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Saturday, May 1, 2010

So if you get hurt in a given sport, you generally don't want it to affect your status long term or into the next season, right?  Especially if said injury occurs at the conclusion of a season.  Get it fixed, heal in time for the new season.  That's what anyone with a brain or sense of logic or loyalty to the team would do.  Of course, that's not what the Old Has Been did.  He's got an ankle injury that requires surgery if he is to be ready for the 2010 season.  To make matters worse, it appears he didn't even tell the Minnesota Vikings 'til after the draft.   And very classy of him to let Green Bay Packers fans know that the one year in Minnesota meant as much to him as ten in Green Bay.

It is a lot to ask for a team to come out of a game seven win and bounce back to start the next round two days later, and so far, it has seen the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens drop the openers in their respective series.  The Habs were pounded by the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3, who showed the Habs what a power play looks like.

It wasn't easy, but the LA Lakers got a clutch moment out of Pau Gasol - and who would have bet on that? - to finish off the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games with a 95-94 win.  The Thunder are just getting started.  And how awkward is that picture at right?

Should be a great night of boxing tonight in Vegas as Floyd Mayweather faces "Sugar" Shane Mosley.  I've got a juicy +401 on Money May to win by TKO, KO or DQ.  Get in at Pinnacle (link above).

Bill Simmons, aka "The Sports Guy", tweets on the NBA MVP vote:  "Twelve people voted against LeBron as MVP? Last time we had 12 people that dumb, they were delivering the OJ Trial verdict."

Speaking of the NBA and Twitter, good to see Chris Bosh take to Twitter to ask if he should stay or leave Toronto.  Good to see he's taking things so seriously.

Pretty classy of a Boston sports radio host, Fred Toettcher, to refer to Tim Tebow and family and friends at the draft last week appearing to be so white it was "like some kind of Nazi rally." Didn't Don Imus get canned for saying something like that once?

Check out the 10 Funniest Videos of Athletes Cursing in sports. I have to say, I can watch number one every day forever and I think I'd still laugh.

And another top 10, check out the Top 10 Controversial World Cup moments.

And a third, for your viewing pleasure: SportsCenter's Not Top Play's of the Week.

Here's a crazy baseball analysis, complete with graphics, at HardballTimes that shows umpires strike zones shrinking the pitcher is at two strikes, and grows when they're at three balls and no strikes. Measurement wise, from 3.02 square feet to 2.42. An absolute must see if you're a baseball fan for the graphics alone.

Toronto FC visit Real Salt Lake tonight in MLS play. Kickoff there goes at 9pm, coverage on SportsNet in glorious HD, if you like.

Speaking of the MLS, interesting article here in which the Seattle Sounders Freddie Ljungberg says that high profile players from Europe that he talks to are intrigued by the idea of coming to the MLS, but put off by the idea of being giant fish in their team's pond, with the thinking being you need two or three such players per team to start to mold quality sides.  He's got a hell of a point.

LeBron James, D-Bag.

Friday, April 30, 2010

.06...not a blood alcohol reading

If we had heard that Tiger Woods had tapped 19 ladies, you had to know the actual number had to be a multiple of that.  Well, word from the National Enquirer - not the strictly gossip rag it used to be - got their hands on a list Eldrick had to complete as part of his sex addiction rehab, and the actual number is 121.

The New York Mets are in first place in the NL East. Not sure there is a bigger surprise in baseball with the first calendar month just about in the books.

The FanHouse looks at whether the slight decrease in baseball attendance early in the season is a crisis, or a temporary condition. I'm going with the latter, especially with the Yankees and Philadelphia having played so few home games where they push 50,000 a night. The other side of the argument, says Joel Sherman of the NY Post, is that there isn't likely to be overly compelling races with the AL Central and NL Central almost certainly Minnesota's and St. Louis' to lose, and the AL East the likely source of the Wild Card.

You won't ever be able to accuse Colorado Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo of not having stones, literally or figuratively.  In the middle of a game earlier this week, he went and passed a kidney stone.  Wow.

The San Jose Sharks opened their series with the Detroit Red Wings with an entertaining 4-3 win.  The Wings looked a little gassed from a tough seven game series with Phoenix.

Check out the Washington Capitals shot stats for the first round loss to Montreal: 292 on net, 182 blocked, and 102 missed the net for 576 Total or an average of 82.3 per-game.  That's an incredible shot rate for so few goals in the end.  The "blocked" total is especially impressive. Great line of smack on Washington: Wednesday wasn't the first time a group of Canadiens came into your town and burnt it to the ground.  The Caps are the third Presidents Trophy winner to make a first round exit in the last five years.

AJ Burnett threw eight innings of three hit, shutout baseball yesterday to move to 3-0.  Imagine if him and Roy Halladay were on the same team?

 The Tampa Bay Rays 17-5 start is the best start in the game since 2003.

No matter what Ben Roethlesberger, you'll always be able to say that you were the subject of an Eminem dagger, in his new song "Recovery" when he delivers this gem: "I'd rather turn this club into a bar room brawl, get as rowdy as Roethlisberger in a bathroom stall."

The SportsPickle gives us 13 ways to shorten MLB games. Funny stuff. Love #13. Sorry, America.

"Iron" Mike Ditka
took to the airwaves to discuss Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland'sDez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys question to as to whether his mother is a prostitute, and he's less than impressed with Ireland, saying he deserved a smack in the head. What's really shocking for me - if you've ever heard Ditka speak - is that he managed to stay on one topic for more than a couple sentences.

This one is gonna hurt more than most. Croatian hoops team Cibona was taking on the Serbian squad Partizan for the NLB league championship. With .06 on the clock, Cibona hits a three-pointer to take the lead. Fire up the party, game over, right? Wrong. Partizan inbounded the ball and with a last-ditch effort, Partizan's star Dušan Kecman tossed up a 75 foot prayer. It goes in and it is the Partizan fans that get to go crazy as the Cibona team walks off the court in shock, never having even contested the shot having been too busy celebrating early. As a Nigerian gent told me at The Bulldog in Amsterdam years ago, when it comes to sports, "it is NEVER over" til the whistle goes.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In-termilan-ally boring

The Champions League final for May 22nd is now set, with Bayern Munich ready to face Inter Milan, who advanced despite a 1-0 loss in Barcelona yesterday in a skill killing, sit-back-and-defend effort, indirectly aided by the referee who only made that kind of play a no brainer when he wrongly sent off Thiago Motta after a second yellow card early on for what was clearly an exaggerated reaction from Sergi Busquets, who ought to be ashamed of himself for embarrassing himself and his team like that. Crazy Stat Dept: Barcelona completed 1372 passes over the two games, while Inter Milan completed 373, a difference of 999.

The Montreal Canadiens took more shots - some to the face - than a film set in Chatsworth, California, but did just enough to sneak by the Washington Capitals, President's Cup trophy winners this past season, and also now holders of the record for most home ice Game 7 losses. Alexander Ovechkin handled 20 questions post game, 17 of which were met with "I don't know" as an answer, and three met with a one word answer. Safe to say he's a little sour, and who can blame him, particularly where the ghost that is Alexander Semin is concerned. For the Leafs Nation out there who are stinging from the Habs win, take heart in this: if not for the Leafs win in overtime the last game against the Habs, they'd be facing a much easier opponent in Boston. Hockey fans take heart in this: because the Habs aren't facing the Bruins, the NHL won't have to hold emergency meetings on how to get teams to break an interminable 0-0 deadlock. I kid because I love. Methinks we'll see an all Pennsylvania Eastern Conference Final, with Chicago and Detroit tangling in the West. Crazy Stat Dept.: Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped 131 of the last 134 shots he faced.

Toronto FC opened defence of their Canadian Championship with a strong 2-0 homefield win over the Montreal Impact on goals by (who else!?) Dwayne De Rosario and Chad Barrett, with a beauty. There was a lot of bad blood in this one as the odd punch flew, and TFC defender Ty Harden had his leg sliced down to the bone with one collision. That's 3-0 on grass at home, and 3-1 since Jim Brennan retired. Just sayin'.

It dawned on me that David Stern is to the WNBA as Gary Bettman is to franchises in the horrible markets. Both are costing their leagues money propping up doomed enterprises.

Check out the top ten worst staph infections in MMA history. Try not to yack.

How about this story: Boston Red Sox slappy - on a good day - David Ortiz says he wants to play two or three more years. He may not be on any performance enhancers anymore, but he's on some kind of drugs if he thinks a washed out Designated Hitter who can't hit is gonna see another two or three years. At this pace, he'll be lucky to make it to the All-Star break in a Red Sox uniform.

Freaking Mark Sanchez. California boy gets drafted to the New York Jets, dates models right out of the chute, and now has graduated to Jamie-Lynn Sigler, aka "Meadow Soprano". Damn.

E.J. Hradek at says the New Jersey Devils should make the wise choice and cut bait with pending free agent Ilya Kovalchuk. I can already hear Leaf Nation getting moist over the prospect of signing Kovy. But tell me if this sounds familiar: a pure goal scorer of questionable work ethic, weak defensively, that contributed little to his nation's Olympic run. Sound like Kovy? Take away one nut and it is Phil Kessel, too.

As if yesterday's dive in the Barcelona/Inter Milan match wasn't ridiculous enough, check out this. I love soccer - I can't state that enough - but guys like this shouldn't play. They're an embarrassment to themselves, the team and their game. Be a pro, or at least a man.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The second leg of the Barcelona and Inter Milan Champions League matchup goes today in Barcelona with Barca needing a 2-0 win in the most simple scenario after a 3-1 loss in Milan. Should be a gem, with kickoff at 2:45pm (Eastern) on SportsNet. Prediction: a similar 3-1 score for Barcelona, sending the game to overtime.

The Detroit Red Wings made it a no-doubter in game seven of their first round series, hammering the Phoenix Coyotes 6-1 to move on to face San Jose in the next round, while Vancouver will meet Chicago in what should be a great series. The Western Conference matchups will get sorted out tonight when the Montreal Canadiens visit the Washington Capitals in their own game seven. The Habs could turn the Caps into hockey's version of Kansas' hoops team, as far as poolies are concerned.

Here are the Super Bowl 2011 odds as they stand after the draft, via Bodog. Indianapolis Colts 8/1, New Orleans Saints 9/1, San Diego Chargers 10/1, New England Patriots 10/1, Dallas Cowboys 11/1, New York Jets 12/1. Right now, I'm thinking Cowboys host the Jets.

For a guy who is suspect defensively and against lefties, the idea that the Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard is overpaid seems possible as he's about to hit $25 million a year averaged out. But, his numbers the last four years average out to 49.5 HRs and 143 RBIs a season, and MVP voting finishes of: 1, 5, 2, 3, though Rob Neyer at ESPN says at the very best, he's one of the top 20 players in baseball. Here's a peak at six baseball writers on the deal. And here's another that says the biggest fan of the deal might be New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who inked Mark Teixera, a better fielder by miles, and a more complete hitter with power numbers in the same area code, for less.

The Canadian Championships get started at BMO Field tonight with the Montreal Impact visiting Toronto FC. That's going to be no easy task for TFC despite last year's thumping of the Impact.

Bases loaded, 8th inning, tie game, David Ortiz at the plate. What do the Red Sox do? Elect to pinch hit. That, Big Pop-Up, is a sign you're officially finished, and it happened in Toronto last night.

Word is the Oakland Raiders will finally throw in the towel on JaMarcus Russell, perhaps as early as this week. Hard to determine if he's a bigger bust than Ryan Leaf, isn't it? Time will tell, but Russell has to get points for eating himself out of a job, after a big holdout before he set foot on the field.

In Champions League semi-final play yesterday, Bayern Munich reached the final with an emphatic 3-0 win over Lyon, all three goals coming from Croatian Ivica Olic.

The "one day contract" thing teams throw about is always, without fail, lame. What's worse is a guy musing on whether it will happen while (a) he is still playing and (b) discussing it with regard to a certain GM he's not a fan of and (c) the GM responding. Looking at you, LaDanian Tomlinson and AJ Smith in San Diego.

Very classy of Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland to ask now-Dallas Cowboy first rounder Dez Bryant if his mom was a hooker in pre-draft interviews. That the discipline challenged Bryant didn't bust him in two is shocking. Ireland has since apologized, as if that matters.

Check out the Milwaukee Bucks mascot dunking off a ridiculously high ladder. Pretty sure that this wasn't Andrew Bogut.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

To 7 they go...

Former Toronto FC coach Chris Cummins finally came clean in an interview with Kristian Jack at The Score as to how things closed out with Toronto FC and he buries GM Mo Johnston, painting him as a backstabbing control freak. In response, Mo is saying he's going to pursue legal action. Also likely suing: Backstabbing Control Freaks, coming after yours truly after that association. How very MLSE of him. Remember when Toronto Raptor coach Butch Carter sued Marcus Camby, then of the New York Knicks, for $5 million during the playoffs for defamation of character, only serving to embarrass himself and his bosses? I digress. RedNationOnline cracks Mo saying he'll either go loudly or quietly, but go he must. I wouldn't be so sure, this is MLSE we are talking about and normal logic doesn't apply.

Over first 10 years of Philadelphia Philly Ryan Howard's career, he'll have earned $190.5 million, including the five year extension he signed yesterday for $125 million. Who else has done that the first ten years of their career? Nobody. The Toronto Sun's Bob Elliot tweets that it is a "good thing the Jays chipped in $6 M to help Phillies make 2010 budget" on the Roy Halladay deal. Ouch. So if he's worth $25 million, that has to be the starting point for Albert Pujols, no? ESPN looks at how two years ago, Howard and the Phillies couldn't agree on a one year deal and how this came up.

The Montreal Canadiens rode a 53-save performance from Jaroslav Halak to a 4-1 game 6 win over the Washington Capitals. The SportsPickle tweets that "the word 'clutch' in Russian is 'сцепление'. Just as I suspected. It looks nothing like 'Ovechkin.'" A mite harsh for a guy who has virtually won all there is to win, but this is a #1 seed a game away from a first round exit. Speaking of exits, the Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators are out.

Ratings for the first round of the NHL playoffs have been remarkably strong. Strong enough that ESPN is contemplating picking up hockey again for 2011. Gary Bettman is no doubt not interested.

With the New York Yankees visit to the White House yesterday, that is now five visits with three different Presidents for "The Core Four" of Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. Thanks for that, TS.

The combined score of the last four Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates games: 53-3 Brewers. Incredible.

A TV idea that has to happen soon: "The Bachelor: Ben Roethlesberger."

Remember when the Boston Red Sox would assure 30,000+ were at the Rogers Centre for a visit? Last night there might have been less than a third of that, despite the announced crowd of 13,000. This long piece in the Toronto Star looks at whether the Jays will ever draw again.

Turns out there is an entire website, with a book available, dedicated to "The Baseball Codes".

Is it possible that Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, expected to go top two in the NHL draft, would prefer to go second overall to avoid being taken by the Edmonton Oilers? Eric Francis seems to think so. Frankly, I don't get it - have always loved any trip to Edmonton, and if a place was good enough for some guys named Gretzky and Messier for years and years, not sure how you wouldn't want to add your name to those ranks by getting that team back to glory.

Four out of five aren't had. CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes are a combined 9-1/2.43ERA/.211 BAA/3HRs in 92.2IP. At the other end of the spectrum is Javier Vazquez: 1-3/ 9.00ERA/.309BAA/5HRs in 20IP.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is talking up a rookie wage scale, and can't possibly agree more. As he notes, the St. Louis Rams are likely to pay Sam Bradford $40-$45 million before he steps on a field. What if he's the next Ryan Leaf? I've long thought nothing does more to blow up a team's salary structure, and arguably chemistry, than giving a guy who turns out to be a bust huge dollars.

No team has ever started 4-9 or worse in the AL East - like the Boston Red Sox did - and ever made the playoffs, even as a wildcard. What's the problem with the Red Sox? Well, as the Boston Globe puts it: "In Tim Wakefield, David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek, [manager] Terry Francona also has four older players on the downside of their careers who believe they should be playing every day and aren't. Having two such players on the roster would be a lot to handle. He has four."

With the "retirement" of New Jersey Devils coach Jacques Lemaire, the the next Devils coach will be the 15th in 23 years for Lou Lamoriello.

Tito Ortiz was arrested for beating Jenna Jameson yesterday. Are you like me and thinking "hey, Tito won a fight!"

Perhaps the best post-goal celebration I've ever seen...

Monday, April 26, 2010

We're back!

Seriously, following Jose Canseco on Twitter is the height of hilarity, if you don't mind watching a guy that is unravelling mentally. Check out the post at right.

Toronto FC played far and away their best game of the year in a 2-0 home win over the Seattle Sounders at soggy BMO Field. Nice to see Julian De Guzman show up, heard he signed last August. Coach Preki was glowing in his praise of the effort and result though he's concerned about the recklessness of some players: "I want us to be committed and hard, but not stupid."

Strangely, so far there hasn't been a single rainout this MLB season, and only two games thus far -- one at Yankee Stadium on April 16th, and last night at Citi Field -- have been shortened by the elements.

All eight NHL postseason series were even after two games for the first time in the best-of-seven era. Also this round: 18 too-many-men penalties, so far. Seems a bit much, no?

Speaking of the NHL, Vancouver took out LA Kings last night to advance, joining the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks as the first to move onto round two. Three game sixes on the go tonight with Pittsburgh, Chicago and Boston all needing a win to advance. Quite the competitive first round, it must be said, with only the Flyers taking care of business in five games.

Chelsea crushed Stoke City 7-0 to get a touch closer to the English Premier League title. Two games left to play and one point up on Manchester United. Chelsea can all but seal it with a win Saturday at Liverpool, though that is no gimme.

Check out the Baltimore Orioles next 14 games: four against Boston, six against the New York Yankees, and four against Minnesota. The Orioles, 3-16 now, might sit 5-28 after all that is said and done. Ouch.

I could go the easy route and just unload with a variety of takes on the NFL draft this past weekend, but instead I'll go with two. The first covers the winners and losers, the second does the grade method. If the latter proves accurate and Dez Bryant ends up rookie of the year for the Dallas Cowboys, that's a hell of a steal for a #24 pick.

As for the Buffalo Bills, owner Ralph Wilson emphatically stated the Bills had no intention of moving up to pick Tim Tebow with a late first round pick, while the Denver Broncos camp contends they were hellbent on Tebow. I don't know what Tebow does as a pro, but the one universally agreed upon bit of analysis I've read this weekend is Denver reached big in taking him in the first round.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United's manager, is as good as they come with more medals than a war vet. But when he says that Gary Neville could and should be in the mix for a spot on England's World Cup entry, it makes me question his sanity. I get having your players back, but Neville is beyond expired.

Here's a little quiz for you if you've got some time. Take your pick on Vancouver real estate, and guess whether it is Crack Shack Or Mansion. Frightening.

At the Penn Relays this past weekend, Usain Bolt ran am 8.79 anchor leg in the 4x100 race. Crazy fast. Check this out.

Finally today, if you haven't seen the A-Rod run across the mound that created a fuss in Oakland last week, check it out below. Just wondering though, when a pitcher covers behind the plate on a run-scoring hit, is he allowed to walk through the batter's box? Does anybody care?