Speed Read: Cubs Riding Hard Liquor Bandwagon

It wasn’t enough for Diageo, the makers of Smirnoff vodka, to invite the good folks of Phoenix out to see their hockey team free with the purchase of a bottle of booze.  Now they’re plastering their name across The World’s Largest Beer Garden in an attempt to make further inroads into the sports scene. That’s one way to pay for stadium upgrades if you won’t pony up to the governor.

Drunk Boozer Wrigley Field Cubs fans

Wrigley Field will now host the Captain Morgan Club (a restaurant) and the Smirnoff Patio and provide lovely mixed drinks to the fans that like to do a little drinking around 10 am at home and then ride the El to Addison and start downing car bombs around 11:30 am for a 1:20 pm start.

If Cubs fans aren’t careful, they might even put Toronto Blue Jays fans to shame.  That’s not easy to do, either; they can’t be stopped even if Daddy takes the alcohol away for a game.  (Not to mention the gratuitous nudity.)

Also gratuitous: the entire 2008-2009 NCAA women’s basketball season. The University of Connecticut Huskies won their 39th straight game by double-digits to complete their undefeated season and claim the nation’s crown.

Connecticut Huskies

Stanford University of Louisville kept this game competitive for about as long as you’ve been reading this article thus far, which still might be the best effort of the year for a UConn opponent.  This could be the point for a snide joke about going pro in a little something we call life, but these young women are already professional assassins.  Yikes.

We know the short-lived hole in the media filter (and the filter on media members themselves) caused by Twitter will soon close and leave us with more canned responses and layers of personal marketing protection.  As we speak, there are businesses springing up around the management of social spaces and new media integration and other phrases that dampen the soul.

For now, though, we live in truly awesome times.  Example: Bill Stewart (West Virginia’s head football coach and the antithesis of R-Rod) has been carrying on like a blessed fool on Twitter, including how he threw all the kickers out of a meeting or how he gets so fired up by Chubby Checker that he sprints into practice at 4:15 am.

West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart

Go like this, Coach Stewart.  Go like this all morning long.

And now the twisting hail of bullets that Carl Landry could heal up from in only three weeks

Francis Buxton

  • Stan Kasten, president of the Washington Nationals, went on Philly radio and told Phillies fans just how much they were welcome to fill those increasingly empty seats at Nationals Park, having apparently forgotten that D.C. sports fans survive the surprisingly harsh winters by burning compressed carbon logs of their own hate for other teams.  You’d think Stan Kasten had bigger fish to fry, frankly.  For example, Dmitri Young just called Stan Kasten’s house because he heard Kasten’s hosting a fish fry.
  • Your NBA Draft early departure update: Blake Griffin (as mentioned late yesterday), Jodie Meeks, and everyone in the city of Tucson.  They’re gonna need a bigger green room.
  • Senator Ted Kennedy threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on Opening Day.  Senator Bill Frist saw this video and declared Kennedy alive and well, raising his batting average to .500.
  • The San Diego Padres have one chance at a title: Miss California Carrie Prejean (a former “Deal or No Deal” model) will be competing for the Miss USA title in Vegas on April 19th and she’s a former member of the Padres’ “Pad Squad”.  It’s good that she’s no longer with the organization or Becky Moores might demand weekend visitation rights.

Carrie Prejean, Miss California 2009

How many majors for Tiger Woods this year?

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Text Messaging Saves Kellen Winslow $1,235,294

Kellen Winslow, a study in contradictions. Soldier? Sorry about being a soldier. Valuable addition to the team? Rad biker dude. Swollen testicles? Staph infection. Suspended? Unsuspended.

Kellen Winslow

(Late night text messages can often lead to certain infections.)

The curious case of Kellen Winslow got curiouser this weekend, as the Browns rescinded his one-game suspension, according to the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER. In a classic case of your mom punishing you after your dad told you you could stay up late watching Cinemax instead of doing your homework, it seems the Browns had suspended Winslow for his cryptic comments regarding the organization’s handling of his condition, but only after someone from the team’s PR department had texted Winslow telling him to keep his mouth shut.

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Speed Read: Rodney Harrison’s Career Likely Over

The NFL is on the verge of losing one of its largest revenue streams, based on the news out of New England last night. Safety Rodney Harrison, who has rankled opponents over the years with his aggressive (some say dirty) play, joined Tom Brady on the “guys opposing fans are happy to see in pain” list after it was revealed that he will miss the rest of the season with a torn thigh muscle. In fact, the AP is going as far as calling it a career-ending injury.

Rodney Harrison

The oft-fined safety tore his right thigh muscle and rehab will reportedly take 8-10 months. Harrison is in the last year of his contract and many expected that he was going to retire after the season anyway. He’s donated more than $200,000 to NFL over the years in fines for illegal hits. Roger Goodell will just have to keep making up more reasons to fine Hines Ward to account for the reduced cash flow.

Kellen Winslow and his staph infection were suspended one game by the Browns because Winslow had the gall to call out the team’s brass for asking him to hide the illness and for not taking enough action to prevent further infections. Despite the fact that Winslow made it clear that his beef was not with his teammates or coaches, GM Phil Savage called the comments “unwarranted, inappropriate and unnecessarily disparaging to our organization.”

It looks like Larry Johnson will likely not play this Sunday whether the NFL suspends him or not. Herm Edwards suggested in comments yesterday that LJ’s latest act of female degradation would be enough to earn him another week off.  It has been confirmed that police are investigating the incident.

Pudding pops for everyone! Bill Cosby was on hand last night as Temple beat Ohio 14-10 in a game that nobody wanted to see, but everybody watched for like five minutes because nothing else was on. The PHILLY INQUIRER insists that the Owls are still in the MAC Eastern Division hunt despite a 2-3 league record.

Bill Cosby

The World Series starts tonight, and HOME RUN DERBY has the preview you’ve been waiting for. It’s of the teams’ cheerleaders, of course, which means there hopefully won’t be any photos of a shirtless Matt Stairs. It should be noted that the Phillies’ Ballgirls are actually the ones who sit in foul territory and field balls that go out of play, while the Ray Team is more of a traditional squad — with some dudes, though. The Ballgirls are actual softball players who just happen to be attractive, which makes them the winners in my book. Anyone can operate a t-shirt cannon.

World Series cheerleaders

• Think it’s not physically demanding to be a baseball manager? Just tell Terry Francona that. He’s having surgery this offseason for a back injury that has left him with “diminished feeling” in his arms and unable to stand up straight, according to the ASSOCIATED PRESS’ Jimmy Golen.

Terry Francona is frail

Since Francona has become manager of the Red Sox he’s been struck by the following maladies:

A foot infection, a knee replacement, staph infections in both knees, chest pains, several years on blood-thinners, a life-threatening blood clot in his lungs and now a back problem that will require surgery.

Francona also chews massive quantities of tobacco during the season, which I’m sure helps a lot with all of this. And he won’t even turn 50 until early next season.

• It’s not the World Series without the participating cities’ newspaper columnists taking really easy cheap shots at each other. Today, the PHILLY DAILY NEWS’ Stu Bykofsky has the floor, and it might just be the worst trash talk I’ve ever read. There’s references to tuberculosis and Salvador Dali(?), and he calls Rays fans “tampons.” It’s all very sophisticated.

• Those catwalks at the Trop? Yeah, the geniuses who built the place thought that nobody would ever hit a baseball up that far, so says USA TODAY.

• Monday was a rough night for the Bailey brothers. CBS4 in Denver is reporting that Champ Bailey tore his groin (yeesh) in the loss to New England and is going to miss 4-6 weeks, while his brother Boss injured his knee and is out for the season.

• NEW YORK MAGAZINE’s Lucas Mann was with Stephon Marbury when he watched the final presidential debate…at a homeless shelter on the Bowery in New York.

• The LOS ANGELES TIMES’ Bill Shaikin celebrates the fact that there are a number of African-American stars in this year’s World Series.

• The first NHL team in Toronto is doing so well, that the league is talking about putting another one there, according to a CBC report.

• Texas Tech coach Mike Leach told the FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM that he tries as hard as possible to stay away from computers.

• Your police-assaulting and racial-slurring act may fly in Dallas there, Mr. and Mrs. Collegiate Sports Marketer, but the BOSTON HERALD says you’re in some trouble for doing it in their backyard.

Marion Jones‘ former track coach, who was a whistleblower in the BALCO case, has avoided prison time and instead was sentenced to 12 months of house arrest, write Lance Williams of the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE.

Who’s going to be the Phillies’ DH in Game 1?

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Speed Read: Matt Stairs Is A Very Bad Man, Eh?

Matt Freaking Stairs. The 40-year-old who had all of 17 at-bats with the Phillies after being acquired from the Blue Jays on August 30th hit the first postseason bomb of his career in the eighth inning off of Jonathan Broxton as the Phils came from behind to stun the Dodgers 7-5 and go up 3-1 in the NLCS.

Matt Stairs

Stairs has had a decent career. He has 254 regular-season home runs, which is second all-time among Canadians. But if you’re a Phillies fan did you ever think that a guy who coaches hockey in Maine in the off-season was going to turn into your hero? Stairs, who seemed a little astounded by the whole experience, makes no bones about trying to hit long balls (and man, was it long):

“I try to swing for the fences,” Stairs said. “That’s what I’ve done my whole career. I was very fortunate to square one up tonight.”

Meanwhile, things are going so well for the Rays that Rocco Baldelli is hitting home runs off Red Sox pitching. Baldelli has overcome seven knee replacements and Ebola to get back into baseball, and now his team has a 2-1 series lead over the defending champs. The BOSTON GLOBE’s Amalie Benjamin is panicking a little because Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t getting on base and David Ortiz doesn’t have a hit in the series, while the Rays have hit seven homers in the last two games.

Rocco Baldelli

The Giants can take some solace in knowing that most of the sports world was watching baseball last night, because they got their heads bashed in by the Browns, 35-14. The rest of the world rejoices as the Brady Quinn era just got moved back at least another week. And I guess Kellen Winslow’s balls can keep swelling up because his teammates didn’t miss them.

How bad is the upcoming Tampa Bay-Seattle matchup on Sunday Night Football this week? So horrifying that John Madden can’t even imagine sitting through it. The big winner in all of this? Cris Collinsworth, who doesn’t have to hang out with Olbermann and Patrick all night now. (”Dan, have I used ‘it’s deep, and I don’t think it’s playable’ this week yet?”). Of course we all know the real reason Madden is staying home: he can’t miss the season premiere of Frank TV.

Frank Caliendo is John Madden

• I know you want to see it, so here it is. Footage of a bunch of idiots slamming as many Famiglia pizza slices into their yaps as they can in 10 minutes. Famiglia? I’ve had that garbage in the JetBlue terminal at JFK. I can barely keep one down.

• Two Toledo football players celebrated their win at Michigan by getting arrested. From one big house to another, all in the same day!• The season of North Carolina receiver and kick returner Brandon Tate is over. Bill Cole of the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL has all the details. Tate is the all-time NCAA leader in combined punt and kickoff return yardage.• After the Lane Kiffin firing, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen has turned his attentions to all things Adam Jones. Mort says that if Sir Adam was drinking the night that he got in his bodyguard altercation, that would be violation of his probation and could mean the end of his season.

• ESPN RISE has the odd story of a Florida high school football game that ended 91-0. The winning coach is being told that he ran up the score even though he didn’t even play some of his best players and his team only ran 31 plays.

• The “Thunder” played their first game in the state of Oklahoma last night, a win over the Rockets in Tulsa. The TULSA WORLD can’t contain its excitement.

• Poor Washington State. The SEATTLE TIMES reports that the Cougars have managed to lose yet another quarterback to a serious injury, and will go on Saturday with a guy who has already broken a vertebra this year. I’m giving this guy roughly six plays before he’s carted off the field in a mangled mess. The Cougs are currently 42-point home underdogs to USC.

• The TELEGRAPH’s Gill Hornby wonders how exactly AIG is honoring its ridiculously expensive sponsorship deal with Manchester United.

• Screeching Weasel singer Ben Weasel grew up a Cubs fan, but jumped off the bandwagon when Rick Aguilera gave up a home run to Jason Kendall in 2000, according to his blog, WEASEL MANOR. I managed to stay on the bandwagon until Wil Cordero immediately hit another homer off Aguilera.

• What do you do when you’re playing cricket all day and it starts getting dark? According to FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA, you just go home and call the match a draw.

What was the best moment in Monday’s Dodgers-Phillies game?

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Doc Rivers Can Hard-ly Wait For Season To Start

• DEADSPIN can hard-ly wait for the NBA season to start, as Doc Rivers looks excited to be coaching the Celtics:

Doc Rivers Celtics excited

• NATION OF ISLAM SPORTSBLOG knows every answer is IMPORTANT!, as they interview Stephen A. Smith.

• HOME RUN DERBY is juuust a bit outside, as they present Game 4 of the Indians-Yankees series, as called by Harry Doyle.

• The LOS ANGELES TIMES knows Mark Kelso has a good head on his shoulders, as the former Buffalo Bill with the enlarged helmet is helping design a new model to keep migraines to a minimum:

Mark Kelso

• MIAMI SPORTS BLOG takes off the gloves, as Joey Porter and Kellen Winslow Jr. get ready to match wits again this Sunday at Browns Stadium.

• SIGNAL TO NOISE doesn’t find the humor in “The Fighting Skip Holtzes“.