Wright, Kuroda Feeling Impact Of Scary Incidents

It was not a good night to be the noggin of an MLB player last night, as there were two scary incidents that left players with concussions that could have been much, much worse. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear that either Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda or New York Mets third baseman David Wright will have long-term issues resulting from their incidents on Saturday night.

David Wright and Hiroki Kuroda

The first to go down was Wright, who took a 93-mph fastball from the Giants’ Matt Cain to the side of the head. He stayed down for several minutes but eventually walked off under his own power. The was taken to the hospital where, as Yogi Berra may or may not have said, “they took X-rays of my head and found nothing.”

Video of the incident after the jump, including the sickening sound of ball meeting helmet:

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Speed Read: Mets Make All The Stops, Prevail 1-0

In the long run, not only did Jerry Manuel’s latest brainstorm contribute to team unity, but it’s going to save the Mets a ton of money. On Tuesday following New York’s season-worst fifth straight loss, Manuel read the riot act to his underachieving minions in a closed-door meeting, and ended things by making an unexpected transportation demand. For their game on Wednesday against the Brewers, the team would eschew their separate taxi rides and travel together in the team bus.

Mike Pelfrey, David Wright, Carlos Beltran

Not sure how much hazing occurred in the back seat where the driver couldn’t see what was going on,  and … hey Beltran! Quit mooning those girls and get back in your seat! But the result on the field was positive, as the Mets prevailed 1-0 behind 7 2/3 scoreless innings from Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey, ironically, was the only player who missed Manuel’s mini-tirade the day before, having received permission to leave early to rest for Wednesday’s game.

Oh, don’t worry — they’re still the Mets. New York struck out 12 times against Yovani Gallardo (8-5). But Ryan Church’s one-out single in the sixth, which scored Luis Castillo, who had doubled, was the only offense needed. So New York (38-39) moved back within a game of .500, two games behind the first-place Phillies. The Mets head to Pittsburgh for a rainout makeup today before a weekend series at Philadelphia. That’ll be a long bus ride.

Meanwhile, check that Wimbledon ticket you just bought online — I’m pretty sure you’ve been duped. Andy MurrayMania has gripped this staid tennis event with a fervor, as tickets for Sunday’s men’s final are being offered for as much as £20,000 each on some sites. I’m not sure what that is in American money — a million bucks? — but it’s a freaking lot for tennis. Of course it’s all because Murray is British, and someone from those shores hasn’t won Wimbledon in 73 years (down with the Kaiser! Where’s the Titanic? It’s overdue!). Murray, a 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 quarterfinal victor over Juan Carlos Ferrero, could be on his way to his first grand-slam title.

His semifinal today against sixth seed Andy Roddick could set up a final against Roger Federer, which even I would watch.

Fans have been queueing outside Wimbledon for 48 hours to get their hands on tickets for the semi-finals and final, while agencies report that demand is up four-fold. But the prices are higher than ever, with a pair of quarter-final tickets for Murray’s Centre Court match yesterday, worth £170, selling for £6,100.

With the avalanche of demand has come the threat of fraud. Wimbledon authorities are investigating bogus websites charging thousands of pounds for tickets that do not exist. One site under investigation — onlinewimbledontickets.com — is almost a replica of the official Wimbledon website, in the familiar green-and-purple livery, offering Centre Court tickets for the final at £2,499.

A Romanian businessman, who paid more than £11,000 online, is among more than 50 victims, mainly from mainland Europe. The website, with telephone numbers in London and Ireland, takes the money online but does not deliver the tickets. Their phone lines were dead yesterday.

And now for something completely different. It always pays to read the fine print, as a Twin Cities sportswriter has learned after mistaking the blog Sir Charles In Charge as being authored by the actual Charles Barkley. ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS writer Don Seeholzer attributed an item on the blog to Barkley, writing that Sir Charles was promoting Del Harris as the next head coach of the Timberwolves. Actually Barkley has nothing to do with the site, as it states in the disclaimer.

Charles Barkley at American Century

(”Is that a blog, or a duck? Damn, I’m confused.”)

The main reason I mention this is because I happen to know that Barkley just recently learned what the word “blog” means, and he certainly won’t be starting one anytime soon. I followed Barkley for the duration of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe last year, blogging about his game for NBC SPORTS. Just before the first round on the first day, I approached him to let him know what I was doing. His response: “What’s a blog?”

On the third day, Barkley was telling everyone who would listen: “This guy says he’s blogging my game. I don’t know what a blog is, but it don’t sound good.”

That was a mere 12 months ago. I doubt that he’s become the next Will Leitch in the meantime.

And now, links to peruse as you lament the demise of your neighborhood bikini fireworks stand:

  • You may think that Shaquille O’Neal’s arrival in Cleveland won’t make that much of a difference, but Vegas types tend to disagree. Bodog.com has just installed the Cavaliers as co-favorites with the Lakers to win the NBA title, both at 9/4. Bodog had Cleveland at 3/1 on June 15. Rounding out the top five are the Celtics (5/1), Magic (6/1) and Spurs (11/1). Once again I shall slap down a ten-spot on my Golden State Warriors, at 100/1.
  • Oh, and Bodog’s pick to win Saturday’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: Joey Chestnut at 2/3 (Takeru Kobayashi is second at 6/5, Tim “Eater” Janus third at 12/1). Over-under on hot dogs consumed: 61 1/2.
  • Attention, Scott Boras: Eric Whitfield, 12, son of former major leaguer Terry Whitfield, had four home runs in four at-bats and also pitched two innings of perfect relief to lead his Hillsborough (Calif.) Little League All-Star team to a 17-0 win over Redwood City National on Wednesday. Hillsborough has won four of the past five District 52 All-Star titles (district play being the first rung on the ladder toward the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.).
  • Unfortunately, America is apparently not yet ready to see a video of Chris Cooley burning the body of a dead horse which he found on his property. After much soul-searching, Cooley decided not to post it on his blog. Even though “the video is amazing! I spent over an hour today putting it together and it is one of my finest works, one that my kids will look back on and cherish. So for now, I’m sad.” As always, the comments are the best part.
  • Jessica Simpson, Tiger Woods, Tony Romo

  • And speaking of celebrity golf, here’s your Jessica Simspon, Tony Romo, Tiger Woods fix for the week. It’s the opening ceremony of the AT&T National on Wednesday in Bethesda, Md., whee! Also on hand were Bruce Boudreau, Jason Campbell, Antwaan Randle El, Rock Cartwright, Shaun Suisham and Leon Harris. Thanks for the photos from Dan Steinberg at DC SPORTS BOG, who also noted that “Some wise soul managed to write “Go Redskins” in Romo’s yardage book, which was one of the better moments of the day.” Jessica also favored all in attendance with a tune.
  • OK, that starting position for Blake Griffin seems to be open now. On Wednesday the Clippers agreed to trade power forward Zack Randolph to the Grizzlies for Quentin Richardson, according to the LOS ANGELES TIMES. The deal can’t be finalized until July 8, when the league establishes the salary cap.
  • The Dallas Mavericks are preparing to offer Jason Kidd $25 million over three years, according to ESPN. The Knicks may also be ready to offer a three-year deal, although for what amount, it isn’t certain.
  • OK, some hockey news. Fine. Marian Gaborik, the finest athlete with a Marian-sounding name since Marion Morrison, agreed to a five-year deal with the Rangers for $7.5 million per year.
  • Prepare for the lovefest surrounding the return of drug cheat misunderstood genius Manny Ramirez, who returns to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup on Friday night in San Diego. LA went 29-21 without him, and are seven games up on the second-place Giants. Why not stop by Petco and give him a standing ovulation … er, I mean, ovation?

Will you be glad to see Manny back in Dodger blue?

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Is Bobby Valentine Next Mets Japanese Import?

The NY BASEBALL DIGEST says that Bobby Valentine would be interested in the New York Mets’ manager position if it was offered to him. Which might come as a surprise to Jerry Manuel, the current interim manager of the team who is currently negotiating with Mets’ GM Omar Mineya for a full-time position. However, there have reportedly been snags in getting the deal done, specifically over a third year.

Bobby Valentine

Normally I would think that Valentine is being pretty underhanded to talk about his interest in a job that currently is not really open. But perhaps Valentine was put up to this by the Mets’ executives in order to crank up the heat on Manuel to sign - with the understanding that Valentine would be in line for the gig if it falls through. Or perhaps they just miss having someone sitting around the dugout in a fake mustache and glasses. (Versus the Metsm who were disguised as a playoff team for about four months before the make-up wore off.)

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Phils Perturbed By Mets’ Reyes Giving The Finger

If baseball teams are getting peeved by celebrations, it’s pretty clear the second half of the season (and the one really worth paying attention to) is underway. The NEW YORK TIMES writes that Mets shortstop Jose Reyes’ exuberance at his three-run homer in Wednesday night’s game had the Philadelphia Phillies fuming a bit.

Jose Reyes, wagging his finger

If it ticked off the players, it really got to the Phillies’ broadcasters. Larry Andersen said during the game of Reyes: “Somebody ought to put one in his neck.” Read more…

Ump Gets Suspended For Bump On Mets’ Manuel

Usually when a baseball manager and umpire get into a heated argument that evolves into bodily bumping, it’s the guy from the dugout who gets a suspension. But this time, it’s the man in blue who’s taking a time out.

Jerry Manuel umpire Brian Runge

The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that umpire Brian Runge has been suspended for one game for bumping Mets manager Jerry Manuel during Tuesday night’s contest against the Mariners. Read more…

Paps Helps Lighten Up Rained-Out Red Sox Fans

Did Roberto Clemente profoundly predict his own untimely demise?

Jonathan Papelbon & Manny Del Carmen sure know how to cheer up the rain-soaked faithful at Fenway Park.

Jonathan Papelbon Manny Del Carmen Red Sox Milli Vanilli

Jerry Manuel helps ease the pain of George Carlin’s passing.

• This minor league ballgirl is leaps & bounds above the rest.

Big Brown’s big Belmont loss? Gotta be the horseshoes.

• Your next host of the Olympic Games - Birmingham, Alabama?

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George Carlin RIP; Mets Manager Calls Fans Crap

It’s bad enough that Tim Russert had been suddenly taken away, but now we learn that George Carlin is no longer with us. The 71-year-old comedian died unexpectedly Sunday night, after checking into a Santa Monica, CA, hospital complaining of chest pains.

George Carlin

You may be asking yourself, “That’s certainly sad news, but what does it have to do with sports?

Then we would respond, “Have you never had the pleasure to enjoy Carlin’s routine on baseball vs. football? And where’s your sensitivity, you bastard!

Anyway, here’s what we’re talking about:


Although George is no longer with us, we’re sure he would have gotten a chuckle out of comments made by Jerry Manuel about Mets fans.

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