Speed Read: Baseball’s Back! And It’s Snowing!

Leave it to Major League Baseball’s old and tired leadership to open half of the league’s games in cold climates, many of which will force postponements during the very first week of the season. While the proud and downtrodden denizens of Philadelphia should be have been celebrating the first professional sports crown in the city of brotherly love for decades, they instead found some of their press stolen because of a cancellation of the season opener between the White Sox and Royals a day before the game was scheduled to be played!

chicago snow doppler

That’s right folks,  it’s baseball season, and it’s snowing in Chicago.

It’s ludicrous that a professional sports league that employs as many marketing consultants as locker room attendees could sign off on a plan designed to wreak havoc on the schedule year after year.

There’s a simple solution to avoid the annual cancellations, travel headaches and  furious dispossesed fan bases: Play the entire first two weeks of the season in markets that are either: A) on the West coast, B) below the Mason-Dixon line or C) have domed stadiums. Stop kowtowing to the need for a New York opener and season-starting series in places like Cleveland and Chicago, and the season might actually work the way it’s supposed to on paper.

white sox field before snow

Of course, there’s never any weather-related problems in basketball, but there are plenty of crowd issues when the basketball is being played by women. If you tuned into the NCAA Women’s Final Four last night, ESPN would like to hear from you (they don’t believe the Nielsen ratings could possibly be that low) and Courtney Paris would like to apologize for crying so much the tears started flowing out of your screen.

courtney paris oklahoma

Put those two stories together — the blown, $64,000 guarantee by a Joe Namath-sounding women’s basketball player and an utter lack of attendance (at least heading into the Final Four; no overnight attendance numbers were available last night) — and add in undefeated UConn’s seemingly inevitable drive to a perfect season, and there are plenty of fascinating story lines in St. Louis. Yet the bottom line, as it so often is with women’s basketball, no one cares.

That’s a shame. After all, when’s the next time an NFL great will have twin daughters playing in a Final Four, one of whom has an impulsively gregarious moment that costs him $64,000? When’s the next time we’re going to get to see that face? Priceless folks, priceless.

Somehow, despite the odds and ethical questions, a 19-year-old jockey is on the verge of competing in his horse racing’s signature event. If that doesn’t seem stunning enough, this is: Joe Talamo has already earned some $4 million en route to spitting range of his ultimate goal: the Kentucky Derby.

joe talomo jockey

What’s even more amazing about Talomo, as first exposed by LAIST, are hisTwitter updates. For instance, check out these recent inputs from the rider of derby contender “I Want Revenge”.

  • “30 til derby: Am at Santa Anita. Worked out 3 horses this morning…Right Round by Flo Rida is my song of the day. Big month ahead,”
  • “30 til derby: just got home from dinner at the ivy and tim’s show. great night! going to bed. gotta wake up early”
  • “29 til derby: Working a couple more horses after the break. Then filming a scene at Clocker’s Corner for Jockeys. LA Times interview at 10.”

Hmmm, tough life you got there kid. Now, about that L.A. TIMES interview. Would you prefer a Bill Plaschke kiss up, or a clueless T.J. Simers job? Your choice.

ufc fight eye

jose mourinho lap dance

  • Only in Italy: World famous soccer manager Jose Mourinho gets a lap dance on national TV …

    … and finds a way to appear completely uninterested. As if.

If my life depended on it, the college champ tonight will be

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Speed Read: Bears Somehow Still In Playoff Hunt

If there was ever a time to start considering some minimum standards for teams to make the playoffs, it’s right now. With the potential for both the Chargers and the Cardinals to make the playoffs - and have a home game! - with 8-8 records should be enough to make any football fan cringe. Has the NFL suddenly turned into the NBA’s Eastern Conference? Shouldn’t there be some sort of rule that you have to be above .500 to make the playoffs.

Kyle Orton

And there there’s the Chicago Bears, who are somehow still in the thick of the playoff chase after pulling out a 20-17 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers thanks ato a blocked field goal with time expiring to keep the game tied. Yes, those Chicago Bears. The one with the offensive playbook that is less sophisticated than that from the old Tecmo Bowl Nintendo game. The one with no pass defense to speak of. The one with Kyle Freakin’ Orton at quarterback.

But here they sit at 9-6, with a chance to either win the NFC North or get a wild card, despite having needed basically every result on Sunday to go exactly as they did for that to happen. If the Bears pull this off, it will be a Christmas miracle the likes of which haven’t been seen in Chicago since Macaulay Culkin single-handedly fought off Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

Home Alone

The NFL in 2008: you don’t have to be good to make the playoffs, just conveniently geographically positioned.

Of course, the highlight of the whole game might have been during the coin toss. It wasn’t a total debacle like the Jerome Bettis coin toss against the Lions a few years ago, but it was pretty humorous. If you didn’t see it during the game, keep your eye on Brian Urlacher during the toss:

I think the referee needs to practice the coin toss a bit more. And way to not even have your eyes on the coin, Brian. Head on a swivel!

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t making the playoffs, but they are playing a lot better under “interim” head coach Mike Singletary (and really, is there any way he won’t be the head coach next season?). And they have a plan for Sunday’s season finale at home against the Redskins.

Ray Wersching

According to the SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT, along with the throwback uniforms, many members of the team will also be sporting “throwback” mustaches. Posted on the wall for motivation are pictures of great mustaches from 49ers past, including John Ayers, Ray Wersching, Jimmy Johnson and Roger Craig. Let’s just hope they don’t decide to imitate Wersching’s financial strategies as well.

  • DEADSPIN wonders if Fox NFL analyst Brian Baldinger’s gross right pinky finger is getting - well, even more gross. Honestly, there’s no way to fix that thing? Maybe a pair of pliers?
  • Brian Baldinger and his gross finger

  • Along with baseball, another event on tap for the first month of operations at the New Yankee Stadium is an “inspirational night of encouragement by TV minister Joel Osteen. Unfortunately for him, a worker cursed the event by burying an old sequined dress from Tammy Faye Baker beneath the stadium during construction.
  • Derek Jeter is hardly opening his arms to potentially welcome Manny Ramirez into the Yankees’ fold, telling the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER that the Yankees “don’t need” the mercurial free agent because their line-up has “scored plenty of runs.” Keep in mind, this is a team that let Melky Cabrera and his .249 batting average get more than 400 ABs last season. I think you could use the help in the line-up, Captain.
  • What it is about Texas high school cheerleading that always seems to wind up getting some combination of school administrators, lawyers or the police involved? This time the DALLAS MORNING NEWS says it’s a disgruntled parent who says her daughter didn’t make the team because of harassment from other cheerleaders.
  • The BASEBALL THINK FACTORY warns that you not to call Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman and talk about Adam Dunn’s high number of walks. I suggest that we all call his show and demand to talk about that just to see if Brennaman’s head will explode.
  • An undersized guard named Curry helping a mid-major team make some noise with a deadly jumper? RIVALS.COM wants the world to get ready for Stephen Curry’s younger brother Seth, who has been leading Liberty back from the basketball wasteland.
  • Animal Planet has a new TV show premiering in February called “Jockeys,” about the trials and tribulations of the riders at the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita. It’s the most compelling story about little people since “Under the Rainbow” - and 100 percent Chevy Chase free!
  • Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint missed the Dragons’ game against Memphis and his mentor John Calipari after being suspended one game for being ejected from his team’s loss to Bucknell last Thursday. The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS says it’s good he missed the game: the Tigers crushed Drexel, 87-49. Hey, at least Drexel still got their $90,000.
  • Finally…did you love the Super Bowl Shuffle but wish that involved less football and more rapping about maple syrup and Grey Poupon? Then in honor of the Bears’ win last night, the Super Broker Shuffle is for you:

Who is your pick for the NFL Coach of the Year?

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