Speed Read: Punch McLean Is Tougher Than You

Remember when M. Night Shyamalan made good movies? And I’m not talking about the one with the kid seeing dead people. I’m talking about “Unbreakable”. That’s right, I’m the guy who liked that movie. I’ve stuck to my guns over the years on this on the off chance that the film enjoys a resurgence and I can take credit for being a fan all along.

Unbreakable

(”One hundred and thirty one die. One survivor. He is unharmed.”)

That’s all beside the point. The reason I bring it up is that there are occasionally people who show up in the news who defy all logic and survive in the most dire of circumstances. For instance, there was that 12-year-old girl who survived a plane crash in the ocean a couple of months ago.

But a new candidate for our generation’s David Dunn has emerged, and his name is “Punch”. At least, that’s the nickname former hockey coach Ernie McLean has gone by for most of his adult life. McLean coached at the major junior level for 16 years, and led the New Westminster Bruins to four Memorial Cup titles (that’s the biggest prize at that level of hockey).

Ernie Punch McLean

(Punch once got lost in the pattern of this jacket for three days without food or shelter)

He’s also survived a number of incidents that would’ve killed most mere mortals. The latest came this week, when the 77-year-old endured five days and four nights lost in the wilderness in British Columbia when he fell into a crevice while prospecting for gold (they still do that?). With no food, and subsisting just on stream water, he spent entire days walking and eventually reached higher ground, where he was spotted by a helicopter search team.

Most 77-year-olds couldn’t last a full day without their heart pills and a “Diagnosis Murder” rerun. But this is no ordinary 77-year-old. Says CBC in a story about McLean’s latest heroics:

Reed credited McLean’s legendary toughness, and a bit of luck, for his survival, noting McLean previously survived a plane crash in Saskatchewan, and walked out of the woods alive a few days later despite losing an eye and breaking several bones.

He’s also survived car accidents, being run over by a bulldozer and being stranded on a frozen lake in freezing conditions for several days.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure if you’ve wandered around without an eye for a few days that being a little wet in the forest isn’t going to really phase you. Perhaps McLean should ditch the gold prospecting in the deep wilderness and do something a little more acceptable for an old guy, like going to the golf course with a big net and fishing out Titleists. See if you can turn that into a weeklong “Blair Witch” debacle, Punch. (h/t to the PUCK DOCTORS)

Dease Lake

(I guess being lost in nice scenery is better than being locked in a car trunk for a week)

Perhaps she should be more worried about her husband hanging out with teenagers, but it looks like Danica Patrick has made her decision about where she’ll be racing next year. And while jumping to NASCAR would provide unbelievable marketing opportunities and a much larger audience, both on TV and at the track, it appears that she’ll be hanging around with IndyCar for at least one more year. (I bet the new turbo button had something to do with it.)

Danica Patrick stretching

(Maybe if she stopped holding the steering wheel like this, she’d win a race or two)

MVN’s Christopher Estrada seems convinced from the tweets of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR’s Curt Cavin that Danica is about to sign a new deal with Andretti Green Racing. But all the L.A. TIMES would say on Sunday morning is that the chances of her staying were “more than 50%,” and an AP story from after Sunday’s race in Sonoma made it sound that while a deal was close, nothing was really finalized.

I suppose there’s not too much to be read into any of this. While Patrick visited several NASCAR teams during the year, it doesn’t sound like any real serious offers have been made for her services. Perhaps she’s using the news of her impending new deal with AGR as a last-ditch call for offers from the left-turn circuit. For now, her line of reasoning is, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Danica leaving IndyCar would be a huge blow for the series, to the point where viability would have to become a concern. There’s nothing wrong with Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Ryan Briscoe, but could you pick them out of a police lineup? Ratings are hockey-esque as it is, so removing the one bankable star would be a big problem. Would ABC even want to show races other than the Indy 500?

For now, that’s a question that doesn’t need to be asked.

Danica Patrick bikini beach on all fours

Is IndyCar doomed if Danica Patrick leaves?

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• BASEBALL DIGEST wonders why the Mets acknowledged every other living member of the 1969 World Series championship team during a ceremony on Saturday night (even those that didn’t attend), but completely ignored second baseman Ken Boswell. Boswell played 102 games that year and spent eight years with the Mets, but reportedly didn’t even get an invitation to the celebration.

• A golf course groundskeeper found a 10-pound mammoth tooth on one of the greens at the course he works at in Michigan. Does that count as an immovable obstruction, or do you have to putt around the tooth?

• Well, Michelle Wie has finally won something. Of course, she needed 11 other people to help her do it. The Americans wore some nice matching outfits and took down the Europeans to win something called the Solheim Cup.

Solheim Cup

Jason Giambi’s pulling a Dave Kingman and going to Colorado’s AAA affiliate to play for a week or so before the team plans to call him up for September. Am I dating myself with a Dave Kingman reference?

• NESN is freaking out that Ken Rosenthal supposedly suggested that the Red Sox might acquire Billy Wagner to be their closer next year and then ship Jonathan Papelbon up to somewhere other than Boston. The theory being that they’re grooming Daniel Bard for the closer job and just need a guy like Wagner to bridge the gap. Perhaps this is why Paps isn’t too comfortable with the whole thing. And I’m NOT going to post the dance video again…oh, who am I kidding:

(”Nawt Paps! Who’ll do the rivahdance? Wagnah sucks!”)

• Ravens rookie linebacker Tony Fein was arrested last night after he allegedly shoved a police officer. A security guard at a restaurant that Fein was eating at thought that he saw Fein pass a gun to one of his friends. It was a cell phone. Police arrived and then things got testy. This is why I’ve always said that the Glock Blackberry was a bad idea.

• I thought John Smoltz refused a AAA assignment, so why was he pitching against the Padres yesterday?

• At least 27 Tulane football players have been struck by a rapidly spreading flu bug. It’s not yet known whether or not they have swine flu, but it’s not being ruled out at this point.

• BLEACHER REPORT wonders why the Oklahoma Sooners are playing the first football game that actually means something at the new Cowboys Stadium.

Cowboys Stadium

(I’m pretty sure I could punt a ball into that screen)

• The WIZ OF ODDS says Barrow, Alaska’s high school football team is off to an unfortunate 0-3 start after a 48-13 loss at home on the blue turf on Saturday afternoon. Barrow is the northernmost town in North America and is only accessible by plane. And yes, they start playing in mid-August to take advantage of “summer” temps that soar into the low 40s. For more on Barrow’s team, see this post we did last year.

• The man arrested for stabbing English soccer player Calum Davenport is the boyfriend of Davenport’s sister. Cara Davenport is pregnant, allegedly with the attempted-murderer dude’s child. And now her brother will likely never play soccer again, and her mother is also in the hospital for stab wounds. Yikes.

Speed Read: No One Is Shocked By Mannygate

It’s been said that either Manny Ramirez is incredibly dumb, or incredibly good at playing dumb, and his response to his 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program gives proponents of either theory plenty of fuel for the fire. On one hand, claiming that a doctor gave him medicine for a “personal problem” seems like a flimsy attempt to use ignorance to cover up cheating, especially since the drug in question (hCG) is primarily used as a fertility treatment for women.

Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez

But what the “personal problem” really was personal - like he was trying to get pregnant? Maybe he saw that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Junior” on a plane flight and thought that sounded like a great idea. I mean, come on: Manny’s so crazy, he doesn’t even know that men can’t conceive. That’s just Manny being Manny.

Junior

(The only thing inconceivable is Manny Ramirez’s story.)

Are you buying it? Me either. As the news spread throughout the baseball world, the most shocking aspect is just how not shocked anyone who wasn’t a Dodger fan was about it. His former teammates with the Boston Red Sox seemed to be more upset that they have to talk about Manny Ramirez again than anything else, with closer Jonathan Papelbon summing up most player’s thoughts:

“I just walked in the clubhouse today and found out about it. I haven’t really thought about it all. We’ve got more things to worry about on our club. Obviously, it’s a news story, blah, blah, blah. There’s so many more things we have to go get ready for. He’s not in our clubhouse anymore, so this is something that we’re not even worried about.”

Meanwhile, the debate seemed to come not about Manny Ramirez’s guilt or innocence, but about everything surrounding his presumed guilt. Such as Brooks’ question that if everyone is doing PEDs, then do we have to let Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens into the Hall of Fame? Or if the Dodgers are going to symbolically tear down “Mannywood,” the section devoted to the team’s Cult of Personality.

Dodgers fans celebrate Mannywood

So how did the Dodgers react on the field without their leader? In a word: shaky. Oh, it started out good, jumping out a 6-0 first inning lead on the dreadful Washington Nationals. But then it all fell apart, although this had nothing to do with Ramirez’s absence.

Blame this on the Dodgers’ increasingly leaky bullpen, which allowed nine runs in the seventh and eigth innings en route to an 11-9 Dodgers loss - which stopped the team’s record home winning streak to start the season at 13. You also couldn’t blame Ramirez’s replacement in left field, Juan Pierre, who went 2-for-4 but did make the inning-ending out in the eighth with the bases loaded.

Meanwhile, back to Ramirez’s former team again … actually, let’s look at both of them, since his original team (the Cleveland Indians) just happened to be visiting his most recent team (the Red Sox) on Thursday night. And while it might be tacky after the events of yesterday to says that Boston’s offense was on steroids, it’s safe to say that they were at least jacked up on a six-pack of Jolt colas.

Scoreboard of Red Sox vs Indians

The Red Sox matched a major league record by scoring 12 runs in the sixth inning while drubbing the Indians 13-3. At least we can be sure that Jason Bay isn’t juicing, unless he tests positive for having too much maple syrup in his blood.

And speaking of blowouts, let’s take a moment to congratulate the Atlanta Hawks for making it to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as they collect their parting gifts and head to the exits. Sure, they are only down 2-0 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and they are returning home.

Cleveland Cavaliers bench

But anyone who saw just a few minutes of Cleveland’s 105-85 thrashing of the Hawks knows that this series has all the makings of a sweep. Cleveland lead by as many as 36 before calling off the dogs, and LeBron James was just toying with defenders. And oh yeah, Joe Johnson sprained his ankle and might be out for the series. Have fun at the golf course, Atlanta!

More news that you might have missed last night as you were slowly backing away from Kiefer Sutherland and avoiding eye contact as not to enrage the beast:

  • The Players Championship teed off in Florida yesterday, and of course Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson share the lead. Actually, that’s a lie: the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION says that while Ben Crane leads after an opening-round 65, Woods dealt with a balky putter while shooting a 71 and Mickelson was all over the place while putting up a 73.
  • Tiger Woods

  • But if Tiger feels like he needs any help, he can call on Lee Trevino, as the DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that “Super Mex” has offered to teach him a power fade that will make sure that “he doesn’t lose any tournament.” At the least, he would like him to try an authentic salsa from Texas versus a competitor made in … NEW YORK CITY?!?
  • As usual, the Stanley Cup playoffs didn’t disappoint: the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES says that the Blackhawks relied on a late third-period goal to pull even and then scored early in OT to win 2-1 and level their series with Vancouver at 2-2.
  • Meanwhile, the DETROIT NEWS says the Red Wings also tied their series with Anaheim at 2-2 but were far less dramatic about it, playing some old time hockey on the way to a 6-2 blowout.
  • And as hockey attempts to shine on the ice, it continues to stumble elsewhere, as the TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL says that a group of investors trying to buy the failing Phoenix Coyotes and move them to Hamilton, Ontario are accusing the NHL and Commissioner Gary Bettman of “operating like an illegal cartel” in blocking the sale and move. Kind of like a more stupid version of the Mafia.
  • As the baseball world was reacting to Manny Ramirez’s suspension, the EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE says the Arizona Diamondbacks took the opportunity to relieve manager Bob Melvin of his duties while no one was looking. He’s being replaced by former major league catcher A.J. Hinch, because that’s apparently the only people who can manage the Diamondbacks.
  • YAHOO! SPORTS claims that Louisville coach Rick Pitino has made himself a candidate for the Sacramento Kings coaching job. It probably won’t have as much impact when he tells the local media that “Vlade Divac is not walking through that door.”
  • The WASHINGTON POST says there was plenty of hot disciplinary action in the NBA, as the Magic’s Rafer Alston received a one-game suspension for his head-slap on the Celtics’ Eddie House, while the Lakers’ Derek Fisher received the game punishment for his cross-check of the Rockets’ Luis Scola. There were no suspensions given to Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest or any pieces of furniture.
  • It wasn’t just Didier Drogba who was upset with Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo for several calls that didn’t go Chelsea’s way in the 1-1 tie with Barcelona that knocked them out of the Champions League semifinals. EUROSPORT says the ref had to be “smuggled” out of the country under police escort.
  • A football player at Chico High in Texas has been arrested for assaulting a 13-year-old girl in what WFAA-TV is referring to as a “sex game” gone horribly wrong, involving freshman girls “sexting” the popular football players to gain popularity.

What was your initial reaction when you heard about Manny Ramirez’s suspension?

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Recap: Poker Player Charged With Killing Parents

• A debt-ridden professional poker player is arrested for killing his parents in an attempt to get at his inheritance sooner than scheduled.

Ernest Scherer II poker

Jonathan Papelbon has a premonition that he isn’t long for this world.

• Isn’t there anyone who wants to stay #1 in college basketball?

• A 45-year-old Ohio man loses 200 pounds on his way to becoming a college wrestler.

Read more…

Red Sox’ Papelbon Says “I’m Going To Die Young”

We’ve long established Jonathan Papelbon is a somewhat weird dude. John Tomase of the BOSTON HERALD submits more evidence to that effect today.

Paps on Mannys Junk

(One squeeze and he’d pull Manny right down with him)

Closer (Papelbon) made some interesting comments on WEEI, saying on the “Dennis and Callahan Show” that he worries about his mortality.

“I just have this weird feeling that I’m not going to live a long life,” Papelbon said, “that I’m going to die young.”

Jonathan Papelbon

(Yankees righthanded hitters: “Yes, please”)

Great, just as the Red Sox are thankfully starting to fade away on the ESPN sports media radar, we get this. Read more…

Red Sox Now Annoying In Orchestral Manner, Too

When you think classy fanbases, the first thing that pops into your head is the Boston Red Sox, right? Uh, OK, maybe not, but they certainly are getting a whole lot more pretentious all of a sudden. If you really want to anger the Yankee fan in your life, send them a copy of the Boston Pops’ new “Red Sox Album.”

Papelbon Boston Pops

(Paps dances to the Pops)

Pops conductor Keith Lockhart has wanted to do a Sox-themed recording for a while now, and finally got his wish. So, if you’ve been dying to hear an orchestra rendition of the Dropkick Murphys’ “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” you’re in luck. David Ortiz even appears on the album.

Read more…

Show Jonathan Papelbon’s Old Glove Some Love

Facts are facts, people. In the current economic climate, which can only be accurately described as “interesting”, there is no greater commodity to own than baseball memorabilia. Not canned goods, not “dollar bills”, not even gold. Which is why you should all immediately sign onto eBay and bid on Jonathan Papelbon’s rookie year glove. Sure, it’s going to cost a bit of change - current bid is $4,500 - but what else are you going to spend that money on? Food?

Papelbon's Glove

The auction, coming to us from THE BOSTON HERALD, is being run by some company named PMI, who run a number of memorabilia sales for other MLB players. On the auction, PMI makes it a special point to make sure everyone knows Papelbon only used two gloves during his rookie year, and this is one of them! Why are you still hear reading this and not bidding!?!?! The auction ends tomorrow!

Read more…

Speed Read: Rising NHLer KO’d By Evil Golf Cart

Validating those of you out there who think the Ryder Cup is more dangerous than the NHL, it was reported on Tuesday night that St. Louis Blues defenseman Erik Johnson suffered what appears to be a season ending knee injury while golfing last week. The 20-year-old Johnson, one of the bright young defensive stars in the NHL, tore his ACL and MCL when his leg got caught between the gas pedal and brake pedal on his golf cart.  If I was Johnson, I probably would’ve  tried to pull a modified Monta Ellis and lie about it, and at least say I was wrestling a wild boar or something.

golf cart crash

And while we’re on the topic, the Yankees are going to have plenty of time for golf next week as they were finally put out of their misery last night when the Red Sox beat the Indians 5-4. The defending champs held the standard champagne-spewing party afterward, but likely did so as the wild card team. But hey, any celebration featuring Jonathan Papelbon acting like a tool is worthy in my book:

Jonathan Papelbon

The Yanks are missing the postseason for the first time since 1993. Hank Steinbrenner blames “socialist” revenue sharing. And the “divisional setup” for allowing inferior teams to attain playoff spots. Never mind that the last Yankee championship team won only 87 regular-season games.

Beneficiaries of much revenue sharing, the Rays lowered their magic number to two with a doubleheader sweep of the officially hapless Orioles. It was the first DH sweep in franchise history. Prince Fielder’s walk-off homer gave the Brewers a win and kept them within one game of the Mets, who beat the Cubs. The Mets, meanwhile, have decided that Omar Minaya is deserving of a four-year extension.

The Phillies phell and now lead the division by just a game and a half. The Dodgers bashed San Diego while the D-Backs were stymied in St. Louis, putting L.A.’s magic number at three. The Twins spanked the White Sox to pull within a game and a half in the AL Central.

And finally, your Lane Watch 2008 update: still employed. But don’t expect Petros Papadakis to be happy about that.

  • What’s the big secret to the 49ers’ 2-1 start? It might be this thing:

the glove

The creatively-named “Glove” is a newfangled contraption that is reportedly “billed as better than steroids without any ill effects.” It pulls blood into your palm and cools it down or something, I think. Whatever, this article from the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE should tell you all you need to know.

  • Q: Do you, Mr. Arenas, take this woman as your wife?  A: Hibachi! (thank you WASHINGTON POST)
  • Star USC cornerback Shareece Wright is out for up to six weeks, leaving the Trojans with just 37 future first-round draft picks when they invade Corvallis, Oregon on Thursday.

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Speed Read to give you this week’s installment of Ridiculous CFL Touchdown Celebrations (thanks to LARRY BROWN SPORTS for the tip):

Oddly, this isn’t even the worst CFL celebration this month.

  • The DETROIT NEWS’ Terry Foster is told that Jon Kitna is not the Lions’ biggest problem — by Jon Kitna.

Let’s lay some blame:

Who is most responsible for the Yankees missing the playoffs this year?

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Jonathan Papelbon Is A [Expletive] Human Being

Boston 2029 A.D. - The machine rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire. His war to exterminate mankind has raged for decades, but his final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our present. Oops, wait a second, that’s the intro to The Terminator isn’t it? That movie was about machines, and you know who isn’t a machine? Jonathan Papelbon.

papelbon is human

The Boston Red Sox closer has proved as much recently, blowing a save last Tuesday and nearly blowing another one on Sunday. This after he hadn’t allowed a run in 20 1/3 innings during a stretch that lasted from July 21st to September 8th.

Still, his recent struggles have some folks in the Boston media worried about him, and Jonathan’s not too happy about it.  What Jonathan wants to know is, if you prick him, does he not [expletive] bleed?

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Blog Jam: Torii Hunter’s Tribute To Michael Phelps

• YOU BEEN BLINDED splashes up a clip of Torii Hunter celebrating the Angels’ AL West title with a tribute to Michael Phelps.

Torii Hunter is Michael Phelps

We understand that Stephanie Rice is swimming her way to Anaheim as we speak.

• Sure he can do a mean Milli Vanilli, but LARRY BROWN SPORTS discovers Jonathan Papelbon’s real talent - cross-dressing for high school productions of “Dirty Dancing“.

• If New England is looking for a QB, Jason Whitlock of the KANSAS CITY STAR suggests the Pats get on the phone with Jeff George.

Palmer? Bush? Leinart? FIRST & BIG TEN has an interesting interview with the USC player really responsible for the Trojans’ re-emergence: former WR John Zilka.

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DUI Won’t Stop Michael Phelps From Shilling Beer

• Anheuser-Busch is willing to dive into a marketing deal with Olympic star Michael Phelps, even though the swimmer has a DUI on his record.

Michael Phelps Budweiser Clamato

• A quarter of USC’s football players are jumped by a jock itch epidemic.

• One sore Swede slams his bronze medal to the mat after feeling wronged in his wrestling match.

• Toledo gets ready to welcome the second coming of Emeka Okafor.

• Canada’s still medal-less this summer? What’s that all aboot?

Read more…