Speed Read: Pics Of Gatti’s Wife, Murder Weapons

We mentioned this weekend that former champion boxer Arturo Gatti’s wife Amanda Rodrigues was being held in connection with his death while the couple were on a second honeymoon. While it’s up to Brazilian prosecutors to file the actual murder charges, the police seem pretty sure that Rodrigues is guilty - sure enough to declare that it “technically impossible” for someone else to have been in the room when Gatti was killed, and as YOU BEEN BLINDED has visual evidence of, showcase the bloody strap and knife they say Rodrigues used to kill her husband.

Amanda Rodrigues

We’re also learning more about Rodrigues, like the fact that she’s a 23-year-old former stripper - in fact, they met at an “exotic” club in Brazil. (And I don’t want to know how “exotic” things can get in a Brazilian strip club - I just hope that jaguars aren’t involved.) And she had received a restraining order against him earlier this year that required him to stay 200 meters away from her and quit drinking.

Needless to say, while this is a tragedy, perhaps it’s not a shock. After all, Gatti’s sister is claiming that Rodrigues had planned to murder him and was only in it for the money. Meanwhile, Rodrigues’ lawyers are apparently going to claim that she is “too skinny” to have strangled Gatti to death. Which would make sense if they claim he was conscious when this happened, not passed out after a night of drinking (and possibly getting stabbed in the back of the head).

In less messy and horrific news, you may think the Home Run Derby is at best a pointless exhibition that tarnishes baseball by reducing it to its basest level (MASH BALL HARD) while ignoring the subtleties the make the game so enjoyable. You many even possibly consider it a major factor in the rise of the Steroid Era. Or, you might just enjoy seeing some of the game’s biggest names blast the living bejeezus out of the ball while drinking enough to ignore the infernal booth combo that is Chris Berman and Steve Phillips.

Prince Fielder

While last night’s edition at Busch Stadium didn’t have the transcendent moments of, say, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hitting rubber baseballs with Flubber cores out of Fenway Park, or Josh Hamilton hitting 500 home runs in one round, it was entertaining enough. And while the hometown crowd might have been disappointed with their hero Albert Pujols bowing out in the semifinals, they seemed to enjoy the show that Prince Fielder put on in winning the event.

Maybe the newly vegetarian Fielder was following Pujols’ lead from when the Cardinals slugger blew out the “i” in the “Big Mac Land” sign in the Busch Stadium outfield deck earlier this season - with his goal to bring the whole sign down to punish McDonald’s for their carnivore ways. No matter what the reason, Fielder had enough in the tank to hold off Nelson Cruz (again, I said “some” of the game’s biggest names) in the finals after bombing an event-best 503-foot blast in the semis.

And then there was poor Brandon Inge, who had been so excited to be a part of the Home Run Derby that he said it was bigger than actually making his first All-Star team. I’m guessing he didn’t feel the same way after becoming the first batter since Jason Bay in 2005 to take a donut in the first round - or as my friends used to call it, “Posting a Piazza” (named after Mike Piazza, who went 0-for-his career with blanks in 1993 and 1994).

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers might be ready to make a move that could either turn them into playoff contenders or…OK, let’s be honest, it’s not possible to ruin the Clippers, so what harm could come from Allen Iverson joining the team? Marcus Camby played with A.I. in Denver, and he’s on board with the idea, with PRO BASKETBALL NEWS saying that he’s willing to help recruit Iverson to the team. Even Eric Gordon is OK with it, even if that means losing playing time in a backcourt with Iverson and Baron Davis.

Allen Iverson

The one person not too hip on Allen Iverson right now in Los Angeles seems to be Ron Artest, whose opinion doesn’t matter too much since he’s now playing for the Lakers. Plus, he’s totally nuts. But his Tweet that Iverson is “missing more shots than Muhammad Ali with a sniper rifle” is pretty damned good.

Still, Iverson could provide the veteran leadership and role model that Blake Griffin could use as he establishes himself in the NBA - and he might be a force, based on his NBA Summer League debut of 27 points and 12 rebounds versus the Lakers yesterday. Except for that whole “practice” thing.

More sports news as you ponder if the Tour of Germany will get more interest now that a German brothel is offering discounts for bicyclists:

  • Have you seen Terrell Owens’ ad for his reality show where he’s “artfully” posing nude? EXAMINER.COM has, and it’s “tastefully” making me want to be sick.
  • Nude Terrell Owens

  • Hey kids, want to spend money to get football lessons from Andre Rison? After all, he told the ALTOONA MIRROR that he’ll spend the second day showing you his highlights so he can “really let them know, in my eyes, I was the best to ever play the game.” And parents, if you think Andre Rison is a good role model, I’m coming to your house with Child Protective Services.
  • As usual, more chaos coming from the Oakland Raiders: PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that they’ve cut sixth-round draft pick Stryker Sulak before even signing him to a contract, which a league source says he’s “never seen happen before.” Meanwhile, Raiders blog JUST BLOG BABY thinks that PFT is making a big deal out of nothing.
  • I didn’t mention the Celebrity Softball game that was part of the MLB All-Star festivities. I’ll just show you the final out, where Ashanti managed to make the type of play to end the game that makes coed softball a nightmare for most guys. She should consider herself lucky that Bob Knight didn’t piledrive her at first:

  • David Beckham swears that his spat with Landon Donovan is a thing of the past as Golden Balls returns to practice with the Los Angeles Galaxy. In related news, Landon Donovan was found dead in his Home Depot Center dressing room, with a six-inch stilleto heel in his eyeball as Victoria Beckham was seen leaving.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks want to thank GM Dale Tallon for putting together a team that got to the Western Conference finals this season - by giving him a severance check and making sure the door doesn’t hit his butt on the way out the door. Reports says that assistant GM Stan Bowman will replace him.
  • USA TODAY says that the NFL could lead the fight to stop Delaware from legalizing sports gambling. Looks like Dover’s shot at getting an expansion team just went out the window.
  • Former Tennessee Titans player and HS football coach Reed Diehl has pleaded guilty to defrauding nine people of more than $5 million in a fradulent loan program scam.
  • If anyone is interested in an 34-year-old quarterback who was never really that great in his prime, please call Brian Griese - he’s available after being cut by the Bucs.
  • Former MLBer Billy Koch has been arrested after a 2 a.m. altercation with his next-door neighbor. The ironic part? The neighbor had grabbed a baseball bat in an unsuccessful attempt to defend himself.

Which division-leading team at the All-Star break won’t make the playoffs?

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Lasorda Can’t Fathom That Piazza Took Steroids

When it comes to anything Dodgers related, everyone should know to take anything Tommy Lasorda says with a grain of salt - in his mind, the team has never done anything wrong, ever. And when you’re talking about Mike Piazza, we’re talking about massive quantities of salt. Enough to make the Great Salt Lake look like a small pond. So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that, as the LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS reports, Lasorda is incredulous about accusations in a new book that Piazza took steroids.

Tommy Lasorda and Mike Piazza

SI writer Jeff Pearlman’s new book “The Rocket That Fell To Earth” is primarily about Roger Clemens, but it also touches on several other stars and steroid use, including Piazza. Along with anonymous sources, former major leaguer Reggie Jefferson goes on record in the book claiming that Piazza’s steroid use was hardly a secret:

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Claim: Piazza’s ‘Backne’ Followed Steroid Testing

When I read the headline in the NEWARK STAR-LEDGER “Chass Speculates on Piazza Rumors,” I naturally assumed it would be about…you know…those rumors. But it turns out that the former NEW YORK TIMES writer and Baseball Hall of Famer/old crank Murray Chass had something less prurient but miles more disgusting on his mind when writing for his blog than Mike Piazza’s sexual orientation: he spent more than 1,000 words ruminating on Piazza’s acne-covered back.

Mike Piazza

Or at least what used to be his acne-covered back, because Chass claims that once steroid testing started in 2004, Piazza’s “backne” mysteriously cleared up. Not that Chass was spending a lot of time inspecting the bare backs of baseball players in the clubhouse. The bare, chiselled, glistening with sweat backs of players…where was I?

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Speed Read: Terrell Owens Released Into the Wild

The Worldwide Leader dropped the bomb around midnight that Terrell Owens, whose given name could be Mercurial T. Owens, has been let go by the Dallas Cowboys. Clearly, anticipated chemistry issues with Jon Kitna forced the move. Kitna is on the record as preferring Sweet’n'Low while Owens is all about the Equal.

Jerry Jones Terrell Owens

(”Ha ha ha ha… pack your stuff.”)

On SportsCenter last night, ESPN’s Michael Smith reported there would be significant financial penalties for the Cowboys to cut Owens as much of his 4-year, $34 million contract signed less than a year ago is guaranteed cash. We hope this means Owens will continue to have at least twenty million reasons to come back to camp this summer.

Terrell Owens and Candace Cabrera

(Note to ESPN: Neil Everett is monumentally awful at ad-libbing. Never tell us how cool it is to be the one on the dais when news breaks. When a big story hits, break the glass on Bob Ley.  Surprisingly good: Stuart Scott. Also, how did Ed Werder not break this story?)

(Note 2 to ESPN: Please remind Keyshawn Johnson that Charlie Manson comparisons may be a bit dated, not to mention a little racy.)

LeBron James

In brighter news, the Cleveland Cavaliers claimed the first musical chair in the Longines Symphonette that is the NBA playoffs with a 91-73 triumph at home against Milwaukee. The Cavaliers move to 48-12, which is exactly how LeBron James hopes his Knicks career starts in two years.  (We kid, Cleveland, we kid.)

LeBron posted a silent but deadly 23-8-4 on 7-of-11 shooting Wednesday night.  Unfortunately, his most offensive move isn’t necessarily the one he unleashes on the court:

On the other end of the spectrum, Shaquille O’Neal has been letting everyone know that his excrement does not emit a malignant odor. First, he somehow thought he could pull off the Divac Dive against DwightTime Warner Intellectual Property HereHoward.

 

Then, when the Van Gundy with the honest living fussed about the sad little move, there was a Shaqhissy, captured on Miami’s 790 THE TICKET by Jorge Sedano and reproduced below in the popular MP3 format:

None of this, of course, helped the Suns win in Orlando or Miami. The Suns dropped their second Florida game in the “He Hate Me” series of former O’Neal teams last night in Miami, 135-129. No defense in here anywhere.

Shaq with Renaissance Faire groupies

(Perhaps the only men left who will fight for Shaq’s honor)

We feel compelled to note again that Shaq’s a complicated fellow. We recently saw him encourage his kids post-game to say hello to a fragile 7′ 6″ teen that sat near courtside after being featured on the local news the previous night. This was done under the stands with little fanfare, maybe a few dozen witnesses and none from the media.

When his young son was too shy to do so and tried to hide under Dad’s massive jacket, Shaq gently insisted until his son shook the adolescent hand. Shaq could relate to the teen’s condition better than nearly anyone on the planet and made sure that young man felt welcome. Also, Shaq showed his own son the importance of graciousness.

Shaq makes that gesture damned near every day of his life, often without credit. He’s also the same man that made the comments to the media above. He may have been compared to a meteorite by this author yesterday, but not in the most important way: Shaquille O’Neal is a force of nature. Try to comprehend him at your own risk.

Same for Terrell Owens. Same for LeBron James. Maybe not so much for Jon Kitna.

And now the proverbial hail of bullet points while saving a parking spot with your life

Where will Terrell Owens go next?

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Joe Torre: I Hope Gay Players Will Come Out Now

Joe Torre’s been taking plenty of heat for his tell-all “The Yankee Years”, and his role in other books, for that matter, but one of the things that came out of his inevitable media slobbing to tout the tome was a rather noble gesture, and one that, to the best of our knowledge, hasn’t been taken up by any other notable sports celebrities: He’s advocating gay players come out of the closet.

joe torre book gab

When Torre was on LARRY KING LIVE, one viewer wrote in asking if he saw a time in the future where gay players, like Billy Bean, wouldn’t have to wait until retiring to come out of the closet. Torre’s answer was pretty unequivocal, and unwavering: He hopes they can already.

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Notes From the Manny-Dodgers Honeymoon Phase

Last night I had the pleasure of taking in the Dodgers-Diamondbacks sporting contest in the cool night air of Chavez Ravine. A very, very brief summary of the event: All of the Dodgers fans want to have Manny’s babies!

Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers, in love

Seeing as it’s only Manny’s 2nd game in Dodger Blue, the fans are still in what armchair psychologists refer to as “the Honeymoon Phase” of the relationship.

According to Wikipedia, this is “the phase early in a long-term relationship characterized by greater than typical joy and lesser than typical friction. Usually during this time there is much more physical contact between the two partners in the relationship.” In other words, the place went nuts when he knocked out his first home run as a Dodger.

A partial analysis of the rest of the evening after the jump.

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Blog-O-Rama: NFL Owners Declare CBA Now DOA

• PRO FOOTBALL TALK tallies the votes on the CBA, and the NFL owners unanimously decide to make it DOA.

NFL logo collage

Such news could soon mean job cuts at the NFL Network. It’s a good thing Bryant Gumbel already left early.

• THE WIZARD OF ODDS finds Pete Carroll touring the USC campus & asking people if they know who he is.

• WITH LEATHER argues that if interleague play ain’t broke, why fix it?

• DEADSPIN bids a fabulous fond farewell to Mike Piazza.

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Cora To Jail, Gasol To L.A., Pats To Patent Office

SbB hopes everyone had a happy and healthy Groundhog Eve.

Alex Cora is heading to jail due to a DUI in 1999.

SbB Girls Alex & Cora

(SbB Girls Alex [L] & Cora [R])

Personally, we find our own Alex (&) Cora much more arresting.

Pau Gasol motors out of Memphis for La-La-Land.

Bill to have twice the fun with both Beli-Chicks attending the Super Bowl.

• The Patriots are going after the perfect trademark.

• But if the Giants somehow win on Sunday, shouldn’t the victory parade be in Jersey?

Michael Wilbon receives a special get-well message - from Jeff George.

Jeff George Michael Wilbon

Mike Piazza’s dad had to sadly sell off one of his family’s treasures - ownership in a strip club.

• It’s a relief to draw up Osi Umenyiora in Etch-A-Sketch form.

Tom Brady’s personal barber says he did him on Tuesday.

• ESPN anchor is sorry for saying “wife-beater” on-air. Chris Berman is enraged.

This Is A Dark Day In The Life Of Tommy Lasorda

Remember the old story about how Mike Piazza was drafted by the Dodgers in the 62nd round? Piazza’s father Vince was close friends with Tommy Lasorda, and the former Dodgers manager had the selection made as a favor to Senior Piazza.

Lasorda Vince Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza has since gone on to fame and glory in baseball, along with marrying a nudie model (nothing wrong with that). And we now know waaay too much about the financially-transacted sexual proclivities of Mr. Lasorda.

What we didn’t know was the real story of Vince Piazza, until today. Read more…

Jerry Springer Sponsoring NASCAR Car; Mike Piazza’s Latest Girlfriend

• BRANDWEEK reports “The Jerry Springer Show” is sponsoring a car on NASCAR’s Winston West Circuit. The *show* is a 12-week associate sponsor of the No. 85 Monaco Chevy of driver Kevin Richards.

Mike Piazza tells PLAYBOY that his GF du jour is actress/model Alicia Rickter:

In a recent interview with the mag, Piazza claims he confesses to a priest after each of his sexual encounters. Piazza - no joke - also offers this newsbreaker: “I’m not gay.”