2:15 PM The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks defeated the Hanshin Tigers 1-0 on Thursday to win the 2014 Japan Series. The game ended when Tigers batter Tsuyoshi Nishioka was called out for running outside the first base line while trying to beat a double play.
2:00 PM It was 40 years ago today that Muhammad Ali & George Foreman had their "Rumble In The Jungle" fight in the African country of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
In the saga “The Life Arc of Ryan Leaf“, we’re now plumbing the depths of self-destruction in a way most people can’t begin to understand. So precipitous and profound is his fall from prominence that it would be worth marveling at if it weren’t so damned sad.
Ryan Leaf is an instant sports blog punchline, suitable for use anytime you need a real-life example for the words “bust,” “loser” or “train wreck.” But at least he had some shred of dignity: sure, he had been one of the biggest disappointments in NFL history, a top draft pick turned into petulant baby whose lousy attitude with coaches, teammates and the media ensured he would be drummed out of the league; but at least he wasn’t Todd Marinovich. No matter what, at least his rap sheet was clean.
Well, you can forget that. Remember when he took a “leave of absence” from his position as QB coach at West Texas A&M (and also as - for some reason - the golf coach), and it came out that he had “asked” a player for pain medicine for an old wrist injury? It turns out there was more to that story - a lot more. Leaf allegedly really, really needed that medicine - so much so that he allegedly broke into the apartment of an injured player he knew had been prescribed Vicodin and grabbed him a handful of pills.
And Leaf apparently was about as good of a thief as he was an NFL player, since the cops traced the theft back to him, and the AMARILLO GLOBE-NEWS says that he was indicted yesterday on nine different drug and burglary charges. The district attorney says that Leaf is currently in British Columbia getting drug treatment (socialized medicine!), but the DA “hopes” he returns to the country. I can’t say that sounds promising. (And there goes Leaf’s chance of an NFL comeback.)
Also in need of a comeback: the Los Angeles Lakers. Sure, last night’s 106-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets only tied their Western Conference finals at 1-1, but after almost giving away Game 1 as well, it feels like they are staring up at a mountain. For the first two games, they were outplayed, outhustled and physical dominated by the Nuggets, and are now completely out of sync and without home court advantage. (Seriously, how does Kobe Bryant not get a shot in one of those last two possessions?)
So the home court advantage in the two NBA conference finals belong to the Nuggets and the Magic. I’m sure that the NBA front office is thrilled about possibly having to market a Denver vs. Orlando series. If you are an NBA Conspiracy Theorist, then rest assured that David Stern is currently making some angry phone calls to some referees today to “fix the problem.”
Meanwhile, we moved one step closer to a Stanley Cup rematch as the Pittsburgh Penguins outscored the Carolina Panthers 7-4 to a take a 2-0 series lead. Sidney Crosby scored the opening goal - again - but it was Evgeni Malkin who was the real star, notching a hat trick including scoring one of the sickest goals you’ll ever see in your life:
You couldn’t even do that in NHL ‘94 for Sega Genesis without getting your head cracked open. So while the Hurricanes’ Eric Staal might be busy complaining about his brother Jordan“cheating” during face-offs for the Penguins, everyone else is getting ready for another tilt between Pittsburgh and Detroit (and we all know that’s happening, putting NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a much happier place than David Stern is right now).
The MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE reports that the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Timberwolves are set to announce their new GMs on the same day. Maybe they got a “Buy One, Get One Free” rental package on the hotel conference room?
Sammy Hasan, a girls’ track coach in Amherst, NY has been charged with forcible sexual conduct with a female high school student. The BUFFALO NEWS says that earlier this season, one of his runners thanked him for “helping her with her technique”after she won a sectional title. SBB PUNCHLINE CREATOR 3000 ERROR 4XQ587: TOO MANY INAPPROPRIATE JOKES.
Former Houston Texans lineman Fred Weary tried to help an ex-teammate out by hiring former Florida Gator Anthone Lott as a general contractor on four townhouses Weary was building in Gainesville. Judging by the fact that the ST. AUGUSTINE RECORD says Lott has been charged with defrauding a bank and Weary of more than $185,000, I’d say that didn’t end too well.
There’s never a great time to start drunkenly hurling swear words at the opposing team from the stands during a high school baseball game…but to do it during a stoppage for an injury is just wrong. But that’s exactly what the SCHENECTADY DAILY GAZETTE says that George “Mr. Class” Sperow did before getting into a fight and then being arrested.
Ferrari is threatening to leave Formula One if they institute a budget cap in 2010, so now the TELEGRAPH is saying that Formula One rightsholder Bernie Ecclestonewill sue them if they do. Where else are they going to go - NASCAR? (Oh please, please let me see a Ferrari NASCAR team.)
Is there anything sadder than a kicker trying to hold out for more money? That’s what PRO FOOTBALL TALK says that Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson is doing as he skips the team’s “voluntary” minicamp. Isn’t there a Bahr brother somewhere who can still kick? Martin Mull? Stefan Fatsis?
Throughout the history of the NFL the position of quarterback has been the most difficult one for teams to assess. Many quarterbacks have cost general managers and head coaches their jobs after being taken early in the draft and turning out to be nothing but hot garbage. Guys like Ryan Leaf and Todd Marinovich come to mind. The problem is that while teams fall in love with the big arm and body, you can’t really measure a quarterback’s ability to play NFL football until you see him on the field.
At least, that’s what we thought. Today we learn of a ground-breaking new study that could help general managers around the NFL save their butts when looking for that franchise quarterback. If you can’t decide between two quarterbacks based on their arm strength, 40-time, or Wonderlic score, just pick the better-looking one.
Just when 2008 couldn’t get any more frustrating for San Diego Chargers fans, along comes a movie reminded them about some of their darkest days. Yes, you guessed it: Someone has made a cinematic foray into the morass that is Ryan Leaf and his unfettered failure at life.
That’s probably a bit harsh, but it’s also largely true. According to the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, “Leaf”, which will screen at the San Diego Public Library for the first time Wednesday night, tells the story of the former No. 2 overall pick’s turbulent career in Southern California and his eventual meltdown. You know, the one that famously included this ridiculous outburst against a reporter in the locker room and instantly became the test case for why you can’t always trust Wonderlic scores.
Life can’t be easy for Ryan Leaf, known throughout the urban literates as the “biggest flop in NFL history”, a man who almost single-handedly destroyed a franchise because they had the bad fortune of getting the 2nd pick in the draft. So it’s nice to see that Leaf has landed on his feet and avoided any more controversy of any kind. Just kidding, he was busted for drugs.
Well, officially it’s a “leave of absence”. Leaf, who is taking advantage of his not-so-great quarterbacking experience while in his 3rd year as QB coach for the West Texas A&M team, made the mistake of asking a player on the team for some pain-killing drugs. Apparently, the team’s full of NARCs!
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what you’d call a “bust”. Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips, draft sixth overall back in 1996 by the St. Louis Rams, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars yesterday, putting the finishing touches on his ‘06 conviction for “seven felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon”. To translate in NonLawyerSpeak, that means “driving a car at a group of boys and young men after a pickup football game near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, hitting three of them.”
To give you a refresher: Phillips, named the 2nd biggest draft bust of all-time behind Ryan Leaf in a recent ESPN article, ran over the boys after playing them in a pickup football game. Evidently he was upset because he lost to them, which is kind of hilarious in itself. Not so hilarious: giving the victims injuries they’ll have for the rest of their lives.
What is it with quarterbacks in the Pac-10 and injuries? They seem to drop like flies. UCLA lost their top two quarterbacks before the season even started, and Oregon has gone through more quarterbacks already this season than Lindsay Lohan goes through packs of Virginia Slims. Throw in Jake Locker’s busted hand at Washington, and Mark Sanchez’s off-season knee injury, and the QB spot in the Pac-10 is a death trap.
Washington State has had similar problems, losing their top two QBs to injury this season as well. The problem is that while USC can have the No. 1 QB in his recruiting class as their fourth-stringer, the Cougars just don’t have that depth. So THE SEATTLE TIMES (via DR. SATURDAY) says head coach Paul Wulff has had to have an open call for quarterbacks on campus to look for people to line up under center for the practice squad.