Speed Read: “Desperate” Plax Faces Grand Jury

As we speak, Plaxico Burress is preparing to testify before a grand jury in Manhattan about shooting himself in the leg last year. And those of you with some familiarity with the legal system might have this reaction to that news: uhhh, wha?

Plaxico Burress

(”I saved the world from having to deal with 19-0. Doesn’t that count for something?”)

In a move that ESPN’s Lester Munson is calling “desperate” and “highly unusual,” Burress will subject himself to questioning in an effort to get the grand jury to consider lesser charges than the felony that is currently on the table. It’s rare for a lawyer to allow this to happen because it can backfire in so many ways. For one, Plax has to be very careful about what he says. If any statement he makes ends up not being true, he could find a perjury charge added to whatever else he’s facing. And, since the prosecutors can ask anything they want, if Burress is forthcoming with every detail, he could basically end up admitting his guilt. Although, as one ESPN commenter noted, Burress really only needs to be asked three questions:

1. Did you have a gun in your possession when you shot yourself?
2. Do you have a permit to have that gun?
3. Do you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in New York?

If the answer is “yes” to #1 and “no” to the other two questions, that’s basically all they need to make their decision.

Lester Munson

(Things aren’t going well if this guy’s talking about you)

So why do it? Munson and fellow analyst Roger Cossack seem to think that Burress’ lawer, Benjamin Brafman, might be using this as a means to encourage a plea bargain. But Munson says that they don’t have any leverage here, since they’re the ones facing all the downside related to Burress’ testimony. The term “bluff” is being thrown around, but what’s the bluff? Why would the D.A. be worried about Plax testifying?

The only reasonable theory being offered is that maybe Plax can charm the jurors into thinking he’s a good guy who didn’t know the law and just wanted to protect himself. But he’ll have to do all of this without his lawyer, who won’t be allowed into the courtroom.

On Monday, Manhattan D.A. Jack McCoy Robert Morgenthau spoke publicly about the case, saying that Plax was OK with doing a year in jail, but that the people won’t accept a deal that involves less than two years in the clink. Morgenthau even suggested that he’s looking at charging Antonio Pierce for his role in the incident, something Cossack claims was “out of bounds” for the D.A. to talk about publicly, and certainly meant to bait Burress into a deal.

None of this looks particularly good, and one wonders if that two-year deal from the D.A. is still on the table. And I think it’s safe to say it would be the worst two-year deal any NFL free agent would be signing this year.

Robert Morgenthau

(When the guy with the huge ears says you’re doing time, you’re doing time)

Mark Buehrle made his first start since his perfect game, and for an hour and a half or so at the Metrodome, the awesome gift-giver looked like he might have a legitimate shot at the utterly unthinkable. Buehrle retired the first 17 Twins he faced on Tuesday night, before it finally all fell apart and he gave up five runs and five hits.

Despite the eventual unraveling, Buehrle set a major league record by sending down 45 consecutive batters. That’s 15 consecutive innings without allowing a baserunner. The previous record was 41, held by two players, including Buehrle’s teammate, Bobby Jenks (who did it in three-batter increments as a closer).

Mark Buehrle White Sox

Elsewhere around baseball, Ichiro did something he’d never done before — end a game with a hit. That’s right, none of his previous 1,952 hits were of the walk-off variety, by far the longest such active streak in baseball. To give you an idea, Alex Cora now holds the active record for most hits without a walk-off at 742.

Ichiro Suzuki Seattle Mariners

(”You know, maybe if you didn’t have Yuniesky Betancourt hitting in front of me for four years I would’ve done it once or twice.”)

It’s been a good year for the Dodgers, but things took a turn for the embarrassing when Mark Loretta had to come on to pitch with two outs in the eighth inning at L.A. trailing 10-0 to the Cardinals. Loretta was the first position player to pitch in a game for the Dodgers since 2004, and after drilling Matt Holliday with a fastball he got Ryan Ludwick to fly out to end the inning. In other words, he did way better than Chien-Ming Wang had done this year. The Yankees finally Old Yellered him and are sending him to have surgery that can’t possibly make him any worse. Wang’s future with the Yanks is in doubt, as the team must offer him at least $4 million to keep him next year or lose him to free agency.

Chien-Ming Wang  cheerleader

Jessica Simpson is no longer welcome in Tony Romo’s neighborhood. She’s taking the high road, though, by not asking Romo to give her back the boat she bought him.

• Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen isn’t anywhere near the man he used to be. He’s much less. 95 pounds worth, to be exact.

• Because everyone’s been asking for it, here are those long-awaited highlights of the touch football game played by NFL legends before Super Bowl X in 1976. If you’ve ever wanted to see Paul Hornung make a gay joke, watch a bunch of guys try and cop a feel on Phyllis George, and hear why Johnny Unitas likes to drive Pontiacs, look no further:

As you can see, Bill Murray and Christopher Guest had nowhere to go but up.

• OK, Jason Marquis has been pretty good this year, but the DENVER POST’s Mark Kiszla has to settle down. Kiszla says that because Marquis has been on a heater for 19 starts this year that he deserves a long-term contract from the Rockies. Because those other nine years Marquis pitched must have been some kind of aberration.

• BASKETBAWFUL wonders why it’s so hard to keep score of a pickup basketball game, despite using the theoretically easier 1-point/2-point scoring system.

• DEADSPIN has the strangest overreaction to the whole Erin Andrews mess that has been published so far.

• Yes, this is in fact Garth Brooks tossing a coin into his own face before an international soccer match (TMZ is covering something other than Michael Jackson these days):

Garth Brooks tossing coin into own face

Homeless man starts passing notes to Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. Penguins win Stanley Cup. Coincidence?

• The Cowboys will play at the Chiefs on October 11th in Kansas City, and the home team will be wearing a helmet with a big picture of Texas on it.

Vin Scully has announced that next season — his 61st as broadcaster for the Dodgers — will be his last.

• And just because we can, here’s some pictures of Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis getting ready to kiss each other:

Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis

Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis

McHale’s Move From Minny Tweeted With By Love

Kevin Love is the first one to tell, er, Tweet the world that Kevin McHale would be leaving the Timberwolves.

Kevin McHale Kevin Love Minnesota Timberwolves

• Now that’s what you call a road test fiesta! Thanks, Top Gear!

• Could Coach K depart Duke to land as head honcho for the Lakers?

Eddie Van Halen is very hot at Nike for ripping off his guitar to design their new shoes.

• The Stanley Cup takes a dip in Mario Lemieux’s pool.

Read more…

Will It Float? Stanley Cup Is The Life Of The Party

One of the great things about being the Stanley Cup is that you get to attend all the post-season parties every year, no matter who wins. Here we see the trophy at a victory pool party at Mario Lemieux’s house this past weekend. (Hey, the Cup is swimming naked!)

Pool party at Mario Lemeiux's house

I’m not quite sure just why the Stanley Cup is so popular at the conclusion of the season, while trophies for the Super Bowl and World Series never get close to the same attention. The Stanley Cup is like Benjamin Franklin in France during the American Revolution; impressing the men with his down-home charisma and charming the ladies with his inexplicable sex appeal (see below). Read more…

If Only Bea Arthur Had Gotten To Belichick Sooner

If only Bea Arthur, Mario Lemieux and Tony Fernandez had reached Bill Belichick sooner. Or was that Barry Bonds? Or Marion Jones?

Bea Arthur, Mario Lemieux, Tony Fernandez

PSAMP has a fine example of the kind of quality motion picture making we’ve come to expect from our friends north of the border, as Arthur, Lemieux and Fernandez star in a”Fair Play” PSA for a Canadian drugstore.

What country could possibly bring together those three entertainment titans, combined with forced dialogue, regrettable production value and a completely uninspiring message? (Video after the jump). Read more…

Sidney Crosby Is Not Selling You Encyclopedias

When it comes to surprises at your front door, Sidney Crosby showing up with your Pittsburgh Penguins season tickets is pretty good. Not Ed McMahon showing up with a Publisher’s Clearinghouse Check for one million dollars good. More like the pizza you ordered getting there 15 minutes early, AND they screwed up and made it large instead of medium.

Sidney Crosby

That’s what THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that Crosby, coach Michel Therrien and eight other players did on Wednesday as they went door-to-door delivering season tickets to 35 randomly chosen fans. It seems like a great publicity stunt, but knowing the financial peril the Penguins have recently been in, I think it’s more likely that this was a cost-cutting measure by the Penguins, cheaper than UPS.

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Brog: China Knows Who Real Star Of Oly Games Is

With all those great performances by Michael Phelps & Co., the Olympics sure have been exciting here stateside. And, thanks to a report out today by the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, you’ll be pleased to find out that Chinese citizens are getting a very, very similar buzz off The Games!

Michael Phelps Beijing Olympics

Jennifer Brett of the AJC notes that Coca-Cola executives at the Beijing Games “have been mobbed like rock stars at Coke’s pavilion on the Olympic Green. And after a recent promotional event at the “Olympic Green” sponsor pavilion, Beijing residents “surged forward for photos and autographs” with Coca-Cola China’s Beijing Olympic Project Group GM David Brooks.

Boy, it’s great to finally gain some keen insight into what has the Chinese so genuinely excited about their Olympiad. (And of course, that reportage by Ms. Brett has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Coca-Cola is based in Atlanta.)

Big news in sports radio today, as Sirius XM announced that Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who recently departed WFAN-AM’s long-running “Mike and The Mad Dog” show, is heading to the Sat Radio network.

Chris Mad Dog Russo picking his nose

Russo and Sirius XM President Scott Greenstein appeared on CNBC today to trumpet Russo getting his own channel on the net, called “Mad Dog Radio.” (Russo will take a $3M annual salary to do a daily show, while also hiring talent for the channel.)

RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank said Russo’s $3M annual salary “sounds like a big number, but in the grand scheme of things, … this is actually not that expensive.” CNBC’s Bill Griffeth told Russo, “You sold cheap.

Russo sold cheap? Then he’ll be right at home with Sirius XM stockholders.

While I guess having Russo on Sat Radio is good news for Sirius XM, the bad news is that at least one major U.S. automaker is already manufacturing internet-enabled cars.

Car Laptop

(My next cross-country drive to include mustard BBQ, “Mad Dog Radio”?)

From those cars you will be able to listen to thousands of radio shows for the cost of your internet service. I’m actually already doing it in my car, with my wifi-enabled laptop plugged into the cigarette lighter. I drove cross-country two months and didn’t miss any of my favorite radio shows.

That’s the real future of four-wheeled sports *radio* receivers. (Hope Mad Dog is getting paid in advance!)

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s Rick Morrissey writes today that female athletes who pose for nudie mags aren’t advancing the cause of women’s sports. Instead, they’re once proving that, “women’s bodies are commodities.

Amanda Beard PETA ad Chicago Tribune

That has the Olympic Village giving whole new meaning to “commodities exchange.

The WASHINGTON POST’s Dan Steinberg, in a recent online chat, wrote, “To me, it’s (the Olympics have) been dramatically less fun than Turin was.

Well that’s really an unfair comparison, as Turin is best known as the Atlantic City of Italy’s rust belt. Read more…

13-Year-Old Chooses Size-16 Skates Over Hoops

Thirteen-year-old Nate Miller crouches into the net at 6′3″, 180 lbs, to defend the net for the Junior Pens (who include Mario Lemieux’s son, Austin). His size-16 skates act as another set of blocking pads as he towers over his teammates and opponents and nearly looks the 6′4″ Mario in the eye. And yet he gave up baseball because it was cutting into hockey time.

Big kid goalie

Nate Miller simply loves hockey.

We can’t say we’re normally proponents of boys becoming singularly focused on a sport at a young age, only to develop a robotic reaction to the sport’s nuances and expose themselves to the repetition injuries that come from specialization at a ridiculously early age. For young Nate, though, we’re happy to make an exception for a specific reason.

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