6:15 PM Chicago's city landmarks commission on Thursday unanimously approved the Cubs' plans for a $575 million renovation of Wrigley Field. The renovations include seven new advertising signs & a large videoboard in the outfield.
Jack Neff at ADAge.com has exciting news today about Jimmy Johnson. The former NFL coach and current Fox broadcaster has signed on to promote an over-the-counter male enhancement product called ExtenZe.
“Most men want to perform the best they can in just about everything,” Mr. Johnson says in one spot. “Isn’t that why we buy the biggest and best of everything?” He signs off with the tagline: “Go long with ExtenZe. I do.”
Mr. Johnson is a user now and will attest to that in the 15-, 30- and 60-second ads. “
No no no Jimmy, I believe you. No testimonial required. (Please, no.)
Robert Yallen, CEO of Inter/Media, the Encino, Calif., the direct-marketing agency that is overseeing the ad campaign on Johnson: “He’s probably one of the few people who can pull this off.”
The ads start running Monday and Johnson will also appear for ExtenZe with its racing team at the Daytona 500.
If Game 1 of the NBA Finals seemly confirmed the suspicion that the Orlando Magic didn’t belong on the same floor with the Los Angeles Lakers, at least the Magic put an end to that on Sunday night in Game 2. They remembered how to shoot (at least two of them did), played some (at times) stingy defense, and generally were a total pest in pushing the Lakers to overtime.
Unfortunately for the Magic, what they didn’t prove is that they could beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals, as the home team held on for a 101-96 victory to take a 2-0 lead as the series shifts to Orlando for the next three (probably?) games. But they came tantalizingly close at the end of regulation. Hedu Turkoglu found Courtney Lee cutting to the basket behind Kobe Bryant on an inbounds play with 0.6 seconds left and tossed him a lob that reached Lee but forced a midair adjustment, causing his lay-in to be just off the mark, bouncing off the front of the rim as time expired.
While the Magic might not admit it, they seemed drained by the missed opportunity in overtime, although their inability to stop Pau Gasol in the extra period was just as crippling. The Spaniard scored seven of his 24 points in overtime, including a three-point play with 1:14 left that gave the Lakers an insurmountable six point lead.
As for the Magic’s shooting: Rashard Lewis and Turkoglu were outstanding, with Lewis hitting 6-of-12 three-pointers en route to 34 points, while Turkoglu added 22 points including three three-pointers. The rest of the team? Not so much, as the Magic weren’t helped by Rafer Alston and J.J. Redick combining to go 2-for-17 for the game, including a woeful 1-10 from behind the arc. Also not helping: that J.J. Redick was anywhere near the floor for any length of time, much less 27 minutes. For all the great coaching Stan Van Gundy might have done in Game 2, that can’t be considered his finest hour.
Right now, it will take an amazing comeback for the Orlando Magic to win the NBA Title. (Before the 2006 Miami Heat did it, who was the last team to go down 2-0 and win the NBA Title? The 1977 Portland Trail Blazers.) But perhaps they need to take a clue from famous local resident and occasional Magic fan Tiger Woods, who had some Magic of his own on Sunday, no overtime needed. Woods came from four shots back to win the Memorial Tournament in front of host Jack Nicklaus with one of his most impressive final round performances, shooting a 65 while hitting every fairway in regulation.
The performance was awe-inspiring enough to prompt Nicklaus to cave in Woods’ surgically repaired knee with a nine-iron after the match in an attempt to prevent Woods from reaching his record of 18 major championships, before standing over a fallen Woods and shouting a Ric Flair style “Woooooooo!” Actually, that’s a lie; in fact, Nicklaus remarked that it would “greatly surprise” him if Woods didn’t win major No. 15 in two weeks at the U.S. Open.
Finally, it’s kind of hard to fault the San Diego Padres’ Josh Wilson for giving up the go-ahead three-run homer to the Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds in the 18th inning of Arizona’s 9-6 win on Sunday. Sure, Wilson might have had extra motivation for pitching against the team that released him earlier this season, but he really shouldn’t have been out there anyway. Wilson is an infielder, and was only pitching after Padres manager Bud Black ran out of pitchers in bullpen. So he sent Wilson out there, who got fastballs up to 88 mph and mixed in a few change-ups as well.
Also, when you are relying on David Eckstein to homer to take the game into extra innings, you really should consider yourself lucky to be there in the first place, which is what the Padres needed in the ninth inning to erase a three-run deficit. Then again, the Padres really didn’t do much after that against the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, getting no-hit for all nine innings of extra baseball.
Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Sam Rayburn tells the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER that he was taking more than 100 painkillers a day before being caught forging prescriptions and getting clean. Or as Elizabeth Taylor would call that, lunch.
What could bring together Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former head coach Jimmy Johnson? How about a concert headlined by George Strait and Reba McEntireto open the new Cowboys Stadium?
Just when things couldn’t get any worse for the Washington Nationals, DC SPORTS BOG checks in with this: they had a malfunction during their fireworks display, and the debris just happened to fall on the D.C. fire chief. Proving that the Nationals really have turned into a bad 1970s sitcom.
Mike Brown proved that his WEC featherweight title victory over Urijah Faber in November was no fluke in the rematch on Sunday, going into Faber’s hometown of Sacramento, CA and winning a unanimous decision that left Faber in the hospital after the match.
Among the “highlights” of the ongoing court battle over the fate of the Phoenix Coyotes: the Phoenix suburb of Glendale (where the Coyotes actually play) is suggesting that coach and minority owner Wayne Gretzky is “overpaid” and should have his salary cut by more than $6 million. Because going after The Great One is a winning legal strategy in Canadian courts.
Long Island high school athlete Ryan Harrigan uses his abilities to chase down a would-be purse snatcher while working his after-school job as a grocery store employee. Would you like paper, plastic or handcuffs, Sir?
We ask because, at this point, we could almost start a blog updating solely with news about Twittering athletes, coaches and GMs. Yesterday, we wrote about the infamous tweets of the Buffalo Bills and Brian Burke. Sunday, we wrote about Mark Cuban. And you know what? There are two more breaking Twitter stories this morning.
According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, the inevitable fine against Cuban came down on Monday, and it landed with the resounding thud of $25,000. Considering the fact that Cuban’s rant was exactly 140 characters, Cuban was paying approximately $178.57 per letter for his screed against J.R. Smith. Not surprisingly, Cuban was none too happy about being lighter in the wallet, and he responded by questioning whether outlets - like, say, SPORTSbyBROOKS - has the right to re-publish his tweet, getting attention for it and, thus, earning him fines.
The answer, as pointed out by FANHOUSE, is a resounding “yes”. Because Cuban’s profile is set to public, we all get to read and re-publish his thoughts. That’s pretty much the definition of fair use. Yet the most interesting line of Cuban’s entire discussion with the FANHOUSE folks is his closing sentence:
@NBAFanHouse not close. I like to create discussion. makes things interesting
Yes, yes he does. At a cost of approximately $25G a pop.
Meanwhile, Celtics star Paul Pierce pulled off his best Shaquille O’Neal impersonation, giving away free tickets to Boston fans who showed up at his car and proffered up the pre-listed password (which, cornily enough, was “truth”). The first five jokers who have been stalking Twitter in their Paul Pierce 34 jerseys and jumped at the chance to meet him got the free seats, and web site BOSTONCS was there to chronicle the whole experience.
All of this got us thinking: Has Twitter officially jumped the shark? What started as a slightly clever way to send instant inside jokes became instantly cool when a few athletes re-discovered their inner dork, and it’s now gone so mainstream that mediocre stars need to imitate the big shots just to stay culturally relevant.
Add to that the mind screw that is Cuban doing anything — the eternal debate of whether he’s doing it because he thinks it’s cool, whether he’s doing it to manipulate the media and fans, whether he’s doing it for both reasons or whether we should even care because he’s such a tool — and maybe we’ve reached the point that we should all blow Twitter off indefinitely … or at least until Anna Kournikova shows up and starts describing what it’s like to get dressed in the morning.
In fact, the whole “Cal to Kentucky” bit is getting so much attention that, as Tuffy first coined in an email last night, you have believe the video alluded to in the ESPN.com screenshot below would lead to a camera trained directly on Calipari’s personal bedroom.
We’re betting it’s going to happen, and that it will happen sooner rather than later. And you know what? In the end, it’s a good thing for college basketball. After all, how great will it be to have Calipari and Rick Pitino facing off against each other in an annual turf war? And just think! This time it won’t just be about who can cheat to land recruits more effectively!
And just when you thought former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s pantomime villain routine couldn’t get any more obvious, it turns out he named a secret agreement to sell Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois — all in return for numerous tax breaks for former Cubs owner Sam Zell — after a throwaway joke in the Blues Brothers.
Blagojevich referred to the Wrigley Field negotiations as “Operation Elwood”, named in honor of Elwood Blues (also known as Dan Aykroyd), whose listed address on his driver’s license was Wrigley Field.
Enough with real news, lets try to manufacture some that involves incredibly attractive people. Like Alyonka Larionov, who may or may not be dating either Alexander Ovechkin or Pavel Datsyuk. She’s also a budding viral video star, so maybe she’ll be dating someone else to keep her in the news soon, too.
Just because we haven’t covered enough Twitter addiction today: USC Coach Pete Carroll’s ridiculous campaign to get buddy Will Farrell on Twitter reached new heights, including this self-produced video.
TMZ reports last night Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson and Michael Strahan all “boozed” together at one of my favorite Hollywood haunts (really), The Belmont on La Cienega Blvd.:
(What I need: Pitbull flunky friends like Terry!)
They don’t just show up on Sundays and pretend to like each other — the guys from the NFL on FOX studio team also hit the bars as a team. Terry, Jimmy and Michael Strahan spent Friday night kickin’ it at the Belmont Bar and Lounge in Hollywood. And check this out — Bradshaw even got a female lead blocker on the way out. We’re told the woman in the video is being seriously considered by the Detroit Lions.
Strahan, accompanied by Jay Glazer (who was completely ignored by the TMZ video crew and editorial), was amiable amidst the cam slam. Likewise Johnson. But Bradshaw, check that, Terry Bradshaw’s friends were a completely different story. Read more…
If you thought America was getting used to looking at Danica Patrick, well, you’re wrong. It turns out that not only does the good ol’ U.S.A. find searching for Danica a completely insatiable appetite, it’s also just as captivated with the most popular league in the sport she calls her own.
At least those are the findings from AOL’s annual report of year-end hot searches for 2008. In fact, the report claims that Danica-mania made Ms. Patrick the most searched athlete in the world. In the meantime, NASCAR beat out another surprising contender, WWE, and the Olympics to be the most searched sports of all. That’s right, rubbin’ n’ racin’ was officially more popular online than a truly historic Olympics.
A new book released yesterday by noted sports author Jeff Pearlman opens with a description of Hall-of-Fame receiver Michael Irvin slashing a teammate in the throat with a pair of scissors in the early ’90s, nearly killing him. According to an interview with Pearlman in the NEW YORK TIMES, Irvin attacked fellow Cowboy Everett McIver and the team paid McIver to stay mum on the incident so Irvin, who was on probation, wouldn’t face certain jail time.
The book, Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty, documents the Aikman-Smith-Irvin era with no details spared. And while the Irvin incident is the book’s hook (it appears on the first page), it just scratches the surface of the shenanigans that group was involved in.
The first prayer hastily muttered by Giants head coach Tom Coughlin after defensive end Osi Umenyiora was carted out of the stadium with a knee injury last weekend: “Dear Lord, let Osi be alright ’cause we’re really gonna need him this season…”
Promptly followed by: “… but just in case you see fit to hobble him indefinitely, let Brett Favre’s spirit move over Michael Strahan as we try to talk him out of retirement.”
Umenyiora’s out for the season, which means that the Giants will be without their best pass rusher. Just so happens, there’s a pretty good one still available, even though he no longer plays football and is now in the employ of Fox Sports. Semantics, apparently.
In honor of the movie, FAN SIDED BLOGS has compiled 10 NFL “Step Brother” combos it would love to see. Even the blockbuster combo of Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens wouldn’t have had a shot against The Dark Knight at the box office.
FANHOUSE takes a field trip to Indianapolis to get an upclose look at Jimmy Johnson’s win at the Brickyard 400.
If you enjoy watching children fail, CRACKED has a break down of the 5 Most Ridiculously Unfair Kids Game Shows
THE 700 LEVEL discovers Harry Caray is alive and well…thanks to Atlanta Braves reliever Will Ohman. Video after the jump.