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

DeWayne Wise Saves Perfect Game, Gets Booze

In the 134-season history of major league baseball in this country, there have been a total of 388,502 (and counting) attempts to pitch a perfect game; that is, there have been 194,251 games (and counting) and each game has presumably started with two opposing pitchers facing eah other. Of those 388,502 opportunities, only 18 of them have resulted in a perfect game. Put it this way - when you sit down at a bar or in your living room to watch a baseball game, there is only a .0093% - one nine-thousandth of one percent -  chance that the game you watch will result in an elusive perfect game.

Mark Buehrle DeWayne Wise Crown Royal XR 1

And yet, there I was last Thursday afternoon, sitting in my home office on Chicago’s north side watching Comcast SportsNet as Mark Buehrle inched ever closer to the near-impossible. At some point in the 7th inning, I hit the record button on the DVR remote…you know, just in case. By the end of the 8th inning, I was beginning to think it might actually happen. And then, in the 9th inning, Gabe Kapler hit a deep fly ball that seemed destined to bring everyone back to reality, when DeWayne Wise made the catch of the year that kept the perfection alive. Two short outs later, Buehrle had done the unthinkable, and I had the same thought in my head as millions of people across the country did later that evening as they saw the highlights - “dude, Buehrle owes Wise BIG-TIME.” So…what exactly is saving a perfect game worth, anyway?

Read more…

Week In Review: Witt Wants Winter Games in Ger.

• We’re keeping abreast of ex-figure skating champ Katarina Witt’s efforts to bring the 2018 Winter Olympics to Munich.

Katarina Witt

The IOC would have to be a bunch of boobs not to hear her out.

• New blood tests reveal that Steve McNair was probably passed out drunk when he was shot & killed by Sahel Kazemi.

• Can’t Michael Jordan go throught at least one round of golf without being bothered by a giant inflatable penis?

• Secret video of Jordan Crawford dunking on LeBron James is finally released - in two versions, even! The final review: Meh.

• ESPN doesn’t feel like making news about the rape allegations aimed at Ben Roethlisberger. Why not? The accuser seems newsworthy enough.

Read more…

Manny Belts Grand Slam On His Bobblehead Day

Manny Ramirez does his bobbleheads proud with a pinch-hit grand slam.

Manny Ramirez grand slam bobblehead

• But Minnesota Twins legend Harmon Killebrew isn’t so impressed.

Michael Vick supposedly spent his first day of freedom at a strip club with Allen Iverson. But the no-longer incarcerated QB denies such reports.

• The Cambridge cop accused of acting racist against Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was also the one who tried to revive Reggie Lewis after the Celtics player suffered a fatal heart attack.

• White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle hurls a perfect game, thanks to a great catch by Dwayne Wise. Guess Ozzie Guillen made the right move, after all.

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Guillen’s ‘Racism’ Saves Buehrle’s Perfect Game

Say, remember a couple days ago when White Sox fans were whipped up in a lather about Ozzie Guillen’s decision to demote Brian Anderson instead of DeWayne Wise in order to make room for Carlos Quentin? Remember how people had gone so far as to claim racism in emails to Guillen?

Mark Buehrle White Sox

(Believe it or not, that’s his happy face.)

Well, it turns out that was far more of a consequential decision than anybody could have imagined. Fast forward to today, and Wise - who, according to a commenter here at SbB, “can’t read a fly ball for anything,” was inserted in center in the 9th inning of Mark Buerhle’s developing perfect game for defensive purposes.

Drama ensued.

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Sorting Through The Baseball Playoff Situation

And so ends another baseball regular season (almost). A season that went down to the wire with a whole mess of games just finishing up that had playoff implications. In fact, let’s break down exactly what happened, and what will happen next.

Jim Mora Playoffs

(The playoff situation is still a bit unclear for Jim Mora)

In the National League, the last remaining spot was claimed by the Brewers in another amazing performance by C.C. Sabathia - can you just hand him the NL Cy Young yet? - pitching a 4-hit complete game, his rubber arm going 122 pitches. It’ll be the first appearance for the Brew Crew since 1982.

The Mets, meanwhile, continued their collapse by losing a home game to the Marlins 4-2, guaranteeing that, for the first time in God-knows-how-long, there will be no Fall baseball in the Big Apple. With everything now set, the Dodgers will travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs and the Brewers will head to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies. Both series start Wednesday.

The more complicated American League version of things after the jump:

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Artest Takes Cut For Title? “Not In A Million Years”

Brooks is punchy about partying over at the Playboy Mansion tonight.

• Is Ron Artest willing to give up a few bucks so he can gain an NBA title? “Not in a million years.”

Ron Artest NBA trophy

• A modeling agency wants to turn seven LPGAers into real lookers.

• Would it have been too much trouble for Mark Buehrle to pony up for Dad’s plane ticket so he could see his son’s 1,000th MLB career strikeout?

Jonathan Papelbon briefs us about the state of his stinky underwear.

Michael Strahan starts his network analyzing early, saying that ex-Giants teammate Jeremy Shockey has got to go.

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Millionaire Pitcher Mark Buehrle Cuts Off Father

The father of White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle has been on hand to witness many of his son’s career highlights. But Buehrle’s 1,000th career strikeout wasn’t one of them.

MArk Buehrle bag of money

Last night Buehrle, who signed a $56-million deal last year, achieved the accomplishment at Dodger Stadium. But his dad missed out on the moment because of “prohibitive” airfares. Read more…

Blog-O-Rama: Sac Kings Dance Team A Lot Of Fun

• WITH LEATHER gives a toast to the Sacramento Kings dance team:

Sacramento Kings dancers drinking

• JOE SPORTS FAN takes a look at the folks who would purposefully spend money to attend the Pro Bowl.

• THE SPORTS HERNIA briefs us on Roger Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin.

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