indian subcontinent. Well, those fears have come to terrifying realization after five policemen were killed and several Sri Lankan cricketers were injured in a terrorist attack in Pakistan early Tuesday morning. The Associated Press puts the number of injured athletes at eight, though that number has yet to be confirmed.
“Police resisted when 12 terrorists attacked the bus in which Sri Lankan cricket players were traveling,” Lahore police chief Habib-ur- Rahman told reporters. The Sri Lankan team “was the target,” he said.
Needless to say, knowing that the Sri Lankan team was the primary target of the attack is no comfort to Sri Lanka, or to cricketers across the globe. Perhaps more than any other sport, cricket athletes travel to areas of questionable security, putting themselves in front of more loosely screened fans and groups with a motive for terror. If existing concerns over India weren’t already enough, this is exactly the kind of event that could push England’s cricket team to cancel all touring outside of Europe or the West Indies altogether.
That says nothing of Sri Lanka, which is still trying to get a grasp on this latest brutal attack.
“We take these attacks very seriously,” Gamini Lokuge, sports minister of Sri Lanka, said in a phone interview from capital, Colombo.
Yes, we’d imagine they would take the attacks seriously. Now we’ll see how serious the rest of the world takes them.
In the end, both James and Wade were pretty spectacular. For the second straight game since being called out by the NBA for his fashion-aids, Wade went off, scoring 41 points. The only problem was that James was even better, scoring 42 in Cleveland’s 107-100 win.
If you thought that James and Wade like playing each other because it pushes them both to put up big numbers, well, you’re right. Just how close those statistics are, however, is frightening. Through 18 games between the Cavaliers and Heat, both Wade and James’s teams have won nine times. James has averaged 2.1 more points-per-game, with 0.1 more rebounds-per-game and one more assist-per-game, though both have four 40-point games against the other’s team. Spooky, huh?
Now the question is whether they’ll face off in the playoffs. If you don’t think that would make a must-watch series, well, we’re calling you crazy right now.
Just days after pundits tried to justify the massive Redskins deal for Albert Haynesworth in part by how it would help Jason Taylor, Washington cut the Pro Bowl defensive end. The team claims it wasn’t about money, but every million helps when you ink another guy to $100 million, particularly when you can get back $8 million+ in one move. It just goes to show how shortsighted owner Dan Snyder’s reign in D.C. continues to be.
Lou Pinella would like to make it clear right now: He is no fan of ESPN’s Steve Phillips, and he may have good reason to feel that way. He also has plenty of company. Just go ask a Mets fan how they feel about the former GM.
Garciaparra isn’t the only former Red Sox legend out of contract, but he sounds a lot closer to a future home than Pedro Martinez. Read between the lines in Pedro’s bizarre pseudo-interview with himself on Monday, and he sounds closer to Manny Ramirez’s unsettled contract status than Garciaparra’s.
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is listed as the top overall prospect in all of baseball, a 6-foot-5, more cerebral A-Rod … with even more power. Naturally, because of the beating catchers take in their career, that has some wondering how long it will be until Baltimore wises up and moves him to first base.
A-Rodjust can’t figure out how to make a quiet entrance. Sure, he didn’t bring along Yuri Sucart, but ex-wife Cynthia’s appearance with his two daughters at the Dominican Republic training camp smacked of desperation, not to mention the Maybach he was driving.
A few weeks ago we introduced you to Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, who won a television reality contest in India that brought them America to try and become the first professional baseball players from their country. And while the whole thing seemed silly at the time, it now appears that the guys are going to actually get a legitimate shot.
(The guy on the left didn’t even know it was Halloween)
At least 20 Major League teams are expected to send representatives to a workout on Thursday featuring the two aspiring pitchers. One scout gives them an 85% chance of making it in baseball, which is a victory for all of us – because the longer they’re here, the longer we get to read the comedy gold that is their blog. (Bad Boys isn’t their favorite movie anymore!)
Last September, HBO aired a REAL SPORTS exclusive on inhumane labor practices in India, where children were forced out of school to work in squalid conditions for pennies, stitching together soccer balls. Several children went before the camera and detailed the phsyical and mental anguish that the job put them through; one girl said she had to work until “her back aches and her eyes hurt.” Sounds brutal.
(If you look closely, you can see the discoloration from the orphans’ unrelenting tears.)
Of course, there might be a teensy weensy problem if the stories are completely fabricated, and according to the NEW YORK POST, that’s exactly what soccer manufacturing giant Mitre is claiming.
Barry Bonds might not be playing baseball these days, but he hasn’t given up on the game altogether. Seems that between attemps to drop off the face of the Earth, he’s giving baseball lessons to a couple of Indian pitchers — and I don’t mean Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona. He even had them over to the house.
(Their best pitch is the “wicked googly”)
The Million Dollar Arm is like American Idol, except it’s in India and instead of a pop star they wade through thousands of cricket bowlers with good arms to find two who get the opportunity to try and be the first Indian to play pro baseball in the U.S. The winners then travel to America, play some games for a small Christian school in So Cal, and write an unintentionally hilarious blog.
Excerpts, and details of the Bonds meeting, after the jump
IT APPARENTLY WAS NOT NAMED AFTER BERMAN’S OFFICE: In the tradition of ESPN Mobile, “Who’s Now?” and the “Budweiser Hot Seat”, ESPN has yet another sports media innovation in the pipeline that will keep us infinitely entertained: “ScoreCenter”.
The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER informs us that next year ESPN will launch ScoreCenter.com, “which eventually will provide live scores for 23 sports in 180 countries.”ESPN President George Bodenheimer “the goal is to provide live scoring from every significant sport on Earth (and) encompass six languages and have country-specific content and advertising.”
The site will be managed by ESPN units in Bristol, Connecticut, N.Y., London and Bangalore, India.
Bangalore? Thank god the Outback kid got out when he did.