A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

March 2009 Archives

blog.jpg What's more physical -- the NHL or the NFL? The question seems simple enough, but the answer is far from it.
kile-wygle-motorized-bar-stool.jpgIf you want proof that human innovation knows no bounds, one would have to look no further than the story of an Ohio man getting a DUI for crashing his motorized bar stool.

Police in Newark, 30 miles east of Columbus, say when they responded to a report of a crash with injuries on March 4, they found a man who had wrecked a bar stool powered by a deconstructed lawn mower.

Twenty-eight-year Kile Wygle was hospitalized for minor injuries. Police say he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he told an officer at the hospital that he had consumed 15 beers. Wygle told police his motorized bar stool can go up to 38 mph.

Now, I've done some questionable things under the influence of one too many drinks in the past, but have been lucky enough not to become an internet celebrity for any of these antics.  But then again, I could never construct anything like this in a million years.

I'm just not that mechanically inclined.

andrew-bynum-playboy-mansion.jpgLos Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum has been out of the lineup while he recovers from a  torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee, but the big man has find ways to keep himself busy.

As the Lakers were in Atlanta Saturday night, Bynum was where most men asipre to be -- partying at the Playboy Mansion. And judging by the preceeding photo, his knee is strong enough to allow him to carry around playmates on his shoulders.
SI's Arash Markazi reports on Bynum's status.

"Wearing a green smoking jacket and slippers, Bynum, whose injury status is generating daily headlines in Los Angeles, partied like a rock star near the infamous grotto.

He picked up Playmate Nicole Narain and placed her on his shoulders and got somebody to take a picture with his digital camera.

Upper-body strength, check.

He hopped over a velvet rope near the DJ booth so he could take a picture with Narain and other Playmates who ended up sitting on his lap.

Jumping ability, check.

He sidestepped a few of the roaming cameras and got down with some Playmates on the checkered dance floor set up in the backyard.

Lateral movement, check.

jonathan-vilma-murders.jpgTwo men were murdered at a Long Island condo owned by New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

The two men, Sekou Sakor and Ansu Keit, were African immigrants and were each shot in the head.

Vilma was not at the scene or believed to be involved, according to authorities.

Investigators think the slayings may be related to a web scheme involving counterfeit money.

2 slain at NY apartment of NFL player     (AP)
Update from ESPN: "Missouri has signed head coach Mike Anderson to a new seven-year contract, athletic director Mike Alden told ESPN.com Tuesday night."

29998801H12300133.JPGThe revitalization of the University of Missouri basketball program can be attributed to the efrorts of one man -- coach Mike Anderson. In 2006 he took a scandal-ridden program that was the object of widespread ridicule and brought the team a few made three-pointers away from its first Final Four appearance.

As the country's NCAA coaching consciousness is focused on John Calipari's possible move to Kentucky, chatter surrounding Anderson's future is also quietly heating up.
gary_sheffield_release.jpgIn a move that seems to be surprising Detroit Tiger beat writers everywhere, the team released designated hitter Gary Sheffield this morning. The move is perhaps most startling because the Tigers guaranteed Sheffield $14 million this season.

The Detroit Free Press reports it's the second-highest amount owed to a released player in the club's history -- behind the club's $14.3 million hit it took in 2003 with Damion Easley.

The move is even more perplexing considering his next home run will be the 500th of Sheffield's career.

Sheffield hit .178 (8-for-45) during spring training.

From Freep.com:
paulpierce.jpg Leave it to the man nicknamed "The Truth" to truly connect with fans via Twitter, the now famous social networking application.

Celtics star forward Paul Pierce recently "tweeted" out a free ticket offer to fans, and actually showed up and came through.

dontrelle-willis-anxiety-disorder.jpgThe great Dontrelle Willis experiment just took another disturbing turn for the Detroit Tigers. Willis, the once-promising left-hander who last season battled injuries and any semblance of control, was placed on the DL with an anxiety order.
There's nothing I didn't enjoy about Greg Garber's entrenched report on the Krispy Kreme Challenge:




How would I describe what transpired between the Blackhawks and Canucks Sunday night?

Well, that old saying, "I went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out," was the first thing that came to mind.

tom-izzo-final-four.jpgIt was Friday afternoon and I was just sitting down to the work station, ready to hunker down for what is always a jam-packed night at the online desk when a co-worker came up to talk to me.

The topic, of course, was Michigan State basketball. The Spartans had a date with the Kansas Jayhawks later in the night and the guy wanted to get my thoughts on the game. I was perfectly honest. After telling him that big Cole Aldrich scared me and I was afraid of Sherron Collins slicing through the lane like hot knife through butter, I ended with this: "But, if history has taught me anything, it's not to doubt Tom Izzo.

The steady hand that guides the blue-collar program has made a habit of cutting down nets, making Final Fours and proving all of his critics wrong.

And, darn it if he didn't do it again.
If you've ever been watching pole vaulting and thought, "this would be a heck of a lot of interesting if these guys were naked," then your time has come.

French pole vaulting champion Romain Mesnil recently ran nude through the streets of Paris -- all while holding his pole. Mesnil hopes the stunt drums up a new sponsorship deal.

He's posted the footage on his personal Web site for those of you who really want to see it.
I thought the end of the Missouri-UConn game was tough to watch until I read about Friday's game between the AHL's Norfolk Admirals and Grand Rapids Griffins.

It's bad enough when one freak injury happens during the course of a sporting event, but the crowd in attendance at this particular game were treated to the sight of two horrific injuries in a single outing.

First, referee Chris Cozzan had his neck accidentally slashed by the skate of Norfolk forward Radek Smolenak in the first period. Then during the second period Grand Rapids winger Ryan Oulahen got his skate stuck in the boards and snapped his femur, resulting in a compound fracture.

Sure, Christian Laettner's shot 17 years ago may have been more dramatic, but did we have the ability to capture it in electronic flipbook glory?

I think not.
idong-ibok-inbound-msu-kansas.JPGLost in Michigan State's thrilling victory over Kansas Friday night was this little blooper.

Spartan big man Idong Ibok was evidently really excited to be part of such a big game -- so much so that he momentarily forgot the rules of basketball. After three-point specialist Chris Allen connected on a free throw, Ibok rushed to the baseline to inbound the ball -- presumably for the Jayhawks.

Awkward video after the jump.
jerry-rice-jr-ucla.jpgJerry Rice's high school efforts were only impressive enough to land him a spot at non-powerhouse Mississippi Valley State University, but he ended up retiring from professional football recognized as the best wide receiver in history.

His son Jerry Rice Jr. will hope to enjoy the same meteoric rise when he walks on to Rick Neuheisel's UCLA squad in the fall. The five-foot-ten, 180-pound wideout has decided to join the Bruins squad after only Air Force offered him a scholarship.
sean-avery-fashion-sloppy-seconds.JPGNHL bad boy and grooming enthusiast Sean Avery landed in hot water with the league in December when he made some disparaging remarks about other players skating where he used to skate.

Avery's now infamous "sloppy seconds" earned him a six-game suspension, but as a New York Times piece points out today, the hard-nosed left winger is anything but sloppy when it comes to fashion.
An Orlando television station is reporting that a source close to the University of Kentucky basketball program says Florida head coach Billy Donovan will resign to take the same position at Kentucky.

Kentucky is expected to announce the firing of coach Billy Gillispie at 4:30 p.m. (EST) press conference.

Source: Donovan to leave UF    (My FOX 35)
hanley-ramirez-florida-marlins-dress-code.jpgThe Florida Marlins are taking a page out of the New York Yankees' book and instituting a rigorous new dress code that frowns upon long hair and earrings.

One major problem is that the face of the Fish, Hanley Ramirez, is fond of both these things. The National League's best shortstop threw a fit after cutting his cornrows, cutting loose with some Magic Marker-fueled cuss words.
Tennis legend John McEnroe was as famous for his on-court blowups as he was for his tremendous talent, but it seems one crook wasn't afraid of messing with the volatile champion.

McEnroe is one of 26 victims of a scam allegedly perpetrated by art dealer Lawrence Salander, who targeted investment firms, art owners and collectors. The scheme is said to have involved a total of $88 million and McEnroe lost $2 million.


Pride of Naperville Evan Lysacek won the men's World Figure Skating Championship last night in Los Angeles.

Wearing a snazzy tuxedo and skating to "Rhapsody In Blue," the 23-year-old Lysacek gave a nearly flawless performance.

From the Los Angeles Times:
LeBron James recently sat down with "60 Minutes" for an interview that will air Sunday night, but more interesting than anything he'll say is this footage of the All-Everything superstar casually draining a 60-footer with an underhand throw.



Yeah, he's good.


Meet Pat Venditte, who is simultaneously one of the Yankees' top left- and right-handed pitching prospects.

If Venditte, who will start this season with Calss-A Charleston, makes the Yankees, he'll double the number of ambidexterous pitchers throughout Major League history. The only other pitcher to throw with both arms in a game was Greg Harris, who did it while playing for the Expos in one 1995 game. It was a stunt -- and a pretty lame one at that.

But by all indications, Venditte is for real -- and could pose an interesting threat to MLB batters if he can boost his right-handed fastball from average to above average.

Venditte has been getting national attention for quite a while. As a junior on the Creighton University baseball team, he was profiled by the New York Times.
For a baseball purist like myself, Opening Day is like Christmas, Flag Day and Lincoln's birthday all wrapped into one. In short, it's pretty much the greatest event of the year outside of the annual hot-dog eating contest at Coney Island.

So, it's a shame to see some controversy surrounding one the holiest days to those who worship at the altar of baseball.
SB01.jpgYesterday we told you about the efforts of some Minor League baseball teams to attract fans to the ballpark in these tough economic times with heart-attack inducing food items. Not to be outdone, the Lake Elsinore Storm will see your greasy burgers, onion-laden bratwurst and goopy gop and raise you some free fart neutralizers.

A recent press release from the team reads:

"You can probably deduce that All-You-Can-Eat ballpark food might lead to substantial gas, which is where corporate sponsor, Subtle Butt, enters the picture. Made of activated carbon fabric, each disposable 3.25" square shield is held onto the inside of the underwear with two self-adhesive strips. Subtle Butt effectively filters flatulence, absorbing and neutralizing its odor."
I'd be lying if I said Kyle and I haven't (perhaps on multiple occasions, I can't remember) done exactly what Dwight Howard does in the following video. Neither of us are bold enough to film it and put it on YouTube though.

I especially enjoy the "shoulda put a ring on it' part of the song where Howard points to the wrong ring finger, realizes his error, and promptly switches hands. Well done, Dwight Howard. Well done.

800px-PatMcAfeeWarmup.JPGWest Virginia placekicker Pat McAfee connected on 17 of 20 field goal attempts and made all 36 of his extra point attempts this past season. But no amount of clutch kicking could prepare McAfee for his bout with War Pig.

McAfee, an NFL prospect, took on the masked, bloodied War Pig in a semi-professional Wrestling match at the South Charleston Community Center.

This is the type of story that every sports writer hopes to someday cover, but rarely have the chance. Indeed, writing for a small-market newspaper has its perks. For instance, you have the ability to dedicate 1,300 words to a wrestling match at a community center.

Ashley B. Craig's article in the Charleston Daily Mail offers this blow-by blow recounting of the match:
phone-booth-st-marys.jpgFor people of a certain age, one of college's halcyon moments was getting about a score of your closest friends and trying to all cram into a phone booth. I'm told this clausterphobia-inducing ritual is really a hoot -- but for the record I prefer an ample amount of personal space.

Today, 22 students from St. Mary's College in California got cozy a glass box in an homage to the famous 1959 Life Magazine photograph that showcased co-eds booth-stuffing.
shawn-johnson-stalker.jpg

America's favorite gymnast-turned-dancer, Shawn Johnson, has obtained a restraining order against a man who was arrested Tuesday for jumping a fence at the lot where "Dancing With the Stars" is filmed.

"Per court documents filed by Johnson's parents, Los Angeles police found a "a loaded .45 handgun, a loaded shotgun, and materials classically used for kidnapping including duct tape, zip ties [and] a map to the victim" in 34-year-old Robert O'Ryan's car.

"Also found were love letters, clippings and other information on the victim [Johnson]," the petition continued.

The fan's delusions include what he construes as a meaningful, two-way relationship with Johnson.

lady-gaga.jpgLast night, my web colleague Mark Bieganski and I had the privilege of checking out one of music's hottest acts as Lady Gaga performed at the House of Blues. It would be an understatement to say we had differing views on how the show went.

Loved it

BY MARK BIEGANSKI

The last time the newest mistress of pop music performed in Chicago, she was almost arrested for prancing around town in hot pants.

But during Tuesday night's sold-out double performance at the House of Blues, Lady Gaga had no qualms about going sans pants -- a signature staple that's followed her from the interview circuit to the dance stage.

It seems so long ago that one of the NFL's premiere wide receivers walked into a New York City nightclub wearing sweatpants and wielding a gun, and then subsequently shot himself in the leg, reusulting in his arrest on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a loaded and unlicensed weapon.

New York Giant and former Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burris faces mandatory minimum of 3 1/2 years in prison in connection with the incident.

But we'll know Tuesday how seriously the state of New York views the word 'mandatory' when Burris appears in court to enter a plea.

His friends/teammates were optimistic that there would be some leeway in the term mandatory. Both Brandon Jacobs and Osi Umenyiora talked to the New York Daily News about the Burris situation.

ODD Bodacious Ballpark Bur copy.jpg

The West Michigan Whitecaps have fired the latest beefy salvo in what seems to now be an annual battle among minor league baseball teams to kill off their fans.

The Detroit Tiger's Single-A affiliate is hawking a $20 cholesterol bonanza, dubbed the 5/3 pounder, for the Fifth Third Bank sponsorship of their ballpark, that features:

5 beef patties

5 slices of cheese

Nearly a cup of chili

"Liberal" doses of salsa and corn chips

All smashed between two 8-inch sesame-seed buns.

los_bulls_jersey_prose.jpgThe Bulls will don special "Los Bulls" uniforms Thursday against the Miami Heat to honor the team's Hispanic fan base on "Latin Night" at the United Center.

The Bulls join eight other teams -- the Lakers, Heat, Suns, Spurs, Mavericks, Rockets and Knicks -- in holding such an event.
This week's Chicago Sports Week in Review gets in touch with the feminine side of the NCAA Tournament -- we didn't know it had one either.

Say hello to the Miami Marlins, set to be proud new tenants of a yet-to-have-a-corporate-name-slapped-on-it stadium.

The Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post reported today that the Miami-Dade commissioners approved the stadium with a 9-4 vote yesterday.

After the jump, you'll see some renderings of the Marlins' sexy new home, which they hope to occupy starting in 2012:
michael_vick_book.jpgMichael Vick will be out of prison and back in the headlines as early as May. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is busy burying the lead in their stories about the convicted dog fighting enthusiast.

To the long list of words that some may use to describe the former Falcons quarterback, it seems possible that 'author' may be added. The last two sentences of an article about the return of attorney Daniel Meachum to Vick's legal team in today's AJC read:
kevin_allen_brackets.jpgAs soon as the NCAA tournament pairings are announced, we all scramble to fill our brackets out. And though our predictions differ, we all have one thing in common.

We all think our bracket is the best. That it will be the bracket that will transcend all previous brackets and set the bar for all future brackets.

Recently, Kevin and I sat down for a highly informed discussion about this phenomenon -- and were lucky enough to capture the footage.

If the Internet is the best thing to happen to work - ever - then the NCAA Tournament streaming live - every glorious, nail-biting, upset-making moment of it - is the gold that fills your cubicle-trapped soul with light and happiness.

And yes, I know you've been watching at work. According to numbers reported by Paidcontent.org, there were 4.8 MILLION unique visits to cbssports.com through Saturday alone. That's just the first three days of the tourney - and up 65 percent over the same numbers in 2008.

greivis-vasquez.JPGMaryland's Greivis Vasquez had some strong opinions before his Terrapins squared off against Memphis in this afternoon's second-round game. In short, it seems the highly skilled and highly opinionated guard did not think so highly of Memphis and their Conference USA dominance.

""If [Memphis] played in the ACC Conference, they'd have a losing record in the league," Vasquez said. "They'd probably win all of their games outside the league and have a losing record in the league. The ACC is too tough."
Not stopping there, he added this:

Memphis "needs some competition," Vasquez said. "It's going to be a fight. I don't care who guards me. I'm going to go at him and at the whole team. I'm such a competitor. I don't care who's in front of me. I'm going to compete.
Things, however, did not go as Vasquez planned.
aj-burnett-bruce-lee-tattoo.jpgWhen Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett got drilled by a line drive off the bat of Toronto's John McDonald in the second inning of a Grapefruit League game, the New York brain-trusts and bean-counters probably held their breath in fear.

An injury to expensive new toy is not exactly what they need.

But, luckily for them, Burnett was protected by a higher power.

That's right. We're talking about Bruce Lee.
corey-smith-lions-retire-jersey.JPGThe Detroit Lions are honoring the memory of Corey Smith -- one of the three men lost when their fishing boat capsized three weeks ago.

No Lion will wear Smith's jersey number (93) in 2009, Lions player development director Galen Duncan said Saturday.
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Michael Jordan called Sarasota his spring training home when he tried out for the White Sox. (Sun-Times photo)

It was revealed this past week that the Cubs are exploring alternatives to their current Spring Training home in Mesa, Ariz.

The Cubs have until February of next year to opt out of their agreement with Mesa. If they do opt out, the team can move as early as 2012.

Cubs chairman Crane Kenny considers the team "the most desirable free agent in the market."

Naturally, speculation has begun as to where the Cubs could possibly wind up if they decide not to stay in Arizona.
Yesterday, Mike Krzyzewski's lighthearted jab at Barack Obama's bracket sparked a little bit of controversy on this here blog. Thankfully, it seems we can put this non-issue-turned-issue to rest after the president responded to Coach K's comments.

"Coach K, I think, is a great coach. And you know, Reggie Love, my assistant, played for Coach K. And so it's not surprising. I didn't pick him to go to the finals. Look he's a competitive guy, I just don't think they've got the inside game to go all the way. But I look forward to him proving me wrong," the president said.
american-university-villanova.jpg

Last night, we watched American University flirt with a monumental upset against Villanova. As luck would have it, political activist and friend of the blog Alex Barriger (an American alum) had nothing better to do than record his thoughts.

When not reading articles on Slate or preparing hearty Greek salads, Barriger can be found at 311 concerts and whimsically recalling his high-school lacrosse glory days.

BY ALEX BARRIGER

Villanova 5, American 0

Hmm. Only 47 seconds in. It's going to be one of those games. Oh well, at least we made it this year. Let's try not to be embarrassed. 

Villanova 17, American 16

Wow, only down by 1. OK, maybe this will be interesting, but Villanova will surely pull away with ample time left, thus sparing my heart the pain of almost upsetting a 3 seed. 

American 27, Villanova 24

Midway through the first half - and we're winning. Garrison Carr just hit another 3, his third in three minutes. 

American 41, Villanova 31

Joy. Elation. Disbelief. Its halftime and we're actually winning - by 10. This could happen. We could beat Villanova. We could be this year's Cinderella. I make a mental note to check flights to Detroit for the Final Four, not worrying about Duke, Pitt or any of the other obstacles we'll face if we win. 
ameer-ali-blake-griffin.jpgOklahoma's Blake Griffin has torched opponents all year with his thunderous dunks and rebounding prowess. A multitude of defensive permutations have been employed by opposing teams in fruitless attempts to stop him -- none of which have really worked. Up until last night, no team had tried just picking him up and dropping him on his head.

Enter Morgan State's Ameer Ali.
tyler-hansbrough-acc-scoring-record.jpgOur former colleague Jay Mariotti weighs in on the highly talented and widely hated North Carolina big man Tyler Hansbrough tonight, saying that all his haters need to get a life.

Hansbrough set the Atlantic Coast Conference career scoring record this afternoon in the Tar Heels' dismantling of Radford. As the crowd gave him a standing ovation, the senior opted not to acknowledge the crowd, choosing instead to focus on the game he was playing in -- and to respect his opponent.
south-cliff-high-school.jpgWe were able to coax Mike Clark out of his self-imposed retirement for a post on this most maddening of days. When not listening to Bloc Party, you can find his handiwork all over the award-winning Yourseason site.

BY MIKE CLARK

We don't know about you, but here at Sports Pros(e), there's nothing we love more than a good fight.

Take two guys with chips on their shoulders and tattoos on their biceps, throw them in a chicken-wire cage and it's enough to make us forget how mad we are at those AIG traders who don't want to give back their bonuses.

It's no wonder mixed martial arts is one of the few American industries not lining up for a government bailout (though maybe Elite XC should have tried that before it tapped out for the last time last fall).

old-computers.jpgMore people than every before are joining in March's madness, thanks to the magic of the internet. The AP reports that more than 5 million entries were submitted to ESPN.com's tournament contest -- a 37 percent increase from last year.

Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh and North Carolina were the most popular picks to reach the Final Four in Detroit.
Miami television station WSVN reports that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit when he struck and killed a pedestrian last weekend.

"Police have not revealed how high Stallworth's blood alcohol level was at the time of the collision, but in Florida, Stallworth had to be at least .09 or higher for police to consider him too drunk to drive.

Annika Sorenstam is pregnant

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annika-sorenstam-pregnant.jpgAnnika Sorenstam dominated the LPGA during her career, winning 72 tournaments and 10 majors. Now, she's about to face a new challenge -- motherhood.

The golfing enthusiast announced today on her blog that she and husband Mike McGee are expecting their first child this fall.

Jim Calhoun won't coach UConn tonight

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Breaking: Greg Gumbel reports that UConn coach Jim Calhoun will not be on the sidelines for the Huskies game against Chattanooga this evening.

The school's Web site says assistant coach George Blaney will coach in Calhoun's absence.
kevin_allen_brackets.jpgSeveral people have e-mailed this morning begging me to share my brackets with the world. I have obliged with the above screen grab. You're welcome, world. As you can see, I am allowing Michigan State (of which Kyle is an alum), Missouri (of which I am an alum), Pitt (of which Dave Wannstedt's mustache is an alum) and Oklahoma (of which is a school in Oklahoma) to reach the Final Four. To them, I say you're welcome. And let me congratulate the University of Pittsburgh, who undoubtedly wins the 2009 NCAA championship.

What's that, you say? The games have yet to be played?

Let me make a few things clear about my brackets.

1. My brackets are the rubric by which invading aliens will one day surmise everything they need to know about the human race.

2. My Sweet 16 picks alone have the power to solve the Illinois budget crisis.

3. My brackets are 47 percent more accurate than whatever will actually happen in the NCAA tournament.

4. When I completed my bracket predictions on Yahoo! it broke the Internet for a solid four minutes.

5. My brackets have won the 2009 and 2010 Pulitzer prizes for excellence in literature and accurate future predicting.

So question me if you will, dear reader. But know this: To question my brackets is to question the very existence of absolute truth. And without absolute truth, could we have ever really existed in the first place?
coach_k_obama.jpgPresident Barack Obama's bracket was front and center yesterday, as the basketball enthusiast made his selections during a segment for "SportsCenter." Obama picked the North Carolina Tar Heels to win it all, and issued a challenge to Roy Williams squad to not make him look bad again.

As you might expect, some intrepid journalist ran with this fun little piece and asked Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski what he thought of Obama saying their most bitter rival would take home the title.

Coach K echoed the sentiments of a lot of Joe Six-Packs out there, saying the president has bigger fish to fry.
march-madnes-money.jpgThere's something about waking up on the first Thursday of the the NCAA tournament. There's a certain palpable sense of excitement, not unlike a child on Christmas morning for some of us. But the Debbie Downers of the media won't let us completely enjoy our zone defenses, bounce passes and front ends of one-and-ones.

Every year, there's myriad stories about how March Madness zaps workplace productivity and costs businesses billions of dollars.

This year's figure is somewhere in the $4 billion range.
I haven't seen many episodes, but (in addition to being a jean jacket connoisseur) my Sports Pros(e) cohort, Kyle, is a huge fan of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

It just so happens that we share a passion for Jumbotron antics, which is why we were very excited by the appearance of Daylon Trotman on "Ellen" today. The 7-year-old Celtics fan has become somewhat of an overnight celebrity in Boston thanks to his dance routine that was caught on the Jumbotron at the Garden recently.

Here's (soon-to-be-removed-from-YouTube) video of the Celtics fan-turned-viral-video enthusiast on "Ellen" today:
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for reggie-bush-kim-kardashian.jpgNew Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush and his girlfriend Kim Kardashian stripped down for a sizzling photo shoot with GQ recently -- one which will surely make readers fee miserable about their doughy bodies.

Bush and Kardashian also talk about their relationship in a behind-the-scenes interview. Some of the highlights:

  • Kim: Oh, my God, Reggie is the slowest person anyone will ever encounter. I don't understand how he's so fast on the field. He's like a slug!
Reggie: Whoa, whoa, whoa! I did not want to drive together. I told you to go by yourself, and you wanted to wait for me. There were ants in the bathroom this morning, and I was like, "Babe, can you grab the Raid to spray these ants?" She was like, "I don't have time for that!"
Earlier this week, Sun-Times sports columnist Chris DeLuca reported that Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano enjoys playing for the Cubs, but really wouldn't mind some day playing for the White Sox. Blasphemy, right?

I have to say that as a Cubs fan, I would hate to see this happen.

But as a White Sox fan, I would happily welcome him to the South Side.

Many "true" Chicago sports fans have stopped reading at this point.

That's because in order to be a true Chicago sports fan, you must at some point make the Sophie's choice of this city's sports world; the question that almost always comes up when you're out of town and someone finds out you're from here -- Cubs or Sox?

To many, my answer -- "both" -- is utterly unacceptable.
For your viewing pleasure, the Chicago Sports Week In Review's 2009 NCAA Tournament Bracket Breakdown Selection Show Extravaganza:

When the hit television show 'Scrubs' found a home on ABC this season, it opened the door to cross-promotional opportunities galore. For a prime example of this, take this week's cold open for the show -- which combines two of our favorite Disney-owned entities:



[Via Awful Announcing]
carl_landry_shot.jpgHouston Rockets forward Carl Landry was shot in the lower leg early this morning after another car "bumped" his, according to the Houston Chronicle.

By all accounts, Landry's wound is relatively minor and he's expected to be back on the court in a matter of weeks.

Chron.com reports:
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NASCAR driver Kurt Busch sings "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at a 2005 Cubs game. (John Kim/Sun-Times)

In a NASCAR teleconference today in advance of this weekend's race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kurt Busch said he's "feeling better" about the Cubs chances this year.

The confessed Cub fan and driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge had this to say about the North Siders' chances this season:

"I'm definitely feeling better about years past, knowing last year we all were so let down.  I almost felt suicidal with the way the season ended.

"So now I'm looking forward maybe to winning a playoff series, whether it's NLCS, NLDS to get to the World Series.  I think we now can relax a little bit knowing they're doing the proper things to making themselves more of a challenger up there, especially in the NL Central, how many good teams there are."


Below is the full transcript from Busch's interview:
Don't call it a comeback -- at least not a comeback into the ring.
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But outside of the ring, face tattoo enthusiast Mike Tyson is steadily making his way back into the collective consciousness. A documentary film and an appearance on the cover of a new EA Sports video game are creating some buzz around Tyson, who retired from boxing in 2005 after a bizarre career that included three-year prison-induced hiatus and a much-ballyhooed ear-biting incident in 1996.

Ever wonder how a virtual version of Muhammad Ali at his prime would fare against a virtual version of Mike Tyson in his prime? That answer can finally be found in "Fight Night Round 4" on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

From BusinessWorld.com:
In the short time it took to generate some healthy buzz about a new blog from Carter Gaddis, a longtime baseball writer for the Tampa Tribune, the blog seems to have disappeared:

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0f04c06736_TomNGi_03162009.jpgAs men, we're frequently asked to go to great lengths to please our significant others. It's no surprise, then, that Patriots quarterback and knee-repair enthusiast Tom Brady followed his new wife Gisele Bundchen to Brazil recently for the birthday party of her grandfather.

The Boston Herald reports:
NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth was questioned by Miami police Saturday morning in connection with the death of a pedestrian.

Police say Stallworth has not been charged and a police source says the player was driving a black Bentley at the time of the incident. A Bentley with heavy front-end damage was towed into a police parking lot early Saturday afternoon.

Fatal wreck involving NFL player snarls traffic to the beach     (Miami Herald)
UPDATE: The Vancouver Sun reports that an autopsy was completed over the weekend in the death of former wrestling star Andrew "Test" Martin. Police have ruled out foul play, but the results of the test won't be available "for weeks."

testraise1212cz5.jpgFormer WWE wrestler Andrew "Test" Martin was found dead in his Tampa apartment Friday night, according to Tampa TV station WTSP. He was 33.

From WTSP.com:
Lord Stanley has come to Chicago. History was made last night in Wrigleyville as the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2008-09 Stanley Cup -- in my buddy's NHL '09 for Playstation 3 dynasty mode.

In an exclusive e-mail obtained by the Sports Pros(e) staff, coach Jon Redmond writes:

The Playstation 3 2009 NHL season came to an end last night with a thrilling 4 - 3 OT win in a Game 7 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.
 
I just got off the phone with Mayor Daley who is thrilled to have a championship return to Chicago.
 
I'd like to thank my two roommates, Eric and Chris for their dedication towards winning this championship.  In addition, I'd like to give a shout out to Zach for purchasing the game as my Christmas gift.  Andy, Dustin, Brad and Russ for their stellar play throughout the season.
 
It was a long and treacherous road.  Entering the playoffs as a 6th seed (45 regular season wins).  We were pushed to the brink of elimination in round 1 of the Western Conference Playoffs versus the Colorado Avalanche before we took down the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks to win the Cambell Bowl.
 
Defenseman Duncan Keith won the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the regular season and even more impressively, Keith won the Conn Smyth Trophy. 
 
Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was awarded the William M. Jennings Trophy for his great play between the pipes.
 
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get ready for my celebratory lunch with Ms. Carol Moseley Braun!!!
 
 
Coach Redmond
I know as journalists we're supposed to stay impartial when it comes to these matters, but I have to say I was pulling for Redmond all season long. I coached my club against his a few times in online gameplay, so I've witnessed, via the power of the Interweb, Jon's on-ice tenacity and devotion to the game of fake hockey.

He's a competitor through and through. He gives 110 percent every time his club suits up. And when he checks you against the boards, you'd better believe your DuoShock controller is going to rumble more vociferously than, say, when I face user name caps_fan_311. 

So let us be the first to congratulate coach Redmond and his team. And we leave you with the following photographic evidence of this momentous occasion:
We fully acknowledge here at Sports Pros(e) that our WNBA coverage to date has been, shall we say, nonexistent. But today's blog post from Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie caught our attention.

Leslie visited the White House a while back and recounts her meeting with President Obama and first lady Michelle.

Here's how she describes the scene as Obama entered:

"And there he was... OMG, I'm going to faint... He is really tall, handsome and cool; just like he looks on TV. And a little pigeon toed I might add. As he made his way to the podium, he looked at me and WAVED!!! (ok, well he couldn't miss me standing 6'5 plus heels... Don't hate, he waved at ME!)"

But it was Leslie's next sentence (and accompanying emoticon) that immediately jumped out at us:

lisa_leslie_michael_jackson.jpgNo word on whether Jesus juice was served at the event.
For the most part, athletes who Twitter are intent on avoiding controversy in the allotted 140 characters. That's why I was so excited when I read the first sentence of a recent tweet from Phoenix Suns guard and MVP enthusiast Steve Nash (@the_real_nash). And so very disappointed when I read the second. Then touched by the third ... assuming I'm included in 'everyone':

steve_nash_twitter.jpg
the-colonel.jpg

With the baseball season rapidly approaching, we're destined to hear more and more each day about the 101-year drought since the Cubs' last World Series victory and the curse that supposedly surrounds the team.

But the Cubs certainly aren't the only squad believed to be under some magical spell preventing them from reaching the promised land. And, when you compare their mystical plight to that of Japan's Hanshin Tigers, it almost seems boring.

 After all, the Cubs' problems have nothing to do with Colonel Sanders or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

A statue of the bearded fast food magnate was tossed into an Osaka river by overzealous fans after a particularly rousing 1985 victory. The rabid crowd had lifted the likeness from its base because it bore a resemblance to Tigers slugger Randy Bass. For 24 years, efforts to find the monument at the bottom of the body of water had been fruitless.

Until Tuesday.

This doesn't really count as a blog, but Syracuse and UConn are in the SIXTH overtime. The Apocalypse may be imminent. We may already be dead. Updates to come.
One of the complaints that I hear about soccer is that there is too much flopping. A lot of meat-and-potatoes fans don't think it has a place in sports -- the same ones who tune into Duke basketball with vigor. Irony alert!

In this case, however, I am going to side with the anti-flopping camp.

Brazilian midfielder Sergio Escudero shows us just how painful the linesman's nylon flag can be -- if you use your imagination.

andre_smith.jpgHe was once projected as a top-five NFL draft pick. But Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith's stock has fallen at a rate that would make many Wall Streeters do a double take.

First, he skipped an early NFL Draft combine after showing up out of shape -- a decision he now says he regrets.

Then, the plan was to wow the scouts yesterday at his Pro Day. There's video of his workout from NFL.com, but by some accounts, Smith didn't help himself.

From Profootballtalk.com:
In a society where celebrities get together, hook up, break up and get back together with reckless abandon, we were sure that this was one relationship meant to last.

We were wrong.

Levi Johnston, who this blog once identified as one of the most famous high school hockey players in the sport's history, has split with fiance Bristol Palin, daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Admittedly, the media is coming to this story pretty late in the game.

MSNBC reports (via people.com) that Bristol and Levi broke up a few weeks ago, quoting an anonymous source as saying it was mutual.

The couple has a two-month-old son together named Tripp. Johnston's father recently told People magazine that Levi is a proud father who still sees his son.

Earlier this year, Johnston quit his job in the oil fields, prompting Kyle to label him a roustabout. There's no word on what he's up to these days, or whether Johnston -- who once famously declared on his MySpace page "I live to play hockey" -- has any plans or aspirations to return to the ice.

But the situation certainly begs the question, in a world where the Bristols and Levis of the world can't stay together, is there any hope for the rest of us?
aaron_heilman_cubs_mets.jpgJesse Spector of the New York Daily News today did what so many sports writers love to do -- the profile of your team's former player who moved on to (possibly) greener pastures.

At first, I found it odd that the Daily would choose new Cub Aaron Heilman as the subject of such a profile -- he seems relatively harmless.

Not so much.

It appears Heilman, much like the polarizing ex-Bears QB Rex Grossman, was frequently the object of boo-birds' lack of affection at Shea Stadium.

Heilman is currently busy in Arizona making his case to be the Cubs' fifth starter. He's got plenty of competition between Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija
david_price_rays_bulls.jpgIt's quite possible Tampa Bay Rays pitcher and last year's ALCS game 7 hero David Price is the best No. 5 pitcher in Major League Baseball. It's possible that on any other team he would be the No. 2 or 3 option. So why is it probable that he could start the 2009 season in a Durham Bulls uniform?

The answer to that question begins with a series of mildly complicated algorithms. It ends with Price joining the Rays sometime later in the season to help in the stretch and, ahem, their return to the playoffs.

For you Chicago fans who may be a bit perplexed at the moment, this is the anti-Cubs-in-the-early-2000s approach to bringing up young pitchers.

John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times reports:

Blog devotees may know that when we're not blogging about Kyle Orton's Prius or Mike Hall's twitter account, we work on a little show/hobby called the Chicago Sports Week in Review. And as you can tell from our last episode, it's an acquired taste.

At least that's what the people at NBC seemed to think. Video of the post-meeting meltdown and a Paula Faris cameo after the jump.
kfc460.jpgWith the baseball season rapidly approaching, we're doomed to hear more and more each day about the 101-year drought since the Cubs' last World Series victory and the curse that supposedly surrounds the team.

But the Cubs certainly aren't the only squad believed to be under some magical spell preventing them from reaching the promised land. And, when you compare their mystical plight to that of the Hanshin Tigers, it almost seems boring

After all, the Cubs' problems have nothing to do with Colonel Sanders.
A couple days ago, the Houston Chronicle published on its Sports Update blog the Nielsen ratings results for a variety of sporting events in several markets. There were a few surprises (Orlando has the highest average placement for major national sporting events), but there were also plenty of no-brainers.

This includes the television ratings numbers that quantify how much more popular the Cubs are than the White Sox in this market:
nielson_ratings_cubs_sox.jpg
Last month, we identified Florida Panthers play-by-play man Randy Moller as our new favorite announcer. He's the one who artfully combines the famous movie line with the scoring of a goal by a Panthers player.

Someone in Florida deserves a hearty thanks because they've released a part two of Randy Moller's Greatest Hits Mix Tape on YouTube for our listening pleasure:


Hall.Mike_twitter.jpgHere at Sports Pros(e) we welcome and encourage people who aren't Kevin and Kyle to weigh in on the sporting issues of the day. This week, we welcome Mike Hall, winner of season one of ESPN Dream Job, and current anchor for the Big Ten Network. 'Tis the season for college basketball, and Mike knows a thing or two about the process. In his open letter below, he compares the controversial football BCS and NCAA basketball tournament. When he's not on-air or furiously punching out posts for Sports Pros(e), you can find Mike on Twitter. Also, his blog is a must-read for any Big Ten sports fan. Mike writes:

Dear Kevin, Kyle, and all other sports fans,

My name is Mike Hall and I'm here to recruit you. Drink a glass of my sports milk, if you would... and tell me where I'm crazy. With less than a week until Selection Sunday I'd like to compare the NCAA Tournament to the BCS... in hopes of proving that the BCS really isn't Satan's greatest success afterall.

I happen to be one of the rare sports fans who actually loves the BCS. You never hear our side of the story because people never seem to have those of us in the sports media who enjoy the BCS (my BTN partner Dave Revsine, Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, ESPN's John Saunders, CBS' Dennis Dodd, etc) involved in forums to discuss the topic.

Now there are a bevy of reasons I have as to why the BCS is fine, if not very good. But instead of taking up space by going into detail on things like the if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it TV ratings and attendance figures, the amazing intensity and importance of the regular season, the stupidity of comparing it to Division II football's playoff, the stupidity of comparing it to the NFL's playoff, and more ... I'll instead throw out there 3 points:
This week's ChiSports Week In Review takes a look at the Bulls' insistence on winning, the Cubs/Sox spring training show down and Kyle Orton's driving habits. Plus, Kevin takes Brit's good idea and epically ruins it:


chicago-sports-teams.jpgThe good people over at Bizjournals have painstakingly analyzed the performances of all 122 teams in the four major professional leagues -- using a complex algorithm we have no intention of ever understanding. You can check out the findings here.

All four of Chicago's franchises are in the top half of the rankings, the Cubs topping the quartet at No. 8.

  • Cubs are No. 8
  • Blackhawks are No. 23
  • White Sox are No. 43
  • Bulls are No. 45
The Boston Celtics are No. 1 and -- to the surprise of absolutely no one -- The Detroit Lions are dead last.

Celtics rank as best in pro sports, Lions come in last     (Bizjournals)
The good news for Mike Karney is that he's getting married today. The bad news is that he no longer plays for the New Orleans Saints.

The 27-year-old fullback got the news on the way to his rehearsal dinner Thursday night. And judging from this quote, it doesn't seem like he's going to let it affect his special day:
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(Image from Yahoo Sports)

You've probably come across that certain doomed couple who, for myriad reasons, just really shouldn't be together. And yet, they insist. Well, apparently a version of that couple manifested in the pairing of San Diego Padres right fielder Brian Giles and ex-girlfriend Cheri Olvera.

Giles underwent anger management treatment last year so a judge would dismiss a misdemeanor domestic violence charge stemming from a 2006 incident in which Giles punched Olvera on the back of the neck and side of her face.

But that's only where the drama begins.
tonya-harding-barack-obama.jpgThere are a certain permutations of keywords that really raise your eyebrows. The grouping of "Tonya Harding," "Barack Obama," and "Finger-Pointing" lets you know that the following video is going to be worth your time.

Harding, as if there's any way you could forget, was the figure skater who conspired to attack Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 Winter Olympics. Since then, her life has turned into something perfectly suited for a VH1 reality show -- replete with a sex tape and appearance on Fox's "Celebrity Boxing" against Paula Jones.
kansas-city.jpgA county executive in Kansas City is worried that one of the Midwest's finest cities could lose its two professional sports teams because of the city's budget proposal.

"Thursday, Mayor Mark Funkhouser put forward his plan, which includes eliminating nearly $2 million the city gives each year to the Truman Sports Complex.

"This came with no notice to us. We were unaware that this was even going to be an issue," Sanders said in a KMBZ radio interview. "The money would be the violation. But the fact that we would have violated a substantive provision would mean those leases are now gone ... We would be on a tightrope or a high wire with no safety net."

Sanders said if the city pulls its $2 million annual contribution, it would break the lease and leave the city with no written guarantee keeping the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City for the long term.
Neither the Royals or Chiefs had any comment.

Sanders Worried About Losing Chiefs, Royals     (KMBC)


The Associated Press, not usually known for its flair for the dramatic, went with this lede on its story about the pending auction of Michael Vick's Duluth, Ga. home: "For sale: the remains of an American success story gone horribly wrong."

Well, that's one way to put it.

Vick was supposed to serve part of his remaining sentence in a halfway house, but due to lack of space will be allowed to return to his home in Hampton, Va. as early as May 21.
The Brewers may not have CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets to torment the NL Central this season, but their fans will have something to celebrate that Cubs fans certainly won't: A dollar menu.

Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the Brew Crew is planning to open a concession stand in Miller Park specifically for those fans who enjoy the tradition of consuming food at baseball games, but dislike paying $5 for encased meat in these tough economic times.

From Walker's aptly named Brewers Blog:
alex-rod.jpgAlex Rodriguez, who has been at the epicenter of a media hurricane since word of his performance-enhancing drug use surfaced, now has a torn labrum in his right hip that may require surgery.

Such a surgery would cause the Yankees slugger to miss around four months, so for the moment, he's hoping a steady diet of rest and treatment help him avoid needing such a procedure.

And, despite knowing the firestorm of backlash and criticism this is sure to invite, I hope Rodriguez is able to get back on the field as quickly as possible. Why? Because I am fed up with people rooting for athletes to fail and cheering injuries.
fanhouse.jpg Seems like a pretty personal decision, but ... sure?
tom-brady-entourage copy.jpgYou're probably sitting there thinking that you just aren't getting enough Tom Brady in your life. You're certainly not getting as much as you deserve. It just doesn't seem fair.

Well, the producers of Entourage are going to address your needs by allowing the newly married quarterback to star in an episode of the show next season.
kyle-orton-cereal.jpgBears quarterback and beard enthusiast Kyle Orton was nice enough sit down with the kids of Goodrell Middle School in Des Monies, Iowa for the day's most important meal when he participated in the "Take a Player to School Breakfast" contest on Tuesday.

And the game manager admitted that the economic recession has touched even the highest strata of society: NFL quarterbacks.
News sites, including our own, are blowing up with do-you-want-Terrell-on-your-team questions. Adam Caplan of Scout.com is reporting the teams most likely to sign him are the Bills, Bears, Jets, Raiders and Redskins.

You can already rule out the Jets and Redskins though:

The Jets don't want him: T.O. to the Jets? NO

The Redskins aren't interested: Skins say no to T.O. speculation

So, who does want him? Here's some more chatter from around the league:
Chicago may not have invented the outdoor-hockey-in-classic-sports-venue event, but one could argue it sure perfected it with the year's Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

The trend is catching on, and spreading back to the college ranks.

University of Michigan will take on Michigan State Dec. 11, 2010 at Michigan "The Big House" Stadium.

The Wolverines will also play outdoors against Wisconsin Feb. 6, 2010.

University officials are hoping the game can break some attendance records.

From the Detroit Free Press:
In the latest video blog entry from Chris Bosh, the Toronto Raptors center fails to directly address the assertion from Shaquille O'Neal that he is the "RuPaul of big men."

He did, however, offer this ambiguous statement:

"Why would i say anything negative about anybody? I like everybody."

He also urges his viewers several times to remember to set their clocks forward next week for Daylight Savings Time, and cryptically mentions that March is a big month for him, "for its own reasons."

So, here you go. Social media at its finest:
terrell_owens.jpgWell, it looks like the Terrell Owens era is over in Dallas.

The wildly talented and always controversial wide receiver was released by the Cowboys, according to several media outlets.

Owens' long history of drama obviously has a lot to do with the move -- one that leaves the 35-year-old pass catcher searching for a new team.
Last May, the sports world shared a bit of a chuckle when minor league pitcher John C. Odom was traded in exchange for 10 maple baseball bats.

"People are like, 'I'd kill myself' and stuff," Odom said at the time, seemingly brushing off the unorthodox trade.

But three weeks after the trade, the pitcher left his team. And, six months later, he was dead.
Even the casual fan knows that professional sports franchises have not been immune to the lackluster state of the economy.

The Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars are among the teams that have laid off staff members. Even the NFL itself has announced staff reductions, and commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a pay cut.

The Washington Redskins, who laid off 20 of its rank-and-file employees earlier this year, have come under fire from Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins. She weighs in today about the Redskins' signing of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth last week to the tune of $100 million over seven years as others in the organization have lost their jobs:
suarez_patcheerleaders001_M__1235847323_2251.jpg
(Image from Boston.com)

Die-hard Bears fans will recall a day when the team's cheerleaders -- the Honey Bears -- roamed the sidelines at Soldier Field.

It was just before Super Bowl XX that the decision was handed down that after 10 illustrious years that the Honey Bears would be no more.

Sure, we still have the Luvabulls, the scantily clad gals who shovel errant ice chips at Blackhawks games and the Hot Rox Dancers -- who have actually outlasted the Chicago Shamrox, for whom they previously cheered.

But there's something about football cheerleaders that just makes sense -- and the lackthereof in Chicago that doesn't.

For proof of this, we take you to Boston, where tryouts were recently held to become Patriots cheerleaders.
Cricket_Top.jpgSad news this morning as a dozen gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan national cricket team and its police escort. Six officers and two bystanders were killed in the attack.

"The attackers ambushed a bus carrying the cricket team, using assault rifles, grenades and anti-tank missiles. Some Pakistani officials likened the audacity of the assault to the attacks in Mumbai, India, in November.
As you can see from the following video, this was a detailed attack by organized militants.
Alex Rodriguez has certainly made some interesting choices lately.

First, he dealt with the media firestorm surrounding his positive test for performance-enhancing substances. Then, he let the cousin who allegedly injected him with said substances pick him and Nick Swisher up from a spring training game.

But, perhaps most strange his who he turned to for career advice: Katie Couric.
Much to the chagrin of my father and other so-called blue collar American sports fans, I've developed a sort of affinity toward soccer in recent years. For that, I make no apologies.

So here's a unbelievably brilliant goal by Palermo's Giuseppe "Beppe" Mascara



Ahhh, the beautiful game.

If nothing else, Sun-Times editor Paul Saltzman will enjoy this.
vma-1993-rupaul.jpgNever one to give an uninteresting quote, Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal likened the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh to America's most famous drag queen.

In responding to comments that Shaq had benefited from the officials not calling three seconds on him, O'Neal had this to say:

"I heard what Chris Bosh said, and that's strong words coming from the RuPaul of big men," O'Neal said. "I'm going to do the same thing (in their next meeting) I did before - make him quit. Make 'em quit and complain. It's what I do."
When you think Digger Phelps, you probably think "former coach" or "ESPN analyst" or even "color-coordinated highlighters and ties." But perhaps you should be thinking "dancing machine."

This video -- taken before Saturday's UCLA-Cal game -- illustrates that Jamie Moyer's father-in-law definitely has some unique moves.
guys-and-izzo.jpgThe moment we noticed it, we knew it was going to be trouble. It was one of those devastating omens, one that sets forth a chain reaction of nausea, intense anxiety and unbridled pessimism.

It was March 2, 2004 and the alongside the rest of my Michigan State brethren, I was in the sixth row behind the north goal of the Jack Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, Mich. Our beloved Spartans were hosting Devin Harris, Bo Ryan and the hated Wisconsin Badgers. A win would clinch a regular-season Big Ten title for the Spartans.

We were excited. We were going to rush the floor after the game and celebrate as an unified student body. How sweet it would be to clinch against the team we disliked the most at the time.

My best friend Noel spotted it first. There, high above our heads in the rafters was a rolled up banner. It was alongside national championship banners and the numbers of Magic Johnson and Scott Skiles.

And it was the worst thing we'd ever seen.
ryan-mallett-arrested.jpgPeople around these parts might remember Ryan Mallett as the quarterback who left the University of Michigan after the 2007 season to explore greener pastures with the Arkansas.

Michigan endured a 3-9 season in 2008 while Mallett sat out, waiting his chance to pilot the Razorbacks. But, now Mallett has some trouble of his own to bounce back from after being arrested for public intoxication outside of a nightspot near campus.
curt_schilling.jpgBloody sock and blogging enthusiast Curt Schilling seems pretty keen on the idea of pitching for the Cubs. The 42-year-old pitcher told the Orlando Sentinel that the chance of breaking a 101-year title drought could lure him back to the mound for one season.

Schilling, who missed the 2008 season with a shoulder injury, indicated he wants to go to a contender.