For the record, the Milwaukee Brewers don’t play the San Francisco Giants again until next season, probably sometime in May. That’s when we’ll find out if Matt Cain offers a gentle high-and-tight message to Prince Fielder for the little show we see in the photo below.
Also for the record, the San Diego Padres are feverishly working on their own choreographed home run celebration performance art. This is all hypothetical of course, because in order to do it, your team actually has to hit a home run. But the Padres have a couple of routines in the can just in case. You’re not going to believe what they are. Read more…
Not that I want to relive this pain, but Prince Fielder’s walkoff homer in the 12th on Sunday was notable for a couple of reasons. For one, it put a nice tasty winning icing on a game in which the Brewers turned their fourth triple play in franchise history — an around-the-horn gem in the sixth.
Then, Fielder won it with a line drive to right (his 37th), with he and his teammates celebrating the win with this Great Moment in Choreography when he reached home plate. You’d think a team this well rehearsed would be closer than 14 games out in the NL Central. But the more serious implication is this: Will this begin a new trend in creative home plate celebration in MLB? Read more…
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.
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.
(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 Castillosprained his ankle on the dugout steps.
(”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.
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.
• 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.
(When you need a guy to miss a penalty kick, accept no substitute)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Donovanis 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.
While everyone is bemoaning or bemused by the Cubs’ inevitable playoff collapse for literally the 100th time, another NL Central club with its own postseason drought is about to be swept out of the park. After waiting 26 years, the Milwaukee Brewers are poised to watch their October hopes fall flat like a Miller Genuine Draft left out on the porch for three days.
So, who’s the scapegoat? Surprisingly, Prince Fielder is putting the blame on himself, describing his pitiful performance with a little trash talk.
One of the most overlooked stories of the baseball season is coming to the fore as the Brewers bumble down the stretch:
Why is no one talking about how gigantic *vegetarian* Prince Fielder has become?
That photo looks like about a 40-pound weight gain in two years. I saw Fielder in L.A. a few weeks ago and he’s so fat now that he nearly keels over every time he has to make a defensive play. He also is having a subpar year and hasn’t hit a lick in the past month.
In early August, he attacked a teammate in the dugout and then later saying he didn’t need to apologize for his passion for the game. He’s 50 pounds overweight yet he’s passionate about his profession?
While no one is saying boo right now about Fielder’s overgrown girth (Ned? Doug? Hello?!), you can bet if the Brewers flame out again at the end of the season, and Fielder continues his downward hitting trend, the elephant in the clubhouse room will be impossible to ignore.
Tuesday Ellen DeGeneres had Olympic pixie (and hottie in my book) Shawn Johnson on her TV talk show. Yesterday, it was Olympic volleyball hotties Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor bouncing around while wearing next to nothing.
(Ellen feels the need to strap on a diaper?)
SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY reports that during the show, May-Treanor talked about the “butt slaps” Walsh gives her during matches, saying, “I don’t notice it because I’m on the receiving end. … It’s like a high-five now.”
Later, show guest Pamela AndersonaskedDeGeneres, “Are (Walsh and May-Treanor) coming out?” Anderson then ripped off her dress to reveal a bikini, saying, “I can’t help myself.”
Funny, I thought that was Ellen’s line.
I got to thinking about it, and I realized that I’m probably the only person breathing who has hosted both the USC and Ohio State radio broadcast pre- and postgame shows. And taken calls from fans of both teams on their home radio station.
I worked for Ohio State radio flagship WBNS in Columbus back in the ’90s, and along with my football gameday duties, co-hosted a daily sports talkshow with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.
And in the early ’00s, I hosted pre- and postgame activities for then-USC football radio flagship KMPC in Los Angeles.
I’ve had a couple people ask me this week about the intensity of the fans from the two schools. I can say, unequivocally, that Ohio State fans are the craziest I’ve ever come across.
When I cohosted Herbstreit’s daily show, we had to put a moratorium on OSU-Michigan calls to the show except for game week, ‘else that’s all people would ever call about. No matter what time of year. Meanwhile, like everything else here, USC gets a little swallowed up in the massive L.A. market. Not to mention the local UCLA fans who despise the school they call the University of Spoiled Children.
And when I first arrived in L.A., back in 2000, the Trojans were trying to escape the depths of the Paul Hackett era. With Ohio State gamedays still fresh in my mind, I remember well how pathetic I thought USC tailgating was at that time. The atmosphere was subdued at best, and the campus nearly devoid of students on game day. It was appalling.
But since Pete Carroll’s unprecendented run of championship football, things have changed dramatically. Now the Coliseum area is a swarm of food, booze and frolic before SC games. Not at the obscene scale of Ohio Stadium pregame, but give it time. And a few Donatos franchises.