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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Blog-A-Roni: Zara Phillips No Longer Beijing-Bound

• Remember how excited we were to see Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, riding off for the Olympics? The BBC tells us that Zara’s plans for equestrian gold have now been zapped, ’cause her horsie’s hurt.

Zara Phillips

• Time to change pro careers? Steve Wyche of the ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION tees up news of Joey Harrington hitting two holes-in-one on the same hole in a matter of days.

• USA TODAY salutes Sam Wyche, as the ex-NFL coach wins in his debut election in the primaries for his local county council.

• The MADISON (WI) CAPITAL TIMES hikes along the story of a female pro football player who may soon be sent off to Iraq.

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