You might wonder why you see the occasional baseball fight during July or even August, but almost never in September. For a good reason why, ask Bill Lee. (Actually don’t, because you’ll probably get a two-hour lecture on pot. Or the evil of the DH. Or both.) Even though it happened in May of 1976, him separating his shoulder during a huge brawl between the Yankees and the Red Sox caused him to miss the majority of the season (and possibly ruined his career).
So the same reason last night’s fight between the Yankees and the Blue Jays was both so compelling and ridiculously stupid. Because they were throwing real punches - not just the usual preschool pushing of most big league fights - and big-name pitchers like Joba Chamberlain and C.C. Sabathia were right in the middle, just waiting for a Blue Jay with a grudge to rip up their multimillion dollar arms. A good rule of thumb: don’t get into fights with teams who are 13 games under .500 - they don’t really have much to lose. Read more…
The name Joba Chamberlain is a sacred one to Yankees fans and members of the New York media, who occasionally see the him as some sort of pitching Messiah (when he’s pitching well). Back when he made his major league debut in 2007, his abilities were so prized that the team created the “Joba Rules” to limit his innings and prevent his golden arm from falling off too quickly. The rules mostly just contributed to the Joba mystique, elevating him to mythical status amongst a fanbase that can’t get enough fawning hero worship.
It’s been a rocky road ever since for Chamberlain and his followers, featuring a bizarre philosophy of weaning him “mentally” into the role of a starter. He saw the DL, got a DUI. Yankees fans and the New York media grew restless. But then last night happened, as Joba managed the Herculean feat of going eight innings in the Yankees’ 5-2 victory over the hapless Indians. More importantly in the minds of hero-worshipping fans, though, a pretty nifty diving double-play move in the fifth gave Chamberlain’s mystique a much-needed bump. Check it out after the jump.
It might not have seemed possible a few months ago, but it appears as if Ed Hochuli has no longer made the worst officiating gaffe of the last 12 months. That honor now belongs to NHL ref Brad Watson, who probably didn’t sleep very well after the mistake he made in last night’s Red Wings-Ducks game in Anaheim.
(I guess Brad Watson still needs that glowing puck they used to have on FOX)
Trailing 2-1 with just over a minute left, Detroit’s Marian Hossaknocked in a loose puck that squirted free from Jonas Hiller’s pads and was sitting all by itself in the crease (as you can see above) for the apparent tying goal. But, astonishingly, Watson blew his whistle just before Hossa scored, wiping out the goal because he says he lost sight of the puck (admittedly, Watson was at a terrible angle to see where the puck was) even though the rest of the world could see the thing sitting right in the middle of the crease. The play wasn’t reviewable, and the Ducks held on for a 2-1 win to take an identical lead in the series. Wings fans are irate, but since everyone else in hockey hates Detroit the screams aren’t resonating much outside of Michigan. Here’s the full video of the play:
For what it’s worth, the announcers are right that NHL refs are required to blow the whistle as soon as they lose sight of the puck. And, while Hossa’s shot clearly goes in before the whistle sounds, the rule is that the play is dead as soon as the ref decides to blow the whistle, which is a second or so before he actually does. Procedurally, Watson did everything right. But the whole thing about not seeing a puck right there in plain sight? Yeah, he messed that up pretty bad.
(Hey Watson, are your eyes ever where they’re supposed to be?)
In the NBA playoffs, The Hawks hung around for a while, but eventually the Cleveland Cavs ran away and hid, making it eight straight games involving Atlanta that has ended in a blowout. LeBron accepted the MVP award from David Stern before the game, then tossed up a ho-hum 34 and 10 in a 99-72 win. The Cavs outscored the Hawks 50-28 in the second half and lead the Eastern semis 1-0.
The Nuggets also used a second-half run to take a 2-0 lead in their series with the Mavs. Carmelo Anthony and Nene each scored 25 in a 117-105 Denver victory. Dallas was one of the hottest teams down the stretch but this just looks like a bad matchup for them. They’re now 0-6 against the Nuggets this season and, including their only home loss after the All-Star break. DALLAS MORNING NEWS columnist Jean-Jacques Taylorhas already declared the series over.
In the Bronx, the Red Sox pounded Joba Chamberlain for four runs before an out was recorded, and cruised to a 7-3 win, making them 5-0 against the Yankees this season. Even though Joba got roughed up early, he recovered and ended up striking out 12 batters in 5 2/3 innings. Regardless, he still had a better day than his mother.
(The new Yankee killer)
• SI’s Jon Heyman says MLB is now “investigating” the pitch-tipping allegations about Alex Rodriguez. If you haven’t heard, Selena Roberts says in her book that A-Rod would let opposing batters know what pitches were coming in blowout games, with the understanding that they would return the favor later. There’s about a 0% chance that we’ll ever know what really happened. But it all seems a little far-fetched. Wouldn’t somebody notice this? And who are the other people in on this scheme?
• SPORTS RUBBISH brings us footage of a soccer team called Corinthians in Brazil celebrating a major tournament victory by setting their team captain (known only as “William”) on fire during the trophy presentation. They didn’t mean to, but I’m sure that’s of little consolation to the guy who was on fire:
• Remember when the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in the late ’90s and everyone said it was crazy that they thought a hockey team would work in Arizona? Well, looks like everyone was right. The Coyotes are bankrupt and the CEO of BlackBerry wants to buy the team and move it to Ontario (the Canadian province, not the dusty city in California with an airport).
• Shockingly, LeBron James is not going to be rolling around in that new Kia he got for winning the MVP, choosing to donate it instead, according to CARS.COM.
• The Nats and Astros played to a tie after nearly 11 innings yesterday in D.C. and then the rain came. And everyone just shrugged and said “really, does anyone think the outcome of this game is going to matter in September?” and decided to just call it off. Well, that would be the reasonable thing to do. In reality, they will resume the game in July in Houston (but the Nats will still be the home team).
Parents embarrass their children. It’s what they do. It’s part involuntary generational disconnect, part willful retribution for years of trying to tell a screaming brat what to do. Such embarrassment is usually light-hearted and harmless and often involves white people dancing. There lurks an Option C, however, which has nothing to do with familial dynamics and everything to do with substance abuse. That’s not whimsical and fun; it’s just plain sad.
(The face of someone for whom things have gone horribly wrong.)
And that’s where we find Jacqueline Standley, the mother of Yankee drunk driverdominant reliever mediocre starter Joba Chamberlain. She was arrested at her apartment in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday for the charge of “delivery of an exceptionally hazardous drug.” And while it’s important to note that she’s innocent until proven guilty, the facts as they’re presented by the LINCOLN JOURNAL-STAR give the impression that the word “alleged” is merely a temporary courtesy: Read more…
After being pulled over by an officer in Lincoln, he was asked to walk a straight line as part of his field sobriety test. As you can see in the video, he did pretty well - for the first half. But after that, it’s a stumbling, bumbling mess, as he’s out of control and all over the place. He’s not exactly showing the type of stamina the Yankees hope he has as a starter.
I’m guessing the NYC cops were looking to sneak Chamberlain in under the radar after the DUI, but PAGE SIX has blown the thing wide open. Making it worse is a previous statement made by the PAL Prez John Osborne about the Yankees pitcher.
Cheer up, Boston sports fans. Sure, the Red Sox might have brought you to the brink of exaltation only to send you crashing to the ground like to some junkie with a packet of methadone, but at least the Patriots have kept your hopes adrift for another week with their 41-7 win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
Sure, this might have been a performance against the same team that lost to the putrid Kansas City Chiefs, but it’s something to be proud of, right? Rodney Harrison might have blown his knee out, a crippling blow to a depleted Patriots secondary, but come on…: did you see Matt Cassel? He’s the second coming of Tom Brady, the wa y he hooked up with Randy Moss. Right? Right???
New England fans, I’ll let you slepp on your false sense of security for now. At least ou aren’t 49ers fans, who have seen their team go from playoff contenders to also-rans in the course of a few short weeks. Which means that head coach Mike Nolan is gone, replaced by Mike Singletary, who will at least kill his team with his eyes. The eyes, the eyes, oh Lord the eyes!
EliteXC is finished, as SI.COM reports that they have closed their doors after “hemorrhaging” money. As poets throughout the ages have mused, wither Kimbo Slice? At least Gina Carano is one step closer to her inevitable Playboy spread.
The SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE signs in with news that Tiger Woods was back at Torrey Pines - the scene of his U.S. Open triumph over Rocco Mediate - this time as a caddie for an amateur. How far of a fall a few months can bring.
Chaucer, in “The Canterbury Tales”, gave us advice from his St. Jerome: “Dooth somme goode dedes that the devel, which is oure enemy, ne fynde yow nat unocupied.” Idle hands do the Devil’s work and all that. And this has been your weekly justification for that English lit degree that now has you working in sales.
Joba Chamberlain, now bereft of busy work since the Yankees proved themselves to only be the fifth- or sixth- best team in all baseball (LOSERS! HAHAHA), instead chose to get so stinkin’ drunk in beautiful Lincoln, NE, that getting behind the wheel of his dark-colored 2006 BMW should have never been an option. So, of course, he did.
(Don’t be a coward; call a cab)
And that’s how the New York press found something to keep their hands fully engaged (besides Jeter Lovin’, of course) on a day when the Red Sox should be occupying the back pages of their broadsheets. After all, how often do you get to mention that the young pitching star of your most important franchise in town got to hang out in the Cornhusker Place?
(Nebraska state police named their Lincoln, NE, drunk tank the “Cornhusker Place”. Naming the vomitorium of bad decisions so it sounds like an upscale mixed-use development just off-campus may in fact be a sign of a DUI epidemic. Thank goodness we’re in the deep end of an election cycle that can address this issue.) Read more…