Speed Read: Manny Being Manny Being Ejected

The Manny Ramirez Traveling Salvation Show hit a snag last night in New York, thanks to an umpire with a hair trigger. Well, it’s hard to call anything about John Hirschbeck’s fifth-inning ejection of Ramirez “hair trigger,” since it took roughly 15 minutes seconds from when Hirschbeck rung Ramirez up on a called third strike to when he tossed Ramirez from the game for throwing his helmet, bat, elbow guard, cleats, socks and jock strap into the air in disgust.

Manny didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, since “I was playing only five innings, so I was leaving anyway.” Which came as news to Dodgers manager Joe Torre. Not that it mattered much - with Ramirez going 2 for 4 with three RBI and Clayton Kershaw throwing six shutout innings, the Dodgers cruised to an 8-0 win over the Mets. But it did give Los Angeles residents driven nutty by the Michael Jackson Circus a chance to remember the other, ridiculously overblown media circus in town.

If you are a college football fan who hates the current BCS system, you had reason to celebrate yesterday as Sen. Orrin Hatch ordered up a can of whoop-ass with a side of hash on the football elite during a congressional hearing about the college football playoff system, and the Senate cafeteria was all out of hash. Specifically, he said that “the Justice Department ought to be looking at this” because he believes the system violates antitrust laws.

(Play the BCS off, Keyboard Hatch.)

Which is great, until you realize that Hatch was the only member of the subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights to actually attend any significant portion of the hearing. But there were plenty of junior staffers there, fresh out of college and probably the only people outside of Hatch and Barack Obama who care about college football in Washington D.C.

Also, you have to understand that Hatch is from Utah, where the majority of the state is still steaming about the undefeated Utes being left out of the BCS Title Game last season, so there’s certainly an element of “playing it up for the home constituants” going on here. So you basically had Hatch grilling the President of Nebraska University, who was acting on behalf of the BCS Backers, which is kind of sad when you realize that Nebraska is roughly one zillion percent less likely to play in a BCS Title Game in our lifetimes than Utah.

Meanwhile, you might remember a small link we had yesterday about U.S. National Soccer Team midfielder Michael Bradley being suspended following a red card and subsequent confrontation with a referee at the end of the team’s shocking 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederations Cup. And it turns out that he will be suspended for three games, although it’s perhaps the weakest three-game suspension in sports history.

Michael Bradley

Ever get mad when a pitcher receives a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl, which only means that his next start gets pushed back one game? This one is even worse. FIFA has suspended Bradley for three games, all right - three games that he was never going to play in. The suspension will be served during the group play stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is convenient for Bradley since he’s not on the roster for the tournament.

Which means that Bradley will be available for the U.S. next game that matters, a World Cup qualifying match at Mexico on August 12. Somewhere in Mexico City, a Mexican senator is preparing a special committee hearing.

Other sports news that happened while you were fighting for the rights of busty mannequins everywhere, especially if they turn into Kim Catrall:

  • DEUCE OF DAVENPORT knows that the only thing better than Erik Estrada drunkenly butchering “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during a Cubs game is him giving an interview in the booth during the game that somehow works in child porn and Ron Jeremy. A master class in awkwardness in two parts: First the singing…
  • …and then the interview:

  • Lance Armstrong has moved to within a second of the yellow jersey after his Astana team cleaned up during a team stage during the Tour de France. Which I’m sure no one in America cares about, but it has to be irritating the French more than a canceled Jerry Lewis movie marathon, and that’s always a good thing.
  • When playing for Russian side CSKA three years ago, Yuri Zhirkov didn’t take the advice of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to learn English. Which is a problem, since Abramovich signed Zhirkov to a a huge deal on Monday, and the winger will have to deal with struggling to communicate with his teammates.
  • When GM Joe Dumars fired Michael Curry as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, he claimed that the team needed a more experienced hand at the helm. Which makes it curious why he eventually decided to give Cavaliers assistant John Kuester his first crack at an NBA head coaching job. Couldn’t have anything to do with both Doug Collins and Avery Johnson bailing from the gig? But Kuester has been a head coach at Boston…University, which is close to the Celtics, right?
  • Another depressing sign of the economic times: the NBA salary cap will decrease next year for only the second time in 26 years. The cap number next year is $57.7 million, down almost one million dollars from last year. So when Dwayne Wade lashes out at the Miami Heat for failing to land a big free agent again, they have a ready-made excuse.
  • Reports are circulating that Mike Krzyzewski is going to be coming back to coach Team USA at the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Because as he showed in Beijing, he clearly could handle coaching with limited talent.
  • If you had forgotten about it in the wake of the Michael Jackson Media Overload, just a gentle reminder about swine flu: IT’S GOING TO KILL US ALL! Swimmer Kate Ziegler had to pull out of the U.S. Nationals with swine flu, which is also sweeping through the World University Games in Belgrade. If Ron Weasley can’t use his Muggle magic to stave off the swine flu, no one is safe.
  • In case you were wondering if there was any bad blood between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir ahead of their heavyweight title unification rematch, CAGEWRITER answers with a resounding “yep” after watching the two trade barbs during the “Countdown to UFC 100″ on SPIKE. Also, Lesnar thinks the referee of the first match is an idiot, and really, really hates doors.

  • Meanwhile, if you were curious, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is still insane. He’s not crashing an SUV with his name and picture on it after a wild car chase this time, but SPORTS RUBBISH says he is dry humping unsuspecting reporters during interviews.

  • Interesting news about “aspiring rapper” Keith Norfleet, the ex-boyfriend of Sahel Kazemi. Not only was he the person who picked her up after she was popped for a DUI in Steve McNair’s car, but he also emailed a local newspaper the following: “Pretty interesting news about our golden boy McNair…You would be pretty amazed at the fact of who he was actually with, which I really don’t think his wife would like it too much either.”

Which story do you want to go away and never hear about again?

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Iverson Is Still Talkin Bout Practice, Still Not Going

Allen Iverson was none to pleased about having a Thanksgiving practice scheduled. But he calmly and maturely dealt with it the only way he knows how: he didn’t show.

Allen Iverson

(A rare sighting of the Practicus Aversus in its unnatural habitat.)

Yes, that’s right, we talkin’ bout practice again. It’s ironic because coach Michael Curry called the extra practice specifically because of the trade for Iverson: he’s concerned the team needs more time to gel. But while all but one of the Pistons showed up for the 9 a.m. session, Iverson was gellin’ like a felon, possibly on the couch with a Flintstone-sized drumstick in his hand, watching the Lions game. At least that’s how I like to think it went down.

Read more…

LeBron & Carmelo Are Big Fans Of Barry Manilow

LeBron James & Carmelo Anthony just can’t get enough Barry Manilow.

Carmelo Barry Manilow LeBron

And honestly, who really can?

• Beware, UCLA -  LenDale White is coming for your women.

• Tell ‘em all ‘Hookah!’ - Todd Marinvoich’s brother opens a smoke shop.

• The Jets finally outfox the Pats in Foxboro (or is it Foxborough?)

Read more…

SbB Clever Caption Contest: Curry Makes A Point

The weekend is only a few hours away. Which means you all have one last chance this week to take part in SbB’s Clever Caption Contest! Today, we bounce along this snapshot of Pistons coach Michael Curry:

Michael Curry Pistons coach

So, what’s Mike getting up (or gettin’ down) to? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section linked below. And since it’s Friday, today’s winner will be announced in the end-of-the-day recap not only in boldface, but also in ALL CAPS!

You can’t beat such an incentive. Good luck, and good typing!

Speed Read: Your MRI Machine Is Ready, Mr. Oden

Yup, Greg Oden hurt his foot less than three minutes into his first regular season game against the Lakers. That’s not a punchline to a joke, but the sad truth. He played through the first half before throwing in the towel. ESPN.COM reports that Oden suffered a mid-foot sprain, which sounds like a made up injury you would use to get out of work, but apparently you can get if you are made out of peanut brittle.

Greg Oden

Not that Oden was tearing the joint up. His stat line for the game: 0-4 from the field and five rebounds in 13 minutes.  Which puts him about on par with the rest of the Blazers, as they were thumped by Los Angeles 96-76. As for Oden…he has a trip to the MRI machine scheduled for later today, or as he calls it, “The Mother Ship.”

Derrick Rose

Having a much better NBA debut was Derrick Rose, who scored 11 points and had nine assists as the Bulls stuck it to their ex-coach Scott Skiles by beating the Bucks 108-95. Meanwhile, that clanging you heard in Boston was LeBron James rattling free throws all over the place against the Celtics. He missed four of eight free throws, all in the fourth quarter, and Cleveland fell 90-85.

Here’s some more of last night’s news, but be forewarned: Bud Selig says that he has the power to suspend this after six links.

Gary Danielson and Colt McCoy

  • CBS analyst Gary Danielson thinks that Texas runs a “junk offense” and that Georgia’s Matthew Stafford would be putting up Colt McCoy-type numbers in that offense, says the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. No SEC homerism there at all.
  • The man who saved the NBA during the lockout in 1999, according to the DETROIT NEWS? Not David Stern. Not Billy Hunter? Nope, it was Michael Curry.
  • Relax, says the DENTON RECORD-CHRONICLE: it turns out that those 15 North Texas football players tested positive for recreational drugs, not steroids. Which is great, because we wouldn’t want their run at an 0-12 season to be tainted.
  • The AP has a tip for Eli Manning - don’t let the defense read your lips when you call a play on fourth down. It kind of helps them know what to do.
  • The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS estimates that only 20,000 people will be on hand to see Stanford take on Washington State this Saturday, even though the Cardinal are 3-0 at home this year and fighting for a bowl berth.
  • Even after having beaten the Chargers in a thriller on Sunday, the NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE says that Saints coach Sean Payton was less than thrilled with the experience of playing in London.
  • The BOSTON GLOBE reports that Patriots’ nose tackle Vince Wilfork is going to be getting called to the Principal’s office - in this case NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell - for his blow to the head of Broncos’ QB Jay Cutler. Wait, I thought the Patriots were perfect schoolboys who never, ever committed any penalties?
  • Will the expansion Seattle Sounders get more from signing Swedish star Freddie Ljungberg than the LA Galaxy did from David Beckham? Arash Markashi of SI.COM thinks so.
  • Why would Isiah Thomas apparently continue to lie about his alleged sleeping pill overdose? The local police chief speculates to NEWSDAY it might be because of his contract. “If he takes drugs or whatever they may not owe him the $18 million. I have no idea.”
  • Remember when Joe Tiller said that Rich Rodriguez was a “snake oil salesman” after Purdue lost a big recruit to Michigan? The DETROIT FREE-PRESS says that there’s really no bad blood there. Really.

What will be Greg Oden’s next injury to knock him out of action?

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