Speed Read: Yesterday Brought To You By Gillette

While Brooks and the rest of the SbB crew worked hard to get you the very latest on the Steve McNair murder, Sunday turned out to be a pretty big day for three of the world’s biggest athletes — who just happened to have co-starred in the “Citizen Kane” of awkward athlete endorsement campaigns.

Tiger Federer Jeter

That’s right, now that Thierry Henry has been booted from the Gillette posse (at least in America), all three razor-wielding superstars had pretty huge days.

First, Roger Federer made history by winning his 15th Grand Slam title in a crazy five-set win at Wimbledon over Andy Roddick. Pete Sampras was in the audience, taking in the match as only Sampras could — puking his guts out on the sideline looking bored out of his gourd. The 30-game fifth set was the longest in Slam history by a full 10 games. The final game was the only time Federer broke Roddick’s serve the entire match. Only Roddick’s inability to put away four set points in a second-set tiebreak kept him from pulling off the huge upset.

Federer and Sampras

As Federer was accepting his trophy, Tiger Woods was getting ready to tee off in the final round at the AT&T National, which he hosts. I’m not sure I understand the “host” thing, is that like when Heidi and Spencer “host” a party at PURE? He started the day in a tie with defending champion Anthony Kim, but soon found himself needing to keep up with Hunter Mahan, who started well back but fired a 62 to zoom all the way to the top of the leaderboard. Tiger drained a 20-footer on the 16th hole to take the lead, and he got to the clubhouse with two easy pars to wrap up his 68th PGA Tour win. And he interviewed himself afterward. I have to give him credit, though, as it was the first time the questions in a Tiger interview were as boring as the answers.

Jimmy Fallon and Tiger Woods

(I’m sure that losing to this guy in anything would be enough motivation to win whatever you were doing next)

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter was trying his best to hold up his end of the bargain in a measly regular-season game. But he came through with a four-hit day, including what turned out to be the game-winning home run in the bottom of the fifth inning of a 10-8 win over the Blue Jays. Better yet for DJ, he was officially named the starting shortstop for the AL All-Star team when the rosters were announced later in the afternoon.

Derek Jeter

Jeter got more votes than anyone else in the AL, but is joined in the starting lineup by just one other Yankee — first baseman Mark Teixeira. A-Rod is nowhere to be seen, with Evan Longoria getting the starting nod instead. Josh Hamilton was voted into the starting lineup despite missing all of June with an injury, and this year’s recipient of the Lance Carter Memorial “Who?” Award is Oakland reliever Andrew Bailey, who is a fine pitcher but a guy even baseball fans would be hard pressed to tell you anything about. And while it looks like manager Joe Maddon pulled some homerism by adding Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford, and Ben Zobrist to the team, all three of those guys are having huge years. And yes, if you’re scoring at home, Zobrist is the last All-Star ever, alphabetically speaking. The other big story is that of 42-year-old Tim Wakefield, who surprisingly has never been an All-Star until now. And congrats to the Royals for producing an actual All-Star this year, rather than their usual token “we gotta put someone on the team” guy.

The NL team is headlined by Albert Pujols, who received the second-most votes ever (only Ken Griffey Jr. got more, in 1994). At age 37, Raul Ibanez is an All-Star for the first time, and has been voted in as a starter. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s probably not going to be able to play. Nor is fellow outfielder Carlos Beltran. That means that reserves Hunter Pence and Brad Hawpe are likely to be out there when the game starts. No true no-name on the roster, as even Pittsburgh’s representative — Freddy Sanchez — is fairly deserving of his spot.

Full rosters can be found here. And there is now voting going on at MLB.COM for the final roster spots. Vote Kung Fu Panda!

Pablo Sandoval

(This fat man should be an All-Star)

• If you click on only one link today, read this story in the L.A. TIMES about Zac Sunderland, a 17-year-old kid who is nearing the end of a solo circumnavigation of the world on a sailboat. Pirates, broken sails on the open seas, armed police escorts in New Guinea. It’s safe to say he had a more eventful year than the rest of us.

Rasheed Wallace is going to be casting ill-advised 26-footers for the Celtics next year, meaning Big Baby Davis is probably on his way out. And Jason Kidd is about to get overpaid by Mark Cuban (enjoy 39-year-old Kidd at $8+ million in 2012, Dallas)

• POLITICO says that Sarah Palin’s lawyer has fired a warning shot to the media in order to squash lingering rumors that Palin awarded the contract for constructing a sports arena in Wasilla (where she was mayor at the time) with the understanding that the same company would build her a house. In other news, the Phoenix Coyotes have just announced they are moving to Wasilla.

• SPORTS RUBBISH has video of the most crucial moment in yesterday’s Wimbledon final. What? Tennis? No, it’s Andy Roddick’s brother searching for a snack inside his own nose:

• I gotta admit, I just don’t really get the Tour de France. One guy clearly won today, but somehow everyone except two guys (that’s like 178 people) were credited with the same time. Hey, but at least Jussi Veikkanen is finally wearing the red polka-dotted jersey!

• OK, there was something called the “Junior World Football Championships” going on for the last week, and you’re not going to believe this — but the USA won. Shocking, considering our boys had to take down the likes of France, Mexico, and Canada (which they did by a cumulative score of 174-3). Next time, in an effort to even the playing field and give other countries a fighting chance, the U.S. is just going to send Washington State’s football team instead (they might be able to beat Sweden).

Beavis would be excited by the news that a man in Scotland set a world record by running nearly 100 yards while on fire (and people complain that eating a bunch of hot dogs is bizarre?). And yes, I am aware that 1994 has called and wants its cultural reference back.

Man running on fire

Ryan Braun is an All-Star, which I guess gives him the green light to talk about how much the Brewers’ starting pitchers suck.

•  That fan who says J.C. Romero “assaulted” him at a Rays-Phillies game last week should be thrilled he doesn’t live in Colombia. There, the athletes just shoot and kill fans who heckle them.

• The city of St. Louis thinks it can tax the bonuses All-Stars receive for appearing in the game at Busch Stadium, but the POST-DISPATCH says that won’t fly if players can prove that their bonus was earned from their previous play outside of the city’s jurisdiction, and not for simply appearing at the game.

• Sure, losing 16-14 in the fifth set of the biggest tournament of your life is pretty brutal, but don’t feel too sorry for Andy Roddick. He has a pretty nice shoulder to cry on:

Brooklyn Decker

Would you rather have 15 Grand Slam titles, or have 1 and be married to Brooklyn Decker?

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Speed Read: It’s March (And Then April) Madness

Why do we continue to give college basketball a pass on “March Madness” when the Final Four takes place during April? Sure, you’re sitting there and thinking, “So only 61 of the 64 games happen in the right month? So?” It’s the principle of it all, damn it! I can’t make a PG movie that turns R-rated in the last 5 minutes. It’d be like that one Mandy Moore movie A Walk to Remember, where (SPOILER ALERT!) she dies at the end, except in this version it’s by getting her head ripped off by naked zombies. Actually, get Hollywood on the phone; that idea sounds like a winner.

Bracket pic

But we digress. Even people in the deepest of comas know that today is just the first day of a week in which worker productivity plummets and everyone, for at least a couple days, is a college basketball fan. Today is reserved for staring at a bracket, cursing the fact that the talking heads on ESPN like the same upsets you do (making them both popular and wrong, which completely disqualifies them as keys to winning your pool). Lots of office printers being tied up today. UPSET PROTIP: Think about American in the Elite 8. You’ll be happy you did. High fives all around!

Who’s your Cinderella?

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Technically, yes, the rest of the sports world doesn’t stand still, and there’s plenty of things to talk about away from the parquet. We’re happy to report that your national pride has been granted an extension of legitimacy, as the USA defeated the Nether Region Netherlands, 9-3. Up next is either Venezuela or Puerto Rico, depending on who loses between the two teams tonight.

Dunn ROberts WBC

On the other side of the WBC bracket or however they set this thing up, Japan and Korea have jumped out to strong positions, while Mexico and Cuba fight to avoid elimination tonight. Quick question: why is the Mexico-Cuba game being played, essentially, in the middle of the night? And we get that this is a “world” classic and this time makes it possible for the rest of the world to watch, but 95-99% of the people who actually give a single crap about this game live in Mexico and Cuba (not a slight at those two countries, by the way; you could substitute any two teams in there, and the fact remains the same), and you’re essentially playing the game while they sleep. Wouldn’t almost anything be better than a start time that’s still late (8 pm) in San Diego, where the game is being held.

And speaking of situations in need of repair, can we talk about Jay Cutler and Denver? Talks have gone swimmingly after that trade kerfuffle from earlier, and Cutler is eager to get started on the 2009 season and develop a positive relationship with his new coach. LOL JUST KIDDING I AM LYING BADLY. Cutler has now left the city of Denver and demanded a trade, according to the DENVER POST.

Jay Cutler Broncos
(In this case, “thumbs up” means “I hate you.”)

And perhaps it’s just us, but like the Denver Post’s Mike Klis, we get the notion that Bill Belichick is probably a bigger factor in this mess than it would initially appear.  Here’s how Klis’ version of the situation basically went down.

Josh McDaniels: I’m the coach at Denver now! Isn’t this great, Bill?
Belicheck: Call me Mr. Belichick, you little sh*t. How are you doing at quarterback? You want Cassel?
JM: Not particularly. We have Cutler.
BB: Cassel’s better. We can get a 3-way trade done. You want Cassel.
JM: Um, that’d be kinda cool, but we have Cutler.
BB: Oh. Huh. Weird.
NFL: Cassel has been traded to Kansas City for basically nothing.
BOSTON GLOBE: Denver was talking about trading Cutler for Cassel.
Jay Cutler: What the hell. Screw you. I’m leaving.
JM: Say, Mr. Belichick? Now I have neither Cassel nor Cutler.
BB: NYEAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I always liked Pioli better!
JM: I hate you, Mr. Belichick.
Some more links to peruse while you’re still thinking, “American? They face Villanova in Philly in Round 1! That’s stupid!” Stupid like a fox!

  • Phil Mickelson shook off heat exhaustion and dehydration to win at Doral. Mickelson’s game improved after he milked himself to stay refreshed.
  • Manny Ramirez is already on the shelf with a bum hamstring. Good thing those injuries don’t linger.
  • And speaking of WBC injuries, Chipper Jones, Dustin Pedroia, and Ryan Braun are all out. Why do we get the feeling George Steinbrenner would never stand for this?
  • BLACK SPORTS ONLINE has the trailer for the Mike Tyson documentary. It … okay, we were going to make a “eat your children” joke, but it looks really good.

  • UCLA’s freshman safety E.J. Woods just got hit with six counts of battery and sexual battery. The Fulmer Cup asplode.
  • If you heard that your favorite NBA team scored 130 points in a blowout, odds are pretty good that you’d be thrilled. Except, of course, if you live in the Bay Area; that optimism would be replaced by fear and dread. Yes, today’s hilarious lack of NBA defense comes from… the same team it always comes from, the Golden State Warriors. Yes, they dropped 130, but they gave up 154 points to Phoenix, and that’s with most of the Suns’ starters on the bench for the vast majority of the 4th quarter. Jason Richardson dropped 31 points on only 15 shots.
  • VOICE OF YANKEES UNIVERSE has some pictures of the new Yankees stadium. It looks big and unfinished.

New York construction
(Neat?)

Blog-O-Rama: Braun Makes Ads with Marisa Miller

• WITH LEATHER brews up photos of Milwaukee all-star Ryan Braun shooting an ad with the marvelous Marisa Miller.

Marisa Miller Ryan Braun commercial shoot

Lucky dog.

• THE FIGHTINS’ punch up video of the Phillies’ Jamie Moyer running over an ump who doesn’t make a goood speed bump.

• The ARIZONA REPUBLIC gets the gold for the goofiest Olympic blog headline so far: “Gay texts mom: Kobe asked about my leg

• EVERY DAY SHOULD BE SATURDAY isn’t so sure about Georgia’s chances for a BCS title, especially with Russian tanks roaming the countrysude.

Read more…

Blog Jam: Don’t Borrow A Steelers Fan’s Car

Redford Reels in Rickey Role For Robinson Biopic

Robert Redford has signed on to portray Dodgers GM Branch Rickey in ESPN’s upcoming Jackie Robinson flick.

Robert Redford Branch Rickey

• Annoying analyst Billy Packer is finally sent packing by CBS.

LeBron James’ little “Vogue” cover controversy with Giselle Bundchen didn’t translate into many newsstand sales.

• Nude climbers really know how to get their rocks off.

A-Rod’s marriage quickly crumbling? Scott Boras to the rescue!

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Ryan Braun’s Agent Tries for Second Great Pitch

After Ryan Braun secured his seven-year, $51m contract in May, you’d think Braun would be so thankful to his agent that he might give him the summer off. After all, what else does a young man in Milwaukee need? A hookup for Summerfest tickets?

Arliss

(When we heard there would be agent throwing, we started our own list.)

But no; Ryan Braun is a thankless taskmaster. That’s why he has enlisted his agent, Nez Balelo, to throw to him for the Home Run Derby tonight. It’s not true that Nez has to stand in the sweltering Bronx summer sun in his suit, but CAA (his boss) does require he keep his Blackberry in his glove.
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Boston vs. Chicago in 2008 MLB All-Star Game

The Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs will each send seven men (theoretically) to defend the honor of their respective leagues in the 2008 MLB All-Star Game, including two-thirds of the starting NL outfield and the right side of the AL infield. (”Theoretically” means David Ortiz’s limp wrist is listed but shall not participate. Alfonso Soriano may be iffy as well.)

1918 World Series card

Speaking of iffy, it’s not Griffey. Ken Griffey, Jr., did not make the team by fan vote, barely being nudged out by Ryan Braun by muscular Milwaukee voters. We assume Cincinnati showed more patriotism by leaving for a longer holiday before voting closed.
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Blog-A-Rhythm: John Terry’s New Sign of Caution

• THE BEAUTIFUL GAME slides over this new warning sign to be displayed whenever John Terry is spotted in the vicinity:

John Terry caution sign

• BABES LOVE BASEBALL breaks out the Voodoo Sabermetrics on Ryan Braun.

• PINK HAT NATION looks back on the peculiar life of the Padres’ Eric Show.

• THE LOVE OF SPORTS breaks out the zubaz in listing their choices of the top 10 worst sports fashion trends.

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