Chicago Sun-Times
A hearty stew of offbeat sports and pop culture.

August 2009 Archives

Before Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre's return to "Monday Night Football," we heard that he believed he had a cracked rib and that taking a deep breath brought on a feeling of discomfort.

Apparently, this condition didn't stop him from delivering a pretty nasty crackback block on Texans' safety Eugene Wilson -- a penalty-inducing move that left Wilson clutching his leg after the play and the crowd booing.

The broadcast team, speaking for many fans who don't want to see players sustain senseless career-ending injuries in preseason games, chastised Favre for the move.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen said on his Twitter that the veteran's block out the Wildcat formation made all NFL quarterbacks split out in formation targets for abuse.

You guys fired up about the guy who didn't want to go through training camp toying with the career's of others, or was this penalty blown out of proportion?
Thumbnail image for erin-andrews-wrigley-field.JPGESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews will appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Sept. 11 to discuss the incident where she was filmed nude in her hotel room by a hidden camera, according to a report published by Sports Illustrated.

Andrews, who has not appeared publicly since the July 19 ESPY Awards, was in town last week to film the segment.

Andrews is scheduled to return to the sideline Thursday when South Carolina kicks off its college football season against North Carolina State.

Andrews is seeking criminal charges against those responsible for filming the video and those  who posted it online.

Andrews to be on Oprah's Show [Sports Illustrated]
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and Philadelphia Eagles utility man Michael Vick have both returned to the NFL with a great deal of public scrutiny lately, but that hasn't stopped their jerseys from becoming two of the top-sellers this summer.

Only Favre's purple-and-gold No. 4 has outsold the brilliant No. 6 of Chicago's own Jay Cutler, while Vick's No. 7 ranks fourth on the list of most popular textile tributes. Considering that Vick has only been an Eagle for about two weeks, one can imagine the blistering pace that these things must be flying off the shelf.

So Chicago, are we going to stand for that gray-bearded division pest to the north to show up our newly found pass-throwing Messiah, or are you going to get out there and buy every Cutler jersey you can get your paws on?
Mets Cubs Baseball_Mill.jpgWith the Cubs' lackluster 2009 campaign spiraling into absurdity, it's fair to wonder why 39,907 people still showed up to watch the coldest August Cubs game in team history. I wondered it myself as I sat shivering in the press box.

There was nothing to celebrate on the field. No one got to sing "Go Cubs Go" at the end of the game. The team's only run came in the first inning and they lost, pathetically, to one of the most miserable teams in professional sports, the Mets.

But in the moments after the fans had cleared the stadium, I was reminded exactly why the fans still insist upon showing up in droves. 

As a family was getting a tour of the press box, a little girl -- couldn't have been older than six -- found herself in Bob Brenly and Len Kasper's broadcast booth. She did what came naturally: She belted "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" with all her might. It was delightfully off-key and more yelled than sung, like kids are wont to do in those situations. Few, if any, heard her; but she didn't care. She knew -- probably from watching the broadcasts -- that when you're in the booth, you sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

It's what any logical Cubs fan would do, and arguably the best thing that happened on this day at the corner of Clark and Addison.

The first time my father brought me to Wrigley Field I was four years old. We sat in the left field bleachers. Gary Matthews was mere feet from me and he was huge. Coincidentally, the Mets beat the Cubs that day 4-1. Dwight Gooden pitched. Jim Frey was ejected. Jody Davis, my favorite player at the time, hit a homer for the Cubs' only run. I was hooked.

Since 2003, the mentality of Cub fandom has shifted somehow. Having come so close to the World Series that year, fans now expect a winner, and management has shelled out the money to make it happen. For the last two years, the regular season has ended with the streets blocked off and hordes of people wandering Wrigleyville drunk on a mixture of beer, and hope. But mostly beer.

Barring a minor miracle, it's not gonna happen this year.

In the subsequent seasons after my first game at Wrigley, the Cubs weren't exactly putting together winning teams. With the exception of 1989 and 1998, my childhood and adolescence was spent cheering for a group of lovable losers. I didn't mind. I was always amazed and proud of the fact that even though the team's bats were empty, the seats were full.

Despite a few chunks of empty seats that played like pock marks on the Friendly Confines Sunday, the stadium was still more than 95 percent full. Fans were still into it. After Saturday's 11-run outburst, there was a sense that maybe if the team could get hot the wild card wasn't too far out of reach. Those hopes were dashed with each of the 11 hits Carlos Zambrano gave  up in his 3 1/3 innings of work. 

It's time for Cub fans to return to their roots. It's time for them to embrace the losing and do what we do best: have a damn good time doing it.
It's time to stop bemoaning the fact that the team failed to live up to some lofty expectations. It's time to forget the fact that as a group they haven't earned their payroll -- the third highest in the league.

It's time to appreciate baseball for what it is on the North Side. Soon, it'll be gone and the old mantra, "Wait 'til next year," will creep into our collective consciousness.

If you live in Chicago, there will be a day in January or February -- as freezing rain becomes an icy sidewalk and we haven't seen the sun in weeks -- that a Cubs loss on an unseasonably cool day in August doesn't seem all that bad. In fact, it'll seem like paradise.

Something, perhaps, that only a six-year-old songstress could truly appreciate in the moment.
083109bear.JPGWell, that went well.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's much-anticipated return to Denver featured a lot of boos, animosity and a steady performance by the 26-year-old signal-caller.

Cutler was efficient, connecting on 15 of his 21 throws for 144 yards and a touchdown before exiting the game with a 17-3 lead at halftime.

He made a terrific throw on a 3rd-and-inches situation in the first quarter, connecting with tight end Desmond Clark on a 25-yard play to set up a Robbie Gould field goal.

In the second quarter, Cutler completed a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Earl Bennett on 3rd-and-8 from inside his own red zone and hit tight end Greg Olsen on a slant for 20 yards. On the same drive, he hooked up with Olsen for another 14-yard gain with Cutler scrambling to his right.

The possession -- which began on the Bears' 2-yard line and spanned 12 plays -- ended with Cutler finding Matt Forte for a 7-yard touchdown pass.

Broncos fans continued to make their displeasure with the Santa Claus, Ind. native known by booing Cutler on virtually every play -- even handoffs to running back Matt Forte.

Former Bears quarterback Kyle Orton completed 12 passes on 16 attempts for 96 yards before leaving the game with a bloody finger on his throwing hand.

Scanning for something to watch after the Little League World Series Consolation Game (boy, that's one of the more depressing sentences ever), I stumbled on this feature 'SportsCenter' aired on White Sox catcher and controversy enthusiast A.J. Pierzynski.

It literally had no context or peg, they just threw it out there. It was weird. It really seemed to cite incidents that were three and four years old. It made me feel a little confused about what was going on.

The important thing is that it filled about three idle minutes.

Anyway, here's something for you White Sox fans to watch, because this whole East Coast swing just hasn't been too fun.

Sad news tonight as we get word that a 20-year-old man killed his baby daughter and then attempted to take his own life in the parking lot outside U.S. Steel Yard in Gary.

Cordell Richardson is expected to survive after turning the gun on himself outside the home of the Gary RailCats. The game went on as scheduled as fans eyeballed the crime scene while entering the stadium.

A Gary Police spokeswoman said that the murder had nothing to do with the team.

Father kills daughter, then turns gun on himself     (Post-Tribune)
nicole-branagh.jpgWith last year's beach volleyball gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh sitting out this AVP season, it carved the path for another team to step in and dominate on the women's side. Enter Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh.

The duo made headlines last year when they put an end to Walsh/May-Treanor's record-smashing 112-match win streak last summer. 

With the AVP juggernaut out of the picture, Branagh and Youngs have won eight of this season's 12 tournaments, amassing $266,000 in prize money. They're in Chicago this week where they'll go for yet  another win at Oak Street and North Avenue beaches.

While Treanor is still nursing the Achilles tendon she ruptured while dancing with the stars, Walsh makes her return to the AVP after having a baby. She'll be matched up with 2008 bronze medalist Holly McPeak -- and will likely present the toughest barrier to a Branagh/Youngs victory in Chicago. 

We caught up with Branagh after a stroll down Michigan Avenue to find out what to expect from this year's team to beat: 
NBA 2K10 Draft Combine -- Derrick Rose.jpgIt may be an understatement to say it's been a busy summer for Bulls guard Derrick Rose. In the midst of controversy, the 2009 NBA Rookie of the Year is looking to avoid a sophomore slump by waking up early every morning to hit the gym.

The negative press surrounding Rose didn't stop 2K Sports from making him the face of their new lead-up demo to the NBA 2K10 video game -- "NBA 2K10 Draft Combine."

With "Draft Combine" you experience the same thing the players do as they get ready to make the transition from college to the pros -- from the scrimmages to the drills, workouts and game situations.  

And while it's not the cover of the main game (that honor went to Kobe Bryant) it still has to be encouraging for Rose to see companies looking to him to represent their product.

We caught up with Rose recently to ask him a few questions about "Draft Combine" and what he's been up to:

Danica Patrick gets it.

The IndyCar driver and Roscoe, Ill., native understands that as one of the circuit's biggest names and arguably the most visible woman in sports, she's going to encounter people hung up on what makes her stand out.

But she's encouraged to see that her success on the track is garnering bigger headlines these days than those solely about her looks.

Thumbnail image for derek-jeter-gordon-beckham.JPGJCPenney Spring Fahion Show.jpgIn middle-school lunch gossip news, the always reputable Page Six of the New York Post is reporting that All-American golden boy Derek Jeter and "Friday Night Lights" actress Minka Kelly are secretly engaged.

ARE Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly ready to take the next step? "Derek and Minka are secretly engaged," an insider told Page Six. The Yankee captain and the actress are telling close pals to "save the date" for nuptials in the fall. "The wedding is being planned and will take place after baseball season is over," said our source. A rep for Kelly said, "There is no fall wedding planned to Derek Jeter." Remember -- Kelly also denied they were dating when we spotted her with Jeter at the Empire Hotel last year.
For the six of you who don't know, Jeter has been connected to almost all of the world's beautiful women during his career. I don't know what it is about him ... something about playing shortstop for the Yankees or something.
Todd-rogers-avp.jpgAs the AVP invades Chicago Elm Street and North Avenue beaches this weekend, the team to beat on the men's side is -- as it has been all season -- Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser.

The team has won more tournaments than any other this season (7) and has nearly doubled the earnings of their nearest competitors.

A gold medalist at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the 35-year-old Rogers took a moment to talk about this weekend's tournament and his recent appearance on "Shaq Vs." He also addressed whether we can expect to see him in the sand in 2010 -- and 2011 for that matter.

You can say what you want about Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson - and pretty much every angle has been covered. He's talented, mercurial, off-putting, arrogant, annoying, selfish, entertaining ... blah blah blah.

Been covered.

But this is actually pretty cool of him, even if there is, of course, a huge self-centered aspect to it. See, Ocho Cinco has turned himself into quite the lifecaster. Using Twitter, Facebook, Ustream video broadcasting and other measures, he puts himself on display as much as possible, using the various platforms to chat with fans and get himself spread across the Internet.

And it's the Twitter aspect that comes into play here.

Johnson has expressed interest in live tweeting during games for the Cincinnati Bengals, a notion the NFL has flatly ruled out. So instead, he's devised a contest for his Twitter followers where he'll fly one fan to each home game - don't count on any playoffs, people, this is the Bengals - to be his designated Twitter stenographer. Through a series of hand signals, Johnson will get his message out - or try to - and give a fan a chance to see the game up close and personal.

And, of course, he promises some end zone shenanigans, which is no surprise coming from one of the more innovative touchdown celebrators in the league.

Is this much ado about nothing? Yeah. But really it's just a bit of subversive fun at the end of the day. And, of course, if it bothers you ... don't follow and you won't be harmed.

How Chad Ochocinco plans to tweet during NFL games (Mashable)

Thumbnail image for Pitino Extortion Bask_Newm-2.jpgLouisville basketball coach Rick Pitino lashed out at the media this afternoon at a press conference this afternoon, accusing them of reporting lies.

Recently, Pitino has been embroiled in a legal controversy after Karen Sypher was charged with trying to extort millions from him after the two had a sexual encounter six years ago. He called the conference after a local television station aired footage of Sypher's testimony to police about the night of the incident.

"I am a little upset," Pitino said. "This is a day I went home to comfort my wife, who obviously you would imagine the last seven months has had a difficult time.

".. . It's a pretty sad day. On a day when Ted Kennedy died, we broke into news here in Louisville with Karen Sypher tapes."

Pitino lashes out at media for reporting 'lies'     (USA Today)
Thumbnail image for cubs-milton-bradley-chicago.jpgDespite going 4-for-4 in last night's loss to the Washington Nationals, Cubs right fielder Milton Bradley is grabbing headlines for a different reason this morning.

His mouth.

First, he spoke about how uncomfortable he is playing at Wrigley Field due to the pressure and ill-will shown towards him from the home crowd.

"It's hard to be comfortable when you don't get a hit and get booed every time," he said. "When I go home and look in the mirror, I like what I see. My family is there I have people I can talk to who are very supportive, in spite of everything and all the adversity and the hatred you face on a daily basis. But I'll be alright. I always have."
Then there's this, from ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell:

His four-minute session with the media started off this way:

Q: Obviously not the type of beginning you felt you were gonna have here on the homestand:

MB: "No, we got a Rodney King beatdown tonight."

After a few seconds of awkwardness, Bradley responded, "What's up, what do ya'll got next, something else?"

What do you have for everyone's favorite offseason acquisition, Cub fans?

Stumbled upon this footage of the best soccer game ever played, a spirited contest which ends in somebody getting kicked in the face on the way off the field. Not real sure what the deal is, but here's the handy Google translation of the summary, just to further cloud the moment:

Defender Sergio Jauregui, Blooming, we applied a flying kick disqualifying Uruguayan striker Leonardo Medina in the classic to the East Petroleum. The former Hurricane is horpitalizado.

So there you have it. But crazy Central American ninja players aside, seeing footage like this reminds me of maybe the most classic karate kick sporting moment of all video time: the Flying Izzy Alcantara.

Alcantara was a cup-of-coffee slugging outfielder for the Boston Red Sox around the turn of the century - this one, that is - who spent his fair share of time with the Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox. (Fun fact: Alcantara hit his first Major League homer against pre-juicing White Sox hurler Jim Parque in Chicago in 2000).

A prototypical quadruple-A player, Alcantara lost his shot at playing in the minor league all-star game in 2001 after this spectacularly nutty moment against Scranton Wilkes-Barre:

So remember, kids, keep the karate in the Cobra Kai dojo and off the diamond and field.

michael-vick-eagles-jaguars.JPGThe Eagles may not know exactly how they'll use backup quarterback Michael Vick, but judging by the coaching decisions of fellow Madden 10 online gamers, we're pretty sure you've got some ideas.

Michael Vick will make his preseason debut Thursday when the Eagles play the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's expected to play at some point with the first-team offense, but get this: Donovan McNabb will be the Eagles' quarterback for the first three quarters before Kevin Kolb takes over for the fourth.

So where does this leave the 29-year-old phenom-turned-felon? What will his role be in the Eagles offense?

Play the part of Andy Reid in this absurdist piece of theater and tell us how you would use Michael Vick in your Eagles offense.

fiugoldenpanthers.JPGIsiah Thomas' coaching career at basketball powerhouse Florida International University is off to a dramatic start. Thomas, who had a -- uh -- less than successful run with the New York Knicks, was inked to a five-year deal by the university in April.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, how about a whole bunch of confusion, grumbling and rumbling over the opponent for the first game of the season.

Earlier today, the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels relased their season schedule, which featured an opener against FIU. The game would be part of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament and would most likely be over by halftime.

The only problem, FIU already sent out notice that they'd be opening their season against Ohio State.
The Miami Dolphins, whose Wildcat offense and young quarterback Pat White are an integral  part of Kevin's Madden offensive strategy, have added more celebrities to their ownership structure. The tennis-playing Williams sisters have joined musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Marc Anthony as part owners of the AFC East franchise. Venus and Serena live about an hour away from the stadium.

Bolivia's answer to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry was taken to another level last weekend when things got ugly at the Oriente Petrolero-Blooming futbol match.

Oriente's -- enraged after taking an elbow to the dome -- sent a vicious flying ninja kick to Leonardo Medina's head. Medina fell to the ground unconscious and subsiquently sent to 12 days of bed rest. Jauregui did what most ninjas do after delivering a flying kick in front of a full stadium: he went into hiding.
brandon-inge-tattoos.jpgDetroit Tigers third baseman and Web Gem enthusiast Brandon Inge sported a drastic new look last night when television cameras captured two enormous tattoos on his once-barren forearms during his at-bats.

While an online debate as to the authenticity of the ink (many believed they were fake) raged on, Tigers beat reporter Steve Kornacki went right to the source.

Inge had the under side of both forearms tattooed with the names of his young sons while the Tigers stayed in San Francisco over the weekend to play the Oakland A's.

He has Chase on his left arm, and Tyler on his right arm.

"This guy does tattoos for a lot of major league players and drew them up for me the last time we were in town," Inge said. "He said to sit on it and think about it, and I just loved it the more I looked at it. It's a real unique cursive style.

"My wife loves it, and it's for my two boys. I'm very happy about it. The stereotype about tattoos drives me nuts, but don't judge me by this. These are very special to me."

Pretty heavy work to have done in a 27-hour span between ball games, but then again, Inge suffered through 119 losses in 2003. After that, everything else is a cakewalk.

*Nice work on the screen-grab by Detroit4Lfye. 

Let's keep the Brett Favre/goat imagery to the field and out of the trunk.

You're a good Minnesota Vikings fan, ready to do whatever you can to make a statement about Brett Favre hitting town as your team's new starting quarterback. You have lots of options:
1) Buy a jersey;
2) Get a Vikings inflatable chair for the bar in your wood-paneled basement;
3) Buy some Wrangley jeans and grow a nasty beard
4) Paint a goat purple and gold, carve a "4" into it and keep it in your car trunk on the way to slaughter it later.
OK, what do you choose?
If you're at least one Winona, MN., resident, the goat wins it. At least that's what the Winona Daily News reports, offering these unusual details - though no name on the woman:

A woman on her way to St. Paul really got the goat of auto repairman James Prusci. She went to Tires Plus in Winona Friday, wanting a belt replaced on her Chevy Malibu. While he was doing paperwork, she said she had a goat in her trunk. "A what?" he asked. She told him she planned to butcher it.

It was painted Minnesota Viking colors _ purple and gold _ with Brett Favre's No. 4 shaved on its side. Favre made his Vikings debut Friday in a preseason game.

Prusci called animal control, which took the goat to a local vet. He was renamed Brett and placed in foster care.

Why the goat? Some sort of sacrifice? Just dinner? Maybe she found out Purple People Eaters was just a nickname and went with the next best option. Who knows? It just kinda fits in with the Favre Theater that has been the 2009 NFL pre-season, though.

And it's an image Bears fans are praying to see this season: Favre the goat.

numbers.jpgBefore the word "blog" entered into our lexicon, our inner nerd was limited to writing our geeky thoughts on pieces of blue-lined notebook paper. Simpler times, indeed.

For a sports-crazy American boy growing up the Heartland with an equally sports-savvy brother close in age, one of the ways to pass summer days was to make charts, graphs and lists of complete minutiae.

Whether it was a compilation of the best lineup one could assemble if everyone on the team had to have a surname beginning with "Q" or a hypothetical basketball team comprised only of dinosaurs, we'd painstakingly debate back and forth. How else were we to make use of our Jamie Quirk and stegosaurus knowledge?

Well, over at Rumors and Rants, it seems they haven't grown out of this childlike wonder. I present to you, their comprehensive list of the best athletes in sports currently wearing each uniform number.

Seriously, they did this.

Chicago boasts three players on the list:

#38 Carlos Zambrano
#54 Brian Urlacher
#91 Tommie Harris

We here at Sports Pros(e) salute this seemingly pointless exercise, if only to remember a more care-free time.
thunder-collins-murder.jpgFormer Nebraksa running back and onomatopoeia enthusiast Thunder Collins has been convicted of first-degree murder in connection with a September 2008 shooting that left one man dead and another seriously wounded.

Collins now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

To say he didn't take the news well would be an understatement.

As Collins left the courtroom, he yelled at the jury of six men and six women, "Are you happy? Are you happy? You know I didn't kill anyone!"

The former Cornhusker was a highly touted junior college transfer that never lived up to his billing while playing for the red and white from 2000-2002.
lou-holtz.jpgESPN college football analyst and pep-talk enthusiast Lou Holtz thinks that Notre Dame will play in the BCS title game.

Admittedly, this is a little old, but its ridiculousness gives it a pretty long shelf life.

Now, Holtz's love for the Irish is pretty transparent and golden-helmeted ones have a pretty easy schedule. But after going a combined 10-15 over the past two years, does anyone really believe that they are going to be playing for a national title come January?

Well, besides Holtz, who cracked these eggs of wisdom:

"I personally believe, if you ask me, 'Who's going to play in the national championship game?' I'd say it's going to be Florida and the University of Notre Dame," Holtz says. "They return 11 starters on offense. They return all three running backs, the two best wide receivers, they have a great defense coming back."
michael-beasley-pot-rehab.jpgMiami Heat forward Michael Beasley has checked into rehab, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. Sources are saying that the team encouraged the former Kansas State star to seek help for possible psychological and substance-abuse problems.

On Friday afternoon, Beasley had a very public meltdown via Twitter in which some of the following quotes were attributed to his account.

"Y do I feel like the whole world is against me...I can't win for losin," Beasley wrote.

"Feelin like it's not worth livin!!!!!!! I'm done."

Beasley's frustration had been born out of a posed Internet photo on his personal Twitter page. In the photo, Beasley showed off on his back while two plastic baggies could be seen on a table in the background. Some people have speculated on the bags' contents, even though the clarity of the photo makes it difficult to determine. After the photo became a fast-moving Internet story, Beasley posted the messages on his Twitter account before the page was shut down on Saturday night.

Speculation was fueled further by the fact that Beasley was fined $50,000 by the NBA for being in a room where marijuana was found during last year's rookie symposium.

A baseball event even more rare than the much ballyhooed perfect game tossed by White Sox' Mark Buehrle happened today.

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Eric Bruntlett turned just the 15th unassisted triple play in history to close out a 5-4 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field. With the runners on first and second stealing, Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur smoked a line drive up the middle that Bruntlett was able to snag. He then stepped on the bag at second and tagged the runner from first to end the game.

dereklee.jpgWhen your team gets one-hit while trying to claw back into the playoff hunt, the most one can hope for is to look cool doing it.

Sadly, the Cubs can't even say that after Friday night's lackluster effort against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Adding fashion faux pas to injury was first baseman Derrek Lee, who had a little trouble with his helmet logo.

In today's game, the Cubs still haven't mustered a run, but at least they look sharp.

Has it gotten this bad?

The powers-that-be would have us believe that the NFL preseason is a necessary evil, a chance for players to hone their skill sets and practice the things they're paid handsomely to perform on Sundays.

They'd have us think that adjusting to the game speed and learning the intricacies of their specific position is why we're watching games that essentially mean as much as the co-ed intramural matches going on at Lincoln Park.

But then things like Chad Ochocinco kicking an extra point happen and we realize we can't wait for the regular season.

After Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Travis Henry pulled in a 24-yard touchdown pass tonight, celebration and tweeting enthusiast Ochocinco (is it just "Cinco" on second reference ... my AP Stylebook never prepared me for this) trotted out to boot the point after.

He got the job done in the form of a rocket right through the uprights and minimal histrionics. Check out his Twitter page later for the inevitable witticism from No. 85.

The Luvabulls had better watch out. Bulls rookie James Johnson showed his dance moves at a recent NBA rookie photo shoot. Let's just hope these moves translate to the floor.

And, that he has breakdancing insurance in his contract.

Burress Weapons Charg_Newm.jpg

The only thing Plaxico Burress will be receiving for a while is three squares a day and a state-sponsored exercise program in the prison yard.

First, recently reinstated quarterback Mike Vick gets 19 months for dog fighting.

Then former Cleveland Brown Donte Stallworth gets 29 days in slam for DUI-fueled vehicular manslaughter.

Now former New York Giants star receiver Plaxico Burress gets 2 years for shooting himself in a nightclubs?

Jane, stop this crazy wheel of sentencing, I want to get off.

Burress pleaded guilty to a weapons charge and agreed to a two-year prison term for accidentally shooting himself at a Manhattan nightclub Thursday morning, ending a saga that's gone on nearly as long as he'll be in prison.

He pleaded guilty Thursday morning to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a lesser charge than he initially faced. Under a plea agreement, he agreed to a two-year prison sentence and two years of supervised release.

For all those who criticize President Obama for being too left, this video proves he sure likes to turn that way.

Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson had the gas to get to the White House on Wednesday, where President Barack Obama honored the 2008 winner as well as auto racing.

"NASCAR is a uniquely American sport," Obama said beneath the South Portico, flanked by nine of the 12 drivers who competed last year for NASCAR's top prize. Three drivers had scheduling conflicts and could not attend.

By "uniquely American," we can only assume he's speaking to the poor mileage the stock cars get. And mullets.

In a race on Sunday, Johnson gambled on fuel but ran out of gas while leading with two laps to go. Instead of winning, he finished 33rd. It was the third time this season that Johnson has run out of gas, but that wasn't a problem on Wednesday.

Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet was parked on the White House driveway, with the glittery Sprint Cup perched on a table nearby.

Come to think of it, maybe he was still out of gas as it had to be pushed into position there.

Obama joked that he wanted to take it for a spin, but the Secret Service wouldn't allow it. And his adviser said with the nasty health care debate going on in the country a few turns to the center and right would be more advisable, ruling out a NASCAR track experience.

With the NASCAR dad wooing underway, we can assume the hockey mom lobby will be taking slap shots on the South Lawn next?

So the LA Times -- in all of their sybaritic LA wisdom -- doesn't know who Pat Tomasulo is. That's all I remember from their entirely shoddy and unapologetically Southern Californian review of the brilliantly conceived and well-executed ABC show "Shaq Vs." Sure, there were a handful other words that populated Diane Pucin's review, but I've forgotten them because of the following sentence:

"Oh and what's up with the so-called (no-name) announcers and the low-rent version of Erin Andrews as sideline reporter? Bad, bad idea. Need more Shaq, fewer no names."

The accused no-name announcers include one Pat Tomasulo, while the sideline reporter in question is none other than inimitable Charissa Thompson.

Apparently, because we live in one of those pesky fly-over states where I and my fellow Midwesterners tend not to use our highways as parking lots, Ms. Pucin doesn't think we count. And because we don't count, she apparently doesn't bother to watch Tomasulo in his regular gig on WGN or Thompson on Fox Sports Net and the Big Ten Network.

I can almost understand not watching Thompson, but that no-name you mention happens to be among your Tribune Company brethren!

If Ms. Pucin lowered her skyward-pointing nose long enough to notice the force of media nature that is Pat Tomasulo, she'd understand that he does for Chicagoans what Bob Hope did for warring American troops -- without a golf club or all those pesky one-liners. One might say that Tomasulo is a man of the people, but it would be an unfair assessment as it insinuates he's mortal, a "man" of flesh and blood like the rest of us.

Not true, Ms. Pucin. Simply not true.

Tomasulo -- who recently charmed America's face off while filling in for Regis on 'Regis and Kelly Live' -- is now pulling double duty as an announcer in "Shaq Vs." (He's pulling double duty, Ms. Pucin ... are you pulling double duty? Or is the LA Times where you draw the line?) Pat Tomasulo proves once again that he's more than just a local sports hero/reporter. He's now a local sports hero/reporter who has been tapped for 2 national television shows -- one featuring the most dominant center in recent NBA history and the other featuring the most dominant Ripa in recent WGN history.

Ms. Pucin, Pat Tomasulo is better than you, better than me and better than everyone who isn't the president or my parents.

And what kind of authority on sports journalism are you, LA Times, if you don't know who Charissa Thompson is? Though you call her a "low-rent version of Erin Andrews" in your charming turn of a cliche phrase, Ms. Pucin, there's no doubt in my mind that you'd trade salaries with Ms. Thompson faster than you could order one of your fancy LA coffee drinks that we've never even heard of yet and probably can't pronounce because we're simple midwesterners with gaps in our teeth and functioning public transportation.

We don't need "more Shaq, fewer no names" in "Shaq Vs." We need more Charissas and Pats -- and fewer Diane Pucins in the sports journalism landscape.
brett-favre-madden-10.jpgUn-retirement enthusiast Brett Favre will join Michael Vick as the marquee additions to the August 19 roster update for the Madden 10 video game.

Madden spokesman Rob Semsey said in an e-mail today that Favre will have an overall rating of 82.

Wednesday's update will add Favre to the Vikings' roster after it was announced he signed with the team today. Vick, meanwhile, will have a 73 rating -- significantly reduced from his overall Madden 08 rating of 90.

Based on EA's "If it's in the game, it's in the game" slogan, one can only assume that if you're using the Vikings in franchise mode, you can fully expect Favre to retire at the end of your first season, be trailed relentlessly by Rachel Nichols, be featured in a series of recurring B-roll footage of him tossing lob passes to Hattiesburg high schoolers only to return just as you were thinking to yourself, "Wow. He's really doing it this time."
carmelo-anthony-lawsuit.JPGDenver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony is suing his former business manager Larry W. Harmon for allegedly misappropriating more than $2 million of his assets.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday, alleges that Anthony's former business manager, Larry W. Harmon, and employees of Larry Harmon & Associates P.A., breached their fiduciary duties by transferring $1.75 million of Anthony's money without his knowledge or consent to a company formed by Harmon, most of it in 2008.

Another $265,500 was discovered to have been invested in third parties without Anthony's knowledge or consent between 2005 and 2008, according to the lawsuit, which seeks recovery of the approximately $2 million, plus punitive damages.

Harmon said he was unaware of the lawsuit and said he'd wait to see what the gold medalist alleged. Anthony ended his business relationship with Harmon earlier this year, according to the suit.

Why does any discussion of NBA basketball - specifically, the Bulls - still start and end with the words: Michael Jordan? Because the greatest player ever - no disrespect, Wilt - still has game.

Just check out the video above with a 46-year-old, puffy Jordan sporting some truly baggy jeans facing up Chris "The Ghetto Bird" Young, dropping fadeaway after fadeaway over the 6-foot-4, 180-pound 34-year-old.

And if that weren't enough, he starts off with a flat-footed reverse slam from under the basket, a feat Slamball star Young can't do facing forward.

Of course, Jordan talks trash the entire time, asking Young to tell him which side he wants to defend, then knocking down shots from right there. "How many times you gotta see it," you can here a teammate ask from the side.

You can just smell the edge - Jordan's laughing and joshing, but he wants to beat this guy and wants him to know he got beat.

So, does this set us up for another comeback? Can the Bulls line up his Airness, maybe just leave him on the bench til the fourth quarter or the final 5 minutes of a game? OK, maybe we're not there. But it's pretty clear Jordan still has skills you can only dream about and clearly still has the competitive fire that made him the greatest.

Jordan grounds the Ghetto Bird (Slam)

Watch CBS Videos Online

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback possible quarterback Michael Vick sat down with James Brown for a much anticipated interview on tonight's episode of "60 Minutes." In it, he admitted that he cried while in jail due to the overwhelming sense of guilt he felt.

"And, you know, it's no way of, you know, explaining, you know, the hurt and the guilt that I felt. And that was the reason I cried so many nights. And that put it all into perspective," he said.

"I let myself down, you know, not being out on the football field, being in a prison bed, in a prison bunk, writing letters home, you know," he said. "That wasn't my life. That wasn't the way that things was supposed to be. And all because of the so-called culture that I thought was right -- that I thought it was cool. And I thought it was, you know, it was fun, and it was exciting at the time. It all led to me laying in a prison bunk by myself with no one to talk to but myself.

"I was disgusted, you know, because of what I let happen to those animals," he said. "I could've put a stop to it. I could've walked away from it. I could've shut the whole operation down."


Hiroki Kuroda raises his arms as he's carted off the field after being hit in the head with a line drive Saturday night. Below, he lies on the mound as his teammates and trainers look on. (AP photos)

kiroda1.jpgLos Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Arizona Diamondbacks pinch-hitter Rusty Ryal Saturday night and was carted off the field.

The ball hit the right-hander on the right side of the head and rocketed into foul territory. The 34-year-old was placed on a stretcher and taken off the field, but was able to raise both of his arms as he exited.

After the game, Dodgers trainer Stan Conte was quoted saying a CT scan of Kuroda's head "came back negative, no fracture, no bleeding. The doctors feel very, very good and, in fact, the doctors at the hospital didn't even want to keep him overnight, but we thought it would be best just to make sure."

Ryal was awarded a ground-rule double and James McDonald relieved Kuroda.

"It was just shocking," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "It certainly caught everybody off guard."

Ryal stopped at first base, then returned to the Arizona dugout while Kuroda was being treated on the mound.

"You get that sick feeling in your stomach," said Ryal, playing in his fifth major league game. "I was just scared. I'm sure everyone else in the stadium, probably even his teammates, have got to be feeling pretty gut-wrenching about it."

Ryal said he sent a message to the Dodgers' clubhouse wishing Kuroda a speedy recovery.

"One of the first things he asked out there was if anybody caught the ball out there, if it was an out," Conte said. "Amazingly, things look really pretty good. The fact that he didn't lose consciousness is a very good sign."

Conte said the club decided to keep Kuroda at the hospital as a precaution.

"We worry about, even though there's no bleeding now, that there could be in the next 12, 14 hours," Conte said. "That's why we want to keep him at the hospital. The first 12-to-24 hours is important. The doctors feel very, very good."

When someone wearing jersey No. 69 lines up to return a kickoff, it's a natural response for viewers to make sure their televisions are working. Bears fans may have experienced this phenomenon when defensive end Henry Melton corralled a second-quarter kick and started lumbering up the field.

Melton, a rookie out of Texas, turned in a 20-yard return before he was tackled. The 260-pounder is a former running back, but switched to his current position in the defensive line while with the Longhorns.
After months of seemingly fevered anticipation, Jay Cutler made his debut at quarterback for the Bears in their preseason opener tonight against the Buffalo Bills.

It was not, however, the most impressive first performance.

Cutler completed five passes on 10 attempts for 64 yards and led the first unit to a field goal in the first quarter, but was also picked off an underthrown deep ball. He did connect on two long plays -- a 23-yard pass to Devin Hester and a 30-yard completion to Desmond Clark -- before being replaced by backup Caleb Hanie.
Thumbnail image for madden_nfl_10_cover_larry_troy.jpgHappy Madden Day, folks. Madden 10 hit the shelves today, meaning wives and girlfriends will see a little less of their significant others in the days and weeks to come.

The Madden franchise has become the yearbook by which many gamers recall seasons past, and this year's version takes the experience to another level.

In honor of this sacred gamer holiday, we've compiled five reasons why Madden 10 is oh-so-worth the price: 

1. The Eagles may not know yet how they'll utilize Michael Vick, but you can rest assured that Madden developers are hard at work deciding how you'll use him in the game. With the introduction of the wildcat offense in this year's game, expect to see plenty of it in online play. Luckily, it's relatively easy to stop from a defensive standpoint -- especially if you're facing any team that's not the Miami Dolphins.

2. Online franchise mode is new this season. Despite a few glitches in the initial run of the game (including some copies that don't have the correct coding), it's going to take some gamers a while to fully grasp the potential here. Once they do, this is going to be one of the more popular features in the game.

3. EA Sports has taken its slogan -- "If it's in the game, it's in the game" -- to another level this season. Shots of tailgaters, defensive players keeping loose on stationary bikes, kickers getting ready on the sidelines for a last-second chance -- these are just a few of the additions EA has added to the game presentation. What's more, the stadiums seem crisper and the presentation smoother. The tagline for the 21st edition of the game is "Fight for every yard" and when you play the game, you see why. Ball carriers aren't automatically down on contact, forcing defenses to be more diligent. The fight-for-the fumble feature is cool at first, but could get annoying after a while if every single fumble -- no matter how clean or one-sided a recovery -- becomes a scrum.

4. There's a greater disparity between the average players and the elite players in this year's game. In other words, good luck passing for 4,000 yards in a season with Sage Rosenfels. However, 2,000 rushing yards with the untouchable Adrian Peterson is quite possible.

5. The mini games -- only afterthought in the past -- are actually fun this season and totally worth the time. Perhaps it's because your performance in them affects your player rating. And you can also play them online this season.   

johnny-macchione-cubs-victorino-beer.jpg We now know the identity of the man suspected to have tossed a cup of beer on Shane Victorino's head during the fifth inning of Wednesday's Cubs-Phillies game.

Our colleague here at the Sun-Times, Mark Konkol, reports that Johnny Macchione of Bartlett turned himself in to police today. Chicago Police charged the 21-year-old Macchione Thursday night with one count each of battery and illegal conduct within a sports facility. Both are misdemeanor charges.

Police say Macchione threw a beer on Shane Victorino's head during the fifth inning of Wednesday night's blowout. A fan was immediately hauled away -- but it was the wrong fan. News sites and blogs splashed Macchione's photo up all day, and he turned himself in to Belmont area detectives this afternoon.

Deadspin shares with us this photo of the now-infamous Cub fan:  
You wont see Donte' Stallworth playing in the NFL this season.

Fresh off serving less than a month in jail for DUI manslaughter, the pass-catching enthusiast was informed by commissioner Roger Goddell that he is suspended for the 2009 campaign for violating both the substances of abuse and the personal conduct policy.

Goddell's letter to Stallworth contained the following strongly worded passage:

"In my view, the essential facts are that you had alcohol in your system well above the legal limit, made a conscious decision to drive, and struck and killed a man. As you recognize, this conduct and the loss of life has caused serious damage to the NFL and NFL players generally. Legal arguments that focus on criminal liability under Florida law do not diminish that damage or your responsibility for your conduct."

"Despite a repeated emphasis on the importance of avoiding driving under the influence of alcohol, you chose to drive under circumstances where you were legally impaired. And you did so even though safe and confidential alternatives, such as the "Safe Ride" program, were available to you. Your conduct endangered yourself and others, leading to the death of an innocent man. The NFL and NFL players must live with the stain that you have placed on their reputations."

8-12 cruze cubs phillies 10.jpgAnother night game at Wrigley Field, another idiot fan throwing stuff on the field. This time, though, taking it the extra mile, dumping a beer on the Philadelphia Phillies' centerfielder Shane Victorino in the fifth inning of a 12-5 drubbing Wednesday night.

Of course, this is hardly the first time - and, sadly, probably not the last - that a Cubs night game has turned into a farce because of an idiot fan, too boozed up to class up the joint. Of course security intervened, though whether they got the right guy is in question, but that's not the point. This stuff shouldn't be happening.

There have been charges of racist taunts from the bleachers. We've seen trash dumped on the field. There's the general raucous frat boy atmosphere that permeates night games, particularly in the bleachers.

What gives? Why can't fans cheer and boo, as they have every right to do, without resorting to drunken hooliganism? Is it time to simply ban booze from the Bud Light Bleachers altogether? Because there are clearly at least a handful of idiots who can't handle a couple $6 brews at the ballgame.

We've seen this behavior during national telecasts and in high-profile games, like this late-season contest against the World Series Champion Phillies, and unfortunately it's building a reputation for Cubs fans outside the Friendly Confines that's anything but what we want.



Poor fans.

Is that what we want? Is that something you're happy with Cubs fans?

And if you're one of the types who insists this gives home-field advantage or makes us look like a tough sports city, you probably also think you're the funny one being a loudmouth at the bar with your buddies egging you on when all you really are is a loudmouth jerk making an ass of yourself.

Stay classy Bleacher Bums. And keep your trash - and your beer - to yourself.

As excited as Bears fans are to have Jay Cutler under center, a select group of Denver Bronco backers don't seem to be doing so well in the aftermath of his departure.

One 10-year-old in particular has channeled his displeasure -- and proven summer vacation probably needs to end soon -- by starting a campaign to burn all of Cutler's now outdated Broncos jerseys.

Through the magic of YouTube we get to see the youngster torch his once-cherished Cutler shirt and give a speech about the Santa Claus, Ind. native being a whiny, selfish so-and-so. Methinks dad may have given him some help with this little diatribe.

It's important to note that this preteen's fiery hatred is not just for the Bears new captain, but extends to yet another NFL quarterback. Bright orange prose and the use of the Royal We informs us that he hates San Diego Chargers' Phillip Rivers even more.


Even more amusing is the off-camera clincher from the videographer who states, "So much for non-passionate fans."

OK, let's think about this. At some point, someone used their hard-earned money to buy this jersey for the kid. He probably wore it proudly to school and pretended he was Cutler in the backyard. Now, all of those happy memories are up in flames -- and all due to a lack of understanding of the multibillion dollar business that is the NFL.

Perhaps I'm being too critical. Perhaps there are some skeletons in my own closet. They may be in the form of a Juan Gonzalez Detroit Tigers shirt. Maybe the kid is an innovator.

Or maybe it's really time for school to start back up.

Let's just hope he doesn't get too attached to any Kyle Orton jersey that may be in his future.
(Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)

During the fifth inning of Wednesday night's Cubs-Phillies game, one Wrigley Field bleacher dweller took out his frustration with the Cubs' poor performance on Shane Victorino.

With the bases loaded, Jake Fox lofted a fly ball to the warning track. Just as the ball was about to fall in Victorino' glove, the contents of one fan's beverage was projected onto the center fielder's head. Victorino made the catch, and Sean Marshall tagged and scored on the play.

Sun-Times photographer Tom Cruze immortalized the moment -- for better or worse -- in the photo at the top of this post. 

Wrigley Field security moved in quickly to escort the fan from his seat, but upon further review, it's possible they targeted the wrong tosser. Deadspin has identified who they think are the beer thrower and the fall guy:


NBA 2K10 Draft Combine -- Derrick Rose.jpgPatrick Kane's not the only Chicago athlete worthy of gracing a video game cover. Derrick Rose has been tapped as the frontman for NBA 2K10: Draft Combine. Sure, it's not prestigious as the Kobe Bryant-helmed official title, but Rose seems the perfect fit for the super demo.

You may be asking yourself at this point, What is Draft Combine and why should I drop $4.99 to download it on my Xbox or Playstation 3?

A 2K Sports press release explains it all:

In NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, fans will begin their career at the ATTACK Athletics gym in Chicago by building their own custom player and working with a mentor, the 2K Insider, to step up their game through a variety of challenging basketball drills and 5-on-5 games to increase their NBA draft stock.  The greater a player excels at a particular drill, or in completing specific game objectives, the more valuable skill points they will receive which can be used to improve one of over 30 key player attributes.  Fans can then take their custom built players in NBA 2K10: Draft Combine and use them in the all-new My Player career mode in NBA 2K10 launching this fall, allowing them to continue their journey toward becoming an NBA legend.  

Rose, last year's rookie of the year and the first pick in the 2008 draft, knows what it takes to prep for the draft -- which is perhaps why he was picked for this.  

"Derrick is the perfect fit to be our spokesman for NBA 2K10: Draft Combine," said Greg Thomas, senior vice president of sports development for 2K.  "Not only is he one of the most dynamic young playmakers in the NBA today, he's the pride of Chicago, where the real NBA Draft Combine is located.  We look forward to working closely with Derrick this season, and are thrilled to offer our fans a brand new pre-season basketball experience with NBA 2K10: Draft Combine."

So -- if you've always wanted to know what it's like to train in Chicago's famed ATTACK Center but always lacked the athletic prowess, this may be as close as you'll get. Which is exactly why we here at Sports Pros(e) will be downloading this one.

Redskins Vick_Newm.jpg

Celebrity gossip site has some rough footage - see the video here - of disgraced quarterback and former dog fighting enthusiast Michael Vick strolling around O'Hare Airport last night.

While Vick is still one of millions on the unemployment rolls, he's madly searching for an NFL job and there have been rumors of Bears interest in the electrifying signal caller. But

TMZ quoted Jim Christman, media services manager for the Bears, as saying Vick is not in town to meet with the Bears and he is definitely not joining the team.

And Bears beat guy Brad Biggs has sources telling him there was charity work on the agenda, not a Bears date for Vick.

So file that under the "never say never" list of potential moves.

After being suspended indefinitely by the NFL after serving nearly two years in a dog-fighting scheme, Vick was conditionally reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell last month and cleared to sign with a team, but thus far there have been no takers.

On Tuesday, Vick's agent, Joel Segal, visited Washington Redskins camp, but said: "No. No chance," when asked about the possibility of Vick signing with Washington.

The Redskins are among 26 of the NFL's 32 teams that have said they have no interest in signing Vick, although Vick's NFL-appointed mentor, former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, said several coached have contacted him to talk about the player.

Segal, in an interview with ESPN 980, said he is "very optimistic" that Vick would sign with an NFL team soon. There are a lot of teams interested. ... It's not a matter of if, but when."


The subscribers and single-day consumers of Tuesday's Washington Post were denied a Tank McNamara cartoon when a subplot in the long-running strip was deemed "inappropriate" by editors.

 The three-box offering featured former Vice President Dick Cheney and NFL commisioner Roger Goddell discussing a hit on recently freed quarterback Michael Vick. Here's the hand-drawn prose that caused the trouble.

 Goodell: "I have to make a move on Mike Vick."

 Cheney: "Kill him."

 Goodell: "Kill him?!?"

 Cheney: "Well, not you personally."

 The syndicator of the script, Universal Press Syndicate, said they knew of no other cancellations other than the Post's.

 What do we think? Was this over the line? Are you surprised only one outlet balked at running it?

kevin-youklis-rick-porcello-fight.JPGKevin Youkilis, the big bad utility man for the Boston Red Sox, showed his displeasure for being plunked by a pitch from Detroit Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello by charging the 20-year-old right-hander and throwing his batting helmet before tackling the lanky youngser as both benches emptied.

Both Youkilis and Porcello were tossed when order was restored at Fenway Park.

Pitino Extortion Bask_Newm.jpgPitino Extortion Bask_Newm-2.jpgRick Pitino, the man known for his tailored suits may soon be dealing with one of the legal variety as this odd story plays out.

The Louisville Courier-Journal is reporting that Pitino, the University of Louisville men's basketball coach, told police that he had consensual sex with Karen Cunagin Sypher at a Louisville restaurant where he'd been drinking on Aug. 1, 2003.

Pitino went on the tell the cops that he'd paid Sypher $3,000 to have an abortion following their tryst, but denies her claims of rape at the restaurant Porcini and again at a different location.

The Courier-Jounral was forced to use Kentucky open records laws to acquire the information.

The paper reports that Sypher has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to extort Pitino and lying to the FBI, both of which she has pleaded not guilty to. She reported the alleged rapes to Metro Police on July 9, about two months after she was indicted.

The paper goes on to report:

Sgt. Andy Abbott said in an investigative summary that Sypher failed, for example, to disclose that another person was at Porcini Restaurant when she said the first incident occurred.

That witness, Vinnie Tatum, an executive assistant to Pitino, told the FBI that he didn't see what happened but heard "only the sounds of two people that seemed to be enjoying themselves during a sexual encounter," according to Abbott's report.

Abbott said records also indicate that Pitino was in California when Sypher claimed he sexually assaulted her a second time. "The more information I gather, the worse it looks for you," Abbott told Sypher during a July 13 phone interview, according to a transcript of the call.

The Commonwealth's Attorney has said there will be no charges in the incident.

kenny-williams-jaywalking.jpgAn otherwise successful day for White Sox GM Ken Williams was marred by a Barney-Fife-in-Mayberry moment when he was cited for jaywalking outside of Safeco Field in Seattle on Monday.

Just a short while after claiming outfielder Alex Rios off of waivers, Willams hopped out of a cab while taking on his cell phone and made a beeline across the street outside of the stadium. Not doing this maneuver at a Seattle-approved crosswalk landed him a $56 ticket.

This of course was not the most expensive decision of the day in light of the $61.6 million contract attached to Rios, but perhaps the most embarrassing and, arguably, head-scratching one.

Williams apparently attempted to explain how we do things here in the Windy City, but had no luck.

Williams tried to tell the officer people in Chicago cross streets anywhere, which could be why cab drivers are at home praying today.
He said the officer told him, "not in Seattle."
josh-hamilton-rangers-texas.JPGJosh Hamilton, the Texas Rangers slugger who overcame drug and alcohol addiction to rise to MLB stardom, is the subject of another Deadspin-fueled controversy.

The center fielder is featured in 12 photos published on the blog showing him carousing with a group of women in an Arizona bar earlier this year. The accompanying narrative claims the married Hamilton, who famously credits his religious devotion as a major factor in his recovery, was drunk and asked the bartender where he could find cocaine.

From Deadspin:

"The person who took these photos arrived around 9. By then Hamilton was pretty wrecked. He was friendly, though and, obviously, having a really good time. He didn't even mind that photos were be taken of him as he did body shot after body shot off of some of the off-work waitstaff. He joked with Hamilton that he was going to send these photos to ESPN. "I'll kill you," Hamilton said, half-joking."

Hamilton has admitted he lapsed in his sobriety the night the photos were taken.

Dallas Morning News blogger Jeff Wilson is reporting that Hamilton called his wife, the MLB and the Rangers the day after the incident and told them what had happened.

"I realized that, obviously, I'm not perfect, in this on-going struggle, battle, that is very real," Hamilton told reporters at a press conference today. "A lot of people don't understand how real it is."

He went on to say, "I went to get something to eat. Obviously, I eat at restaurants that have bars in them all the time. I wasn't mentally fit to go in there, spiritually fit, and it just crossed my mind, 'Can I have a drink?' Obviously, I can't."

"I don't feel like I'm a hypocrite. I feel like I'm human," he said. "I got away from the one thing that keeps me straightened out and going in the right direction."
Trying to pick Michael Jordan's greatest basketball moment is a practice akin to choosing God's most perfect creation. Sure, the obvious answer is Natalie Portman, but then you start to really think about it and eventually realize that Mt. Everest is pretty sweet, too.

Still, choosing Jordan's greatest moment is exactly what Gatorade is asking hoops fans to do in honor of MJ's September induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

michael-jordan-final-shot.JPGLeading the pack at the moment is Jordan's final shot as a Bull (right) -- a championship-clincher against the Utah Jazz in 1998. In a distant second is "The Shot" that sank Cleveland in the 1989 playoffs. Next (and the humble choice of this writer) is Jordan's first title celebration where he weeps while clutching the championship trophy. It's my favorite because I knew at that moment, as an 11-year-old undersized dork in the suburbs with joyous tears streaming down his face, that Michael Jordan and I were doing the same thing at the same time.

Other contenders include:

  • "The shrug" game against Portland in the 1992 finals where he hit six threes in the first half.
  • Winning the 1996 title on Father's Day.
  • Dunking on the Knicks at the Garden.
  • The cradle drunk during his 1984 rookie year.
  • Dropping 63 points in the 1986 playoffs against the Celtics.
  • Scoring 55 points against the Knicks in 1995 shortly after his comeback.

This list reads like a where-were-you biography of the childhood/adolescent experience I shared with so many of the guys I grew up with. But did Gatorade leave any of his top moments out? How about announcing his return to the NBA with the words, "I'm back." Or perhaps the up-and-under scoop in the '91 finals that prompted Marv Albert to yell, "Oh, a spec-tac-u-lar move!"

Tell us your favorite MJ moment in the comment section below. And don't forget to visit the Gatorade Facebook page to register your vote for MJ's greatest moment. If you're at least 18, you can enter to win a trip to the Hall of Fame ceremony to see His Airness get inducted next month.

When John Madden decided to turn off his microphone after 30 years in the booth, football fans knew his replacement would have some impossibly big shoes to fill.

That man -- Cris Collinsworth -- half-expected Madden to pull a Brett Favre and unretire in time for a new season.

''I kept thinking and hoping ... that I was going to get one of those calls from John that said, 'I was just joking, I'm not really retiring and I'm coming back,'' Collinsworth said.

But the call never came.

Mo "Fog Raw" Williams, Kevin "Velvet Hoop" Durant; and Andre "Chief Blocka" Iguodala and substance-abuse-policy violator Rashard "Ice-O" Lewis are renowned for their on-court prowess. But off the court, they're known as the Hyperizers, rapping schleppers of all things Nike.

Will it ever stop? Yo, I don't know.

twitter-nfl-chad-ocho-cinco.jpgAs with every August, the forthcoming NFL season has us looking forward with great anticipation to Sunday gamedays. But the proliferation of Twitter usage among NFL players this year means we're suddenly equally excited for  the Sunday nights and Monday mornings following games.

The reason? Gridiron Twitter!

We've seen, via the likes of Shawne Merriman, Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens, exactly how much trash-talking can be accomplished in 140 characters or less. And that's long before the first snap of the 2009 season. The athlete Twitter feud was non-existent a year ago, but now we're finding these types of headlines on a weekly basis.

And it's only going to get worse/better.
Buick Open Golf-1.jpgBy now, you've probably watched, read or heard about the "fart heard 'round the world." Everyone was quick to blame Tiger Woods for the fairway flatulence, but a few reports are leaking out (oooh) as to who really dealt it.

The Detroit Free Press reports that announcer David Feherty was behind the gas caper. The story goes that Feherty pulled a prank on Woods by using an electronic sound device.

This makes sense. It explains the artificial sound and the perfect timing. It also explains why Tiger--who will go berserk if a bird flies over during his backswing--laughed it off.

So, can Tiger wash his hands clean in this whole incident?  Not necessarily.

Another report out of the Orange County Register says Tiger, his caddie Steve Williams and Feherty used to have farting contests. (Crop-dusting the gallery, so to speak.)
alex-rodriguez-derek-jeter.jpgWhile the Yankees were in town last weekend losing three of four games to the White Sox, the team's marquee players -- Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter -- paid a visit to River North cool-kid-hang-out Sunda.

The fact that the pair didn't sit together was observed by an observer.

From Page 6

The Yankees' two biggest stars didn't act like friends the other night. Derek Jeter (above) and Alex Rodriguez, in Chicago to play the White Sox, both ended up at Sunda Asian restaurant Saturday night. "They sat at separate tables," said one onlooker, "and didn't speak to each other at all."
prince-fielder-dodgers.jpg*** Update: Video of Fielder's tirade is now available through the Los Angeles CBS station. ***

Home run and neck-tattoo enthusiast Prince Fielder showed his displeasure for being hit by a pitch in the ninth inning of the Brewers' 17-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers by performing an obscenity-laden march to the Dodgers clubhouse before being restrained by security guards and teammates.

The object of his anger was reliever Guillermo Mota, who drilled the hefty first baseman with a pitch and was promptly ejected.  But, clearly that wasn't the end of it.

He ran over there, and they weren't going to let him in, and everybody came back," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. "I don't know if you can restrain Prince. I don't think I can. I don't think there's anybody else out there who can."

Fielder had calmed down moments later, but his actions set up a potentially explosive series finale Wednesday night.

"He came inside. It just got away from him," Fielder said. "It happens. That's baseball. He tried to come inside."

When asked about his postgame march to the other side, he deadpanned: "I don't remember that."

Rage so strong it causes blackouts and loss of memory? That sounds healthy.
Do you feel that, White Sox fans?

That palpable sense of excitement you're experiencing -- fueled by the what-will-he-do-next Gordon Beckham -- is the feeling of a division race that's going to be a heck of a lot of fun down the stretch.

Tonight's walk-off, authored by Scott Podsednik, moved the South Siders to within one game of the Detroit Tigers, who got a very lackluster outing from new addition Jarrod Washburn.

So, let's hear from the primaries.

Short and sweet, will the White Sox win the division?
He's dunked on a small child and made him cry for our entertainment. He's berated cabbies on our behalf. And now, Chicago morning sports broadcast powerhouse Pat Tomasulo has entered the national consciousness in the "Local to Live Co-Host For a Day Search" on "Regis and Kelly."

Kelly Ripa said she felt "very fortunate" to have the New Jersey native on the show.

And here's why:

The story of Michael Oher's journey from poverty to the NFL was well-publicized during this summer's draft coverage, but Hollywood will have a go at it this November in the form of the Sandra Bullock vehicle "The Blind Side."

The title is a reference to Oher's left tackle position -- the main function of which is to protect a quarterback's blind side.

Bullock, sporting blond hair and brandishing a Southern accent, plays Oher's adoptive mother, Leigh Anne Touhy.

Here's the trailer:

madden_nfl_10_cover_larry_troy.jpgIn a simpler time, before SportsCenter featured a segment called "Blog Buzz," there were the epic Sports Illustrated commercials that would fill the void between Robin Yount highlights and Joe Montana highlights.

Running what seemed to be eight minutes long and replete with blue-collar fans extolling the virtues of their favorite franchise, the spots were there to get viewers to buy a year's worth of the periodical and perhaps get a boss hoodless sweatshirt out of the deal.

But now we live in a world wear a heather-gray sweatshirt that says "Bears" in conservative letters just doesn't excite the masses. The masses need Madden.

Right now, new subscribers will receive Madden NFL 2010 with their purchase. You know, so you can negate all that reading with hours of simulated football, like nature intended.
After winning two national titles in the last three seasons, it stands to reason that the University of Florida would want to keep coach Urban Meyer on the payroll.

Today, the Gators inked the spread-offense enthusiast to a six-year deal that will pay him $4 million annually. This makes him the highest-paid coach in the SEC, where football is apparently super important -- or so we've heard.

The long-term contract should quiet down some of the rumors that he'll ever head to Notre Dame, a prospect that Meyer himself has vehemently rejected. 
In case you haven't heard (or smelled) it, Tiger Woods, or possibly his caddie Steve Williams, let one fly on the 18th fairway at the Buick Open yesterday. How do we know?  The ever-sensitive course microphones picked up the fairway flatulence as well as the snickering that followed. Also, listen to the announcer just prior to the toot, talking in golf terms about Tiger needing to release. So, the real question remains: Who dealt it? You decide.

derek-jeter-gordon-beckham.JPGIn just over a calendar year, White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham has gone from playing against Kennesaw State to playing on the same diamond with the most storied franchise in the history of sports. But as far as first impressions go, Beckham has to be happy with the one he made on the New York Yankees.

In his first series against the Bronx Bombers, Beckham played an integral role in each of his team's three wins. For the series, he went 7-for-19, had 7 RBI and scored three times. Five of his seven hits were doubles. It was more than enough to turn some a few heads in the opposing dugout.  

"I got a chance to talk to him quite a bit, " Yankees captain Derek Jeter said, "because he was on second base all the time."

So what did Jeter have to say to the former Georgia Bulldog?
Yankees White Sox Bas_Mill.jpgMelky Cabrera became the 15th New York Yankee in history to hit for the cycle Sunday against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Yankee center fielder homered in his first at-bat in the second inning, doubled in the fourth, singled in the fifth and tripled in the ninth inning off Sox pitcher Scott Linebrink.

"I feel really happy about it, but I'm more happy because we won the game," Cabrera told reporters through a translator.

"During the beginning of the game, I didn't think about it. But when I got a double and a home run and a base hit I knew a triple could do it."

Cabrera completed the cycle in the ninth inning after he hit a line-drive triple that bounced off the wall in right field.

"Everyone was pulling for him," Yankee captain Derek Jeter said. "It's difficult. You can't just go up there and try to hit a triple. He hit it in the perfect spot. It looked like he got a nice little kick to it. I think everyone in the dugout was running right there with him."

The last Yankee to hit for the cycle was Tony Fernandez, who accomplished the feat against the Oakland A's in 1995. The last cycle hit against the Sox was Carlos Gomez, who did it for the Twins in 2008 at U.S. Cellular Field.
lendale-white-tequila.jpgLenDale White, the thunder portion of the Tennessee Titan's thunder and lightning backfield -- also featuring Chris Johnson, lost more than 30 pounds this off-season. His not-so-closely-guarded dieting secret?

Pass on the Patron.

"I really got to be honest," White said. "It wasn't a lot of major diet changes. (It was) watching what I drink. I was a big Patron consumer. ... That's what it was. I was drinking a lot, drank a lot of alcohol. I cut that out of my diet all the way. I don't drink at all. I cut the drinking, I stopped drinking for six months.

"It started falling off."
andrew-mccutchen-three-homers.JPGDespite what you may think, there are still players left on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

One of them, Andre McCutchen blasted three home runs in the Bucs' 11-6 victory over the Washington Nationals tonight in a matchup of NL East cellar-dwellers.

The last Pirate to do this was none other than Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez in 2001.

McCutchen, who is known more for his speed (and awesome hair) than his power, entered the game with just three round-trippers on the season.
Jake Peavy is in Chicago, in the White Sox dugout roughly 24 hours after a surprising deal right at the trade deadline.

Before the game, the newest arm in the city sounded off on the move and why he originally declined a trade to the South Side.

Our own Toni Ginnetti reports that Peavy estimates he'll be pitching again by late August.

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