Speed Read: “The T.O. Show” Predictably Lousy

For those of you who didn’t watch “The T.O. Show” on VH1 last night, consider yourselves the lucky few: like the residents of Johnstown who weren’t washed away by the giant flood, you somehow missed out on being carried away in a torrent of filth, muck and debris. For those of us contractually obligated to watch the show (this is why you should read contracts before agreeing to become a blogger), there’s no Red Cross volunteers coming to our rescue. We’re left shaking on the banks of the river as we try to comprehend what we just saw.

Terrell Owens

Maybe I’m being a bit over the top. But man, it wasn’t good.

To recap: Terrell Owens has a great body (honed by only the finest rubber bands your $19.95 can buy), and enjoys spending time showing it off. A lot of time showing it off. As in, going shirtless for about three-quarters of the show.  But, as you would hear any good pitchman say, that’s not all.

Terrell Owens and friends

No VH1 “Celeb Reality” show can just be about following a celebrity around, so there has to be some sort of convoluted plot, and here the one for “The T.O. Show”: his “best friends” and “publicists” Kita Williams and Monique Jackson have convinced him to move to Los Angeles during the off-season to “find himself.” Which - according to the first episode - means the following things:

  • Spending more than $100,000 on new diamond earrings.
  • Hooking up with the trashy real estate agent who rents him the mansion he’s staying in during the show.  (I know that the market is tough, but this seems like excessively aggressive sales tactics, although maybe now is the right time to buy.)
  • Going out to a club with said earrings, meeting a bunch of trashy women and inviting them home to “party” with him.
  • His half-assed attempt to get back together with his ex-fiancee, who seems like the only semi-intelligent person on the show by getting the hell out of Dodge.

Somehow T.O. has managed to create a show with less likable characters than “Rock of Love” and even fewer morally redeeming qualities as “I Love Money.” It’s an exercise in egotistical wish fulfillment - T.O. is famous and wants a show, so someone had to give it to him - and the early reviews have been particularly brutal:

Terrell Owens is one beautiful man and he knows it, oh, Lord, he knows it, and so do his publicists, Kita Williams and Monique Jackson, the forces behind “The T.O. Show,” which premieres tonight on VH1. Why else would the publicity art include a nude portrait of the football star, why else would Owens spend at least 60% of his time in front of the camera shirtless?

Good thing too, because the sculpted pecs, mighty shoulders and perfect abs are just about the only thing the show has going for it. No, wait, I take that back; he has a lovely smile as well.  - LOS ANGELES TIMES

Your mama never warned you to watch out for reality TV, but it can be poison. You sense its brain destructiveness when you get up in the morning, thinking, “I can’t wait to see if T.O. makes it with the real estate agent.”

The T.O. Show is so shallow mosquitoes couldn’t breed in it, though it appears some of the humans are trying to, as Terrell Owens joins up with two publicists, who are also supposed to be his best friends. -PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

What VH1 gets out of the deal, frankly, is less clear, other than a strange amalgam of soap-opera pathos and jock-like bravado, with Owens taking marching orders from his ubiquitous “publicists,” who, given their time commitment to the athlete, surely must have no other clients. - VARIETY

…and don’t even get me started on T.O.’s bodyguard Pablo. Just…no.

Meanwhile, while”The T.O. Show” was premiering, another type of muck was being dredged up in Pittsburgh. PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that Ben Roethlisberger is the subject of a civil suit filed by a hotel employee in Washoe County, NV who says that in July 2008, the Super Bowl MVP called her into his room to fix her TV, and then “forced her to have sex with him.

Ben Roethlisberger

Using a little bit of local knowledge, based on the locations given and the date, I’m going to assume this allegedly happened when Roethlisberger was in South Lake Tahoe last year for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. And if this sounds a lot to you like the allegations made against Kobe Bryant in Colorado a couple of years ago…you’re not the only one. Of course, the big difference here is that these are civil allegations - no criminal charges have ever been filed by Roethlisberger’s accuser.

Finally, former North Carolina wide receiver and point guard Jason Holley was revealed as the winner of Michael Irvin’s “4th and Long” reality TV show on Spike, and with it has earned a shot with the Dallas Cowboys during their training camp. Is it possible to do a reality show about football and not have the Cowboys involved? So help me, if Alvin Harper gets a show, I’m never watching TV again.

Other sports stories from last night:

  • ESPN’s Jayson Stark has the details of Pedro Martinez’s contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and as expected it’s heavily incentive-laden. He is only guaranteed $1 million for the rest of the season, but could make more than double that if he meets certain longevity and performance-based milestones.
  • Pedro Martinez, Nelson de la Rosa

    (Can Pedro keep his midget well-cared for on $1 million a year?)

  • Anyone who questions whether or not Jeremy Mayfield is hooked on crystal meth - as NASCAR and his stepmother claims - should check out this video from a few years ago of him giddily blowing up watermelons and full gas cans. Nope, that doesn’t sound like something a meth head would do at all.

  • Maybe John Smoltz should have retired last season so he could go into the Hall of Fame with former Braves teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine instead of trying a comeback with the Red Sox, if last night is any indication: he gave up three home runs as the Rangers (and another former Braves pitcher in Kevin Millwood) beat Boston, 6-3.
  • A few weeks ago, Quinten Richardson was traded by the Memphis Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Clippers, which pretty much defines “sideways movement.” Last night the Clippers turned around and shipped him to the Minnesota Timberwolves, somehow going from bad to worse. On the plus side, Mark Madsen’s back in Lipstick City. Watch out on the dance floor.
  • I guess it’s a job: former big league manager Terry Collins lands a new gig - leading the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League. Is this a step up or a step down from managing Team China?
  • What to do if you’re eight months pregnant but want to hang out at the sports bar watching your favorite team play. Get a Maternity Jersey, of course. Or as they are otherwise known, “Rich Garces Style.”
  • To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, the Houston Astros wore special patches and caps. In addition, they also went out and got loaded on Tang and vodka.
  • Mississippi State might have a first-year coach in Dan Mullen, but they’re already in midseason form in terms of arrests. Leading running back Anthony Dixon has been arrested on a DUI charge, the fifth Bulldog to be nabbed by police this off-season.
  • Police have arrested a man who shot and paralyzed former NFL player Michael Woods 27 years ago and charged him with aggravated murder after Woods died from a related kidney infection six weeks ago,
  • Tom Watson might have lost out on his bid to win the British Open at age 59, but his equipment sponsor Adams Golf might be a big winner, as their stock price has risen 18 percent since Watson took the tournament lead on Friday.

Who was the least likable person on “The T.O. Show”

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Cuervo Girls Spiked From AVP Tour Appearances

• AVP fans will no longer be able to drink in the sights of the Cuervo Girls.

Cuervo Girls

(”Wait - we’re out of a job?!?!”)

• Brewers fans will finally get to see some great baseball at Miller Park - they’ll be showing “The Sandlot” in the stadium parking lot.

Michael Irvin sued for stealing reality show idea. Aren’t all reality shows stolen from something else anyway?

Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his macho fashion sense by sporting a pink cap on his head, a flower in his hair & pearls around his neck.

• Let the Lakers & Magic have their NBA Finals. Tony Parker will be just fine with a bikini-clad Eva Longoria in the French Riviera.

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Speed Read: Braves Get Their Man (& Ditch One)

Credit the Atlanta Braves for knowing how to manage a news cycle. They flipped three prospects to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Nate McLouth to answer the need for outfield help (which they failed to answer correctly the first time by not signing Adam Dunn in the offseason), and called up Tommy Hanson (pitching phenom) and sent down Jordan Schafer (outfielder phenom) and look at all the exciting news!

Nate McLouth

(Nate McLouth: interstate man of mystery no longer)

And, oh by the way, they cut local hero Tom Glavine so they wouldn’t have to pay him up to $3.5 million to throw weaker than Jamie Moyer in a headwind when they don’t really need a farewell tour but more of a starting pitcher. But look! Nate McLouth! All-Star!

Braves GM Frank Wren swears it’s not about the money - which always means it’s about the money. McLouth is actually fairly inexpensive through 2011 with a club option for 2012 if he’s worth $10 million, but the team is replacing three minor league salaries with a major league one (roughly speaking).

Glavine will look for another job and has a decent chance of finding one if the price is right for a desperate franchise. However, no franchise has shown enough desperation to hook up with Sammy Sosa since Baltimore began its bizarre fascination with Chicago Cubs outfielders in 2005 and Texas took Sammy out around the block in 2007.

Sammy Sosa getting hit in head

Therefore, he’s announcing his retirement officially this week… sometime. As always, Sammy has to get an extra swing or two in before finally connecting, so his actual retirement will be later this week. Possibly.

Some will celebrate their last chance to moralize about him before his Hall of Fame eligibility kicks in. Others will tell Sammy to put a cork in it because they’re sick of him. The best recommendation? Smash a boom box with a baseball bat. It’s like an aural piñata!

Finally, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team squirted the bed in a simply filthy manner last night in San José, Costa Rica. The U.S. squad gave up two goals in the first 15 minutes of a World Cup qualifier to Costa Rica at the notoriously difficult Saprissa Stadium (banned: alcohol, batteries, and coins) on their way to a 3-1 thumping that wasn’t remotely that close.

Costa Rican Superman

(A Costa Rican Superman? Well, that explains a lot)

The bastard out there at ESPN that thought it would help ratings if they jammed Jon & Kate Plus 8 in front of U.S. keeper Tim Howard instead delivered a showing that led the Galavision announcers to chastise the Costa Ricans for not stomping on the throats of the Americans even more and to compare one goal in particular to stealing candy from a baby.

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Plus Tim Howard

(Actual photo of attempted defensive wall)

Because of two silly yellow cards received by two U.S. players, the American team will be short two people when they play against Honduras at Soldier Field in Chicago Saturday, in what promises to feel like an away game with maybe 25% of the 60,000 fans cheering for Uncle Sam’s boys. If the U.S. doesn’t earn three points with a win, there’s a very real chance they could miss next year’s World Cup in South Africa.

If U.S. coach Bob Bradley is still looking for a left back that has never played there before in a crucial situation, why not call on Tom Glavine? He’s available; he’s a winner; he’s looking for a job. At worst, he can help heave batteries back into the crowd at a gentle 83 mph.

And now a hail of sapphire bullet points of pure love for the Queen of the Blues on her passing

  • One old baseball man who tabled his moment in the sun: Randy Johnson. His first attempt at 300 wins in D.C. last night got washed out by Mother Nature (whom Randy went to elementary school with) and will be played today at 4 pm ET with Mr. Unit on the mound.
  • Carlos Zambrano continues to show disrespect to inanimate objects by blowing off the team jet to Atlanta (and not for the first time). Needless to say, this story doesn’t have legs if the Cubs aren’t splashing around .500 still.
  • Also filed under “not living up to expectations and therefore open to criticism”, please note the Serena Williams entry created when she lost in the quarterfinals. She showed up to the French Open out of shape mentally and physically, choosing to wear outfits that accentuated the latter and threw snit fits that proved the former. The only person this “athlete/actress” is cheating is herself.

Serena Williams at the 2009 French Open

Jose Lima Wife

How did the Braves’ efforts yesterday affect the NL East race?

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Tom Glavine Gets Tomahawk-Chopped By Braves

It’s officially the end of an era in Atlanta. The JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION reports that the Braves have unceremoniously dumped Tom Glavine from their ranks. With Greg Maddux long gone and John Smoltz rehabbing in the Red Sox organization, this makes the first time in over 20 years that none of the “Three Aces” has been a member of the Braves organization.

Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux Braves Photo
(We’ll always have sepia.)

Glavine was also in the process of rehabbing a shoulder injury when word came down this afternoon; that injury limited the lefty to 13 starts last season, and he had yet to make his major league debut in 2009. It’s an ignominious end to an illustrious career, but according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSPORTS.COM, it all came down to velocity:

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Speed Read: LeBron’s Heroics Keep Cavs Alive

I guess it just wouldn’t be a Magic-Cavs game in Cleveland if the home team didn’t blow a 20-point first half lead. And not only did their early 34-12 lead vanish, it went away nearly as quickly as it came about. By the time the Magic had finished scoring the first nine points of the second half, they had a 64-56 lead and it looked like Nike was going to have to commission a Hedo Turkoglu puppet.

LeBron and Wally

(The most impressive part is that LeBron literally carried Wally for the entire second half)

But then, LeBron James came alive and put the team on his back like a superstar should in a win-or-go-home game. And (for once this series) he actually got some help from his teammates, who had the courtesy to make the shots he set them up for. When all was said and done, LBJ had a triple-double (37, 14, & 12) and the Cavs had beaten Orlando 112-102, sending things back to Disney World for Game 6.  The odds are still stacked against Cleveland, but this Magic team isn’t exactly full of guys who have been here before.

Stan van Gundy

(Don’t worry Orlando, you still have this very calm, collected man running your team)

ABC counter-programmed against the NBA game with the gripping finals of the National Spelling Bee. Fortunately, they had the good sense this year to keep Mike and Mike away from it, instead going to “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron, who was joined during the proceedings by Brooksfavorite gymnast, Shawn Johnson. The winner was Kayva Shavishankar of Olathe, Kansas, who got bonus points for having a name that was harder to spell than any of the words on the championship list. She spelled “laodicean” right to win the title, taking home the big trophy and $40,000, which will pay for nearly one year of college. This article says she’s a “budding neurosurgeon,” which leads me to believe that she’s actually already done brain surgery. Props to her if that’s the case. The favorite, Sidharth Chand, flubbed “apodyterium” and finished fourth, joining the 292 other spellers who have ultimately just wasted a whole lot of time studying for this. Anyway, this is all just an excuse to post the video of that one girl screaming the last word back in the ’90s again:

The fallout from the Memphis violations scandal continues, with new allegations surfacing about Derrick Rose, who is supposedly the Memphis athlete whose SAT was taken by a stand-in to ensure that he passed. According to the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, Rose was one of four Simeon High School athletes whose transcripts were fraudulently altered in order to help him get accepted to college. Meanwhile, Kentucky officials continue to maintain that they believe that John Calipari is not a risky hire, even though his two previous schools have come under investigation soon after he left.

John Calipari

• The BOSTON HERALD says that Terry Francona got so upset about getting ejected from yesterday’s Red Sox-Twins game that he received medical attention in the clubhouse afterward for elevated blood pressure. Tito’s only 50 years old, but has been a walking heart attack waiting to happen for several years. Let’s hope he lives to see David Ortiz go deep again.

• For years, baseball stat-types have been looking for a way to quantify Derek Jeter’s bad defense. Well, the HARDBALL TIMES’ Colin Wyers came up with a metric that does just that. According to the new SZR (Simple Zone Rating), Brooks Robinson is the best fielder ever (which sounds about right) and Jeter is the second worst (foiled by Eddie Yost).

• Here’s your Stanley Cup preview from USA TODAY. This is the first rematch since the Islanders and Oilers played back-to-back Cup finals in 1983 and 1984. The Isles won in ‘83 (their fourth title in a row) but the Oilers unseated the champs the next year. That means it’s now been 25 years since Gretzky and Messier won their first cup. And what a scene it was when it happened (fans with goofy signs were on the ice before the game ended. They’d be tasered these days):

• Speaking of the Stanley Cup, the first two games will be played on consecutive nights this weekend, the first time since 1955 that Cup games have been played two days in a row. And why? No, it’s not Yanni’s fault this time. It’s actually Conan O’Brien’s fault. DEADSPIN says that NBC wouldn’t air weeknight games because if they go into overtime, they could’ve pre-empted one of O’Brien’s first shows as host of the “Tonight Show.” The finals weren’t orginially supposed to start for another week, by which time the world would’ve forgotten about hockey altogether.

• The World Series of Poker got underway yesterday with a special 40th-anniversary hold ‘em tournament. The buy-in: $40,000. About half of the field of 201 has hit the rail, and this special tourney (a who’s who of pro players) will conclude on Sunday. The $10,000 main event doesn’t start until early July. For now, here’s a picture of Phil Ivey getting an arm massage as he casually leaves a giant wad of $100s just sitting on the floor:

Phil Ivey

• Could Joe Torre have a bigger horseshoe up his butt? Manny gets suspended for 50 games, and somehow Juan Pierre turns into Ty Cobb (uh, except for the racist part). Pierre, who is widely known to be one of the worst offensive players this decade (stealing bases doesn’t make you good), is hitting .440 since becoming the starting left fielder for the Dodgers. L.A. won again last night, 2-1 over the Cubs in Chicago.

• I have to admit that I never thought I’d see the day when John Salley and Patti Blagojevich would be interviewed together, but GOOD DAY L.A. had them yesterday morning as they promoted their new TV show about getting stranded in the jungle. And YOU BEEN BLINDED has the video, which includes Steve Edwards asking the married Salley about his “girlfriends,” which didn’t amuse John at all. Salley also defends Patti by calling our country “communist.” Good times all around.

John Salley and Patti Blagojevich

• Is Twitter over yet? Now the LPGA is saying they would “love” to have players tweeting mid-round. Yeah, let’s slow golf down even more.

• BLOOMBERG has a good look at Sonia Sotomayor’s influence in ending the baseball strike nearly 15 years ago. Sotomayor grew up just a couple of miles from Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx, which also happens to be the country’s poorest congressional district. But hey, at least they have a shiny new stadium with $2,500 tickets!

• Now that Shea Stadium has been blow’d up, Tom Glavine has decided it’s safe to pitch again. He threw five scoreless innings in a AAA rehab start last night, and may pitch for the Braves next week. Still, expect something to “flare up” if Glavine’s turn in the rotation comes up when the Braves are in New York.

Which sports figure would you most like to send to the jungle for a month?

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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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Blog-O-Rama: Reggie Bush Approves Kim’s Moves

  • Kim Kardashian tells PEOPLE.COM that boyfriend Reggie Bush got a sneak preview of her performance prior to dancing with the Pussycat Dolls Friday night via iChat. Bush approved her moves, outfit and asked her to videotape the show, unfortunately Kim’s videographer Ray J was unavailable.
  • Kim Kardashian Pussycat Doll

  • Expect a population boom in Italy. THE BIG LEAD informs us that power forward and father of many bastard children Shawn Kemp has struck a deal with Premiata Montegranaro.
  • Speedo’s LZR swimsuit is making records shatter and breasts disappear, TIMES ONLINE investigates.
  • WTOP attempts to eat the Michael Phelps’ breakfast. Video after the jump.

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