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Friday, February 18, 2011

Absolutely love the LA Dodgers new t-shirts they're offering for sale.  More than a slight backhand to the chops of the Anaheim Angels.

The early editions of RM this week resulted in just being ahead of the announcement that Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera put on a legendary show on Wednesday night in Lakeland, Florida.  After some car troubles left his car smoking at the side of the road, an approaching police officer found Miggy, slurred speach and all, taking swigs from a bottle of Scotch.  So he's more than a little off the wagon, one might assume.  Cabrera capped off the cycle with the always hilarious "don't you know who I am?"

As predicted here a few weeks back, Jim Rome will indeed be a big part of the offering from TSN Radio, which will launch on AM1050 in Toronto on April 13th.  Dan Shulman's role has just become more clear too with the announcement.

Yours truly worked a question into ESPN's Baseball Today a couple days back.  Tune in here, my email is at the 15:18 mark.

The Toronto Blue Jays officially announced their extension of Jose Bautista yesterday at 5pm. At the same time, Rogers email network went down. Coincidence?  Methinks not. 4 hours and change later, it was back. 

The NHL gets all the big league run this weekend with the NBA running its All-Star game. I'm sure they'll goon it up just to get the kind of run they're after from ESPN. Speaking of gooning it up, Michael Farber at looks at the recent thuggery.

The English Premier League is on an FA Cup weekend. Boo.

No RM til Monday folks, just a head's up for all you regulars.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gunners pull one out

If you are a Setanta subscriber, yesterday's Champion's League tilt between Barcelona and home Arsenal was worth a couple months of the $14.95 monthly charge. Arsenal started on fire only to see Barca take a 1-0 lead half way through the first half on a David Villa goal. From there, it seemed a matter of time before they extended the lead, but the second half was another story. Arsenal had repeated chances, while Barca looked to counter punch, and in short order, Robin Van Persie and Andrei Arshavin gave the hosts a pair of goals and a fantastic 2-1 win in the opening leg. Be sure not to miss the return leg on March 8th, it is gonna be something special. As for Barcelona's Lionel Messi, that's eight games played in England now without a goal.  The other game yesterday saw Shaktar Donetsk pull out a 3-2 road victory at AS Roma, who have given up 10 goals in their last three across all competitions.  The other half of the round of 16 games go next Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Maybe I've got far too great a memory of a terrible Derek Jeter season last year in play, so not too thrilled to see New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi handing him the leadoff slot without a swing in anger yet.

Don't look now, but the New Jersey Devils have lost only once in regulation in the last 5+ weeks.  Also heating up?  The Toronto Maple Leafs, who are now within a small hot streak from a playoff spot  with the teams in front of them reeling.

Not so fast, Boston and Philadelphia, there are more World Series contenders than just you, says Ken Rosenthal at Fox SportsRosenthal also says that Albert Pujols is done in St. Louis.

Seems not all are so high on the Jose Bautista extension with the Toronto Blue Jays, said to be five years and $65 million dollars, and potentially six and $78 million with a team option.

My how things have changed for Chelsea.  The early leaders of the English Premier League season, who once talked of an undefeated year, now are aiming for a top four finish, says manager Carlo Ancelloti.  That kind of talk can get you fired running that club.

If I know Axl Rose at all, there's no chance that the story of a Guns N' Roses half-time Super Bowl show is true.  Now Slash, on the other hand, he'd be down for a Snakepit or Velvet Revolver appearance if it would get him paid.

First we got word that Dan Shulman would be taking a larger role in TSN's baseball coverage, and then yesterday came word that SportsNet has dumped Rance Mulliniks and Sam Cosentino from Toronto Blue Jays broadcasts.  These are good baseball days in Canada.

The LA Lakers pounded Cleveland by 55 points the last time they met.  So what happened last night in the rematch?  The Cavs won.  No, seriously.

After Joba Chamberlain showed up to Yankees camp heavier, and the Yanks are not happy about it, has anbody glossed him Joba The Hutt?  Or is it just me so far?

It'll cost a good time investment, but there are some seriously awesome blunders among the Top 100 Biggest Blunders in Sports History.

15 craziest accidental goals of all-time. 

The LA Clippers electric rookie Blake Griffin goes for an alley-oop pass, and cracks his head on the backboard.

Chocolate and Hearts...Epic Meal Time.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bosh is Back

Irina Shayk, who is also the girlfriend of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, graces the cover of the SI Swimsuit issue.  Another reason to hate Ronaldo, if you're so inclined.  All kinds of Swimsuit goodness here.

Champions League play yesterday saw a couple good results for the road teams.  As predicted here, Tottenham downed AC Milan, 1-0, in a game where Milan's Gennaro Gattuso went insane post-game and grabbed Spurs assistant coach Joe Jordan and head-butted him.  Nice knowing you, GGValencia were held to a draw at home with German side Schalke.  Up today are a nice pair of matches in Shaktar Donetsk visiting AS Roma, and a gem in London with Arsenal hosting Barcelona, a game that Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere says Arsenal will need to get "nasty". I'm betting Barca win on the road here.

Any thoughts on the news that OJ Simpson was severely beaten - into unconciousness - by a skinhead while in prison, and suffered injuries that kept him in the infrimary for three weeks?  Seems to confirm karma exists.  Except his lawyer says it didn't happen.

Baseball trivia: Only one team has two starting pitchers with 100 starts combined over the past three years. Name team and the 2 pitchers.  Answer at bottom.

Says one Twitterite for Chris Bosh' visit to Toronto tonight: "Don't boo Chris Bosh tomorrow, take the piss. Example: 'You're not even Robin. Not eveeen Robiiin.'" because he's not even second fiddle.  Love it.  For those wondering if Bosh gets booed tonight, let me assure you, he most certainly does.  Steve Simmons at the Toronto Sun looks at Bosh years as a Raptor and concludes few had a better run in Toronto.

Very classy of Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to ask Peyton Manning if he needed help reading the financial reports during a CBA bargaining session.  I'm no fan of Manning, but he's put a lot more money in owners pockets than Richardson has.  That was just one of the insults thrown at the players, Drew Brees included, by Richardson.  Looks terrible if you're wanting a full, non-scab NFL season, but I maintain they get a deal done.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says "the time has come" to get a deal done.

Bruce Arthur at the National Post says it would be a mistake for the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista to work a long term deal right now.

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is not done dealing, with talk of Tomas Kaberle being next to bolt the 416, with Boston said to be the destination.  I'd love to see the Leafs get the #1 this year they traded for Phil Kessel back and go into the biggest tank job of all time down the stretch only to lose the lottery and get the, like, 4th pick.

Suspended UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen - and hands down the best trash talker anywhere in any sport - says he's 5-1 against UFC Champion Anderson Silva.

The best Toronto acquisition, any sport: Dan Shulman is back at TSN.

If you don't listen to Bill Simmons (The Sports Guy) and his podcasts, here's a wrap-up of his annual chat with NBA Commissioner David Stern, in which Stern mentions that Vancouver is among the cities looking to move the New Orleans Hornets.  As luck would have it, the owner of the Vancouver Canucks is interested.  Here's a thought for Stern: if he is interested in fixing the mistakes made in leaving Seattle and Vancouver, send the Hornets to one, and the other can have the disaster area known as the Toronto Raptors. 

Trivia answer: New York Yankees CC Sabathia and - believe it or not - AJ Burnett, are the two to start 100+ games over the last three years.  CC credits a 30 pound weight loss to not eating Cap'n Crunch every day.  Guess Joba Chamberlain was getting down with the Cap'n at least every other day?

Speaking of Sabathia.  Let there be no doubt he will opt out of his Yankee deal at the end of this season, knowing the Bronx Bombers have money to spend and there's nobody remotely on his level due on the market.  He'll stay in New York, extending the remaining three years on his deal by another three or so.  Smart business.

Final bit of Yankee for the day: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports suggests the St. Louis Cardinals way out of the Albert Pujols mess, and possibility of him going to the hated Chicago Cubs, would be to work a deal for say, Mark Texeira.  Wow.  That would be big.  Or perhaps Philadelphia Phillie Ryan Howard, who also happens to be a local boy to St. Louis.  Word is the Cards offered an eight-year deal worth over $200 million to Pujols, one he's expected to turn down.  Cards manager Tony LaRussa says the MLB Players Union is behind Pujols desire for a mega contract.  Maybe partly, but he's in the driver's seat.

I really, really can't get enough of the Foo Fighters "White Limo", song and vid.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Champions League is back on

The Champions League round of 16 action gets under way today with a pair of games, highlited by Tottenham visiting AC MilanSpurs midfield stud Rafael Van der Vaart has been declared healthy for this one, with Luka Modric a question mark and Gareth Bale out.  Still think the quick attacking Spurs, who have looked good in Europe this season, are too much for the aging Milan.  The other game today sees Spain's Valencia host German side Schalke.

Might the Buffalo Bills look at Cam Newton or a QB in general at the #3 pick in the NFL draft?  Sure seems that way, and with all due respect to Ryan Fitzpatrick, why wouldn't they?  Save for a Doug Flutie run, they've not had a top class QB since Jim Kelly.

I knew things weren't great for the Toronto Raptors, but had no idea that in a league where many teams struggle to half fill an arena, they are 20th in attendance this season, says GBVH.  But GM Bryan Colangelo isn't overly concerned with that, as he notes in this Q&A with the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons.

Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports looks at the Philadelphia Phillies $200 million rotation and has a pick for the NL Cy Young this year.  Hint: it is a Philly who isn't named Roy or Cliff.

If it seems odd that the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Rays are installing new fields this year, here's a good reason: they were free.

Peter Forsberg has had some comebacks cut short due to injury before, but retiring after the latest comeback that lasted all of two games is something else.

How this newscaster is named "Serene" is beyond me, as her delivery is anything but.

David "Boomer" Wells is in the New York Yankees camp as an instructor.  Maybe a fifth starter candidate too?  Or a fourth.

Finally looked deeper into Toronto FC's home schedule for this season.  A lot of night games are gonna mean even more drunken madness than usual at BMO Field.  No more split coverage among three channels either, it is TSN all the time.

"Prince" Naseem Hamed was a boxer known for his flashy entrances to the ring.  Usman Ahmed does him one better with a flashy entrance...and exit.
RM returns later this morning/early afternoon...

Monday, February 14, 2011

National Bush Hockey League

An off day here on Saturday saved me from commenting on the joke that is the New York Islanders.  It isn't enough that they gave the league its worst contract in history when they signed Rick DiPietro through 2,052, or that owner Charles Wang thinks that every team should make the playoffs, now they went and dressed seven meatheads for a game in which they hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins and they went meathead with dirty hits and looking for fights and led the way in producing 346 penalty minutes, 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts.  Classy.  Pens owner Mario Lemieux said the resulting suspensions, mostly the Isles along with a hefty fine to the franchise, were not enoughBill Daly, Gary Bettman's #2 in command, waved off Lemieux's comments.  Nice work, blowing off an all-timer, hot on the heels of alienating Wayne Gretzky from the game with the way the Phoenix Coyotes sale has been handled. With the recent SlapShotting of the league, the Toronto Star's Damien Cox has dubbed the league the NBHL: National Bush Hockey League.   Bruce Arthur at the National Post looks at the brawling NHL of late. Videos of all the non-sense at the bottom.

It took two sales days and roughly 15 minutes combined for the UFC to sell 55,000 tickets to the Rogers Centre in Toronto for UFC 129 on April 30th.  The event is not only UFC's largest crowd and gate in history, but will also be the largest crowd at the Rogers Centre this year, including Blue Jays opening day, and will beat some Jays series.  Sorry, I had to.  Tickets are going for as much as $6,000 on StubHub, with reports that some front row seats went for $39,000.  That's insane.

The last eight baseball seasons have seen 24 of 30 teams make the playoffs with seven different World Series winners.  Good luck getting a salary cap with that stat, smaller marketers, nevermind the realities of the baseball environment and local TV deals.  That said, an AL GM tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post a second wild-card team is a "near certainty".

In 56 games, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been shut out through two periods 20 times.  That is pathetic.

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is pulling a page out of Albert Pujols book, saying once arbitration is done, he won't be negotiating a deal during the season. Speaking of Pujols, word is he's turned down an offer and the clock is moving fast towards his deadline, with an announcement expected tomorrow from him that the dealing's done and he'll go into free agency at the conclusion of the season.

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is already talking big for next year, guaranteeing a Jets Super Bowl win.  And I quote: "there's no way we don't get it done next year."

Interesting travel stat this year to show how massive North America is.  In the English Premier League, Arsenal will travel 2,400 miles for 19 away league games. Toronto FC will travel 43,200 for their 17 MLS road games.

Dozens of people suffered some kind of respiratory problem after a party at the Playboy Mansion.  Maybe they were showing a Hef sex tape?

I have a hard time thinking we'll see a better bit of skill in a big moment this year than this Wayne Rooney goal on Saturday that gave Manchester United a big 2-1 win over Manchester City in English Premier League action. 

Penguins/Islanders brawl videos from Friday night...