Speed Read: College Class Lets Rickey Be Rickey

Rickey Henderson’s upcoming speech after his Baseball Hall of Fame induction on Sunday has the potential to be almost as awesome as a dinosaur fighting a squid and a whale. After all, this is someone who used to scream “Rickey is the best!” while standing naked in front of a mirror in the clubhouse taking practice swings. Who used called Padres GM Kevin Towers searching for a job and left the following message: “Kevin, this is Rickey. Calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.” And of course, who after breaking Lou Brock’s stolen base record, got on the mic and said “Lou Brock was the symbol of great base stealing. But today, I’m the greatest of all time.”

Rickey Henderson

So imagine him getting to give a whole speech dedicated to the matter of his greatness? It’s staggering to think what might come out of his mouth. It’s like taking Mel Gibson out for a night of drinking and then asking him about Jews. But the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS reports that Henderson is attempting to refine his speech, and some lucky college students at Laney College in the Bay Area are getting to help. For the past several weeks, he’s been practicing his speech in front of a public speaking class and receiving critiques from the students.

Rickey Henderson

The teacher is former major leaguer Earl Robinson, who offered Henderson his help because even Henderson can admit that he needs it:

“Speech and me don’t get along sometimes,” he said. “I’m not a doctor or professor, so for me to go and write a speech or read a speech, it’s kind of like putting a tie too tight around my neck.”

Usually, it’s hard to accuse Rickey Henderson of an understatement, but to say that he and speech “don’t get along sometimes” is like saying Madonna’s face is starting to look “kind of weird.” So where does this leave us for Sunday? Because let’s face facts: it would be tragic if his speech was too good.  But it appears that there’s no need to worry, as Robinson assures people that the speech is still all Rickey:

“He’s going to say what he feels,” he said. “How they interpret it, we’ll see. When he throws something out there, whatever else you hear in terms of him being critical of this or that, he overpowers you with the sincerity of his words.

“Like I finally said to him, just do the best you can. Let Rickey be Rickey.”

Manny Ramirez grand slam bobblehead

Yesterday we told you about how Manny Ramirez hit a game-winning grand slam on Manny Ramirez Bobblehead Night into the Mannywood section of seats. And for many people in Southern California, it’s probably a good thing that we did, because they sure didn’t get a chance to watch it on TV. That’s because, as the LOS ANGELES TIMES points out, Time Warner Cable customers missed the homer thanks to a roughly one minute service outage. Whoops!

One minute, viewers were watching the game. Then, they saw a frozen screen followed by back-to-back commercials, only to come back to Ramirez taking a curtain call because…something happened. Not that Time Warner cares about the dozens of angry e-mails and phone calls. I mean, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Time Warner spokesman Darryl Ryan said that what occurred was “an inadvertent glitch.” He said it affected a “small number” of customers on L.A.’s Westside and the western San Fernando Valley. And, as if this will matter to that “small number” of customers, “it only took them away from the game for 54 seconds,” Ryan said.

Hey, it least you didn’t have the Super Bowl climax replaced by a porn scene. Or, perhaps it’s too bad that you didn’t, depending on if your wife is in the room.

Finally, are you ready for a sitcom called “Jock Itch”? If you said yes, then Dolphins CB Nathan Jones is your kind of man. (Also, if you said yes, please resume beating yourself over the head with a mallet.)  Jones is executive producing the show, which he describes as “really ‘Friday Night Lights meets ‘Friends’.” Which I assume means that there will be a ton of cute talking, but no one will watch. Still, it’s an open audition if you’re interested.

  • POLITICO says former Bengals and Buccaneers head coach Sam Wyche is mulling a run for Congress as a Republican in his native South Carolina. I’m sure he’ll be ahead in the polls until Joe Montana’s last-minute entry into the race throws everything crazy.
  • Sam Wyche

  • YES Network’s choice for a “Yankee Classic” to air this weekend? Not one of their 26 World Series-clinching victories, or even a great game by Rickey Henderson. Nope, it’s their 9-8 win over the Mets from June 12, aka the Luis Castillo dropped ball game. All I know is that Tony Bernazard is ready to cut someone at the YES Network.
  • The guy who accused Marvin Harrison of shooting him has managed to get shot again. This time Dwight Dixon is in critical condition in a Philadelphia hospital, with Harrison nowhere in sight.
  • Really, is anyone surprised that Rickey Williams is studying New Age medicine as his post-football career? At least I know who I can turn to in order to get a prescription for my “glaucoma.”
  • CURBED LA says that one of the few people who stands to benefit from the California budget deal is billionaire Ed Roski, since his NFL stadium plan for the City of Industry happens to be right next to a proposed “redevelopment area.”
  • What is former MLB Troy Neel’s punishment for being the “most egregious child-support evader in Texas history” after fleeing the country for ten years in order to avoid paying more than $750,000 in support? Two years of probation. What ever happened to “Texas-style justice”?
  • The roster for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Hollywood Stars celebrity game has been announced. With names such as Larry King, Tom Arnold, Tom Green and former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp, it’s a veritable Who’s Who of celebrities I’d like to see take a fastball to the temple, Ray Chapman-style.
  • Headline of the Day: Kobe Advises Taiwan’s Wang to be Patient”. And for God’s sake, don’t stay at any hotels in Colorado.
  • Is there anything more dangerous than a drunk Bison? North Dakota State’s football team is dealing with its fourth player to be arrested in the past six months on DUI charges. Not to be outdone, a University of North Dakota hockey player gets suspended for drunkenly throwing so much stuff from a garage onto a road - including a lawn mower, kitchen table and glassware - that the street had to be closed for clean-up.
  • The police car footage from Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido’s January DWI arrest has been made public, and offers many tips on what not to do if you’ve been pulled over after having “five glasses of wine.” Such as: tell the cop you are drunk, and volunteer that a DWI will ruin your career.

Seriously: who would you most want to see take a screaming line drive in the crotch?

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College Point Guard Scores 60 Points In A Loss

In general, we try to mix things up among the sports here, but occasionally there are bizarre story lines so compelling you feel like you have to write about college basketball or football for a couple of hours. Stories like a college basketball player at an obscure state university dropping 60 points on an opponent on a neutral court … and watching his team lose the game.

ben woodside

(Yup. That’s your 60 point scorer on the right.)

That’s exactly what happened Friday night at Drake University’s Hy-Vee Classic (random aside: Drake University deserves to host a college basketball classic? Are we sure? The only classic things we can connect with Drake are bad coffee cakes and a Seinfeld episode), where North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside scored an even 60 points in the Bisons’ 112-111, triple-overtime loss to similar obscure state school Stephen F. Austin (that’s in Nachodoches, Texas, for those who might be curious). See, these are the schools you play with when Drake hosts a “classic”, even though this ended up being incredibly compelling.

Read more…

North Dakota State No-Hitter Leads To No-Winner

North Dakota State athletics have had a pretty good year so far. Their football team, in the lesser Championship Subdivision, won games at two FBS schools (Minnesota, Central Michigan) and their basketball team won a game at then-9th-ranked Marquette. And now their baseball team threw a combined no-hitter against Creighton University yesterday! Just one problem:

North Dakota State baseball loses despite no-hitter

No hitting of their own, and too many walks. NDSU was swept in a double-header in Omaha, but the real story was that first game. The two runs came naught off hits, but rather pitcher Chad Berg’s four walks and hit-by-pitch in the first inning. Chris Paterson relieved Berg in the second inning to finish the game, allowing no hits of his own. Read more…

Minnesota Gophers Points System Determines Season Tickets For New Football Stadium

STAY AT THE SUPER 8 AND YOUR NEXT 1-AA LOSS IS ON US! The ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS reports today the University of Minnesota (UM) is using some sort of points system to determine priority for football seating at the school’s new, open-air 50,000-seat TCF Stadium.

Minnesota Football

“Gopher Points” are accrued on “season-ticket purchasing history and financial contributions to the stadium.” The fans with the most points win the right to watch the U. lose to I-AA teams while freezing to death beginning in 2009, when the ballpark open. UM claims sales of 35,000 season tickets so far.

Football Flask

Sounds like the price of silver is due to jump in about 18 months.

Dairy Queen to Sponsor Stadium Club at New U of Minnesota Football Stadium

DAIRY QUEEN TO HELP SPONSOR NEW MINNESOTA STADIUM: In the land of Dairy Queen, they treat Minnesota Gophers football right:

Dairy Queen Goldy Gopher Minnesota

MY FOX TWIN CITIES reports that the ice cream corporation has signed a $2.5 million deal to put its name on the new stadium’s clubroom.The MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL chimes in that as part of the deal, DQ will also have scoreboard ads and a suite at the new TCF Bank Stadium. The $288 Million on-campus facility is scheduled to open in 2009.

It makes sense that the soft-serve seller would sponsor such a soft-served team:

North Dakota State Minnesota

The MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE adds that the new stadium will also have a veterans memorial located in the main plaza, as a tribute to America’s fighting forces, and in recognition of the Gophers’ previous on-campus field, Memorial Stadium.For a further salute to the military, Minnesota plans to play its first game in its new home against either Army, Navy or Air Force.