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Saturday, April 10, 2010

A busy sports Saturday...

UFC 112 goes today in Abu Dhabi. Anderson Silva defends the middleweight title against Demian Maia, and BJ Penn looks to keep the lightweight championship from Frankie Edgar in what should be a total cakewalk for Penn.

He's shot a 68 and a 70 in two rounds of The Masters. How many are waiting to see Tiger Woods card a 69 and have that as joke fodder?

Damien Cox of the Toronto Star looks at the NHL's MVP race and figures Sidney Crosby is the worthy winner over Alexander Ovechkin and Henrik Sedin.

Cristiano Ronaldo
is calling his shot, saying his Real Madrid will not only beat Barcelona today in a La Liga battle for first place, but will also go on to win the league championship. That game goes on GolTV at 4pm (Eastern).

Another loss has the Toronto Raptors tied in eighth place with the Chicago Bulls who shockingly dropped an overtime decision to the New Jersey Nets. Those two will play Sunday in Toronto.

It is the final night of the NHL season for some teams, and there's still plenty to sort out in terms of not only who is in or out of the playoffs, but also who gets slotted where.

Only two English Premier League games set for today with neither anything to write home about, plus the FA Cup semi-finals.

Toronto FC play their second game of the year tonight with another road game, this time in New England. Expect to see a tonne of TFC supporters in the stands for this one. Kickoff is 7:30pm on GolTV. RedNationOnline thinks TFC could well get the "W" in this one.

Check out Kenyon Martin's locker room eruption over the April Fool's joke in which his luxury sled was filled with popcorn set up against Cristian Bale's famed on set meltdown. Lots of great language here.

Hottest celeb baseball fans, plus the Hilton sisters who may be celebs, but aren't hot.

You're an American hockey coach in Slovenia who leads your team to the championship. So what happens in the aftermath? Six of your players beat the tar out of you. No, really. I read this piece and thought the six players were complete morons and deserved to be booted from the team - which they were - until I found out the reason why: the coach urged a 19-year old player to drive home post game despite the players warning him that he had had too much to drink. Of course, the player got in an accident.

Poor Wayne Rooney. Out injured last week during Manchester United's loss to Chelsea, he tries to have a pint but gets busted on camera. Hope he has better luck today.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Step the pace up...

MLB umpire Joe West called the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox "pathetic and embarrassing" for dragging out the pace of games. Now, I don't think it is right to call the two biggest clubs in the game out like that, especially as an umpire, but they're sure symbolic of a bigger issue on the pace of games. Do catchers need to come out every other pitch in a big at bat? Do you need multiple mound visits from the pitching coach? Do batters need to step out of the box every pitch to go through their rituals? No, no and no. I get that baseball is a game played without a clock, but there are rules about pace of pitches and such, and it would be nice to see them enforced so games don't approach four hours on a regular basis.

ESPN's baseball analyst Jayson Stark told The Mike And Mike Show that 3 teams took in 80-90 million in revenue sharing that by the CBA is mandated to be spent on salary and reported to MLB. They each had payrolls under $50 million, so they're making the difference, plus tickets sold, in pure profit. Funny that nobody rails against that.

AJ Burnett refers to Roy Halladay as the Peyton Manning of pitchers. High praise on many levels.

Toronto Blue Jay Travis Snider is developing a healthy collection of golden sombreros, with two already this season. But at least Vernon Wells is showing signs of life, with four homers in three games, albeit at long ball friendly Texas.

Chris Rock appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman a couple nights ago, and dropped this gem on Tiger Woods returning to golf: "Tiger hasn't had sex since Thanksgiving. He's going to win The Masters and then rape Phil Mickelson." Check out the rest of Rock's appearance here, in which he hammers Letterman for his own infidelities.

Speaking of golf, says Vic in NoCal, a regular on The Jim Rome Show via Twitter: "60yr old Tom Watson leading at Masters only proves that golf is a GAME, not a SPORT. A game of great skill, but a game nonetheless." Well put, Don Vic.

If you've followed RM over the years, you know I'm a big fan of baseball injuries, because they tend to be of a ridiculous nature whenever it is off-field stuff. The latest gem is Milwaukee Brewer Jeff Suppan, making a mere $12.5 million this year, has landed on the DL with a bad neck because he - wait for it - slept on a rolled up towel. Pillows too much for the $12.5 million dollar man?

With a win tomorrow, mixed with two New York Rangers overtime wins over the Philadelphia Flyers this weekend, the Toronto Maple Leafs would knock the Montreal Canadiens out of a playoff spot. Yeah, pretty unlikely.

Have you seen the latest Tiger Woods ad by Nike, in which they spliced together his late father's voice to do the voice over? If you're gonna go that far Tiger, you're a bigger whore than the ones you were banging. But, true to form, Tiger offered up as much substance as he normally does in the ad.

Check out now all-world star Lionel Messi as a five year old in this video below. Not sure what's more impressive, his play, or that he's about the same height now.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Robben takes a bat to Man United

With Wayne Rooney starting and looking fit, and Nani playing as well as he's played in his life, you'd have figured Manchester United was easily into the Champions League semis, especially after taking a 3-0 lead. But mix in an out-of-nowhere goal from Ivica Olic and a red card to Man United's Rafael that was largely the result of Franck Ribery whining to the referee with 40 minutes to go and Bayern Munich scored a second to see them advance on the away goals rule despite being played off the field when it was 11 v 11. Munich will now face Olympic Lyon, with the winner of that semi facing the winner of Inter Milan and Barcelona. So an early congratulations to Champions League winner Barcelona.

Go figure that the one New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox game that goes under three hours for nine innings stretches beyond that thanks to extra innings. The Yankees were 3-1 winners, and Red Sox "Nation" is in full on panic mode no doubt.

Jose Calderon whining over fans booing an air ball from him is pretty fresh. He's the same guy who collects his paycheque with a ski mask and gun, and panders to the fans when he hits threes by inexplicably holding up six fingers. He's not all that's wrong with the Toronto Raptors, but he's the biggest symptom: soft physically and mentally, a bloated long-term contract and can't defend a lick. Trade the piece of shit.

Said Toronto Raptor Sonny Weems after the Raps loss in Cleveland Tuesday night: "Every game we've played them, it's been real close. I don't think they want that in the first round of the playoffs. We're going to come to play." Said LeBron James in response: "I'm not getting into that," James said, grinning. "They're having a great season so far." Pwned.

Very classy of former New York Giant Tiki Barber to leave his pregnant wife for a 23-year old intern. What is it with people in the TV business and interns?

Love New York Yankees President Randy Levine getting after the whining Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, crying that the team will have a hard time re-signing Prince Fielder. Shame Levine didn't mention the Brewers shipping their best young talent to Cleveland for a rental of CC Sabathia, or that they also made a huge offer to Sabathia in free agency, but he just didn't want to live in Milwaukee. Some things are beyond mere money, Attanasio.

Try to steal a purse, and get suplexed for your efforts. Surely this isn't real, is it? Incredible either way. Click the link for video.

Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bosh Busted, Barca Blowout, Brennan Bows Out

Barcelona's Lionel Messi went off for four goals, three of the gorgeous varietal, to put a stop to Arsenal's Champion's League hopes after the Gunners opened the scoring with a 4-1 win. Barca will now take on Inter Milan in the semi-finals, who downed CSKA Moscow 1-0. Messi is on an incredible tear of late, with a pair of recent hat-tricks and yesterday's four goal game.

There are 11 Major League Baseball teams with at least four guys on the DL. That's a lot of talent on the shelf so early in the season, nobody hurting moreso than the New York Mets who are minus Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, among others.

Jim Brennan is not only no longer the captain of Toronto FC, he's also done playing and moving up to the front office. All this after one regular season game played. If TFC were any more a circus, I'd think they were the Toronto entry in the CFL.

The other two Champions League semi-finalists will be decided today when Bayern Munich, 2-1 winners in the first leg at home, visit Manchester United. Here's a bit of a development that could end up being a major difference maker: there is talk that Wayne Rooney may in fact play today. He's either one hell of a quick healer, or United isn't liking the idea of life minus Rooney much in a critical game. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he won't be playing. Lyon visits Bordeaux in the other matchup, with the home side needing to win by a couple, for starters.

Interesting idea from JC Bradbury - lead man at - on the subject of Human Growth Hormone. Bradbury offers this tidbit in the March 22nd issue of ESPN The Magazine on HGH: "Make it legal. The uninformed public calls HGH a performance-enhancer, but researchers know better. Testifying before Congress in 2008, Thomas Perls, an HGH expert, said, 'There is no credible scientific evidence that growth hormone substantively increases muscle strength or aerobic-exercise capacity in normal individuals.' Perls didn't go rogue. He was reflecting the academic consensus that HGH offers little to no athletic benefits." Interesting stuff.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is aiming to grow NFL revenues by about $1 billion per year with a target of $25 billion a year in revenue in 2027. That's definitely something you want to be hyping up as you're telling the players and public how much teams are struggling and you need to cut the players take of revenues.

If you were to do the NL year-end awards after one game, check out who are your likely winners: MVP, Albert Pujols (two homers, four hits). Cy Young: Roy Halladay (seven innings, one run, nine strikeouts), Rookie of the Year, Jason Heyward (two hits, a homer, four RBIs). Quite likely the guys that win it at the end of the season.

If you're wondering why the New York Yankees 6-4 win at Boston last night took so long at a shade under 4 hours, it might have something to do with both teams combining to throw 333 pitches. In related news, the 0-fer-the-season David Ortiz went off on reporters post game: "You guys wait till [expletive] happens, then you can talk [expletive]. Two [expletive] games, and already you [expletives] are going crazy. What's up with that, man? [Expletive]. [Expletive] 160 games left. That's a [expletive]. One of you [expletives] got to go ahead and hit for me." The only one I can't figure out is the second last one. Maybe Ortiz hasn't taken his "eye drops" like he did last year after two cold months?

Chris Bosh had his face caved in by an accidental elbow from Cleveland Cavalier Antawn Jamison. Presumably, this hurts the Toronto Raptors playoff hopes, if there were any. The upside for Bosh is he'll have more content for a DVD to produce.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Champions League Quarters resume today...

Champions League quarter final play resumes today with Arsenal visiting Barcelona, minus Cesc Fabregas. Hard to see Barcelona not advancing. Am sure that Inter Milan will look to kill any game at all in CSKA Moscow and squeeze out a scoreless draw or 1-0 win. That's great strategy when it works for manager Jose Mourinho but funny things happen to his teams when they go down a goal.

Yes, Duke won the NCAA hoops title this year with a 61-59 win over Butler, who few gave a chance to entering the game. Is it me, or are the Blue Devils the least impressive team to win in recent memory? Sure feels that way.

Remember when Daisuke Matsuzaka was said to be a guy that would revolutionize pitching? He's now not good enough to be in the Boston Red Sox rotation.

Speaking of losing weight, word is Barry Bonds has lost 30-40lbs or so. Wonder why that is?

What do Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry all have in common? All came to the NBA as teenagers, all now in their late 20's or early 30's and to varying degrees, older than their years would suggest. As ESPN The Magazine points out, of the nine high-schoolers drafted between 1995-1999, Bryant and Al Harrington are the only two whose games haven't undergone a substantial drop-off.

There were three starters yesterday - Shaun Marcum of the Toronto Blue Jays, Ben Sheets of the Oakland A's, and Jake Westbrook of the Cleveland Indians - that started their games with zero innings pitched the previous year. The last time that happened in MLB history was opening 1901, which was also the first day of American League history.

The Washington Redskins may have been 4-12 last year, but seven of those losses were by six points or less. It won't shock me if they're very much in the playoff hunt next year with a better coach and better QB now in the fold. There is also talk that Donovan McNabb, who has kissed and made up with Terrell Owens, may look to have T.O. brought in so the two can exact some revenge on Philadelphia together. Not sure how likely that is, but sure is an interesting story. The Eagles will visit the Redskins on Monday Night Football on October 25th.

Check out the line on Chicago Cubs starter, and alleged ace, Carlos Zambrano: 1 1/3 innings, 6 hits, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 1 K. That's a 54.01 ERA through one game, folks. And Cubs fans thought all their problems left when Milton Bradley skipped town...

Tiger Woods wants to renew his wedding vows with wife Elin according to reports. I can see why he'd want to, but why would she? Not like he took them at all seriously the first time around. Jason Whitlock at the Kansas City Star says Tiger hit his presser out of the park yesterday.

I'm a fantasy sports and pool nut. Football pools, hockey, soccer, name it, I'm in. Hell, I once ran a CFL pool with 40+ people in it where you'd pick the spreads and over/unders, and regularly took advantage of everyone's assumptions that all CFL games go over. But this is one I won't be participating in: a CFL fantasy league. Yes, using players.

Biggest surprise of MLB's opening day yesterday? No snow, anywhere.

Check out this Vanderbilt pitcher having his knee cap shattered by a line drive, and yet still makes the play to first. Nails.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sox spank Yanks

It appears as if Duke will win the title without having to play a team in the entire NCAA tournament that ranked in the top 3 all season. Purdue was their highest ranked opponent and they checked in at one point as 4th. Of the millions of entrants in the bracket contest, only .03% of entrants picked this as the final matchup. I'm going to say "Go Duke" looking to work a reverse jinx here.

The four teams fighting for the last few Eastern Conference playoff spots - Boston, Philadelphia, New York Rangers and Montreal - will all play the Toronto Maple Leafs in succession. What are the odds on that?

Donovan McNabb is headed to the Washington Redskins in a true head scratcher of a trade methinks as far as the Philadelphia Eagles are concerned. By no means do I think McNabb is still a top five QB in the game, but to trade a guy with some game left within your division seems a bit crazy. Sure, Kevin Kolb may look good in practice and the odd game over the years, but NFL defences have a way of catching up to guys once there is a couple handfuls of games of tape on them. Take Derek Anderson, as one example. #NFL

Word out of the Buffalo Bills mini-camp is that some of Marshawn Lynch's teammates figure he wants out of Buffalo. Speculation is they're thinking so based on his absence from said workouts. Talk about jumping to conclusions.

Pretty sure I'm a rarity in 2010: haven't seen Avatar, heard a song by Justin Bieber, or been banged by Tiger Woods.

Speaking of Woods, expect productivity around North America to drop at 2pm today when he holds his presser at The Masters, where he'll likely say nothing worth hearing, in typical Eldrick fashion.

So much for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox stacked pitching, if last night's first sample means anything. Both Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia were out relatively early, each tagged for five runs, in a game won 9-7 by the Sox. Today, another baker's dozen of season openers on the go.

Have a great Monday.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

The Major League Baseball season starts tonight at 8pm with the Defending World Series Champion New York Yankees visiting the hated Boston Red Sox. CC Sabathia and Josh Beckett will be the starters - not a bad matchup to say the least.

Mindblowing that a linesman in the right spot can miss not one, but two Chelsea attackers being offside in yesterday's 2-1 Chelsea win at Manchester United, the second goal which came off that play. United looked real flat for the first 45 minutes and I've said repeatedly that they're not going to win anything important with Gary Neville on the field. The race isn't over, but Chelsea definitely gained the upper hand yesterday.

So the Detroit Red Wings have had what most would term a very down year, yet they're four points short of another 100 point season with four games to play. They're also, it is worth noting, getting healthy just in time for the playoffs.

Who do the New York Mets grab to throw out the opening pitch of the season? Recent Celebrity Apprentice quitter Daryl Strawberry. Are they trying to tell their fans the season is one to quit on?

Butler beat Michigan State 52-50 in a brutally played game that looked at times like neither team wanted to win. Butler will face Duke in the finals on Monday night, who throttled a surprisingly timid West Virginia. The pre-season coaches poll had all four Final Four teams ranked in the top ten.

Have always wondered how NCAA college athletes, who allegedly don't make any money and aren't allowed to work, can afford so much ink.

The Toronto Blue Jays signed Adam Lind to a 4-year, $18 million extension with three decent club options beyond that. Maybe with that money, Lind will now hire a better agent as his current agent just got exposed as out of his league in giving the Jays a bargain of a deal.

In following the daily player Q&A with different Toronto Blue Jays in the Toronto Star, this much is clear: these guys listen to some horrible, horrible music.

A few videos to close today. If you haven't seen Andrew Bogut's gruesome fall last night in which he dislocated his elbow, check it out here. He'll be out for the year with that and a broken hand.

Check out Sky Sports commentator Chris Kamara completely unawares a Portsmouth player had been sent off.

Here's a time lapse of the grass install at BMO Field in Toronto...