Speed Read: Washing Our Hands of the Swine Flu

The discerning reader prefers the news (and most foods) wrapped in bacon and liberally salted with panic. Therefore, we provide your Thursday morning sports-centric swine flu stories to better arm you at the water cooler to pass along the latest gossip mumbled through your faux designer mask:

Swine flu (or pigs fly)

Whew. That’s a lot of abject terror sensible precaution for one morning. Please add any additional sports-related swine flu stories to the comments below so the few remaining survivors have a record of these final days.

Thankfully, our few remaining moments left as a functional species can be well-represented by the following people tellin’ it like it is and keepin’ it real with the kids, assuming your kids take Don Rickles’ routine at face value:

Geno Auriemma

Fire truck at Comerica Park

(Emergency vehicle sized appropriately to emergency)

Finally, a false alarm (possibly a fire alarm) in the eighth inning could not shake the New York Yankees from barely holding onto a 8-6 lead at Comerica Park over the Detroit Tigers last night despite holding a 7-1 advantage late in the contest. As Joe Girardi put it, “In this day and age, that’s a little scary.”

Heck, Joe … in this day and age, what isn’t?

And now a hail of bullet points caused by two heroin-slingin’ senior citizen sisters (though you can’t fault them for looking for a new retirement plan these days) …

What’s your favorite pandemic?

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Speed Read: Ex-Buc Rice Rips “Scumbag” Gruden

I’m making a list of people who still like former Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden. John Daly is one, since he needs all the friends he can get these days. And I’m sure his mother is still very proud of him. After that…it gets pretty dicey. Almost immediately after he was fired by Tampa Bay, his former players lined up to take shots at him. Michael Clayton labeled Gruden “a turncoat while Jeff Garcia said the team needed a change” from Gruden.

The Punchable Faces of Jon Gruden

Now you can add Simeon Rice to the list of players lining up to rip Gruden, and the former Bucs Pro Bowler isn’t pulling any punches. In an interview with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan on Sirius NFL Radio, Rice went off on Gruden, running down a laundry list of players who hate him, and shredding his character like a rat going through an old stack of magazines in your garage:

Simeon Rice

“How I feel personally? I could tell you that, too. I think he’s a scumbag,” Rice said. “I think he’s a scumbag personally. That’s when he’s telling you one thing and… You know what he told me? ‘Simeon you’ll be here in the next five years.’ I got injured [and] this man’s never said one word to me. I won a Super Bowl for you. I got 13 sacks, 12, 15 every year for you. I balled. I got injured [and] you let me go like it was nothing.”

Now, to be fair, Rice had a grand total of one sack in 2007 after being cut by the Buccaneers and didn’t play last year, so it’s not like Rice showed Gruden what a horrible mistake he made by letting him go. But judging by the stories that keep coming out, releasing an injured player who helped you win a Super Bowl without saying a word to him seems to be right up his alley.

Hmm, let’s see: a “offensive genius” head coach whose teams always have lousy defenses; who is about as likable as genital warts and has the personal skills of Jeff Conaway; and who inspires hatred and disloyalty from former and current players. I’m starting to think that Notre Dame could have stuffed Gruden into a sumo suit and swapped him for Charlie Weis, and no one would have known the difference.

But Jon, if it makes you feel any better, it wasn’t just the fact that your players hate you that got you fired. Apparently the fans all hate you as well. So that’s nice.

Here’s more stories that happened while you were wondering what the South Korean version of “The O’Reilly Factor” must be like (chainsaws optional).

  • Oops, they did it again: the Lakers managed to overlook the Charlotte Bobcats and fall 117-110 in double OT. All this with the Bobcats’ best player - Gerald Wallace - missing the overtimes with an injury. The LOS ANGELES TIMES has the gory details of the Lakers’ fifth loss to the Bobcats in their last six meetings. (Really, and these are the title favorites?)
  • Emeka Okafor battles Andrew Bynum

  • FOOD COURT LUNCH examines “The Hansbrough Effect,” where college basketball analysts laud the hard work and gritty determination of big, white stiffs who will be sure to flop in the NBA. Which gives me another chance to type Kevin Pittsnogle.
  • The BOSTON GLOBE reports that Tom Brady’s rehab is on schedule, and he is on track to start the Patriots 2009 season opener. Which means: get ready for nine months of the Matt Cassel Trade Watch.
  • Remember when the brother of Providence guard Jeff Xavier rushed the court and confronted a referee? ESPN.COM reports that Jonathan Xavier is being held without bail for violating his probation from a 2005 drug conviction. I’m shocked that he’d make a bad decision. In case you didn’t see it, here’s the video of the bizarre on-court incident:

  • Who loves chicken? New Orleans Hornets fans love chicken, especially when they get it for free if the Hornets score 100 points. NOLA.COM has the exciting blow-by-blow as the team sits on 99 with just seconds to go.
  • TRAVELIN’ LIGHT says that a resort in Aruba is offering vacation packages for fantasy baseball and football drafts. Sure, the resort might have beautiful beaches, world-class food and exciting casinos, but does it have a Bubble Hockey machine and old NES system with RBI Baseball like my garage? I didn’t think so.
  • If you think you’ve had a rough life, think about Arizona Cardinals lineman Darnell Dockett, who found his mother murdered, execution style, when he was 13. And then his father died of cancer four months later. The GANNETT NEWS SERVICE has a moving piece on his relationship with his uncle, who helped him get his life back on track.
  • Meanwhile, Dockett’s fellow Florida State alum Peter Warrick is pretty far removed from the Super Bowl: The BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL PANTAGRAPH reports that he’s signed a contract with the Bloomington Extreme of the minor-league Indoor Football League. Just in case he is curious, the nearest Dillard’s in 100 miles away in Moline.
  • The Braves need a power hitter to provide protection for Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. Enter Jeff Francoeur and .239 batting average. MLB.COM says that Jones, for one, is thrilled to have “Frenchy” back. Hey, if your other option is Andruw Jones, anything looks good.
  • Ever nearly kill yourself trying to get that stuck bag of chips dislodged from a vending machine? Me too! Now there’s a video game for you: Adult Swim’s Ultimate Vending Machine Challenge.

Which current NFL coach is most likely to have players lining up to rip him when he leaves?

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Erin Andrews Talks To Bloggers; Smoltz Silenced

This chesty Celtics fan once tried to make Jack Nicholson look like a boob.

Erin Andrews does the unthinkable - talks with some sports bloggers.

Erin Andrews Jamie Mottram Dan Steinberg

(Jamie Mottram & Dan Steinberg check out the view)

• Scheduled shoulder surgery smushes John Smoltz’s season.

• What lady could resist the charms of a pseudo Sonics employee?

Santana Moss misses Monday practice after a 3-day birthday bacchanalia.

• Green Bay is being gorged of its local sportscasters.

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Ex-Bengal Warrick’s CFL Career Lasts One Week

Peter Warrick’s plan to continue playing pro ball has petered out, as the ex-Cincinnati Bengal has been released by his Canadian Football League club - only a week after joining the team.

Peter Warrick Bengals

TSN reports that the Montreal Alouettes decided to bid adieu to their recent acquisition on Tuesday, just seven days after signing the receiver. Guess there just wasn’t enough roster room with Paul Woldu & Julius Orieukwu also coming on board.

As if Warrick wasn’t already bitter enough about not winning the Heisman.

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