I Can Now Presume Dr. Watson Makes House Calls

Decorated SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and KANSAS CITY STAR columnist and noted nice guy Joe Posnanski knows Tom Watson as well as any journo, so I perked up today when I saw his take on Watson’s double-barreled criticism of Tiger Woods.

Tom Watson Tiger Woods

In the Golf.com piece, Posnanski nods to Watson’s scolding of Woods, while adding an anecdote about Watson that contributes to what appears to reveal the golfer’s god complex.

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Speed Read: Oregon RB Loses Game, Then Mind

Last night’s season-opening college football doubleheader on ESPN was a nightmare for fans everywhere. It started off with South Carolina’s dreadful 7-3 win over N.C. State, and wrapped up with a much-hyped matchup between Boise State and Oregon that quickly turned into a one-sided snoozefest. Things couldn’t have been more embarrassing for the Ducks, who didn’t even manage to get a first down until the 7:07 mark of the third quarter. Oh, wait, I guess it could get worse:

LeGarrette Blount punch

Yup, that’s Oregon running back/loose cannon LeGarrette Blount, saving the evening, entertainment-wise, by lighting up Boise State’s Byron Hout with a right cross as the teams left the field after Boise State’s 19-8 win that wasn’t really anywhere near that close. Blount, you see, had promised to give the Broncos an “ass whuppin’” in the weeks leading up to the game, and since he didn’t really deliver that while the clock was running (he had 8 carries for -5 yards) I guess he figured he might as well get a shot in afterward.

There have been some stunning falls from grace over the years, but 18 hours ago I was hearing HEISMAN PUNDIT touting Blount as a darkhorse Heisman candidate on the Dan Patrick Show. Even Boise’s paper was talking him up. Now, not only did Blount obliterate any of that talk with his game performance last night, but it appears as if he may have completely ruined his college career by losing his mind afterward. And, if you think the punch was bad, things got even uglier a few moments later. Video after the jump.

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I Can Haz Last Place In American League Central?

They say that animals can sense an impending natural disaster — dogs, for instance, will detect earthquakes and run for cover minutes before they hit. So it’s no wonder that this kitty, finding itself at a Kansas City Royals game, panicked and sprinted across the field in confusion and terror.

Royals Fail Cat

While this encounter doesn’t quite measure up to the Cubs’ legendary “Black Cat Curse” of Sept., 1969, it is amusing nonetheless. And just as damaging in the long run. Due perhaps to two separate Fail Cats, neither the ‘69 Cubs nor the ‘09 Royals got/will get to the playoffs. Read more…

Jose Guillen Thinks Jose Guillen Completely Sucks

Rare is the athlete who offers candid analysis of his performance when things aren’t going well. This is a bit of a surprise, considering the trenches that doubt can carve through an athlete’s psyche, and perhaps this has an unintended consequence. If athletes more freely acknowledged disappointment and failure, would fans be so quick to rush to negativity? Or is the mere acknowledgment of subpar performance so tantamount to its acceptance that it’s, well, not acceptable?

Jose Guillen
(He even sucks at Dizzy Bat. Bat goes on the ground, Jose! And are you even drinking?!”)

But we digress; we’re five steps ahead in a two-step conversation. Let’s get back to the topic at hand: Jose Guillen, yet another disastrous free agent signing by the Kansas City Royals. He’s making $36 million over three years, a definite curiosity considering his tepid-at-best production. Jose, tell us, how’s your year going?

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KC Bans Writer For Thoughtful, Accurate Analysis

Rag on the players all you want. Call for the head of a manager; it’s practically America’s second pastime. But dare to suggest that a team’s medical staff isn’t up to par? Now you’ve gone too far.

Royals Injury

(Pic semi-related)

That’s the message sent by the Royals, who have banned one of their most loyal fans and followers, after he wrote a blog post criticizing Kansas City’s head athletic trainer. Oh, and this isn’t your typical blogger writing from his parents’ dimly lit basement. He co-founded Baseball Prospectus. But then, as their win-loss record will tell you, the Royals aren’t much for numbers.

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Joe Posnanski Goes Off On Harold Reynolds Rant

Sportswriter Joe Posnanski is generally recognized as one of the nicest guys in the business. While many sportswriters (and, truth be told, bloggers) have made a name for themselves being shouty and contrarian about everything sports has to offer, Posnanski has more often than not celebrated sports, the personalities playing them, and reminded us why we love the games in the first place.

Harold Reynolds

So it was a little surprising, and a lot funny, to read Posnanski’s latest “JOEBLOG” post in which he goes all FIRE JOE MORGAN (RIP) on genial MLB analyst Harold Reynolds. Reynolds, in a blog post at MLB.com, pulled the ol’ statistics-hating schtick that ex-athletes generally do, and it damn near made poor JoePo’s head explode.

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Speed Read: ‘Twas A Bad Day To Be A Good Team

Boston, Cleveland and Orlando were a combined 82-17 headed into yesterday. The North Carolina Tar Heels and the White Gritty Hearty Tyler Hansbroughs, a subset of UNC, were a combined 13-0. And they all lost to the Knicks, Wizards, Raptors, and Boston College. A matching game might be fun, but sadly all winners and losers were listed respectively.

C's, Magic, Cavs, UNC lose

The C’s, Magic and Heels losses were all about the same; great teams had OK days and their opponents rose to the occasion. The Cavaliers game, though, ended in much controversy. Apparently traveling is a rule in the NBA, and an astute referee discovered this deep within the rulebook and called out LeBron James on this very infraction. Were the traveling not ratified and therefore whistled, James’ basket would have counted and tied the game. Perhaps a foul call could’ve made it a three-point play. But it appears ‘Bron got enough calls his way over the years against the Wizards. Call it magi-karma.

Fiesta Bowl parade float

I wish I could tell you what the heck this thing is, but it was a float in the Fiesta Bowl Parade this weekend. (Ohbytheway, they do a parade for the Fiesta Bowl. D’ya know that?) Ohio State could probably tell us what that balloon name is — for now we’ll christen it Tortilla Flotilla — but for now we’ll just stare and wonder how the heck Ohio State will hang with Texas, considering the Buckeyes amassed a total of nine points against both Rose Bowl combatants. If there’s hope, it’s in opposing coach Mack Brown’s analysis of how the game will unfold:

“If the teams are even, the team that wants to be there the most and has the edge and is more motivated usually wins.”

Let’s see. They got pulverized by two SEC teams in two consecutive championships. They got nailed by USC and Penn State in back-to-back manhandlings. Todd Boeckman is getting the sentimental senior decision to see time in the game, despite Terrelle Pryor’s messianic performances throughout the year. Yep. I can’t imagine which team’s more motivated.

ESPN News vs. Rumor

Just so I have this all straightened out, ESPN considers the above stories “news.” They also notate news as hinging on “sources,” which is information they receive that they cannot divulge. They are completely accurate and news-making. They also like to share “rumors,” which — if you click through — are stories that aren’t reported by ESPN, and since they hinge on someone else’s veracity, cannot be trusted as “sports news.” Jon Heyman said it? Watch out, loyal reader! You could get sourceroll’d!

Or “slapped silly” by Russian hockey players:

  • GUNAXIN isn’t very impressed with the Capitals’ Alexander Semin’s fighting technique. Nor are the broadcasters on the Rangers side: “I’m gonna slap you silly!”
  • You can read Joe Posnanski for his meandering thoughts on the baseball Hall of Fame, or on his tangential rant about Barry Manilow covering lame ’80s songs. The decision … is yours.
  • I saw this on Saturday, but so did DETROIT FREE PRESS’s Drew Sharp also saw Matt Millen on TV taking responsibility for the Lions’ miserable failures, making him pretty much the last guy to do so. Oh, he said it was his fault. I guess we’re all even. Play ball!

    Matt Millen back on TV

  • THE OREGONIAN drank enough coffee to last through Portland State’s win over Northern Arizona. It took four overtimes. Oh, they’ll sleep tonight!
  • Sorry to harp on this further, but this Jay Mariotti to AOL thing is still a little too surreal. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE talked with him about the move. From a man who said the future of sports journalism “sadly is not in newspapers”is writing for … AOL. Have I showed you the mousetrap-powered car I made in high school? Wanna know what I made the wheels out of?
  • Want to watch Tarvaris Jackson get flattened over and over again by Chris Clemons in the middle of his interception-TD? Go over to THE 700 LEVEL and knock yourself out.
  • The LONDON TIMES has a list of 2009’s most anticipated movies, and sure enough, no sports flicks crack the half-century group. No Major League 4: Julio Franco’s Last Stand?
  • Fun with hot stove stats! FIRE JIM BOWDEN looks at intentional walks and which managers incorrectly make the call to purposely have the pitcher throw four balls
  • And finally, life imitates Norm McDonald’s Dirty Work after a robbery suspect was apprehended, thanks to the trail of popcorn leading from the store to the perp’s living room. No word if Isiah Thomas is an abettor.

Which NFL Divisional Game winner will most likely get the Bill Richardson (D-NM) Early Exit Award and get beat next weekend?

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Speed Read: LaBelle Spell Can’t Quell Philadelphia

Philadelphia just can’t catch a break. First Game 3 was pushed back because of little black rain clouds and very very frightening thunderbolts of lightning, and the conclusion wasn’t until well after 2 a.m. EST. Sunday night’s Game 4, meanwhile, was delayed by Patti LaBelle’s 2-minute-28-second rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Patti LaBelle's national anthem

While jazz legend “Bleeding Gums” Murphy might be a fan of such renditions, ALLENTOWN MORNING CALL sports editor Keith Groller was soon pining for the Backstreet Boys’ version. Some did appreciate the total change in melody, like the HARTFORD COURANT’s Roger Catlin, remarking that it thrilled and soared with the best of them.” Whatever final ruling comes from Simon, Paula and Randy, LaBelle does seem to have a bit of baseball foresight in her soul:

“I’m going to feel like a queen when it’s over … The fans are great. And I’m going to be more proud tonight, when they win 14-0.”

Maybe not 14-zip, but how does 10-2 sound?

Joe Blanton home run World Series Game 4

The Phillies are now in the driver’s seat while the Rays are struggling to breathe in the trunk after Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard (twice), and Joe Blanton — the pitcher!? — successfully swung for the fences and cured their RISPitoid arthritis in the same game. But while Howard might have sandwiched in five RBIs, the more impressive feat is Blanton’s unlikely solo swing, which was the first World Series home run by a pitcher since ‘74. So congratulations, Ken Holtzman. You’re no longer languishing on a Trivial Pursuit card!

Through four games, Philly’s up 3-1, so a Game 5 win tonight will cement the trophy with all the flags in the glass case at the CBP. As for Tampa, well, their 3-4 tandem of Carlos Peña and Evan Longoria are totally and thoroughly hitless in the Series. That might have somethin’ to do with the two game deficit.

And contrary to rumors circulating around your breakfast nook, it wasn’t just a baseball day yesterday.

Why bring in the middle man? Have a coffee, Peter King. NBC’s Bob Costas chatted directly with area football franchise owner Jerry Jones for over 11 (!) minutes about the State of the Dallas Cowboys — everything from Romo’s pinky to Pac-adam’s suspension to the new stadium and back.The best part might be at the tail end of the fireside chat:

Costas: You don’t mind it, you like it a little bit that sometimes there’s a motley collection of characters on your team and maybe there are some character issues and some othe things that go beyond the field that’s kind of part for the course in Dallas, isn’t it?

Jones: Well I’m gonna take exception with the “motley” aspect of your description, that’s not the case, but what I will agree to is that just because you got a football helmet on and a football uniform doesn’t mean there aren’t all kinds of personalities that can be very successful, and yes I have gotten to be a part of teams that have had different characters wearing that star. but they come together for a common reason and that is for the team to win the championship. Win. Win.

I repeat, they’re not motley. So, the tamest possible description of the Cowboys’ raucous character pool, and Jones isn’t cool with it. From now on, they’ll the Playmakers. (So which one’s the closet homosexual?)

Also, he said he won’t fire Coach Phillips this year. Confidence!

Jim Zorn mad at reporter

If you don’t check out what else is happening, I can neither confirm nor deny if an NFL coach will be all up in your spice:

  • DC SPORTS BOG chronicles Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn getting antsy with a reporter. After a win. (Caveat: against the Lions.) I can tell by the sullen look on your face that you want to watch the video.
  • I’ll see your Zorn, and the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE will raise you a Mike Singletary rant. Look at the interim coach bring the heart hammer down on tight end Vernon Davis:

  • THE SPORTS HERNIA notices that Jimmy Rollins took a page out of the Matt Stairs book of wisdom and really got his ass hammered by a guy during Game 4. No greater feeling. Especially when you’re called safe.
  • Who says there was no Sunday Night Football? It just happened to be in the collegiate level. Undefeated Tulsa crushed UCF 49-19 and is still just the fourth best non-BCS school in the most recent rankings, clocking in at No. 18. The other three? Utah (No. 10), Boise State (No. 11), and the Class Of The MAC, Ball State (No. 16).
  • But enough about the stupid non-power conference teams. Doody on them! It’s all about schools in Texas and Oklahoma. We already mentioned Tulsa, but Texas (No. 1), Oklahoma (No. 4), Texas Tech (No. 7), Oklahoma State (No. 9), and TCU (No. 13) give the superstate of Texlahoma five teams in the top 15. This is proof the region hasn’t had a drought in a while. This week’s big matchup, as there always seems to be two of those teams locking horns every week: Texas vs. Texas Tech.
  • It’s media day for North Carolina basketball. But I hope you weren’t looking forward to seeing Tyler Hansbrough, because he didn’t show up, the WILMINGTON STAR-NEWS reports. Begin the nervous conspiracies … now.
  • “What ifs” are so much fun. Joe Posnanski shares with America a column that would have run had Jamie Moyer been the story of Game 3. For this very reason, now I wish Tampa Bay had never come back to tie the game.
  • BLOGCRITICS SPORTS’ Sal Marinello dispels any myths that the players reportedly testing positive for diuretics used them as a weight loss solution. A Wheel of Fortune-type hint: _t_r_ids.
  • The ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION was front and center at the Pep Boys Auto 500 where Carl Edwards flipped to victory, but Jimmie Johnson is cartwheeling over his second place finish, adding to his points lead.
  • And the BLEACHER REPORT organizes the NBA’s ten best trios of all time. Marbury-Randolph-Francis is conspicuously absent.

Which team will be the first to win this year?

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Brog: Favre’s Pilot Reveals Brett Has Jets Regret

Goodness knows I’m breathless in anticipation of another angle on Brett Favre’s descent into AFC anonymity, so I present crack coverage from the WATERTOWN (WI) DAILY TIMES.

Brett Favre Packers Flag Half Mast

Today, Daily Times reporter Adam Tobias went to really the only source that matters when it comes to finding out the genuine reax of Team Favre to the Jets deal: Favre’s pilot.

Grant Goetsch skippers Favre’s well-chronicled private plane, and confirmed what the rest of the world outside of Oyster Bay knows: “He knew there was a bidding, he knew that they (Packers) had a higher offer from the Jets and he knew that the Packers wanted him to go to the Jets. He didn’t want to really go to the Jets.

He and his agent were continually working I’m sure all night talking on and off with the different teams. He was aware of both (teams), but the comment was made that he wasn’t as interested in the Jets.

Wasn’t as interested in the Jets? Who said millionaire ballplayers aren’t like Everyman? Favre definitely falls into the majority of the non-masochistic, male population with that “comment.

Here’s the wife of a ballplayer you just might know:

Barry's Bombs

Said ballplayer revealed after the jump.

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