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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Speed Read: Another McNair Mistress In Minny?

Speculation has been rampant that one of the reasons that Sahel Kazemi decided to kill Steve McNair was because she suspected that McNair was involved with yet another woman who was not his wife.

Sahel Kazemi Photo Steve McNairs Girlfriend Photo

And now, the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS says they have discovered that McNair was involved in what they characterize as a “longtime affair” with a stripper in Minneapolis. But was it really an “intimate” relationship, as claimed by DAILY NEWS sportswriter Michael O’Keefe?

His only source for the story is the former business manager of an unnamed strip club, who asked remain anonymous for the story. This guy says McNair was a frequent visitor to the club and had an ongoing affair with a dancer that lasted for six years. Here’s what he had to say:

“She liked money and athletes,” the former business manager said on condition of anonymity. “She went out with athletes before. She was one of those girls who said, ‘You’re married? You have kids? So what?’ Lets have fun.

“I can tell you that she was very upset when she learned that he had died,” the former business manager added.

I don’t doubt that McNair may have visited this club every time he was in Minneapolis, and that when he did he sought out the same woman. But was there really a relationship here? Maybe he just liked to see the same stripper every time he was in Minnesota? Did he have a different woman in every city he went to?

Minneapolis

(What about this city was so alluring for McNair?)

But how often would he have occasion to go to Minnesota? Since he played only for AFC teams, a search of PRO-FOOTBALL-REFERENCE.COM shows that McNair only went to Minnesota to play against the Vikings three times: in 1995 (as a rookie when he wasn’t even a starter), 2001, and 2004. That’s only one game there in the last six years. He was from Mississippi and lived in Tennessee, so I’m not sure why he would be making frequent trips up to Minneapolis, unless he was good friends with some of the Vikings who were on that sex boat.

If there’s anyone out there in Minneapolis, what club would be the choice of athletes?

So while it might make sense for the woman in Minnesota to be sad (perhaps more for the loss of a customer), it doesn’t make sense that she would be completely distraught, unless she traveled to see McNair. Kazemi reportedly saw another woman leaving McNair’s condo days before the shooting, but it’s far-fetched to think that it could be the Minnesota stripper. Which makes you wonder exactly how many women he was involved with in some way.

While McNair had a very public memorial service yesterday, Kazemi’s funeral is scheduled for today in Jacksonville, Fla.

Moving on, Lenny Dykstra continues to try and keep up with Darren Daulton in the race to be crowned the “looniest guy who played for the 1993 Phillies.” In an interview with CNBC’s Jane Wells that is not done justice by this accompanying article, Dykstra rambled (often incoherently) about his financial woes that has led to him filing for bankruptcy. Here’s the video, and it’s worth all 18 minutes of your time:



Dykstra claims that Washington Mutual perpetrated fraud against him on a mortgage that he can no longer afford, and that he is simply filing in order to deal with foreclosure proceedings (he points out that it is his corporation filing Chapter 11 in order to “reorganize”). He even goes as far as to call out a specific Wamu employee, even mocking his stuttering. Of course, Dykstra also stumbles over his words, so it’s unclear when he’s pretending to be the stutterer and when he’s just being himself. He also claims to not be very smart, and to not really know how all the paperwork works in any of this. So how is he so sure that he was taken advantage of in his mortgage? His attorney says he’s worth around $50 million, but Dykstra won’t go as far as to even give a ballpark figure of his net worth. When Wells informs him that the bankruptcy paperwork indicates his assets are no more than $50,000, he doesn’t really have any answer that would lead you to believe otherwise. This despite boasting that he’s “111-0 in the stock market” (which, if you steal other people’s stock advice, maybe that isn’t that hard).

Lenny Dykstra

The only evidence Dykstra could offer of his net worth still being in the millions (it was reported as $58 million in 2008) was that his failed venture at a lifestyle magazine for athletes (called “The Players Club”) was being reorganized into a company that I think is also supposed to help pro athletes manage their money. And, in his words, “will someone be interested in that later, and want to give me $10 million? I don’t know, but what I have is exactly what’s stated.” Oy. So, basically, it looks like he’s got a few businesses that aren’t worth anything or aren’t profitable, like his private-jet airline called Legends Air, and he’s just hoping that someone will want to give him millions for them later.

The interview took place at Dykstra’s home, which he bought from Wayne Gretzky two years ago. Just after the 8:00 mark, when Dykstra claimed that it was his primary residence, Wells starting losing her patience, pointing out that there was no furniture in the house (with a great “wtf is wrong with you?” look), to which Dykstra responded that the house was undergoing a “remodel” as if that was supposed to be apparent.

Lenny Dykstra's house

(The home in question, which is supposedly worth $25 million)

Please, someone get Dykstra and Daulton together for an interview. Or just tape them talking to each other for an hour. That would be better than anything I’ve ever seen on “E:60.”

Alright, before I go on any more Dystranian tangents, let’s get to today’s links:

• You thought Yankee Stadium was expensive? The total cost of the new stadium for the Marlins in Miami is going to run at least $2.4 billion because the county is going to take an insane amount of time to pay back its loans. Because it can’t afford a new stadium. And they’re still going to draw 8,000 fans a night. Has there ever been a worse idea than this?

Marlins Stadium

(This is an early rendering, missing the tarp over the unused top deck)

Tim Lincecum finally gave up a run after more than 29 scoreless innings. He actually took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Padres last night, but gave up three runs in the inning. No worries, though, as the Giants still won 9-3.

Things got ugly last night during a soccer match between Mexico and Panama in Houston. There were fights in the stands, and apparently a Panamanian player fell off a stretcher when he got pelted by debris from Mexican fans. I guess it all started when the Mexican coach thought it would be OK to try and kick one of Panama’s players:

Rickey Henderson’s jersey is going to be retired by the A’s on August 1st. Rickey, of course, just thinks they’re reserving the number for him when he makes his comeback.

• FANHOUSE discusses a little-known fact about NBA salaries. Due to a clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, all NBA players had to give 9% of their salaries back to their teams. All of this money went into an escrow fund, and is being redistributed to every team equally, in the sum of $6.3 million per team.

• San Diego State fired football coach Chuck Long back in November, but he’s continued to show up for work every day because his contract guarantees him his salary of more than $715,000 per year if he keeps coming to the office. What exactly he’s doing, nobody knows. SDSU can’t force him to leave, but the SAN DIEGO TIMES-UNION says the school is paying a consultant $125 an hour to try and mediate a settlement with Long and get him to leave (thanks the WIZ OF ODDS for the tip).

Chuck Long

(”How’s that Pensky file coming along, Chuck?”)

• A group of Canadians are working on an offer for the Phoenix Coyotes, and they totally want to keep the team in Phoenix. I mean, what group of Canadians wouldn’t want the team to keep failing in when they could be selling out a new arena in suburban Toronto every night?

• The D-Backs were crusing through five innings last night, leading 7-0 over the Marlins. It was still 7-4 after seven. Then the eighth inning happened. 13 hitters, eight hits, two errors, and a passed ball later, Florida had scored a franchise-record 10 runs in the inning.

• The Nats and Astros resumed a game last night that was suspended on May 5th with the score tied at 10. The Nats, the home team on the scoreboard, only took seven minutes to push the winning run across — in Houston. Even stranger, the winning pitcher was Joel Hanrahan, who now plays for the Pirates.

Ron Artest has worn a different number everywhere he’s gone, so it’s no surprise that he’s changing it up again with the Lakers. According to INSIDE THE LAKERS, Ron-Ron’s going to wear #37 — because it’s the number of weeks Thriller was the #1 album. Top that tribute, Griffey.

• Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar just played poker for the first time two weeks ago, but he’s still alive in the main event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Of the 6,494 players who started the tourney, only about 1,500 are left going into today’s play (and 648 will get paid). While it’s still way too early, Farmar would face an interesting dilemma if he were to make the final table. That table won’t be played until early November, which is during the NBA season. Would the Lakers let him miss a game or two to finish a poker tournament? Actually, I’m really rooting for this to happen so we find out. First place, by the way, is more than $8 million — much more than Farmar makes at his job.

• Speaking of poker, ex-WWE star Torrie Wilson also played in the main event, but busted out early (and often!):

Torrie Wilson

Torrie Wilson

How would you characterize the alleged relationship between Steve McNair and a stripper in Minnesota?

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Speed Read: Bonds Steroid Case Suddenly Unclear

The Clear. It sounds like the name of a rock band with a vaguely Christian background, but we all know what it really is: the steroid concoction that Barry Bonds and other elite athletes took as part of their training regiments through BALCO labs as a way to cheat the system and produce jaw-dropping, chemically-enhanced performances. Technically, the drug is called tetrahydrogestrinone, otherwise known as THG, but The Clear is clean name for it when used by dirty players.

Barry Bonds fights the power

But YAHOO! SPORTS did some poking around some recently unsealed grand jury testimony from expert witnesses, and found some very interesting facts. Like that THG wasn’t classified as an illegal steroid until 2005, well after the BALCO case broke and Bonds had admitted to using The Clear. Or that that lead BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky testified in 2004 that ”there’s never been any studies to show whether or not THG does, in fact, enhance muscle growth.

So yeah, the drug that has become a code word for a designer steroid at the heart of the government’s perjury case against Bonds? It wasn’t actually illegal when he was allegedly taking it. That’s more than a monkey wrench being thrown into the government’s case - that an entire 48 piece Craftsman tool set.

The government is expected to claim that regardless of the legality of THG, they have proof that Bonds took other banned substances. But if that’s the case, why is it that the only thing we heard about was The Clear for the past five years?

So it’s time to be honest with ourselves: Barry Bonds is not going to jail. This case is teetering close to a total meltdown, and at some point the government either has to cut its losses or risk a series of headaches in court. There will be no Schadenfreude moment of him doing a “perp walk” to a federal prison somewhere in Kansas, no teary interviews from jail with ESPN. It’s not happening.

But now what? It’s an amazing coincidence that this news comes out the same week that Hall of Fame voting results were released, which showed that voters are apparently willing to make at least Mark McGwire a scapegoat for the “Steroid Era” in baseball even if he’s been convicted (or charged) with no crimes, a fact that didn’t bode well at all for Bonds.

So do voters do with Barry Bonds? It’s easy to keep him out if he’s convicted, or has the cloud of the BALCO case hanging over his head. But if it turns out that The Clear - the drug that people thought might doom his chances - wasn’t illegal when he was taking it, and perhaps didn’t give him any edge, how do you justify keeping him out?

Meanwhile, back in the world where we actually talk about sports - as in what happened on the field - the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that the Lakers had themselves a little bit of a Texas Train Wreck against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. First, with the Lakers clinging to a 111-109 lead with 10 seconds to go, the Spurs’ Roger Mason was fouled by Derek Fisher while scoring, setting up a three-point play to give San Antonio a one point lead.

Roger Mason

That’s ugly, but what happened next was worse. With a chance to win the game, Kobe Bryant (who had drained a three pointer the previous possession to give the Lakers their lead) took the ball and confidently … passed off to Trevor Ariza, who got all tangled up with Manu Ginobili and was called for travelling with 0.8 seconds to go to end the game.

What? No offense to Ariza, who is a good role player. But why in the hell is Kobe Bryant passing up a game-winning shot? If you ask him, it’s because he wanted to motivate Ariza and the team:

“I could have rose up and shot it myself, but I felt like if one of my teammates, particularly Trevor, to get that opportunity just to drain a shot or something like that, he just takes his game to a whole ‘nother level,” Bryant said. “It just didn’t work out.”

Which is great if he makes it, Kobe. But since he blundered the chance, you’ve probably crushed the kid’s confidence. Way to go.

  • Crime doesn’t pay, especially if you’re photographed doing it in a major national magazine. MMA fighter and avowed anarchist Jeff Monson has learned this the hard way, as THE OLYMPIAN has details of his arrest on vandalism charges after being photographed spraying anarchy signs and other graffiti on the Washington state Capitol building for an ESPN THE MAGAZINE story.
  • Jeff Monson

  • USC Trojan fans, get ready for the Mitch Mustain era to begin. Or maybe Aaron Corp. Or possibly Matt Barkley. Somebody is likely going to need to step in and replace Mark Sanchez at QB next season, as the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that the junior will likely enter the NFL Draft.
  • Speaking of Kobe…he has a new viral video for Nike that involves him riding a horse and selling “ankle insurance.” NESW SPORTS has the video, but I can promise you this: I’ve seen fake commercials for insurance, and this is no Old Glory Robot Insurance.
  • Yet another installment from The Classy World of Elijah Dukes: the TAMPA BAY TRIBUNE says that the Nationals slugger has been ordered to pay more than $40,000 in child support and alimony to his ex-wife or face 90 days in jail.This is the same ex-wife he once reportedly texted a picture of a gun to with the words “You dead, dawg.”
  • Newly-elected Baseball Hall of Fame members Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson appeared on David Letterman’s show last night to deliver the “Top Ten Highlights of My Hall of Fame Baseball Career.” My personal favorite is hearing Rickey utter the line “I invented the first vibrating jockstrap.” I think he believes he actually did.
  • Two Sydney FC soccer fans wanted to show longtime player Robbie Middleby just how upset they were he was leaving for a rival team. So the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD says they attacked him in the stadium parking lot. Well I guess he’ll stay now!
  • MASN SPORTS catches up with Kris Benson, who is trying to make a comeback from a torn rotator cuff. Sadly, no update on his wife Anna, but we can assume that she’s still pretty hot.
  • Anna Benson

  • The VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST has the sad story of former major league pitcher Frank Williams, whose career was ended by a car crash in 1989 that sent him into a spiral of homelessness and alcoholism that led to his death last Friday at the age of 50.
  • TV10 NEWS in Columbus reports that Matt Sylvester, a former Ohio State basketball player who hit a late three-pointer to beat then-No. 1 Illinois in 2005, was arrested on Wednesday after he almost ran over a cop while leaving a Buckeyes game last week. Maurice Clarett thinks he could have done much, much better.
  • And in case you missed it…the Orlando Magic set an NBA record by hitting 23 three-pointers in their 139-107 win over the Sacramento Kings. Something tells me the zone defense wasn’t working on them.

You have a Hall of Fame vote. What do you do about Barry Bonds?

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Speed Read: Curry Wanted Gay Sex From Driver?

The best part about this headline, in truth, is that it’s not even the first time we’ve been able to connect Eddy Curry with a preposterous legal suit in the past month. Remember this? Still, as bad as a two-year-old Big & Tall clothing bill is, this takes the cake: According to this story in the NEW YORK POST, the oft-injured and always overpaid Knicks center is accused of trying to solicit gay sex from his chauffeur, whom he also made touch his penis, clean up towels he had ejaculated into and whom he called a, “f**king Jew”, “white slave”, “white devil”, and “grandmaster of the KKK”. Oh, and when the driver complained, Curry pointed a loaded gun at him and threatened to kill him if he spoke.

Eddy Curry hidden in towel
(Nothing is coming up Eddy anymore. That’s for sure.)

Yes, folks, that’s about as good a story lede as you can get. Just imagine the eyes on the reporter who tripped across this court filing. “Oh, look, a Knicks benchwarmer is getting sued. Hmm, wait a minute! Gay sex! Racial epithets! He makes $9 million!! Someone get me the executive editor!”

For your reading pleasure, here are the best lines from the suit, carefully culled by the POST:

The stunning court papers claim Curry, a married father of three, repeatedly approached chauffeur David Kuchinsky “in the nude,” allegedly telling him, “Look at me, Dave, look” and “Come and touch it, Dave.”

In a disturbing episode reminiscent of some of the evidence in the manslaughter case against former Nets star Jayson Williams, Kuchinsky further claims in his suit that Curry pointed a “fully loaded” gun at him on at least two separate occasions to keep him from complaining about his treatment. “Look, I have one in the chamber,” Curry allegedly said.

Exactly how many of the allegations Curry fulfilled is up for debate, but — as with the Duke rape case — at the very least he was doing things that weren’t advisable. Note to self: Don’t call any future butlers grandmaster of the KKK”. Oh, and don’t make them butlers if you’ve only hired them to drive you around.

However, what might be the most astonishing thing about the suit, is just how little David Kuchinsky, the driver in question, is asking for. The POST claims that he wants $98,000 — $68,000 in unpaid wages and another $25,000+ in unpaid expenses from Curry — and “compensatory damages” from the center. Look, we’re not genuises here, but $98,000 is chump change for a guy whose been making $9 million a year. Sure, it’s good money, but if you’re Curry, don’t you just settle that suit as fast as humanly possible? You whipped it out on the guy repeatedly and made him clean up your masturbatory mess, and all he wants is a measly $100G? Seems cheap at the price, if you ask us.

“Instead of paying him, they discriminated against him, figuring that it would keep him there,” said Kuchinsky’s lawyer, Matthew Blit. “Imagine going into your boss’s office … and he stands up and drops his pants and he asks you take care of him. Those actions are unacceptable whether it’s in a corporate office or a private home.”

It’s worth noting that Kuchinsky does have a checkered past — he served a three-year prison sentence for a 1992 burglary in New Jersey — and that Curry’s lawyer, Kelly Saindon, says that the suit is the culmination of a series of blackmailing threats from the former chauffeur.

Still, if any of these allegations are admitted to or proven true in a court of law, it will solidify one thing: Curry is the human equivalent of canine feces. Yes, we’re calling him dog crap. He can take his 2:38 of game action this entire season and shove it. Or maybe Kuchinsky can do that for him. He might like that.

There was more NBA news, but alas, it was much less inflammatory, degrading or insulting. Still, it was pretty entertaining. Following a second-straight win over Toronto, snapping the team’s previous elongated losing skid in the process, Celtics center Kevin Garnett felt comfortable enough to loosen up in a postgame presser and go Christopher Reeve on everyone. Here’s the video:

Is it just us, or does Paul Pierce always seem like KG’s red-headed step-cousin in the interview room? Garnett steals the stage even when he’s trying to deflect praise, all of which makes the dual-mic pressers even more awkward, and more entertaining in the process.

Also, if you haven’t seen him play yet this year, now might be a good time to check out Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin. Here’s a lowdown of what he does well: Everything inside the three-point line. Here’s what he does poorly: select earphones. Did anyone see the earbuds he was using during a pre-game shootaround before Monday night’s win over rival Texas, a victory which snapped a six-game Oklahoma hoops losing streak against the Longhorns? They were either A) really old iPod earbuds or B) ripoffs of iPod earbuds. We couldn’t see “COBY” on them, but they had all the tell-tale signs. What, he can’t afford any Bose or Sony in-ear headphones? And what about the Nike ‘phones that are allegedly “designed for athletics”. Nike sponsors OU and they won’t comp a future top-10 pick a pair of headphones?

blake griffin
(Hmmm. Blake Griffin. Think he’s from Quahog, R.I.?)

Here are the full highlights of Griffin’s 14th double-double of the year, this one worth 20 points and 10 rebounds against his school’s biggest rival, all while allegedly playing with some sort of a hip pointer/side injury suffered early in the second half. We’d also note that there’s a distinct irony in the fact that Oklahoma’s other big contributor Monday night is named Austin. Oh, and for good measure, Bob Knight’s a pretty big Griffin fan, too.

  • Things keep getting worse for the Panthers. First, they get blown out at home in the playoffs. Then their fullback throws the team’s coaching staff under the bus. Now? A nasty prostitution ring is going to ensnare at least one Panther in it’s web, according to PROFOOTBALLTALK.
  • You know all those horrible chick flicks they put out with a hot actress — say, Kate Hudson — who is torn between two perfectly affable potential lovers and friends? Well, in this one, the two guys are played by PGA stud Adam Scott on Alex Rodriguez. Oh, and it’s actually happening.
  • Remember the old codger of a Hall of Fame voter in Tuscon who openly forgot to vote for Rickey Henderson? Well, ol’ Corky Simpson is taking out his frustration on the interwebs. We’d give you his home address and email if we had it … so come back soon. We should have it by lunch (gotta love the interwebs, even if Corky doesn’t).
  • There is no way Ed Rendell will ever win another election in Pennsylvania; he just simultaneously jinxed both the Steelers and Eagles with one, ferociously stupid blow.
  • Rendell might get off easy if it’s really snowy in Pittsburgh and the Ravens slog out a gross game. That’s more than you can say for the Spanish soccer fans in the video below.

Will Eddy Curry be found guilty?

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La Russa: McGwire’s Integrity Makes Him a HOFer

Remember the Mark McGwire era? It was a simpler time back then. There was no war, a robust economy, and children and old people could walk the streets at night with impunity. Tony La Russa still lives in those bygone happy years, telling anyone who will listen that McGwire never used steroids. Now he’s stumping for Big Mac’s Hall of Fame chances.

Tony La Russa and Mark McGwire

La Russa passed up the chance to celebrate Rickey Henderson’s call to Cooperstown, which is OK because Rickey is all the PR that Rickey needs. Instead he steered the conversation toward his favorite ginger hulk, and you’ll never guess his reason for supporting McGwire. (Or maybe you will, since you can read headlines.) Get this: McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame because of his “certain integrity.”

Read more…

Speed Read: Pacers Make Kobe’s Milestone Moot

Congratulations to Kobe Bryant for scoring his 22,000th career point against the Indiana Pacers last night. Your reward? A total fourth-quarter collapse by your team’s defense and a head-scratching 118-117 loss. Personally, as I gift I’d rather receive a pair of socks, or even a gift certificate to Arby’s than that.

Lakers bench after loss to Pacers

(Sasha - wha’ happened?)

The reason the Lakers blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead was simple: they stopped playing defense. They gave up 32 points in the quarter and six offensive rebounds, the last being Troy Murphy’s tip-in that gave the Pacers the victory. It’s the first Lakers loss to a bad team this season, but knowing the team’s recent history of falling victim to seemingly overlooking bad teams. (Between them and the USC football team, there must be something in the LA water.)

Meanwhile, Dallas Stars winger Sean Avery’s mouth has gotten him in trouble yet again. He’s been suspended indefinitely for “inappropriate public comments” after running his mouth before a game against the Calgary, specifically targeting Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who happens to be dating Avery’s ex, hottie actress Elisha Cuthbert.

Elisha Cuthbert

Here’s Avery’s comments. If you look closely, you can see his teammates praying for an errant piece of Sputnik to come crashing down on him:

A class act, that Sean Avery. USA TODAY breaks down some of his recent “greatest hits“, including his swipe a few years ago at French-Canadians. This is Avery’s first season with the Stars, but he’s already managed to alienate his team. Dallas owner Tom Hicks said that the team would have suspended Avery if the league didn’t, and teammates like Marty Turco are already sick of his act. And we know how opponents feel about him.

Which loudmouth would you most like to see get a case of permanent laryngitis?

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Blogs: Ashley Judd Finally Gets Kentucky Diploma

• AOL FANHOUSE congratulates U of Kentucky fan fatale Ashley Judd for finally getting her college degree:

Ashley Judd hockey graduate photo

• THE FEED rats out who’s gone to visit Tank Johnson while he passes time in the pokey. Yes: Most Bears teammates, coaches and Jesse Jackson; No: Johnson’s fiancee and also-looking-to-make-a-break-for-it Lance Briggs.• As he plots his latest comeback for the thousandth time, SPORTS COLUMN tracks down Rickey Henderson snagging some balls…away from other kids in the stands.

• THE BATTLE OF CALIFORNIA informs us how dance contestant Willa Ford met Dallas Star star Mike Modano, and how she feels about her fiance’s current employer:

Willa Ford photo lingerie engaged

• Hoping to recover from the loss of arena football, JOE SPORTS FAN reveals NBC’s new sports savior: Tiki Barbaro.• Hot on the heels of NASCAR, THE SPORTS PICKLE bets on a winner at the Preakness with the “Horses of Tomorrow”.

• SPORTS GONE SOUTH (sponsored by Goody’s Headache Powder) adds up (sponsored by Texas Instruments) Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s (sponsored by Junior Mints) heavy price to pay (sponsored by First Federal Savings) for leaving his dad’s company (sponsored by Dad’s Root Beer).

• HOCKEY NATION breaks the ice with Ottawa’s Game 1 victory over Buffalo in the NHL Eastern Conference finals. And since a Canadian team is involved, here’s the required version francais.

• Speaking of our neighbours to the north, THE SMITTBLOG examines how much the Toronto Blue Jays ooze sweet Canadianess - just by their names alone.

• Why has Al Davis had so much trouble fielding a decent Raiders team? OUR BOOK OF SCRAP thinks the silver jumpsuited one is following a different tune.