Oh Hell Nah: Joe Girardi Ready To Switch To #28

George King of the NEW YORK POST notes today that Joe Girardi told WFAN-AM in New York yesterday that he now wants to wear #28:

Joe Giradi

(Is it all about the team? Or the manager?)

Yesterday, on his WFAN gig, the manager strongly hinted he will wear No. 28 next season to signify a push toward winning back-to-back titles.

“Y’know, that’s something I talked to Brian Cashman briefly about [yesterday] and I want to talk to him about it more [today], but, I think I will,” Girardi said. “I’ve got to talk to Shelley Duncan to see if he allows me to wear it. I think I’m gonna make a number change.”

Duncan is a fringe Yankee player who wears #28. Somehow I have a feeling he’ll grant the request. Maybe he’ll get a box of Twinkies in return.

Joe Girardi wearing #28

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Speed Read: Posada Gets Yankees In Stupid Brawl

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).

Yankees vs Blue Jays brawl

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…

Speed Read: Can Unknowns Hold Off Tiger & Phil?

On US Open Monday last year, Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate treated us to one of the classic golf duels of all time. And as we speak, Tiger and Rocco are back on the course trying to make history again. Unfortunately, they’ve been joined by 58 other people and Mediate’s tied for 54th place, so it might not exactly be as magical this time around. In fact, soggy Bethpage Black has been kind enough this week to let a one-time PGA winner and another guy who’s never even finished in the top 10 duke it out for the right to lose to Woods in a playoff later today.

Bethpage warning sign

(Warning: This Course Is So Tough It Can Only Be Described With Capitalized Words)

By the time you read this, my prediction may already be rendered silly, but I’m calling it now: Tiger makes it to 4-under and the two leaders, Lucas Glover and Ricky Barnes (who I thought was a pro bowler until Saturday), will fall back to finish in a tie, with Phil Mickelson one shot behind (due to something like accidentally hitting a putt backward). Other rock-solid predictions:

1) Fat David Duval will finally remember he’s not Skinny David Duval and shoot 94.

2) Someone in the crowd will yell “get in the hole!” on a 400-yard shot from the fescue that will actually go eight feet.

3) Johnny Miller will utter the phrase “trap draw” 391 times and complain about the swing of any prominently featured Scandinavian guy.

4) Instead of tossing his ball to the gallery at the 3rd hole after putting out like everyone else, Barnes will save himself the trouble by hitting his tee shot there.

Johnny Miller

(”Trap draw. Tiger’s lurking. Fescue. What’s the lie like, Roger? Wasn’t I good in the ’70s? Trap draw.”)

As for Tiger, play was suspended for the night just after he had pulled back to even par for the tournament. And while he’s still well within striking distance, some have suggested that he might be better off if someone clubbed him in the knee last night to help him regain his 2008 form.

Tiger Woods knee

Barnes, meanwhile, duck-hooked yet another drive just before the horn sounded. While some players elected to play out the hole they were on, Ricky decided to stew over that one all night and deal with it this morning. Perhaps it was just so he could still call himself a co-leader of the US Open at the pub last night. Barnes has not only never won on the PGA Tour, he’s also never won on the Nationwide Tour despite playing regularly there. So to say this is a tall order for him would be a massive understatement.

Also giving hope to the crowd lurking a few shots back is Lucas Glover, who has ranked 87th or worse in final-round scoring for three years running. As Jason Sobel notes in his ESPN blog, Glover’s only PGA Tour win came when he holed a 50-foot putt on 17 and a bunker shot on 18. Again, not exactly a reliable bet to hold it together down the stretch.

NEWSDAY says that the odd sight of the fourth round pairings teeing off until 7:30 p.m. last night made for some problems at the first tee as play was winding down for the night. While beer sales were cut off at 6, a number of fans who had been hitting the sauce pretty hard all day starting heckling anyone and everyone who started their round — including Phil and Tiger. I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising considering the Long Island crowd has purchased 150,000 beers since Thursday, compared to 115,000 sodas and water bottles combined.

drunk Bethpage fans

While these guys battle to be America’s golf champion, America’s soccer team is currently battling to be the champion…of the eight teams that were chosen to come to a warm-up tournament for next year’s World Cup. Things weren’t looking so good, honestly, when the Americans were outscored 6-1 in lopsided losses to Brazil and Italy in the Confederations Cup. The U.S. began its match with Egypt yesterday needing a very specific and wildly improbably set of circumstances to occur to advance from the group stage to the semifinals. Which, of course, happened.

US soccer fans

The U.S. beat Egypt 3-0, while Brazil blasted the Italians by the same score, setting off a three-way tie for 2nd place in the group. And the U.S. was deemed to be not quite as bad as the other two teams by virtue of scoring one more goal overall than Italy, and in very soccer-like fashion advances based on a technicality. The reward for the Americans is a semifinal match with Spain, the reigning European champions and arguably the best team in the world right now. Basically, we have about as much of a chance at beating Spain at soccer as we’d have at beating Spain in paella-making and afternoon-nap-taking.

Spain fans

Those lovely ladies are rooting for you to scour today’s links:

•  Just days before filming was set to begin, Columbia has pulled funding from Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of Michael Lewis‘ classic book “Moneyball.” VARIETY says the movie was set to star Brad Pitt (as we reported back in October) and ex-players like David Justice and Scott Hatteberg, who were both featured in the original book. Either Joe Morgan is now running Columbia or the studio finally realized that a $50 million film about baseball stats, even with Pitt attached, might not be the wisest investment out there.

• A mislabeled bus carrying a Canadian semi-pro football team in Indiana got into a major accident with an SUV yesterday. The SUV driver died, but everyone on the bus survived, though some had to be hospitalized. The players, who don’t get paid, are members of the London Silverbacks but were rolling in a bus that said their team was the “Mustangs.” ONLINE SPORTS GUYS has the story (and video of the wrecked bus). UPDATE: The AP is now reporting that the driver of the SUV who was killed was Beth Smith, the wife of PGA golfer Chris Smith. Chris was not in the car, but his kids were and they are seriously injured. Chris Smith has spent most of the last three years on the Nationwide Tour, and won his only PGA title in 2002.

• Protests in baseball almost never work, but Joe Girardi thinks he’s got a chance to win one he filed with MLB last night during the Yankees’ game with Florida that involved a botched double-switch by Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.

• We know that the U.S. is moving on to the semis in the Confederations Cup, but one American in the tournament isn’t.

• BITTEN AND BOUND says that Sergio Garcia’s recent inability to win big golf tournaments might have something to do with his heart being broken in March by Greg Norman’s lovely daughter, Morgan Leigh Norman. They offer no theories about Sergio’s inability to win big golf tournaments for the other 28 years of his life.

Morgan Norman and Sergio Garcia

Daisuke Matsuzaka’s trip to the DL might be just about the final nail in the coffin of the WBC, which is just going to crush those people in the Netherlands who couldn’t get enough of it.

• On the list of sports you won’t be seeing at this summer’s X Games: Car surfing.

The fake umpires took their show on the road this weekend, as they traveled from their hometown of Toronto to sit in on the Blue Jays-Nationals series in D.C. They claim to be the first people to ever travel to a different city to fake umpire a game from the front row, which is quite a feather in their cap. I still prefer Sheff’s Chefs.

fake umpires

• Buried at the bottom of this Grizzlies notebook is a statement from owner Michael Heisley that his team is one of the most profitable in the NBA despite a horrible team and worse attendance. It’s mostly attributed to keeping a low payroll. In other words, congratulations Memphis, you’re blessed with the second coming of Donald Sterling!

• Former Wimbledon champ Michael Stich has a not-at-all-offensive idea for how to deal with the women who grunt too loud during major tennis events: shoot them!

• Speaking of Wimbledon, let’s celebrate the start of the great championship with a couple of gratuitous shots of Russian pro Maria Kirilenko (Andrei Kirilenko would normally consider her for this year’s “allowance,” but there’s too much of a chance that they’re related):

Maria Kirilenko


Maria Kirilenko

Who’s going to win the US Open?

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A-Rod Is Sent to Bench for Fatigue (or the Vapors)

Alex Rodriguez, in the midst of a spectacularly bad 2009, has been pulled from the starting lineup for at least two games due to fatigue by Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner (and not Joe Girardi).  Rodriguez finally agreed to the forced sabbatical after a phone call-née-intervention involving Cashman, Steinbrenner, Rodriguez’s doctors, his Aunt Ginny, and Tyra Banks (but not Joe Girardi).

Alex Rodriguez and Kate Hudson

(Now why would Alex Rodriguez, a healthy and extraordinarily fit young man, grow tired easily in Miami? It’s a mystery.)

After each person tearfully told Alex how much he was hurting the Yankees family by playing through the fatigue and how much they loved him, A-Rod finally admitted that he’s “bone tired” and will take a few days off, despite playing this weekend in Miami near family. Sez Alex: “I’ll call my mom and tell her to save the gas money.” Too bad she doesn’t know anyone who can kick in a few bucks. (Like Joe Girardi?)

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Speed Read: Washing Our Hands of the Swine Flu

The discerning reader prefers the news (and most foods) wrapped in bacon and liberally salted with panic. Therefore, we provide your Thursday morning sports-centric swine flu stories to better arm you at the water cooler to pass along the latest gossip mumbled through your faux designer mask:

Swine flu (or pigs fly)

Whew. That’s a lot of abject terror sensible precaution for one morning. Please add any additional sports-related swine flu stories to the comments below so the few remaining survivors have a record of these final days.

Thankfully, our few remaining moments left as a functional species can be well-represented by the following people tellin’ it like it is and keepin’ it real with the kids, assuming your kids take Don Rickles’ routine at face value:

Geno Auriemma

Fire truck at Comerica Park

(Emergency vehicle sized appropriately to emergency)

Finally, a false alarm (possibly a fire alarm) in the eighth inning could not shake the New York Yankees from barely holding onto a 8-6 lead at Comerica Park over the Detroit Tigers last night despite holding a 7-1 advantage late in the contest. As Joe Girardi put it, “In this day and age, that’s a little scary.”

Heck, Joe … in this day and age, what isn’t?

And now a hail of bullet points caused by two heroin-slingin’ senior citizen sisters (though you can’t fault them for looking for a new retirement plan these days) …

What’s your favorite pandemic?

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Miami Mayor Wants Canseco Off the Street (Signs)

• Word on the street is that Miami-Dade’s commissioner wants to cut Jose Canseco’s name from his city’s fair thoroughfares.

Jose Canseco tongue street

• The Yankees’ post-season chances may be kaput, but Joe Girardi’s managerial career in the Bronx supposedly isn’t.

• Despite a bum knee, Tom Brady still believes his Pats will perform well. Not that it matters, since he’ll be too busy spending more time with Gisele.

• And the hitter of Major League Baseball’s 250,00th home run is - Gary Sheffield. Maybe.

• The Washington-BYU late-game controversy still lives on, thanks to Terry Bowden chiming in with his take.

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Lil’ Steinbrenner Says Girardi’s Comin’ Back in ‘09

Alex Rodriguez may have given up on the season*, but Lil’ Hank Steinbrenner has faith that the guys who put the Yankees in their current predicament will also turn help things around next year.

Joe Giradi

Obviously, Hank’s old man, George, has a lot to do with New York’s situation, but since he’s family — and more importantly, the reason his son has a job — the fingers are pointing in the general direction of GM Brian Cashman and first-year manager Joe Girardi. But according to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, nobody’s getting canned. Not yet, anyway.

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Girardi Tossed After Tirade - We’ve Seen Better

Apparently trying to stoke some fire into the Yankees’ extinguished season, Joe Girardi got a little argumentative with the umpire Thursday night - and got himself a little thrown out.

Let’s go to the tape:

Our analysis? We’ve seen better baseball blow-ups. Observe:

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Another Yankees Loss; A-Rod Hits, Jeter Gets Hit

Tuesday evening held a lot of promise for the New York Yankees. A-Rod was back in the lineup, Mike Mussina was on the mound, and Joe Girardi has just preached about the Yanks restarting with a clean slate.

Derek Jeter hurt


Well, Moose gave up 7 runs and didn’t even finish the first inning before getting pulled. Derek Jeter left the game after getting hit in the hand by a pitch. And a retaliatory throw by LaTroy Hawkins almost resulted in a bench clearing brawl. All this, and a 12-2 loss to the Orioles, too.

So much for promise. Read more…

Blog-A-Rhythm: Jason Taylor Keeps On Dancing

Jason Taylor is still alive on “Dancing With The Stars” - and he’s using ESPN THE MAGAZINE to tell you how he’s doing.

Jason Taylor Dancing With The Stars

(Taylor likes what he sees in dance partner Edyta Sliwinska)

• What to do when your team’s not in the NBA playoffs? Well, COLLEGE ON THE RECORD catches Greg Oden partyting down at Penn State.

• Redskins TE Chris Cooley reminisces to SHUTDOWN CORNER about how his own draft day went.

• DEADSPIN cuts to the chase, as Terrell Owens has been cropped out of an incriminating photo.

• PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that the NFL has reached a deal with videophile Matt Walsh.

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