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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Super Saturday...

After LeBron James and his people suggested the reaction to his Miami move was rooted in racism, you had to figure it was only a matter of time before Charles Barkley weighed in.  And weigh in he did, swinging some heavy lumber: "The only criticism I've heard about LeBron and it was my biggest criticism, that decision thing was just stupid. It was stupid.  The second thing when they all came out there dancing around on stage, that was silly. That's the only thing I've heard LeBron get criticized about. That has nothing to do with race. It's like watching a movie, just when you think it couldn't get any stupider, it gets more stupid."  Barkley also took his own network - TNT - to task for "unprecedented ass kissing" in their coverage of the Heat.

Another busy day of soccer action in all the major leagues across Europe. If you're looking to catch some games on this side of the pond, your best bet is to check this awesome site.

If you're looking to get down a World Series futures wager, consider this: the Philadelphia Phillies will have 17 of 19 starts made by the hot trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.  Click on the Pinnacle link above to get down.

The Stanley Cup rings that the Chicago Black Hawks will be rocking might be the most awesome I've ever seen.  A mere 8 carats over 404 diamonds.

Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan might have the best game for meeting ladies I've ever seen.  Lewan had a mustache tattooed onto his finger that he holds up when meeting ladies.  Awesome.

With regard to Felix Hernandez Cy Young candidacy: no pitcher has won the award while winning fewer than 60% of his decisions.  That year, it was Gaylord Perry who went 24-16.  Jayson Stark at ESPN told The Michael Kay Show yesterday that when you ask pitchers about the award, they - to a man - laugh out loud that people are considering anything other than wins to be most important.

Maybe the Texas Rangers will be able to compete in signing their pending free agent Cliff Lee after all, now that they've signed a massive local television deal that will see them bring in $75-80 million a year over the next 20 years.  Maybe they'll be able to throw enough at Lee to make him forget his worst stats in his career come in Arlington, home of the Rangers, and that not only are the New York Yankees interested, but that he's good friends with CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, and that the Yankees are interested.  On second thought, it changes nothing.

The final road trip of any baseball season is the time when most teams run their fairly tame rookie initiations.  This year, the Florida Marlins is noteworthy, especially the Baywatch outfit of Logan Morrison. 

Since joining the San Francisco Giants in May as a rookie, only four National League players beat Buster Posey in batting average and slugging: Albert Pujols, Carlos Gonzalez, Joey Votto and Matt Holliday.  That is a star in the making.

Anna Kournikova will be joining "The Biggest Loser" - a weight loss show - to give tennis lessons to those looking to lose weight.  That ought to be motivating, a rake of a girl who pretty much has made a career on good looks.

Manchester City's wild spending last year left the team a mere $191 million (USD) in the red last year. Guess that's bound to happen when you spend $475 million on players and still don't qualify for the Champions League after a fifth place finish.  City says they'll scale back spending.  Ya think?

Pick-up line: ask a girl if she has a boyfriend.  If she replies yes, ask her if she would now like a man-friend.  The author?  Ben Roethlesberger.  Oh, and the Steelers like to smoke weed.

Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder says he'd only play for Manchester United if he were to leave Inter.  See you in January, Wesley.

A great short film on the inner workings of Toronto FC management and MLSE, by extension. Incredible.

Friday, October 1, 2010

LeBron gets further deluded

LeBron James continues to show why one should stay in school.  His latest brain wave is to say that he thinks the way he's been treated since his ludicrous "The Decision" production is coloured by race because "it's always, you know, a race factor".  That may be a part of it, but why can't you just accept you're a prick and move on, 'bron?  That's far and away the biggest part in this.

Three time Tour de France winner, including 2010, Alberto Contador says a failed drug test that showed he had an aerobic stimulant and muscle builder in his system was the result of eating some bad meat.  Cannot believe the odds that a cyclist, who could use the aid of enhanced aerobic capacity and muscle repair and growth, ends up eating meat that aids in that.  What a crazy world.  Credit to Contador for at least coming up with a creative reason.

Big weekend in San Francisco with the NL West title up for grabs.  The Giants need just one win over second place San Diego to wrap up the division.  The AL East also remains up for grabs but will likely go to Tampa Bay despite their being tied with the New York Yankees going into the weekend.  Tampa gets the tiebreak thanks to winning the season series, and with an easier matchup in Kansas City - versus the Yanks at Boston - seems the Rays division unless something nutty happens.

Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis says he expects a hard cap in the NBA to come in place of the soft one they've got now because, he says, it has worked so well for the NHL.  He also added some unintentional comedy in adding that when the NHL season starts, "everyone thinks their team can compete for the Stanley Cup."  "Everyone"?  Really? 

Perhaps the funniest thing I've seen in some time.  Check out Tracy McGrady's all too authentic home jersey for 2010/11.  Freaking incredible.

Lovely ladies rocking bodypaint of their fav football teams.  Enough said.  And while we're at it, the 50 hottest cheerleaders of the 2010 season.

Dallas Cowboy Jay Ratliff had a hell of a game last week at Houston. Not bad for a guy whose grandparents died in a house fire just days before the game.  Brutal story.

DirecTV has an NFL "Shortcuts" program where you can see every play in an NFL game in half an hour. And somehow, "every play" takes three plus hours to get in when the real thing is happening.

Think New Orleans Saint Drew Brees is competitive?  Check out this feature from 60 Minutes last week, followed by an outtake.  Love Brees.  Head's up that the first one is 13 minutes and change, but worth a watch.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is better than Chad Ochocinco having his own cereal, with a number included to make a charitable donation?  The number for the charity being misprinted and ending up a phone sex line.  Awesome.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't remember Cito Gaston getting a great big sendoff from the Toronto Blue Jays the previous times he's left.  Has he done something great recently that would warrant that treatment last night, or is this just another example of how low the Jays have set the bar and how they continue to live in 1992 and 1993?  Wasn't he the guy the players revolted against last year as the season wound down?  And nice use of Green Day's "Time of Your Life" as the background music for one video presentation.  Very fresh.

Manchester United played mostly uninspired yesterday at Spanish leaders Valencia in Champions League play yesterday but were bailed out by a beauty from Chicarito in the dying minutes to salvage a 1-0 win. Inter Milan were 4-0 winners against Werder Bremen. Also impressive were Tottenham who pounded FC Twente 4-1 in London.
Tiger Woods should have showed up to the Ryder Cup with a date.  I'm thinking Sasha Grey, perhaps.

Here's a peak at pro-wrestling stars of the 1980's and more recently, and what they look like today.  Fear not, we only used the living ones.

How good has Buck Showalter been as manager of the Baltimore Orioles?  He's been on the job since August 3rd, at which point, the Orioles had 32 wins.  Since then, they've got xxx.  He's also the first manager to take over in August and win more games than the team won the entire year to that point since 1900.  Going to be a real interesting American League East next year.

"He is in a crisis because of the perception that he is losing his team. We all know that especially in New York, once the media and the perception becomes a reality, you start fighting against it. And when you are fighting against something that is not necessarily real, you make it real. That is why he is in a crisis."   Source: Former New York Giant turned NFL analyst Tiki Barber.  Subject: Giants coach Tom Coughlin losing control of the team, we think.  Logic: Minimal.  Occasion: just ahead of being inducted into the Giants ring of honor.  Real classy, that Tiki, just not really, well, rational or logical, and barely English.  Wonder if Tiki thinks the same logic on perception applies to his treatment of women who have given birth to children of his?

Great Yogi Berra quote: "cut my pizza into four slices, I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

Check out this video montage of KC Chief Shaun Smith getting all up in a San Francisco 49ers nutsack.

Game 3 of the World Series might get a 7pm start this year, the earliest start in 23 years.  Wise move.  Now get the rest to start at that time and you've got something.

Check out this vid.  "The Baddest Man On The Planet" Mike Tyson is quickly turning into one of the funniest.  Amazing.

Back at 1:30 today!  Don't 'cha dare miss it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

88 in for $55,000

After complaints of small crowds from Evan Longoria and David Price, the Tampa Bay Rays are giving away 20,000 tickets to tonights game. Get the feeling it won't matter, and they'll still have under 20,000 in attendance?  I suppose the fact they clinched a playoff spot last night won't help the cause, although the AL East remains up for grabs.

Had some suggest the crack about "Thank you Cito" night seeing the giveaways extended into next season was a bit out of line, and you're right. There's a good shot they get 35,000 tonight. After all, the Yankees are in town, although they'll be likely playing a heavily loaded with back-ups squad after clinching a playoff spot last night and no doubt tearing it up.  In news relating to the playoff spot, Losers are mobilizing to simultaneously cheer on seven teams.

If ML$E thinks those empty seats at Toronto FC's Champions League game are about a cool, rainy day, they're begging.  John Molinaro at the CBC says they've reached the crisis stage.

Finally Delonte West asked about sex with LeBron James' mom and he said he absolutely didn't sleep with her because they were up all night.  Something like that..And for all the times LeBron has talked, how is it that not once has he referenced his former teammates in any way?  Doesn't that strike you as odd?

In retrospect, guessing Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant is going to wish he carried Roy Williams pads when asked at camp a couple months back.  Why?  Seems RW goes his revenge, as instead of just having DB pay for a dinner for the team's offensive players, RW invited the defense as well to a swank steakhouse.   The bill?  $55,000.  Ouch.

What a turnaround for Michael Vick. After an off-season shooting at his birthday party that almost saw him off the Philadelphia Eagles and out of the game, he's not only starting for the Eagles and playing as good as ever, but he's also selling a pile of jerseysVick will face Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins this weekend. No storylines there.

The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have picked up Buffalo Bills castoff Trent Edwards. Yeah, that'll fix it.

Check out this shizophrenic split for AJ Burnett that happened in early May:  "through May 6 — six starts — Burnett was 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA. His strike out totals — just 28 in 40.2 innings — were down, but he was keeping both runners off base and the ball in the park. Just one of the first 164 batters to face him homered. Since then, Burnett has, with the exception of a few good starts in July, been utterly abysmal. He’s 6-15 over his last 26 starts, and he’s averaging just over 5.1 innings per start. After [Monday's] 2.1-inning, seven-run fiasco, his ERA over those 140 innings is 6.30, and he’s allowed 23 home runs and 64 walks while striking out just 111 guys. Opponents have an OPS against him of approximately .860. In other words, A.J. Burnett’s opponents are putting up better offensive numbers than Mark Teixeira."  Ouch.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bears go to 3-0

Didn't think that one-time offensive guru Mike Martz had it in him, but he's managed to turn the Chicago Bears offence around enough that they're now 3-0.  Sure, they were aided by a garbage, but accurate, call against Detroit, and a self-defeating Dallas team, but they were very much deserving of the win last night at home to Green Bay.

Tampa Bay Rays star pitcher David Price banged out his tweet last night: "Had a chance to clinch a post season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands....embarrassing."  Evan Longoria also called it embarrassing. So, for those that think players are fine with apathy and empty seats, think again.  But maybe it is just a Tampa thing?  After all, the Bucs are looking at a full-season of no sellouts and locally blacked out games.  And if those two can't sell tickets, the Lightning have to be sweating bullets.

Only the Buffalo Bills spend an entire off-season getting a guy ready to be starting quarterback - namely, Trent Edwards - start him the first two games, and then cut him after Week 3.  At least the Philadelphia Eagles have left Kevin Kolb on the bench.  And speaking of the 2007 QB Draft Class, not exactly a great output thus far from JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Edwards and Kolb.

For the second straight week, Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith has been accused of fondling an opponents genitals. Classy.

Asks an emailer to The Jim Rome Show: "is 'Jose Bautista' Spanish for 'Brady Anderson'?". Ouch.

Champions League action resumes this week with eight games today and eight tomorrow. The big one today is a depleted Arsenal - and can we just call them Depleted Arsenal going forward, for how often they're missing injured players? - visiting Partizan Belgrade Chelsea are minus a suspended Didier Drogba, and injured Frank Lampard and Solomon Kalou for their home date with Marseille.

New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez ranks 19th all-time in RBI with 1822 -- but with 39 more RBI, he'll move up to 11th all-time and pass Mel OttJoel Sherman at the NY Post has a section in this article that talks of how ridiculously clutch A-Rod has become and how he's "the hitter the Yanks want up in a big spot more than anyone else – by a lot."  Adds River Ave. Blues: "A-Rod has been the team’s greatest player since the moment he first put on the uniform in 2004. Even at 35-years-old, he’s a force at the plate and far-and-away the guy every Yankee fan wants to see at the plate in a big spot. How times have changed. It seems foolish to laud a player when he figures to be around for so many more years, but Alex is no ordinary player. He’s an all-time great Yankee, and deserves to be recognized as such."  My how things have changed.

If the Boston Red Sox are to force a playoff with the New York Yankees, Boston must win at least 5 of last 7, and if that happened, the Yankees would have to go 0-6.  Good news for the Yankees: they're at 93 wins with AJ Burnett sitting at 15 losses after his infuriating "performance" last night.  If he cuts that to 12 next year, they're going to be that much better.  Oh, and if I haven't reminded you recently, Cliff Lee will be joining the starting staff, too.

Everybody's moral compass Tony Dungy says that the New York Jets were too soft on Braylon Edwards.  That may be the case, but why does he feel the need to play God and judge every situation and everybody?

Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian says an 18-game NFL season is a done deal.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend wrap...

Gotta love the signs floated by Toronto FC supporters on Saturday, bashing the owners of the club and of course, the Maple Leafs and Raptors.  Most impressive is that Leafs and Raptors fans have quietly endured garbage for far longer.

Panic in New York?  The Yankees were planning to use Dustin Moseley to start the game and push Phil Hughes back a few days to rest him some, but after four straight home losses and the Boston Red Sox opening the door a crack in the Wild Card race, manager Joe Girardi, who overmanages at the best of times, turned course and started Hughes last night.  Turned out to be a wise one as Hughes was fantastic over 8 innings, only giving up a run and three hits.  Still the Yanks would need some late inning heroics from A-Rod, hitting his 29th homer in a two run shot to give them a 3-2 lead.  Ballgame?  Nope.  Mariano Rivera blew it and the Yanks won it in the 10th.  Rivera has now thrown 5.2 innings, giving up 9 hits and 6 earned runs and three blown saves since September 10th.  Not what the Yanks want to see heading to October.

The Toronto Blue Jays are holding a "Thank You Cito" night on Wednesday, their last home game.  Not sure for what exactly, but the first 35,000 fans will get a commemorative ticket and lanyard.  35,000?  Clearly, the promotion will continue into the home opener next year.

Not surprisingly, the Tampa Bay Bucs were exposed by the Pittsburgh Steelers and as a result, are no longer among the undefeated after a 38-13 beatdown.  For a team lacking their starting QB in Ben Roethlesberger, the Steelers have still managed to shoot out of the gate 3-0 with two road wins in the bunch.

Speaking of fraudulent undefeated teams, look for the Kansas City Chiefs to lose before long.  The teams they've beat to move to 3-0 are a combined 1-8.

The Dallas Cowboys were backed into a corner and came out of it showing the form many had predicted they would this year in a 27-13 win over the Houston Texans. Funny what happens when you commit to running the ball and clean up the mistakes (read: penalties and bad play calls).  Credit where due: Roy Williams is having a strong start to the season, adding two touchdowns yesterday.  Speaking of pre-season contenders, the Minnesota Vikings got off the schneid yesterday with a 24-10 win over the Detroit Lions.  They weren't exactly mistake free, as the OHB tossed another couple of INT's.

The Toronto Argos played a home game in Moncton, NB yesterday.  Not sure anybody in Toronto noticed.

Check out this tweet from Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely:  "The broadcast is dead on with the fake injury thing. Jets often tell a guy on Kickoff to fake an injury to give the Def a breather."  I'm sure there are a lot of football - North American style - with their heads firmly buried in the sand that such a thing could occur in the "man's game".

The English Premier League season is barely a month old, and despite Chelsea's smoking start and big talk, there's a long way to go, especially after Manchester City took them down on Saturday for their first loss of the year.  Manchester United had a chance to narrow the gap at the top to a point but blew it, drawing 2-2 with Bolton.  Funny things happen to teams when another week of Champions League play is about to get started.

In the middle of a scandal that says he's paid some big bucks for prostitutes, the LA Galaxies David Beckham had a fan crack him about it while walking off the field.  Beck's turned around and challenged the fan to say it to his face, and bashed him for wearing a Galaxy jersey.  Gotta say, I'm impressed.  See the video here.

If you're a team's captain, regardless of sport, probably the least captain-like thing you can do in a must-win game that your team is losing is to turn a goal/run/basket/whatever celebration into a "me" time and mime a cheque signing because you want to be paid more.  And to make it worse, then talk about how you deserve more post-game.  But that's exactly what Toronto FC's alleged leader Dwayne De Rosario did on Saturday.  Idiot.  Not only should TFC not be giving him a raise into the Designated Player category - not to a 32-year old - they should look to ship him out of town.  I get he's sour that there are guys making more money, but a captain doesn't ever take something like that public.

You didn't think I'd forget to do a Prime Time Pick did you?  After last night's comfortable win, we're 4-2 on the season.  Tonight, playing the Green Bay Packers at -3.  Liking the over as well as both can put up some big points, but I tend to stay away from over/under plays in this corner.

Have a great Monday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Looking for some sporting action to carry you through until NFL kickoff?  Manchester United hosts Bolton at 7AM in what should be a beatdown on Setanta.  If you've got The Score, AC Milan face Genoa in Serie A action.

Biggest NFL game of the day has to be the Dallas Cowboys fighting for their season in Houston today.  0-3 and you can bet Dallas is done, regardless of whether that means Wade Phillips gets fired over the bye.

With two catches today against the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Raven Anquan Boldin will be the fastest player to reach 600 receptions, doing it in 98 games.

The Prime Time Picks raced out to a 3-0 start before dropping both ends of the Week 2 action.  Up tonight, we're playing the New York Jets at +1.  Don't exactly love that one, however.

I'm sure there are many shedding tears upon hearing the news that Jose Canseco is begging for some free legal work after being evicted from his home after not paying rent for two months.  Didn't that guy make millions playing ball?  Presumably he did okay on his books?  How the hell is he broke?

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig says the idea of expanding the playoffs is something that will be looked at this winter.  Whenever you're ready, Allan Huber.

The Tampa Bay Rays are already talking about cutting $25 million from their payroll next year.  Fortunately for them, they've got loads of young talent that is ready for Prime Time, but still, got to be sad for their fan base.  That said, despite their successes of the last three years, their attendance has only increased by 800 per game since 2008. 

For those planning on hitting an NFL game this season, the Sports Pickle offers up 10 tailgating tips.