2:45 PM U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Christopher Campbell, who has been stationed in Iraq, made a surprise visit to see his family during a timeout at Thursday's Arizona vs. Southern basketball game in Tucson.
2:30 PM Former Mississippi State athletic director Wade Walker, who defied a state law & allowed the Bulldogs to play an integrated Loyola-Chicago basketball team in 1963, died Thursday at the age of 90.
Ask not what your country can do for you, Curt Schilling says. Ask what you can do for your country. And that something is to Vote For Schilling, if you live in Massachusetts, that is. Our Curt has expressed interest in running for the seat held for 40 years by the late Sen.Ted Kennedy.
Yes when I think of the Kennedy legacy, the photo above immediately comes to mind. In fact, make that puppy giant-size and slap it on a few billboards around the state, and Schilling could be the first person ever to get zero votes. Sorry to ruin this thing before it gets started, Curt.
It’s hard to determine what’s more exciting; Manny Ramirez at the plate, or in the outfield. Fans at Citi Field actually cheered him on Wednesday, but not for his leadoff homer in the ninth. Manny got a standing O when he misplayed Daniel Murphy’s one-out liner into a double in the first — now is not the time to moonwalk, Manny — blah blah blah, Mets win 5-4.
Despite a rather leaky outing by Oliver Perez, who is finally back after a two-month vacation on the DL, and an equally unsettling-yet-effective closing stint from K-Rod, the Mets ended a four-game losing streak and sent Alyssa Milano into a deep, 24-hour depression. But what caught my eye was the absolutely sick play turned in by Murphy, seen in all its YouTube goodness below, on Mark Loretta’s grounder to first. The ball hits the bag, pops into the air, and Murphy fields it with his bare hand and in one motion, flips it behind his back to reliever Bobby Parnell covering. Wizard Cat approves.
And here comes Joe Torre out to argue. You know it’s a great play when you get a 68-year-old man to run all the way to the first-base line from the visitor’s dugout to find out just what the hell happened. Get this man a Hoveround Mobility Scooter.
And speaking of one sparkling glove, did anyone catch Ken Griffey Jr.’s tribute to Michael Jackson on Tuesday? A bit bizarre, but much better than a rambling speech at the Staples Center, Griffey donned one white glove for his first at-bat against the Orioles. Then he returned to his usual two-black-glove ensemble for the rest of the game. He also used “Billie Jean” as his walk-up music. We won’t discuss the sequined jock. Thanks to the madcap merrymakers at UniwatchBlog.
It’s never the crime, it’s always the coverup. Just ask LeBron James, whose panicky reaction to getting dunked on by a college player — which we mentioned Wednesday — is quickly growing to mythic proportions. By now you’ve heard that Xavier sophomore Jordan Crawford dunked over James during a pickup game at LeBron’s Skill Academy in Akron on Monday, a move that was filmed by various videographers. But James immediately had a Nike rep confiscate the tapes, which is causing far more of a sensation than ever would have happened if he had just laughed it off. Just take a look here, here, here and here, for starters.
Attention passengers: Our flight will be delayed on account of turtles. In the meantime, please enjoy these links.
These things tend to happen in threes … Andruw Jones feasted on delicious Angels pitching Wednesday, blasting three homers in his first three at-bats during the Rangers’ 8-1 victory in Anaheim. That meant he got to spend the rest of the game (two more at-bats) trying to become the first player in six years to hit four homers in a game. He popped up and struck out.
In non-dunking NBA news, the Mavericks have reached a trade agreement with the Raptors to acquire Shawn Marion, according to league sources, in a deal that also involved the Grizzlies and the Magic. From YAHOO SPORTS: The Mavericks and Raptors recruited the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies to help facilitate the deal. The Raptors will get Hedo Turkoglu in a sign-and-trade deal with the Magic rather than signing him outright. They also will receive forwards Devean George and Antoine Wright from the Mavericks.Marion will receive a five-year, $40 million contract from the Mavericks. Jerry Stackhouse will go to the Grizzlies, who will waive him. Only $2 million of Stackhouse’s $7 million contract for next season is guaranteed. The Grizzlies will receive cash, likely $3 million, to participate in the trade. Toronto, which gets to keep its midlevel salary-cap exception, sends a trade exception to Orlando. The Mavericks also will receive forward Kris Humphries from the Raptors. Got all that?
Meanwhile, the Celtics felt the need for Sheed, bringing in Rasheed Wallace on Wednesday to patrol the low post and cast up occasional longe-range bombs to thrill the children. Terms were not released. The four-time All-Star figures to back up Kevin Garnett and power forward, among other things.
And now, Official Major League Baseball rules as explained by Miss South Carolina. Today: The infield fly rule.
rule 2.00 (definition of terms)
“I personally believe an INFIELD FLY, uh, is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt, such as) which can be caught by most U.S. Americans with ordinary effort, when first and second, or, uh, first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. Like, such as, the pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who doesn’t have maps. Any infielder everywhere, such as the Iraq, should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countrieswhen it seems apparent that a batted ball will be caught in the infield with less than two out. Anyone inour nation who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for, uh, the purpose of this rule, such as.Runners may advance at their own risk, so we will be able to build up our future, for our [unintelligible].
John McCain has been using Twitter to give his opinions on the MLB All-Star voting, specifically to hype the Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds. Says Conan O’Brien: “Apparently, no one has had the heart to tell McCain that he’s been Twittering with his garage door opener.”
If you love it, set it free … San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsomnow seems resigned to the notion that the 49ers will be moving to Santa Clara; a sharp turnaround from his recent, previous stance (that of clinging to the team’s ankles, begging them to stay). Saying that he wants to “avoid being used as leverage” in the team’s effort to negotiate a new stadium in the South Bay, Newsom can now turn his efforts to more important issues: growing apricots.
Michael Phelps — remember him? — won both the 200 butterfly and the 200 free on Wednesday at the U.S. national championships in Indianapolis, but both were short of his best times in the events. Still, the victories qualified him for a trip to Rome for the world championships later this month. Aaron Peirsol set a world record in the 100-meter backstroke in 51.94 seconds, reclaiming the world mark he’s held for all but one week since the 2004 Olympics.
It’s hard to believe that Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world without cardboard tubes. Now the Cardboard Tube Fighting League, once thought to be primarily a west coast phenomenon, is reaching across the country; a Cardboard Tube Fighting League Tournament will be held on Sunday in Brooklyn. Participants are encouraged to create cardboard costumes and armor, but no outside tubes allowed. You can take our lives, but you’ll never take our CARDBOARD!
How do you pick up a win without throwing a pitch? Alan Embree did it on Tuesday for the Rockies, who beat the Nationals 5-4. Embree came in with two outs in the eighth and promptly picked off Austin Kearns at first, ending the inning, and his evening.
With his 2-for-4 performance against San Jose on Wednesday, Jamie McOwen’shitting streak has reached 45 games — Minor League Baseball’s longest streak since Waco’s Roman Mejias hit in 55 straight games in 1954. McOwen has a hit in every game since May 10 for High Desert, Seattle’s Class A California League affiliate.
Brooks can take this job and shove it. I don’t need to be a blogger anymore, because I’ve found my true calling in life. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the North American Air Sex Championships.
Picture air guitar, but with less strumming and more bumming. Less twanging and more banging. Less plucking, and you get the picture. And just like real sex, it has to be done in under two minutes. But that’s plenty of time to get ridiculously creative.
The meltdown of the American newspaper industry is in full effect. The past six weeks have seen the closures of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News, marking two of the largest newspaper closures in recent memory. And yesterday came news that might be a sign of disaster for one of the nation’s leading newspapers: the SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES reports that roughly 120 employees of the San Francisco Chronicle have accepted voluntary buyouts as the paper struggles to avoid sale or shutdown.
According to a list from the SAN FRANCISCO PENINSULA PRESS CLUB, those leaving the paper include NFL writer Nancy Gay, college sports writer Jake Curtis, deputy sports editor Larry Yant and a host of other writers, editors and photographers. This should be taken as a giant red flag if these people are getting out now, especially someone as respected as Gay; trust me, people just don’t leave NFL reporting positions at major newspapers unless something is going terribly, horribly wrong.
But even the voluntary exits might not be enough - parent company Hearst Corporation (which also owns the now-online only Post-Intelligencer) has said that it needed to cut “at least” 150 jobs to avoid a shutdown or sale, with the paper currently bleeding money at a rate of $1 million a week. And with the chances of a corporation wanting to buy a failing newspaper next to zero in this climate, it seems as though the only two options are to slash the staff to ribbons or close shop.
As bad as the first option sounds, the alternative is even more daunting. Especially when you consider that the San Jose Mercury News recently announced that it was essentially abandoning the San Francisco market by stopping all weekday deliveries to the city. Which leaves a very real possibility that the nation’s 12th-largest metropolitan area could be without a major daily newspaper (the San Francisco Examiner, currently having been reduced to a free handout resembling The Pennysaver, doesn’t count).
It seems like Mark Cuban might be prescient when he blogged about the slow death of the newspaper sports section; let’s hope that his idea of teams and leagues banding together to provide beat reporters to cover the same teams and leagues doesn’t pan out, but if the San Francisco Chronicle can fold, is any idea that outlandish?
And don’t think that it will just stop with the Chronicle: the paper was only sixth in TIME’s recent list of “The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America”. Ahead of it on the list are papers such as the Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Miami Herald. That’s a lot of major sports teams that are suddenly going to be underserviced by local media, if at all.
Also possibly endangered: the continued success of the USC men’s basketball program. After making the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season for the first time in school history, the Trojans might be going back to square one as ESPN has word that an Arizona radio station is reporting that Tim Floydhas agreed to become the Arizona Wildcats’ new head coach, with an announcement as early as today.
Which is all very interesting, since Floyd rejected an overture by LSU last year, saying that USC was “his last job.” Then there’s the matter of the “impassioned speech” he gave at the team banquet Wednesday night, imploring players such as Taj Gibson and DeMar DeRozan to not jump to the NBA and come back next season to help the Trojans make a run at a national title. And then he got on a plane the next morning to interview for the Arizona job. That’s venturing into Bobby Petrino level of sleaziness.
Finally, a busy night of World Cup soccer qualifying has also brought us two people to add to the endangered list. The first is Argentine legend Diego Maradona, whose own near-death experiences with drugs and weight made him frequently endangered in the past. But this time, it’s not his life that’s in danger but his managing career, after his Argentina squad was demolished 6-1 by lowly Bolivia.
How embarrassing is this? It’s the first time they’ve given up six goals in a game since the World Cup…in 1958. Bolivia is 50 places behind Argentina in the FIFA world rankings, and their hat trick hero was Joaquin Botero, who plays for a second-division team in Mexico. This is Chaminade beating Virginia type stuff, where you glance at the box score over and over to make sure you didn’t read it wrong, before convincing yourself it’s just a typo.
And speaking of Mexico…if I were embattled manager Sven-Goren Eriksson, I wouldn’t even bother making the team flight back from Honduras, where his team suffered a humiliating 3-1 defeat, unless he wants his severed head to be placed on a pike outside of Atzeca Stadium as a warning to future managers.
The win allowed Honduras to leapfrog Mexico into the third and final guaranteed CONCACAF berth in the 2010 World Cup. Although there’s a lot of games left in both North & Central American and South American qualifying, there’s a chance that Argentina and Mexico could wind up facing each other in a two-game playoff, with the winner getting a World Cup spot and the loser staying home.
Other sports stories you might have missed last night as you were going to the hospital ER in Texas again…and again…and again…
It’s not just American athletes who get into trouble at strip bars late at night: THE MIRROR has word that Sunderland and French international striker Djibril Cissé has been arrested after allegedly grabbing a woman by the throat at a late-night strip club. You might remember him for having the distinction of suffering horrific, Theisman-like leg breaks not once but twice in his career, which you can watch here and here. (Warning: not for the faint of heart.)
Give Sen. John McCain credit for doing something right: the DALLAS MORNING-NEWS says that the former Presidential candidate is lobbying for a posthumous pardon of old-timey boxing champ Jack Johnson for trumped up, racially-biased charges. It still won’t make me forget that McCain voted against Martin Luther King Day, but it’s a start.
A word of warning: don’t take a quick paycheck to record canned introductions to videos for a company you know nothing about. Greg Gumbel failed to heed this advice, and he wound up as the spokesperson for a time-share, which ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says has lead to a lawsuit. Here’s one video in question:
SI.COM says that the Hockey Hall of Fame has changed its rules, opening the door for the first female player to be voted in. Someone in Canada, Don Cherry is burning his plaid Depends adult diapers in protest.
Hey look, another lacrosse team has been forced to suspend their season because of alleged misconduct. But the story of the Curry College team is far different than Duke, according to the BOSTON HERALD. Team members allegedly hazed new players at a party, although even the freshmen “victims” seem to think it was no big deal. Remind me to bring a lawyer if I ever go to a college lacrosse party.
WSLS-TV says that Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer prepared for the upcoming season by doing some NASCAR racing. He didn’t do so hot, but his goiter was signed to a developmental deal with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Somehow former Cleveland Browns QB Bernie Kosar is being dragged into the Rod Blagojevich mess. RUMORS AND RANTS reports that Kosar was on some sort of fundraising “hit list” put together by the then-Illinois Governor with the Steve Garvey haircut just before he was arrested.
You couldn’t tell it by looking at her, but Annie Grossmann is a tough kid. She’s only 5′2 and weighs 120 pounds, but that never stopped her from playing on the boys hockey team in high school back in Alaska. Annie is now in Minnesota, where she plays hockey at Augsberg College in Minneapolis. She’s also a Republican which apparently doesn’t sit well with a lot of her fellow students at the school.
Last Tuesday night Annie joined a group of her friends to watch the election results and cheer on John McCain and her fellow Alaskan Sarah Palin. After it became obvious that Barack Obama was going to win the election, and after dealing with the taunts of Obama supporters around her, she decided to head back to her dorm room. Unfortunately for Annie, she still had her McCain/Palin pin on her shirt.
How ironic is it that the giant nail in the coffin of John McCain’s Presidential hopes last night came when the networks declared Ohio for Barack Obama. After all, McCain appeared to run his campaign like Jim Tressel cluelessly bumbling his way through coaching Ohio State to another BCS Title Game meltdown. In this analogy, Obama really was LSU or Florida: faster, hungrier and ready to deliver a hellacious beatdown.
(Does this make Sarah Palin the Maurice Clarett of the ticket - initially exciting but eventually a total disaster? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.)
But while the Maverick of the Senate might have suffered an historic thumping on Tuesday night, the Mavericks of Dallas were taking a venerable but aging institution out to the woodshed, beating the Spurs 98-81 to drop San Antonio to 0-3 for the first time in the team’s NBA history. They can’t possibly be missing Manu Ginobli this much, could they?
And what about Matt Lindland, the MMA fighter who was the Republician candidate for a State House seat? Unfortunately for him, he was about as competitive as Kimbo Slice, as he fell to a double digit defeat at the hands of his Democratic opponent. I would have said that having a campaign manager named Tootie Smith was a bad sign, but then again…Scooter Libby.
On to the other, slightly less significant news:
Don’t tase him, bro! The TRI-CITY HERALD says that an Arena Football player was zapped by airport security after busting through a window at the terminal and getting on the tarmac trying to get to his flight. That’s called dedication.
The CHICAGO TRIBUNE breaks down the news that Illinois WR Jeff Cumberlandis going to play this week despite breaking teammate Mikel LeShoure’s jaw in a fight last Saturday night.
Do they have any decent sushi places in Atlanta? The ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION notes that the Braves have made an offer to 22-year-old Japanese pitching phenom Junichi Tazawa.
How far has the Tennesee football program fallen? The WINSTON SALEM JOURAL says that David Cutcliffe would rather stay at Duke than consider taking the Vols’ head coaching job.
The MOSCOW-PULLMAN DAILY NEWS reports that three Idaho football players have been suspended after being charged with battery after a fight at a house party this weekend. What do you expect from the players when you call the team the “Vandals?”
According to the LOS ANGELES TIMES, Oaks Christian High School - the school that has the sons of Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Will Smith - might be in trouble for advertising its athletic department on local TV. The ads were OK, but still better than Hancock.
BYU quarterback Max Hall tells the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE that he’ll be missing Thursday night’s huge Mountain West Conference game between Utah and TCU because he can’t miss The Office. And I thought Dwight Schrute was Amish and not Mormon.
If you think the vast majority of high profile athletes are supporting Barack Obama, you haven’t been talking to their agents.
(Barack Obama: Bears Packers Fan!)
From on-the-record media reports leading up to the election, I don’t recall too many athletes who didn’t say they supported Barack Obama. But off the record, there are apparently plenty of pro athletes who are voting McCain in order to protect their exorbitant salaries from an Obama tax hike.
NFL Agent Gary Wichard to the PALM BEACH POST: “They all talked to me: ‘Man, we’re going to get killed with Obama’s tax increase.‘”
The fact that most McCain supporters on at least one NFL team are taking cover from the media was all but confirmed by a Miami Dolphin. Read more…
Actually, they didn’t give their stance on “222s,” although that would have been more enlightening than what we got out of each candidate. I saw Bob Costas interview President George W. Bush during the Olympics, and Chris Berman is no Bob Costas.
Here’s what each candidate would change about sports: McCain would get tough on steroids, while Obama would put a playoff in place for college football. That McCain chose a topic six months past relevancy while Obama went for the classic suck-up that all sports fans care about shows why the polls stand where they do.
Judge for yourself. First, Sen. Obama:
…and Sen. McCain:
And, oh yeah, there was a football game last night! And to draw a Presidential Election analogy, the Redskins played Walter Mondale to the Steelers’ Ronald Reagan (anyone under 30 should look it up on Wikipedia), as Pittsburgh rolled to a 23-6 victory. The only downside for Pittsburgh? Ben Roethlisberger left at halftime with a bum shoulder.
How come Pittsburgh has someone like Byron Leftwich as their back-up QB, but the Cowboys’ choices post-Tony Romo resemble the Republican ticket: ancient (Brad Johnson) and ineptly overmatched (Brooks Bollinger)?
Here’s what else happened last night for you to read before you get out and vote because it’s your civic duty as Americans and your fathers died for this right and if you don’t vote you are spitting in the graves of dead soldiers from World War I and the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln will haunt you until your death (maybe I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but you really should vote):
Break out the hair gel and popped collars, and get ready to cover your junk: the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER says the Brady Quinn era for the Browns will officially begin on Thursday, as the strapping young man gets the nod ahead of Derek “I Suck” Anderson for Cleveland’s game against Denver.
UFC middleweight Chris Leben might want to consider changing his nickname from “The Crippler” to “The Juicer” after MMA JUNKIE reports that he has been suspended for nine months after testing positive for steroids. John McCain would put Leben over his knee and give him a firm paddling if he’s elected President.
The BOSTON GLOBE brings news that Theo Epstein has signed a new contract with the Red Sox to stay on as GM. Epstein held out until the team promised to pick up all gorilla suit-related dry cleaning bills.
Meanwhile, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS has news that Greg’s brother Mike Maddux has been named pitching coach for the Texas Rangers, as he can teach them everything he learned about being a throughly mediocre-to-average pitcher (which would be a drastic improvement for the Rangers).
The AP notes that Ken Mink, the 73-year-old college basketball player at Roane State Community College, scored two points last night in his team’s 93-42 win over the King’s College JV team. Maybe John McCain will have something to look forward to post-election after all…
Iowa can’t seem to stop getting their football players arrested, as the CEDAR RAPIDS GAZETTE has word that Hawkeyes DB Harold Dalton has pleaded guilty to three booze-related charges after a fight at a bar on Sunday. That’s three arrests this season for Iowa players, if you’re keeping track.
With this wonderful country of ours set to choose its next President tomorrow, as you’d expect, there are a lot of political rallies going on from sea to shining sea. John McCain appeared on Saturday Night Live this weekend in a last ditch effort to sway some votes amongst the younger crowd, and tonight both candidates will appear on Monday Night Football, subjecting themselves to Chris Berman for a chance at the Presidency (in case you weren’t already aware you have to sell your soul to win an election).
Still, it’s not just the candidates who are out there working for votes. In College Station a group of students at Texas A&M called the Young Conservatives of Texas organized a little get together on Friday. Basically the entire thing was nothing but a way to slam Barack Obama and other Democrats instead of, you know, telling people why they should vote for McCain. Part of the festivities included throwing eggs at a picture of Obama, but one A&M student athlete wouldn’t have any of it.