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

September 2009 Archives

Thumbnail image for Vick Release.jpgUpdate: A spokesman for Nike is saying Vick's agent spoke out of turn and that no new endorsement deal is in place. Instead, the company is providing free gear.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback utility man Michael Vick made his return to the NFL on Sunday, but in the multi-billion dollar world of professional sports, it may be his return to the Nike brand that signals his comeback is complete.

Nike is welcoming Vick back into the fold today, more than two years after it cut ties with the former Atlanta Falcons star, according to Vick's agent.

Segal told SportsBusiness Journal that Vick will wear Nike shoes, gear and apparel, but would not reveal the terms of the agreement.

"Mike has had a great relationship with Nike and is excited to be part of the Nike team again," Segal said.
For all of the speculation that Vicks' return to the league after an 18-month prison sentence would be marred by protests and the always powerful court of public opinion, it's gone pretty smooth.

He was on the field for 11 plays in a 34-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs -- none of them particularly remarkable -- and accounted for 30 yards. It's seemed that the media circus has calmed down some as he assimilates back to game speed and the Eagles explore how to use him in their offense.

But, if past Vick posts around here have taught us, he's still a lightning rod for criticism on message boards and blogs. So, we'll ask if you all have a problem with Nike bringing him back so quickly.

As I've said before, Vick has served his time and said/done all the right things to earn his second chance -- one he seems determined to make the absolute most of. Of course, others would say that he should continue to suffer financially for the errors in judgment he's made.

So far this year, his No. 7 jersey has been one of the league's hottest sellers -- something that would suggest his marketability hasn't suffered through all of this.

Panthers Morgan's Gamble Fo.jpg

Carolina Panthers' Dan Morgan looks out from the bench during a preseason NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., in this Aug. 24, 2007 photo. The former Panthers linebacker and Pro Bowl pick suffered at least five concussions in his career, which does not tie him specifically to a possibility of dementia later in life, but can't help. (AP)

For those of you who have never appreciated how violent and life-changing the game of professional football can be for the men who play it, here's another sobering reminder.

A new study suggests retired National Football League players may have a high rate of Alzheimer's disease or other memory problems. The telephone survey asked if the retirees had ever been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other memory-related disease. Nearly 2 percent of the former players ages 30 to 49 said yes. That's 19 times the rate for the same age group in the general population.

For retirees over 50, the rate was about five times higher.

That's another consequence to a group that already suffers from a staggering array of post-retirement maladies, including severe arthritis, problems with the knees and legs in general, debilitating hand injuries and an array of other problems.

Lead author David Weir emphasized the results don't show football causes memory problems, only that the risk is worth studying. The study of more than 1,000 ex-players was performed by the University of Michigan at the request of the NFL and its Player Care Foundation.

Higher risk of dementia seen in NFL players (NYT)

In the pantheon of heartbreaking losses, the following has to be near the top.

With Otter Valley (Vt.) clinging to a 16-14 lead over Jericho Mount Mansfield with a second to play, this high school football game looked to be over when Mansfield's 46-yard field goal attempt fell way short.

But then, in a move that combined all the worst parts of Leon Lett, DeSean Jackson and Bill Buckner, Otter Valley's Casey Babcock spiked the football while it was still live, allowing Mansfield's Jeff Sutherland to scoop it up and scamper eight yards for the winning touchdown.

(The astounding play is at the 1:30 mark)



Have you ever, ever seen a more befuddling play? Even the coldest of souls has to feel a little bad for the kid who threw the ball down and started celebrating. If only he'd been born before YouTube.
omar-vizquel-bullfighter.jpgTexas Rangers infielder Omar Vizquel is a well-rounded man.

As the oldest position player in the majors, it must get a little boring to field ground ball after ground ball. Perhaps that's why he spent some of his last offseason rounding up anacondas.

You know, just to feel alive.

While that may be something that even Indiana Jones wouldn't do, it apparently isn't exciting enough for Vizquel to undertake for a second straight year.

So, he's doing the only sensible thing.

He's going to become a bullfighter.

"Just go and learn the basics and stuff," Vizquel said. "It's one of my things on the to-do list. There's a lot of things still to do."
There are few players who can match Vizquel's offseason pursuits. Among the other adventures he hopes for: parachuting, flying in an F-16 jet and attending all three Triple Crown horse races.
My life suddenly seems so boring.

Vizquel's newest offseason adventure: bullfighting     (FOX Sports)
mecury-300x290.gifPhoenix Suns general manager and former Chicago Bull Steve Kerr would really like it if you came out to see WNBA Finals Game 1 -- so much so that he purchased 7,000 upper deck seats and is giving them away for free.

All you have to do is get to the Mercury ticket office and say the code word "Kerr's Krew" (make sure they know you're saying Krew with a "K") and you're automatically entitled to eight free seats.

"Larry Bird purchased the upper level for the Fever's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Indiana and I want to show the same support for our amazing Mercury," Kerr said in a statement. "Both of us were part of championship teams and understand the importance of a packed house. For anyone who doubts the WNBA level of play, this is an opportunity to see for yourself. I challenge any doubters to come see the talent, skill and intensity on the court."

Without looking, can anyone tell me who the Mercury plays in this championship series?
BY JUSTIN ALLEN Sports Pros(e) Correspondent

I couldn't help myself Sunday. During a key second-half Bears drive, I did the unthinkable: I switched over to the Cubs game.  

"What the hell are you doing?!?" My friends stood in awe of my audacity. 
"I just wanted to see the score," I shamefully justified. 
"That's because you're an idiot," one said. "The season's over." 

It was a one-two knockout punch of truth.  

As of Monday, the Cubs magic number for elimination from the NL Wild Card race was one, with seven games remaining. You don't need to be a math whiz to know that it would take a Disney-produced finish for the Cubs to somehow shoehorn themselves into the playoffs.  

And I am and idiot for using even a pinch of brainpower to think up no less than ten fantasy scenarios in which the Cubs eek into the playoffs (many of which involve Gary Busey reprising his role as "The Rocket" from Rookie of the Year). In other words, this year is certainly not the year.  

So for those of us who reside in Cubs Nation, what now? There's been an air of discontent in Wrigleyville all season, and it will presumably remain throughout the off-season. After all, much like a drunken Lincoln Park yuppie who scored big at the bar with a hot cougar, only to get home and find his, er, equipment won't work, Cubs fans are desperate for results. 

But before we all spiral into panic mode, I've devised a five-step guide to coping with the failure of 2009 while preparing for the probable disappointment-fest of 2010. 

Step 1: Get it in your head that it's never going to happen. Ever. Throw away anything you have that says "It's Gonna Happen" or "Wait 'Til Next Year." That way, when next year sucks just as much, you're less likely to slip into Cubs-induced depression. 

Step 2: Never start a sentence with, "If I was Jim Hendry ..." unless it ends with something to the tune of, "... I'd make nacho cheese more readily available at condiment stands throughout Wrigley." There's a reason you're an accountant and not the GM of a baseball team. Plus, your job is probably more stable right now. 

Step 3: Use the off-season to find another summer hobby. One of the best things about living in Chicago is the summer, so find something to do that doesn't involve the Cubs. For example: Like to day-drink? Of course you do; you're a Cubs fan. There are plenty of great places outside of the Friendly Confines to get your fill of the sauce. I recommend the beer garden at Justin's for decent food and cheap beer. Neat name too! 

Step 4: Transfer some of your undying optimism for the Cubs to the other teams in the city. The Bears, Hawks and Bulls are all looking to have decent seasons this year, and any of these teams could fill some of that void the Cubs left you with. DISCLAIMER: Transferring all hope to any of these teams could lead to further heartache, depression and drinking. 

Step 5: Avoid the Cubs convention at any and all costs. It'll be an all-out hope fest for 2010, peppered with reflections on the failure that was 2009. That's not what you need for your recovery. Instead, schedule an appointment with a therapist to uncover what happened in your life to make you such a masochist. Plus, it'll be cheaper and likely less painful in the long run. Bonus! 

Enjoy the off-season, Cubs Nation. See you in Mesa where we'll have completely forgotten all of these steps and proclaim 2010 to be the year! Yay!
reggie-bush-kim-kardashian.jpgThe past 24 hours have been pretty busy on the Kardashian-sisters-relationship front.

With the marriage vows of Khloe and Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom officially spoken, now we get news that Kim has rekindled her romance with New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush.

People is reporting that they couple is back together "for real," which is coincidentally the acid tests journalists use to determine the validity of romantic entanglements.

Kim and Bush split in July, but have recently been spotted together in New Orleans.
deshawn-stevenson-tattoos.jpgThis is it.

The first post about the upcoming NBA season.

Thank God it's about some brand new, eye-catching tattoos. The canvas provider in this case is Washington Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson, already the author of a formidable neck beard.

Stevenson's new ink was the talk of reporters lucky enough to be at the Wizards' media day and intrepid enough to be toting their cameras.

Defenders charged with guarding Stevenson will now get to spend 48 minutes admiring Abraham Lincoln's mug, which is front and center on his neck. It stands to reason that a scruffy fellow like DeShawn would opt to sport one of America's most prolific beards on his person, but that placement sure seems like it'd be painful.
USC running back Stafon Johnson suffered a serious injury this morning when he lost control of the bar during a weightlifting session.

The bar came down on his neck, causing him to cough up blood. He was rushed to the hospital for surgery.

Johnson, a senior, has rushed for 157 yards and five touchdowns through the Trojans' first three games.
terrell-owens-glasses-hat.jpgBuffalo Bills wide receiver and sit-up enthusiast Terrell Owens had a very trying day.

First, he was held without a catch in his team's home loss to the New Orleans Saints. Then, he had to face the unrelenting gauntlet that is the Buffalo media in a post-game press conference that featured a lot of one-word answers and a less-than-thrilled T.O. weighing in on the play-calling decisions.

Somewhere along the way he had to pick up this awesome glass-hat combo.

Later, on NBC's broadcast of "Football Night in America," former defensive back Rodney Harrison ripped Owens on national television -- a move that led to the receiver's loaded, Twitter-fueled comebacks.

I could less about Rodney Harrison! Anybody tht using steroids, yes STEROIDS rodney, is a cheater & cheated the game!

Is tht Y u used steroids b/c u were worried about ur stats or ws it b/c u were losing it? Lol! U're a loser & a cheater? Got any steroid ...

Hey rodney! Send me sum steroids 2 the Bills facility next week!
Harrison was suspended by the NFL in 2007 for four games for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy.

devin-hester-jay-cutler-bears.JPGWe heard about it.

We heard how Jay Cutler was going to make Bears fans re-think how the game of football is played.

Three games in, that's not exactly what's happened -- but that's okay.

A more accurate synopsis is that this Bears team is winning not by completely abandoning the long-held staples of the franchise -- defense and making fewer mistakes than the opponent -- but by jumping on the back of their new-found gunslinger when it matters most.

Today, the Bears won their second straight game on the strength of a fourth-quarter comeback, capped by Cutler's 36-yard touchdown pass to Devin Hester in the face of a Seahawks blitz.

Maybe Kyle Orton makes that throw most of the time. Maybe Rex Grossman makes that throw half of the time.

But, if Cutler is the guy charged with changing the face of Bears football, he's the guy who has to make that throw every time.

That's what he needs to bring to a team whose recipe for success is a lot closer to the traditional one fans have grown to know than a new-fangled dish that's brand new to the palette.

The defense stiffened up after spotting the Seahawks a 13-0 lead, and rookie wide receiver Johnny Knox added to his rising rock star status by hauling in a touchdown reception and turning in fearless kick returns, setting up the offense with good field position.

Then, they added their secret ingredient: some sort of mystic hex on the opposing kicker. And for the second straight week the two missed field goals came back to be the difference in the ballgame.

It wasn't as aesthetically pleasing as one might hope. Then again, it was much easier on the eyes than those sea-green Arena League uniforms the Seahawks sported.

So, Bears fans: Can Cutler and the gang use this recipe to reach the postseason, or are significant improvements needed? At 2-1, the Bears have a chance to keep rolling next Sunday against the Detroit Lions. It could be the perfect time for the offense to break out and eliminate the necessity of another nail-biting finish.

Or maybe just another chance to stick to the 2009 script.
The long nightmare is over.

After 19 consecutive losses, ranging from last-second meltdowns to embarrassing blowouts, the Detroit Lions won a game that counted today.

It wasn't pretty, this 19-14 home win against the Washington Redskins. But, for long-suffering fans it was finally a chance to exhale.



Much more on this banner day later.
lamar-odom-khloe-kardashian.jpgBecause her sister Kim couldn't stick it out with a high-profile athlete (and obviously because they love each other) Khloe Kardashian will sign Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom to a lifetime contract when the couple gets married this weekend.

Kardashian and Odom have been together for six weeks, but the two have decided to tie the knot before the basketball player begins his season.

They're very, very happy," said sister Kim, who early this year split with New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush. "They are literally inseperable. Khloe thinks he's amazing and makes her laugh and smile constantly."
Odom engaged to Khloe Kardashian (update: They are getting married Sunday.)
(LA Times)

It happened slowly, this fazing out of the high-five.

Once the go-to symbolic gesture between teammates, it's been almost completely replaced by the fist bump.

Athletes do it. The president has done it.

And now, the Dalai Lama does it.

While meeting Memphis Mayor Myron Lowery, the pious one was introduced to the slammed-fist phenomenon -- and really seemed to enjoy it.

The best play of the young NFL season has already been re-created through the magic of Tecmo Super Bowl -- still the pinnacle of video game achievement to many in their 20s and 30s.

When Denver Broncos' Brandon Stokley hauled in a deflected pass for a game-winning 87-yard touchdown in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, he had the presence of mind to run some clock by running parallel to the end zone.

Here's the 8-bit re-enactment, complete with Gus Johnson's uber-excited call.



Kevin has been known to employ this time-killing strategy in various football video games -- a move that's been known to irritate me to no end and usually ends in heated arguments/haymakers.
michael-jordan-bryon-russell.jpgThis whole Michael Jordan-Bryon Russell story seems like it's going to linger on until the two actually meet on the basketball court.

If you're not familiar, here's the condensed version of the back and forth:

Russell said he could shut down Jordan.

Russell didn't shut down Jordan.

Jordan called out Russell during his Hall of Fame induction speech.

Russell challenged MJ to a game of one-on-one.

Now we have Brandt Andersen, owner of the NBA Developmental League's Utah Flash, offering $100,000 to the charity of the winning party's choice if these two settle their dispute on the court.

Anderson is suggesting the guys play a game of 21 during halftime of the Flash's home opener.

Is there any part of you that wants to see these guys back on the hardwood settling the score, or is it time this war of words ended?
curt-schilling-bloody-sock.jpgFormer Red Sox pitcher and speaking-his-mind enthusiast Curt Schilling has decided that he won't run for the Senate seat vacated by Massachusetts' Ted Kennedy.

Appearing on an Artie Lange-less "Joe Buck Live" on HBO last night, Schilling put an end to speculation that he'd dip his toe into political waters.

"Regardless of the amount of support and outreach that's been given to me, it just did not make sense," he said.
You'll remember that earlier this month, Schilling had taken to his blog to talk about his aspirations to hold public office. Of course at that time, he did say it was a very slim possibility.
mark-reynolds-strikeout.jpgArizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds set a new single-season strikeout record last night when he fanned for the 205th and 206th time this year. Reynolds had set the record for punchouts last year with 204 K's.

You'd think he'd be concerned about all this swinging and missing.

Not so much.

"So what?" Reynolds said when asked about the strikeout mark. "We won the game today, I got 100 RBIs, it was a good day."
Reynolds tops own strikeout record      (MLB)
Thumbnail image for bradygisele.jpgTom Brady and Gisele Bundchen's April wedding was a lovely affair, with a ceremony befitting the world's most beautiful couple.

There was a nice orchid arrangement and a picturesque Costa Rican sunset.

And some pesky gunshots.

Today, two photographers sued the couple, saying that bodyguards opened fire on them as they tried to capture the sacred ceremony on film. The photo enthusiasts are seeking at least $1 million in damages after gunfire allegedly just missed them as they fled in their vehicle, according to the suit.


It's either one of the greatest basketball shots in the history of mankind, or a lowdown, dirty trick capitalizing on our hope that, deep down, everyone is good.

This heave from the third deck of Kyle Field, home of the Texas A& M Aggies, somehow finds its way through the net, but it's hard to tell if this video has been doctored. For what it's worth, it seems to take a hard left turn towards the end.

Isn't it interesting how the universe tends to correct itself? The natural order of things goes something like this: An old tree dies in the forest, and the forces of nature conspire to use the seeds of that tree to plant a new one while the decaying matter of one helps the other grow.

So it is with a pair of Chicago athletes who have made headlines recently in the local media: Milton Bradley and Johnny Knox.

As we bid farewell as a sports community to the Cubs' Bradley, one of the worst free agent signings in Chicago sports history, we welcome with open arms (and a back-page blowout in the Sun-Times) Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox.

He's everything this city loves in an athlete: a hard-working underdog who outperforms his on-paper abilities. He's humble, he's excited to be here and, most importantly, he helped our team win a big game.

Bradley, meanwhile, represents the me-against-the-world mindset that will sink any athlete who signs with a Chicago team.

Bradley accused Cubs fans of being racist, said he felt hatred in the outfield and blamed the collective negativity at Clark and Addison for keeping the Cubs championship-less for 101 years.

Knox, meanwhile, gets nervous before games and was in awe playing at Soldier Field Sunday in front of more fans than he played in front of his entire senior season at Abilene Christian College.

Brad Biggs spoke with Knox's college coach Chris Thomsen. "I guess it's all about getting your opportunity," Thomsen said when asked about Knox's early NFL success. "Maybe it surprised me his opportunity has come this early. It doesn't surprise me he is doing well. He is a tremendous worker. he has a tremendously positive attitude."

Every athlete who puts on a uniform for a Chicago sports franchise has an opportunity. Johnny Knox has the same opportunity Milton Bradley was afforded when he signed with the Cubs last summer: to play professional sports in one of the greatest sports cities on Earth. So far, it would seem Knox is doing everything right.

Sure, it's early. He could fizzle, wake the Soldier Field boo birds and draw our ire. But for now, he's a hard-working rookie who can do no wrong. Not to mention his "tremendously positive attitude," which makes him The Anti-Milton. 

Johnny Knox is the break Chicago sports fans needed to cure their Bradley-era hangover. He and future athletes fortunate enough to play in this market would do well to follow suit.
twitter-logo.jpgIn the world of professional sports, the same thing that makes Twitter great is the same thing that has every team's media flak up late at night worrying. It's an unfiltered avenue of communication between athletes with fat salaries and the fans responsible -- in part -- for paying them.

The list of players who've embraced this new medium and used it for good is long and illustrious. But, as the story of Washington Redskins linebacker Robert Henson teaches us, the kinks are still being worked out.

The rookie has been chastised from Redskins coach Jim Zorn for his online behavior following Washington's ugly 9-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
cutler.jpgIt's borderline sad -- and certainly pathetic -- that a humble unpaid blogger like myself feels terrible for neglecting this work space I fill now and again with fairly obvious and shallow observations about the world.

When that happens, you get stuff like this -- a buddy's email reflecting his shallow and fairly obvious observation.

Deal with it.

KK,

Know you're a big Bears fan now. Was wondering if you caught the ref in the Bears-Steelers game knocking your boy Cutler in the face while he was signaling a timeout? It was awesome. Good thing it wasn't Ed "Hercules."


You notice how much (Cutler) looked like a out-of-his-mind Jim Breuer? I know you love those commercials where he screams, "JACKKKKKPOT!!!"

Also, the Lions still suck.

Funny thing is, I had a screen grab ready to go yesterday, but never got around to posting it. But, the always on-top-of-things guys over at The Big Lead did. Would that I were that responsible.

Winning your first game at home? Great. Doing it against the Steelers? Jackpot.

Pat Tomasulo, friend of the blog and the unquestioned star of "Shaq Vs.", today is burning on those titans of the parking industry outside of Wrigley Field.

 
Ben Roethlisberger comes to Soldier Field this weekend bearing gifts.

The Super Bowl champion quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers announced the first grant of the year for the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at the Giving Back Fund will go to the Cook County Sheriff's Police Canine Unit, according to a press release.

The department will use the grant to purchase a new police dog to replace one that recently retired.

"It's incredible to see the strong bond that is formed between the dogs and their partners both on the job and at home," Roethlisberger said in the release.

Adding another dog to the canine unit "will enable our department to even better serve the citizens of Cook County," said Sheriff Tom Dart. We are honored to be the first recipient of this year's grant and thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for its generous support to local law enforcement."

On the field this weekend, Roethlisberger will be looking to target Hines Ward, who is 117 receiving yards away from 10,000 for his career -- a feat that could be achieved Sunday at Soldier Field. Unlike the canine, it's a gift most Bears fans would most likely prefer he save for another city. 
By now you've probably seen it. The extremely precious clip from Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, when one Phillies fan caught a foul fly and promptly presented it to his daughter before she tossed it out of the upper deck.

She then retreats into her father's arms and is rewarded with a hug in a very syrupy sweet moment.

Basically, if this doesn't warm your soul, then you probably pulled for Ivan Drago in the Rocky movies and root for children to find out there's no such thing as the tooth fairy.

Steve Monforto and his family were on the "Today Show" this morning talking about the experience, which many are comparing -- in adorableness terms -- to sleeping puppies, bunny rabbits and turtles eating fruit.

kendrahank.jpgCongratulations on your new acquisitions, Indianapolis.

Don't get me wrong, you're a fine city with a wonderfully designed street layout and a rich tradition of milk-themed celebrations. But, with today's announcement that the Colts will sign wide receiver Hank Baskett and his more famous wife Kendra Wilkinson (by extension), it would appear that the Midwest is about to get an E! makeover.

I can almost hear the shouts of joy emanating from the heart of the Hoosier state from here.

Hugh Hefner's former girlfriend weighed in on the personnel move with People magazine, where all good reporters get their NFL news.

"This is a great opportunity for Hank to be playing for the Colts. Peyton Manning is one of the best - if not the best - quarterbacks in the league, and I'm excited to see my baby kick some a--!" she says, adding: "So proud of Hank for staying strong and positive."
The couple married in June and are expecting their first baby on Christmas day.

vince-young-tennessean-com.jpgWhile Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young's on-field performance has been the object of much scrutiny lately, but anyone with a heart would appreciate what he did for Steve McNair's sons on Wednesday.

Young surprised 11-year-old Trenton and 5-year-old Tyler on Wednesday by showing up at their house and taking them to their school's "Dear Dads Breakfast" at a local restaurant.

"Those are my boys," Young told the Tennessean. "I wouldn't say it was to pay anyone back; it was just out of love. Steve would do it for me. He pretty much did it for me when I was growing up. I have a history with the boys and I want to do anything I can. I am their big brother."
Young and McNair had a long-running friendship before McNair was murdered on July 4.
When the country's economy takes a brutal smack to the face, academia suffers, too. The solution? If you're a 2,601-enrollment school in Greenville, South Carolina, you travel to the Midwest to play a football game.

The Furman Paladin football team will be in Columbia, Missouri this weekend to take on the Mizzou Tigers, a game that guarantees the school $450,000 -- win or lose. The school pulled out of a scheduled game against fellow FCS school Deleware in order to make the game work after SMU backed out of a game in Columbia.

According to an article in today's Columbia Missourian, "Because Missouri generates so much more revenue from a home game, it can afford to pay Furman more money than Furman would receive from a home game of its own."

"Gifts to the university are down just as they are across the country," Gary Clark, Furman's director of athletics told the Missourian. "Bills are up. Expenses are up, revenues are down, in general, yes."

I've spent the better part of the night trying to write something explaining what Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell means to me and so many others who grew up in Michigan listening to him call the Detroit Tigers' games.

None of it does the man justice.

If you're one of those people, you already know. You're already cherishing those warm, nostalgic feelings and are thankful he's been a part of your life.

So, let's just leave it to the 91-year-old legend, who addressed the crowd during tonight's Tigers-Royals game.

"In my almost 92 years on this earth, The good Lord has blessed me with a great journey. And the blessed part of that journey is that it's going to end in the great state of Michigan."


FTRBLOCK132.jpg

The Cubs "7th inning stretch"  officially jumped the shark last night.

Ironically, it took Richard Dreyfuss--he of "Jaws" fame--to send it overboard.

The guy admitted he had not watched a game since 1988. He had no idea Bill Murray was a Cubs fan. And, he rambled on about how screwed up our country is. Just what we want to hear while watching America's Pastime.

If you missed it, here's some of the  transcript:

Selling Favre Football.jpg

This could be construed as child abuse in some places.

Technically, this probably is a throwback jersey, even if it is new.

Brett Favre's Vikings jersey was the top seller on the NFL's merchandise Web site. His purple No. 4 was only available for the last two weeks of that timeframe, too.

Fans typically flock to new products, and Michael Vick's Philadelphia jersey has been a hot commodity as well: His No. 7 in Eagles green ranked No. 4 on the list behind Favre, Jay Cutler and Troy Polamalu.

Favre didn't express much surprise Wednesday when the popularity of his jersey was pointed out. He said friends and family have asked him if he can get one for them, but that all he has are the ones he wears in the games.

Favre then retired and un-retired again, making the jersey a collectible, too.

WRESTLING WOES.jpg

A preview to the upcoming Connecticut race for U.S. Senate, or simply World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Victoria using a choke hold on Stacy Keibler in Bridgeport? (AP)

If ever there were a whacked-out plot too big even for the squared circle of wrestling, a real-life bid for political glory is it, right?

OK, maybe not.

Looks like World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon has resigned as the company's chief executive to seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd. There's an announcement flying off the ropes.

McMahon's husband, Chairman Vince, will assume her duties as CEO, the company said in a statement.

Linda McMahon, 60, formally announced her candidacy Wednesday morning. She said Washington is "out of control" and Dodd has "lost his way and our trust."

McMahon is up against three other Republicans -- former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, state Sen. Sam Caligiuri and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley. Dodd plans to run for a sixth term next year.

Linda and Vince McMahon, a professional wrestler, announcer and promoter, co-founded WWE together. Linda McMahon has served as CEO since May 1997 and served as the company's president from May 1993 through June 2000. Vince McMahon has been chairman since 1980.

Sugar Bowl Notre Dame Footb.jpg

Notre Dame want to keep the gold in its helmets and and out of the pocket of at least one waitress, it seems. The University is going after a waitress who reeled in a massive $29,000 tip, saying it's a clerical mistake and she needs to pay the money back.

In the land of Touchdown Jesus, scooping up plates and taking orders at banquets only gets you $29 in gratuities, apparently:

The school says in a lawsuit that it paid Sara Gaspar the huge gratuity instead of about $29 because of a clerical error. The suit, filed in St. Joseph Circuit Court in South Bend, says Gaspar kept the money without telling the school.

Gaspar says she called the school three times about the unusual payment but spent the money on a car and to pay bills after the school didn't get back to her.

Gratuities are paid to workers by the school as part of the workers' checks.

No word on whether this will affect their BCS rankings.

Timberwolves Heat Trade Bas.jpg

In yet another case of knowing when to hold 'em, a Las Vegas court has pushed back a status check to Oct. 29 for former NBA all-star Antoine Walker, amid talk of possible repayment in an $822,500 casino gambling debt case.

Prosecutor Bernie Zadrowski said Wednesday he's been talking with Walker's lawyer, Jonathan Powell, about settling the criminal case.

Chicago native Walker, a brush with crime enthusiast, faces three felony bad check charges for gambling debts at three Las Vegas casinos. He did not have to appear at a Wednesday hearing.

Walker was arrested in July at a Lake Tahoe hotel.

Walker was a three-time all-star for the Boston Celtics and won a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. He last played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008.

AP contibuted

Because we all are wondering what magic could come of a Kansas State-Connecticut football match, Yankee Stadium officials are in talks with the Big East and Big 12 conferences to host a bowl game there.

The Yankee Bowl would pit the seventh-place team from the Big 12 against the third- or fourth-place team from the Big East, according to the New York Times.

Officials from both conferences say they intend to make the deal happen.

There's no word yet on when the bowl game would be played, but there's definitely been a huge push to have football in the new stadium -- just as it was in the old one. Notre Dame is inked to play there next season, and Army has three games lined up there.

But another bowl game? As cool as it would be to schlep to NYC to watch a 6-win Mizzou team take on a sub-par Louisville, I just don't see it.

newark.jpgWhen "God Bless America" goes wrong - another item for the "I'm surprised this hasn't happened yet" file.

Three teenagers who say they were tossed from a New Jersey ballpark for sitting through the song "God Bless America" are suing the minor league Newark Bears - managed by White Sox fan favorite Rock Raines. The boys say their constitutional rights were violated when they were asked to leave Newark's Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium in June by Bear's president co-owner Thomas Cetnar.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports Cetnar got in the kids' grills and booted them:

"Nobody sits during the singing of 'God Bless America' in my stadium,'" Cetnar bellowed during the June 29 incident, according to the suit. "Now the get the (expletive) out of here."

The high schoolers, Bryce Gadye and Nilkumar Patel, both 17, and junior Shaan Mohammad Khan, 16, sued in federal court Friday seeking unspecified damages.

They say when they told Cetnar they had the right to remain seated, he cursed and had two security officers remove them from their seats behind home plate.

No chance the fine high school kids were popping off as that age group is known to do from time to time, right? Whatever the case, principles and beliefs aside, the next time you're at a minor league game in rough and tumble Newark the day before the anniversary of Sept. 11 and "God Bless America" comes on, maybe it would just be easier for everyone to stand? Just sayin'.

091409bear.JPGWe don't give up on the Bears' new franchise quarterback 60 minutes into his Chicago career, do we?

Because that would be an impulsive and ridiculous thing to do, right? Ridiculous and impulsive no matter how bad he looked.

Sure, Jay Cutler's first half in Green Bay wasn't what Bears fans who've been lusting to see the gunslinger in a game that matters hoped for. Eight completions on 22 attempts and three interceptions is nowhere near the production expected from No. 6.

And his fourth interception of the game, the one that eliminated all hope of winning, is going to be the lasting image everyone takes away from the game.

The first taste of Jay Cutler in a meaningful game leaves a horrible taste in the mouth of Bears fans everywhere.

But, he's the guy. He's the quarterback of the now and the future.

He's the undisputed face of the franchise, a position that comes with all kinds of pressure and attention. He played awful, granted, but certainly didn't lose the game by himself.

In fact, had the Bears' defensive unit been able to buckle down in the final two minutes, we'd all be talking about how he overcame a dreadful start to muster a huge road win in a hostile environment.

Cutler wasn't the one who let Packers receiver Greg Jennings streak down the middle of the field for a game-clinching 50-yard touchdown catch. He wasn't the one that called for a fake punt on 4th-and-11 deep in Bears' territory in a two-point game. He certainly wasn't the one that caused linebacker Brian Urlacher to leave the game with a wrist injury.

But, he's the guy who's going to get all the blame when the Bears lose. That's the other part of being the guy who gets all the glory when they win.

His final line (17-for-36, 277 yards, TD, 4 INT) isn't going to be a trend. Nothing in his past would suggest this is anything more than an aberration. Throughout the NBC telecast, former wide receiver Cris Collinsworth jumped at the opportunity to point out how his receivers failed Cutler. One of those interceptions -- by the enormous Johnny Jolly -- was sort of a fluke.

None of this is going to make anyone who bleeds orange and blue feel any better.

Nor will the fact that he bounced back from first half full of groans to put the Bears in a position to win.

Facing a 10-2 deficit, Cutler came out of the locker room and promptly led the Bears to a touchdown in their first second-half possession, connecting with Devin Hester on a 36-yard pass. After a defensive stop, the signal-caller drove the Bears down for a 47-yard Robbie Gould field goal to take a 12-10 lead.

It was just over 11 minutes in game time, but sure went a long way to calm down the collective nerves of a fan base who was suddenly very displeased with their new leader, at least according to the comments streaming through on our live game blog.

When the fake punt fiasco allowed the Packers to kick a field goal for a 13-12 advantage, Cutler and the offensive unit responded with a 15-play drive capped by a chip-shot field goal from Robbie Gould.

But, just when it looked like he was going to be the goat-turned-hero, Jennings' touchdown afforded him the chance to be the goat-turned-hero-turned-goat and throw another interception.

The Cutler era is now 0-1.

A bad 0-1 because this game was very winnable.

So, Bears fans, what now? Do you shake it off, knowing this isn't the Cutler that's going to show up week in and week out? Or do you brace for another year of disappointment?  How much do you blame Cutler? How much of the blame would you like to see him take? Isn't that what makes a leader?
brett-favre-aaron-rodgers.JPGIn about an hour, the Green Bay Packers will square off against the Bears in the season opener at Lambeau Field.

Today has already been a confusing emotional day for Packer backers, with former hero Brett Favre leading the hated Minnesota Vikings to an easy road win in Cleveland in his first meaningful game wearing purple and gold.

For so many years, Favre's No. 4 has been a wardrobe requirement for all red-blooded males residing in Wisconsin, and some intrepid fans are finding a way to still get use out of it.

The solution, as it is so many times, is duct tape.

Here are some tailgaters tossing the pigskin around, letting the world know that their allegiance now lies with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Apparently, the guy didn't have the resources or time to spell out his new guy's last name.

Maybe next time.

This, of course, is a far more eco-friendly solution than some Broncos fans employed when Jay Cutler fled to the Windy City. 
brandon-stokley-catch-video.JPGIt's going to be hard to beat the excitement of the Denver Broncos-Cincinnati Bengals game. Add the fact that the ridiculously bizarre game-winning touchdown was voiced by the sensationally excited Gus Johnson, and you have a highlight for the ages.

Yes, Johnson does have me using an unusual amount of superlatives right now.

Trailing 7-6 with 30 seconds left, ex-Bear Kyle Orton threw a very Kyle Orton-like pass that was batted around and into the hands of Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who raced to paydirt.



Incredibly exciting way to win a ballgame, but a crushing way to lose.

Bengals pass-catcher and Twitter enthusiast Chad Ochocinco summed up his feelings with this tweet:

"Man I can't believe how today ended, I've never seen anything like that in my life, not even a video game, Wow!!!!!"
Thumbnail image for erin-andrews.jpgErin Andrews, America's most visible sideline reporter, was on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" yesterday to dish about her feelings in the wake of the now-famous peephole video of her that was passed around the Internet this summer.

In a 10-minute segment, taped on Aug. 27, she described her reaction to finding out she'd been a victim of a peeping tom.

"I kept screaming: 'I'm done. My career is over. I'm done. Get it off. Get it off the Internet,"' said Andrews, her eyes watering as she remembered talking to her father. "They thought I was physically injured, (that's) how bad I was screaming."
Andrews has since returned to work and her lawyer says she is planning lawsuits against whomever shot the video, as well as anyone who posts it.


The same edge that made Michael Jordan so great during his playing career may have tainted his Hall of Fame acceptance speech last night, depending on who you ask.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski speaks for that camp, likening it to a bully tripping nerds with a lunch tray in the school cafeteria.

Jordan lashed out at former Bulls GM Jerry Krause, with whom he's had a long-running feud, flew in the high school teammate that caused him to be cut his sophomore year and said he feels sorry his own sons have to live up to his legacy.

Now, my gut tells me that the average fan isn't getting too worked up about this, that his perceived pettiness and egotism are more of an issue with the media. But, is there any part of you that could have done without these comments, any part of you that felt like this wasn't really the place for them? Or are MJ's detractors making mountains out of molehills again?


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bradygisele.jpgNew England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen have combined to create what could possibly be the most perfect human being in history.

Brady confirmed in a television interview scheduled to air on Sunday that Bundchen is pregnant, according to an Associated Press reports.

Brady joked that he was ready for the addition, saying, "It couldn't be harder than this training camp, so I'll be prepared."
indiana football.JPGBY JUSTIN ALLEN Sports Pros(e) Senior Indiana Football Correspondent

A little more than a week ago, the purveyors of this blog asked me, a non-honors graduate of The Indiana University, to write a preview of this year's IU football team. Interesting idea.  Headlines began to race through my head:

Indiana Football: Rich with tradition and stuff

This year's Hoosier football team promises to be better than last year's at helping pass time until basketball season 

Indiana Football: Achieving excellence in tailgating for more than 20 years

Truth be told, in my four (plus) years in Bloomington, I went to a grand total of three-ish football games, but went to more than 90 tailgates across the street from Memorial Stadium ... go figure. So naturally, a preview of IU football from me was a tall order.  

Why so cavalier in my non-fanness, you ask?  Well you see, Hoosier football is just awful.  Sorry to be so blunt, IU fans, but the numbers don't lie.  Since 1990, they've only won 84 games, including a 19-13 squeaker against Eastern Kentucky last Thursday night.  Now, I'm no math whiz, but my calculator tells me that's an average of 4.6 wins per season over the last 18 years.  Not good.

This year's team promises to be the worst in recent history, especially after all-conference quarterback Kellen Lewis was dismissed for violating team rules (apparently, it's a rule to be a subpar football player).  Add an injury-plagued offensive line and a local Bloomington kid running the "Pistol" offense (don't feel bad, I had to Google it to figure out what it was, too), and you've got yourself a recipe for a one-win season.  

Naturally, this attitude nets me quite a bit of flack from my fellow Hoosier faithful who religiously gather for every game at Joe's on Weed Street. and Kirkwoods Bar in hopes of a weekly miracle.  "It's not the kids' fault!" "It'll be better this year, you'll see!" "You should support your team no matter what!"  "You need to pay for that beer, sir!" But give a fella a break.  I'm already an ardent Cubs, Bears and Bulls fan, so forgive me if I don't have any more room for another perennial loser.  

So my prediction for this year's Indiana Hoosier football team?  They'll finish 1-11, just barely missing a bowl selection.  But, hey, don't lose hope just yet, Hoosier fans.  I've been wrong before.  Besides, right now they're tied for first in the Big Ten with nine other teams.  Neat!
Thumbnail image for madden_nfl_10_cover_larry_troy.jpgArizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald might be a little nervous right now.

His Madden 10 covermate, Steelers safety and wild-hair enthusiast Troy Polamalu, left last night's season opener with a knee injury. Early reports have him missing three to six weeks.

This, of course, has everyone talking about the so-called "Madden Curse" this morning. Fitzgerald and Polamalu are the only duo to be featured on the title.

The always on-point MJD over at Shutdown Corner has a rundown of how athletes on the cover of the game have fared in the following year.

It's not a pretty, feel-good list by any stretch of the imagination.

Do you believe in the Madden Curse, or is just a made-up thing that the media made up so we'd have something to talk about and seem smart?
merriman-tila-tequila.jpgAs more information about the The Shawne Merriman-Tila Tequila saga leaks out, the more it reads like a scripted reality show. And one that's not suitable for children.

Today, we wake up to this report from KGTV in San Diego.

The sources told Vara that witnesses at Merriman's home said the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker went to his bedroom with two women.

Sources said Tequila walked into the room and Merriman asked her to join them.

However, the sources said Tequila reacted angrily and threatened to have sex with a member of Merriman's entourage.According to sources, Tequila was intoxicated, and she got naked and attempted to leave the house.
Sources: Jealousy Led To Merriman, Tequila Altercation     (KGTV)
Rick Reilly, making his Sportscenter anchor debut on ESPN this morning, gave a brief editorial toward the end of the show, saying the Hall of Fame isn't enough to honor Michael Jordan's legacy. He suggested that Jordan's No. 23 should be retired throughout the NBA -- as hockey did with Wayne Gretzky's 99 and baseball did with Jackie Robinson's 42.

Miami Heat president Pat Riley retired Jordan's number throughout his organization -- and Jordan never even played there.

"In honor of your greatness and for all you've done for the game of basketball -- and not just the NBA, but for all the fans around the world -- we want to honor you tonight and hang your jersey, No. 23, from the rafters," Riley told Jordan during a 2003 ceremony.

The arguments for retiring his number throughout the NBA are many. Jordan transformed the game of basketball, inspired generations and is largely responsible for making the NBA the enterprise it is today.

"23 needs to hang in the air," Reilly argued, "kind of like Jordan did in all those epic flights to the rim."

What do you think? How would you feel about your team retiring No. 23? Is there another player in NBA history deserving of this honor? 
Despite the fact that he's credited for assembling the teams that would help him win six championships, Michael Jordan won't be seeing Jerry Krause at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

"I don't have a great desire to be there," the former Bulls GM told the Boston Globe.

Krause, who served the team from 1985-2003, was the chairman of the Hall of Fame selection committee until he stepped down in the early 90s. He disagreed with the committee's practice of keeping the selection process secret. He told the Globe he vowed not to enter the Hall of Fame building in Springfield, Mass. unless former Bulls assistant coach Tex Winter was inducted.

Krause and Jordan's relationship was one of the more interesting and complex story lines throughout the team's championship runs. Krause told the Globe, "We were not close and we're not close today."

However, Krause praised Jordan's professionalism off the court, and paid him the ultimate compliment after the star's first retirement, when he told Jordan "he was better than [Earl] Monroe."
ESPN commentator Dick Vitale has stepped in to put a positive twist on an otherwise tragic story.

Vitale, one of the most recognizable voices in college basketball, has pledged to help defray funeral costs for a Bradenton, Fla. student who was fatally shot Friday night.

Bay Shore High School cheerleader Jazmine Thompson was gunned down after the school's football game. Her mother recently lost her job and doesn't have insurance.

"I didn't know Jazmine. I just know what I read, and it tears my heart out," Vitale told Tampa Bay Online. "There's no way there should be a funeral for that young girl this weekend. She did nothing wrong. She was minding her own business."

Vitale also plans to talk to the school about establishing a scholarship.
dwyane_wade_std.jpgMiami Heat guard and Robbins native Dwyane Wade is mindful of where he came from and the people who helped him get where he is now.

Plus, to hear him tell it, he really loves Chicago.

So, he's strapping on his altruistic sneakers and driving hard to make his city a better place.

The four-time NBA All-Star, 2006 NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold medal-winner is in town this weekend for a four day fundraiser that will raise money for his Wade's World Foundation and other Chicago charitable organizations.

"There's been a lot of people in my life that have helped me," he said. "All of my coaches, from my high school coach to my college coach, they all helped me get to a point where I was very confident in my abilities and very confident in myself.

"Having people believe in you at a young age goes a long, long way."

Wade recently purchased a downtown condo and says that all of the memories forged here make it his unquestioned home.

"Chicago, as I get older, I appreciate it more and more," Wade said. "For what it did for me, even though a lot of things looked dark. If it wasn't for my upbringing in Chicago, I don't know if I'd be the person that I am today. I've been through what the kids here go through and we're trying to shed some light on it."


If you thought LeGarette Blount's yearlong suspension for punching Byron Hout was the last you'd hear of the Oregon-Boise State stupid fest, think again.

Now, Ducks blogger Bob Rickert is speculating as to what Hout might have said to deserve Blount's knuckle sandwich.

There are two leading theories in the Rickert camp:

"The most circulated and not denied by those inside the Boise State program is that Hout asked Blount how his dead family member was doing. The one he buried just a few weeks ago."

"The second rumor not denied by Boise State's program is that Hout dropped the N bomb."

An argument could be made -- not by this blog, however -- that the punch, while inappropriate, is more understandable than previously thought.

What do you think? Boise State hasn't come out to deny these rumors and no one is talking about what was said. If either of these rumors prove true (unlikely) should Blount's suspension be lifted at some point?

Someone needs to call "The Lip Reader."
Good morning.

It's 9/9/09 and for some reason we remember that all multiples of 9, when the individuals numbers are added together, are divisible by 9.

In less nerdy news, a high school kid in Colorado booted a 67-yard field goal this weekend.

*Fast forward to the 1:01 mark for proof.




Kip Smith set the state record after his team made a fair catch on a punt. It pays to know the ins and outs of the rulebook.

The same rule is present in college and in the NFL, but kickers can't tee the ball up. Tee or not, Smith's kick is pretty impressive in that it clears the crossbar by a healthy margin.
Chargers linebacker and Twitter enthusiast Shawne Merriman has been arrested for allegedly choking and restraining MTV reality show star Tila Tequila.

Several online reports suggest Tequila -- whose real name is Tila Nguyen -- called the cops on the former rookie of the year around 3:45 a.m. Authorities arrested the 25-year-old Merriman at his Poway home, north of San Diego,  on suspicion of battery and false imprisonment.

Gossip Web site TMZ.com has photos of the couple partying prior to the alleged incident at Stingaree nightclub in San Diego.

The Associated press is reporting that Tequila was taken to the hospital where her condition is unknown.
friday-night-tailgate.jpgWhen "Big Ten Friday Night Tailgate" kicks off tonight on the Big Ten Network, it'll mark the show's third season of hyping us up for Saturday football.

Host Mike Hall (full disclosure: friend of the blog) and correspondents Charissa Thompson, Jordan Klepper, Steve Waltien and Tim Baltz are once again primed to introduce us to the players, students, fans and faculty that populate Big Ten college towns throughout the Midwest.

Blending sports and humor isn't always the easiest thing, but the FNT crew has managed to find a way to do it consistently each fall. Perhaps it's because each of them (including Hall) are improvisers in Chicago's famed improv comedy scene.

In honor of FNT's premiere (Fridays, Big Ten Network, 8:30 p.m. ET), we caught up with Mike this afternoon to talk about the improv effect, changes to this year's show and generally distract him while he was busy at work putting the final touches on tonight's show:

Bobby Wade takes a pay cut

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When he wasn't stirring up controversy in Chicago this past offseason, Vikings receiver Bobby Wade was apparently busy making himself expendable.

The former Bear is taking a pay cut in order to keep his job, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report.

Wade made headlines in the days leading up to Bears training camp when he told a sports radio DJ that Brian Urlacher called Jay Cutler a word usually reserved for felines and James Bond villainesses.

Wade, who was scheduled to make $3 million this season, has agreed to collect about half of that. And while $1.5 million won't exactly land him in the poor house, the reason behind it still has to sting a little.

From the Star Tribune:

"Wade has led the Vikings in receptions each of the past two seasons but his primary role as the Vikings' slot receiver is going to be impacted in a big way by the arrival of rookie Percy Harvin. It's very possible that if Wade had refused to rework his contract he could have been let go on Saturday as the Vikings cut their roster to the regular-season limit of 53 players."
Urlacher, who was not asked to take a pay cut to keep his job this season, denied Wade's claim.

LeGarrette Blount had plenty to say with his mouth heading into Thursday night's Pac-10, WAC top-20 tilt between the 16th-ranked Ducks and No. 14 Boise St. Broncos.

By the end of the game, a 19-8 win for Boise State, Blount was talking with his fists and being dragged off the field by coaches and cops. And for his troubles, University of Oregon suspended the talented back for the remainder of the season, including any bowl game the Ducks might play in.

blount punch.jpgBlount will, however get to keep his scholarship.

University president Richard Lariviere called Blount's behavior "reprehensible."

"We do not and will not tolerate the actions that were taken by our player. Oregon's loyal fans expect and deserve better," Lariviere said in a statement. "The University of Oregon Athletics Department is reviewing the situation and will take appropriate action, reflecting the seriousness of the player's behavior."

Blount, who's own coaches say he has a lot of maturing to do and was suspended once in pre-season practice already, put the key quote on the bulletin board before Thursday night's rematch of the teams, saying Oregon owed Boise State an "ass-whoopin' " after the Ducks 37-32 upset loss last season at Oregon. Unfortunately for Blount, he forgot to open up his can during the game in the 19-8 loss. The closest he came to the end zone was in scoring four total points - two for Boise State in a safety and two for Oregon in a 2-point conversion. This in a game which saw the high-powered Duck offense manage zero first-half first downs and only 5:50 minutes of possession.

But it was after the game that Blount finally decided to start the whoopin'.

Following what appeared to be a quick taunt, Blount nailed sophomore defensive end Byron Hout with a cheap-shot right hand, caught by ESPN cameras. Apparently not satisfied with the impending suspension that will draw, he then started to go nuts on Boise State fans on the way off the field, forcing Oregon coaches and police to forcibly remove him.

alfonso-soriano-error-cubs.JPGA seemingly routine fly ball off the bat of White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the eighth inning of Thursday's game ended with an opportunity for Steve Stone to rip Alfonso Soriano and the Cubs.

As Soriano moved into position to catch the pop-up, he misjudged it, dropped it and allowed Pierzynski to reach third base and Gordon Beckham to score.  

Stone, the former Cubs broadcaster and Current White Sox color analyst, took the opportunity to point out, "That's what you get when you put a designated hitter in left field."

Stone also criticized Soriano for his lack of enthusiasm in retrieving the ball after he dropped it.

The play marked Soriano's 11th error of the season in left field.

Stone refused a contract extension with the Cubs in 2004 amid controversy fueled by his sharp criticism of the team.  
tampa-bay-rays-bomb.jpgEveryone has a different definition of humor. That's what makes life so fun and explains the long run that "Two and a Half Men" has had on network television. But, sometimes one man's idea of a joke is another's idea of a very serious crime.

Especially when the gag in question involves planting a fake bomb in a stadium full of with people in it.

A Tampa Bay Rays employee was arrested before Wednesday's game with the Boston Red Sox and accused of planting what appeared to be a fake bomb at Tropicana Field, police said.

William L. Jordan, 38, was arrested on a charge of planting a hoax device. He is a mechanic with the team and built and hid the device as part of a "practical joke," the St. Petersburg Police Department said.

St. Petersburg police: Tampa Bay Rays employee planted fake bomb at Tropicana Field    (Tampa Bay)
Michael Vick will learn his fate from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later today, according to multiple reports.

The Los Angeles Times says that Vick will be fully reinstated and could be available for the season opener on Sept. 13.

Vick's Philadelphia Eagles take on the New York Jets tonight in the preseason finale.  

Kennedy Successor Schilling.jpg

Curt Schilling is many things. Outspoken. Conservative. A World War II buff. A bloody-socked World Series hero to Red Sox Nation.

Now you may be able to add U.S. Senate candidate to the list.

Schilling, never one to leave you guessing about what he's thinking, has been chatting on his blog and in the Boston media about the possibility of running to fill the senate seat left open by the death of Ted Kennedy last week.

While my family is obviously the priority, and 38 Studios is a priority, I do have some interest in the possibility. That being said, to get to there from where I am today, many many things would have to align themselves for that to truly happen. I am not going to comment further on the matter since at this point it would be speculation on top of speculation.

My hope is that whatever happens, and whomever it happens to, this state makes the decision and chooses the best person, regardless of sex, race, religion or political affiliation, to help get this state back to the place it deserves to be.

Schilling Bloody Sock.jpgSchilling, refused to comment when his office was contacted by phone by the Associated Press.

The 42-year-old lives in suburban Medfield and campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2004 and Sen. John McCain in 2008.

As a player, he won three World Series, in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and in 2004 and 2007 with the Red Sox. He became a Sox legend when he won Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series while blood from an injured ankle seeped through his sock. He retired in March.

Reaction among the Red Sox was decidedly jovial Wednesday.

"If he runs, good luck," said first baseman Kevin Youkilis. "I don't know if I'd want to do that job."

Team manager Terry Francona said Schilling should do whatever makes him happy but noted, "I don't think he'd want me as his campaign manager."

We're not going to let Kurt Cobain rest in peace.

First, there was the super creepy mash-up featuring the flannel enthusiast interspersed with Rick Astley. Now, we stumble on this footage of the former Nirvana frontman's likeness really belting out Bon Jovi's bar classic "You Give Love a Bad Name" along with songs by Bush, Megadeth and Public Enemy.

Here's the deal. Cobain's persona has been licensed as a video game character in "Guitar Hero 5." You can apparently unlock him in the career mode and sully his reputation by making him play guitar right-handed, sing Bush's always confusing lyrics and emulate Flavor Flav.

The somewhat gut-turning visual evidence:



Unlocked Kurt Cobain Sings Bon Jovi In Guitar Hero 5     (Sterogum)
jay-cutler-jersey-bears.JPGJudging strictly by jersey sales, Jay Cutler is the second most popular player in the NFL behind Brett Favre. NFLShop.com released its jersey sales rankings for the NFL's first four months of the fiscal year to MSNBC, and there were a few surprises.

The most notable surprise comes in at No. 20 -- Michael Crabtree -- who has yet to don the jersey 49ers fans seem to be so wild about. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick proved you don't have to be a starter to have a popular jersey as his came in at No. 4 -- despite the fact that some sporting goods stores refused to carry it.

Eli Manning was the only player whose jersey number matched its sales rank -- not necessarily surprising or interesting, but it sure is a coincidence.

Cutler, who recently showed Chicagoans he cleans up well in a photo shoot for Michigan Avenue magazine, came in at No. 23 this time last year while playing for the Denver Broncos.

Notably absent from the top 20 were Bears players Brian Urlacher and Devin Hester, who came in at Nos. 11 and 12 last year, respectively.

For the list of the NFL's top 20 jersey sales, visit MSNBC.
The Los Angles Dodgers-Arizona Diamondbacks game last night was interrupted by a remote-control operated plane that thrilled the crowd before eventually crashing to its final resting place just outside the visitors' dugout.



Just watching this clip makes me wish I had the privilege of listening to national treasure Vin Scully on a nightly basis. He narrated that bit of silliness like he'd thoroughly prepared for it.
charlie-weis-billboard.jpg
(Photo from South Bend Tribune)

Update: Blueandgold.com is reporting Tom Reynolds, a former Notre Dame linebacker, is  the man behind the billboard.

Some clever Notre Dame fan(s) have found a clever way to remind their coach that he has yet to live up to the stringent standards Fighting Irish everywhere.

"Best wishes to Charlie Weis in the 5th year of his college coaching internship," the billboard reads.

So who's behind this clever public display of animosity? Seems no one knows for sure.

The billboard is located above the Linebacker Inn, and the credit goes to the "Linebacker Alumni."

But the bar's not taking credit. The general manager of the bar told the South Bend Tribune that he had nothing to do with it.

For his part, Weis said he hasn't seen it. He did, however, offer this veiled plea for sympathy: "Welcome to my world."
candice-crawford-tony-romo.jpgAmericans are waking up, pouring themselves a tasty bowl of off-brand cereal and Googling "Candice Crawford" more than any other noun in the world this morning.

Who is this person?

Well, she's a member of "Special Edition," a Dallas television show devoted to the Dallas Cowboys and a former Miss Missouri. Kevin will beam with pride when he reads about her graduation from the lofty J-school at the University of Missouri. Most people, however, will be more interested in the unsubstantiated rumor floating about the Internet that has her linked to Cowboys quarterback and high-profile relationship enthusiast Tony Romo.

Tweens may be familiar with her older brother Chace's acting chops. He stars as one of the well-groomed tortured souls on the hit drama "Gossip Girl."

Again, reports are extremely spotty. Apparently, the two have been spotted "in each other's company." It's not like she's wearing his varsity jacket around.

Tony Romo dating local sports anchor?     (MyFoX Dallas)
Passing fancy (groan)? Tony Romo linked with Candice Crawford     (Dallas Morning News)
cutler-magazine-cover.jpgWhat a difference a comb makes.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler allowed a stylist to remove the bangs from his forehead all in the name of fashion. Apparently they liked what they saw, as he's the new cover boy for the luxury lifestyle mag Michigan Avenue.

This continues a great tradition of sports journalism and envelope-pushing photography for Michigan Avenue, which previously profiled AOL national sports columnist Jay Mariotti, dressing him up like a hip college professor in the process.

Cutler reveals to interviewer Susanna Negovan that he's single, has diabetes and won't be posing for any magazine covers ... after this one, of course (much to the dismay of the rest of the other players in the cut-throat luxury magazine subculture here).

The general consensus around the newsroom is that Cutler may be treading dangerously into Gordon Beckham territory in the coif department.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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