Tuesday, January 31, 2006

OK, poker might be a sport

Anna BensonNow how could we pass up a post concerning Anna Benson, wife of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kris Benson? Benson (the hot one) has been bucking up on her poker skills, in hopes of becoming a real, uh, talent.

"I'm still a young little poker player. I've got a long ways to go," Benson said. "It is a thrill to me. They call it a sport now, so it's kind of cool for me to come in and be my own type of an athlete.

No, just because ESPN televises events, it doesn’t make it a sport. But if Anna wants to consider herself an athlete, knock yourself out darling.

"I'm going to get schooled on how to play by some of these big-time pros," Benson said. "I want to play well. I'm not trying to do this as a joke, I'm dead serious about playing. I'm not like some bimbo sitting down at a table."

Of course you’re not. But we can’t wait to hear the dialogue at that table.

Poker Opponent: “Love the thong bikini Anna, it really loosens up the tension in the room.”

Anna: “Guess where Kris and I did it last night?”

Poker Opponent: “Um, I call.”

Anna: “You can’t call, I just bluffed you. We didn’t do it last night, we did it this morning! Four times! You were supposed to fold!”

Poker Opponent: “I have a nut flush, whatcha got Anna?”

Anna: “Go fish yourself!”

The tea breaks were all a ruse

Those crazy cricketers may not be so crazy after all. At least not Australian crickters. It seems that Aussie cricket officials (tell someone that’s your job with a straight face at a cocktail party), want to have laws imposed which would ban racist fans from cricket matches for life. It seems some visiting South African players were on the receiving end of some less than polite treatment from Aussie spectators (they all seem so nice in all those “down under” commercials).
"Racism has no place anywhere in world cricket, either on or off the field, and spectators who offend should face life bans and/or heavy fines," Cricket Australia said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Which begs the question: Where does it have a place exactly?

"Nearly 1 million Australian spectators have offered a warm and enthusiastic welcome to South Africa's, West Indies' and Sri Lanka's competitive and skilled international cricketers this summer," Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said.

"I am appalled that their welcome has had a shadow cast over it by shameful behavior of maybe half a dozen half-wits."

You were wondering what John Rocker’s been up to? Well, now you know.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Will O.J. be there to cut the ribbon?

Ray Caruth couldn’t get do it, but O.J. Simpson did. Lest you forget, the Juice got away with murder. Literally. The reason we bring it up is because Simpson’s lawyer, the honorable Johnnie Cochran, was honored by the City of Los Angeles last week. That honor came in the form of a middle school which will be renamed after the late attorney.

School district officials voted unanimously to rename the former Mt. Vernon Middle School, where Cochrane once attended, saying Cochrane was an "extraordinary, superb lawyer with movie-star celebrity status." Well, since he was movie-star-esque, then certainly we should be honoring that accomplishment.

Grammar teachers at the school will amend courses to permit the butchering of the English language under certain circumstances. The school’s motto will also be modified to read, “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.”

State officials responded by filing a ballot measure to have the state capitol renamed the “Jackie Childs Capital Building.”

Just wondering?

Perhaps someone can shed some light on this question. If you're an NFL coach who makes it through the season only to be fired after the season ends, do you still get complimentary Super Bowl tickets? We need a couple pair so we're hoping Mike Tice might have a few extras handy.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

"Mighty" flying the coup

Say goodbye to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Sorry, the cellar dwelling NHL franchise is staying, but the name will be sent quacking. In a trend sweeping though Orange County, the team will re-dub itself the Anaheim Ducks. The team was considering a change to the “Anaheim Ducks of Los Angeles and Surrounding Southern California Trendy Spots”, but owners figured the stationary expenses for “all those letters” was more that they cared to bite off.

In another cost cutting move all Duck players with last names that exceed four characters will solely have their initials silk screened onto the backs of their respective jerseys. The team is expected to save $64.50 on the Neidermayer brothers alone next season.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Taylor hits the trifecta

Redskins safety and loogey artist Sean Taylor’s year just got a little more worse. Miami state prosecutors are adding a couple of assault charges to the one he already faces, stemming from a confrontation over an all terrain vehicle last Summer (Taylor pulled on a gun on these ATVers). Taylor now faces three counts of aggravated assault, each of which carries a minimum sentence of three years and a maximum of 15 years in prison. He also faces one misdemeanor battery charge that carries a potential one-year prison term.

We’re thinking the Redskins won’t wait for him. 15 years maybe (considering Dan Snyder’s loyalty to his staff), but 46 year sis pushing it. Taylor’s trial will start in March.

Bad week to be Isaiah

Bad Isaiah I

Some habits are hard to break. For some it’s biting their finger nails or leaving the seat up. For Isaiah Rider, it’ s staying out of trouble. You remember Isaiah Rider don’t you? The former NBA slam dunk champion who’s career headed south right after he won the title during his rookie season in 1993-94.

Rider was scheduled to be arraigned Friday on charges of kidnapping and battery after police were drawn to a woman’s screams in Marin, California. Police say he had a disagreement with the woman, then decided to drive off with her against her will. All this in his ‘Benzo.

The hoop master of unfulfilled expectations was arrested in November on warrants for beating his girlfriend in 2004. He was convicted of kicking a bar manager in Minneapolis during his rookie season, and was later thrown in the pokie for violating his probation.

Bad Isaiah II

OK, so there’s an “a” missing from this Isaiah, but what the heck, close enough…
Knicks president Isiah Thomas continued to vehemently deny accusations that he sexually harassed former Knicks senior vice president of marketing and business operations, Anucha Brown Sanders. In court documents, Browne Sanders said Thomas often berated her and made crude comments about her to Knicks officials, telling them not to listen to any of her directions. She also charged that last month, he hugged and tried to kiss her, and when she pulled away, he said, "What, I can't get any love from you today?"

Hey Isiah loves everyone. Have you never seen that Cheshire Cat smile? Sanders released a statement on Friday suggesting that Thomas was in love with her.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

He callz'em like he seez'em

Bode MillerFor a guy who hates media attention so much, U.S. downhill skier Bode Miller sure knows how to steer it in his own direction! Miller suggests in a soon-to-be-published interview in Rolling Stone Magazine that, get this, Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs.

"Right now, if you want to cheat, you can: Barry Bonds and those guys are just knowingly cheating, but there's all sorts of loopholes," he told the magazine." If you say it has to be 'knowingly,' you do what Lance (Armstrong) and all those guys do, where every morning their doctor gives them a box of pills and they don't ask anything, they just take the pills."

Has Bode been boozing it up again? Miller is off to an impressive start to his 2006, having boycotted a random drug test after a downhill World Cup event (he has been an outspoken critic of the state of drug testing), admitting to skiing in competitions while blitzed and now this. Surprisingly, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association spokesman Tom Kelly said the organization had no response. Heck why would they do any talking? Miller does enough to cover the entire sport.

Being John Daly

You have to wonder what it must be like being John Daly. Just for a day. And if you were going to pick a day, Thursday certainly would have been interesting (what day’s aren’t when you’re John Daly). The PGA golfer’s wife, Sherrie Miller Daly reported to prison in Lexington, Kentucky to start serving a five-month sentence stemming from her involvement with a drug and gambling operation.

All the while Big John was putting in a round to start the Buick Open in La Jolla, California. Apparently Mrs. Daly was suddenly forced to report to jail by the prosecuting attorney.

"It was very tacky on the prosecuting attorney," Daly said. "Usually you get two or three weeks to get prepared. He must not have kids. He's not a very nice guy anyway."

Yeah, those big old prosecuting attorneys are just down right evil, regardless of your involvement with a drug and gambling ring. Where’s the civility?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Follow Ups (and downs)

He was Guilty????
So it turns out he was guilty all along. Well color us surprised. OK, not really. When you admit to a cop that you just paid for some nooky, it probably means you did it. And Denny Neagle did it. His punishment? 40 hours of community service. Neagle dodged the six months of jail time that he was facing for his patronizing a prostitute.

He was Wronged
Big Bro, Ron Mexico is finally standing up for his little delinquent brother. Mike Vick broke his silence on little brother Marcus’ punishment for assorted troubles while at Va Tech.

"Sometimes your emotions just take over," Vick said on Wednesday in reference to his brothers calf stomping incident in the Gator Bowl. He's not the kind of kid that's going to do something like that on purpose. That's just something he's got to live with, and now it's just time to move on."

Can’t wait to hear the excuse in 3 to 6 when little bro is facing 8 to 10 for whatever trouble he gets mixed up then.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tawdry Tuesday

Former beauty queen Tumata Vaimarea wants justice French Polynesian style. Vaimarea has filed a complaint against Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, saying he threw a glass at her in a Bora Bora nightclub causing an injury that required eight stitches, the local prosecutor said. Maradona could spend up to three years in jail if convicted.

Club staff and management said Maradona had been "a model guest, charming, calm and not very demanding." Oh, and he’s been throwing around money like it grows on coca trees.

Speaking of Foootbol

Violence erupted at Tuesdays African Cup of Nations during a match between Egypt and Morocco. Fans ripped plastic seats from the stands and hurled them at Egyptian riot police. It seems that some holdover Libyan fans from a game that had been played earlier in the day between Libya and the Ivory Coast started stirring things up. The Libyans were sore that the Ivory Coast had put a 2-1 hurtin on them and that the Devil America still existed. OK, we made that last part up, but isn’t that standard practice for any story that involves Libyans?

And back on the home front

Philadelphia 76ers forward Lee Nailon was arrested in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania on Tuesday for a “domestic dispute”. No other details were available, other than Lee Nailon needs to spend more time at the gym. His 4.2 points per game avg this season don’t warrant get out of jail cards. You have to be Sean Locklear to qualify for one of those.

It's not easy being the King

Gloria JamesGloria James, mother of one Lebron James, pleaded innocent to several counts on Monday, including drunken driving and disorderly conduct. It seems that Mama James almost ran into the unmarked vehicle of two off-duty police officers working security for the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority on Friday night.

James allegedly smelled of alcohol, struggled as officers handcuffed her and kicked the window of a city patrol car off its track, accordning to police. She was charged with reckless operation, driving 50 mph in a 30 mph zone, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, disorderly conduct and damaging police equipment.

No, Mama James wasn't driving that Hummer she bought Lebron during his senior year in high school. She rolls in a 2004 Cadillac Escalade.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

Kobe Bryant's 81 point night on Sunday appeared to be another fantastic sporting feat, until it was uncovered that Bryant accomplished the scoring mark in his 666th career NBA game. It yet another sign that Bryant has sold his soul to the Devil, the 81 points is second in NBA history to Milt Chamberlain's 100 point gem agains the New York Knicks back in 1962.

NBA Superstar at 18, dissapearing rape charge, 81 point scoring night. It's just all too convenient. Taped interviews of Bryant after Sunday's game against the Toronto Rapotors were played backwards by members of the media. Bryant is clearly heard saying, "Martha Stewart can dunk on all of you" and "You fools, that wasn't really Larry Johnson's Grand MaMa".

Monday, January 23, 2006

World Baseball Classic moves closer to a roid free tourney

Baroid the Steroid announced that he's not batting second in Felipe Alou's lineup next season. Baroid told reporters in the Dominican Republic on Sunday that batting in the two spot "doesn't work for him". Well OK then. Baroid also announced that he won't be playing in the upcoming World Baseball Classic for fear of re-aggrevating his knee injury before the start of the upcoming season.

Baroid said this after completing a round of golf in a fund raiser in the Dominican. Could it be that the media scrutiny of his affiliation to the BALCO scandal might be another reason Baroid is steering clear of the Classic? The Steroid can better control the media when protected by Giants media relations personnel.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Conference Championship Roundup

• What exactly was that taunting sound effect that the Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium (lame corporate sponsorship, while retaining some of the history of a field that is less than 5 years old) audio personnel was pumping into the stadium every time a Steeler pass fell incomplete? Ben Roethlisberger was 21 of 29 for 268 yards and 2 TDs through the air. All the while Jake Plummer was getting picked twice and fumbling once.

• Nick Goings is still trying to figure out if he’s coming or going after that hit.

• Of the 76,775 paid attendees of the Sundays whitewashing by Steelers, an estimated crowd of 8,000 Steeler supporters made their way inside Invesco Field. Bronco supporters should be stripped of their season tickets if they sold their tickets.

• If you picked Steelers – Seahawks at the beginning of the season, you’re a liar.

• Jake Delhomme – please go home. There was Super Bowl gold at the end of those three rainbows, but you had to be wearing emerald to find them (or catch them in this case).

• We’d pay to see Lofa Tatupu and Troy Polamalu do one of those XFL game opening sprints for the ball.

• Steve Smith – 5 catches, 33 yards, 0 TDs – end of ballgame.

• Sports writers around the country are cursing the thought of having to type the words "Roethlisberger" and "Hasselbeck" 10-15 times a day for the next two weeks.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Don't you know who I am?

Police used a stun gun on former heavyweight champion Oliver McCall after he tried running away from officers trying to arrest him for trespassing in a public housing development, authorities said. You may remember McCall as the dude that knocked out Lennox Lewis for the WBC heavyweight title in 1994. When police asked him who he was and why he was trespassing, McCall said he wasn't and told them he was "Oliver McCall, ex-heavyweight champion of the world."

When police told him he was under arrest, "McCall replied 'no' and took off running," a police statement said. Officers used a Taser to restrain the 6-foot-2, 250-pound McCall. They also recovered a glass pipe and a $5 bill containing a small amount of cocaine.

McCall decided to add to his own misery by spitting at an officer after his arrest and threatening to kill him to kill the officer. He was being held Friday on $299,000 bond (what the heck, let’s make is a square three hundy) and charged with criminal trespassing, resisting arrest, assaulting police officers, threatening to kill an officer and being a fugitive from justice on charges in Virginia. McCall had previously been arrested in Nashville in December 1996 after throwing a Christmas tree in a hotel lobby.

You can sleep easier tonight, know that there’s one less Christmas tree fugitive on the streets.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Chicks dig the long ball

Bryan BerardColumbus Blue Jackets defenseman Bryan Berard will be sporting the red, white & blue for his NHL team, but he won’t be doing it for his native country. The former US Olympian has been given a two-year ban from international play after allegedly testing positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone.

Berard is blaming the positive results to a supplement he took while training during the off-season, as reported by tsn.ca. Berard wasn’t selected to represent Team USA in Turin, but the findings could have an impact on him and his current day job. The NHL’s new random drug testing program kicked into gear last Sunday, so Berard could face penalties if he is tested and comes up positive. Berard reportedly voluntarily took a drug test for the NHL in December, with the results being negative.

Berard raised suspicions when he hit a towering 500-foot home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. Uh, scratch that last sentence. Wrong athlete…

A now a word from our finer learning institutions

Trying to figure out where to send your under-achieving kids to college? Fret not. If they’re student athletes, then schools like Savannah State and Florida A&M should be at the top of your jock brethren. Division I schools published their Graduation Success Rates for enrollment between 1995 and 1998 and Savannah State ranked last with a 22% graduation rate. Next in line was A&M at 35%, followed by Texas Southern with a 36% GSR. New Orleans was next at 38% and Norfolk State and Charleston Southern finished with 40% GSRs respectively.

Radford bucked the trend with a 100% GSR, followed by the Naval Academy at 99% and get this, Notre Dame with a 98% success rate.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Chef gets bounced

We’re guessing Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Greg Wesley never saw the movie Roadhouse. If he had, he’d know that you don’t mess with bar bouncers. Heck, if a guy that looks like Patrick Swayze can lay a can of whoop-ass on you, it’s best to leave those guys alone. Wesley was arrested early Thursday for allegedly threatening to punch a bouncer.

Police said Wesley had been banned from entering Blonde, a Kansas City bar on the city's Country Club Plaza. When bouncer Andrew Lord refused to let him in, police said Wesley "became upset and belligerent" and lunged at the bouncer with his fist in the air. Another bouncer restrained Wesley and kept him from entering the bar, police said. The Chiefs starting safety was picked up by the heat in another bar a few block away.

Wesley was cited with attempt to inflict injury, and is required to appear in municipal court on May 2. Sugar Ray posted $500 bond Thursday morning.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Just when it was safe to return to the NBA

Antonio DavisSome guys just don’t get it. Even after Ron Artest’s fifty-umpteen game suspension last year for starting the Detroit chapter of the Fight Club, the message didn’t quite get across to Antonio Davis. The New York Knicks forward was ejected from Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls, for confronting a fan TEN ROWS up in the stands.

Davis had enough smarts to refrain from making contact with any fans (maybe that had something to do with the fact that he didn’t have a posse backing him up like Artest did in Detroit), but he did leave the court and entered the stands.

NBA commish David Stern has got to be pulling his hair out over this one. His response to Artest’s actions should have been enough to serve as a deterrent to similar activity, but Davis actions just prove that stupidity trumps greed any day of the week.

Artest now also has someone to promote his next album. We assume Davis will have plenty of free time on his hands. Bring the noise...


From the hard(time) court

- An assault case was dismissed against Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, who had been accused of shoving a woman in a bar. The case was thrown out Tuesday, municipal court administrator Bernard Schneider said Wednesday.

- A Chicago man who tried to blackmail New York Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield and his wife by claiming to have a video showing her having sex with R&B singer R. Kelly was sentenced Wednesday to more than two years in prison. Derrick Mosley, a minister and community activist, was sentenced to 27 months, but will get more prison time later because he was on probation for bank fraud at the time of the alleged extortion.

- A judge threw out a gang rape case Wednesday against six University of Tennessee-Chattanooga football players, ruling that there was not enough evidence to prove that their sex with an 18-year-old female student was not consensual. The judge threw out rape charges against DeJuan Payne, 21, of Stone Mountain, Ga.; Muhammad Ahmad Abdus-Salaam, 19, of Atlanta; Lironnie Davis, 19, of Macon, Ga.; Cori Stukes, 22, of Wilmington, N.C.; Terrence Thomas, 20, of Lithonia, Ga.; and Larry White, 21, of College Park, Ga.

- A family has settled its lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. stemming from a rear-end collision where a limousine erupted into flames, killing the wife of a former NASCAR crew chief and her two sisters, lawyers for both sides said Wednesday. The three women were stopped in traffic on Interstate 40 in Greensboro on Sept. 10, 2003, after attending a concert. A pickup truck driven by Jeffrey Niles McFayden rammed into the back of their limousine, which exploded almost immediately and trapped them inside.

And our favorite:

- A charge against Xavier point guard Dedrick Finn that he stole his ex-girlfriend's dog was dropped Wednesday. The senior was charged last October with taking the pug dog. He was suspended for Xavier's first exhibition game, and publicly apologized.

Ticker Kicker

Like many Pittsburgh Steelers fans, Terry O'Neill's heart stopped when Jerome Bettis fumbled the football in the final minute of the Steelers divisional playoff game agains the Indiananolic Colts last weekend. Only, O'Neill's heart really did stop. The 50-year-old Pittsburgh resident, was watching the game at a bar and had a heart attack seconds after Bettis coughed up the pill.
O'Neill said Bettis is his hero.

"I wasn't upset that the Steelers might lose," he said. "I was upset because I didn't want to see him end his career like that. A guy like that deserves better. I guess it was a little too much for me to handle."

Needless to say, O'Neill survived, thansk to two firefighters.

"The Steelers won the game and I'm still alive, so I guess I'm doing pretty good," he said.

Cruel & unusual punishment

Nathan MalletIf George Bush is still looking to fill one of those vacant Supreme Court seats, we may have the perfect candidate. Municipal Court Judge Joan Synenberg of Cleveland may be one of the most progressive judges on the bench today.

Synenberg sentenced one Nathan Mallet to perform 150 hours of community service for running out onto the field during a Cleveland Browns home game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this year because he was mad that his Browns were getting stomped by the Steelers. Mallet is also banned from attending any Browns games in any city for the next five years.

But there’s more, and it’s a kicker. Mallet was sentenced to three days in jail, commencing on February 3rd, and he may not watch television or listen to the radio during that period. That means, Mallet won’t be able to watch or listen to the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Smack it up, flip it, rub it down...

Dave DuersonSo we’ve hit the domestic battery tri-fecta this week. After having a battery story about a guy who failed to get to the Super Bowl (Nick Harper) and a guy who’s almost made it to the Super Bowl (Sean Locklear), we come full circle with a guy who won a Super Bowl.

Former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery, an offense that could land him in the pen for a year. Duerson was in South Bend, Indiana last February for a Notre Dame trustees meeting, when he decided to knock his wife around a bit while the two were co-mingling in a hotel room.

Catherine Wilson, a spokeswoman for Prosecutor Michael Dvorak, said Duerson agreed to plead guilty to the domestic battery charge in return for three other counts against him being dismissed. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 14. Duerson has already resigned from the Notre Dame board of trustees, but he can keep the two Super Bowl rings he won in 1986 with the Bears and in 1991 with the New York Giants.

We were playing patty-cake!

Denny NeagleFormer major league hurler Denny Neagle got a little belated Christmas present on Tuesday. Jefferson County judge Roy Olson tossed a confession that Neagle made to Lakewood, Colorado police officer Michael Maestras back in 2004. Neagle admitted that he had solicited a sex act from a woman in his car to Maestras.

Maestas testified Tuesday that he had told Neagle it would help his case if he was honest. Neagle tried the “who me” approach and told officers that he was dropping the woman off. When Maestas said he did not believe him, Neagle then fessed up and said he had acted foolishly and wanted a sex act.

The confession was tossed by the judge, who ruled that Neagle had not been read his rights prior to the coerced confession. Neagle’s employer at the time, the Colorado Rockies, tossed Neagle to the curb and terminated the five-year $51 million contract that went with the job. Neagle recovered some of that money after the player’s union filed a grievance.

That’s a $51 million piece of…..

Monday, January 16, 2006

Playoff smackdown, domestic style

What is it about the playoffs? Post season rolls around and everyone needs to start beating up on their wives (or in Nick Harper’s case the other way around), acquaintances, or anyone else on the street? Now Seattle Seahawks starting right tackle Sean Locklear gets to spend the night in the pokey while he is being investigated for “domestic violence”.

Reports don’t make it clear if the alleged victim is Locklear’s wife, but they usually lock you up for domestic violence if you’re smacking around your girl. Police initially received reports that a man was choking a woman outside a Seattle billiards hall, after the man had become enraged that the woman was dancing with other men.

The woman had visible redness around her neck, but she refused to tell the police anything and would not allow them to photograph her injuries. Locklear is scheduled to play in this weekend’s NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers, but his playing status is unclear.

The Seahawks are still trying to get all the details before they rule on Locklear’s playing status. Should he remain in the pen, Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren’s decision will get a whole lot easier.

** Update: The alleged victim is reported as Lockyear's girlfriend.

Monday morning quotables

"Steve Smith. That's what happened to us." - Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, when asked to explain what happened to the Bears during their 29-21 loss to the Panthers on Sunday.

"I know they wanted Indy to win this game; the whole world loves Peyton Manning. But come on, man, don't take the game away from us like that." – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter, following the Steelers upset win over the Indianapolis Colts.

"I'm going to be a good teammate here. We had a few protection problems," Colts quarterback Payton Manning, following the Colts loss to Pittsburgh. We’d hate to hear what he might have said if he was a bad teammate. Ouch!

What's that smell?

When a team stinks, is keeping them out of their own locker room the best way to deal with the situation Maryland-Baltimore County men’s basketball coach Randy Monroe thinks so. Monroe has temporarily banished his players from the luxury of warm showers and privacy following games and practices.

It seems that the coach was upset with his team’s lackluster performance in a 75-58 loss to New Hampshire last week. His players now get to dress in a courtside media room AND are not allowed to wear any clothing that bears the school’s name.

Seems like a novel idea. The Colts should make Mike Vandershank dress in the parking lot all next season.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Idiot kickers and clueless zebras -- Must be playoff time

It’s NFL playoff time and man, where do we begin. There were so many head scratching events this weekend that we’re left to ponder, what might have been, had the screw-ups not occurred?

Let’s start with the most obvious, the officiating:

- The pass interference call on Asante Samuel during Denver’s 27-13 win over the Patriots was a terrible decision by the on-field officiating crew. It brought a puttering Broncos offense to life and kicked the Patriots D in the teeth.

- The “no-call on the Alan Faneca fall start was a prime example of how disheveled NFL officiating is. The ruling on the field was that neither Faneca, or the Colts defense moved on the play.

- Troy Polamalu’s pick was overturned even though officials reviewed the play for several minutes. Luckily for the Steelers, this one didn’t cost them the game.

How about we pick on some of the play:

- Champ Bailey’s failure to keep his legs pumping at 100% as he approached the end-zone following his 100 yard pick could have spelled disaster had officials ruled that the ensuing fumble traveled through the end zone. It would have been New England’s ball, albeit at the 20 yard-line.

- Continued anemic play on offense finally caught up to the Redskins. It’s all Daniel Snyder’s fault! It certainly had nothing to do with the genius that is Joe Gibbs.

- The Bus almost became the Bust after his failure to keep possession of the football with a minute to play and the Steelers firmly in control of the game.

- New England’s fumblitis proved catastrophic for the defending champs.

- Nick Harper’s decision to run right at Ben Roethlisberger after scooping up Jerome Bettis’ fumble may have been the most baffling decision all weekend. His team needed a score and there was one man to beat. Perhaps Harper couldn’t the make the cut to avoid Big Ben, because of his carved up knee?

The play calling:

- Bill Cowher’s decision to run the ball with a minute left in regulation in retrospect was the wrong thing to do given that his man Bettis couldn’t hold on to the ball.

- Tony Dungy decision to punt with his team trailing 21-3 at the start of the 4th quarter was one of those calls that was wrong regardless of the situation. Good thing Payton Manning was there to overturn Dungy’s call and keep the offense on the field.

- 3rd and 2 and the Colts decide to go for a 15 yard pickup through the air, rather than the first-down. The failed attempt setup Mike Vandershank’s 46 yard ticket to the off-season for Indianapolis.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

As a matter of fact, you do look fat baby...

You have to start wondering what the Indianapolis Colts chances of winning it all are given the distractions that seem to be piling up in the Hoosier state. Cornerback Nick Harper was downgraded to questionable status on Saturday after his wife carved up his knee in an altercation the couple had.

31-year-old Daniell Harper was being held without bond in an Indianapolis jail, charged with battery with a deadly weapon and criminal recklessness.

The Colts starting cornerback required stitches in his knee at St. Vincent Hospital in Indy. The team released a statement that Harper had required medical treatment following the “accident”. Kind of an odd place to stab someone, but hey, whatever works.

Hamilton County Sheriff Doug Carter indicated that “there was not an accident”, and that the Harper and his Lorena Bobitt wannabe wife had been involved in a fight.

Before you get teary eyed for the alleged victim, we should point out that Harper was arrested in June on a domestic battery charge after knocking his wife around. With Kordell Stewart and the Baltimore Ravens out of the playoff hunt, Harper may lobby the league for permission to the use the nickname "Slash" for the remainder of Indy's postseason run.

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's Groundhog Day

Steve FrancisWhat would the NBA be without its annual Steve Francis suspension. The Orlando Magic’s bad boy was asked not to bother coming to work on Thursday morning, or anytime else for that matter, until head coach Brian Hill and the Magic brass has a chance to meet with him. That won’t presumably happen until the Magic return from their West Coast swing this weekend.

It’s rumored that Francis refused to return to the game during the Magic’s 113-104 loss to Seattle on Wednesday night. He had been critical of the team the night before after the Orlando was blown out by the Lakers.

The Magic released the announcement which ended with, “The team will have no further comment following this statement.” Does that mean that the team’s PR staff is out of work?

Francis’ run-ins are becoming almost Punxsutawney Phil-ish. He kicked a courtside photographer in Seattle last season (3 game suspension), in addition to missing a practice after the All-star break (undisclosed cash fine). In 2004 he shelled out more money after dropping a few four-letter words during a nationally televised interview ($25,000 fine) and was booted from the Rockets after missing a practice (1 game suspension).

All the while one Tracy McGrady is the model citizen in Houston.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Guess it wasn't for aerodynamics

Team USA suffered a stunning setback on Tuesday when Zach Lund, the men's World Cup skeleton leader and a Torino Olympic medal favorite, was suspended after testing positive for a masking agent at a World Cup event, the New York Times reported.

Jim Shea Snr, president of the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, told the newspaper that Lund was suspended Tuesday after testing positive for Propecia, a drug used to combat baldness, at a competition last month in Europe. World Anti-Doping Agency officials consider the drug and one of its contents, finasteride, a masking agent for steroids.

So, there a couple of points we’re going to focus on here:

1) We have no idea what skeleton is, but we’re thinking it might have something to do with the absence of muscle mass, hence the need to dope, roid up, whatever.

2) Lund was playing Russian Roulette with this one. He ran the risk of getting popped for cheating and / or getting outted for being folicaly challenged. It was a lose-lose situation from the get go!

"It's on the banned list. No question. He screwed up," Shea told the Times. "He lost his spot on the World Cup team and it's possible he won't be able to go to the Games. On a personal level, it's so sad. He's worked so hard to get here. I know Zach Lund, and I know Zach Lund is not a cheat."

Lund’s father was quoted as saying that his son has been taking hair restoration products for several years. Man, if you can’t trust your own dad to keep a secret, then who else is there for crying out loud.

Title Nein

Some amusing sports headlines that have trickled across the wire this week:

"Barnwell: sacking stifles success" - but it sure is fun.

"Fiorentina keeper Frey suffers injury blow" - ooh, that's never good.

"Swiss team avoids Turkey because of bird flu" - Turkey and Swiss are never a good combination. Stick with chedder.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My No(contact) Hockey League

In what was regarded as one of the more interesting sun-plots in the NHL this season, Super Joe Thornton made his return to Boston on Tuesday night, but his stay lasted a little more than five minutes after the San Jose Sharks forward was tossed from the game on a ridiculous checking from behind call after Thornton hit Hal Gill early in the game at TD Banknorth Garden.

Kind of tough being a hockey fan in Boston these days. Of the 17,901 that paid to bid Thornton a proper goodbye, some may have missed him altogether if they showed up late to the game. Referee Chris Rooney said NHL rules call for a game misconduct on such plays (assuming the infraction actually occurs).

"From my view, where I'm standing on the ice, it's a direct hit from behind," Rooney said. "The player that got hit is defenseless."

The only thing that was defenseless in this case was Rooney’s explanation. Boston’s hockey faithful paid to see Joe Thornton play. Replays contradict the official’s assertion, and Gill’s post game comments seem to allude that Rooney flat out got this one wrong.

"Maybe it's a penalty, maybe it isn't," said Gill. "I think what he got was too much."

On this night, the league’s “My NHL” marketing campaign left out a few words. “My, the officiating stinks in the NHL tonight” is far more appropriate.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Yo, I said NO pickles

Marcus, Marcus Marcus. The former Va Tech QB couldn’t make it a week without grabbing the national sports spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Getting booted from a major Division 1 football program wasn’t grandiose enough, so rather than filling out his Rhodes Scholar application, Vick was busy playing Dirty Harry at a Richmond, Virginia McDonalds.

Vick was charged with three misdemeanor counts of brandishing a firearm, and was released on $10,000 bond. He turned himself in to the Suffolk magistrate’s office after warrants were issued for his arrest.

Police indicated that the parents of a 17-year-old boy reported that Vick pointed a gun at their son and two other unidentified persons at a McDonalds in Suffolk. Details surrounding the incident were not clear, but several scenarios seem likely:

- It was revealed that the fact that the Shamrock shake won’t be available in stores for another two months. That’s enough to make anyone irritable.

- Mayor McCheese refused to issue a decree to overrule the Va Tech decision to kick him out of school.

- The kids mistook him for Ronald McMexico, Ronald McDonald’s little brother.

- In a momentary lapse brought on by sugar buildup in the brain, Vick believed he was the Hamburgler

Phlemboyant Taylor gets a slap on the wrist

So what’s more revolting? a) The fact that Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor spit in Tamba Bay Bucaneers running back Michael Pittmans’ face, b) the paltry $17,000 fine Taylor received for the act, or c) the fact that the NFL left it at that and didn’t suspend Taylor? Our money is on d) the fact that Pittman didn’t remove his helmet and club Taylor with it after the spit flew.

Heck, former Oakland Raiders linebacker Matt Millen once clubbed the owner of the New England Patriots over the head with his helmet. OK, it was the owner’s son, but he still got away with it, because the dolt committed something even dumber that spitting…he taunted Millen after a loss.

So Taylor dodged a king sized bullet by avoiding a suspension, even though his actions warranted something closer to a public flogging. He was investigated by the league last year for allegedly hucking a loogie at T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but he skirted punishment for that infraction because there was no video evidence.

Taylor also had a drunken driving charge last season that was later dismissed. But wait, there’s more. The boy scout is scheduled to go on trial next week in Miami on a felony charge of aggravated assault for some incident near his home last summer. He is expected to request a postponement because of the Redskins' playoff run, which he will unfortunately be participating in due to the league’s lack of backbone.

"He's turned his life around," defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin said. "He's been a more positive guy. He's been a great role model on the field."

Yeah Cornelius, this guy is a regular alter boy.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Adios Hokies

Marcus VickYou knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of time. Marcus Vick, aka Lil’ Ron Mexico, went and got himself booted out of Virginia Tech on Friday. His on field antics during the Gator Bowl apparently was the last straw for school officials, who have been babysitting the baby brother of Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick for the past three seasons.

Cameras caught Lil Vick stomping on the calf of Louisville All-American defensive end Elvis Dumervil during the Jan. 2 bowl. After the game Vick denied that it was intentional. He then claimed to have apologized to Dumervil, the Louisville standout said he never heard a word from Vick.

University president Charles Steger gleefully announced that Vick was no longer his problem in a statement released by the school. A press conference is scheduled for Saturday, where Stegar and head football coach Frank Beamer are expected to do back flips off the stage and high five each other in sombreros as a tribute to Vick’s older brother.

Hampton Police also revealed on Friday that Vick had been stopped for speeding and driving with a suspended license two weeks before the bowl game. Vick lost his license in 2004 on a reckless driving and a marijuana possession charge.

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported on its Web site on Friday night that Vick would turn pro.

"It's not a big deal," Vick was quoted as telling the newspaper. "I'll just move on to the next level, baby."

Ah, it’s nice to see that all these challenges have set the young man on the straight and narrow.

Rose Bowl Blotter

Police arrested 36 people on Wednesday for offenses at the Rose Bowl during the national championship game between Texas and USC. Thirty-two men and four women were arrested for public intoxication, ticket scalping and other crimes, Pasadena police spokeswoman Ronnie Nanning said Thursday.

"Considering the number of people in attendance, the number of arrests was very manageable," police Cmdr. Chris Vicino said in a statement.

Of the 93,986 fans in attendance only .03% were committing crimes. Well, unless you count USC's defense over the last two Texas posessions.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's Miller Time

In a move sure to spawn SADD (skier’s against drunk down-hilling), U.S. skier Bode Miller admits on an upcoming 60 Minutes that he has competed while blitzed. As if blazing down a frozen hill on two twigs at 60 mph isn’t challenging enough, Miller has added the thrill of coctails between runs.

"Talk about a hard challenge right there. ... If you ever tried to ski when you're wasted, it's not easy," Miller told "60 Minutes" for a segment that will air Sunday. "Try and ski a slalom when ... you hit a gate less than every one second, so it's risky. You're putting your life at risk. ... It's like driving drunk, only there are no rules about it in ski racing."

There don’t seem to be many rules in Miller’s life these days anyway. As the Winter Olympics approach, he’s already threatened to quit the current World Cup after being fined for not taking a boot test following a race. He’s been an outspoken critic of the tour’s drug rules, deeming them too strict and “a joke”.

Heck if you’re not buzzed, wasted and free riding, then you’re just not living. Probably the most bewildering comments Miller makes on the show have to do with his opportunity to clean up in Turin.

"Whether somebody wants me to get five gold medals or whatever it is, I sort of feel like they are all other people's concerns and issues, not really mine. ... I don't really care what everybody else says," he said.

Uh, aren’t skiing events all timed? Put the bong down for a second Bode. You’re not Johhny Moseley for crying out loud.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mo Clarett finally gets to run

Way to go Maurice Clarett. Just when his name began to fade from the spotlight, he vaults himself back in, just like one of those patented runs three years ago for Ohio State. Except for the fact that while some of his former Buckeye teammates were rolling in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday, Clarett was turning himself in to police in Columbus, Ohio for allegedly robbing two people at gun point on Saturday night.

Clarett had been eluding the heat for the last two days, much like he eluded gridiron tacklers three years ago. Well, he was brandishing weapons on the football field like he was behind the Opium Lounge in downtown Columbus. Clarett then used some of his football skills and has been running for the last two days.

So let’s get this straight. Clarett, who is probably one of the most recognized faces in Columbus, decides to rob someone at gunpoint and expects not to be recognized? Says a lot about one year’s worth of education at Ohio State.

Of course this is Maurice Clarett we’re talking about so there has to be more to the story. You’d think that resorting to armed robbery is something some turns to as a last resort. In this case, it sounds like Clarett may have had other football options available to him.

Clarett’s former coach Jim Tressel said at a Fiesta Bowl press conference on Sunday that he had a conversation with the beleaguered running back about hooking up with an NFL Europe team.

"Obviously, my reaction to that is it's sad," Tressel said Sunday, "because, as I said the last few times people have brought up the subject, my hope would be that he would have an opportunity to go over to NFL Europe and make a comeback."

What Tressel wanted to say was that he was glad he wasn’t partying at the Opium Lounge on Saturday night.

Monday, January 02, 2006

NFL house cleaning begins

Let the blood letting begin. After the final seconds clicked off the game clocks around the NFL on Sunday, teams began finalizing the fates of several head coaches. Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice was the first to get the axe, after team owner Zygi Wilf canned Tice an hour after the Vikings win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints dismissed Jim Haslett, the Houston Texans dumped Dom Capers, the Green Bay Packers pulled the plug on Mike Sherman and the St Louis Rams decided not to see if Mike Martz’s ticker will be healthy enough to return the Rams to the playoffs next season.

Dick Vermeil did the Kansas City Chiefs a favor by resigning, opting not to give it another go. Haslett is already rumored to be a front runner for either the Rams or Chiefs job. If either of those teams decides to give one of the other dismissed retreads a try, then they deserve all the misery that can be expected.

Herman Edwards of the New York Jets and Norv Turner of the Oakland Raiders should be right behind the first group of firing fodder. Of the names mentioned, only Tice had a winning record this season, guiding the Vikings to a 9-7 record, missing the playoffs by a single game in the standings.

The combined record of the five coaches fired was 24-56. Without the Vikings, that record would have amounted to a 15-49 debacle. A .234 winning percentage between five teams is downright awful, but the scary part is that only the Texans, Packers and Saints finished last in their respective divisions.