9:00 PMLauren Hill, the Mount St. Joseph University women's basketball player with an inoperable brain tumor, has started the #Layup4Lauren challenge. The challenge is to spin around five times & shoot a layup with your non-dominant hand, or donate $10 to cancer research if you miss.
8:30 PM Despite a Facebook spat, the Allentown (PA) School Board has voted to name a football field after Andre Reed. But Reed's brother said the former Buffalo Bills receiver will not be attending Saturday's ceremony due to "all the negative press" surrounding Reed's Facebook-posted comments.
Some of the top current and former female golfers in the world, including Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Annika Sorenstam, have expressed serious reservations over the LPGA’s decision to stage an official tournament event in which the entire purse will be “imaginary.”
(Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel may skip ill-conceived tournament)
Randall Mell of The Golf Channel - via Geoff Shackelford - reported this week the details of the inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, which was created by new LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan “to honor the pioneers who founded the tour and to fund the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf Foundation. The event is scheduled March 18-20 in Phoenix as the first American event on this year’s schedule.”
Now for the weird part:
The unique tournament format will feature a $1.3 million “mock purse.” That money is all imaginary.Read more…
There was a time earlier this decade when Michelle Wie was labeled by some as the Next Big Thing in golf. Then, as she aged, she slowly progressed from phenom to curiosity to relatively unknown, if not forgotten. It can’t be easy spending one’s teenager-hood under the judgmental microscope of American sports media, but with very few exceptions, Wie handled the pressure and expectations just about as well as one could possibly expect.
(All growed up.)
Though the harsh spotlight has dimmed, the 19-year-old is still playing on the LPGA Tour. For all the talk of bust and wasted potential, she’s a respectable 16th on the tour money list with nearly $600,000 in winnings this season. She’s also a student at Stanford University who appears, like many college kids, to be growing up and discovering new talents and interests. Thankfully for the world, Wie is sharing those interests with the world via her new blog.
Remember when M. Night Shyamalan made good movies? And I’m not talking about the one with the kid seeing dead people. I’m talking about “Unbreakable”. That’s right, I’m the guy who liked that movie. I’ve stuck to my guns over the years on this on the off chance that the film enjoys a resurgence and I can take credit for being a fan all along.
(”One hundred and thirty one die. One survivor. He is unharmed.”)
But a new candidate for our generation’s David Dunn has emerged, and his name is “Punch”. At least, that’s the nickname former hockey coach Ernie McLean has gone by for most of his adult life. McLean coached at the major junior level for 16 years, and led the New Westminster Bruins to four Memorial Cup titles (that’s the biggest prize at that level of hockey).
(Punch once got lost in the pattern of this jacket for three days without food or shelter)
He’s also survived a number of incidents that would’ve killed most mere mortals. The latest came this week, when the 77-year-old endured five days and four nights lost in the wilderness in British Columbia when he fell into a crevice while prospecting for gold (they still do that?). With no food, and subsisting just on stream water, he spent entire days walking and eventually reached higher ground, where he was spotted by a helicopter search team.
Reed credited McLean’s legendary toughness, and a bit of luck, for his survival, noting McLean previously survived a plane crash in Saskatchewan, and walked out of the woods alive a few days later despite losing an eye and breaking several bones.
He’s also survived car accidents, being run over by a bulldozer and being stranded on a frozen lake in freezing conditions for several days.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure if you’ve wandered around without an eye for a few days that being a little wet in the forest isn’t going to really phase you. Perhaps McLean should ditch the gold prospecting in the deep wilderness and do something a little more acceptable for an old guy, like going to the golf course with a big net and fishing out Titleists. See if you can turn that into a weeklong “Blair Witch” debacle, Punch. (h/t to the PUCK DOCTORS)
(I guess being lost in nice scenery is better than being locked in a car trunk for a week)
Perhaps she should be more worried about her husband hanging out with teenagers, but it looks like Danica Patrick has made her decision about where she’ll be racing next year. And while jumping to NASCAR would provide unbelievable marketing opportunities and a much larger audience, both on TV and at the track, it appears that she’ll be hanging around with IndyCar for at least one more year. (I bet the new turbo button had something to do with it.)
(Maybe if she stopped holding the steering wheel like this, she’d win a race or two)
I suppose there’s not too much to be read into any of this. While Patrick visited several NASCAR teams during the year, it doesn’t sound like any real serious offers have been made for her services. Perhaps she’s using the news of her impending new deal with AGR as a last-ditch call for offers from the left-turn circuit. For now, her line of reasoning is, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Danica leaving IndyCar would be a huge blow for the series, to the point where viability would have to become a concern. There’s nothing wrong with Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Ryan Briscoe, but could you pick them out of a police lineup? Ratings are hockey-esque as it is, so removing the one bankable star would be a big problem. Would ABC even want to show races other than the Indy 500?
For now, that’s a question that doesn’t need to be asked.
• BASEBALL DIGEST wonders why the Mets acknowledged every other living member of the 1969 World Series championship team during a ceremony on Saturday night (even those that didn’t attend), but completely ignored second baseman Ken Boswell. Boswell played 102 games that year and spent eight years with the Mets, but reportedly didn’t even get an invitation to the celebration.
I was happy to see Michelle Wie methodically earn her LPGA Tour Card last weekend. We all know of the tribulations she’s gone through the past few years, and it was somewhat of a relief to see that Wie may well come out of it all the better. Miraculously and no thanks to her father, I might add.
Today I got an email from a friend who pointed me to the website of another so-called golf phenom named Brayden Bozak. My buddy had visited the site after being directed by a Google ad for it. (Yes, a four-year-old’s website about his golf game is being advertised on Google.)
The Colorado native Bozak, now four-years-old, has actually been known in media circles since he was two, with this as a typical report from WCBS-TV:
Brayden Bozak is not your typical 2-year-old golfer. With his daddy as his caddie, the only thing that matters to him is getting the ball in the hole.
“It’s amazing because he is still in diapers,” said Brayden’s father, Reid. “And the kid comes out and hits the ball, you know, 50 or 60 yards.”
While most kids his age are putting their parents through those terrible twos, Brayden’s got bigger plans. He wants to be Tiger Woods when he grows up.
You know, I was just thinking recently that Alex Rodriguez needs to do some more to endear himself to the rest of the country the way he has with the people of New York. It seems now that, in addition to not being a True Yankee, A-Rod is also not a True American as he’s allegedly decided to play for the Dominican Republic in March’s World Baseball Classic. He played for the U.S. in the 2006 WBC, but perhaps thinks that jumping ship might be the only way he sees a title of any kind in his career.
(Flipping countries. Rooting for Duke. Seriously, what’s not to like about A-Rod?)
None of this is a done deal yet, as the only source of this info seems to be YAHOO! SPORTS’ Gordon Edes, who says Big Papi told him that A-Rod has chosen to play for the D.R. and will make an official announcement soon. And last time, he wavered between playing for the D.R., then the U.S., then not at all, then back to the U.S.
This isn’t totally egregious (like Chris Kaman playing for Germany in the Olympics), as other players chose to play for their countries of heritage rather than their birthplace in the last WBC, but none of those guys were good enough to be chosen to play for the U.S. team (except maybe Mike Piazza, who played for Italy). A-Rod is one of the best players in the world, and while he did live in the D.R. for a while as a kid, he was born in New York City and went to high school in Miami. Luckily, Americans are totally reasonable about nationalism. I’m sure U.S. fans will greet him very warmly if the two teams meet up.
Remember when it looked like Louisville might be a football dynasty in the making? We can pretty much put that to rest. The Cards simply forgot to show up last night and got rolled by Rutgers, 63-14. With the loss, Louisville finishes 1-6 in Big East play and misses a bowl game for the second straight year. Meanwhile, Rutgers has risen from the dead and looks like one of the best offensive teams in the country all of a sudden. Quarterback Mike Teel, who was smacking teammates earlier in the season in the midst of the team’s 1-5 start, threw six touchdown passes in the first half as the Scarlet Knights built a 49-0 halftime lead. Louisville was so bad they had to resort to tackling RU players by the hair:
I forgot that the Raiders and Chargers were playing on the NFL NETWORK last night, and by the time I turned it on it was already 24-0 in the second quarter. San Diego cruised to a 34-7 win. Oakland’s only points came on a kickoff return at the end of the first half. Good to see the Raiders are back after that inexplicable win over Denver a couple weeks ago. As for the Chargers, it looks like too little, too late. The Bolts have to win out (including a win over the Broncos) and hope Denver loses every game. And the Broncos are playing the Chiefs this weekend. Not looking good.
With the ACC-Big Ten thing over with, college basketball now turns its attention to the awkwardly-named Pac 10-Big 12 Hardwood Series, which saw both L.A. teams go down on the road. UCLA fell to Texas, 68-64, while USC squandered a late comeback bid and lost to Oklahoma, 73-72. I gotta say, though — I like Blake Griffin and think he’s a stud, but he’s already getting the superstar treatment from the officials and it’s only December 4th. Although, Griffin did get elbowed in the nads by USC’s Leonard Washington during the game, which was a pretty legitmate foul. See for yourself:
• The BOSTON HERALD tells us about a high school football player in Massachusetts who dropped out of school, then returned for a fifth year to play football and graduate. He’s been ruled ineligible because the state’s rules say that a player beyond a fourth year of school can’t play. The guy’s only been in seven plays all year, but his team may have to vacate it’s league and potential state title (provided they win this weekend). Of course, there’s all sorts of legal challenges going on. The lesson here: don’t try to better yourself by returning to school.
• The last time the Bills played in Toronto, during the preseason, thousands of tickets went unsold and had to be given away. NATIONAL POST says that this weekend’s game at the Rogers Centre is finally sold out, but the fact it took so long is not exactly what the Bills and the NFL were looking for in this whole Canada experiment.
• So far, it appears as if Michelle Wie is actually going to qualify for the LPGA tour. She’s tied for the lead after 2 rounds of Q-school, and only has to finish in the top 20 to earn a tour card. So, it’ll be like, an actual accomplishment. In golf.
The Wizards star says the doctoral slicing & dicing will cause him to miss training camp, the preseason and the first part of the regular season - meaning he won’t be on court until at least December. This will be surgery #3 for Gilbert’s left knee, but you know what they say - the third time’s the charm. If anything, the recovery process should give him plenty of time to stay more current on his blog.
(The Red Sox’s rotten play on Wednesday pains Mike Lowell [L])
The rest of the MLB playoff picture made little change from yesterday - the Mets, Phillies & Brewers all won to keep the NL East & NL wild card chases the same status quo, while the White Sox & Twins both tumbled to keep the AL Central centered on a 2 1/2 game separation.
It seemed strange that Louisville & Kansas State faced off on ESPN on a Wednesday night. Rather than the usual Thursday night college football coverage, the Cardinals & Wildcats clawed it out in a TV slot usually reserved for a matchup between MAC schools (Ball State-Eastern Michigan, anyone?). So, why the weird Wednesday scheduling?
All was explained when Mike Tirico paid a mid-game visit to the broadcast booth at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium - the move was made to help the Worldwide Leader further promote their Ryder Cup coverage. ESPN is set to televise Thursday’s Opening Ceremonies and will continue Cup coverage through the weekend. And where’s this year’s Ryder tourney? The Valhalla Golf Club, right in Louisville, Kentucky. Now that’s what I call corporate synergy!
• The ASSOCIATED PRESS passes along the revelation that when Tony Romo plays at Green Bay this weekend, the Wisconsin-bred QB will be stepping onto the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field for only the third time in his life.