Taiwan Succumbs To U.S., Sweet Tooth In LLWS

In the end, Chinese Taipei met their doom in the Little League World Series the way that most vanquished teams do — due to Almond M&M’s. California kids know that you don’t pig out on tasty candy until after the game. But Taiwan was cocky, as we see below in this screencap from their dugout, and will pay for it tomorrow morning with nasty sugar hangovers.

Hey, we had to figure out a way to beat these guys, and planting enormous bags of candy in their dugout as as good a strategy as any (also works with Yankees on days that CC Sabathia is pitching). Chula Vista, California 6, Chinese Taipei 3. U.S. wins its fifth straight LLWS title. Read more…

Little League WS: Ten Things I Hate About You

Sure, there are plenty of things I like about Little League: For example, it keeps kids off of my lawn. Also it promotes exercise … unless the player in question is in the outfield. But when the final week of August rolls around, I expect to see children in football pads and cleats, or at least in the gym watching girls volleyball.

Luke Ramirez Little League

Take the lad above, for instance. Luke Ramirez is 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, and plays for the Parkview (Chula Vista, CA) Little League All-Stars. He should be hunting quarterbacks right now in some Pop Warner youth program, but instead he’s still terrorizing kids half his size on the baseball diamond — his team is 2-0 in the Little League World Series at Williamsport, PA. ESPN loves the this time of year, of course. But below are 10 reasons to not like it so much … only one of which involves gigantic kids who might kill you with a foul ball. Read more…

Jim Rice Rips Manny, A-Rod; Makes Children Cry

If there’s one thing I hate about the Little League World Series … well, there are a lot of things. But if there’s one thing I love about it, it’s when old Major Leaguers show up and tell the youngsters grouchy yarns about how things were better in the old days. Kids love that! You go, Jim Rice.

Jim Rice

Rice was a featured speaker on opening day of the Little League World Series today, and instead of the generic gladhanding that one would expect from someone who was recruited by the staid, conservative Little League organization, Rice proceeded to tell the kids what’s wrong with the game today. Read more…

Speed Read: NCAA Tries To Erase History Again

I have always thought it’s weird when people bring up the idea of removing steroid-era numbers from baseball’s official record book, as if history can be fixed simply by ignoring it. Say what you want about Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, but every single home run they hit counted in a real-life Major League Baseball game.

Derrick Rose John Calipari

(This never happened.)

Of course, the NCAA has been pulling these sort of shenanigans for years, “vacating” wins for schools that violate the rules. The latest to apparently earn this wrath is the University of Memphis basketball program, whose run to the 2008 title game is reportedly going to be vanishing from the NCAA’s memory today. As far as they’re concerned, the 38 wins accumulated that year never happened because Derrick Rose had someone else take the SAT for him in order to get into the school.

For those of you scoring at home, that’s twice now that John Calipari-helmed teams have seen Final Four runs erased from the books, although in 1996 UMass was only forced to give up its 4-1 NCAA tournament record, and not its entire season, due to Marcus Camby’s indiscretions with an agent. In this case, Memphis’ whole season is being invalidated and Calipari is about to find his coaching resume to be 38 wins lighter.

John Calipari UMass

(This didn’t happen either.)

I suppose it makes sense on some level. If Rose shouldn’t have been eligible to play, then how could any of the team’s wins be valid? But ultimately, this is just a big fat case of “who cares?” Michigan vacated its two runs to the title game with the Fab Five, but what did that accomplish (other than banning the team from the postseason in 2003 for things that happened a decade earlier)? It’s not like they’re giving up anything tangible. The memory of what happened will always be there. Chris Webber isn’t suddenly off the hook for that timeout thing.

In a FOX SPORTS article, Antonio Anderson says it simply doesn’t matter:

“Honestly, I don’t care,” former Memphis guard Antonio Anderson said. “We know what we did. We didn’t do anything wrong, but it is what it is.”

And he’s got a point. The rest of the team didn’t do anything wrong. Even Calipari, it seems, didn’t do anything wrong here. Derrick Rose did allegedly do something wrong, but it’s unlikely that anything is going to happen to him. He, like Camby and Webber, will go on to make tons of money in the NBA while their former teammates are told that their dream college seasons didn’t even happen.

Of course, thus far, only teams that didn’t win the title have had such sanctions levied against them. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA is willing to strip a team of a title and hand it to the runner-up if something like this happens in the future.

Chris Webber timeout

(This…yeah, this happened.)

Should Memphis be forced to give up its 38 victories in 2007-08 if Derrick Rose cheated on his SAT?

View Results

So, remember how (insert contending team here) was crazy not to give up half their team to get Roy Halladay a couple of weeks ago? Well, there are at least two teams that are feeling pretty good about their decision not to mortgage the farm for a short-sighted chance at success.

Roy Halladay

Last night in Toronto, Clay Buchholz — one of the players rumored to be headed to the Jays in a proposed Halladay deal — outpitched the man himself in a 6-1 beatdown at Skydome Rogers Centre. The win, coupled with a Texas loss, put the Sox back into the Wild Card lead by a full game.

Meanwhile, the Phillies’ “Plan B” when attempts to get Halladay failed, Cliff Lee, ran his record to 4-0 with a two-hit, 11 strikeout, complete game win over the Diamondbacks. Lee has pitched 33 of a possible 36 innings in his four starts with Philly and has a 0.82 ERA. Looks like he might be the 2009 version of CC Sabathia in Milwaukee, only for a much, much better team.

Cliff Lee

• Hey, everything I’m reading says that there’s still a lot of competition for the Vikings’ starting quarterback job. I am, of course, talking about D.H. Conley High School in Greenville, North Carolina. What, is there another team called the Vikings with some quarterback issues?

• Warner Robins, Georgia, won the Little League Softball World Series last night, crushing W’s favorite team from Crawford, Texas. Warner Robins is the first Little League to produce both a softball and baseball world champion (the boys won in 2007).

• English soccer team Burnley, playing its first Premier League home game ever (and first in the top division in 33 years), did the unthinkable last night, shocking Manchester United 1-0 on an awesome volley by veteran Robbie Blake:

• CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that ESPN THE MAGAZINE is allowing its subscribers to renew for a year AND get an ESPN.COM “Insider” subscription for a grand total of $1. The Mag’s GM claims that it’s a ploy to get more people to read Insider content, and not an admission that the mag is in trouble.

• ELEVEN WARRIORS says at least one witness says that Ohio State linebacker Tyler Moeller threatened a Florida man named Gray Decker, and that is why Decker flattened Moeller with a right hook at a bar and ended his season.

Here’s more details on the odd case of Caster Semenya, who won the women’s 800 meter run by a ridiculous 2 1/2 seconds at the World Championships. She is undergoing what is reportedly an “extremely complex, difficult” set of tests to determine whether or not she is actually a she. A gynecologist is involved, so I imagine that “extremely complex” is an understatement.

Caster Semenaya

• ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says an Albuquerque high school baseball coach has been fired for hiring strippers to “entertain” his team while they were on a road trip in Denver last year. Says one parent:

“We thank all our friends in the Albuquerque baseball community for their support and well wishes during this unfortunate circumstance where no one comes out a winner.”

Whoa, hold on there. I can think of at least nine people who probably think they came out a winner.

• How’s this for ridiculous? The entire Angels starting lineup on Tuesday night in Cleveland has a .300 batting average or better, and all have at least 225 plate appearances. An all-.300 lineup hasn’t been on a Major League field since 1930.

Angels all .300 lineup

 • After missing more than a year, Billy Wagner is set to come back from injury … and the Mets are trying desperately to trade him. Ladies and gentlemen, the inaugural season at Citi Field!

• Before the Mets’ game with the Phillies on Saturday, members of the ‘69 World Series champion Mets will help build the framework of a home for Habitat for Humanity. An hour later, the current Mets will help build the framework of another NL East title for the Phillies. Ladies and gentlemen, the inaugural season at Citi Field!

John Smoltz has sucked this year. So the Cardinals are going to see if he can magically turn into a good pitcher again.

• Now, it’s time for fun with Twitter. First, the BOSTON GLOBE’s Amalie Benjamin is a little, uh, overpowered by David Ortiz:

Amalie Benjamin David Ortiz Twitter

And, Nick Collison comes dangerously close to calling his wife an unfortunate name. Good thing you got that period there, Nick!

Nick Collison Twitter

 

Blogz: Bikini-less Misty May-Treanor’s First Pitch

• HOME RUN DERBY tosses up images of Misty May-Treanor throwing out the first pitch at yesterday’s Diamondbacks-Marlins game.

Misty May Treanor baseball volleyball

You probably didn’t recognize her at first, since she wasn’t in a bikini being butt-slapped by George W. Bush. (Although she did pose for pics with John McCain.)

• LARRY BROWN SPORTS types up word that Dodgers manager Joe Torre is joining the blogosphere.

• WITH LEATHER reels in the news of a North Carolina fisherman who caught a record-sized catfish - with his granddaughter’s Barbie pole.

• Holy Cow! WALKOFF WALK wonders who’s the dumbbell that made this New Orleans gym TV ad featuring a really bad Harry Caray impersonation.

Read more…

Blog-O-Rama: Who Cares if the Cold War’s Over?

  • COED keeps the Cold War alive with pom-poms, spandex and flexible females with their Cold War Cheerleader Challenge.

    Cheerleader Cold War

  • Is that a “W” next to Carl Pavano’s name in the box score? MY PINSTRIPES thinks that it was all a dream.
  • Former New Jersey Nets forward Jayson Williams may or may not have shot his limo driver but he definitely butchered his kids’ names - Whizdom and Tryumph. HOLLYWIRE has more examples of what happens when celebrities are given free range to name their children.
  • WIRED takes a look at the Olympic Village that didn’t cost $40 billion, just 300,000 Lego blocks. Photo after the jump. Read more…

6th Inning Rally, Error Leads Hawaii to LLWS Finals

For the second time this decade, the 50th state is sending a squad to the World Championships of the Little League World Series, thanks to a miraculous late inning comeback.

Hawaii Little League World Series

The boys from Waipahu scored six in the sixth to come back from a 5-1 deficit in the final inning to beat Lake Charles, LA by a score of 7-5 in the U.S. Championships.

The comeback was fueled by a misplayed ground ball with Lake Charles one out away from heading to the World Championship. Hawaii’s Christian Donahue hit a grounder that got passed first baseman Gunner Leger which drove in the tying run. Since Gunner is 12, we won’t mention a certain Red Sox first baseman’s name that comes to mind. That would be cruel.

Read more…