Woman’s Plea For NHL Fan Down To Misdemeanor

Special surprise for you, but only if you meet the following qualifications:

1) Internet down after ISP found your porn torrent with Pete Townshend?
2) Intercepted grandma’s $500 social security check?
3) Haven’t had a date since comedian Richard Lewis was relevant?
4) One of the 47 Phoenix Coyotes fans who are current with the I.R.S.?
5) Less than three outstanding warrants for your arrest? (Five if Canadian.)
6) Sheriff Joe Arpaio can ID you on piercings alone?
7) Have Cotton Fitzsimmons gallstones stored in your fridge?
8) Can hotwire breathalyzer ignition device w/out Leyritz’s assistance?
9) Know number of times Jerry Colangelo has undergone angioplasty?
10) Reported a Tiger Woods sighting to your local media?

If you fulfill the above criteria, go ahead and blow your brains out peruse this unlawful solicitation offer:

Porn Star Katie Michaels Craigslist Phoenix Coyotes Ad

Though I’m virtually certain the ad won’t soon be deleted, I’ve transcribed the highlights. (For legally non-binding, entertainment purposes only.)
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Coyotes’ Backup Goalie Has All-Star Caliber Mask

Jason LaBarbera, a career backup goalie on his third team in as many seasons in the league (fourth overall), is just a couple months shy of his 30th birthday and doesn’t show any signs of being a big-time goalkeeper. Only the more ardent NHL fans would know off the top of their heads who LaBarbera is. But it’s time to know him for, well, what’s on the top of his head.

Jason LaBarbera Mask

That’s LaBarbera’s goalie mask this season, and if you’re wondering, yes, that is the Ultimate Warrior on LaBarbera’s mask. Less immediately obvious but no less awesome: that’s also Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder on one side. More views of the mask and the mask it usurps as “best in the NHL,” according to the imaginary Things I Just Decided Institute, after the break.

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SbB@3: Terrible Seats For A Terribler Economy

You! Yes, you, with the comically small amount of money! Would you like to attend an actual “sporting event” with “nationally recognized teams” and the possibility of seeing a “professional sports superstar”? Fret not! SbB@3 will put you in the cheapest seats imaginable, so you can have the privilege of squinting at millionaires who gave up on their season… often before it even began!

SbB's (Blocked) View From The Week's Cheap(est) Seats

Our first special sporting event comes from sunny Los Angeles, the city where even the ugly people are beautiful. There resides sporting’s pre-eminent international man of intrigue, David Beckham. What would you pay to watch the superstar reinvent the sport of soccer for this great country? $500? $1,000? $55,000? Nay, nay, and nay!

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Speed Read: Rich Rod Fails At Jedi Mind Tricks

Rich Rodriguez finally has some breathing room at Michigan. After going on the hot seat after a 3-9 debut season that was the worst in school history, Rodriguez was almost buried before the season began by a range of allegations including violating NCAA practice rules and getting sued for a condo deal gone bad. But after a 38-34 win over Notre Dame in one of the most amazing college football games ever played a college football game, the Wolverines are back in the Top 25 and suddenly relevant again.

Rich Rodriguez point

So how does Rich Rod celebrate this stunning reversal of fortune? Exactly like you would expect he would: by opening his fool mouth and blowing out any goodwill he had earned by blatantly lying. It’s not his fault: it’s human nature. We all revert back to our default mechanisms at some point. For Rodriguez, it’s making an ass out of himself.

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Speed Read: Another Ivanovic Bust At U.S. Open

Back in January 2008, the Australian Open finals featured Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova in one of the most eagerly-anticipated women’s tennis matches ever. Sharapova won the match, but it seemed like the sport was set for one of the hottest - in every sense of the world - rivalries in recent memories.

Ana Ivanovic

Now flash forward to last night. While a Bedazzled Sharapova (more on that in a minute) started her comeback from shoulder surgery with an easy straight set win over Tsvetana Pironkova, Ivanovic continued her freefall into oblivion by getting bounced by unheralded Kateryna Bondarenko. That makes a tidy zero titles for Ivanovic this year and no appearances past the fourth round in any major - and another early round exit from the U.S. Open after last year’s shocking loss to Julie Coin in the second round.

Ana Ivanovic Topless Photo

(Ana Ivanovic in happier times…for everyone)

It’s not just that Ivanovic lost - at times, she looked absolutely lost, seemingly unable to do something as simple as throw the ball into the air correctly during her serves. Call it the tennis equivalent of Rick Ankiel’s pitching yips, although more attractive to watch if just as awkward. Ivanovic took to burying her head in a towel during changeovers, which is probably what a lot of fans wanted to do after watching her stumble to defeat.

Maria Sharapova

Meanwhile, Sharapova was confident and poised in her easy victory. Her tennis game looked great, while her outfit … let’s just say it looked like something you might have seen in a teen dance competition in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1987. And not to go Mr. Blackwell on your here, but honey, Cher called from 1975 and she wants her beaded headband back. Unless you are planning on belting out a rousing version of “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” after winning your next match - in that case, it’s all yours.

Sharapova said that her outfit was “inspired by the architecture of New York.” Which is a perfect transition to talk about one of the other great metropolises of the Americans: Saskatoon. Because FACEOFF.COM says that one of the bidders for the Phoenix Coyotes has already booked five dates at the Credit Union Centre (the Madison Square Garden of Saskatchewan) to hold games there if they get the team next season.

Downtown Saskatoon

(There really is nothing quite like Saskatoon in December…)

Which leads to the question: what other events would possibly be happening in Saskatoon so you would need to save the date? A quick look at the Credit Union Centre event schedule shows a lot of minor league hockey…and not much else. Somehow I think that the arena would be willing to postpone the Saskatoon Blades vs. Moose Jaw Warriors showdown for an NHL game.

A partner for Ice Edge Holdings said that the team would be playing most of its games in Phoenix and not moving to Saskatoon permanently, which is too bad: it would be great to see NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman get an involuntary eye twitch every time he tries to explain how having a team in Saskatoon is good for the league.

Finally, Adrian Beltre returned to the Seattle Mariners last night after learning a valuable lesson about wearing a cup while playing third base on August 14 - as in “for the love of all things good and holy, wear one!” You might remember that Beltre thought his testicle had “exploded” after taking a scorching drive to the crotch.

Adrian Beltre nutcracker

After sitting out a few weeks (and probably getting some counseling for his lingering trauma issues), Beltre was back, and the Mariners decided to have a little fun at his expense. Ken Griffey Jr. had said he had the “perfect” music for Beltre’s first at-bat, and the person in charge of the songs being played over the PA delivered. Our own Scott Sepich was at the game, so I’ll pass along what he relayed to me:

“I was at the Mariners-Angels game tonight, and in Adrian Beltre’s first at-bat since coming off the DL, the music they played for him when he came to the plate was the “Nutcracker Suite.” A few of us in the press box caught on, but I’m not sure that the crowd got it. I thought it was pretty brilliant.”

Brilliant, indeed. In case you need further proof, the SEATTLE TIMES game blog not only mentions the musical cue but has audio of it as well. While I find it ironic that Ken Griffey Jr. - a man who once suffered a season-ending groin injury while fielding a fly ball - thinks that Beltre’s situation is hilarious. But it was a good choice of music, certainly more subtle than what I would have selected.

  • SPORTS HERNIA seems to think that David Wright’s new mega-helmet makes him look like Dark Helmet or The Great Gazoo. Personally, I think that he should be paying royalty money to Mark Kelso for infringing on his “dorky guy in a giant helmet” trademark.
  • David Wright

  • If there was one team in the NFL that had to be screwing the fans over by selling tickets directly to scalpers, it had to be the Washington Redskins, right? Too bad they can’t do the same thing with Six Flags tickets to prop up sales numbers.
  • Your nightly NFLPA train wreck update: the Department of Justice is confirming that they are investigating collusion claims by the union’s former HR director. She says that former player representative Troy Vincent had illegal meetings with Roger Goodell and Texas owner Robert McNair where he divulged classified information. Troy Vincent had a trouble keeping information private? That sounds strangely familiar.
  • Ladies, Rafael Nadal is playing at the U.S. Open in see-through shorts. Why can’t we get this technology in the women’s side of things (except for Serena Williams)?
  • Sometimes being a”football hero” takes on a different connotation: Kaleb Eulls, a star player at Yazoo High in Mississippi who has committed to Mississippi State, is being praised after disarming a 14-year-old girl who pulled out a loaded semi-automatic weapon on a full school bus.
  • Former Kentucky basketball star Edward Davender has been arrested as part of a ticket scalping scam involving Wildcats basketball tickets. If convicted, he could be sentenced to work for the Washington Redskins.
  • Adam “Pac-Man” Jones and Charles Rogers on the same CFL football team? Can someone please tell me how I can get Winnipeg Blue Bombers games on TV here in the lower 48?
  • Andy Roddick is less than thrilled with the U.S. Open trying to clamp down on players Twittering because they are concerned about players giving up “inside information.” Roddick’s retort (via Twitter): “you would seriously have to be a moron to send ‘inside info’ through a tweet.”
  • Anheuser-Busch plans to switch sports advertising tactics, targeting specific beer brands with demographics based on major sports. Bud Light to be linked to the NFL, while Budweiser will feature heavily in MLB advertising. No word on if Natural Ice will now be the Official Beer of Competitive Binge Drinking.
  • If they are going to start sending people to jail for 30 days for socking an opposing coach at a baseball game for 8-year-olds and then swinging a bat at people trying to break it up, then I just don’t know what baseball is anymore.

Best song for a player returning from a “bruised testicle”:

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NHL Finally Realizing Coyotes Belong In Canada?

The NHL is not having the best of offseasons. Patrick Kane’s developed a bit of a cabbie-punching problem, their already-unwatched games are about to get a lot more unwatchable for millions of DirecTV subscribers, and the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes are still languishing on the open market like a foreclosed-upon Inland Empire stucco tri-level. To recap - bad hockey and bad ownership led to bankruptcy for the Coyotes. Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie wants to buy the team and move it to Ontario (a place where people actually like hockey), but the NHL wants to save face and keep the team in Arizona. Impasse!

Jobing.com Arena Phoenix Coyotes

The strange thing about this is that the city of Glendale, the home of the Yotes, seems completely uninterested in hanging onto their team, and Balsillie is the only legitimate buyer (or at least, the only one not an obvious front for NHL interests). A couple weeks ago, Adam Jacobi wrote in these very pages that the NHL should just give into Balsillie for the good of the league. Now, the NHL is begrudgingly admitting that Adam just might’ve been right all along. That, friends, is the SbB way.

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Manny Being Booed By Bonds-Loving Giants Fans

• Suspected steroid abuser Manny Ramirez gets a rude reception from San Francisco Giants fans - the same Giants fans who were so passionate in supporting suspected steroid abuser Barry Bonds.

Manny Ramirez Giants fan sign

• 49ers coach Mike Singletary makes a mountain out of a molehill, forcing QB Alex Smith to watch the rest of practice from high above.

Bobby Bowden would like to share his prostate problems with you.

• EA sports donates advanced copies of Madden 10 to a U.S. submarine crew who are shipping out before the game’s official release date.

• Would it really kill the NHL to let Jim Balsillie move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario?

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Just Move The Coyotes Out Of Phoenix, Already!

The ongoing Phoenix Coyotes custody soap opera, with Gary Bettman & the NHL in one corner and Jim Balsillie & Hamilton, Ontario, in the other, has reached untold levels of absurdity at this point. It’s a sure signal to any sane observer that the NHL’s efforts to keep a hockey team in the hottest metropolis in the nation are destructive to the team and the league as a whole.

Jobing.com Arena Phoenix Coyotes
(We can’t let this dream die, guys! This is magical!)

The latest development is that Balsillie, after having the NHL effectively price him out of negotiations with new and inventive fees to levy - to the point that they claimed they’d need $100 million just for the hassle of relocation - is now asking for more depositions from league officials to figure out, basically, what the hell they’re talking about.

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Speed Read: Fielder Storms Dodgers Clubhouse

It seems like only yesterday when Dodger pitcher Guillermo Mota was plunking Mike Piazza, then scampering away into his own dugout like George Costanza fleeing a fire to escape the slugger’s wrath. That was 2003, but Mota — in his second stint with the Dodgers — was the sacrificial lamb once again in last night’s 17-4 win over the Brewers in L.A.

Guillermo Mota

The Brewers had hit Manny Ramirez earlier in the game, presumably for being Manny and admiring a slump-busting home run he hit as part of the Dodgers’ biggest home scoring outburst since 1979. So, with Ramon Troncoso warming in the bullpen with a 13-run lead and two outs in the ninth, Mota beaned Prince Fielder. Mota was tossed immediately and a befuddled Fielder had words for him as he left the field. Troncoso came in for the last out, but the situation was far from over.

After the game, Prince decided he wanted to go have a friendly chat with Mota and the rest of the Dodgers, so he tried to storm their clubhouse. Like, actually go in there and try and throw down, I guess. Fortunately, a combination of security guards and Brewer teammates were able to keep him out. Prince was soon safely in his regular spot in front of the postgame spread. Mota, once again displaying mighty courage, was nowhere to be found afterward and left Russell Martin to speak for him.

Prince Fielder

This is the sort of thing that happens all the time in baseball, but two aspects were troublesome: One, obviously, is Fielder’s attempt to actually go in the opposing clubhouse and get in a confrontation. Baseball has always had their “codes” and all that, but it’s supposed to stay on the field. Fielder’s choice to escalate the situation showed pretty poor judgment. But I don’t think Joe Torre is off the hook here. Hittting Fielder wasn’t the problem. But the Dodgers should’ve at least preserved the conceit that the whole thing wasn’t pre-planned. It’s hard to say “it just got away from him” when you have a pitcher warming up in the bullpen with one out remaining in a complete blowout. Clearly this was not only permitted by Torre, but presumably was encouraged, which may earn him a suspension.

*UPDATE* CBS 2 in L.A. has video of Prince’s attempted post-game visit.

Guillermo Mota Mike Piazza

(I don’t think Mota wants to run into Piazza at a Dodger reunion any time soon)

Meanwhile, things may have finally hit rock bottom for the Mets this year. Francisco Rodriguez blew a two-run lead in the ninth, then Albert Pujols hit a granny in the 10th to lead the Cards to a 12-7 win at CitiField. It was Pujols’ fifth grand slam this season, and he has hit six homers in his last 11 at-bats with the bases loaded. Even more frustrating for Mets fans, pitcher Sean Green hit the previous batter, Mark DeRosa, with the bases loaded to allow Pujols to come to the plate. This with two out in a tie game. To add injury to injury, as the Mets have been doing all season, Luis Castillo sprained his ankle on the dugout steps.

Albert pujols grand slam

(”Hey Albert, up here. Up top, bro. Do you see me here? No, dude, not the guy in the white shirt.”)

Horrifying news coming out of the Pittsburgh area last night, as a man opened fire at an LA Fitness gym in the southwest suburb of Collier, killing at least three people and wounding at least 10 others. At this time, it’s assumed that the gunman then killed himself. The PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW has the scary details:

Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said the gunman may have fired 50 shots at the 20-22 women inside the room at the time before turning one of his guns on himself and taking his own life. There were perhaps another 50 people in various other parts of the facility at the time.

Moffatt said the gunman left a note inside his gym bag that indicated he expected to die in the carnage.

Pittsburgh gym shooting

From all accounts, this seems like the sort of attack that is nearly impossible to stop. The 49-year-old gunman, who has not been identified as I write this, was a member of the club who was able to gain access simply by swiping in. It could, however, not be as entirely random as it looks now, as he specifically went into a room where an aerobics class called “Latin Impact” was taking place. He only shot women who were in that room, then apparently killed himself.

Despite the chaotic scene, a number of people lent whatever help they could:

Richard Walker went to the gym to play basketball with a group of friends. Two of them left carrying shooting victims, both women, over their shoulders, Walker said.

They got 50 yards from the gym’s side entrance, and took cover between cars as soon as they reached the edge of the parking lot, he said two hours after the shooting, his Oklahoma All-State T-shirt covered in dried blood down its right side.

“They were like losing blood and almost freaking out,” said Walker, 23, of Carnegie, who recently moved from Tulsa. “I just knew you put pressure on the wound.”

Thoughts go out to all the victims. Let’s hope all of the wounded are just that, and don’t take any turn for the worse.

Pittsburgh gym shooting

On that note, the show goes on:

• NBA schedules are out, and the Celtics host the Cavs in the marquee matchup of opening night.

• Because nobody asked, Clinton Portis wants you to know that he’s not gay:

I don’t think there’s a woman in the United States of America that would say I’m gay. So, you know, I don’t hang around men.”

• Based on this video posted by NESW SPORTS, I don’t think LeBron James would even be a top 5 pick in my Monday night pickup game. At least he doesn’t have to worry about getting dunked on again:

Joe Posnanski is the newest senior writer at Sports Illustrated. He’ll still write for the K.C. STAR on occasion, but the exodus from traditional print outlets continues.

• The PHOENIX NEW TIMES has dug up records suggesting that the city of Glendale and the NHL have essentially been preparing to hand the Phoenix Coyotes over to Jerry Reinsdorf for months, well before the team began looking for a new owner. Such a deal is bad for the owners, who could make much more money selling the team to a group that would move the team to Canada.

• Once the most talked-about guy in baseball, Roy Halladay is now just another guy losing to the Yankees.

Drew Carey is excited about tonight’s FC Barcelona-Seattle Sounders match at Qwest Field. But the real gem is at the end of the story: Seattle midfielder Freddie Ljungberg says he missed a penalty kick in the MLS All-Star Game because of a migraine triggered by eating food with red wine in it. Oh, soccer players.

red wine

(When you need a guy to miss a penalty kick, accept no substitute)

 • Predictably, it looks like the NFL is going to be the first major league to draft a policy addressing the use of Twitter by its players, according to the WASHINGTON POST.

• Stolen golf carts. Guys peeing on trailers. No, it has nothing to do with Donald Trump. It’s just your average week at the (no longer) Buick Open.

• I think Jennifer Love Hewitt would probably be the #1 pick in my Monday night pickup hoops game if she showed up wearing this:

Jennifer Love Hewitt

If you could have one current MLB player up with the bases loaded, who would it be?

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Speed Read: Did Mayweather Beat Female Boxer?

When the cops come to your house, it doesn’t look good when they find you physically holding down a woman who is screaming and crying while trying to break free. Especially if she then proceeds to go to the kitchen and starts “coughing and spitting up blood.” I don’t know if Roger Mayweather tried the “hey guys…this isn’t what it looks like” move, hoping that the cops would think it’s a wacky mix-up like you would see on “Three’s Company.” But if he did - it didn’t work.

Melissa St Vil and Roger Mayweather

Mayweather - the uncle and trainer of Floyd Mayweather Jr. - was taken into custody on Sunday and charged with coercion with force and strangulation after allegedly attacking boxer and aspiring model Melissa St. Vil, who had moved to Las Vegas to train with Mayweather. But she had split with Mayweather as a trainer recently, although she was staying at an apartment owned by him and shared with Corneluis Lock, a contender who had lost in the main event of an ESPN Friday Night Fight on July 24.

Melissa St Vil

According to the police report, St. Vil claimed that Mayweather was unhappy with her continuing to live in the house and had begun harrassing her, which Lock corroborated by saying that Mayweather had been “bothering her at the residence, as well as following her to her new gym.” (Side note: I’m guessing that if you roll over on your trainer to the cops, you’ll be doing some extra roadwork next training session.)

It all apparently came to a head on Sunday afternoon. While Lock was at church (which St. Vil says is no coincidence), Mayweather allegedly tried to forcibly remove St. Vil from the house. When she refused and tried to go to her room, police say Mayweather started punching her in the ribs and then choked her until she nearly lost consciousness. St. Vil said was able to free herself by grabbing a lamp and delivering a lead right straight to Mayweather’s head, which is right about when the cops showed up.

So where does this leave everyone? For Roger Mayweather, it leaves him in a lot of trouble. It also casts doubts on Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s scheduled comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in September - with what appears to be both criminal and civil cases pending, can Roger Mayweather actually prepare his nephew for the fight? Even for the three-ring circus that is the Mayweather family, this is pretty ridiculous.

Also ridiculous: that Cristiano Ronaldo can blow off women who look like his former girlfriend Nereida Gallardo and who enjoy taking topless pictures of themselves making out with other hot women in nightclub bathrooms. And just blow off, but publicly humiliate her with tabloid photographers capturing everything.

Cristiano Ronaldo

According to the DAILY MAIL, Gallardo happened to spot Ronaldo going into a nightclub in Majorca while he was on vacation. She tried to get his attention, but she was “tackled by a security guard as she made a beeline for the 24-year-old sportsman and promptly whisked away” while Ronaldo treated her like a ghost.

Then again, she did tell reporters after they split that he was “a vain mummy’s boy, who waxed his chest,” so anyone who has ever run into a crazy ex while out can relate to Ronaldo’s dilemma. Then again, most of us don’t have teams of beefy security guards to help us out.

Finally, in some positive news: Maria Sharapova is back in action, which is a good thing. She easily beat Jarmila Groth in the early rounds of the L.A. Women’s Tennis Championships, her first tournament back since surgery on her right shoulder ten months ago. But somehow, that wasn’t the big news story of the day. Because there was a catfight brewing, and it was about it go off!

Maria Sharapova

OK, not really. But defending champion Dinara Safina spent most of the day defending her world No. 1 ranking after Serena Williams had earlier questioned how Safina - who has never won a major - could be ranked No. 1 by saying sarcastically “Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1, she won Rome and Madrid.” However, anyone expecting a battle royal to break out had to be disappointed, as Safina “just answered questions pleasantly” when asked about the comments. Apparently someone doesn’t understand how PR works.

  • Suspected first-round bust Darrius Heyward-Bey is at Oakland Raiders training camp, and he’s acting…well, exactly like a first-round bust would, dropping passes and basically reaffirming the notion that Al Davis has gone from eccentric to “pouring castor oil into a bowl of Froot Loops and then dumping them on his head while singing ‘Strangers in the Night’” crazy.
  • Darrius heyward bey

  • Remember how we mentioned yesterday that Andy Reid’s notorious training camps had already claimed two Eagles players with “minor” injuries? Turns out one of them wasn’t so minor, as starting LB and leading tackler from 2008 Stewart Bradley is out for the season after tearing his right ACL. Meanwhile, Reid has invented some controversy with the media for - gasp! - trying to find out about the injury.
  • PUCK DADDY compares the Phoenix Coyotes’ ownership trial unfavorably to an episode of “Night Court.” I can see his point, since this trial does not involve Markie Post’s breasts. But then again, Mel Torme is nowhere to be seen.
  • Three days after his grandmother passed away, Denny Hamlin picked up his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in 50 races at the rain-delayed Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono.
  • Clete Thomas said he didn’t know what to do when he hit a walk-off homer to lift the Tigers over the Orioles 6-5 on Monday night. Here’s a hint: running the bases so we could go home would be nice.
  • The Eagles and first-round draft pick Jeremy Maclin finally seal the deal, inking a five-year contract worth $15.5 million. If I were him, I’d stay away from Andy Reid’s Bataan Death March and hold out a few more weeks.
  • Here’s one way to make sure you come out ahead in poker: a dealer at the Bellagio in Las Vegas was apparently arrested for allegedly taking two $1,000 chips from a split pot.
  • As Scott Wolf of the LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS reports, nothing says excitement like a small handful of reporters disinterestedly checking their email while new Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott addresses them during Media Day. Why do they have these things again, other than to get free lunches?
  • Indoor soccer + short, fat, balding guy + kid flying in at 100 mph = comedy gold.

  • If you believe that Urban Meyer’s new six-year, $24 million deal with Florida means he’s never, ever, ever leaving the Gators, think again: the buyout penalty if he leaves for another school is only $500,000. Some Notre Dame alums carry that around as tip money for their caddies.

In five years Urban Meyer will be coaching:

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