Speed Read: Trade Deadline All Hype, No Payoff

This was one of the more highly-anticipated NBA trade deadlines in recent memory, with names like Amare Stoudemire and Raef LaFrentz’ Expiring Contract flying all around. So, of course, it was a given that absolutely nothing of note was going to actually happen.

Raef LaFrentz

(2009’s inductee into the Expiring Contract Hall-of-Fame will continue to not play for Portland this season)

The most hilarious part of all of this is that ESPN set aside an entire hour yesterday afternoon to talk about all the big news that was going down. And then nothing happened, other than some blockbusters like Rashad McCants for Shelden Williams and Larry Hughes for Tim Thomas and The Contract Resulting From Jerome JamesFluky 2005 Playoff Run. So Mark Jones had to sit there and come up with crap to talk about with the likes of Jamal Mashburn and Chris Broussard, while all three looked like they would have rather been making out with Louis Amundson. They even had Marc Stein call in with some “breaking news” that the Knicks were thinking about trading Nate Robinson to Sacramento, then had him call back five minutes later to say it wasn’t happening.

So, what happened? Mostly, Portland decided that they’re OK with what they have, and will take the cap space from LaFrentz’ expiration and a trade exception they acquired for Ike Diogu into the offseason, instead of shipping a few parts to bring in someone like Vince Carter or Richard Jefferson. The Cavs showed some interested in bring in Shaq, but that never really got off the ground. And the Suns backed off on any Amare trades because they’ve scored 282 points in two games since kicking Terry Porter to the curb.

Meanwhile, everyone else seemed scared to make any deal that would add any payroll because of the current economic climate — and David Stern’s recent warning that the salary cap will probably be going down for the next couple of years.

I tuned in just after halftime of last night’s Celtics-Jazz tilt in Salt Lake, and noticed that Michael Rappaport was playing big minutes for Boston for some reason. What the heck was Scalabrine doing in the game? Then I realized that Kevin Garnett wasn’t out there. And while Celtics fans are probably upset about losing 90-85 to the Jazz, they’re much more worried about KG’s strained knee. He’s having it re-evaluated today, but a strained knee could mean anything from a slight hyperextension that will heal in two days to a torn ligament that could end a season. Could another Boston team be derailed by a catastrophic knee injury? New England holds its collective breath.

Kevin Garnett

So, now that we’ve found A-Rod’s drug-enabling cousin, it’s time to figure out what this “boli” crap is that the two were injecting for fun back in the day. Turns out that the substance, called Primobolan, was actually illegal in the Dominican Republic during the time Rodriguez says he and his boy Yuri were supposedly buying it from a pharmacy there. Still is illegal, actually, and all attempts by ESPNDeportes to buy some from different pharmacies were rebuffed.

ESPN cites a Dominican official who says that the drug would not have been for sale in a pharmacy, but could have been found either on the underground market or on the Internet. A-Rod also tested positive for testosterone, which is available over-the-counter in the D.R. So, it appears — and here’s a shocker — that Rodriguez might not be telling us the whole truth here.

Alex Rodriguez

(”Like I said, Yuri and I bought the Ebola from a guy named Manny who ran cockfights in Santo Domingo. It was all totally, completely legal. Manny just got it from the pharmacy and then gave it to us.”)

• Is there anything more simultaneously hilarious and tragic than a big, furry mascot seriously injuring itself? During NBA All-Star weekend, the Bobcats mascot made an impressive H-O-R-S-E shot that glanced off the, uh, groinal region of the Bucks mascot, who was standing on top of the basket. No, that wasn’t the injury. That came when the Buck tried some sort of Shawn Johnson-esque dismount that ended with a torn ACL. BALL DON’T LIE brings us the video from the L.A. TIMES:

Tom Glavine will be throwing 82-mph fastballs that are low and away but are called strikes anyway for at least one more year.

• A bus carrying the Albany River Rats AHL team crashed on the way home from a game in Lowell, Mass. early Thursday morning. Several players and the radio guy were injured, and some of the players might miss significant time, says the AP.

• The first women’s hammer throw Olympic gold medalist ever collapsed and died on Wednesday. What makes this really tragic is that it was only nine years ago that Poland native Kamila Skolimowska won gold in Sydney. She was just 26 years old, and the cause of her death is unclear.

• INSIDE WORLD SOCCER says that L.A. Galaxy fans are not happy that David Beckham is doing everything he can to not have to come back to the MLS. And, as you no doubt know, you do NOT want to make an MLS fanbase angry. That’s a mild displeasure that will haunt Beckham for minutes.

angry L.A. Galaxy fan

• THE ONION says that Nate Robinson is now just walking around jumping over Dwight Howard in his everyday life.

• The Lions needed a new offensive coordinator that would fit well into the Lions legacy. And, as luck would have it, fired Rams head coach Scott Linehan just happened to be available. Can you think of a more appropriate choice?

• FANIQ brings us a three-part video series featuring a guy waiting for a bus with Stephon Marbury. I guess he just happened to find Steph sitting at a bus stop, and asked if he could shoot a couple videos with him. Somehow, this totally makes sense. Here’s part 1:

• The LOHUD YANKEES BLOG says that not only are the Yanks trying to pull some shenanigans with their season ticket holders, but they can’t spell and/or use basic grammar correctly either. Really, this letter is pretty embarrassing coming from a professional sports organization. If George Steinbrenner was still alive, he’d be really angry.

• I swear, you can’t go five minutes without another huge controversy in the world of professional bass fishing. The L.A. TIMES has the story of Kim Bain-Moore, who is the first woman to ever fish in the apparently important Bassmaster Classic. The 50 male competitors are bent that she qualified on a women’s tour instead of the way they did. Because as we all know, a fish can totally tell which gender is holding the pole that destroyed its life.

• I don’t think there’s any really great way to die, but getting shot through the chest with a crossbow is probably not one of the best ways to go.

What Boston athlete injury would be the toughest for his team to overcome?

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Speed Read: No Penalties, No Subs, No Time Limit

Officially, the Steelers-Ravens game had six injury timeouts. Something tells me more than six players got their bodies bruised last night. Fortunately, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t implement the Rollerball championship game rules in this game, because it probably would have ended up with both punters just kicking the ball to each other.

Rollerball-like conditions in Ravens-Steelers MNF

Andre Frazier was stretchered off on the first play. Both teams were down to their third-string running backs by overtime. Willis McGahee was helped off twice. Strangely, QBs Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco, the two guys who got rassled down to the ground all night, didn’t leave the game prematurely with boo-boos.

But are there really any winners, as a society increased its desire for bloodlust on this night? (Sorry, that was mighty post-apocalyptic for a sports blog.) In the post-game conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said the injuries did not dampen their hard-fought 23-20 win over B’more. “That’s football.” And thank God almighty for penalties, substitutions and time limits.

Speaking of men with no apparent time limits, let’s bring in our comic relief. Headlining tonight’s gig will be Funny Bone Ticker of the Year, Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders! [applause]

Al Davis

(Wow. He’s never looked better.)

Davis has never been a buy-the-book guy. When the book says “fire your coach, then look for a replacement?” Davis burns the book. (Or feeds it to a lamprey.) No, Davis is hellbent on finding a replacement to Lane Kiffin first, then subsequently firing Kiffin, ESPN is reporting. Perhaps this is all a cunning ruse by Davis, through the wise advise of former literary agent John Hodgman, to convince the world that time is moving backwards. By Week 11, he’ll inexplicably announce Lane Kiffin as the new head coach of the Raiders. By 2010, he’ll hire Art Shell, just to throw the world a curveball. And in 2015, he’ll lose his virginity.

So if you’re curious if Kiffin’s been canned yet, there’s only one definitive place to bookmark and refresh. The official website of the countdown, HASLANEKIFFINBEENFIRED.COM:

Has Kiffin Been Fired?

(Could Abe Froman be interested in the job?)

Kiffin probably doesn’t deserve to be head coach anymore, but man, when did it make sense to can coaches before October? (I think we’ve all had ex-girlfriends who we’ve strung along for far less time than Davis has done with Kiffin.) The SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT notes that if Kiffin’s job is saved, Kalimba Edwards might have had something to do with it.

Tiger on his knees, not in my tank

The world’s best golfer has a time limit of 24 months before he can play again? So stay strong and resolute in your fantasy golf keeper leagues, because Tiger Woods‘ ACL injury recovery could last as long as two years, sez THE TELEGRAPH. World famous surgeon Lanny L. Johnson said — no kidding! — that the ligament means something different to football players than it does to golfers:

“If you tear your cruciate ligament in American football, you can play within a year – and with full confidence within two years. Based on this, and the recovery period of other athletes, I am guessing that Tiger will need two years.”

Wow. What a world in which we take advice from guys named Lanny.

What about a world in which you take advice from guys named Joey Porter?

Joey Porter, financial advisor

  • The Dolphins linebacker knows how to get us out of this economic recession. ESPN’s NFL NATION gets the financial advice we’ve been waiting to hear: just dig a hole in your backyard and put your money in there. Skeptical? Hey, he was right about Matt Cassel.
  • Then Porter can tell you to go back in time and bet on the Tampa Bay Rays to win the American League who, as VEGAS WATCH points out, were at 75-1 odds to start the year. (Quick story about this. We saw the Vegas Hilton Sportsbook odds a couple weeks ago, and at the top stood the Yankees’ AL hopes at 2500-1. Second from the bottom was Tampa, at 20-1. Oh what a beautiful sight it was.)
  • A somber update to Jaguars offensive lineman Richard Collier, who was shot 14 times last month: His leg was amputated and will be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.
  • So you just lost your quarterback for the season? No worries. If you’re the Washington Huskies, and your QB is Jake Locker, just move him to safety, COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK murmurs.
  • Gilbert Arenas‘ life, because it needed to be said, is still better than yours. As he shares on AGENT ZERO, the Wiz’ star is now engaged, and he didn’t even have to pop the question.
  • Ousted Rams coach Scott Linehan can at least take solace that more people approved of this work than they do of still-employed Vikings coach Brad Childress, RANDBALL discovers.
  • Meaningless game for the Tigers on Monday? Tell that to Jim Leyland, who told MLB.COM: “I wanted to win this game today bad … because we wanted to get another win. It’s not like you’re trying to knock the White Sox out as much as you’re trying to get a win and you’re trying to be professional and go about your business. I tried everything I knew how to do.”
  • Encouraging words from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ron Wilson to the GLOBE AND MAIL regarding the upcoming NHL season: “We’re not going to win the Stanley Cup this year. There’s a news flash for you.” Honesty. You gotta respect that, at least.
  • Pssh. What the heck does Will Leitch know about New York sports? That didn’t stop him from sharing his ten best Big Apple athletes for NEW YORK MAGAZINE.
  • Oh yeah, and the White Sox play the Twins for the AL Central crown today. It’s Nick Blackburn against John Danks. No, I’m not envious by jamming this nugget at the end of the article. Nuh-uh.

What’s most likely to happen in today’s Sox-Twins playoff game?

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NY Mets’, Scott Linehan’s Seasons End Too Soon

• The New York Mets are out of the playoff picture, thanks to a late-season swoon. This is not a repeat.

Scott Linehan Mets fans

• Not Ram tough: Scott Linehan is given the St. Louis toodle-oo.

• Don’t call it a comeback: Shawn Kemp goes AWOL from his Italian b-ball club, blames it on Hurricane Ike.

• Hard to tell which was more painful to watch - Anquan Boldin taking a hit to the helmet, or the Jets’ Titan-ically terrible throwback duds.

• The Brewers’ season-ending run was exciting enough to make you tinkle in your trousers. But make sure you don’t sing “Go Cubs Go!” at Miller Park.

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Scott Linehan Fired; Haslett Takes Over Disaster

Your nightmare is finally over, St. Louis. Well, your team still sucks, but now there’s an excuse since they’ll have an “interim” coach for the rest of the year and we all know that makes being terrible OK. Scott Linehan is out after an 0-4 start in which the team was outscored by more than 25 points a game. He should make a fine coach in the Sun Belt Conference.

Scott Linehan and Georgia Frontiere

“You have to come over soon. I’ll make a casserole and we can watch Lawrence Welk.”

Why wasn’t Linehan axed earlier, considering the team seems to hit a new low each week? Apparently, the owners’ mom thought he was such a nice boy and didn’t want to see him go. Yes, owners Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez gave Linehan a third season to begin with because their predecessor and mother, Georgia Frontiere, liked him and wanted him there. So there you have it, Rams fans. Your team makes its decisions based on the whims of a now-deceased 80-year-old woman.

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Kiffin and Linehan Could be Unemployed Monday

A combination of Rams loss and Al Davis finally doing what he’s been reportedly threatening to do everyday since the season has started could equal a historic Monday.

Linehan

PRO FOOTBALL TALK notes that the firing of Scott Linehan, which Peter King reported yesterday would happen on Monday should the Rams lose today’s game against the 3-0 Buffalo Bills, combined with a Monday firing of Lane Kiffin could be the first time since the AFL-NFL merger that two NFL head coaches in the same season were fired before their team’s fifth game. Only five other coaches have been fired this early in the season and it’s never happened in the same season.

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Oregon St. Topples Top-Ranked Trojans Yet Again

• Leave it to the Beavers: Once again, Oregon State shocks highly-ranked USC in Corvallis.

Oregon State USC

This is becoming quite a trend.

• But such a monumental upset is no comfort to OSU alum Steven Jackson, as the Rams RB is too busy lashing out at coach Scott Linehan.

Pat Summitt may be basketball’s all-time winningest coach, but the Lady Vols leader is no match when it comes to rasslin’ with raccoons.

• How melancholy is the Mariners’ clubhouse? One teammate of Ichiro openly talked about wanting to knock the Seattle star slugger out.

• Despite the Colts’ 1-2 record, Tony Dungy must still be pretty popular in Indianapolis - why else would someone return a credit card the coach left at a gas station?

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Rams Fans: Team Costing You $165 For Sucking

Times are tough all over the country. Gas prices are high, financial institutions are broke. But never fear, residents of St. Louis. Your economic downturn is over, as soon as the Rams start winning some football games.

Marc Bulger

Uh-oh.

New research suggests that a winning NFL team has a “statistically significant effect” on the per-capita income of a metropolitan area. In fact, a winning team can boost individual incomes by as much as $165 a year. A single victory can account for an income boost of $30 (you hear that, Ed Hochuli?). David Nicklaus of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH has more:
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Tony Dungy’s Lost Credit Card Returned By Fan

If Tony Dungy seems a bit distracted right now, he has every right to be. It’s not very often that the coach finds his Indianapolis Colts at 1-2 and out of first place in the AFC South, and he’s been using the Colts bye week to help figure out a way to get his team back on track. He’s also using the time off to run some errands around the house, and after a recent trip to the gas station, Tony left something rather important behind.

Dungy was on the phone with somebody (my guess is God) while pumping gas, and he swiped his credit card at the pump to pay for it. The problem was, since he was on the phone he couldn’t put the card back in his wallet, so just placed it atop the pump until he hung up. Then he hung up, got in his car and drove off leaving the credit card behind.

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Steven Jackson Is Not A Big Fan Of Scott Linehan

The people of Missouri are probably pretty grateful for the Missouri Tigers football team right now, because at least they’re good. They’re so good, in fact, that some people would probably consider them favorites in a game against either of Missouri’s professional football teams. On one side of the state there’s the Kansas City Chiefs, on the other side there’s the St. Louis Rams, and in the middle there are a bunch of people wondering what went wrong.

Rams running back Steven Jackson isn’t one of those people, as he knows exactly what’s wrong in St. Louis. Steven doesn’t seem to be a very big fan of his head coach Scott Linehan, and yesterday he went on the radio to let his coach know that he doesn’t agree with the decision to bench Marc Bulger for Trent Green.

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